Summary: As a new year settles in, everyone is in a new routine. Anne and Hunter and Trina and Jace try to leave their pasts behind as couples. Cal heads to Hollywood determined to be a star. Gordon and Bella and Elisa and Eddie work at long distance relationships and Stephanie tries for a new dream.

Author's Note: So I finally got this chapter where I want it. I love the stories I have planned here and this chapter is REALLY long. So please review.

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter 1: The Way Things Are

Cal Callins and Trina Vanderbilt sat quietly on the steps of The Eden Hall Academy. It was October of their junior year.

"You did the right thing Trina," Cal said softly. Trina nodded. "I know it's going to be hard this weekend, but you weren't ready for the kind of relationship Dean wanted." She nodded again. "What's really going on?"

"Dean called me," she said. He nodded. "He's bringing his new girlfriend." She looked down. "I don't know, I, I mean, it's only been a few months and he said he wanted to marry me, Cal, and now he's not just with some other girl, he's bringing her to the gala." Cal put his arm around her.

"You have Jace," he said. She laughed and wiped her eyes.

"I do have Jace," she whispered. Not that Jace was much of a boyfriend. Although he had, almost magically, managed to convince his mother, Amy, that what he needed in his life right now was stability, and nothing said stable like boarding school in the Midwest. So, oddly at the start of their junior year, Jace had been at Eden Hall. He was quickly popular, and though it took some time, and a great deal of flattery Trina eventually forgave him for the episode in his bedroom a few months before. They were together now, although she still wouldn't have sex with him and that caused friction. "I still can't believe you're not going!"

"Yes, I'm not going to audition for a pilot in LA that I have a really good shot at, because you're freaking out about seeing your ex boyfriend at a dance," he laughed. "That makes perfect sense."

"You don't have a good shot at it," Trina mumbled. "The same guy who didn't cast you in a Broadway play, said he wants you to read for a pilot that he's probably not going to cast you in."

"Don't get pissy just because I have career direction!" He said. She rolled her eyes.

"Dude, we're not even seventeen yet," she said. "You're not supposed to have career direction yet." Jace walked over. "Hey baby," she stood up and they kissed, heavy on the tongue.

"That's my cue to go," Cal said. He started walking and stopped in his tracking seeing his girlfriend Carmen Mendoza standing at her locker with another guy from her grade. Carmen giggled and pushed her hair behind her ear. He walked over. "Hey Carm," he said and put his arm around her.

"Hey," she said. "Danny was just saying the funniest thing," Danny nodded at Cal.

"Mm," Cal nodded and looked menacingly at Danny, who was one of Carmen's drama club friends. He was in the drama club too, but he was also captain of the hockey team, which meant guys like Danny were usually terrified of him, and Carmen was not normal laughing. She was flirting laughing. He knew this because most of his life had been spent around his twin sister who loved flirting. "You smell nice today."

"Cal," she giggled. Before they knew it Danny was gone. "Oh," she said turning around and resting her hands on his chest. "I know you're going to LA on Saturday morning, but we're still on for dinner with my parents on Friday?"

"Wouldn't miss it," he nodded and kissed her. "What's going on with Danny?"

"Oh, um," she said, "Mrs. Germaine assigned us this whole Tennessee Williams scene study thing," she said, "I'm Blanche, he's Stanley," he nodded. "You know the rest of us are still stuck in scene studies while you go off to be a star."

"I see," he said and they started walking. "Carm, um, I know that this weekend was supposed to be kinda big for us," she looked at him.

"Cal, we can have sex another time," she said, "You might not get another shot at this." He nodded. "I have to get to class, but I'll see you today." They kissed. "I love you."

"I love you too," he said.

Anne Callins and Hunter Nichols were lying on her bed kissing hard and dry humping. He pulled up.

"I gotta go," he said.

"No," Anne whispered, "stay and make love to me." They kissed again.

"Anne, I gotta get to class," he said.

"We have study," she said and kissed him again.

"You have study," he said and stood up. "I have AP History." She rolled her eyes. "What?"

"I don't like when you leave me to work on History," she mumbled.

"Because Elisa is in my history class," he said. She crossed her arms. "We don't talk, Anne."

"That's what I don't like," she said. "If you're over her, if you love me now, why won't you just bury the hatchet and be friends?"

"Because," he kissed her playfully on the nose, "life doesn't work that way. Could you just be friends with Kevin?"

"I am friends with Kevin," she said. "I mean, I would be," she stopped, "if he were here, and not in Washington." He nodded. "Ugh, you're starting to bug me!" Hunter laughed and walked out and then looked at his watch.

"Oh shit!" He grumbled and sprinted across campus, but he was already too late. He snuck in the back door of the classroom but it slammed shut and he cringed.

"Hunter Nichols, everybody," Guy Germaine called from the front of the room and the class started to applaud. "Wasn't sure you'd be joining us. Take a seat." Hunter blushed and looked around. There was only one available seat and he really didn't want to take that one. He sighed and sat down next to Elisa Riley and stared ahead as he opened his notebook.

"Hunter," she whispered, he couldn't look at her. Because he knew how she'd look. Her big blue eyes would be half full of tears and her golden hair would be all wooshing around her and he wouldn't be able to be mad at her, because it was practically impossible to be mad at Elisa. It was actually really hard for him not to be a little bit in love with Elisa most of the time, since this time a year ago they had been in love. Very much in love. "Hunter, please, I can only say that I'm sorry so many times!"

"Don't," he said simply. "Just don't." She swallowed and nodded. They sat through Mr. Germaine's lecturing in silence, taking notes.

"OK," Guy said simply, "debate pairings, posted on the bulletin board, sign up for your topics quickly. Only one pair gets to do whether the US should have entered WWII before Pearl Harbor, and it will go quickly." The bell rang and everyone walked up to the list and started signing up.

"You've got to be kidding me," Hunter groaned and turned around seeing Elisa standing behind him. "Did you do this on purpose?"

"No," she said. "But it'll be good. We need to talk."

"No we don't," he said, "I'm signing us up for should Nixon have been pardoned. You know, after he stabbed the American people in the back."

"Am I Nixon, in this comparison?" She said, barely able to contain her giggle. He nodded. "I didn't stab you in the back, Hunter."

"Really?" He said. "What would you call it then?" She looked at him. "I mean, OK, fine, you wanted to be with Eddie, but did you have to leave that day? You knew how hard that day was going to be."

"Funny," she said, "how long after I left were you in Anne?" He looked at her. "I have to go, Eddie's coming in early for gala today." She walked away, her nose in the air.

"Eddie's coming in early for gala," he imitated her.

Kevin Reed walked down the hallway of his dorm at Georgetown, he noticed the door to his friend Bella Riley's room was cracked open.

"Gordon, I said I understand," she said as he walked in, "Hey," she said, "No, just Kevin," he looked at her. "Gordon says hi."

"Hi back," he said plopping on her roommate Penny's bed. Penny was never there, as she spent most nights with various guys she was sleeping with. Bella was dating his best friend Gordon Conway, who was currently playing football at Notre Dame. This was incredibly hard on Bella, who had spent most of her life being completely adored by the men in her life, and since Gordon didn't have a lot of time for her, he was picking up the adoration slack. Which he didn't mind at all since he was pretty sure he had more than "best friend's girlfriend" feelings for Bella.

"He says hi back," she said. "I'll miss you too, but you have to stick with the team. I love you too, I will call you, I promise. Bye." She hung up.

"Is he apologizing for not coming to gala this weekend again?" He asked. She nodded. "You have your cheerleading smile on." She laughed. "You're bummed."

"I just miss him," she whispered. "Do you have homework?"

"Nah," he said. "Want to go out drinking?"

"Very much so," she popped up and he laughed, they walked outside.

Denise Ramsey sat quietly in a restaurant as two agents in black suits who were chattering at her about why she should switch to them. She'd taken the meeting as a courtesy, she had no intention of leaving Josh, ever, but she also couldn't bring herself to say no to people, especially when they were friends with Steve (or as Steve had put it "colleagues who sometimes invited themselves to parties.")

"And we understand that you've been with Josh Parker for a long time," the woman said, "but we thought that given your permanent move to the east coast."

"Sure," Denise said, "and I'll certainly think it over. But Josh pulled me out of a dive bar in North Carolina, I'm not likely to change my mind."

"Hey babe," Mikey walked in and kissed her, "sorry I'm late. Are these them?"

"Uh huh," Denise said. "This is my boyfriend Mike Gaffney, if you can convince him, you can convince me." Mike sat down and grinned. The agents looked panicked. After some more awkward convincing they finally left. "I hate agents."

"You don't hate Uncle Josh," he said.

"Well, Josh is different," she shrugged. "How's the bar look?"

"Looks good," he nodded. "So you really can't come with me this weekend?" She laughed.

"No," she groaned, "I have to record, and I already got it from Eva."

"She said she has big news," he raised his eyebrows.

"Maybe they're pregnant," Stephanie shrugged.

"Or maybe they're getting a divorce," he grinned. She hit him in the shoulder. "I don't want Eva and David to get divorced."

"Good," she kissed him. "What exactly makes you think that even if they were divorced it would have anything to do with you?"

"Denise, babe," he said, "come on!" She rolled her eyes.

"I have to go meet the guys," she said. "You OK to get back to Brooklyn?" He nodded. They'd bought a brown stone near the bar. "Alright, I love you."

"I love you too," he nodded.

Stephanie took a deep breath and walked into the audition. Her dance bag was over her shoulder and the other girls, most of them small, curvy and ethnic looked at her oddly. She swallowed and started stretching. Her knee was killing her.

"Number 12?" A muscley guy walked out. Stephanie took a deep breath and walked in. A group of people a few years older than her were sitting behind a table.

"Did you really go to Julliard?" One of the girls said.

"Yeah," Stephanie nodded. "I messed up my knee, so real hard ballet is totally out of the question."

"That's too bad," one of the guys said. Stephanie looked at him. He seemed to genuinely feel bad. "Do you have much experience with hip hop?" Stephanie swallowed.

"I was a cheerleader in high school," she said. Most of them laughed, the guy who said he felt bad looked at her and squinted, like he didn't quite believe her. "I can pick up almost anything." After a day of test combinations Stephanie walked out without a job, rubbing her knee.

"Hey," the guy chased after her. She looked at him. "You're Stephanie, right?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "What?"

"I'm Gene," he extended his hand. She shook it. "You're a really good dancer."

"Not good enough," she whispered. "Thanks for the audition, I should get home."

"Wait," he said and pulled his card out of his pocket, "look, I'm working on another piece for this same showcase, and you'd be perfect for it." She raised her eyebrows. "I need a girl with a strong classical background, someone who gets fundamentals."

"You think I'm that girl?" She said.

"You went Julliard didn't you?" He shrugged.

"Yeah, for a year and a half," she said. "And then I busted my knee."

"At least you made it that far," he shrugged and rolled up his pants. She grimaced at the large surgical scar across his knee. "I blew mine out when I was seventeen, had four surgeries to try to get it back, I barely did a year ago. I couldn't even go to my college auditions." He held out the card. "Think it over. Talk to your boyfriend about it."

"How do you know I have a boyfriend?" She crossed her arms.

"Because you have a boyfriend," he laughed. "Girls like you always do." She rolled her eyes, took the card and walked away.

Trina and Jace lay on her bed making out. She whimpered and then giggled as he pulled her shirt over her head.

"Jace," she mumbled, "not now, we don't have time, my mom's coming!"

"I'll take the risk," he whispered. She laughed and they kissed.

"Jace, wait," she said, "I can't." He groaned.

"Trina, this is getting really old," he sighed, "I mean, I came here for you."

"Jace, I actually can't this week," she said. "I'm not just stalling." He looked at her. "I have a visitor."

"What?" He said. Then it dawned on him, Amy had never exactly been subtle about her cycle. "Oh, sure so we can wait like a little longer." She nodded.

"Cool," she said and they kissed again. Then the door opened and they heard a woman clear her throat. "Mom," Trina said looking at the door. Jace kissed her neck mischievously. "Jace," she mumbled. "Mom, sorry."

"It's fine," Kelly shrugged. "Hello Jason."

"Hey Mrs. Vanderbilt," Jace said. "Good to see you again."

"Uh huh," Kelly nodded. "Care to get off my daughter now?"

"I don't particularly ever want to be off your daughter," Jace shrugged and stood up. "But as I'm not invited to dinner I guess I have to. See you Trina," he winked and walked out. Kelly looked at him and then at Trina, who blushed.

"Sorry," Trina mumbled pulling her shirt on.

"It's OK," Kelly sighed and plopped on the bed. "But well," she sighed, "at least Dean was polite." Trina laughed and picked at the bedspread. "Do you really like him?"

"I really do," she whispered. Kelly smiled at her daughter.

"OK, come on," she stood up. "We only have a today or tomorrow before your father crawls out of his office with that short story he's writing for the New Yorker. So, Mall of America?"

"God, Mom," Trina rolled her eyes. "You are obsessed with the mall. It's very fourteen year old girl." Kelly laughed. "But yes, we are totally going to the mall."

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