(She tells Logan she doesn't believe him)

Her little brother is an annoying, clumsy bastard, always getting in her way, insulting her and getting bruises all over himself; so she has to play the good big sister – she's not even his sister, the hell?

Then Logan stands before her with fury flashing in his eyes, wearing a black eye. She's berating him for the way he talks to Dad for what must be the millionth time – ungrateful brat – he's maybe fourteen and he speaks.

"Dad did this to me, you know."

For a split-second, she just doesn't get it, what her bother could be talking about. "Did what?"

"This," he indicates his eye. "You think I should be more respectful then?"

It makes sense – how can Logan always get those bruises, yet never when she's there to see? Why does he hate Dad when to all outside appearances, Aaron has given him the world?

Trina shakes her head. No, don't be ridiculous. It's just Logan being an attention-hungry little brat again.


(She tells Dad she doesn't care who her real parents are)

She doesn't envy Logan for being the "real" kid of the family, or anything. Whatever "real" means, right?

"It doesn't matter," she always says when Dad asks her if she ever wonders about her "real" mother and father are. "I know my real father. That's you."

Then Dad laughs and grins, and he embraces her. Logan makes puking motions from the other side of the room – she just rolls her eyes at that – and Lynn takes another sip of her wine. She's always like that.

There's no reason to wonder about her birth parents; no changeling fantasy – she's already the daughter of movie stars, what more could she want? Anything about how she was born would just destroy the beautiful world her father had built for her, and she wouldn't have that.

She forgets how to fall asleep, wondering what it would be like in a bed miles away.

(She tells Lynn she doesn't feel threatened by the way she acts)

Her stepmother is just plain pathetic; clamoring for attention and approval whenever she can. Of course, "whenever she can" tends to mean "whenever Trina has a boy over", so it's somewhat unnerving.

Every boy's eyes fall to Lynn and her barely-there, but that's just the way things are – Lynn Echolls is a famous movie star, she bets half the male population and at least a tenth of the female has thought of banging her at some point.

"God, what is wrong with you?" she says after a boy; Dennis Coleman; leaves; Lynn is still wet from the pool, shaking tiny droplets of water from her body.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Lynn says coolly, like she's done nothing wrong.

"Do you really need the male of the species that badly, step-mommy?" she pauses. "I'm not going to feel threatened by you."

Lynn leaves and Trina sulks for a bit, and Logan snarks at her. Then he gets bored and goes to do whatever it is twelve year old boys do.

It's a few days later, and it's an accident. She never mentions it to anyone; years later she will wonder if Lynn ever knew she knew.

In the moment, however, she just closes the door on the image of Dennis Coleman on top of her stepmother, and feels anything inside her with the potential to be real shatter.

(She tells Lilly she will never hurt his little brother and not have to deal with her Big Sister Wrath)

"You know," she tells her little brother's new girlfriend one day, "You break his heart? Sorry, it's kind of my big sisterly duty to wrap you in beef jerky and feed you to crocodiles."

Lilly raises an eyebrow. "Not a fan of the vague disclaimer, I see?" she asks with a sly grin. Trina likes her, she's bold and funny and doesn't look at her like she's judging; judging a lack of talent, a lack of self-worth, a lack of independence, whatever.

There's also the fact she's Lilly friggin' Kane and that will make near anyone like you.

Eventually, Logan and Lilly have their first breakup. Logan pouts and broods in that way of his where he can never just pout and brood, he has to insult her and Dad and everyone around him while he's at it. Logan tells some story about Lilly making out with some guy at a party, and worse, refusing to apologize for it. Trina just rolls her eyes at middle schoolers and tells Logan to get over it already.

Logan forgives Lilly after a few weeks, and they get back together. But Trina likes her a little less by then.

(She tells Ms. James she wants to be an actress)

"Yeah, like totally. It must be in the genes or something; I mean, this – acting is all I've ever wanted to do," she explains during her senior year, and the newly-hired guidance counselor just nods. Trina doesn't tell her the truth about where she came from – she was being figurative with the genes thing anyway.

"That may be, Trina," Ms. James tells her. "But you are still required to make an effort in your schooling."

"I show up!"

"Occasionally. You have been suspended three times in the last four months for your many instances of skipping class. Last month, you were expelled from the gymnastics teams after having been found smoking marijuana before a competition."

Trina shrugs uncomfortably. "Okay, yeah, this is just, y'know, rich kid starlet stuff. No publicity is bad publicity, right?"

Ms. James sighs with pity, and that pisses Trina off, because why the hell is this woman, who barely knows her, feeling sorry for her. "Trina, do you feel like you have to want to act? Because of your family?"

Trina tries not to think about the implications of that statement; about what she could be, buckling down and studying, getting the teachers to look at her with some respect, about college and diplomas and and honest-to-god job at some point.


(She tells Dylan she doesn't mind)

"I'm sorry, god baby, I am so, so, so sorry," Dylan sobs at her, running his hand over her face; over the bruises he left.

She smiles weakly, trying not to show the pain she has to endure to move her facial muscles. "It's okay. I'll be fine. This is just... you know... you. It's how you get. I shouldn't have gotten your hopes up in the first place."

He takes her in his arms, and she welcomes the embrace. "You're amazing. I don't deserve you, you know?"

She lightly kisses him on the lips. "Sure you do."

Her holds her tighter, and she tries not to wince at the press of his weight against old bruises. Just the way he gets, her mind repeats.

"I love you," he tells her. "And I can't stand the fact I hurt you."

She shrugs it off. "Scratches. It'll fade."

Except maybe it won't.

(She tells the principal she won't miss Neptune High)

"Trina Echolls," Moorehead's voice is calling over the gymnasium for her, and she grins to resounding applause from her father and obligatory claps from everyone else.

"Well Miss Echolls," the principal tells her while handing her the diploma. "I guess your time here is done. Looking forward to leaving us?"

"Like hell. No offense," she says with her sweetest smile, taking the piece of paper. "I'm going to be famous. On my own terms."

Moorehead grins. "Good luck, Trina," and she doesn't bother telling him she'll miss him – the principal who was always kind to her, who tried to be understanding about her many disciplinary problems. She walks to the end of the line, and she swears she can see something like regret in Moorehead's eyes.

(She tells Dad she's heartbroken over Lynn)

Her fingers shake at she punches letters on the telegram. She feels stupid, sending a telegram – who the hell sends telegrams anymore? Oh well. She kind of likes the machine anyway.

She can't go back for the funeral, of course – they're in the middle of shooting, and even if her co-stars go out of their way to offer her consolation, even if she can get them all to do a prayer for Mom, she and they both know how it works – the movie they're making (even if it's a piece of shit, which it is) matters more than her personal issues.

She ignores the little voice at the back of her head. The one telling her that she could go back for the funeral; she could say goodbye to her stepmother the proper way. The voice that tells her the thing stopping her is the fact she doesn't want to.

She sends the telegram.

(She tells Alan she doesn't care about him)

"DNA, that's all it is, baby daddy. You didn't make me. You abandoned me, so that's really the way it should be," she tells him flippantly, not bringing up that her "father" is, according to popular opinion and the prosecution's case, about a million times worse. Not like she really believes he did it.

Alan sighs deeply. "I'm sorry, Trina," he tells her, and she just hates him for sounding so honest about it. Like he genuinely regrets seducing a poor deaf girl, abandoning his daughter, and never telling her the truth. Fuck him; she doesn't need a bio-daddy.

"You have got absolutely nothing to apologize for. I don't feel betrayed – never cared about you in the first place," she says with a tight smile. DNA, that's all it is, she repeats internally, and her father – no, he's not her father, Alan – hangs his head. She leaves.

She doesn't say she's disappointed in her favorite principal.

(She tells Mary she doesn't blame her)

Trina likes the mother-figure thing. Her adoptive mother left when she was three, and she never really trusted Lynn enough for her to be "Mom", so Doris – Mary, Trina still can't quite remember to call her that – is something new to her. Trina failed with sign language when she tried to learn, so all their conversations are done in notes. Neither of them mind off that much, and D- Mary tries to spend as much time as she can with her newly-found daughter, as if she's making up for all the years she'd watch and give Trina free cake, but never do anything important, never be a mom.

Trina gets it – Mary was the deaf, pregnant teenage girl. She couldn't be a mother – she left Trina with the parent that should have been able to take care of her, and he was the bastard who chose not to. He abandoned her; Mary only wanted the best. Trina tells Mary this, and Logan raises an eyebrow, making remarks about Trina's "newfound soul."

She's tempted, of course. To yell and say; You left me you bitch, why couldn't you take care of me, why didn't you go forward, why did you expect him to take care of me, why didn't you just swallow your pride for my sake when they found me on the school bathroom floor?

But she has a soul now. So she doesn't.

(She tells Dad she believes him)

She hates the freaking jail; but she goes there anyway. Logan chose Veronica over Dad, and probably would never have visited anyway, so Trina's the only visitor he gets. He tells her how much he appreciates the company.

"You know, when I get out of here?" he tells her one day. "I feel my career is going to make a major come back."

"The pity roles?" she asks with a smile. "That's if you get out of here, of course."

"Trina. The justice system will know I'm innocent. Have some faith, Trina."

"I do," she says with a grin, then she checks her watch. "Okay, Daddy – I've got this like, major league interview in like fifteen minutes, so I have to go. There's this great part – it could be my break," she explains, and he grins.

"Good luck then. I love you."

"I know."

Trina leaves; refusing to imagine Lilly Kane's brains splattered all over the pavement. She gets in her car, and doesn't feel that freshly minted soul slipping a little further away.