Elizabeth returns 5 years after graduation. She hasn't spoken to anyone from home since she left. What has changed? Why did she leave? Why did she return? What is she hiding?

Disclaimer: I don't own anything

Elizabeth Wakefield stood facing the ocean with her eyes closed and the sun shining on her face. She stood for a moment to take in the smell of the ocean and the feel of the sand on her bare feet. It had been five years since she had last felt the sand between her toes, five years since she had been home.

She opened her eyes and watched a small boy with sandy colored hair run at a group of seagulls on the beach and laugh as they flew away. She couldn't help but laugh along with him. Sometimes Elizabeth wondered why she stayed away from this place for so long. It was gorgeous and always warm, unlike New York where she had been living for the past five years. New York could be the complete opposite of Sweet Valley at times. While California was warm and beautiful and the sun always seemed to shine New York was windy and hectic and in the winter it was freezing and wet. But then Elizabeth remembered just why she had left this place and suddenly Sweet Valley didn't seem so inviting anymore, and the cold, hectic, windy streets of New York were calling her name.

She hadn't spoken to anyone in Sweet Valley for five years, no friends, no family, not even her parents or her twin sister Jessica. What would they all say when she just showed up out of the blue after five years of silence. Elizabeth was dreading the answer to that question. In fact that's why she had stopped here at the beach on the outskirts of Sweet Valley. She had lost her nerve while driving back home down the familiar California roads and had started to have a mild panic attack. She had needed to pull over, step out and get some fresh air. She needed to work up her courage and get back in the car and drive into Sweet Valley and face everything she had left behind.

Elizabeth stared out towards the ocean; the boy was collecting seashells now with a grin on his face that stretched from ear to ear. Elizabeth smiled to herself, he was so happy, enjoying the sun and the beach without a care in the world.

She shouldn't stay too much longer; if she did she was likely to just talk herself out of what she came here to do. She needed to get back in the car and continue to drive.

"Aiden" Elizabeth called, "Come on it's time to go." The boy turned, grinned at her and then ran up the beach to her with his hands full.

"Momma!" he said, "Look what I found! I've never seen anything like it before! What are they Momma? Can I keep them?"

"They're called seashells Aiden. They are all over beaches just like this one. Why don't you pick out your five favorite and you can keep those." Elizabeth couldn't help herself; he was so excited, how could she deny him the pleasure of bringing a souvenir home from his first trip to a beach.

She stared into his deep green eyes lit with excitement and hugged him. He returned the hug and then held out his hand, "these are the ones I want" he said and they turned and walked toward the car.

As they walked Elizabeth got a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach, but she ignored it knowing that the feeling was only going to deepen as she got closer and closer to the reason she came back.

"You could have told me"

"Could have told you what Jess?" Elizabeth was lying on her bed staring at the ceiling when Jessica burst into the room obviously upset about something, but at the moment Elizabeth didn't really care. Everything was wrong, her world was crashing in on her and she didn't know how to make it stop. She wasn't in the mood to hear more of Jessica's problems, fashion faux pas and trying to find a date for the latest party were the last thing she wanted to talk about. She would much rather just be left alone.

"You could have told me that Jack had a girlfriend"

"Everyone knows that Jack has a girlfriend. They've been dating for like three years." Elizabeth turned her head to look at her sister who was standing over her fuming. Jack had worked on the Oracle with Liz at school. Liz had introduced them at one of their friend's graduation parties.

"Well I didn't!" Jessica yelled, "I've been dating the guy for the past six weeks and found out tonight when his girlfriend came up to us while we were making out at Lila's end of summer party and called me a slut in front of everyone!"

"I'm sorry Jess that's really terrible but I don't know why you are so mad at me, I thought you knew"

"Oh well that's even worse! You thought I knew and was just ok with it! After everything that happened with Will earlier this year did you really think I would ever consider dating another guy with a girlfriend! What kind of girl do you think I am!"

"Well to be honest Jess I had no idea you were even dating Jack. I didn't even know you had met him more than a couple of times. I've had a lot of other things on my mind lately"

"Yeah I've noticed, you're just too busy for me anymore. I guess this is just a taste of how college is going to be. We won't be at the same school anymore so I guess that means you can just throw me to the side, you don't have to deal with me anymore."

"Jessica! Come on that's not fair! You are my twin sister, you will always be important to me! You have no idea what I've been going through these past few weeks"

"You're right Liz, I don't have any idea what you've been going through, but why would I, you don't talk to me anymore, and you never have time for me. I don't know what you've been going through these past six weeks just like you have no idea what my life has been like these past six weeks."

"You're right Jess, maybe it's time we sit down and talk like we used to. There is so much I need to tell you, but can it wait till the morning? I'm really tired and don't really feel like talking right now."

Jessica just stood there, staring at her sister with an expression somewhere between shock and anger. Slowly Jess composed her face, looked her sister up and down and then said, in a tone of pure hatred, "You know what Liz, I don't even care anymore. I don't know who you are anymore. Ever since you got involved with Conner you've changed. I thought that when you guys broke up maybe things would go back to the way they used to be, but they didn't. I came to you tonight vulnerable, crying, on the verge of a breakdown because once again the whole school thinks I'm a lying, boyfriend stealing slut and I thought that coming to you, my TWIN sister, was the only thing that would make me feel better. Instead you just turn me away, dismiss my problems like they are nothing compared to yours. Well excuse me princess! But if this is who you are now, well then I don't want to know you. I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to see you. As far as I'm concerned when you leave for college in two weeks it can be the last time we see or talk to each other ever again." With that Jessica turned and walked out of Elizabeth's room slamming the door behind her.

Elizabeth sat up rubbing her eyes. She had tried to forget about that day, push it out of her mind, pretend like it never happened. But being back in Sweet Valley had triggered the memory, and dreaming about that moment just now had brought back all the pain that was associated with that moment.

She had stopped at a hotel in Sweet Valley. She had decided it would be better to get some dinner and sleep before facing everything. She needed to be fresh and ready to deal with anything. Elizabeth looked over at the bed next to her. Aiden was sound asleep snoring away. She got up and walked into the bathroom, closed the door, leaned over the sink and stared into the mirror. What was she thinking coming back here? She hadn't left on good terms with anyone, what made her think that they would want to see her now? Five years may be a long time, but five years of silence may have just made things worse than they were when she left.

Elizabeth turned the faucet on and splashed her face with cold water. She needed to stop focusing so much on the past and dwelling on what everyone's reactions might be when she shows up. She was here for the future; she was here for the little boy who lay sound asleep just outside the door. It didn't matter if no one wanted to see her, she would do her best to make them hear her story. If nothing else she owed it to Aiden to do that much, she owed it to Aiden to stop running from her past and to face it head on.