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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Bennett Residence

Noah stood, flashlight in hand, intending to utilize his time properly. Amanda had insisted that he go home and not wait with her at the hospital, and he realized that this was, in fact, the best time to do his snooping. With his boring, desperately in need of lives parents out at the hospital to check on Julian, Noah had the house to himself. Or so he thought.
Muffled noises drew him to the living room, where he found Kay and Bradley Hotchkiss on the couch, making out.
"KAY!" he exclaimed, startled that she would be talking to, no less making out with someone so gleefully evil.
Kay glanced up guiltily, "Dammit Noah, what are you doing home?"
Noah sighed, "I love the warm welcomes I get in this house. It really gives me something to live for."
Kay sighed, "You want a warm welcome? Mom has a pea soup pie in the oven."
Noah cringed, "I'll be sure to dispose of that."
"Please do," Bradley piped up, "I can't be held accountable for my actions when I'm around such hideous substances."
"I'll take that…um…unexpected food fight at the Crane Mansion to be an illustration of this example?" Noah asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Noah," Kay finally harrumphed, "Can't you go somewhere else?"
With a sigh, Noah headed for the basement.

Within ten minutes, thanks to his mother's compulsive organizational skills, he had come upon a box labeled neatly "Sam's Things From His Past That He Won't Reveal".
Noah shook his head slowly. Leave it to his mother to label such a box and never think to open it.
"Well, I'm going to open it," he said with a determined grin, grabbing a hammer and breaking off the lock. Then he slowly peered inside.

Within moments, he had compiled all the evidence he needed. Sam Bennett and Ivy Crane had carried on a secret affair.
"So Amanda was right…" he murmured as he rifled through the yellowed and crinkled papers, pausing to study photographs. He slowly raised his head to smile into the blackness of the basement. This was going to be good.




Bwizville Center for Mental and Emotional Welfare

Miguel looked up in horror as Charity suddenly exploded out the front door, tossing security guards in her wake. Timmy ran after as fast as his little legs would carry him.
"Good lord!" Elizabeth exclaimed, "What happened to her?!"
Miguel shook his head, "I don't know…"
Charity stalked up to them, her voice deep, "You two have done us a great favor by getting us out of there. Too bad you still have to die."
"DIE?!" Elizabeth backed away, "No way. I think I've had ENOUGH of that for one night, thank you very much."
Miguel stared at Charity blankly, "Charity…I love you."
Elizabeth blinked in surprise, "Um…Miguel…that's not Charity…"
"Of course it is," Miguel said, confused, "She's standing right there."
"No…" Elizabeth continued to inch away, "She's evil."
Miguel threw his hands in the air, "First Kay and now you. What IS it with this evil thing?!"
Elizabeth pointed to Charity, who was flinging lightning bolts at the terrified Timmy. "Gee, I wonder where she ever got that idea."
"Now you two meddling fools will die!" Charity roared, focusing her wrath on Elizabeth and Miguel.
Elizabeth sighed, "Two life-and-death situations in one night. My life is a regular roller coaster ride."
"Charity, what are you doing?" Miguel STILL wasn't catching on.
"If you're going to kill us, would you allow me to make one last little comment?" Elizabeth asked hopefully.
Charity rolled her glowing yellow eyes, "Whatever."
"I didn't want to say anything before because I thought it would be rude, but that pendant is really REALLY ugly!"
Elizabeth lunged forward and yanked the pendant from Charity's neck, tossing it in the dirt.

A transformation came over Charity, and she stood before them, trembling.
"Charity!" Miguel cried, running to her and hugging her.
"You got me out," Charity said, confused, "How…?"
"Long story," Elizabeth panted, smirking mischievously as she slipped the pendant into the partially open window of an inmate's room.
"Hey!" Charity snapped, annoyed, "That was mine!"
"Ah…you didn't want it. Trust me. It was broken," Elizabeth shrugged.
"I hate to interrupt," Miguel interrupted, "But can we get out of here before these security guards realize what's going on?"
"Good idea," Elizabeth said, hurrying towards the hearse.
"We're leaving in a hearse?" Charity was horrified.
"Long story," Miguel sighed, opening the door and leaping inside. Moments later they roared away, leaving the town of Bwizville behind them.




Bennett Residence

Noah stared down at the papers in his hands in shock. So his father and Ivy had been lovers. THAT was why they had had such strong reactions to him and Amanda. He began to chuckle in a low tone. Then he grabbed the nearby phone and punched in a few numbers.




Harmony Hospital

"Hello?" Amanda said into her ringing cell phone.
"Amanda!" Noah's voice sounded excited on the other end.
"What is it?" she asked, anxious to know what was going on.
Noah took a deep breath, "First…how is your father doing? Is he all right?"
"He's fine," Amanda replied, sounding bored, "In a bit of an…unusual situation, but he's fine. NOW TELL ME!"
Noah laughed, "All right, so I went home and decided to do some snooping around, since Jessica was candy striping and mom and dad were at the hospital with Julian…"
"Go on."
"And I found this box that had a bunch of things from when my father was younger…"
"Yes…?"
"HE AND YOUR MOTHER USED TO BE LOVERS!"
Amanda spit out a mouthful of the coffee she was drinking, "WHAT?!"
Ivy glanced up from where she sat at Julian's bedside.

Amanda smiled nervously at her mother and then hurried out of the hospital room, jogging down the hall so she could have some privacy for her conversation. Once she was sure she was alone, she turned her attention back to the phone.
"Noah, are you sure?"
"It's all here in black and white. My father saved all the love letters from your mother."
"Wow!" Amanda began to laugh, "So that's why she fainted!"
"Yeah," he was smiling into the phone, "So we've solved our first mystery."
"What's next, Sherlock?" she asked him.
"You decide."
She pretended to think for a moment, "Hmmm…how about why my brother Ethan is such an idiot?"
"I don't think genetics can be investigated."
Amanda pouted, "he's NOTHING like the rest of the family. Good god, even STEPHANIE has more intelligence than him!"
Noah pondered this for a moment, "You don't think…"
At the same time Amanda exclaimed, "Do you think…"
"My dad isn't the brightest crayon in the box," Noah said thoughtfully.
"But…don't you think my mother would have SAID something about this?!"
"Wait!" Noah suddenly shouted, "That would explain it!"
"Explain what?"
"Everyone's reaction to me when I came home! Even your mother called me Ethan when she first met me!

Amanda pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it in shock for a moment.
"Hello?" Noah called into the phone.
Amanda finally spoke into the receiver, "Noah…did I hear you right?"
"What do you think I said?"
"It sounded like you said that my MOTHER thought you were her precious, one of a kind, oh so favored Ethan."
Noah coughed, "Well, I didn't exactly use those words, but…yeah."
"GOOD GOD! Does that mean that WE'RE related?!"
Noah paused for a moment, "No, no. My father is Ethan's father, but not your father. We're okay."
"But still…" she sputtered, "You're RELATED to that idiot!"
"Leave my brother alone," he laughed playfully.
She took a deep breath, "Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves here. We don't have any proof that Ethan is Sam Bennett's son, right?"
There was a gasp from behind her. Amanda slowly turned to see who it was that had overheard what she just said…




"Miss!" the nurse exclaimed worriedly, "Miss, you shouldn't be using a cell phone in here!"
Amanda glanced confusedly down at the phone in her hand and then back up at the nurse. After a moment of flustered silence, she said, "Oh, god, I'm so sorry. I forgot all about that."
The nurse nodded sternly, glaring at her. Amanda took a deep breath and turned her attention back to the phone.
"Noah, I'll call you back."
Then she hung up, breathing a sigh of relief that it had only been the nurse who overheard what she had just said.




Paloma leaned against the wall, covering her mouth in shock. She had been on her way to the bathroom when she had caught the tail end of a phone conversation Amanda Crane was having with someone else. It wasn't the identity of the person on the other line that caught her attention, it was what Amanda had blurted out.
"Ethan," Paloma said softly, thinking of her sister's lovelorn gazes at the handsome young Crane, "Is Sam Bennett's son…"
She harrumphed. At least that would explain why he and William were nothing alike.
"Good god, why do weird tidbits of information like this just happen to fall on me. It's not like I ASKED to find this out," Paloma muttered, beginning to pace. "If Sam Bennett is that dull-witted IDIOT standing in Julian's room right now, I'd certainly believe that he's related to Ethan, but still…"
She had to talk to Sara. Sara would know what to do.

Mindful of the huge sign on the wall that proclaimed: NO CELL PHONES, Paloma headed for the exit.




"Take a deep breath," Sara said into the phone, "And please repeat what you just said."
Paloma took a deep breath, "All right. You know the guy my sister ran off with at his wedding?"
"The rich kid? Ethan, right?"
"Yes, that's him. Well I just overheard a phone conversation where it was revealed that Ethan is NOT really his father's son!"
"You realize that makes no sense, right?"
"He's the police chief's son!" Paloma shrieked, blinking as she startled a flock of pigeons from their perch, "Only no one knows!"
Sara snickered, "Intriguing."
"You need to get up here. There is NO WAY I can handle all of this adventure by myself."
"Oh yeah, let me just hitchhike my way out there," Sara snorted.
"Why not?"
"YOU are the one always looking for adventure. Congratulations, I think you've found it. So…who are you going to blackmail with this information?"
"SARA!"

Sara sighed, "All right, all right. I'll see what I can do."
"Hurry up."
"I said I'll try! I have to admit, I'm somewhat curious about all these psychotic people you've described."
"Good. Then get out here!"
"Fine. I'll go pack," Sara harrumphed, "I swear, if you're making this up…"
"Paloma?" William called from the doorway, "What the hell are you doing out here?"
"Who is that?" Sara asked curiously, hearing his voice.
"Him?" Paloma snorted, "Just William."
"William, eh?"
"Oh shut up. I'll see you later," Paloma hung up the phone.
"Who was on the phone?" William inquired.
"Like that's ANY of your business."
"I'm just trying to make conversation."
"I'm sure that tree over there would be very interested to hear what you have to say. I, on the other hand, am busy."
"With what?" he scoffed, "I certainly don't see you doing anything productive."
"That's because you keep bothering me. Don't you have a wall to spray paint or something?"

William heaved a heavy sigh, "I'm getting REALLY sick of your rebel jokes."
"And I am getting really sick of YOU."
"Trust me, the feeling's mutual," William muttered.
"So why the hell do you keep following me?"
"I just wanted some air. Why are YOU always everywhere I go?"
Doing her best Theresa impersonation, Paloma clasped her hands together and exclaimed in a tear-choked voice, "It's fate!"
"Oh dear god," William backed away.
"Relax," Paloma dropped her hands to her sides and glanced up with an amused grin, "I'm just kidding."
"You were frightening me for a moment there."
"I'm sure I was."
William opened his mouth to say something else but was cut off by the shrill jingling of a cell phone.

Paloma sighed and pulled it out of her pocket, "Hello?"
"I hope you're happy," Sara muttered, "The only ride back to Harmony I could find is in a damn HEARSE!"
Paloma coughed, "A hearse?"
"Imagine that," Sara sighed, "Who knew they let people our age drive these things. The wonders never cease. Anyway, I'm on my way."
"Good to know. This town needs a voice of reason."
She hung up the phone and turned back to William, but he had disappeared back into the hospital.
Heaving a sigh, Paloma glanced around the deserted parking lot, wondering why she felt so alone.




Somewhere Outside Harmony

"So…" Sara said finally, attempting to break the silence that hung inside the hearse, "How'd you guys get to be undertakers?"
Elizabeth shot Sara a long, critical look, noting with some nervousness the jagged scar that ran lengthwise down her otherwise pretty face. She shook her head slowly. This was not possible…
"Hello?" Sara said, sounding mildly alarmed.
"Long story," Miguel finally said, shaking his head as he steered the car onward. Charity simply smiled at her and did not speak.
"Do I get names from you guys, or do I just have to give you names myself?" she finally sighed, "I'm Sara Witherspoon."
Elizabeth coughed loudly, banging her head against the window.
"I'm Charity Standish," Charity smiled, offering her hand.
Sara shook it politely.
"Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald," Miguel said from where he sat.
Sara's eyes bugged out of her head, "As in Paloma's brother?"
He looked surprised, "Yeah, how'd you know?"
"She's a very good friend of mine."
He chuckled, "Small world."
"Tell me about it," Elizabeth grumbled.

Sara glanced over sharply at the sound of Elizabeth's voice, straining to make out the other girl's features in the dim light, "Do I know you?"
Elizabeth glanced over at her, "I don't see how you would."
Sara shook off an involuntary shiver, "No, I don't suppose."
Elizabeth nodded coldly and closed her eyes. This was not good. This was not good at all.

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