DISCLAIMER: I do now own Beverly Hills 90210 or any of the characters involved in this story.

A/N: Welcome to story number two in this three part trilogy. This is the sequel to "Peanut Butter & Jealousy." If you haven't read PB&J, you probably should before you start reading this one, otherwise you may be a little lost and confused.

This story actually starts out midway through season 4 of the "alternate reality" of Beverly Hills 90210 in which Scott is still alive and Brenda & Dylan are together. It is a few weeks before Christmas and we learn that Brenda and Dylan have been having problems with their relationship.

As mentioned at the end of PB&J, that story was mainly about Scott & Brenda and the special friendship they formed. I wanted to write that story because it was an idea I had for a long time and to show that Scott could have been worked into the show better if the writers had tried. This story is going to be much more of a Brenda/Dylan story and their relationship will be the main plot of the story, with several other side stories built in revolving around the timeline of what really happened on the show in season 4.

Now I hope you all won't be too upset but the first several chapters of this story are going to be mostly stories of what happened after the events of PB&J, and will be told through flashback. I really only had one flashback chapter in PB&J, so this is kind of a new avenue for me as I've formatted it a little differently. Because there are going to be so many flashbacks, I don't want there to be any confusion between the flashbacks and what is happening at present time. So everything that is happening in a flashback will be written in bold print. Everything that is happening in the present will be in regular print.

It's going to take probably about four chapters to bring this story up to date to the present time as the flashbacks are told through different viewpoints. So please be patient for now.

This chilly mid-December Friday night certainly has not gone the way that Scott Scanlon thought it would. Only a couple of hours ago, he was all dressed up in the sharp threads that Brenda had gotten him last spring. He left his house with a bouquet of flowers and was on his way to take Brittany James to the Christmas dance at West Beverly High School. Scott and Brittany had been platonically dating since she came back home from the cruise with her family in August.

Only two years earlier at that exact same Christmas dance, his best friend David Silver took Donna Martin to it. What started off strictly as a platonic and friendly trip to the dance wound up with her falling in love with him. And now two years later, both Donna and David are in college and still together. When Scott left his house that night to take Brittany to the Christmas dance, he had visions that his night would end similarly to what David's did two years earlier.

But somehow, this night would take a different turn for Scott. See, he wasn't turning into the parking lot of West Beverly High with Brittany in the passenger seat. He was turning into the Peach Pit parking lot, alone by himself.

He enters the diner through the front door to the cheerful music of "Jingle Bell Rock" on the juke box. Christmas is still a couple of weeks away, but the decorations are already up. The diner is half full and Nat is busy behind the counter taking orders. With Brandon no longer working there, Nat has had to work extra hard because he has yet to find a waiter or waitress who is as dependable and efficient as Brandon had been the last three years.

Scott slowly walks up to the counter and takes a seat on one of the stools as Nat spots him and makes his way over to him. Scott has an obvious look of disappointment etched on his face, but he still manages to smile when he greets Nat.

"Hey Nat." greets Scott casually with a slight momentary grin.

"Scotty, my boy." greets Nat in his normally upbeat and chipper mood. "What are you doing here? I thought you were taking Brittany to the dance tonight."

"Yeah, that makes two of us." Scott replies.

"Uh oh, trouble in paradise? What's the matter she come down with a case of the flu?" Nat asks as he rings up a customer.

"Well, more like a case of a change of heart. I show up to her house with flowers, all ready to take her to the dance. I ring the doorbell and some big huge guy who I'd never seen before answers it. Turns out he is a football player at Beverly High who Brittany's fallen head over heels for." Scott explains.

A sour expression comes across Nat's face. "Ohhh, that's too bad, kid. You know, I didn't want to say this while you were dating her, but there was something about that girl that didn't sit well with me. Believe me Scott; you can do a lot better her. Just keep your head up, there's a girl out there for you." Nat says.

"Thanks Nat, but I think I'm going to take a break from the whole dating scene for a while and focus on wrapping up high school and getting into college." says Scott.

"Smart move, my friend. Too bad more boys your age don't think like you." Nat replies. "Can I get you something? How about a mega-burger? You know what I always say, nothing chases the blues away quite like a mega burger." says Nat as Scott grins.

"You read my mind, Nat." Scott answers as Nat smiles and laughs.

"Okay kid. Coming right up." he says. Nat goes off to tend to his other customers as Scott looks around the diner. He is there to meet Brenda. Not long after he got back home after the Brittany disaster, he got a call from Brenda asking if he could meet her at the Peach Pit that night. She sounded like she really needed to talk. At the beginning of the school year, Scott and Brenda were keeping in touch at least once a week, mostly through phone calls. But gradually those phone calls became more and more spread out as Brenda got into the college life and Scott was busy going about being the business of being a senior at West Beverly.

As Scott scans the diner for Brenda, he spots David sitting by himself in a booth over by the wall. David has a half of a cup of coffee in front of him and some school books on the table that he's reading. Scott hadn't talked to David in over a month. With David now living in the beach apartment with Kelly and Donna and working the night shift for the California University radio station, he wasn't the easiest person to get a hold of these days. Scott walks over to David's table to talk to him.

"David, buddy, long time no see." Scott greets as he sits down at the booth across from David. David doesn't answer Scott at all but continues to read while writing down notes. "So what are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing, Scott? I'm trying to study." David answers coarsely, not even lifting his head up to look at Scott. His tone clearly indicates he is in a bad mood. Scott's smile turns into a frown.

"Oh, I'm sorry. You want me to leave?" Scott asks, feeling uncomfortable and wondering if David is angry with him.

"Go or stay. You know what, I really don't care. Just keep it down alright." David says as he continues to read through his back. Scott sits there for a few moments looking shy and unsure of himself as David's angry temperament is making him feel awkward. He wonders if he should just stay quiet or if he should say something.

"Christmas sure is the pits, isn't it?" Scott asks, finally speaking up trying to relate to David and hoping the conversation will take a better path. "Brittany dumped me tonight. She left me for some football player. Can't believe she waited till the night of the Christmas dance to tell me. Can you imagine that? I just wasted half of my senior year of high school on her, only to have her toss me aside like yesterday's garbage."

"That's nice, Scott." David says in a mean spirited, sarcastic tone.

"And here I thought I was going to have the same kind of luck that you had with Donna at the Christmas dance a few years ago. Boy was I stupid." Scott says with a slight uncomfortable chuckle. At that point, David slams his pencil down on his notebook and finally looks up at Scott. The annoyance and frustration is clearly in his eyes and etched on his face.

"Look Scott, I'm sorry all right. I really am. But I don't have time to get int this with you right now. So just shut up already. You hear me, shut up!" David says aggressively. Scott leans back and bites his lip, not sure what he's done.

"Listen David, are you still mad that I didn't come to you and Donna's anniversary dinner at the Chinese restaurant? I told you that Sue picked up when Donna called about it. Then she got side tracked and forgot to give me the message until the day after, so I didn't even know about it until it had already happened. And as soon she told me, I went out and bought you guys that picture frame for a present." Scott says.

"No Scott, damn it, this has nothing to do with you all right. It just so happens I have four exams coming up, a term paper, a graveyard shift at the radio station that is killing me, and to top everything off, Donna finally agreed to sleep with me the other night. But before we could get started, her parents show up out of the blue and catch both of us half-dressed and learn that we've been living together. So now I don't even know if I'm going to have to start looking for a new place to live. Then they made Donna go to church, and now she's gone back to the whole Virgin Mary act." vents David. "So you may be surprised to hear this, Scott, but I have my own problems, alright. And it just so happens that you aren't the center of the whole stupid world. So excuse me, I got better things to do than to sit here and listen to your piddly ass problems."

David grabs his books. He gets up and storms out of the Peach Pit. The loud clanging of the bells on the front door ring loudly as a frustrated and angry David pushes the door open with authority. Scott sits there and watches his friend leave, digesting everything he just told him.

It wasn't Scott's fault that David was so angry. The fact was the pressure and stress of college as well as living with Kelly and Donna was getting to him. It wasn't so bad in high school. But now they were living together. Every night and every morning he had her scent in the apartment and saw her walk around in shorts and comfortable clothing. Yet all around him, other guys in his class and on campus were talking about their sexual experiences and here David was living with two women, one his step-sister, and the other his girlfriend who he had been with for two years now. And while he agreed a long time ago to honor and respect her commitment to celibacy until marriage, it was growing more and more frustrating to him every day as he began taking his frustration out on other people who didn't deserve it, like Scott.

At the same time David storms out of the Peach Pit, Brenda walks in. Brenda greets David, but he just storms right past her without saying anything. Brenda shrugs her shoulders as she walks in and immediately spots Scott sitting at the booth and walks over to him.

"Scott!" Brenda says excitedly as it had been a while since she had actually talked to him in person.

"Hey Brenda." Scott greets with a huge smile as he stands up and gives her a big hug. In an instant, the whole failure of a night with Brittany as well as the unpleasant scene with David from a moment ago is forgotten as seeing Brenda is something that always makes Scott happy, especially now that seeing her in person has become so rare for him.

"Mmmm, it's so good to see you." Brenda says as she hugs back, squeezing tight for a moment and finally releasing from the hug.

"It's good to see you too, Brenda." Scott replies as he and Brenda both sit down in the booth on opposite sides of the table. At that moment, Nat shows up with Scott's mega burger and a glass of coke.

"There you go, Scott." Nat says as he puts the food down in front of Scott, then turns to Brenda.

"Hello dear, glad you're here." Nat says to Brenda. "Ole Scott here could use a friend to talk to after what happened tonight."

Brenda turns to Scott with a concerned look on her face. "Why? What happened?" she asked.

"Ask him." Nat says as he hands Scott a straw for his soda. "In the meantime, can I get you anything?"

"Yeah, make it another mega burger."

"Oh? Two mega burgers at one table?" Nat asks. "That's the recipe for some heavy discussion."

"Yeah, well we haven't seen each other for a while. Kind of got some catching up to do." Brenda says.

"I understand." Nat says. "Listen, I'll go throw your burger on the grill and leave you kids to talk, alright?" Nat replies with a friendly smile as he leaves them alone to handle business at the Peach Pit.

"So what was this he was saying about you needing a friend to talk to after what happened tonight?" Brenda asks Scott.

"Oh that." Scott replies. "Well tonight is the Christmas dance at school."

"Oh yeah, that's right. Donna was saying something about that." Brenda says as she then realizes it's going on right at that very moment as she cups her hand over her face. "Oh god, Scott, did I take you away from that?" Brenda says in panic.

"No Brenda, it's okay." Scott replies reaching out to comfort her.

"No Scott, please, this can wait. I'm sorry, I totally forgot. You didn't cancel on Brittany to come here and meet me, did you?" Brenda asks.

"Actually, more like the other way around." Scott replies

"What?" she asks with surprise. "What do you mean?"

"Well, so there I was walking up to Brittany's front door, ready to take her to the dance with the outfit you bought me on, a bouquet of flowers in my hand. I ring the doorbell and some big guy who I've never seen in my life opens it up. I ask who he was, he asks who I am. I told him I'm Brittany's date to the dance. He tells me he's her boyfriend. At that moment Brittany shows up, drags me outside and gives me the 'Scott, I think you're a great guy, but I've fallen in love with Todd' speech. Turns out Todd's a football player from Beverly High and his parents are millionaires and own beach front property in the Bahamas. So after four months of taking Brittany shopping and to the movies on weekends, she ends it like that, leaving me to return to spending my Friday nights on the couch watching tv with Sue and her wacky goth friends." Scott says.

"Geez. What a horrible thing to do to somebody." Brenda says. "Scott, I'm sorry."

"Hey, it's not your fault." Scott replies with a disappointed smile.

Brenda reaches out across the table and puts her hand on Scott's wrist. "Hey, you deserve a lot better than that gold digger anyways. You're way too good for her. One day she's going to realize what a great guy she had in you and she'll regret it. Trust me." Brenda says sincerely.

"Thanks Brenda." Scott says. "But it's okay, really. I'm totally cool with it. Besides, now I can focus fully on where to go to college. And speaking of which, I applied to California University this past week as well as Stanford. Those are the two top tech and design colleges on the west coast. Though I don't think I have a shot at Stanford. I just wanted to give it a shot and see if I could get in." Scott says.

"Hey, I didn't think I had a shot at the University of Minnesota either, but like you I just wanted to keep my options open. Even though I didn't wind up going there, it's still nice to know I got in." Brenda says. Scott nods as he takes a bite of his mega burger.

At that moment, Nat comes by and serves Brenda's mega burger along with a soda and she begins to eat with Scott.

As Brenda and Scott eat their food, they talk about what they have been doing since graduation. Scott mentions becoming a senior and the stresses of taking the SATs again, and applying to colleges as well as how this year at West Beverly is just not the same without Brenda and the rest of the gang there. Brenda talks about her life since starting college, including going to work for her father and still living at home because Kelly & Donna were in too much of a hurry to move into their new beach apartment that they couldn't wait until Brenda got home from Europe to ask if she wanted to move in. She also talks about how she and the girls had problems finding the right sorority to join so they decided to form their own, the Peach Pit sorority, which meets there once a week.

"Wait, so the four of you actually formed your own sorority when you couldn't find the right one on campus to join?" Scott asks as Brenda nods. "That's so cool."

"Yeah, well we just figured we wanted to have some kind of common ground so that we'd remain friends during college instead of going our separate ways and gradually losing touch." Brenda explains.

"That's great, Brenda. Too bad I don't have anything like that with my friends. I mean, just before you got here I tried just to start a friendly conversation with David and he completely bit my head off. And to think we use to be so close just a few years ago. Now it's like I hardly know he's my friend anymore." says Scott.

"Eh, I wouldn't take it personally Scott. I don't think it has anything to do with you. According to Kelly and Donna, David's like that all the time these days. It must be that graveyard shift they have him working at the radio station." Brenda says as Scott nods in agreement. There is a moment of brief silence as the two of them finish their food.

"So Brenda, we've had our mega burgers. We've talked about college, working for your father, and your new found self-made sorority, but there is one very important part of your life that you have yet to mention even once." Scott says. Brenda looks up at him with a certain seriousness to her. She knows exactly what he's getting at. "So tell me, how are you and Dylan?" Scott asks. Even after time had gone by without them seeing each other, Scott could sense that something wasn't right.

Brenda sighs, knowing she can't deny it. "Is it that obvious?"

"Maybe not to the casual observer." Scott answers. "But normally when we talk on the phone, you always mention Dylan's name at least once in the first 30 to 60 seconds. So far we've been sitting here for twenty minutes and we've talked about everything in your life but him. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming that something isn't right between the two of you and that's why you wanted to meet up with me here tonight, to talk about it. Am I right?" Scott asks.

"Well, don't get me wrong, Scott. I did want to see you because I hadn't talked to you for a while and I missed you. I mean Brandon was always the first person I talked to about this stuff. But with him being involved in the student senate, tootering that basketball player, and going up to San Francisco to see Emily Valentine, he's never around to talk to anymore. And well, you always were there when I needed an ear. I just didn't want you to think I only wanted to see you to vent my problems." Brenda says.

"Brenda" cries Scott. "Other than Sue, you're my best friend in the whole world. If you're not happy, I'm not happy. Now come on, why don't you tell me what's going on with Dylan." Scott says.]

"Are you sure you don't mind? I mean it is kind of a long story." Brenda says.

"Hey, it's either I listen to you or go home and be miserable about how I've wasted the last four months of my life on Brittany. So I'm all ears. Only…." Scott says as he pauses for a second. "Do you want to talk here or somewhere else?"

"Well where can we go?" Brenda asks.

Scott grins. "I know the perfect place." he replies.

"Well, lead on, Macduff." says Brenda jokingly, letting her acting knowledge be known as she references Shakespeare. Scott and Brenda go up and pay for their food at the counter and then leave the Peach Pit.

Scott and Brenda walk around a local Christmas light festival in a Los Angeles park. They enter the park and casually look around at all the Christmas lights.

"Scott, a Christmas light festival?" Brenda asks.

"Well, you looked like you were in the need of some Christmas spirit." Scott says. "I certainly know I am. My mom use to take Sue and I here every Christmas when we were kids."

"Yeah." Brenda says with a smile. "Back in Minneapolis, there was a Santa's village that my parents use to take Brandon and I too each year. And every year I went there, Santa always knew my name and what I wanted. It wasn't until years later I found out that he was one of my father's co-workers and dad had it all set up." Brenda says with a smile as Scott laughs. They walk a little more and look around at the lights before Scott finally decides it's time to get serious.

"So Brenda, we can sit here and talk about how pretty these lights are and about our childhood Christmas memories all night. But I don't think that's the reason we're here. Tell me, what's going on with you and Dylan?" Scott asks as he walks next to Brenda with his hands in his coat pockets.

Brenda sighs, taking a deep breathe, as she thinks to herself how to start the story.

"Well let's see where do I begin. Everything was so perfect after graduation last June. Things were finally just right between Dylan and I. Than we left for Europe, and each day just got better and better." Brenda says as she gets a far off look in her eye. "Canoeing on the streets of Venice, and seeing the small quaint villages in Germany. Everything was going so well, until we got till Paris that is. And it all started that morning when I brought him breakfast. See, I was eager to show him the spots I had been too last summer, but I had trouble getting him out of bed that morning.


Dylan is lying in bed in the penthouse suite of the France hotel. He just has a pair of sweat pants on and his bare chest is showing as the covers have slid down to his waist. Brenda had been sleeping in the other room. A maid has brought up breakfast, which Brenda has ordered. She takes the fancy silver tray into his room and lays it on his bed. Still asleep, Brenda leans in and kisses Dylan softly on the lips to awake him.

"Mmmm, come on sleepy head, wake up." Brenda whispers to him playfully as she kisses him again. Slowly, Dylan opens his eyes and looks at Brenda groggily.

"Ehhh, what time is it?" grumbles Dylan as he slowly sits up in bed and looks at the tray that Brenda put down in front of him. "What's this?" he asks.

"Why this is your wake up call, Monsieur McKay." Brenda says using her French accent, the very same one she used to fool Rick into thinking she was French a year earlier. "And I thought you could use a nice healthy breakfast before we got the day started. So in honor of our first day in Paris I ordered you some homemade French Toast with bacon, some nice hot coffee, and just so you wouldn't get home sick some good ole American freshly squeezed Orange Juice." a cheerful Brenda says with a smile.

Dylan rubs the sleep out of his eyes and then takes a look at his breakfast. "Mmm, it smells good, Bren. And it looks even better. But there's just one thing missing." Dylan says.

"Oh what? Did they forget the powdered sugar?" Brenda asks.

"Nope. You." Dylan answers as he reaches out and pulls Brenda down on top of him and the two begin to kiss passionately right there on the bed with open mouth and tongue. Brenda makes some satisfying moaning noises until finally pulling off of him.

"Now, now, you wouldn't want to spoil your appetite, would you?" Brenda jokes playfully.

"Well, to tell you the truth Bren, this isn't going to taste nearly as good without you here curled up beside me. So how about we just forget this whole sight-seeing thing and spend the whole day in bed." Dylan says as he tries to pull Brenda back down to make out with her some more, but Brenda pulls away.

"Nice try, Dylan." Brenda says with a grin. "But ever since I left Paris last summer, I dreamed of the moment I would be here again, only this time with the man I love. And since that has now happened, I don't intend to waste a single minute of it. I want to show you everything; my school from last year, where Donna and I went shopping the first day, the left bank, the Eifel Tower, everything. Oh, and I made a reservation tonight for dinner at La Champagne." Brenda says again using her French accent. "You know the place where we ate cow brains." Brenda says while giggling.

"Yeah, I know." Dylan says in a tired and sluggish tone indication he hasn't woken up yet. "Look Bren, I'm sure it's going to all be great. But seriously, do you have to keep such a strict schedule? I mean can't we just slow down and wing it?" Dylan asks.

"Dylan, when we get back to L.A., you'll have all the time in the world to sleep the day away and surf. But we're in the most romantic city in the world. We can't waste this opportunity." Brenda says. "Now go on, eat your breakfast. I'm going to go for a walk and when I get back, I expect to see your sexy butt out of that bed and dressed, you hear me?" Brenda asks as she cutely leans over and kisses him again.

"Well that doesn't sound so bad." Scott says as he continues to walk with Brenda. "I mean you and Dylan had different ideas on how you wanted to spend your vacation, but it still sounds like you were having a great time."

"Yeah, we were." Brenda answers. "That is until I got back to the hotel room and had a surprise waiting for me there."


Brenda uses her hotel key to open up the door of the penthouse suite and walks in carrying a small white bag.

"Dylan, I'm back and you'd better be dressed." Brenda yells to his bedroom to no answer. "Hey, I stopped at this bakery that I use to love to go to last year. They make the best croissants. Once you try one, you're going to think you died and gone to heaven." yells Brenda and again nobody answers. Brenda wonders if Dylan left. But she soon hears the clanging of silverware on china coming from the bedroom and figures Dylan is still eating his breakfast. Realizing he hadn't gotten out of bed yet, she decided to go in there and tickle and raz him until he got up. She waits a few moments, then goes storming into the bedroom.

"Alright lazy bones, you've had enough time, get your cute little butt out of bed NOW!" Brenda says loudly as she throws the bedroom door open with authority, but is instantly startled and almost screams when she doesn't find Dylan there eating his breakfast. Instead she finds a significantly older auburn haired woman on the bed, dressed in blue jeans and a country western shirt, and a black cowgirl hat. She wonders who this woman could be.

"Excuse me, but I think you have the wrong room." Brenda says assertively.

"Oh, I'm sorry to startle you, dear. You must be Brenda. Dylan said you'd probably be back shortly." The woman says.

"Okay, back up for a second." Brenda says with a confused and disgusted look on her face. "First off, who are you and what the hell are you doing in my hotel room? Secondly, how do you know Dylan? And third, where the hell is he?" Brenda asks intensely. The aggression in her voice is increasing with every word.

"Listen, just calm down all right. This is not what it looks like." the woman replies.

"Oh it isn't?" Brenda asks. "You have exactly three seconds to answer my questions before I call hotel security and have you thrown out of here on your face." Brenda snarls, looking ever so hostile, like she's ready to explode at any second. At that point, their conversation is interrupted by Dylan who comes walking through the front door.

"Hey Anne, I'm sorry. This is all I could find down stairs. I know it's not your style, but it will have to do for now." Dylan says as he walks in carrying a t-shirt and a pair of pants. His face turns serious as he sees that Brenda has returned. He smiles awkwardly as he holds up his hand. "Listen Bren, I know what you're thinking." he says.

"Do you?" Brenda asks angrily.

"Look Bren, this isn't what you think." Dylan cries.

Brenda looks at Anne, then turns to look at Dylan again. "I come back from my walk and find this total stranger sitting on your bed, eating the breakfast I ordered for you. Just what am I suppose to think, Dylan?" Brenda screams. "One of you better answer me right now. What the hell is going on?"

"So he was cheating on you with an older woman, a cowgirl in Paris? I can't believe it. Dylan's crazy about you. Or at least I thought he was." Scott says with surprise in his voice.

"That's what I initially thought." Brenda answers. "And my first instinct was to grab the hot pot of coffee and pour it over his head. But luckily I held it together. A lot of my arguments with Dylan in the past came from me flying off the handle and overreacting. But I wanted to show him I matured and so I listened to his explanation. According to him, Anne was a multi-millionaire who like him inherited her fortune. He apparently met her last year when he went away for a few days shortly after he and I broke up. His car broke down near her ranch and he stayed with her for a few days. That's the only details I got out of him." Brenda says.

"So what was she doing in Paris?" Scott asks. "Better yet, what was she doing in your room?"

"Well after Dylan ate, he went downstairs to complain about there being no hot water in the shower. While in the lobby, he saw Anne who was arguing with the hotel clerk. She was telling the clerk that the airline had lost her luggage which had all her credit cards in it, including the one she used to make a reservation. So the hotel wouldn't check her in. Dylan recognized her, and wanted to help, I guess to pay her back for her helping him out of a jam, who knows. So he invited her up to our room and ordered her breakfast, cause she hadn't had anything to eat except airline food in over a day. And he went down to get her some new clothes while she ate." Brenda explains.

"So did you believe him?" Scott asks.

"Yeah, I did. I mean part of me wanted to be skeptical, especially given Dylan's history with women and how he fooled around with Kelly behind my back. But I knew even he wouldn't be stupid enough to try to cheat on me with an older woman in Paris when he knew I had just stepped out for a quick walk and would be right back. So yeah, I believed him." Brenda says.

"So what happened next?" Scott asks.

"Well, my plans with Dylan for the day got completely ruined. Instead of going sight-seeing, we spent all day helping Anne file baggage claim forms and finding a place to stay. I was none too happy, but I went along with it, at least until dinner that night. He invited her to go out to dinner at La Champagne with us that night. That was supposed to be a special romantic evening between Dylan and myself and here was this total stranger who I had never met who was interfering on my time. He spent most of dinner talking to her about what she was doing now. I might as well have not even been there.


As Brenda and Dylan sit side by side at the very same restaurant that Brenda ate with Donna a year earlier, there has clearly grown a rift in between them. Brenda is visibly upset as she definitely was not planning on a third person joining them for dinner. And what is worse, Dylan has spent the entire dinner talking to Anne about her new business endeavors while Brenda has sat there alone and silent, stewing in her own anger which is now starting to bubble over. This was supposed to be their trip and their night. What the hell was this older equestrian millionaire woman doing there? And why couldn't Dylan have just gotten rid of her after he helped her out?

"So let me get this straight? After you sold Shadowcaster, you gave up on the horse business and decided to get into buying and selling rare art paintings?" Dylan asks Anne as he eats his veal at dinner. Brenda rolls her eyes and shakes her head, having had her fill of this conversation.

"Yeah, well I found I got less emotionally attached to a bunch of paints on a canvas as I did with real live animals. So getting rid of a painting for millions of dollars in profit isn't nearly as gut wrenching as watching a horse you've tended to for years get loaded onto somebody else's trailer." Anne responds. "Plus it's a great way to get out and travel and see the world."

"Really? Traveling happens to be a hobby of a mine. That's why Brenda and I are here." says Dylan.

"Actually.." Brenda chimes in. "It's his graduation present to me." she says as she glares over at Anne.

"Really? That's nice. Well Dylan, if you are interested in traveling, you ought to think of getting into buying and trading, maybe not rare art, but definitely something with universal interest. You get to go to all kinds of places you wouldn't normally go to and meet all kinds of interesting people." Anne says with a smile as she looks directly at Dylan, totally ignoring Brenda.

"Really?" Dylan asks with curiosity.

"Well, Dylan won't be doing much traveling for a while, I can tell you that. We start at California University in August." Brenda says with authority.

"Well, that's too bad." Anne says. "There are some great business opportunities out there right now. You might not get this chance again."

"Wait, what kind of business opportunities are we talking about here?" Dylan asks. "I mean my plans aren't set in stone or anything."

"Dylan!" Brenda barks out, raising her voice, getting his full attention as he turns his head to look at her.

"Bren, what's wrong?" he asks.

"What's wrong is I've had enough of this evening, that's wrong." Brenda says in a hurt and upset voice, her anger very apparent. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to the hotel."

"Brenda, wait, come on." Dylan cries out in a halfhearted effort to try to get her to stay.

"Look, maybe I should leave." says Anne who starts to get up from the table.

"No Anne, stay." Dylan says as he holds out an outstretched arm.

"Yeah Anne stay, it's not like you've worn out your welcome or anything." Brenda says angrily. "You and Dylan can sit here all night and plan out his enormous future of quitting college and seeing the world while selling second rate pottery in third world countries. How stupid of me to actually believe that me being his girlfriend, I'd expect him to value my opinion more than some lady he knew all of a couple of days." Brenda says angrily.

"Bren." Dylan whispers. "Let's go outside please, you're making a scene."

Brenda looks around the restaurant and realizes that she has attracted the unwanted attention of French people looking at her. But she doesn't care. She's so mad at that point she just turns and walks out. Dylan hesitates for a moment before giving the signal to Anne that she'll be back in a moment as he chases Brenda outside, where she is trying to flag down a taxi to take her back to the hotel.

"Brenda, wait." Dylan cries out as he comes running up to her. "Look, what do you want me to do? You want me to tell Anne to leave? Fine, I'll do that." Dylan says.

"Don't toss her out on my account, Dylan." Brenda says with her arms folded as she turns her back to him and stares out at the Paris skyline.

"Then what are you so angry about? I told you, there is nothing going on with Anne. I met her one time last year. She took me in when my car broke down, that's all." says Dylan.

"Then why is it when she suggests that you drop out of college to go pedaling a bunch of cheap art all over the world that you take her so seriously that you would actually come out and say you'd consider dropping out of college to do it?" Brenda asks. "Dylan, choosing between California University and Minnesota was a very hard choice for me. But in the end I selected California University because of it's drama program, the fact that all my friends were here in L.A. And I came to that decision mainly because you pushed me so hard to go there. And I thought we'd be starting the next chapter of our life together by going to the same college together."

"Look Bren, I never said I was or wasn't going to college. It's definitely a path I'm considering, but there are other options out there. And not going to college isn't the end of the world." says Dylan.

"I can't believe I'm hearing this." says Brenda. "After everything you went through last year, having to take the SATs again, applying to Berkley, you're just willing to throw it all out the window to go gallivanting around with world with some equestrian woman?" Brenda suggest angrily. "God, if your father were here right now to hear you say this, he'd…."

"HEY!" Dylan shouts angrily, as Brenda clearly struck a nerve. "You leave Jack out of this." he says, calming his voice down. Brenda just stands there for a few moments looking at Dylan with total disdain on her face.

"Fine. I'm going back to the hotel. You can come with me or stay here and discuss your new career path with Miss Mona Lisa. It's your choice." Brenda says as Dylan just stands there looking at her.

"He stayed, but only for a little while." Brenda says as she and Scott walk right by a lit up gingerbread house. "He showed up at the hotel a couple hours later. I was in bed. He came in and talked to me and apologized for everything that happened. He tried to convince me that the whole quitting college and selling art thing was just a thought he entertained for a moment, but that he had every intention of enrolling in California University with me. I was too tired to argue. So I just agreed with him and went to bed. But the tension was still there. Things definitely weren't the same after that day. He started doing his thing and I started doing mine. And when we were together, there were long periods of awkward silence. After a few more days, we finally both agreed we were tired of Europe. So we cut our vacation short and came home." Brenda explains.

"So what happened to Anne, did she just disappear?" Scott asks.

"You'd have to ask Dylan. She didn't come back to the hotel that night and he never mentioned her again. I didn't bother to ask. I didn't really want to know or really care for that matter. It wasn't Anne I was upset with. It was Dylan. It bothered me that he could take his future, and more importantly his future with me so lightly." says Brenda.

"So you were in Paris for days after that night. And you all didn't try to talk through it even once that whole time?"

Brenda shakes her head. "I guess we both thought if we ignored it long enough it would eventually go away like a bad dream that eventually gets forgotten. But it was there, driving a wedge in between us. Finally on the plane ride home, we had sat next to each other for hours without saying anything. I finally decided it was time to break the ice."


"This is your captain speaking, if you look out to your left, you will see the Statue of Liberty below as we cross into the United States. Welcome to America, everyone." announces the captain over the intercom.

Brenda sits there staring ahead lost in thought. Dylan is seated next to her with headphones on listening to music. His eyes are closed and he appears to be sleeping. Brenda looks over at him and finally begins to shake him lightly.

"Dylan, Dylan, come on wake up." she says. Dylan doesn't move but continues to sit there with his eyes closed. Brenda finally lifts one ear from the headset and whispers louder into his ear. "Dylan, wake up!" she says. Dylan sits up suddenly, having been startled awake.

"Agh." he says. "Brenda, what is it?"

"Listen we need to talk." Brenda says.

Dylan settles down and rolls around in his seat to get comfortable. "Okay, so talk already." he says unenthusiastically in a tired voice. "I'm definitely not going anywhere."

"Look, if you don't want to go to college, that's fine." Brenda says.

"I don't know what I want to do, Bren. I keep telling you that. And to tell you the truth, I don't know when I'm going to have an answer for you. It could be tomorrow, could be next week, next year, I don't know. All I know is that I need to explore a little. You know, get out and see what life has to offer. And I may not be ready to settle down in one place just yet." Dylan says.

"Well that may be all well and good for you, Dylan, but I don't have that option. I don't have your money and your financial security. I have to start planning for my future. Maybe my plans may change at some point down the road, but I don't have the luxury of just sitting around and wasting my days away doing whatever feels good at that particular moment while I wait for my ship to come in." Brenda says.

"Is that really what you think I'm doing, Bren?" Dylan asks, with disappointment in his tone.

"I don't know what you're doing, Dylan, mainly because you haven't talked to me about it. And every time any conversation between us turns halfway serious, you turn a blind eye." Brenda says in a rational but calm tone of voice as she looks away for a moment before turning back to Dylan. "Look, I love you. I want you to be a part of my life and my future, whether that future is college or something else. And I thought after everything we went through last year and then finally getting back together that you wanted the same thing to. But when you were so easily talked out of going to college to go travel the world by some lady you barely knew, all of a sudden I'm not so sure." explains Brenda.

"Look, if I wanted to be traveling the world, I wouldn't be here with you on this plane right now. I'm here because I want to be with you. You know I love you, Bren." says Dylan.

"Yes, I do." Brenda says firmly, but without a smile. "But what I don't know is how committed you are to making things work with me. I mean forget college. Dylan, I don't even know what's going to happen to us once we step off this plane in L.A." Brenda says as Dylan looks at her.

"Well obviously you two figured it out when you got back. I mean you called me the night after you registered and told me Dylan was there and that you guys signed up for some classes together." Scott says as he and Brenda continue to walk around the light festival. Both of them have a cup of hot chocolate in their hands as they were selling hot chocolate there.

"Yeah, true. But that was several weeks later." Brenda says.

"So just what exactly did happen when you guys got off the plane?" Scott asks as he sips his hot chocolate.

"Well I didn't see him that much for the next several weeks until school started. I kind of indicated that I'd give him some space for a while because I felt like he needed to figure out a few things about his future. He agreed. So for the rest of August, we basically went our own directions. He went off and did his own thing. I went to work at my father's office and started hanging out with everyone at the beach when I wasn't working. But Dylan, he didn't come around. Everyone kept asking me about him and what happened in Europe, but I just didn't have an answer for them. By the time I showed up on registration day, I hadn't talked to him in almost two weeks, and I more or less figured he wasn't coming, otherwise he would have called." Brenda explains.


As students all gather around the tables spread out on the main lawn of California University to read over the fall schedule and to sign up for classes. Kelly, Brenda, and Steve are looking it over as they wait in line.

"Hey, you guys should sign up for this intro to psych course with me. It's Monday Wednesday Friday from 8 to 9:15 in the morning." says Kelly.

"Pft. I don't think so, Kel. You see, I have this thing about 8 o'clock in the morning. I don't like it, and I would prefer not to be awake to see it if I don't have to be." says Steve.

"Oh what? You can't get up that early in the morning after a hard night of partying at the KEG house." Brenda asks jokingly.

"Ha Ha. Very funny, Brenda. And no, this has nothing to do with that. I just can't concentrate on school that early in the morning." Steve says.

"Or at noon, or at 3 pm, or at 9 o'clock at night, or…."says Kelly, getting her jabs in on Steve.

"Alright already, Kelly, enough." shouts Steve as Brenda and Kelly laughs.

"What about you, Brenda?" Kelly asks. "You want to do this intro to Psych course with me?"

"Oh Kelly, I would, but that's at the same time as this Romantic Poetry course that looks interesting." Brenda says.

"Romantic Poetry? Excuse me while I hurl." scoffs Kelly as she turns up her nose jokingly.

"Aw come on Kelly, it's fun. And you never know, there may be a lot of cute guys there." suggests Brenda.

"Pft. Name one guy who would want to spend three mornings a weak listening to that mushy slop." says Kelly. At that point they get caught off guard by Dylan's voice that comes up from behind them.

"Hey, I'll sign up." says Dylan. Kelly, Brenda, and Steve all turn to look at Dylan surprisingly. "This is where you register, isn't it?" he asks.

Brenda just stands there looking at Dylan in disbelief for a moment that he is actually there.

"Hey bro, good to see you finally made it." says Steve as he gives Dylan a high five as he spots a registrar whose table just opened up and runs right over to it. Kelly gives a quick hi to Dylan and then walks off to register herself, leaving him to talk to Brenda.

"Dylan, you're here. I didn't know you were coming." says Brenda.

"Yeah, sorry I'm late, but you know parking on this university is kind of a bitch." Dylan says in a jokingly charming way provoking a smile from Brenda as she looks into his eyes and realizes how much she's missed him.

"So does this mean you've made a decision on your future?" she asks.

Dylan shrugs his shoulders. "Not really." he replies. "I still got a few things to work out before I'm ready to plan out the rest of my life. But in the meantime, I thought it couldn't hurt to expand my educational horizons." he says with a grin.

"Are you sure? I mean, you wouldn't rather be traveling or looking into real estate or something like that?" Brenda asks, just wanting to make sure that Dylan's heart is into it.

"And miss the chance to read William Wadsworth and John Blake with you? Bren…." Dylan says with a smile. "I can't let that opportunity pass me by. Besides, I took a closer look at some of the creative writing courses they offer here. I really think I could learn to like it here." Dylan says with a smile. Brenda smiles back as suddenly all of the bad stuff that happened over in Europe disappears. She goes over and gives Dylan a hug as the two embrace and then kiss passionately.

"Mmmm, I love you, Dylan." Brenda says.

"I love you too, Bren." Dylan replies. "So what about this romantic literature course, you think we should sign up for the Monday Wednesday Friday one or the Tuesday Thurday?" Dylan asks as the two begin looking over the class schedule and talk about what they should sign up for.

"So you see, you guys had a rough spot, but you worked through it. Just like you always have. Dylan's a smart guy, Brenda. In the end, he'll always do what's right. I know he will." says Scott.

"Ah, but the happy reunion was short lived. Once classes started, it didn't take long for Dylan and I to start growing distant again." says Brenda as she finishes her hot chocolate and throws the cup away.

"Distant? How could you be growing distant? Weren't you guys seeing each other every day at school?" Scott says as the two of them walk past some children playing.

"Yeah. At first, but before we knew it, we both started going off in different directions. I mean I was so busy those first few weeks of college. There just didn't seem to be enough hours in the week to do everything. Between trying to find a sorority with Kelly, Donna, and Andrea and then working part time for my father, and nonstop studying, I found I just didn't have hardly any time at all to spend with Dylan. At first, it didn't seem to bother him but gradually, I could tell more and more he was getting aggravated." Brenda explains.

"Now what about him? I mean if college was that busy and hectic for you those first few weeks, surely it must have been equally as hectic for Dylan." Scott asks.

Brenda bites her lip then looks at Scott and shakes her head. "Not hardly." she responds. "I mean he showed up to classes, but he clearly wasn't into the whole college scene. Brandon and Steve tried to get him to join the Keg house fraternity with them, but he'd have no part of it. He didn't spend any more time on campus than he needed to go to classes. He didn't go to any of the frat parties or freshman socials that I tried to get him to go to. It was like once his classes were over, he just wanted to go home or go surfing. I mean here I was killing myself every waking hour of the day and he was just coasting through things. It was like we were on two totally different levels. Then there came the day he bought his new Porsche. That's a day I'll never forget but not for the right reasons." Brenda says.


Dylan and Brenda sit by themselves in the corner booth of the Peach Pit. Brenda is studying hard, reading her book and writing notes. Dylan is just kind of casually looking around as relaxed as can be. He's got one arm draped over the back of the booth around Brenda and taps his fingers on the table to the beat of the music. He then leans in and starts to kiss Brenda's neck, but she jerks away appearing annoyed by his actions.

"Dylan, come on. We got our first quiz on the Renaissance era poets the day after tomorrow and I've barely had any time to study all week." complains Brenda.

"Hey, I haven't even studied at all. Do I look worried?" Dylan asks.

"Well you should be. I've been hearing that Dr. Petty's quizzes are really hard." Brenda says as she returns to her studying.

"Come on, Bren. This isn't rocket science here; it's a bunch of dead English guys writing love poems, I mean how hard can it be?" Dylan asks.

"Okay, then tell me, what was Wadsworth's best known work?" Brenda asks.

"Uh, hold on I know this one. It's the wanderer." says Dylan, trying to sound confident.

"Wrong. The Prelude. Dylan, he went over that in class three times last week." Brenda says in a serious voice. "This isn't high school, you can't just wing these courses or cram the night before. You have to work hard and study hard."

"Come on Bren, I'll do fine, trust me." Dylan says. "Look, I got the new wheels outside. The passenger seat is just waiting to be broken in. Now why don't you and I get out of here, get in my new Porsche and take a drive out to the beach and watch the sunset." Dylan says as he goes in to kiss Brenda. She kisses back for a few seconds before pulling away with an unsatisfying groan.

"Dylan, no, I can't. I still have two more chapters I have to read." Brenda says.

"Bren, you haven't even seen my new Porsche yet." Dylan says as he sighs, sounding exasperated.

"Yeah, I saw it when you pulled in." Brenda replies.

"Not from the inside you haven't. Come on Bren, just a little drive. We've had almost no time to ourselves in the last two weeks. Just for a little while, you can bring your books with you and read in the car. There are far less distractions there than here with all these people walking in and out." Dylan says.

"Look Dylan, I can't, okay." Brenda says, raising her voice and sounding more aggressive. "Now this weekend, I promise I'll go for a ride in your new car, but right now, I really need to finish this all right."

"Fine. Whatever." Dylan says in an annoyed voice as he stands up.

"Where are you going?" Brenda asks.

"I'm going for a ride in my new car, Bren. See unlike you, I can appreciate a fine automobile and the opportunity I have to drive it on a beautiful evening." Dylan replies.

"Yeah, and unlike you I don't have millions of dollars just sitting in a trust fund that becomes mine when I turn 21. I'm afraid I'm actually going to have to work hard for my future." Brenda says as she goes back to reading.

Dylan doesn't say anything but this remark from Brenda clearly strikes a nerve in him. Dylan shakes his head and walks out of the Peach Pit slamming the door behind him.

"Hey, some people take school very seriously, others don't. No need to beat yourself up over it, Brenda. You had to study. You did the right thing by not going with him." Scott says, trying to be reassuring as he can tell by the tone of Brenda's voice that she has regret over not going.

"Yeah, well looking back I really wish I had gone with him. If I had perhaps what happened next might not have happened." says Brenda.

"Why? Did you guys break up after that little spat?" Scott asks.

"No." Brenda answers. "He got carjacked."


A/N: Will pick right up from here in the next chapter. Story reviews are most appreciated.