The day that Condor Studios announces its plans to discontinue So Random! is a bit surreal to Sonny. While the other YV shows of the studios are off celebrating that night with parties and big dinners, the "Randoms," as Chad so aptly calls them, spend the night in the props room, alone, saying nothing. Really, there's nothing left to say.
Life moves on, as it always does; they film their final season, and everyone resigns themselves to the end of an era. All the kids look for new work: Zora joins a national touring comedy show, Nico and Grady are cast as the leads in a new TV show about two klutzy superheroes, and Tawni gets cast as Regina George in Mean Girls, the Musical. Everyone moves on, slowly.
Everyone but Sonny.
Oh, sure, she tries: she auditions like mad for anything that comes her way. But she, of course, is only three years into the business, and she continues to lose out roles to more well known, accomplished actors than herself.
She tries to stay positive, but even she knows that positivity only lasts so long.
In the end, she just decides to move back home.
After the final day of filming, she sits in her half-empty dressing room for hours, replaying all the memories in her head. She's never been very good at letting go.
At about eight, Tawni finds her in there, the lights off, trying her best not to cry. Thought seventeen-year-old Tawni would have rolled her eyes and given Sonny a hard time, nineteen-year-old Tawni is different—she's learned it's not always so bad to care.
"Sonny?" she asks cautiously. "I've been looking everywhere for you. You're missing the party."
"Yeah," Sonny answers. "I know. I just…wanted to say goodbye, I guess."
This Tawni understands all-too-well. "Yeah," she whispers. After a momentary silence, she says, "We should probably get back. I'm sure everyone's missing me."
Sonny laughs. Some things will never change.
And yet, most things always do, eventually.
"Sonny, if you don't hurry up, you'll miss your flight!" Tawi screeches the next morning as Sonny rushes back toward the café.
"I know, I know, I just have to find my…Chad!" she cries, startled, as she smacks directly into her admittedly favorite nemesis. "Sorry, I didn't see you there."
"Yeah, watch where you're going Monroe," Chad snaps characteristically. Sonny rolls her eyes and moves past him in search of her phone.
"You know, Chad," she says as she searches the chairs. "It wouldn't hurt you to be polite every once in a while." To herself, she mutters, "Phone, phone. Dammit. Where are you?"
"Actually, Sonny, it would. Bad boy rep, and all that."
Sonny snorts and flips around to offer a stinging retort, but she is cut off as she sees the very phone she was searching for in Chad Dylan Cooper's left hand. "Looking for this?" he asks, holding it out to her.
Chad shrugs. "Well, wouldn't want you to miss your flight," he says, but his eyes—as always—say something different.
She's always wondered about that something different, but she's never quite had the courage to ask.
"Yeah. Right." A screaming silence envelops them; she hears, not for the first time, all the things left unsaid. "You know, they're wrong about you," she says, just to break it. "You're not such a bad boy."
Chad scoffs. "Of course I am. It's why all the ladies love me."
Sonny shakes her head. "Funny, that's never really been why I've liked you."
This affects Chad: he drops the act, his face suddenly more sincere than Sonny ever remembers seeing it. "Yeah, well, you're…different. You always have been."
Sonny says nothing in return, choosing to take that as the compliment it was most likely intended to be. After another moment of that awful silence, she says, "Well, I should probably go. Flight and all." She smiles a little sadly. "Have a nice life Chad. You've, ah, you've been the best enemy a girl could hope for."
At this Chad smiles a true smiles, one of those smiles Sonny feels fairly certain only she gets to see. It makes her ache to reach out and hug him, but in the end she settles for simply sticking her hand out for a handshake.
As she turns to leave, Chad says, almost urgently, "Sonny?"
She pauses, glancing at him only barely. "Yes?"
For a fleeting second, she's certain she sees a question in his eyes, but he backs out too quickly for her to read it. "Uh, I just… Have a nice flight," he finishes lamely.
"Thanks," she returns. "If you're ever in Wisconsin, you should look me up."
Chad smirks. "Sonny, Sonny, Sonny, I'm Chad Dylan Cooper. Why would I ever be in Wisconsin?"
And so their relationship ends much as it began.
"What took you so long?" Tawni demands as Sonny rushes back.
"Just, ah, couldn't find my phone," she lies easily. Tawni rolls her eyes but lets it go.
"Well," she says," I guess this is it." She pulls Sonny into a hug. "I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I'll miss you."
Sonny grins. "Aw, I'll miss you, too, Tawni."
"Well, of course you will," Tawni answers seriously. "Everyone misses me when I'm not around."
Sonny shakes her head. "Oh, trust me, I know."
Sitting in the car, waiting as both Condor Studios and her frantically waving friends slowly disappear into nothingness, Sonny feels a little bit like the world is ending.
She really doesn't like it.
"We're heading out, honey. You sure you don't need anything?"
Sonny smiles, like she always does. "I'm fine, Mom. You and Dad go enjoy yourselves."
"All right, sweetie. Love you."
"Love you, too, Mom."
After Mrs. Monroe leaves, Sonny sighs and throws herself back onto the bed. She has been home for three days now and has yet to begin unpacking. She doesn't know why: as much as she wants to believe this is just a vacation—a trip back home to take a break from the craziness of Hollywood—she knows that's not really true.
The truth is that she's eighteen, washed-up, and stuck. Her life is a nightmare.
She spends an hour, sitting on her bed, thinking this way, and at some point she falls into a fitful sleep. Her dreams are filled with bad reviews and falling off of cliffs and friends who never call. She wakes up sweating and crying.
At first, she doesn't know why she's woken up: it's dark, and she's still tired from the flight. Then she hears to distinct ding of the doorbell as someone pushes it repeatedly, frantically.
Grumbling about the lateness of the hour, Sonny forces herself off the bed and trudges downstairs, certain that her caller is an annoying neighbor.
She is very surprised then, when she opens the door to find a disheveled-looking Chad Dylan Cooper standing on her steps, looking a bit like he's been through hell and back.
Then again, if he's in the middle of Wisconsin, he probably feels like he has.
"Chad?" Sonny croaks out when she finally finds her voice. "You look awful." She cringes. "I mean, not that you look horrible, you just look…you're not…I didn't mean…"
"I know, I know, geez, would you stop jabbering, Monroe?" Chad snaps. "Would you just let me in before someone sees me?"
Sonny laughs, though she is still confused. "Chad, you're on a farm in Wisconsin. There's no one to see you."
"All right, all right, come on in," she concedes, opening the door. Chad follows her farther into the living room, glancing around once before directing all his attention back to her.
It freaks her out. But only a little.
"Okay, Chad, spill, why are you here?"
Chad licks his lips once. "Actually, I think the question is: why are you here?"
Sonny gives him a look. "I live here, Chad. This is my home—where I belong, unlike you. Where else should I be?"
"No, see, this may be where you live, and this may be your home, but this—this place is not where you belong."
Sonny lets out a short breath, already annoyed with Boy Wonder. "What the hell are you talking about, Chad?"
"Why are you here, Sonny, and not in California like you should be?" Before Sonny can respond, he continues, "Don't you still want to be an actor? Isn't that what you've always wanted?"
"Of course it is!" Sonny interrupts him. "I'm just, I'm taking a break is all."
"Taking a break?" Chad laughs. "You're not taking a break—you're giving up!" He shakes his head. "I honestly can't believe it: Sonny Monroe, giving up. I thought I'd never see the day. You can't give up on your stupid peace picnics or the idea that I might actually have a soul somewhere, but when it comes to your dream, you're just done—that's it!"
"I just cannot believe you, Sonny," Chad says scathingly. "You think you have the right to throw away all that talent because—because, what, you can't get a job? Well, reality-check, Monroe, it happens to everyone!"
"Hey!" Sonny cries, offended. "I—! Wait," she stops, processing. "Did you just say I was talented?"
For a moment, Chad looks mortified, as though all his secrets have just been revealed. He quickly recomposes himself, offering a defiant, "No, I did not."
"Liar!" Sonny cries, pointing at him. "You liar! You've been lying to me all along, haven't you?" Sonny giggles, a bit too overjoyed at this revelation.
Chad rolls his eyes, crossing to the door. "Maybe I shouldn't have come."
Sonny ceases laughing quickly and races to the door before he can get there. "No! Wait, Chad, please. Just…tell me what you came here for."
Chad crosses his arms and glares at her. "You said if I was ever in Wisconsin I should stop by. So here I am." He sighs, pacing. "I took the first flight I could get. I didn't even pack anything, which is why I look so awful. I just…I just woke up the day after you left and realized you had given up, and I couldn't let you do that." He looks at her. "So…yes, I've always thought you're talented. If I didn't, I wouldn't ever have bothered to bug you so much."
For a moment, Sonny's entire view of the last three years is altered dramatically; everything makes perfect sense. Shaking her head, she says, "Well, that's very nice, Chad. Thanks." She smiles for a second before reality sets back in. "But I can't go back," she says sadly. "No one will hire me. I'm a failure."
Chad laughs a little. "Didn't you hear me earlier, Sonny? It happens to everyone—even me. Ah yes, I remember: for two years during my pre-adolescence, I went to audition after audition but no one wanted to a hire a chubby eleven-year-old kid."
Sonny gasps. "No. Not you."
Sonny considers this for a moment. "Are you saying I'm a chubby pre-adolescent kid?"
"No, you're much cuter than that," Chad says nonchalantly, cringing as he hears his own words. "I mean…"
"Yeah," Sonny says, blushing. "I…I get it." Letting out a deep breath, she sinks onto the couch. Looking back up at Chad, she says, "I can't believe you flew all the way out here just to say all that to me. Without a change of clothes, no less."
"Feel honored, Monroe," Chad smirks. He sits on the couch next to her. After a moment of silence, he asks, "So you'll come back to Hollywood?"
Sonny blinks, studying the way his neck curves into his shirt. She'd be lying to herself if she said he wasn't the most attractive boy she knew.
"Just answer me one thing," she whispers, leaning in. "Why does this matter so much to you?"
And Chad, who didn't know what truth was until the day he met Sonny Monroe, looks into her eyes and says the most honest thing he might ever say in his life: "Because…even though I hate you and you're too perky for your own good, the day I woke up to realize you wouldn't be around to fight with me about every immoral thing I do was bar none the worst day of my life."
Sonny closes her eyes and lets that sink in; it's not entirely romantic, but she's fairly certain Chad's never been that sweet to another human ever in his life.
Her heart begs her to kiss him.
For the first time in nearly three years, she listens.
It's not entirely what she imagined the first time she met him, but it's soft and sweet and desperate all at once. The air doesn't explode like she thought it would, but fireworks keep going off in her head.
When she pulls away, she's completely ecstatic.
"You completely suck," she says, smiling. "But I guess I can't give up on my dreams just yet."
Chad returns her grin and pulls her into another kiss, this one deeper, filled with more meaning. Confidently, he pushes her gently backward on the couch, his hands drifting to her torso. She complies eagerly as his tongues slides over her bottom lip—
"Sonny, we're home!" Mrs. Monroe cries as she throws open the door. Sonny and Chad jump away from each other, quite suddenly on opposite ends of the couch. Mrs. Monroe looks between them, shocked.
"Mom, Dad," Sonny says, standing. Chad follows suit. "Meet Chad Dylan Cooper. He's, uh, he's come to visit."
Mrs. Monroe smiles and shakes Chad's hand. Sonny's heart flutters; she realizes, then and there, that she's going to be okay.
This has not been edited or proofread, as you can probably tell. I wrote it at about midnight last night and have no energy to read back over it.
Still, I hope you enjoyed it! Please review. :)