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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Crane Mansion

Ivy, all alone, clambered out of the limo, looking around in confusion as she saw the group of teenagers gathered on her lawn.
"William? Stephanie?" she exclaimed, "How in god's name did you get home?! I was waiting at the hospital with the limo for an hour!"
William's lips turned up in a smile, "Mother, I am a rebel."
"And I'm the sister of a rebel," Stephanie piped up.
"What are all these other people doing here?" Ivy asked with a tired sigh. All she'd wanted to do was to go inside and go to sleep…
"Hello Mrs. Crane," Sara said icily, glancing up briefly from her silent war with Stephanie.
Ivy froze, dropping the brandy glass in her hand. It shattered on the driveway.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!" Paloma finally screamed, "am I the ONLY person here who doesn't understand?!"
Charity turned to her with a smile, "Well, I don't really understand either."
"And being just like you is certainly MY aspiration," Paloma muttered.
Charity continued to grin, not noticing the sarcasm.

Ivy, flustered, bent over to pick up the shards of her broken glass.
"I…I…"
Sara stepped away from Stephanie to stand in front of Ivy, "It's been a long time, hasn't it? A few years, at least. Have you dyed your hair, Mrs. Crane? It looks blonder than I remember."
Ivy looked up at Sara with a frightened expression, "Sara, I think you should come inside and we can all talk about this—"
"I'm sure we can find a piece of tomato soup cake for you," Stephanie piped up with an evil cackle.
Paloma shot her a warning glare.
"I don't want to go inside," Sara said simply, "I've been waiting a long time to meet the people that had me sent from my nice existence in England to that crappy boarding home in Bwizville."
"We paid you a great deal of money—"
"It's not about the money!" Sara harrumphed, "It was about the fact that your daughter is a schizophrenic homicidal maniac who talks to pens and who is a little too happy around sharp objects!"
"I'm offended by that," Stephanie snapped, "You're just jealous because the pen didn't talk to you!"
Paloma shook her head slowly, "If this weren't so damn pathetic, I might actually find some humor in all this."

Sara threw her hands in the air, "Believe me, this was NOT what I was expecting to come out of this little excursion."
Stephanie reached into her pocket and pulled out a letter opener, "I guess this leaves me with no choice but to pick up where I left off…"
Sara backed away, "YOU ARE INSANE, do you hear me? INSANE! Stay away from me!"
Stephanie advanced on Sara.
William inched over to where Paloma was standing and poked her in the shoulder.
"This is strange, even for me," he sighed.
Paloma nodded her head slowly, too startled to even banter with him.

"HELLO!" Sara yelled as Stephanie began to run towards her, "ARE YOU ALL JUST GOING TO STAND THERE, OR IS SOMEONE GOING TO GET THAT THING AWAY FROM HER?!"
With a sigh, Miguel, being the only male Lopez-Fitzgerald in attendance and therefore obligated by some genetic predisposition to rescue people, meandered up to Stephanie and plucked the letter opener from her hand.
Charity beamed at him, "My Miguel is so brave…"
The crisis diffused, Elizabeth turned her attention to Charity and wondered if the whole breaking into the mental institution to rescue her thing had been a good idea after all…




Lighthouse Park

Noah and Amanda sat on "their" rock, of course oblivious to the history of that particular stone.
"So what do you propose we do with this latest juicy tidbit?" Amanda asked with a gleam in her eye.
"We could always keep it to ourselves," Noah shrugged.
"Now where's the fun in that?"
He snickered, "No fun at all. It was just a suggestion."
"What do you WANT to do?"
"Personally, I would like to see my parents suffer for ignoring us children all these years. I knew their sickening relationship had to have a downside."
"And suffer they will," Amanda giggled, "Suffer they will."
She bit her lip and stared into the starry sky, wondering about what the future would bring. It was all fun and games now, but what she hadn't told Noah was that in a few days she would be getting on a plane back to England to finish her law school training. Not that there was anything wrong with going to law school in the United States, but alas she was a Crane, and for some reason her parents felt that Cranes could only be educated in Europe.
"I'm going to miss this," she whispered to herself, somewhat startled. She hadn't intended to become emotionally involved with anyone. She was too carefree, too quick to change her mind. And yet Noah was so different…she actually cared for him. He wasn't just a token boyfriend that she acquired to please her parents or to show up her friends. Somehow, someway, Noah Bennett had wormed his way into her heart and showed no signs of leaving any time soon.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Noah noticed her pensive expression and touched her arm lightly.
Amanda immediately plastered a bright smile on her face, "Nothing."
He wasn't convinced, "You're not having second thoughts about this whole 'secret' thing, are you?"
"Of course not," that wasn't a lie. She was quite looking forward to the turmoil that would be unleashed by this latest revelation.
"Come on," Noah said with a smile, tugging on her hand, "It's late. I'll walk you home."
She smiled and walked along with him, but her mind was on what the future held for them. Could there be a future?




Crane Mansion

"Please," Ivy finally said with a sigh, "Don't you children have HOMES to go to?"
"I’m never home," Miguel said proudly.
"No one pays attention to me," Paloma shrugged.
"I'm not even CLOSE to home," Sara grumbled.
"I am home," William smirked.
"Me too," Elizabeth smiled.
"As am I," Stephanie chirped brightly.
Charity glanced around, "My home burned down a while ago. I live with my aunt Grace."
Ivy rubbed her forehead, "Good god," she whispered to no one in particular, "WHY is this happening to me?"
Paloma tapped her on the shoulder, "Mrs. Crane, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like the teenage population of Harmony has found a new hangout."
"WHY HERE?!" Ivy wailed, resisting the urge to swoon melodramatically to the ground.
Elizabeth threw her arms in the air, "have you SEEN Grace Bennett's cooking?!"

Ivy shivered, "Point taken. But it's almost five in the morning already! Can't you just go home…for a LITTLE WHILE?!"
"But I never go home!" Miguel insisted.
"We should tell Aunt Grace that I'm out of the mental institution," Charity finally suggested.
"You're right Charity, we should," Miguel, as always, melted at the sound of her voice. Then he glanced at Elizabeth "But I'M driving this time."
Elizabeth shrugged, "You two have fun. I'll stay here."
"Me too," Stephanie giggled.
Sara glared at her, "I'll be going now."
"Anyone feel like giving Sara and I a ride to my house?" Paloma asked with a sigh.
Miguel pointed to the hearse, "I'm not going home, but I'd be happy to drop you off on the way Paloosa."
"It's PALOMA, brother dear," Paloma sighed.
Miguel scratched his head, "Right."

William yawned and stretched, "Well, even rebels get tired. Good night, everyone."
"Yes, we must rest up for another exciting and eventful day," Paloma grumbled, "Who knows what mysteries await…"
"Do you ever quit with this sarcastic thing?" Sara asked in an irritated voice, "You were NEVER this bad back in Bwizville."
"YOU try experiencing half the things I have tonight and see if you come through it with your sanity intact," Paloma said with a raised eyebrow.
"I'd rather not, thank you very much," Sara shuddered, "I've seen enough in my lifetime."
"Come on," Miguel said rather impatiently, "I have to get Charity home."
"Coming, Manuel," Paloma said sweetly.
"It's Miguel," Miguel corrected, never noticing her sarcastic tone.
Sara sighed, "What was I thinking coming here…?"




Lopez-Fitzgerald Residence

The morning dawned bright and clear, all too soon sending bright rays of sunlight through the windows and directly into Paloma's eyes. She groaned and buried her face in the pillow.
"Why, why, WHY does the sun have to come up this early," she grumbled into the blankets.
"This is what happens when you crazy people stay up all night," Sara griped from the cot that had been set up in the room. She attempted to roll over and promptly fell off in a tangle of blankets.
"I underestimated the value of sleep," Paloma sighed, making no move to help as her friend thrashed about on the floor, trying to stand up.
"You know, if your buddy William wasn't the brother of my sworn mortal enemy, I'd say he's kind of cute," Sara finally gave up trying to right herself and settled for collapsing upon the blankets that were bunched up on the floor.
"William? Cute? Please!" Paloma scoffed, glad that the pillow was there to hide the expression on her face.
"He is! That backwards baseball cap and the blond hair…the blue eyes…"
"He's…he's…he's a rebel," Paloma finally sputtered.
"So I see. So what's the story with you two?"

"Story?" Paloma shook her head, "there's no story. He bugs the hell out of me, and I know that I get on his last nerve."
"Sounds like the perfect relationship," Sara said brightly.
"Yeah, if you're talking about the relationship that a serial killer has with his victims," Paloma grumbled, "No offense, Sara."
"None taken," Sara waved her hand in the air, "Please. I've lived with the whole murder attempt thing hanging over my head for quite a while. I think I'm over it."
"You certainly didn't look over it last night on the Crane's front yard."
Sara shrugged innocently, "It caught me off guard. And besides…I'd been waiting quite some time for that."
"I never would have figured Stephanie for a killer. I mean, sure she tried to kill her father earlier that evening, but I thought that was kind of a joke…"
"Yeah, I'll bet," Sara rolled her eyes.
"Even I had to admit, a murderous slice of tomato soup cake was pure genius—"
"Excuse me," Sara interrupted, a disgusted look on her face, "Did you just say…tomato soup cake?"
"Long story. Anyway—"

"Let's go see the Cranes," Sara said with a wide grin, sitting up abruptly.
"Let's not," Paloma wrinkled up her nose.
"I'd like to make a…truce with Stephanie," Sara was still grinning.
"And I'd much rather stay away from William."
"You always were a terrible liar, Paloma," Sara sighed, "Come on."
And with that she hurried out of the room and grabbed some new clothes out of her bag.




Crane Mansion

Amanda wandered sleepily down the hallway, following a slew of strange noises to their source: William's room. With a sigh, she flung open the door.
"William, what the hell are you doing?"
William glanced up from the television, "I am playing Sony Playstation."
"Why?"
"Because I am a rebel."
"Dear god," Amanda rolled her eyes, "The family has gone insane. WILLIAM! You are eighteen years old! You should not be playing video games!"
"Oh? And what should I be doing? Having dinner with the Governor?"
She shook her head, "No, believe me, I'm sure you'd find a way to start a food fight or engage in some other type of unusual behavior."
"Is that what you think of me?" William pretended to be hurt.
"Don't you doubt it for a second," Amanda grinned, "Well…I'm off."
"Going out with Noah this early?"

Amanda froze, thinking about the circumstances she had just realized the night before. She and Noah didn't have much longer in their little relationship…
"Yes," she smiled, "I am. The summer is almost over…I'm going to be heading back to England soon. I want to spend as much time with him as I can."
William nodded, not looking up from his game, "Does Noah know about this?"
"About what?"
"You leaving."
She bit her lip, "I don't want to ruin his good mood—"
"You haven't told him anything?"
"I saw no reason to—"
"For someone who delights in pointing out the faults and shortcomings of others, you sure are acting like an idiot," William cracked from where he was sitting.
Amanda crossed her arms, "Oh really. And what would YOU do if you were in my place?"

"What would I do if I were you? Shoot myself and save everyone the trouble."
Amanda swatted at him, "I should have known better than to expect some deep revelation from YOU of all people. Sorry to distract you from your…game."
Then she turned and strode down the hall, long blond hair swishing behind her.

Ivy appeared in the doorway, looking with some trepidation at the video game her son was playing.
"William, why on earth are you—"
"I am a rebel," he cut her off with a sigh, "I thought we went through this already."
Ivy heaved a sigh, "Yes, you're right. You are a rebel."
Remembering her deal with Julian to attempt to un-rebel-ize their precious son, Ivy perched nervously on the bed, scrutinizing the game.
"So…" she said with a fake smile, "What's the game about?"
"You have to kill the little trolls with the red hair before they can cut you down with poison pies."
Ivy brightened, "oh really?! Can…" she cleared her throat, "May I play with you?"
William smirked and handed her a control, "Be my guest."

Ivy grinned evilly at the screen, imagining that in place of all the little trolls was a miniature version of Grace Bennett.
"TAKE THAT!" she screamed, as she annihilated all of the miniature Graces.
"Wow," William said after a moment, "You're actually fairly good at this."
Ivy ignored him and continued to focus on shooting the little Graces with their big grins and tomato soup cakes.
"That'll teach you to take my Sam away," Ivy muttered under her breath.
William sighed, "Mother…mother…MOTHER!"
Ivy jumped and looked at him guiltily, "Yes?"
"That look on your face…you look like you're about to kill someone."
Ivy smirked, "Ah…no, of course not. This is actually quite therapeutic."

William sighed, "Well…you have fun."
Then he headed downstairs, leaving Ivy engrossed in the video game.




Bennett Residence

Kay bounced down the stairs with a spring in her step, feeling happier than she had in a long time. Things were looking up…
She froze when she saw Charity sitting at the kitchen table, eating an orange as if nothing was wrong.
"Charity?"
"Hi Kay!" Charity said brightly.
"What are you…"
"Doing home?" Charity supplied, still grinning, "Miguel and Elizabeth got me out of the mental institution. Don't worry, I'm perfectly fine now."
"Yeah, I'll bet," Kay muttered, her jealousy flaring at the mention of Miguel. But the feeling wasn't as strong as it used to be. Damn…she thought…Bradley was really getting to her.
"Timmy helped," Charity continued.
"Tabitha's doll?!"
"Yep," she sighed, "He's quite charming."
Kay threw her hands in the air and backed away, "You know what? I don't want to know. If Miguel REALLY wants to be with a psycho like you, you both deserve each other."
Then she hurried out of the house.

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