With so many more months to wait before season 2 finally airs, I thought it'd be interesting to capitalize on various spoilers.

I don't own SMASH

-o-

PROLOGUE

"No, you don't," Derek Wills said with a scold. "No matter what Eileen will do after she replaces you, 'Bombshell' is going to tank." Folding his arms before his chest, he took a step closer. "You don't have to go back to the ensemble, even now that Ivy is back. You're either the understudy or you quit."

"I don't care who's the understudy, I need the money!" Karen Cartwright put her hair into a makeshift bun and purposely turned her back to him. "You should go now, I have to unpack before rehearsal." She spread her arms and titled her head. Her small apartment was in complete disarray. Boxes lined up against the walls almost to the ceiling, bags of clothes and shoes scattered all over the place, suitcase undone. "I need to make room for a bed. I swear to God, I won't sleep another night on the floor."

"I already told you I am happy to accommodate you as long as you need."

"Don't change the subject," she exploded. "I found this great roommate, all I need to do is to tidy up the place a bit to make it work."

He smiled. "I see that you've done great so far."

"And you're not helping," she hid a smile. It was a nice surprise to have Derek Wills on her doorstep for breakfast. "I need this job, I need the money, I don't care if it's the ensemble, I still need the practice."

"You're going to end up like Ivy, stuck forever in the chorus," he said matter-of-factly. "You're a star Karen, act like one!"

"I'm a broke star who's been replaced. So get out of my way."

He took off his jacket instead and threw it on a pile of card boxes. "At least, let me help you."

"You'll ruin your clothes," she said. "And you'll be late."

"It shall take more than my expertise to direct a musical starring Sofia Risoletti. She makes a great nurse in a soap opera, but she's not Broadway material. It's Duval's tragedy act II. I won't be missed."

"Does that mean you're going to quit?"

"I fulfilled my contract," he stated with a shrug. He opened a box, found a pile of underwear and smiled before passing it over to Karen who turned instantly red and shoved the box against the door. "I don't owe Eileen anything," he continued, unfazed. "I can go whenever I please, I can choose whoever I want. Listen Karen, I'd like to take you with me."

"To take me with you?"

"Oh, for crying out loud! Yes, with me. You deserve more than 'Bombshell'. As much as I like Marilyn, it's officially a sinking ship. It won't benefit my career to stay," he stated with a smirk, "or yours for that matter."

"My career is in the toilet right this moment."

"So take a leap of faith, come with me. This new musical, it's going to be exciting. I'm sure I can even convince Jerry to give you the lead."

"Jerry? Like in…"

"…Eileen's ex, yes."

"Oh, you're working for Jerry Rand again? Why?"

"Because Jerry is a great producer and I must say I feel in his debt. I dropped out of 'My Fair Lady' quite abruptly to follow Eileen and her wild dream. As it happened, Eileen is a maverick who doesn't know what she's doing. She's up to her neck in debts. She'll never recover from Marilyn."

"All the more reason for staying."

"This is a business, love, not a charity. I can't work for free or I'm finished."