Chapter 4

Another Saturday over at Horizon for Holly and Regina. "Welcome back Jeff," Holly greets him on the campus ground.

"Thanks. Unfortunately one of the counsellors took Mike and the other Trackers out on a trip," Jeff informs. "They aren't supposed to come back till later today. You can either wait for him or choose to go home. I'll tell him that you dropped by. I don't think that he'll hold it against you."

"That's alright, I'll wait," Holly answers. "You okay with that Regina?"

"And miss a day of bonding with my favourite dysfunctional teens? Oh course I'll stay," Regina nods. Jeff smiles at the comment.


Juliette pins a flyer onto the campus bulletin board, beside one of the main trails. The flyer has the headlines "Attention: Father Needed".

Daisy, who's standing next to Juliette, looks at the flyer then faces Juliette. "You really want to put it up there? You're that desperate?"

"Got to start somewhere," answers Juliette. She then spots the two weekly visitors, "Hey Holly and Regina."

"Hey Juliette and Daisy," Holly responds back as they approach. The blonde looks at the flyer that she saw Juliette posting up. "Father needed? You got pregnant or something?"

"It's for a school project about parenting where we're given eggs to represent our kids," Juliette answers.

"Ah the egg project, heard about that," Holly comments. "So does everyone start out as a single parent?"

"No, I'm pretty much the only one," the brunette answers.

Regina looks at Daisy. "And what about you? What did you get?"

"I get the pleasure of being barren," the other brunette says in a displeased tone.

"I'm sorry for that. No offense, but I didn't picture you as the kind to be upset about not having children," Regina tells the other girl.

"Well, I am."

"So ladies, I'm on my way to find a dad," Juliette tells the other.

"Or you could go it alone," Daisy suggests.

Juliette smiles at suggestion, "I always knew you had a sense of humour." Juliette begins to leave.

"I could babysit," Daisy calls out.

The other girl looks back. "Funny."

They see Shelby and Ezra walking by rather fast. "Honey the kids won't even know your name," Ezra says to Shelby.

Shelby points to him. "Call me honey one more time Freakin-"

"Sh, not in front of the twins," he whispers and places his hand in front of the eggs as if to shield them from Shelby's negative attitude. "You're going to have to get my last name right one of these days."

Seeing Ezra holding a small basket of eggs, it's pretty obvious what roles those two are playing. Holly can't help it but smirk. Looks like Ezra got this wish to be lovers with Shelby, even if it's just pretend.

Shelby gets frustrated and looks around the area, searching for any kind of excuse to ditch her pretend family. She sees two parents wandering the campus and grins. "Excuse me, can I help you?"

"Ah yes, can you tell us where we might find Peter Scarbrow's office?" the father responds.

"Uh yeah, it's over that way." Shelby points to the direction and then looks back at Ezra. "I'd be happy to show you," she escorts the parents. Ezra has a disappointed look on his face.

"I take it you guys didn't choose these options, so did you pick it out of a hat or did someone assigned you guys this?" Regina assesses.

"Peter gave us our roles," Ezra answers.

"What did Scott get?" questions Regina.

"He and Auggie are a rich gay couple trying to adopt," Daisy answers.

Regina tries to suppress her giggles. The last time she thought about homosexuality, it was back when she made that rumour about her old friend Janis Ian. She really was a terrible person back then. Now however, it's not the part of being gay that cracks her up. It's the part of two guys who can't stand each other are now forced to play a gay couple that cracks her up. "Good ole Peter, gives everyone a parenting role that they don't like. Except you Ezra," she adds.

Daisy decides to approach Ezra. "I can help you raise them."

"Thanks, but Shelby and I are trying to work things out." He then decides to leave.

Regina approaches Daisy and pats her on the shoulder. "If it's any comfort, if I was a part of this project and was able to switch my reproductive organs with yours, I'll be glad to."


Shelby leads the parents towards Peter's office. She can see Peter through the office windows. She knocks and quickly gets a response. "Hey Peter, you got company." Inside Peter's office is also Katherine seated down on a chair.

"Mom… dad…" Katherine addresses.

"Mr. and Mrs. Cabot," Peter welcomes them in.

"Thank you," Mrs. Cabot replies as she and her husband step in.

Peter leans forward and looks at Shelby. "I'm sure you have something better to do,' he suggests before closing the door.

"Mom… dad…" Shelby says to herself. Trying to comprehend how a white couple can give birth to a black daughter. "Okay," she walks on out of the building.


Outside Shelby leans against the side of the building and just looks out. She hears someone approaching and gets frustrated. "How many times have I told you to give me my space, Freakin?" she turns her head and sees it's Holly.

Holly raises her hands up. "I have no twins on me, I swear."

"Oh it's you," Shelby responds.

"Mind if I join you?" asks Holly.

"Aren't you supposed to be with Mike or something?"

"Mike and his group haven't returned back from their camping trip yet. I'm just waiting for them in the meantime."

"Uh sure, go ahead."

Holly leans beside Shelby. "So how's that mission of yours to win over Scott going?"

"There's progress. He and Auggie are fighting over Juliette, so I'll give it a few more weeks before he and Juliette call it quits."

"I hope he's worth it. I would never fight this hard to get a guy, especially one who keeps on rejecting me."

"Well, I'm not you. I'm not some rich girl from the big city who can probably get anything she wants," Shelby fires back.

"Sorry if I offended you in anyway."

"Ah, don't worry about it."

Holly gives it a moment before speaking, "I know you're not fond of the topic, but you mind if I talk about your parenting project?"

"What about it?"

"You don't have to be so hostile towards Ezra," she states.

"I'm trying not to think of the idea of me and him in any kind of sexual relationship, even a pretend one."

"He seems like a nice enough guy. So he has a crush on you, can't be any worse than the crush you have on Scott."

Shelby stares at Holly. "I didn't mean to disrespect you in any way with that last remark," states Holly. "It's all just role playing anyway. You guys don't have to kiss or even hug for that matter. I don't think it will hurt to let him have a minute or two of your time to hear out his ideas for the family. Especially since you two need to bring in some of the caring aspect to your pretend family since you guys have more than enough covered the fighting aspect of it."

Shelby gives a small smile to that last part. "Beside it could always be worse. You could be like Scott and Auggie," the other girl adds. The conversation gets Shelby to lighten up.


Scott and Auggie sit at a table in the dining hall waiting for Sophie. They see Sophie with a file in hand.

"Thank you for coming gentlemen. Mr. Scarbrow asked me to sit in for him and hear your case." The counsellor pulls out a chair. "He had to deal with an emergency situation." Sophie looks into the files. "Well, I guess we should just jump right in. So you two are gay?"

"No! What? No," the two boys answer abruptly and defensively.

"That's what you said here," she looks at the file.

Realization hits Scott, "Oh, yeah, yeah on the paper."

"So tell me guys, why should I give you two a baby? You're not even married."

"Well, um," Auggie starts but quickly doesn't know what to say, "We had a... we had a ceremony."

"Still doesn't make you married in the eyes of the law. What exactly makes you two fit to be adoptive parents?"

Scott comes up with an answer, "Well we make a lot of money to take care of the kid."

"Takes more than just money. Do you have any experience with kids?"

"Well we're, um," Auggie tries to think of something, "I'm part of a big brothers group. You know, we take a couple of kids out every week or so."

"Okay, and who's going to stay home with the baby?"

"Not me," Scott quickly answers.

Auggie looks at the other boy. "Way to stick me with it."

"Alright, it's obvious you two need to work out your stories some more." Sophie closes the file.

"Peter would have given us the egg by now," Scott comments.

"Too bad for you, I'm not Peter." Sophie gets off her chair.

"Well hey," Scott adds, "So we don't get the egg?"

Sophie looks at the egg in her hand, "No, you two aren't ready. Next time, show me how responsible you can be and we'll see." She then walks off.


"Your mother and I tried to make life as normal as possible, which you continuously made very difficult," Mr. Cabot tells Katherine.

"You're blaming me for that too?" Katherine responds to her father.

Peter gets off his seat. "That's not what they're saying Kat. Just listen."

"We're not blaming you. It just happened," Mrs. Cabot answers in a reasonable tone.

"Listen to what?" Katherine remarks to Peter, "Their polite conversation? I took their daughter away from them."

"Don't say that Katie," Mrs. Cabot replies back. Mr. Cabot shakes his head to his daughter's comments.

"Why do you feel that way?" Peter asks the student.

"Cause it's true," she says in an unflattering tone. "They just won't admit it."

"We don't think that," her mom defends. "You're our daughter too."

Katherine just stares at her mom, "By default."

"Oh great, now she won't claim us as her parents," Mr. Cabot adds.

"If you were really my parents, you would tell me the truth," Katherine responds back.

"Then I guess it's good we're really not." Mr. Cabot starts to raise his voice, "How's that Katie? You got your wish."

"John, no," Mrs. Cabot tries to keep this under control.

"You have no parents," Mr. Cabot finishes the sentence.

"Mr. Cabot," Peter inserts, "That's not the way."

"That's what she wants to hear," John Cabot continues. "Are you happy now?"

Katherine doesn't say a word and storms out of the room. Mr. Cabot turns his head and closes his eyes, regretting his words. "I think that'll be it for today," Peter finishes before leaving the room.


Outside Shelby is playing a game of basketball with students from the other groups. Ezra approaches her and gets bumped a bit as Shelby shoots the ball. It scores into the net. Shelby raises her arms in victory, "Nothing but net." She sees Ezra with the eggs in his hands and decides to follow Holly's advice. "You got one minute." She quickly darts back onto the court to handle the ball.

"You agree Peter's pretty serious about this project?" Ezra asks.

Shelby passes the ball to a teammate moving by. "Yeah? So what?"

"So why not take the high road on this one? Surprise him?" he suggests.

Shelby shoves one of the rival players away from her and stares at Ezra, "By what? Playing family with you?" She catches the ball as it's tossed to her.

"Exactly. This way you score some major brownie points." He talks to her in a sly way, "Maybe even accumulate enough to get off this insipid hill." Shelby is simultaneously paying attention to Ezra and keeping the ball away from the other player. "Venture into town once in a while."

The idea interested Shelby that she decided to hand the other player the ball, and walks casually towards Ezra. "You mean like get Katie status minus the soap opera?" she wonders.

"That's what I'm saying." Ezra pokes the egg basket out a bit.

She ponders the idea, "So, uh, where do you want these kids to go to school?" Shelby takes the basket in her hands and walks to a more suitable place to think things over. Ezra beams an excited face as he follows.


After some words with Juliette, Scott decides to talk the project over with Auggie. Auggie was packing his things and about to leave the boys cabin when Scott confronts him. "Auggie."

"Yeah?"

"I went over the research and I think we approached it all wrong. You see, the focus should be showing that there's no difference between us, you know, being gay and all, and everybody else." Auggie gives him a look. "What do you think?" Scott asks.

"You bet," Auggie answers. "We show them as long as the kid's in a lovin' environment that it doesn't matter."

"Exactly." It appears the two boys have come to a mutual agreement.


Over in the lounge, Shelby takes a seat next to Ezra with the basket of eggs in her hand. Daisy's on a couch nearby, reading a book on infertility. She decides to take a break and watch how things play out between the two pretend parents. "So, uh, what's wrong with sending the kids to boarding school?" Shelby says in a low tone almost as if she doesn't want anyone to know she's talking to Ezra.

"We can't afford it," he answers. "Anyway, that's like sending them to camp, and you remember how miserable camp was."

She gives Ezra a look. "Come on. Me, camp?"

"Yeah, you're right. Well trust me, kids are better off at home listening to us argue all day."

"I still vote for shipping them out," Shelby remarks.

"Why are you so ready to get rid of them so fast?" Ezra questions.

"Because I'm not exactly gonna win any 'mother of the year' awards."

"There you go again – you're selling yourself short. I pray that our kids have just an ounce of your strength."

"Yeah, well, uh, don't waste your prayers. It'll save us a lot of money on therapy sessions."

Ezra leans in to grab the eggs out of Shelby's palms. "That's it. I'm not gonna have the kids around your negative attitude." Ezra stands up. "This just isn't going to work."

"You can't just take them and go. Ezra…" Shelby decides to follow him. Daisy watches her leave the room then returns back to reading her book.


It's presentation time and the Cliffhangers are gathered outside around the gazebo. Auggie and Scott are up and front first.

"Okay guys, lets hear your reports," requests Peter.

"All right," Auggie starts. "Nobody gets a handbook on raising kids, be it straight or gay. So uh, what makes them better than us? Well, I can't seem to think up nothing."

Scott finally butts in, "The only guarantee is that there will always be unwanted children who desperately needs homes. Now if we're willing to provide them with a stable, loving environment... we don't see a problem."

Jeff and Peter looks at one another. They lean in and Peter whispers something into the teacher's ear. "Congratulations gentlemen," Peter announces. Jeff tosses an egg to the boys as Scott catches it. "You just adopted your first child," Peter continues.

"Yeah," Auggie gets excited briefly until he and Scott looks at one another. They then immediately return back to their less than enthusiastic attitudes.

"Juliette," Jeff calls out.

She gets up and looks at the two adults, "Well the bad news is I didn't find a father for my baby. But the good news is that I realized I don't need one. At least in the sense of taking care of my child. Hey, I've had a lot of fathers, so I guess I'll just look for a second job or pray for a trust fund from one of my dads."

"Okay good," Jeff decides. Just as Juliette's about to leave, Jeff brings up something else. "And I'd appreciate it if you would take your flyers down now."

"Okay," Juliette smiles. She runs over to remove a flyer that she has pinned to one of the support beams of the gazebo.

Peter looks at the next student, "Shelby." Juliette returns to where the other students are sitting on the grass as Shelby heads up in front. "You seem to be minus a family," Peter notices.

"Uh, well..." Shelby tries to think of the right words to say, "um, I..."

"Honey, I'm home." Ezra approaches from behind where Peter and Jeff are sitting. He has his arms open up as if he's expecting a hug. "Car trouble," he explains to the two adults.

"Oh," Peter nods. "I was beginning to think you were having problems."

Unexpectedly, he slides himself underneath Shelby's arm until her arm was around his neck. "Problems?" He moves in closer to his pretend wife as Shelby puts up a less than thrilled smile. "No. The kids were cranky this morning, so I had to change their diapers... twice."

"So how'd you do?" Peter asks.

"Well, since we're a two career family we decided to budget for a nanny." Ezra then pats Shelby on the hips.

Shelby tries to think of what to say next as she keeps up the smile. "Um, this way we will be able to spend more quality time with the kids and we won't have to send them to boarding school." Ezra is enjoying this too much.

"Very good Shelby. Good work," Peter compliments.

Shelby and Ezra looks at one another. He still has his smirk up. Realizing she doesn't have to endure this anymore, she places her hand on top of Ezra's head and pushes his head down as she walks away. That removes the smile from Ezra's face as Peter and Jeff cracks up a bit.

Peter and Jeff gets off the bench they were sitting on. "I, uh." Peter moves to the front while Jeff takes a seat with the students. "I think a few good points were made, some things were learned, the kids can come back to the roost. And, uh..." Peter steps onto the gazebo.

Daisy sprints up to Peter and hands him her report. "Here. My observation on being childless."

Peter looks at the paper, then flips it over to see if the writing is on the other side. "Daisy, these pages are empty."

"So am I," she replies back.

Jeff approaches her from behind. He looks at Peter, who then gives Jeff a signal. "Daisy," he tells her. She turns around to face Jeff. "We got a second opinion," he tells her with a slight smirk in the corner of his mouth.

"I'm not barren?" she asks with a more optimistic expression on her face.

"As many as you want." Jeff hands her half a carton of eggs.

Daisy turns to look at Peter then turns back to Jeff. She takes the eggs now with a grin on her face. Daisy then walks off.

Something grabs Peter attention. Jeff sits in front of the students with papers in hand. "All right..."

Peter approaches Katherine's parents. "Mr. and Mrs. Cabot..." They walk up to Peter. Mrs. Cabot crosses her arms. "I just want you to know we've been working with Katherine and I-"

"She's coming home with us today," Mrs. Cabot interrupts him.

"Mrs. Cabot I really don't think that's the answer," Peter suggests.

"It happens to be the only answer we have right now," she responds back. "She's not getting any better, she's getting worse. And if she's still having a problem with Shannon's death, we'll deal with it at home – as a family."

"You'll have a better chance dealing with it here," Sophie calls out as she confronts them, "If you want to stay as a family."

"Is she talking now?" Mr. Cabot asks about his daughter.

"Yeah," Sophie answers. "Look, be honest with her about Shannon's death."

"It was an accident," Mr. Cabot quickly replies back.

Peter looks at Sophie then looks back at Katherine's parents. "I think what Sophie's trying to tell you is that she needs to hear that, know it, and believe it."


Sophie watches from a distance as the Cabots try to settle their family issues. Katherine's just sitting there on her bed. Her mom is touching her on the back while her father is looking out the window.

"You acted like it never even happened," Katherine speaks up in a low tone. "Like she was still..."

"We were only thinking of your feelings," her mom explains. "We didn't want you reminded of it."

"I could have dealt with the act..." Katherine then pauses, "But the silence?" Memory of the shores hits Katherine. She turns around to look at her mom. "You never even cried."

"Oh I cried," she tells Katherine. "Believe me Katie, your father and I both cried."

"Never in front of me," her daughter responds.

"And when could we?" Mrs. Cabot asks. "You were out running around shoplifting."

"And even then you didn't get angry," Katherine adds.

"We thought it would be for your own good. We wanted you better."

"You wanted me gone," says the dark skinned girl.

"That's not true," her mom defends.

"You couldn't look at me without thinking of her. You knew she always followed me."

*flashback*

Katherine is walking along the shores of the lake. The Cabot's birth daughter Shannon tries to keep up with her older sister. Blond hair, light complexion she was. Both girls are in bathing suits. "Hey wait up," Shannon calls out.

"I'm not in the mood, Shay," Katherine tells her.

"Come on, it will only take five minutes," Shannon pleas.

*end flashback*

"You knew I'd led her to the water," Katherine says to her mom, "You knew. You knew I'd let her drown."

*flashback*

"Go away!" Katherine demands.

"Scared I'm going to beat you?" remarks her sister.

"Yeah, right. I could beat you blindfolded."

"Not this summer," Shannon says confidently.

Katherine stops and turns around to face her sister. "You keep forgetting something. I always win."

"Then what's the problem?"

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Katherine asks.

"Did I stutter?"

"First one to the buoy and back!" Katherine rushes into the water.

"Wait Katie!" Shannon tries to keep up with her.

The two girls have already travelled off the shoreline and into the deep. Shannon is right behind Katherine. She starts to slow down. She looks forward and sees her sister still moving forward with a steady pace. Shannon stops and starts splashing about. Trying to keep her body a float.

"Wait Katie." Katherine doesn't turn back. Shannon starts to sink lower and lower in the water.

*end flashback*

"And you hated me."

"No, we didn't," her mom disagrees.

"Yes. I hated you," Mr. Cabot confirms. Still looking out the window and away from his adopted daughter.

"John."

"She was my baby, my little girl," he continues. "She wanted so much to be like you, but she couldn't. And af - after I'd stand still in the house, I'd swear I could hear the two of you. And for a moment, I'd forget. I'd forget she was gone. It would be just you, just you Katie. Alone." He finally turns around to face his other daughter. "And I hated that." Katherine gets off the bed and looks at her father. "How could I ever have said that I hated you, for even a moment?"

"You could have," she replies back.

"No. Because then I would have lost my other little girl too. And the hole in my heart would be twice as big."

Mrs. Cabot gets off the bed too. "Oh, parents aren't always perfect. That's what we never knew how to say. We love you Katie. And that - that will never change. Can you forgive us?"

"Only if you'll help me forgive myself," Katherine says softly.

The family move in closer for a hug.

Sophie nods at what she's seeing. The camp councillor steps out of the girl's cabin. She shields her eyes from the bright sunlight.

Peter's sitting on the railing of a nearby stairwell. He pushes himself off the railing and lands beside Sophie. "How'd it go?"

"First steps were made."

"I'm impressed."

"No, don't be. Kat's strong."

"Hey." The two of them stop. "Frank's onboard with you staying. Now it's just up to you." There's a pause between them then Sophie starts smiling. "What?" Peter asks.

"Well, we've got a few hours of light left. Want to climb a rock?" Sophie dashes off as Peter follows her.


Katherine's outside going through a small orange box of personal belongings. She places down a set of family pictures and picks up her diary. She opens up the small purple book and starts writing.

Dear Shannon,

Sorry I've been away for so long. It was just getting harder and harder to write to you… because I miss you so much.

She stops writing and thinks for a bit. Katherine notices she doesn't have the anxiety she did in the past. She continues on writing.

I met this guy named Hank who I really like…