A Christmas To Remember

Summery : The Hansens go on a Christmas vacation to try to relax but they are doing anything but relaxing.

Ashley's POV:

Signs, cards, trees. Christmas stuff was everywhere. I could almost taste it. Finals were over (Thank God) and Amy and I were free for two whole weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS!! I was sitting in Syd's office watching her eat lunch and humming to myself. It was only noon but school had gotten out early because of finals.
"So did you find a place for vacation?" I asked. Syd and I had been trying to plan a vacation for the whole family for about two weeks and we'd come up with NOTHING.
"Yes," she answered. She saw the surprised look on my face. "Yes, I actually found a place."
"Where?" I asked excitedly.
"Its in Connecticut. It's a town called East Cove," Syd said. "Small town, lots of shops and tourism. It even has a ski resort and lots of concerts." She handed me the brochure.
I flipped through it. "Cool," I said.
"I hope I can be as convincing to the rest of the family," Syd said.
I smiled. "Don't worry you will be."

"So where exactly is this place?" Amy asked wrinkling her nose.
"Right near Hartford," Syd exclaimed
"When do we leave?" Joanie asked excitedly.
"Day after tomorrow," Syd answered.
I just sat there but inside I was jumping up and down. I couldn't wait, I'd never even heard of that town so it would be a new experience for me.

Later that night I was in my room packing when Amy came in
"We're not leaving till Friday," she said sitting down on her bed.
"I want to get a head start," I said. "I can't wait to go skiing."
Amy laughed. "Yeah but you'll be without lover boy for two whole weeks."
"He's going to New York to visit his family," I said. I put another shirt into the suitcase.
"Whatever," Amy said. She put her earphones on and turned up her music. I shook my head. One of these days she was going to go deaf. Then the phone rang.
"Hello?" I answered picking it up.
"Hey its me," Casey said. "Free at last."
I laughed. "Yep." I sat on my bed. "Hey guess what?"
"What?" Casey asked.
"I get to go on vacation for Christmas," I said. "We leave day after tomorrow."
"Cool," Casey said. "Then I guess I'll have to give you your present early."
"Yep! Me too," I said. "Why don't we exchange gifts tomorrow say noon?"
"OK," Casey said. "Better do it at your house since mine is being painted. Oh and what did you get Brian?"
I smiled. "A shoe shine kit," I answered. "I know its stupid but he's always saying how his shoes are always dirty."
:"Good choice," Casey said. She broke out laughing. "I think."
"Shut up," I said cracking up myself. "Listen I gotta go I'll see you tomorrow."
"OK bye," Casey said and the line went dead.

The next day Brian and I were sitting on the porch exchanging gifts and seeing each other for one last time. Casey wasn't due for another hour.
"My present I got you is really lame," I said with a laugh. "You can take it back if you don't want it."
Brian ripped off the paper and stared at it. "Hey cool!"
"Do you totally hate it?" I asked.
"No, its great," Brian said with a smile. He kissed me on the cheek. "Now my shoes won't be dirty." He looked at me. "I'm going to miss you."
"Me too," I said. "I'll send you a post card."
Brian smiled. "I'd like that and I'll send you one."
We kissed.
"Ah they're at it again," Amy said from behind us.
I looked at her. "Go away."
Amy just laughed and walked into the house.
I turned back to Brian. "Ignore her."
Brian didn't say anything. Then the gate opened again but this time it was Casey.
"Hey I'm early but I have to go shopping soon," Casey said. She handed me my gift.
I got hers out from under the swing. "Here you go," I said handing it to her.
"Ok on the count of three we open," Casey said.
"OK one..two..three," I said. "OPEN!!"
We both tore into the wrapping paper and each revealed the exact same blue sweater.
Casey stared laughing. "Well uh..."
"Wow we know each other so well," I said with a laugh.
"Girls," Brian muttered. He stood up. "Hey Ash I gotta get going I gotta go pack for the big apple."
I kissed him goodbye. "Bye."
"Bye," Brian answered and headed for the gate. "Bye Casey."
"Bye Bri," Casey called.
I turned back to her. "Jeez I'm gonna miss you guys."
"I'm gonna miss you more," Casey said. We held up our sweaters.
"What a sight," I said and we both rolled over in the snow laughing.

Amys POV

There was a sharp knock on the back door, I went for it. I swung open the door, and there was Chris. i smiled.
" Hey Amester." He said and smiled.
" Chris." I said. I grabbed my jacket and walked outside with him. We stood around in the snow for a little while. JUst standing there. "Just me, or is there tension?"
" I think there's tension." He said laughing.
" Total." I smiled.
" I got you a present." He said.
" I got you one too." I said and bit my lip. I reached in my pocket and pulled out the small box. "Here."
" Thanks." He said, and got a small box out of his jacket pocket. "Here." He said, we opened our gifts in silence. I opened mine slowly, inside was a silver chain bracelet with a locket attached. I opened the locket and inside was a picture of Chris, Sharon and me.
" Thank you." I said, and dove in for a hug.
" Thank you." He said laughing. "A skull and crossbones bracelet."
" Yeah." I said. "Uh, Chris. What are you doing for Christmas?"
" Nothing." He said and laughed. "Just hanging."
" Okay, well I'll talk to you later." I said. "Have fun."
" You too."
" I hope." I said, and smiled. I was nervous. Then he did what I had been waiting for since we met. He leaned in and kissed me. "Now thats a shocker."
" Sorry." He said and started turning red. "Can't have Christmas without the mistle toe kiss."
" Oh really, can't have Christmas without the classic, 'I'm leaving town' kiss either." I said and smiled.
" Your right." He said. He kissed me again, and then we laughed.
" That's more like it." I said and smiled.
" Bye."
" Bye," I said and laughed. I watched him get into his car and drive away, I smiled. I walked inside and went upstairs. I was so happy, Chris kissed me. Life was great, then I realized life still sucked. But Chris kissed me, so it was the yin and yang of the world. I laid down on my bed, and just thought of fun times, instead of bad times, something I hadn't done in ages...

Before I knew it, it was Friday. Robbie and his family was over, they were coming along. We were throwing our stuff into the back of Joanie's car. Jim wanted to go, but he was spending time with his girlfriend, and since Heather wasn't going to have her family around, HEather was going to Jim's girlfriends for Christmas dinner.
Ashley and i were up in the room collecting things for the ride to East Cove. I was wearing low rise birght orange Dickies jeans, and a black turtleneck, and of course my jacket. Ashley was wearing blue flares, and a Christmas colors peasant top with her jacket.
" You ready?" she aske.d
" Yep." I said. I stood up and we went outside to the car. Robbie and his family, were sitting in their car waiting. We waved and got into Joanie's car. Hannah was in the middle and we were on each side or Hannah. Syd and Joanie in the front.

" THERE SHE GOES! THERE SHE GOES AGAIN! RACING THROUGH MY BRAIN, AND I JUST CAN'T CONTAIN...!" Joanie, Syd, and Ashley sang at the top of their lungs. I just sat there and laughed.
" Okay, you guys want to hear a good song?" I asked.
" Sure." Joanie said. SHe grabbed my CD, and popped it in. "What number?"
" Uh, I like Six Pence Non the Richer better." Ashley said and laughed.
" Ohhh Papa Roach." Joanie said. "I like it."
" Cool." I said and smiled.

Finally we got to East Cove. It seemed like a quiet town, brightly lit with Christmas lights, snow falling, your average Christmas movie town. We pulled into the resort parking lot.
" Were here." Hannah screamed. We laughed, and piled out of the car. Robbie and Tina were standing there. Pete and Hannah auotmatically ran over to each other, and started playing.
" Let's go sign in." Syd said and smiled. We followed her, and Ashley leaned in whispering to me.
" This is going to be the best Christmas ever." She said.
" One thing missing." I said.
" Whats that?" She asked.
" Mom." I whispered harshly back, I leaned away from her then.

Ashley's POV:

Our hotel or lodge as it was called was a big cabin like building. It had three stories with decks on each one. East Cove was a small town, kind of like on the show Gilmore girls. Kids played in the road, not much traffic. Lights were everywhere and for sale signs were on every corner. I'd never been in a place so quiet yet so noisy at the same time. We walked into the lodge and I looked around, the place was old timie looking and it looked like it had been here for a hundred years. It was dark and I could barely see to get around. A guy around the age of forty was behind the desk.
"Can I help you?" the man behind the desk asked.
Syd walked up to it. "Yes, I'm Dr. Sydney Hansen I reserved four rooms here."
The man typed something on his computer. I went up behind Syd.
"Ah yes," the man said. "Rooms 305, 306. 307. 308." The man handed Syd a piece of paper.
"Thank you," Syd said. She turned to me. "OK let's get going." Syd went over to the others.
"Are we ready?" Joanie asked.
"Yep," Syd said. She grabbed a suitcase.
I grabbed mine and followed everyone to the elevator. I saw Amy roll her eyes. "Hey this'll be fun."
"I feel like I've stepped back into the eightieth century," Amy whispered.
"Give it a chance," I whispered back. Soon we reached the third floor and found our rooms. Unlike the downstairs the rooms were huge with tall windows and two queen size beds.
"Oh wow," Joanie said.
Syd handed me a key.
"What's this?" I asked taking it from here.
"I think its time you girls have your own sweet," she said with a smile.
I looked at gasping and I started jumping up and down. "Syd this is awesome thank you so much."
"No problem," Syd said. She headed for the door. "Joanie and I will be right next door."
I nodded. "Hey Syd?"
Syd turned around. "Yeah."
"Is my dad coming?" I asked.
"Tomorrow," Syd answered and closed the door.
Amy and I started screaming and jumping up and down. I went over to one of the beds and laid down on it. "See Amy I told you things wouldn't be so bad."
"Apparently not," Amy said. She got on the other bed. "And look they even have a big screen TV."
"We're not going to be here long enough to watch it," I said. I went over to the window and opened the curtain. The view was amazing, I could see practically the whole town. People were hurrying about, children played on the sidewalks. "Oh wow this view is amazing Amy come look."
Amy came over to the window and looked over my shoulder. "Cool."
Then the phone rang and we both stopped, deathly quiet.
"Who would be calling us on this phone?" Amy asked.
I picked it up and reached for it. "Hello?" I whispered.
"Hey Ash its Syd," Syd said. "I wanted to give you the number to our room and tell you that we're going to sight see in about an hour, Tina has to feed Luke first."
"OK," I said. I grabbed a pen and paper from the bedside table drawer. "OK what's the number?"
Syd quickly told me the number and told us to be ready in an hour. I hung up and turned to Amy.
"Who was it?" Amy asked. She was lying on her bed looking at me.
"Syd," I answered. "She said we're going site seeing in an hour."
"Cool," Amy said. She reached for the remote and flipped on the TV.
I sighed and laid down on my bed. This trip was awesome and it had just begun.

An hour later we all bundled up and headed out into the town. Tiny shops lined the streets and I could see a huge Christmas tree.
"Look at the tree Hannah," Joanie said pointing.
"Wow," Hannah said with excitement. I saw her eyes light up.
"So what should we do first?" Syd asked looking through a brochure. "There's ice skating, skiing, sledding."
"Ice skating sounds fun," Tina said. "I used to ice skate all the time in New York when I was a kid."
"Ice skating sounds fun," I said.
"There's a rink over that way," Syd said. She pointed left. We all crossed the street and headed to the rink. Tons of kids were there skating and Christmas music blasted from huge speakers.
"We need to rent skates," Syd told us. I felt as if she were the ringleader of the group and we her followers. It was kind of funny when you thought about it.
"I can get my own," I said. I held out my hand. "If you give me some money."
Syd laughed and handed me a five dollar bill. "I'm pretty sure they're four dollars to rent."
"OK," I said and hurried off to get my skates. I stood in line of about four people and while I was waiting I looked around. Lights hung from tiny trees and there was a huge snow man in the middle of the rink.
"Can I help you?" the lady asked snapping me out of my daydream.
I walked up to the booth. "I need a size six please."
The lady handed me a size six. I handed her the money. She gave me a dollar back.
"Thanks," I said and hurried to join the others. "Hey can I go skate?"
"Wait for your sister you two can go together," Syd said.
I sighed and sat down in a chair my skates dangling from my left hand "Hurry up Amy," I whined.
"I'm hurrying hold your horses," she said. I saw her go up to the renting booth. Finally after what seemed like forever she came back over to me with her skates. I was already lacing mine up.
"This is gonna be so fun," I said. I stood up and skated over to the gate to get onto the rink. Amy came over to me a few seconds later.
"You act like you've never been skating before," she said as we got onto the rink. I held onto the wall to gain my balance.
"Its fun," I said. We skated out into the middle of the rink. "Remember mom used to take us to Rockerfeller and we'd skate for hours."
"That's where we learned how," Amy said a far away look on her face. She looked at me. "Remember you kept falling on your butt like fifty times."
I laughed. "I was so sore after that," I said. I spun around in circles. "Wee."
I saw Amy crack a smile and she spun around with me. Then Syd came onto the rink. She skated over to us.
"So what do you think?" she asked.
"Awesome," I said. "And we've only been here an hour."
Syd laughed. She watched as Joanie brought Hannah onto the rink. "Come here sweet girl."
"I can't I'm scared," Hannah said. She looked like she was holding onto Joanie really tight.
I skated over to her and took her hand. "Here I'll help you."
Hannah smiled and skated into the middle of the rink, holding my hand. She smiled up at me.
"Ashley can we build a snow man like that one/" Hannah asked pointing to the large snowman in the middle of the rink.
"Maybe," I said. I picked her up. Luckily I was a good skater and I could hold her and skate at the same time. I spun her around. She was laughing. I put her back down and held onto her so she wouldn't fall.
"Having fun bug?" Joanie asked coming over to us.
"Yeah," Hannah said with delight, her eyes danced from me to Joanie and then back again.
Then I saw a snowflake. "Hey you guys its snowing." I opened my mouth.
"Ashley you're acting like a baby," Amy said coming over to me.
I looked at her. "So?" I said. I looked back up at the sky. "The holidays have begun."

Amys POV

After skating, we were really hungry. So we went out to eat, a small restaurant called Russel's. The waitress ave us our seats, and a few minutes later she took our orders.
"I have such a feeling, this is going to suck." I said.
" Oh shush, you're having a great time." Ashley said
" Lie." I said. I looked down at my bracelet, and opened the locket. I kept remembering times Sharon and I spent together, Christmas's with Mom, what Holly and I always talked about, and those kisses Chris and I had. Ashley must have seen something on my mind.
" Whats wrong?" She asked.
" Nothing." I said quietly.
" Something is." She said. "Thinking bout Mom?"
" Not only Mom. Remember, most of the people I love are dead." I said.
" Oh yeah." Ashley said she looked out the window. "I feel horrible. Sometimes, I feel like I'm over Mom."
" It's nothing to feel horrible about Ash. You didn't get over her or forget, you're just not grasping hoping she's coming back. You've accepted it."
" Yeah, your right." She said with a slight smile. "I miss Brian."
" Oh Dear God, shoot me." I said.
" so, I saw you." She said with a sing song voice.
" Saw who?" I asked.
" I saw you and Chris kissing." She said, she blew kisses, and laughed.
" Yeah and?" I asked.
" You and Chris were kissing." She said in the same sing songy voice. Joanie leaned in from her table.
" KISSY KISSY!" She said and laughed. I just smiled.
" Kissy kissy you too." I said, we all laughed.

When Ashley and I got back to our rooms, I laid down on my bed and turned on the television. I put on the most important channel, MTV. Ashley fell asleep early, and I laughed. My sister falling asleep at 10, only she could do that on break.

Ashley's POV:

"So Syd when can we go skiing?" I asked the next morning as we sat in the hotel restaurant.
"The weather conditions aren't good for skiing today," Syd replied. She winked at me. "But there is a great karaoke bar down the street."
"So?" I said. I sat back in my seat. "I'm not singing in front of a bunch of strangers."
"Ah c'mon Ash," Syd urged. "You did that whole a walk to remember play in three different cities."
I sighed. "We'll see," I finally said. I had really wanted to go skiing but the karaoke bar did sound fun.
"So is it an actual bar?" Amy asked. She must have been listening in on the conversation.
Syd narrowed her eyes. "That's none of your business."
"Rats," Amy said slumping back in her seat.
"That's a bad habit to get into Ame," I said.
Amy stuck out her tongue at me.
"Ok so are we ready to go?" Syd asked. She stood up. "Tina and them are gonna meet us later."
I nodded and grabbed my heavy coat. I slipped it on, ready to brave the cold. After a few minutes we walked out of the hotel and into the cold snowy weather. I could see my breath coming out in puffs and my hands were frozen.
"Is it this cold at home?" Amy asked her teeth chattering.
"Duh," I said. I looked at her and started laughing. "So how are away is this place?" I asked turning to Syd.
"I thought we'd shop around first and then go," Syd said.
"Can we go ice skating again?" Amy asked. I knew she was trying her best to have fun.
"Why not," Syd said. She cast me a shy smile. We were silent as we headed for the ice skating rink. I watched as people passed by, some in a hurry, some just taking in everything around them, like we were. I ten noticed a little girl with no shoes and dirt on her face, she was wearing a dress that looked way to big for her. I looked at Syd. The little girl looked to be about five and had long dark brown hair and big brown eyes.
I went over to her and bent down. "Are you lost?"
The little girl didn't say anything she just stared at me.
"Can you speak English?" I asked her.
The little girl nodded. She pointed. "Mommy."
I looked over to where the little girl was pointing and then I saw someone rushing toward her.
"Kayla we don't talk to strangers," the woman said harshly.
I stood up. "I'm sorry I thought she was lost." The woman didn't look any better did the child did, she wore ragged clothes. Where these people homeless? I thought.
"Thank you," the woman said and she walked away with the child.
I turned back and looked at Syd and Amy. Amy was just staring at me with a look on her face that read are you stupid they could have been killers.
"OK let's go," Syd said. She looked at me. "That was very sweet what you did."
I shrugged. "She looked kind of lost and cold."
Syd nodded. Soon we reached the ice skating rink.

By the late afternoon...at like three o'clock the weather was dying down a bit. It was perfect for skiing.
"Can we go skiing now?" I asked. We'd stayed at the ice skating rink for three hours and now were sitting in the center of town at the town green.
"I don't see why not," Syd said. Joanie, Tina, Robbie, Hannah, Pete and Jim had finally been able to meet us and I was hoping they'd all go skiing with us.
"Cool," I said. We walked to the ski resort (it was only about five blocks) and rented skis.
"So Ash wonna race?" Pete asked.
I shrugged and looked at him. "Depends on how good you are."
Pete started off down the hill. We were both on the bunny slopes that didn't have a lift.
I darted after him, having only been skiing once in my life I thought I was doing pretty good if I don't say so myself.
"I won," Pete called. I skied after him and stopped.
"Not fair," I said. "You went before I was ready."
Pete chucked. "That's because you're ski like a girl."
"I do not," I said. I trudged back up the hill. "Let's go again."
Then we heard our names being called.
"Ash, Pete," Joanie called. "Can you two watch Hannah while I go do a run with Syd?"
"Sure," I said. I went over to them or trying to. "Can I teach Hannah how to ski?"
"Yeah can she mommy?" Hannah asked hopefully.
"Sure just be careful," Joanie said. "I'll be back." We watched as Joanie walked away from us.
"Come on Hannah," I said. I took her hand. "Let's go learn how to ski."

We stayed at the ski slopes until almost seven and then we went back to the hotel to decide on dinner.
"I say we go to that bar Syd was talking about," Amy said. She turned to me. "You could sing Ash."
I shook my head. "No, I don't think so."
"Ah come on Ash," Joanie said. "It'll be fun."
"Well I can stay here with Luke," Tina said. "I'm really tired."
"OK," Syd said.
"So is that where we want to go?" Jim asked.
"Well this place isn't really a bar so it'll be good for Hannah and Pete," Syd said. I saw Amy roll her eyes.
"OK cool," Joanie said cheerfully. "Let's go."
We went to the bar called Pete's and Pete thought that was cool that a restaurant was named after him. The place was crowed and noisy but I didn't care.
"Let's sit by the stage," Syd said. The music was deafening.
We all followed Syd toward a table in the front. We sat down and I looked around. We were sitting in front of the stage but no one was singing or anything.
Then a waitress came over to our table and we all placed our orders. Suddenly someone stepped up onstage.
"Hey people we need some entertainment here," the person said.
Syd nudged me in the elbow. "Go up there."
"I don't want to," I said. Looked around. "All these people are probably drunk anyway."
"Its not a bar," Syd said. "Come on go up there it'll be fun."
I stood up and walked nervously to the guy who was running the music.
"Come to sing for us huh?" the guy asked. He seemed friendly. "What do you want to sing?"
"Do you have the song Cry by Mandy Moore?" I asked.
The guy looked through his CD's. "Sure do." The guy pointed to the stage. "Go up there and I'll introduce you. What's your name?"
"Ashley," I said. I walked up onstage.
"Ladies and gentleman I'd like to introduce our next act Ashley singing Cry by Mandy Moore."
I went up to the microphone and waited for the music to start. Finally it did and I waited for the note to start singing.

I'll Always remember it was late afternoon it lasted forever it ended so soon you were all by yourself staring up at dark gray sky. I was changed...
In places no one will find all your secrets so deep inside it was then I that I realized that forever was in your eyes.

I felt as if I was the only one in the room, I got lost in the music When I got to the bridge of the song I let it go, my voice was rich and full. I could tell that some people were actually singing along with me like you see at concerts. Finally the song ended and loud clapping and screaming met my ears. I walked off the stage and back to the table.
"That was awesome kiddo," Syd said. "I didn't know you had that in you."
I sat down beside her grinning from ear to ear.
"That was good Ash," Pete said.
"Thanks," I said smiling. Finally our dinner came and I dug in. I was starving, guess singing take a lot of energy out of you.
"Excuse me are you Ashley the one that just sang?" a person asked from behind me. I turned around and saw a guy about thirty with brown hair standing behind me.
I looked at Syd and then back at him. "Yes," I finally said.
"I just wanted to tell you that I haven't heard anyone sing as well as you in a long time," the man said. "You could be the next Brittany Spears or Mandy Moore."
"That's her goal," Amy said.
I poked her in the side. "Shut up," I hissed. I turned back to the guy. "Thanks I've always loved singing."
The guy held out a card. "I'm Jason Fisher manager of Slide Records."
I took the card and read it quickly.
"If you're interested I'd love to hear some more of your work," Mr. Fisher said. "We'll be in Providence two weeks from today doing auditions."
"I live in Providence," I said. I pointed to Syd. "This is my legal Guardian Dr. Sydney Hansen."
"Pleasure," Mr. Fisher said shaking hands with Syd. "Well think about it and if you're interested come to the Providence Theatre two weeks from today."
"Thanks," I said. I watched him walk away and turned back around.
"Wow Ash you're going to be famous," Joanie said. "You were really great out there."
"Thanks," I said.
"Its probably just a hoax," Amy said.
I looked at her. "It is not," I snapped.
"You'll believe anything," Amy said.
I looked away from my sister I wasn't going to let her bad attitude spoil my fun.

Around nine we walked back to the hotel after listening to several acts and eating dinner. The day had been fun but I was exhausted. As we approached the hotel I noticed that the same little girl was in the exact same spot where she'd been that afternoon. I went over to her.
"HI sweetie where's your mommy," I said.
"Ash," Syd said. She came up to me.
"I think her mom said her name was Kayla," I told Syd. I looked at Kayla. "Sweetie where's your mommy."
Kayla didn't say anything she just pointed across the street where bunches of people were. I looked where she was pointing. Across the street was a bar, and hundreds of people were outside of it talking and some were smoking.
"Her mom probably left her here," Syd said.
"Do you think she's in the bar?" I asked.
"I'll go find out," Syd said.
I stayed right where I was with Joanie, Pete, Hannah, Robbie, Jim and the little girl. We watched as Syd went across the street. A few minutes later she came back.
"No sign of her," Syd said. She reached for her phone. "We need to call the police this child's obviously been abandoned."
I looked at Kayla and noticed her eyes where blood shot read. Syd was talking on her cell phone.
"Yes I found a child wondering the streets," Syd said. She talked for a few minutes and then hung up. "They said they'd send over a police officer."
Then we heard sirens.
"That was fast," Joanie said.
"Small town," I said. A few minutes later a police car pulled up at the curb and got out.
"Is this the kid?" the officer asked.
"Yes," Syd answered.
"I know her," the officer said. "Her mom was arrested for possession of marijuana and the mom said the boyfriend would take care of her."
"Looks like he didn't do a very good job," Syd said.
I nodded in agreement.
Then a guy started coming across the street toward us.
"Hey get away from my kid," the man barked. He pulled Kayla from my grip.
"Excuse me sir have you been drinking?" the officer asked.
"What's it to you?" the man barked. He had Kayla by the arm but Kayla didn't seem to be crying or struggling which I thought seemed odd.
"What's your name sir?" the officer asked.
The guy started walking away stumbling at each step. He still held Kayla by the arm.
"Aren't you going to arrest him?" Syd asked the officer. "He shouldn't be taking care of a child in his condition."
Then we saw the guy fall with Kayla with him. Syd started running toward them, the officer followed. I stayed behind with Amy, Jim, Hannah, Pete, and Joanie.
"Syd always has to be the hero," Joanie mumbled. I looked at her.
"I'm gong over there," I said. I felt I had to do something; it was killing me to stand here and not do anything. I went across the street and looked. The guy was on the ground his head was bleeding. The officer was putting handcuffs on him and saying those words that police always say when they are arresting someone.
"We need to get her to the hospital," Syd said. She picked Kayla up. Kayla had a cut on her arm. "It looks like she's been given something of some sort."
"What?" I asked as I followed Syd across the street with Kayla in her arms.
"I don't know," Syd said. Then we heard her name being called.
"Ma'm," the e officer said. "I'm taking the boyfriend in. The paramedics are on their way."
"I'll take her myself," Syd said. "I think she's been given Opiate." Syd started walking left. I followed her.
"Syd I want to come," I said.
Syd looked at me. "OK, go tell the others where we're going and what's happening."
I nodded and went to tell the others. A few minutes later we reached the hospital and went straight to the ER.
"Can I help you?" the lady at the desk asked.
"Yes, we found her about two blocks from here," Syd said. "We think she was abandoned the boyfriend of the mothers was just arrested. I'm a doctor, Dr. Sydney Hansen."
"Follow me," another nurse said. She looked at me. "Are you a relative?"
"I'm with her," I said pointing to Syd. I followed them to a room. A doctor came in. "What to we have?"
"Five year old girl found walking the streets," Syd said. I noticed the doctor looked at her. "I'm a doctor, Dr. Hansen."
"Please continue," the doctor said.
I stood far away but enough so I could still see and hear everything that was going on.
"Get a CBC, tox screen," Syd said.
"Any parents?" the doctor asked as he looked Kayla over.
"The boyfriend of the mother was just arrested," Syd informed him. "And the mother was yesterday."
"OK start an IV," the doctor said.
The nurse looked at him. "I can't get a line."
"Page surgery," the doctor said.
"I can do it I'm a surgeon," Syd said. She showed him her ID.
"Dr. Syd Hansen?" the doctor asked.
Syd nodded.
"I'm Ken Brown, we went to UCLA together," he said.
"Oh right," Syd said.
"I heard you went on to plastic surgery," Dr. Brown said.
Syd nodded.
"Do you want me to page surgery?" the nurse interrupted.
"No, Dr. Hansen is going to do the cut down," Dr. Brown said. He smiled. He was really cute, even though this wasn't the time to be thinking about hot guys. I went over to the bed. "Is she gonna be OK?"
"As soon as we get the tox screen back and see what we're dealing with," Syd said as she did the IV.
"Give me a surgange," Dr. Brown said coming back over to the bed. "I'm going to inject some narcant to get this little one speaking." The doctor injected some medicine into Kayla's mouth. Kayla started crying.
"There we go," Syd said. She took off her gloves. "OK all done."
"So what are you planning on doing?" Dr. Brown asked.
"Probably call DCYF," Syd said.
I knelt down beside the bed. "Hi sweetie."
Kayla looked at me with her big brown eyes...

Syd and I stayed at the hospital until ten and waited for DCYF and then we headed back to the hotel. Amy was watching MTV when we walked in.
"Have fun saving lives?" she remarked.
I glared at her. "Do you not care?" I asked harshly.
Amy sat up. "Oh I care."
"Then why are you so mad?" I asked.
"I'm mad at you," she spat. "You stole my dream, I wanted to the actress I wanted to be the singer and tonight when you got that offer come and audition it wasn't fair."
"But you hate singing in front of people," I said. "You threw up before the church choir thing in fifth grade."
"I was nervous everyone gets nervous," Amy said. She looked at me. "I'm not talking to you."
I threw my hands in the air and sighed. "Fine be that way but you aren't going to ruin this trip for me."

It had been an hour, Ashley and I didn't say a word to each other. I was so mad. Yeah, I threw up in fifth grade...it was because I was nervous, andthe fact that Ashley had a solo. Everyone would be like, "Amy your becoming just like your sister", "Hey Amy, is Ashley teaching you?", "Amy, nice job. Wasn't you sister great?". And I wasn't going to have to go through that.
I was sitting there watching television as Ashley read her books or do whatever she does. Finally Ashley spoke.
" I can't help it if I have a GOd given talent. And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't be mad over something so stupid. It's my talent." She said. I wouldn't answer. "Singing and acting is kind of my thing, you-you-you..." She said.
" Exactly." I snapped.
" Wow you talk."
" I do." She said. "And if your really into singing, why didn't you stand up and sing?"
" Because. I don't feel like living in my sisters shadow." I snapped.
" You don't. That only applies to people with much older brother or sisters." She said and shook her head.
" Well then. You're wrong. I'm living in my sisters shadow, my sister who is an hour older than me. Sadly enough, our family could pull that off."
" I'm going to sleep." Ashley said. She went under her blankets, and turned off the light. I leaned against the backboard of my bed and watched tv.

Around eleven at night, I knew Ashley was sleeping. I put on a pair of faux leather pants, a black turtle neck, and grabbed my leather jacket. I slid on my black boots and grabbed the key, leaving the room quietly.
I walked down the streets of East Cove. It was so pretty. Lights were shining, it was snowing, people were walking around the streets, with shopping bags and everything. I was surprised the city was still alive at this time. Finally I came across the place I wanted to be; Pete's. I walked inside and took a seat near the front. The waitress came up to me.
" Can I help you?" she asked.
" A Shirley Temple please." I said.
" Right away." She said with a smile. I watched people sing. They were so good, I looked over and recognized these guys. One of the guys was the one that gave Ashley his card, Mr. Fisher. Along him were some guys in the big leagues, I saw them on MTV before, they were men that got huge actors and singers started. I got excited and I knew I had to go sing. I had too.
" Hey anyone else?!" The DJ called out. " Any more singers?"
" I will." I called, I bit my lip.
" Alright, come up here." He said. I walked up on the stage. "Whats your name?"
" Amy." I said.
" Alright Amy, what do you want?"
" Just a Girl, No Doubt."
" Wow, no one's used No Doubt for a long time. Usually we have Britney and Mandy Moore up here. Or J.Lo."
" Well, can I use No Doubt?" I asked.
" YEah sure." He said. "Alright, this is Amy! Doing 'Just a Girl' by No Doubt." He said. I stood there as he handed me the microphone. The music started. I couldn't help but dance, it was like I was acting and singing... it was awesome.

"Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I'm exposed
And it's no big surprise
Don't you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand

'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me
Don't let me out of your sight
I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights

Oh...I've had it up to here!
The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can't do the little things I hold so dear
'Cause it's all those little things
That I fear

'Cause I'm just a girl I'd rather not be
'Cause they won't let me drive
Late at night I'm just a girl,
Guess I'm some kind of freak
'Cause they all sit and stare
With their eyes

I'm just a girl,
Take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype

Oh...I've had it up to here!
Oh...am I making myself clear?
I'm just a girl
I'm just a girl in the world...
That's all that you'll let me be!
I'm just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Makes me worry some

I'm just a girl, what's my destiny?
What I've succumbed to Is making me numb
I'm just a girl, my apologies
What I've become is so burdensome
I'm just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum there's no comparison

Oh...I've had it up to!
Oh...I've had it up to!!
Oh...I've had it up to here!"

I finished, I was out of breath and sweating. Everyone clapped and cheered. I smiled, and handed the mic back. I walked down to my seat. I sat there until the bar closed, the men never came up to me. I left, so disappointed. As I walked back to the hotel, a limo came up next to me, and the door opened. A man in approached me.
" Hello, Amy, right?" HE asked.
" Yes." I said, I kicked the snow in front of me.
" I saw you in the club."
" I know, I sucked." I said, and leaned against the wall.
" Actually I thought you were great. You could use a little more in singing, but acting is your thing." He said.
" Who are you?" i asked.
" I'm Mr. Edward Roland." He said. "Are into acting?"
" Yeah." I said.
" Listen, where you from?"
" Providence." I said, I was confused. I had no idea who he was.
" Great." He said excited, he handed me papers. "My company is going to Providence to audition people for a new sitcom. We are holding auditions in Providence, Boston, and New York. We also were looking for singers, so they could sing the theme song, and we'd like to get a new face out there instead of asking the same old divas."
" Seriously?" I asked, my mouth open.
" Yeah, the auditions are in two weeks. Will you be there?"
" Yes, of course." i said excited.
" Great, nice to meet you Amy-"
" Amy Bidwell. Nice meeting you too."
" Goodbye Ms.Bidwell." He said, he got back in the back seat of the limo and the limo drove down the street. I ran home, excited.

" Ashley, Ashley..." I said shaking Ashley.
"What?" She asked and sat up.
" I went to Pete's. And sang, and all that. And this guy told me to try out for some sitcom, and..." I said out of breath.
" Seriously?" She asked.
" Yes!" i said nodding my head.
" That's great." She said, we were silent for a few minutes and then she fell back asleep. I went over to my bed, and fell asleep, excited. This vacation was certainly shaping up.

Ashley's POV:

What Amy told me didn't sink in until the next morning and when I finally did remember what she'd told me about that night I couldn't believe it.
"Amy," I said. I ran out of the bathroom my hair still dripping wet.
"What?" she asked looking at me.
"We can be famous together," I almost screamed. "Like Ashley Judd and her sister."
"Yeah," Amy said a small smile on her face. We'd never agreed on anything before. "I'll go to the acting and you go to the singing."
I jumped up and down. "Oh my gosh this is gonna rock. I wonder if I could write my own music."
"Oh god," Amy mumbled. She laughed. "That's so typical of you."
I smiled again. I couldn't believe it, if both of our auditions went well then Amy and I could be famous, The Bidwell Twins.
"OK are you going to stand there dripping wet or what?" Amy asked breaking into my incredibly awesome daydream.
I laughed and headed back into the bathroom. I got dressed, dried my hair and applied a little makeup. When I came out Amy was already dressed, wearing black jeans, a black shirt with Mood Swings written on the front in big white letters. Her hair was falling down around her eyes. "So, ready to go?" she asked.
"Sure," I said. I looked down at my shirt, jeans, and a dark pink shirt. My hair was pulled back in a ponytail. "OK let's go."
Amy and I walked out of our room and met the others in the hall. I looked at Amy wondering if she was going to tell Syd her news.
"So what do you want to do today girls?" Syd asked. "We could go skiing again."
"My calves still hurt from yesterday," I said pretending to rub my leg. I looked at Syd. "Hey I wonder how Kayla's doing."
"I don't know," she said. "We could go back to the hospital and check."
"OK," I said. "I really want to go shopping."
"Me too," Amy agreed.
"Shopping it is," Joanie pepped up. She smiled. "We'll by out the whole town of East Cove."
Syd laughed. "I surely doubt that."

We headed out into the town and walked around for a bit. For about three hours straight we went into almost every store and little street booth. By noon my feet were killing me and I felt as if I'd walked the entire town.
"OK lunch time," Joanie said. "Where to now?"
"Pete's," Amy and I said together.
Syd looked at us. "OK," she said hesitantly. I knew she wondered why we wanted to there again.
Five minutes later we reached Pete's and went over to the same table we'd sat at last night.
"So any of you gonna sing again?" Joanie asked. She turned to Pete. "Why don't you give it a shot Pete."
Pete shook his head. "NO WAY!!"
I laughed. "Typical," I muttered under my breath. I looked toward the stage, no one was singing.
"Hey Ash you should go up there again," Joanie said.
I shook my head. "Nah I don't feel like it."
"I will," Amy said.
"OK," Joanie said.
Amy went up casually as if she'd been doing it all her life. We waited a few minutes and then we saw Amy up there, music began playing.
"Who is this by?" Syd asked.
"No doubt," I answered. "I don't really listen to them all that much."
Syd nodded. "She's pretty good."
"She got approached last night," I said.
Syd looked at me. "What are you talking about?"
"Uh nothing," I said. I didn't know if my sister wanted me to tell that she was out late or not. "Never mind."
Syd still looked skeptical but didn't press me for any more details. Finally Amy finished singing and came back to the table.
"That was awesome kiddo," Syd said patting her on the back as she sat down beside me.
"Thanks," Amy said. "I think I'm going to go into acting though I like that better."
Syd looked at me and then back at her. "OK is something going on here?"
Amy shrugged. "No."
"Ash said something about you getting approached," Syd said.
Amy looked at me long and hard and then back at Syd forcing a smile. "Yeah by a man who is starting this new comedy he wants me to come and audition."
"And what time was this little meeting?" Syd asked sternly.
Amy didn't respond right away finally she said, "At eleven last night."
Syd sighed. "Amy you can't go out late like that its not safe."
"I'm fine Syd," Amy snapped starting to get mad. She stood up and looked down at herself. "See no harm done."
"Just don't do it again," Syd warned pointing a finger at her.
Amy sank back in her seat. "OK fine I won't do it anymore."

The next day was Christmas eve, the most exciting day of the year. It was the day where all the kids were excited and even though Amy and I were sixteen I still believed in Santa. I guess that's one of those things that if you believe in it you never stop. Hannah was all worried that Santa wouldn't know where to come and find us. Joanie kept telling her that Santa always knows and finally Hannah was convinced. On Christmas Eve we went out to a very nice restaurant called Luke's (and no It wasn't a diner like on the show Gilmore girls, lol). The food was soo good I couldn't stop eating. At ten we all went back to the hotel and changed into our PJ's.
"Hannah wants to stay up late and watch for Santa," Joanie said coming into our room. "Do you mind if she camps out with you?"
"Sure," I said. "Come here miss Hannah."
Hannah ran to my bed and jumped on it.
"Be good Hannah," Joanie said. She came over and kissed her daughter on the forehead.
"I will mommy," Hannah said sweetly.
Joanie nodded and walked out of the room.
I turned to Hannah. "So Hannah ready to wait for Santa?"

Amys POV

"Are you sure Santa knows we're here?" Hannah asked.
" Yeah." Ashley said. Hannah smiled.
" No, he doesn't. He'll forget all about you, and you'll never get any presents again!" I said and laughed evily. Ashley looked at me, and Hannah began to wimper. "Joking."
" Oh." Hannah said and giggled. I laughed. "I'm glad."
" Yeah me too." Ashley said. "Hannah, you should take a bath."
" No." She said and folded her arms across her chest.
" Take a bath." Ashley said, trying to be stern yet compassionate.
" No." Hannah said firmly.
" Fine, I'll take a shower. Santa only gives presents to kids who are clean." I said, and started walking to the bathroom.
" Can I take a shower with you?" Hannah asked me. Ashley and I looked at each other laughing.
" Hannah, you can take yours before me." I said and smiled sweetly at Hannah.
" Okay!" She said excitedly. She went running into the bathroom. Ashley and I sat there.
" Ashley, I'm nervous." I said.
" bout what?" She asked.
" The auditions. Think about it, this could be the rest of our lives."
" Yeah." She said.
" But who cares? It's Christmas!" I said happily.
" Yeah your right." Ashley said.

"IT'S CHRISTMAS, GET UP!" Joanie screamed. She, Hannah, and Pete were jumping on my bed. I opened my eyes, and started laughing.
" You up?" Pete asked.
" I dunno." I yawned.
" YOUR UP NOW!" Robbie yelled, and pounced on me.
" AH GET OFF." I screamed, and laughed. He got off and they all laughed. Soon everyone was in our room.
" Okay, let's open presents." Syd said smiling.
She handed out presents and we opened them. They taped and took pictures of Hannah, and Pete opening their presents. They oohed and ahhed, and laughed as Luke would scream when he opened his presents. Ashley and I opened our presents, quietly with each other. Ashley got tons of clothes, and the whole Mandy Moore collection of CDs. I got a tons of clothes, a new expensive purse (i had all the cds I wanted), and a new pair of boots from hottopic.
"Thank you." Ashley and I said at the same time. Syd, Joanie, Robbie and Tina looked at each other.
" Girls thats not it." Robbie said.
" What else?" I asked.
" Follow us." Syd said, with a smile. We followed her outside.
" Ashley, Amy." Joanie said and threw us each a pair of keys.
" Follow me." Tina said. We followed her. "Ashley we got a 2002 Volkswagon 4 door wagon Jetta. And Amy you get the 2002 Volkswagon 4 door sedan Jetta."
" Thank you so much." Ashley said with her mouth open in awe.
" Oh my God." I said, we were both amazed.
" Well, don't just stare, go look." Joanie said.
" The cars, we all got you. We all chipped in, even Dad and Heather." Syd said. Ashley and I went to our cars. Hers was white and my car was black. We explored the cars. I was so happy, I never though I'd get a car. I was so glad I did.

That night, Ashley and I were sitting in our room. We were still smiling. I looked over at Ashley.
" You wanna?" I asked.
" Wanna what?" She asked.
" Go joy-riding." I said with a huge smile.
" Amy, no." she said.
" Oh your such a fun suck." I said and laughed. We talked for a long time and then fell asleep.

Ashley's POV:

The day after Christmas we headed home. Amy and I got to drive our new cars back by ourselves. I was nervous about making the hour drive but Syd gave me walkie-talkie and gave Amy one too. We arrived home at like noon that day and I was so excited to see Brian and Casey I didn't even bother unpacking my stuff.
"I have to go see Brian," I said and headed for the door. "I promise I won't be long."
"Is he back from New York?" Syd asked.
"He got back last night," I said. "Remember he called me on your cell phone?"
Syd nodded. "Right."
I opened the door. "I'll be back."
"Be careful," Syd called after me.
I turned around and looked at her. "Syd I just drove an hour on the freeway by myself I think I can handle a trip down the block."
Syd laughed. "You have a point."
I went out of the house slamming the door behind me. I got in my car and backed out of the driveway. Five minutes later I was at Brian's house. Brian's dog Bear was running around in the snow. He came up to me and I bent down to pet him.
"Hey boy," I said. Brian hadn't had Bear long, just a couple months, in fact he'd been a stray that Jim had picked up.
Then I saw Brian come out of the house. I ran and threw my arms around him.
"Man its good to have you home," he said. We kissed briefly. "How was the trip?"
I was smiling so much I couldn't answer his question. I turned toward my car.
"Wow what..." Brian didn't know what to say. "Where did you get that?"
"Syd," I answered. "Amy and I both got one."
Brian hugged me again. "Congratulations."
I pushed him away. "Wait there's more."
"Come on let's go inside and talk its freezing out here," Brian said.
I walked in the house with him and we went into the living room. I sat down on the couch. I felt like I was abou tot explode I was so excited.
"Now why are you so excited?" Brian asked me.
"Well I was singing at this bar type place and this man who works for a recording company said that they're holding auditions in Providence in two weeks and he gave me his card."
"Ash that's great!" Brian said. "Are you going to do the auditions?"
"Of course!" I said. "And my sister is going to audition for this new comedy. She's always wanted to be an actress."
"Wow you sure did have a good trip," Brian said. "NY was cool I got to do a lot of ice skating and we went skiing that was about it."
I nodded. "Cool. Wonna go drive around in my car?"
"Yeah we can pick up Casey," Brian said. "Let me go tell my dad where I'm going he's downstairs."
I nodded.
A few seconds later Brian came back and grabbed his coat. We went out to my car and I got in the drivers seat. Brian got in on the other side.
"I never thought you've driving," he said as I pulled out of his driveway.
"I know," I said. "I drove the whole way home and I was so scared. Memories of the accident kept floating around in my head."
"I know," Brian said.
We rode in silence to Casey's. When we pulled up at the curb I looked at Brian.
"What are you waiting for?" he asked.
I shrugged and got out of the car. The wind blew my hair into my face and I kept pushing it back. We walked up the steps and rang the doorbell, surprisingly Casey came to the door.
"Hey!" she said. We hugged. "How was your trip."
"Great!" I said. I pulled her by the hand. "I have to show you something." I practically dragged Casey to my car. "Ta da."
Casey looked like she didn't know what to say. "OH MY GOD!!" she finally said. She was almost screaming. "You got your own car?"
I nodded. "Amy and I both did."
"Wow," Casey said. "Can we take it for a drive?"
"Yeah sure," I said. "Get in."
Casey climbed in and we took off. We drove around listening to music REALLY LOUD.
"This is awesome," Casey screamed. She turned down the music. "So how was your trip?"
"It was good," I said. "OMG I have something awesome to tell you."
"What?" Casey asked. She looked like a little puppy waiting for its food.
"Well I sang at this bar type place and this guy from a record company gave me his card and said they are holding auditions here in two weeks."
"OH my gosh that is awesome," Casey said. "You'll be famous."

The night before the auditions I was a nervous wreck. I was singing a song I'd written called You're my Angel and Brian and Casey had helped me with a tune. We'd recorded it onto tape and I'd been practicing it non stop for the past two weeks. Amy and I were in our room talking and trying to calm ourselves down. Amy had an audition for a sitcom tomorrow too so we were both nervous.
"You know what tomorrow means don't you?" she asked.
I nodded. "Yes. Tomorrow could change both our lives forever."