Brandon Walsh took a deep breath before turning and looking at his twin sister, Brenda. Brenda sent a quick glance to her adopted daughter, Carly, who clung to Brenda's hand with a fierceness that Brandon thought was adorable from the little four year old. When Brenda looked back up at her brother, she hesitated only a moment before nodding her head in the affirmative. After nearly thirteen years, Brandon Walsh pushed open the door, stepping once again into the house where he and Brenda had spent their later teenage years after they first moved to Beverly Hills with their parents.
"Bren….we own this now. This is our house," Brandon mumbled, somewhat in awe.
Brenda smiled at her brother and nodded her head. "What perfect timing for the old place to still be on the market, huh? And it doesn't look like any former residents changed anything too major. Kinda takes you back, doesn't it?"
Brandon broke into a grin. "That it does, Brenda; that it does."
While Brenda bent down to explain to her daughter that this was where they would be living from now on, Brandon walked slowly through the entry way and the living room, making his way to the kitchen and letting memory after memory flood his mind and wash over him like a downpour.
He'd kissed Kelly Taylor in that very kitchen years and years ago. It'd been a while since they had talked. He wondered if she'd fixed things with Dylan. Or if maybe there was a chance for him to rekindle the old flames between them.
Brenda was kneeled down in front of Carly, tickling her and kissing her little round, deeply tanned cheeks, when there was a knock on the frame of the front door, which had been left hanging open. She looked toward the door and lit up immediately.
"Steve!" she cried, bolting up right and running toward him, embracing him.
Steve laughed, caught off guard by Brenda's behavior. It wasn't in her usual demeanor to be so excited. Nonetheless, he hugged her back and pointed toward the driveway where Janet was struggling to get their daughter to agree to come in and meet her parents' old high school buddies. Brenda was gushing over how big Madeline had gotten (she was now fourteen years of age) as Brandon walked back into the living room, hearing all the commotion.
"Steve Sanders," Brandon said, causing him to spin around in not-quite-surprise.
"Well if it isn't Brandon Walsh," Steve tsked. Then he broke into a wide grin and tugged the other man into his chest, giving him a hug that had been thirteen years in waiting. "It's great to see you, man. It's been too long."
Brandon agreed. "And under such terrible circumstances. Who'd have thought it'd be Nat bringing us all back together?"
Brenda stepped into the conversation. "I don't know, Brandon. The Peach Pit was our place. We were always Nat's favorites. I'm not really surprised."
"Speaking of the Peach Pit, I'm pretty sure Valerie is already there. And Dylan should be soon, with Kelly. Wanna head up there?" Janet offered as she approached the three old friends. "I can't get Madeline to get out, but the promise of a Peach Pit smoothie will at least get her out when we get there."
"I'd love to see Dylan and Kelly again," Brenda smiled.
"Bren, I can't help but notice whose name you said first," Brandon said pointedly.
Brenda rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Brandon. Do you know how long it's been since I've been inside the Peach Pit?"
"And it's got nothing to do with one certain Dylan McKay?" he asked, light disapproval obvious in his tone.
"No, oh brother of mine. Nothing to do with Dylan McKay. Now could we get a move on?" Brenda, now rather annoyed, pushed past Janet in the doorway, sure not to be too rough with Carly following behind.
"Well, the ladies hath spoken, Brand. I think it's time we make a stop by the old breeding ground," Steve suggested.
Kelly Taylor had hardly changed in the thirteen years since Brandon had seen her. More mature, sure, but he still found her as beautiful as ever. Whereas he knew he was beginning to look wrinkled beyond his thirty-seven years. Journalism was a hell of a profession, he had to say. He hadn't aged nearly as well as his friends. Perpetual bad boy Dylan McKay, for instance.
That figured; he's always seemed to play second best to Dylan. Brandon was never quite first place in anyone's life if Dylan became involved. His thoughts were only reinforced by the chaste kiss Kelly placed on Dylan's lips as their son, Sammy, came running up, begging for a chocolate milkshake.
"You look great!" Brenda was saying, doing the whole double-cheek kiss she'd picked up in Paris and hugging Kelly.
"Brenda." Dylan acknowledged his old flame with a nod and a small smile.
"Hey," Brenda said, her tone changing entirely as she reached for him with the same double-kiss and tight embrace.
Brandon frowned disapprovingly at his sister's obvious flirtation. He knew Kelly and Dylan weren't married—and that Brenda would take full advantage of that fact.
"Go say 'hi'," Janet snapped at Madeline, who was scowling, arms crossed over her chest. Janet gave her a small shove toward the Walsh twins and Kelly and Dylan.
"Hi," the young teen grumbled.
Brandon snickered a little when he noticed Steve roll his eyes. Before he could make the usual cliché comment about how he hadn't seen Madeline since she was a baby, the bell above the door dinged and three more of the West Beverly crew strolled in: David and Donna Silver (neè Martin) and their six year old Ruby, and Valerie Malone, who had a young teenager of her own in tow.
Valerie shot Brandon a strange look before seeing Dylan and perking up. Ah, some things never changed.
"Valerie Malone! You can't date boys so far underage!" Brenda teased, running over and hugging the woman she'd been friends with since childhood.
Valerie laughed, hugging her back. "Brenda, this is my son, Ben."
The group, who had been immersed in several small conversations before their arrival, quickly silenced at the revelation. Of course, who else could he be? But none of them had been aware that Valerie had, at any point, been pregnant.
Donna was the first to break the silence in her usual fashion—needing all the answers. "Well, who's the father?"
"It's a secret," the boy spoke up sullenly.
They all looked at each other and Valerie rolled her eyes. "He's just the product of an old fling. No one you guys know," she laughed.
"Well," David clapped. "Who's missing? I'm ready to head out and visit Nat. He is why we're all back, after all."
Brandon spoke up. "Andrea and Jesse should be here with Hannah soon. She called on the way over."
"Actually, I spoke to Ray earlier, too. He and his wife Wendy are going to meet us at the hospital. They moved back here recently, and Wendy works there as an EMT and she'll be getting off soon," Donna interjected.
Again, the group quieted down, remembering how Ray had treated Donna, none too believing of his later apology for his behavior. To this, Donna rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on, guys. He apologized. He got help. And really, what woman would be able to work at a hospital without it being obvious if her husband is beating her? I swear things are all good now." When no one said anything in response, Donna shifted all of her weight onto one foot and put her hands on her hips in a stance reminiscent of their high school and college days. "Are you really all so childish and immature that you're still holding a grudge from over a decade ago? If I'm the one that put up with it and I've forgiven him, I think the rest of you can do the same."
"Ya know guys, Donna's right. She's forgiven him. Why don't we all give Ray the benefit of the doubt and start him over with a clean slate? We were all stupid kids back then who made stupid mistakes," David reasoned.
Kelly nodded her head. "Okay, Donna, if you can forgive him, then I suppose I can, too," she smiled.
"Oh, thank you sweetie," Donna sighed in relief, giving her fellow blonde a hug.
"Yeah, alright, alright," Dylan agreed.
The rest of the group nodded, murmuring their agreements until Steve spoke up. "Well, does anyone else have any big news?" He looked around expectantly at his group of friends.
"Well," Janet began, covering her mouth with the side of her hand, "Madeline just became a woman last month." She kept her voice low, but Madeline heard anyway.
"Oh my god, Mom!" she screeched, stamping her foot on the ground. "No one wants to know that! God, you're ridiculous!" The fourteen year old stormed out of the diner, grumbling and muttering, likely cursing her mother under her breath.
Janet sighed. "Maybe now she'll quit complaining and just not talk to me."
The group laughed, continuing on with their catching up until, yet again, the bell signaled new arrivals, this time bringing in Andrea and her husband Jesse Vasquez, and daughter Hannah.
"Hannah, would you put your phone up for a few minutes and say hello? Our friends haven't seen you since you were a baby," Jesse said pointedly.
Hannah sighed, rolled her eyes, and slipped the new iPhone into her pocket before glancing up at the group of adults surrounding her. Immediately, her eyes zeroed in on Brenda. "Omigod! You're Brenda Walsh! You're freaking actress Brenda Walsh!" She spun on her parents. "Why didn't you ever tell me you were friends with Brenda freaking Walsh?!"
Andrea shrugged. "Never came up."
Hannah stared at her, a look of disbelief and astonishment gracing her strikingly similar features. "Never came up? You mean it never came up when I put a new poster of her on my wall? Or when I went on about how I freaking idolize her? What in the world do you mean it never came up? Mother, the subject was always up!"
Andrea laughed. "Well, we wanted to surprise you!"
Brenda came up behind Hannah and dangled a napkin in front of her face, black scribblings running diagonally across the flimsy paper. And Hannah proceeded to scream. "Omigod! Brenda Walsh's autograph! Omigod, omigod, omigod!" She snatched the thin scrap from Brenda's hand, spun on her heel to give Brenda a hug so tight she thought the girl would puncture her lungs, and then ran off dialing her phone, obviously going to tell every one of her friends that her parents were friends with Brenda freaking Walsh!"
At her behavior, Steve was nearly doubled over, and Valerie's son, Ben, looked quite scared and startled. He inched close to Brandon and tugged lightly on the sleeve of his suit. "Are all girls that crazy?" Ben whispered, looking up innocently at Brandon.
Brandon struggled to keep the corners of his mouth down so he didn't laugh. It didn't exactly work. "Pretty much, kid, yeah. See all these nice ladies? They used to be not so different from Hannah, there. But no worries, little man. They get better."
Ben blinked at Brandon. "Little man? Dude. I'm 13. I'm fairly innocent, but I'm not stupid." With that, the kid walked back to stand in place beside his mother and Brandon was left sputtering, unsure of what had just passed between them."
Steve laughed loudly, slapping Brandon hard on the back. "You gotta learn how to talk to a teenager, man. It's not the same as talking to a kid. Ah, Madeline definitely taught us it's not like that anymore."
"She definitely seems like a handful," Brandon agreed.
"That's an understatement," Janet said, moving around Brandon and simultaneously slipping Steve's wallet from his back pocket.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"What?" she shrugged. "I'm craving a burger and I left my wallet in my purse out in the van. So sue me."
Steve watched his wife head over to the counter where a young man of seemingly Spanish descent, stepped to the kitchen window to relay her order. As he watched, he spoke to Brandon. "Man, I think Janet is pregnant again. This is how she acts when she's with child."
"Really? She never seemed like it with Madeline," Brandon said.
"She normally does it in private," Steve sighed with a frown.
"Ah, but wouldn't you like another kid? Maybe a son? It's like none of you guys have had any more children since we all dispersed."
"That's because we haven't. Too busy with careers and such," Andrea cut in. "Isn't that the same reason you're still unmarried at thirty-seven?"
Brandon's nostrils flared in slight annoyance. He was glad to know that that little fact about his life hadn't gone unnoticed by the masses.
"Yeah, Brand, why aren't you married yet?" Dylan asked from across the group.
Brandon shrugged. "Just haven't found the right girl yet, I guess."
"Or is it that you're still hopelessly hung up on me?" Kelly giggled teasingly, sending him a playful wink.
"Hey, don't go giving him any ideas," Dylan joked, pressing his lips down on Kelly's.
Brandon pursed his lips and didn't let on that that just so happened to actually be a very huge reason as to why he had never gotten married. Part of him was still hung up on Kelly. She was one of the great loves of his life. Maybe the greatest.
"Well, come on, guys! Are we or are we not all here for Nat? Shouldn't we go see the old guy?" David said loudly.
In a loud chorus of agreements, the old West Beverly High gang crowded out of The Peach Pit, still technically under Dylan's ownership, and made their way to their respective rides before heading off to see their old friend and mentor.
A/N: Well, this is the start of my new Beverly Hills, 90210 story. I've recently gotten back into the show (as I was very young when it was on originally, with it having started four years before I was actually born) and decided that I love these characters enough that I want to know what would happen to them almost fifteen years after they'd all basically left each others' lives. I don't have it all entirely plotted out yet, but I do have a few big surprises in store. Please, please, please review and tell me what you think! I'd love feedback so I know if this is worth continuing for the masses, or just in my head for my own personal amusement. (: