Big Girls Don't Cry - Peeing in the Timestream

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{Please read up to Chapter 10.1 of Everything’s Sunny with Sarah, and all 14 chapters of Boys Don’t Cry would help. This is the story as the Universe rewrites itself thanks to the some meddling old ladies. Don’t worry though: Sarah won’t forget her struggle, and some new ones may be on the horizon as a consequence... ;-)

This story contains an attempted sexual assault on a teenage girl; if that offends you please do not read any further (or alternately, press Ctrl+F in your browser and type “ March 6 ” (without the quotation marks) to be taken to the day after the incident. :-) - Zoe)}

Written by Zoe Taylor, Input by Darkkitten (Ashleigh)

“It’s just ballet, John,” Margaret hissed, trying not to raise her voice. Her husband John on the other hand, had no qualms about their youngest daughter Sarah, or for that matter fourteen year old Ricky or sixteen year old LeAnn hearing what he had to say. It almost seemed as though he were raising his voice even more to compensate for Margaret’s attempt at discretion.

“God damit Margaret, we barely make ends meet as it is!”

“Maybe if you’d stop pissing away our finances on beer every weekend,” Margaret grumbled.

From Sarah’s perspective, hiding on the upper landing, it sounded like her parents were in the kitchen, with Ricky in the adjoining dining room.

“At least drinkin’ with the boys gets me outta this damn women’s liber-infested house for a few hours! You’re spoilin’ that god damn girl!”

Ricky’s obnoxious laugh echoed through the house, right up until the echo of Margaret’s heels clopped through in a rapid pace ended in a loud slap, and a startled yelp.

“What’d I do?!”

“Don’t encourage him! Swear to God, you’re two of a kind!”

“That spoiled little bitch has to choose between ballet or art. It ain’t like money grows-” was as much as Sarah could stand. She knew she’d get the beating of a lifetime now. She raced up the stairs in tears. If she had any more meat on her bones she might have knocked her sixteen year old sister down when she slammed into her.

“Ow! Sarah, watch out,” she bristled in a lovely southern twang, but her features softened as she realized she was in tears.

“Sorry LeAnn,”

She answered meekly, trying to squeeze past her in the tiny hallway to get to the bedroom she shared with LeAnn. LeAnn, frowning, watched her disappear into the room.

“He-llo, LeAnn? Are you there?”

A distant voice called. LeAnn looked down at the cordless phone in her hands, only now remembering she had moments before been deeply engrossed in a now seemingly shallow conversation about how Logan had just dumped Trianna on their favorite teen soap opera.

“Sorry ‘Nessa, I have to call ya back.”

“Fine, but the house better be on fire,”

Her friend answered playfully before hanging up. LeAnn cautiously edged the door to their room open. Despite their father’s seeming concern for finances, LeAnn had just scored a brand new day bed for her birthday. Brass, painted white, the futon mattress had double-padding for extra comfort. Two throw pillows lay at either end. Across the way sat her old day bed, where Sarah’s frumpy old twin sized bed, barely more than a cot, once lay. LeAnn had saved her babysitting money to buy a new mattress for it, so now Sarah reaped the benefits.

Between the two girls’ beds, where LeAnn’s electronic keyboard once sat, now rested an artist’s drafting desk, set up with a chair just for Sarah’s height, with scattered art supplies, colored pencils and paints. LeAnn sold her keyboard to afford the setup, but since she had to stop taking piano lessons years ago, she felt it a worthy cause for her baby sister.

“Hey sweet girl,” she announced with her best approximation of Scarlett O’Hara; normally that would be enough to make her seven year old sister smile, but it didn’t even faze her. Not even a glance.

“Hey, c’mon, what’s wrong?”

LeAnn settled onto the bed as Sarah sobbed into her pillow. She slowly stroked Sarah’s long, strawberry blonde hair.

“Ricky’s gonna kill me,”

She sobbed as she turned to bury her face in her sister’s chest. She blinked, wrapping her in a hug. The two fought a lot, sure, but that’s just what older brothers do. Surely this couldn’t be any worse than any other time? It went in motions. Ricky would chase Sarah through the house, get in a punch in the arm or two, and then leave her alone. Daddy tolerated it, and Mom just looked the other way.

“I’m sure it ain’t that bad. You know how big of a jackass he can be.”

“This time’s different though,” she wailed.

“M-m-momma asked Dad if I could take ballet, and I heard ‘em shoutin’, and Ricky started laughing about Daddy always going out to drink to get away from us girls, and-and Mom smacked the tar out of him for it!”

As if on cue, the pair could hear Ricky’s heavy boots stomping angrily up the stairs. A moment later he flung the door open. “You’re dead, you little bitch!” he shouted. LeAnn leapt to her feet.
“Leave her alone!” she hissed, putting herself directly between her younger siblings.

“Outta my way LeAnn; this don’t concern you!”

“She’s my baby sister, an’ this is MY room so yes it DOES concern me, and don’t you dare ever call her that nasty name again or so help me, I’ll tell every girl in school I caught you wearing my panties! Don’t think I won’t either!” She would’ve been lying, but it was the only threat she could think of at that moment to force Ricky to stop and think about what he was about to do.

The siblings stood, staring each other down. LeAnn refused to budge and let Ricky anywhere near Sarah, and Ricky wasn’t about to back down to his older sister.

“Alright, that’s enough,” Margaret commanded from the doorway. Downstairs, a door slamming signified that John would be working on the truck for awhile.

“Ricky, out, now. I need to speak to your sister in private. One smart word out of either of you and I’ll wash both your mouths out.”

LeAnn and Ricky exchanged a silent glare before the older sister brushed past him, waiting outside in the hallway. Ricky on the other hand opened his mouth to speak, but one raised finger from Margaret silenced him. Sulking, he stomped downstairs. A second door slam signified that he too, would be occupied for awhile.

Margaret exhaled slowly as she sat down on the edge of the day bed. Sarah’s gaze remained firmly locked on her dainty feet. She knew she made Mommy and Daddy fight again, and she hated it. She hated it when they yelled, and she hated it when Daddy used words like “spoiled little bitch”.

“Sweetheart?” Margaret began. “Sarah, look at me.”

Sarah’s tear filled eyes slowly rose to meet her mother’s gaze.

“Why do you want to take ballet in the first place?”

She shrugged her shoulders slowly as she sniffled.

“Is it because your little friend Christina does it too?”

She nodded. She didn’t mention the part about Christina showing her a few basic steps, or that she seemed to be a natural at it. She couldn’t help cringing at the question though, as this was a change in tone from her earlier answer, and Sarah, even at that tender young age, could see where this was going. When she first asked, Margaret promised to “talk to Daddy about it”. Now she wanted to talk her out of it?

“It’s not fair,” she whined.

“Dad and Ricky work on the truck all the time, and Daddy goes to the bar with his friends every weekend. All I want is to do something fun with Christina!”

“I know, sweetie,” she tried to console her. “That’s just how it is though. Money’s tight, and we already promised you could take art classes.” She paused in thought, but smiled faintly. “Honey, I have an idea, but don’t tell your father until I’ve had a chance to talk to him, okay?”

Sarah slowly looked up at her mother and nodded. “What are you gonna tell him?”

“You just let me worry about that sweetheart.”

She bent down to kiss Sarah’s forehead lightly then stood and turned to step out. LeAnn had been standing outside, just far enough from the door not to hear anything. Margaret smiled as she and LeAnn exchanged a hug.

“Everything okay?”

Margaret lowered her voice, so that all Sarah could hear where low whispers. “I’ve decided to talk to Sarah’s school about that cafeteria position they’ve been trying to fill. Your father’s going to go through the roof when I tell him, but I’m tired of him using money as an excuse not to take care of you girls. LeAnn, I want you to promise me something, honey, okay?”

LeAnn nodded slowly. “Sure, Momma. What is it?”

“You’ve always been a smart girl. You’ve always kept your grades up, and I’m so proud of you. When you get to your senior year I want you to apply for as many colleges and scholarships as you can. I want you to have the life I never had, and get as far away from here as possible. Make something of yourself, and don’t be an old fool like your mother.”

“You’re not a fool, Momma,” LeAnn answered, kissing her mother on the cheek, “But I’ll do it.”

“Good girl,” Margaret answered, smiling, and the two embraced again. “I’m so very proud of you both. I’m proud of Ricky too, when he actually applies himself. Now, would you be a dear and sit with your sister awhile? I need to go finish cleaning the kitchen.”


“You WHAT?!” John shouted.

Margaret tried to head him off at the pass, to make it known that she was trying to keep the peace in the house, but hearing the “womenfolk” plotting against his absolute rule sent him into a rage.

“John, stop it! I’m tryin’ to give our youngest daughter a decent, cultured life - the life LeAnn had before you started drinkin’ away all our god damn money! Can’t you understand that? Or is your head so far up Ricky’s ass that you can’t see the light of day anymore?”

John started to raise his hand to her, and Margaret flinched, but he stopped short. When he saw the way she cringed, he pulled back his hand. He slowly turned back toward the door to the garage, where he had left Ricky to finish up, and he slowly lowered his gaze.

“I guess that boy does have as much of his old man in him as I do sometimes. Meg, I’m sorry. It’s just… You’re spoilin’ them girls.”

“No more than you spoil Ricky,” Margaret whispered gently as she turned to walk away. She hated crying in front of John, but she couldn’t help it. He turned to approach, carefully placing his hands on her shoulders. She turned about-face and buried her face in his shoulder. This was the gentle man she fell in love with all those years ago.

“I’m sorry, Meg,” he whispered and kissed the top of her head. “If you’re really sure takin’ this part time job’s a good idea then go ahead. I ain’t a heartless man,” he added more softly.

“I know that John,” she whispered in return. “But you can be bull-headed sometimes. You forget that you have three children because you only got one boy.”

John sighed. He shook his head slowly as he turned to leave the room. Margaret pushed her hair back out of her face. A sad sigh escaped as she stared out the kitchen window. “Mama, I wish you were here, ‘cause I could sure use some advice right now.”


Back upstairs, LeAnn tried not to breach the subject of what Margaret had said, instead trying to distract her sister with mutual interests. The Stevens weren’t a poor family by any means, despite the girls’ father’s protests.

They had a beautiful two-story home, though with only three bedrooms it did mean the girls had to double up on sleeping arrangements. Though her half of the bedroom had at one time been the picture of feminine, she slowly evolved it into a more sophisticated teen space as she grew, giving her baby sister her old things as Sarah wanted them. Now, just shy of seventeen, the only truly ‘girly’ holdover was her new day bed.

The two sat together on Sarah’s bed while she listened to her read her homework assignment. At only seven, she could already read at a fourth grade level, so she needed little encouragement or help. LeAnn simply held Sarah close and listened as she recited the story, perhaps aptly describing a young girl’s dreams of dancing with the famous Russian ballet.

When she finished, she sighed and pushed the book closed. The pink silhouette of a ballerina twirling on the front seemed to have caught her attention. Finally, LeAnn spoke.

“So Momma says you want to take ballet.”

She didn’t look up, and barely nodded, even as her little head fell. “Momma says money’s tight,” she mumbled.

“Momma says a lot of things,” LeAnn offered softly. “Doesn’t make it true. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But why do you want to take ballet all of a sudden?”

Sarah slowly raised her head to look up at LeAnn. She had the sweetest, most supportive and caring smile Sarah had ever seen, but still she rolled her shoulders and turned away.

“Sweet girl,” she cooed, “You’re too young to remember, but I took ballet when I was your age.”

“You took ballet?” she whispered with great disbelief. LeAnn giggled as she stood and kicked off her house slippers. Although after years of disuse, she could no longer balance as well as she once did, she delicately tip-toed backwards across the carpet, leaving little Sarah staring in stunned silence.

She slowly padded back to her again and sat, pulling her into a hug again. “Don’t tell him I said this, but I’d like to see Ricky try that without falling flat on his butt.” She grinned, and an infectious giggle spread between the two.

The girls often shared such secrets between each other. Sarah smiled as she rested her head on LeAnn’s shoulder.

“It’s just too bad I don’t have my old ballet slippers anymore.” She paused in thought though, and blinked a couple of times. “Wait a minute. Wait here sweet girl,” LeAnn announced, bouncing to her feet. She only reached the door though, when Margaret poked her head inside.

“Oh Momma, you startled me,” LeAnn giggled. “Do you know that box I gave you a few years ago, that I told you to donate to the Salvation Army or whatever?”.

Margaret smiled thoughtfully. “As a matter of fact I do. It’s up in the attic. I’m sorry, sweetheart. I shouldn’t have looked, but when I saw your ballet slippers on top, I couldn’t bear to part with it. Everything’s back at the back, marked ‘LeAnn’. Why?”

“I was thinking that maybe Sarah could wear my old ballet slippers. It’d save you some money. They probably need to be checked out by someone, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be fine for a first year student.”

“That’s so sweet,” Margaret answered with a smile and nodded. “I’ll help you find them tomorrow morning. For now, it’s bedtime girls.”

“Okay Momma.”


November 17th, 2007, 5PM - the Stevens household

“What the fuck, John?” Margaret shouted. She never raised her voice to her husband, or even used foul language, but he had pushed her past her breaking point. “Did you meet her at one of your fucking sleeze bars?”

“Woman, I don’t know what the hell you’re talkin’ about, but I suggest you shut the fuck up before I shut you up.”

“Oh that’s very nice. That macho bullshit won’t fly with me anymore unless you want to try and convince me that these,” she flung a pair of dirty underwear with a lipstick stain on the waist band, “are bloodstains?”

John stared, stunned. “Where the hell’d you find these?”

“Does it matter? Get the fuck out of my house.”

“This is my house, and if it wasn’t for you bein’ gone all the damn time I wouldn’t have to turn elsewhere for attention in the first goddamn place!” he shouted. “I want you out of this house, and take that skank daughter of yours with you!”

“Fuck you John. Go fuck that harlot of yours because we’re fucking through!”

“Well great! Now I won’t have to pay for those god damn art classes of hers anymore!”

“Oh you mean the ones I had to take a second job to pay for so you could get drunk more often? Sarah, Ricky!” Margaret shouted, “Pack your things! We’re leaving!” She turned back to John and sneered at him.

“Oh fuck no, you’re leaving Ricky, bitch,” John replied angrily.

“Fine. He’s just like you anyway,” Margaret shouted back, “And If you think you’re weaseling out of this, you’d better think again. Expect a call from my lawyer because this is just the fucking beginning. I’ll make sure you don’t even have money for a glass of piss to quench your thirst. You’ll be paying for EVERYTHING of hers from now on!”

John balled his fist, but Margaret laughed. “And if you fucking lay a finger on either of us you’ll be in handcuffs faster than you can say “Fuck me”, asshole.”

Upstairs, Sarah was a near-literal whirlwind of chaotic motion, throwing her things into whatever storage she could find. She filled up her school backpack, LeAnn’s old backpack, and an old duffel bag with things like clothing, art supplies, and anything else she could grab. Lastly she started throwing her ceramic unicorn collection in on top, tears streaming down her face as she fought to zip the bags closed.

“Fuck fuck fuck, this is all my fault!” she cried softly as she raced out of the room, slamming right into Ricky.

“What the fuck Sarah?” he grunted, pushing her aside as he walked to the bathroom, completely ignoring, or completely oblivious to, whatever was going on downstairs, or why Sarah was loaded down with things.

By the time Sarah had gotten downstairs, John had already left in his truck. She heard the tires squeal in the driveway, and the telltale sound of the back of a truck slamming into a half-open garage door just beforehand. Ricky stumbled down the stairs a moment later, just as Sarah reached the door.

“What the hell’s going on?”

“Sarah and I are leaving,” Margaret answered, nearly in tears. “I’m sorry Ricky, but we can’t live in this house with that man anymore.”

Ricky scowled at Sarah for a moment, but nodded. “Whatever,” he grunted, turning to stomp back upstairs. He paused at the top of the stairs to shout back down, “I’ll make sure he doesn’t burn yer shit.”

“Thank you sweetie,” Margaret called back up to Ricky. “I will always love you, no matter how much your father wants you to be like him.”

Sarah blinked up at her mother, who just sighed, shaking her head and grabbing Sarah’s hand.

“Let’s go honey.”

“Where are we going?” Sarah asked nervously. Margaret shook her head, leading her daughter by the hand to her used 1989 Chevy Pile-of-rust.

“I’m not sure yet. My sister lives down near Little Rock. We can stay there for a few days while we get everything sorted out.”


November 18th, 2007, 2:36 AM

Sarah sat with her head tilted just slightly toward the window, Margaret’s jacket wrapped around her like a blanket. It wasn’t exactly cold out, and in fact had been on the warm side the previous day, but Sarah had used it to hide the fact that she was crying herself to sleep nonetheless.

Margaret had cleaned out her joint checking account, after all John said nothing about it, and always left her to balance the checkbook and ensure there was enough money to put food on the table. She didn’t know where else to turn, and knew she needed that money to keep herself and Sarah alive in case her sister couldn’t help them.

Just at the half-hour itself, she rounded a corner into a nice neighborhood on Riverside Drive. It wasn’t upscale, but the houses were much like what they had just left behind. She slowed her car, counting houses as she moved along, until she finally spotted the one she sought. She pulled into the driveway just as her car began to sputter, finally dying completely.

“That was too close,” Margaret exhaled as she reached over to stroke Sarah’s hair. The girl stirred, but only for a moment. “Sarah, honey?”

“Mmph,” Sarah grunted.

“Sarah, we’re here,” Margaret cooed. A nearby street lamp illuminated the yard, shedding enough light for Margaret to see to walk up the driveway, but she couldn’t see any lights on inside. Sarah joined her a moment or two later, looking around, confused and lost.

“Aunt Loraine’s?” she whispered. She hadn’t seen her cousins since last Thanksgiving. They were supposed to spend this one with her father’s family. She even picked out a nice, pretty holiday dress to wear for the occasion, but now it lay crumpled up at the bottom of her backpack.

“That’s right. It was either this, or drive over into Oklahoma to find the rest of the Cameron clan, but the car would never have made it that far.” She paused to glance back at the aforementioned no longer roadworthy vehicle. “I’m amazed it got us this far. Your uncle Travis can look at it this evening.”

She inhaled slowly, stepping up to the heavy wooden door. Already, Loraine had hung a Christmas wreath on the door that, coupled with the little script-like message, ‘Peace on Earth’, very nearly brought Margaret to tears as she pressed in on the doorbell.

A minute or so later the porch light overhead brightly illuminated the pair. Sarah’s uncle Travis, a tall man with graying brown hair and dressed in a white t-shirt and boxers under a dark blue robe, pulled the door open, staring blankly at Margaret for only a moment before he reached out to pull Margaret into a hug.

“You finally did it didn’t you?” he asked softly. She choked up, nodding into his shoulder. He might only have been her brother-in-law, but in that moment he held her like his sister. “Shh, it’s okay Meg. Come inside. You too Sarah. I’ll make you some hot chocolate if you want.”

“Thanks Uncle Travis,” Sarah mumbled as she followed her mother inside. Barely a moment later they were joined by Loraine, a younger-looking woman despite having two daughters and a son older than Sarah by a couple of years. Her strawberry-blonde hair hung in a long, tight braid over her shoulder as she, dressed in plain white silk pajamas, approached and immediately pulled Sarah into a hug, leading her along behind her husband.

“Are you hungry, sweetheart? I can make you some eggs or sausage, or some hobo hash?”

“No ma’am,” Sarah mumbled, barely above a whisper.

“Well you must be tired, dear. Your cousin Candace is staying over at her friend Emily’s tonight so you can use her bed if you want to try and get some sleep.”

“A-are you sure it’s okay?” Sarah asked nervously. Loraine smiled warmly as she nodded.

“Of course, honey. You just hop right in and get some sleep. We’ll bring your things in later. Candace has a trundle bed so you can sleep on that once she gets back. I’m told it’s very comfortable.”

“Thanks Aunt Loraine,” Sarah replied somewhat warmly, and after leaning up onto her tiptoes to kiss the woman’s cheek, she made for the stairs.

Margaret chuckled to herself, a weary smile on her face. By now she sat down at the kitchen table, while Travis had begun a fresh pot of extra black coffee. “That girl reminds me so much of you when we were kids.”

“Aye, she does have a bit of the Cameron in her after all,” Loraine teased in their grandfather’s Irish brogue.

Margaret cracked a smile. “Oh, Loraine, don’t make me laugh. This is supposed to be a depressing occasion. How did you know why I was here though?”

Travis smiled softly as, after setting a freshly poured cup in front of Margaret, he placed his hands over hers for just a moment and gave them a gentle squeeze. Loraine sat down beside her, as he moved around to sit opposite the pair.

“It’s half past three in the morning, and you look like you’ve been through hell. It’s not hard to guess that you finally had enough.”

“Can I ask what set it off?” Loraine asked cautiously.

“He was cheating on me,” Margaret sighed softly. “I found lipstick on the waist band of his underwear, definitely not my shade.”

“Oh my God,” Loraine gasped as she pulled Margaret into a hug. “Oh honey, I wish I could say I was sorry, but you know how I feel about him.”

Margaret laughed despite herself as she lay her head on her sister’s shoulder. “I should have listened to you before, when he started spending all those late nights at the bar, but never once came home smelling like booze.”

“You poor thing. Travis your cousin’s wife is a divorce lawyer isn’t she?”

“I’ll give her a call as soon as the sun’s up. Since you’re family she’ll only charge a nominal fee when you win.”

Margaret smiled faintly at that. “When we win. It’s about time that bastard had to pay for a girl that ACTUALLY fucking matters instead of that tramp of his. Do you know he actually tried to keep Sarah from doing ballet because he claimed it cost too much? The nerve of that man!”


December 10th, 2007, 4:26PM - the Lewis household

“It’s been so much fun having you here Sarah,” CJ giggled a little as she passed the bowl of popcorn to her cousin. Sarah smiled a little.

“Yeah, and finding Christina again. I mean holy crap, what are the odds that she’d be living here too?”

“I’m just glad I could talk you into continuing ballet here,” Christina called as she emerged from the half-bath off the kitchen. “Have you guys had any luck finding a new house?”

“Not yet,” Sarah exhaled, “But Auntie Loraine says we can stay as long as we need to. Still waiting on divorce stuff to go through,” she added with a sad sigh, “But shit happens, y’know?”

“Yeah,” CJ answered softly, wrapping an arm around Sarah’s neck. “But we’re here for ya.”

“Thanks Seaj,” Sarah replied, using the phonetic pronunciation that drove CJ crazy. Predictably, her cousin stuck her tongue out at her, and the three laughed as they walked into the living room, where Margaret was on the phone.

“That soon? You’re kidding. You’re not kidding? Oh my G-- Yes, yes of course. I’ll come over right away. Thank you so much.” Margaret hung up the phone, hopping to her feet.

“What’s up Mrs. S?” Christina asked first. Margaret smiled.

“That was my divorce lawyer’s secretary. I need to head into Little Rock to sign a few things, but unless John tries to challenge me for custody of Sarah, which if he’s smart he won’t do, then the divorce proceedings should progress quickly from here.”

“That’s um, that’s great Mom,” Sarah muttered, hugging her mother.

“Well, don’t sound so excited sweetheart,” Margaret answered softly as she kissed Sarah’s forehead. “You’ll never have to deal with that asshole mistreating you again.”


December 21st, 2007, 5:17PM - Riverside Drive

A light snow covered the ground, but with clear streets and sidewalks, Sarah had little trouble navigating her borrowed bicycle. It was CJ’s, and a couple of years old, but still in great condition. The basket was currently loaded down with groceries, as she and her mother still hadn’t found a new place to live just yet, with child support and other things still tied up in the court system.

She stopped her bike just as a woman driving a red Ford Focus pulled into the driveway ahead of her. She waited patiently, even smiling despite the chill wind that nipped at her rosy cheeks. The woman, dressed in a heavy winter coat stepped out and approached her, smiling warmly.

“Aren’t you cold out here?” the woman asked, a real and genuine concern in her voice.

“Nah, I’m fine,” Sarah answered. “Besides I’m almost home. You’re that therapist my cousin CJ was telling me about aren’t you? Um... Chloe?”

“Close enough,” the woman laughed. “Zoey Mashburn-MacGregor at your service.”

“Sarah. Sarah Ste--” she paused, frowning. “Cameron.” She hesitated again. “Um, Zoey, can I ask you a weird question?”

“Nice to meet you Sarah.” She answered first, then shifted her weight slightly as she nodded. “Of course sweetheart. What’s on your mind?”

“CJ says you just opened up your practice here. I was just wondering, why’d you choose a regular house like this?”

“Ohh,” she chuckled. “Actually I’ve had that house for years now. It’s just I’ve been studying to become a therapist, attending school out of state while I stayed with my spouse up in Washington DC. I worked in a practice there for about a year, until my mentor moved to New Haven, and I decided it was time I came back home and gave back to the community a little.”

“Oh, well that makes sense,” Sarah answered as she smiled. “It’s too bad we didn’t meet sooner,” Sarah laughed. “My parents are getting a divorce, and it’s been kind of hard for me, but I’m getting over it.”

“Aw, poor thing,” Zoey answered softly. “Listen, if you do change your mind and ever need to talk, you just come right over, okay?”

“Wow, thank you,” Sarah answered, smiling brightly. “Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas, sweetie,” the therapist answered as Sarah pedaled off down the street. “Happy Solstice too,” she giggled under her breath, turning to step inside.


June 2008, 8:27AM

Sarah stood, nervously fidgeting by the bus. It was like any other school bus she’d ever been on, but for the fact that it would soon be taking her to her first summer camp, specifically Girl Scouts’ camp. She’d never been able to attend a camp before because to even ask such a thing of her father would risk getting yet another lecture about how money doesn’t grow on trees or how her mother spoiled her. Now though, she stood dressed in white cargo shorts and a Girl Scouts of America t-shirt tucked neatly into the waistband, showing off her modest chest growth from the last year.

Though Emily’s designated her a Counselor in Training, they looked otherwise very similar to the other dozens of girls gathered around. At least Christina finally returned from her bathroom break, giggling as she approached.

“Don’t look so nervous. This is going to be great!”

“I hope so,” Sarah laughed. “Two weeks with no boys. Think you can make it?”

“Oh pfft,” Christina stuck her tongue out and giggled.

“It’s too bad CJ couldn’t make it this session,” Emily added as she bounded over, her ponytail bobbing over her shoulder as she came to a stop. “How are you two holding up?”

“Great!” Christina answered cheerfully then nudged Sarah.

“Feel like I’m gonna throw up,” Sarah answered.

“Oh come on. If you can get up on stage in front of the whole town as the Swan Princess, you can handle a few camp activities,” Emily teased. “You’ll feel right at home once you see the camp. It’s truly a thing of beauty.”


June 15th 2008, 9:07 AM

Sarah groaned as she rolled off the trundle bed into the floor at the sound of CJ fumbling around next to her. “CJ, what the hell? What time is it?” she mumbled. CJ laughed.

“It’s just past nine. Didn’t mean to wake you, but since you are awake Aunt Meg wants to see you.”

“Did she say what it was about?” Sarah mumbled as she sat up, her bed-head strawberry blonde locks bouncing every-which-way. She puffed a quick blast of air to blow her bangs out of her face, which quickly fell right back over her eyes again.

“Early birthday present,” CJ answered with an innocent grin.

Sarah laughed. “The last time she surprised me like this it was with my new bike. It’s not another one is it? Because I know I teased her about it being Barbie pink, but I really do like it.”

CJ giggled as she shook her head. “Oh trust me, this is better than a new bike.”

“So what is it?” Sarah asked impatiently as she stood. “Come on, tell meeeee!”

“Nope. You have to go ask. You might want to get dressed first, maybe do something with your hair. You have to actually leave the house and all, plus I really don’t think you want to flash Dad your boobies,” she teased. Sarah blushed lightly.

“Hey CJ? I know it’s been a real pain in the ass sharing your room all this time, but I just want you to know how much I appreciate it.”

“Hey, we’re family. Family sticks together.”

Sarah smiled, giving her cousin a sisterly kiss on her cheek before bounding into the now shared closet for something to wear. After about five minutes of spelunking, she reappeared, grabbed some clean underwear and bra from the bottom drawer of what once was just CJ’s dresser, and unceremoniously stripped down, changing right there while CJ busied herself with her hair.

“Oh, cute top. I forgot you had that,” she giggled, eyeing the pale pink Hello Kitty t-shirt.

“Thanks. Chris gave it to me,” Sarah answered, pulling her hair up and over, and giving it a vigorous shake before pulling her shorts up her legs. “Hey, you want to go swimming later?”

“Ohhh I think that can be arranged,” CJ answered with an ominous giggle, moving away from the mirror so Sarah could work on her hair.

“What is with you?” Sarah pouted playfully. “You’re dropping all kinds of weird hints, but you can’t just tell me what the big secret is? It’s not a pool party is it? Because my birthday’s not for like another week.”

“Nnnope,” CJ answered innocently. “Just trust me, you’ll love it.”

“Oh, fine,” Sarah answered, pushing her hair back and brushing it out. “Hey, can I borrow an Alice band? My hair’s a nightmare today, and I just wanna get going.”

“Sure. Pick whichever one you want, but I’d go with that one,” CJ approached, picking up a pale pink headband and tucking it into Sarah’s hair, fiddling with it until it fit neatly and pushed her hair about just so. “There. Okay, let’s go! I can’t wait to see the look on your face.”

Downstairs, both Meg and Loraine, dressed for a casual Arkansas summer in short shorts and tank tops, sat at the kitchen table, sipping iced tea together when the girls came bounding around the corner. Sarah whistled.

“Whoo, nice legs!” she cheered, causing CJ to laugh.

“Yeah Mom, what’s the occasion? I mean you clearly shaved your legs for some reason.”

“I’ll have you know I shave my legs quite regularly young lady,” Loraine shot back, but grinned. “Are you two finally ready to go?”

“Um, almost,” Sarah answered, dashing into the half-bath off the kitchen. A few minutes later, the sound of the sink’s water running signified her immanent return. She dashed out again, and nodded. “Okay, now I’m ready. What’s the big surprise?”

“You’ll see. First you have to put this on,” Meg answered, holding up a long strip of thick black cloth.

“Uh... What?”

“It’s a blindfold,” her mother chuckled as she stood, handing it to Sarah.

“Oh jeeze,” Sarah groaned, but accepted it. “Fine, whatever, can we go now?”


June 15th 2008, 10:00 AM

To Sarah it felt like they had been driving around forever. She kept trying to raise her blindfold, only to have CJ playfully swat her hand away, but eventually the car came to a stop, and Sarah could hear car doors opening and closing.

“Now can I look?”

“Not yet,” Meg answered, pulling Sarah’s door open and taking her hand to help her out. “Watch your head, sweetie,” she instructed, closing the door behind Sarah and guiding her up what felt to Sarah like a poured concrete path.

“Hey Sarah,” Christina giggled from somewhere close by.

“Hi Chris,” Sarah answered, looking around as though it might help. Suddenly, Meg pulled the blindfold away, revealing a beautiful white two-story house.

“It’s just a rental property since we don’t want to be locked into payments while I’m going back to college, but for the foreseeable future, this is our new home.”

“Oh Em Gee,” Sarah squealed as she raced the rest of the way up the walkway to peek inside the first available window. “Oh it’s beautiful! Do we get to keep the furniture?”

“It’s fully furnished, yes,” Meg answered. She couldn’t help smiling proudly at her daughter’s reaction, which had nothing on what came next as Christina casually tapped her on the shoulder and pointed.

“You do know what street this is don’t you?”

“Oh my God no freaking way,” she bubbled. “You and Emily live just on the next block don’ t you?!”

Christina giggled. “Yep. So now you can come over and practice with me any time you want, or just, you know, hang out and goof off.”

“This is so cool! Mom can we go check out my new room?”

Meg smiled brightly as she slid the key into the front door’s lock, sliding it open and stepping back. “Go right ahead sweetheart. I think you’ll like it.”

The two practically sprinted upstairs neck-and-neck, with CJ just following along trying not to fall back down said stairs.

“Holy,” Sarah began.

“Crap,” Christina finished. CJ stopped just behind them, peering through the door. Lavender carpet, soft, light blue walls, and creamy white furnishings awaited the three, including a vanity with mirror, computer desk - minus computer, but most importantly, a relatively new day bed not unlike the one Sarah slept on when visiting her father, complete with trundle bed.

“Oh gawd,” CJ giggled. “Now I can come sleep over here once in awhile too.”

“Hey, anytime you want,” Sarah answered with a laugh. “God this is so cool.”

“Hey Sarah,” Christina called, pointing at a pair of wall shelves on either side of the bedroom window. “Do you still have those adorable unicorns?”

“Of course. I packed them when we moved out. Wow, that’s perfect,” she giggled.

“Isn’t it though?”

“Okay, so just one more question. What were you giggling about going swimming earlier?”

CJ grinned, pulling the curtain back for Sarah to see. Though it wasn’t the biggest pool she’d ever seen, barely large enough to swim end to end in more than a few seconds, it was still a pool, in her back yard, with a nice, new pool cover over it.

“Awesome!” she giggled. “Okay, pool party and sleepover at my place tonight!”


July 2nd, 2008, 3:35 PM, The Cameron Residence

“I just don’t get why I have to go early,” Sarah whined. “I hate spending time at John’s,” she continued.

“He’s still your father, honey,” Meg answered gently, “And it’s in the settlement agreement that you spend July 4th weekend with him.”

“But he’s just going to work on the fucking truck all weekend. I wanna stay here and shoot fireworks with my friends! It’s not fair!”

“I know, sweetheart,” Meg again answered gently, for now ignoring Sarah’s swearing. She was understandably frustrated, as far as Meg was concerned. “I tried to get full custody, but it just wasn’t possible at this point. We’ll have another hearing at the one-year mark, then maybe we can do something about it. Besides, he’s not as bad as he used to be.”

“You’re always telling me a leopard doesn’t change its spots. And his new wife’s a manipulative bitch. I swear she’s out to get me.”

“Honey, language,” Meg finally advised. “And Trisha’s not out to get you. She may be young enough to be Ricky’s girlfriend,” she paused to smirk, “But she’s not that evil. Listen, if you can just get through this weekend, I promise I’ll talk to our lawyer about getting you for Thanksgiving so you can be with the Camerons.”

“Thanks Mommy,” Sarah reluctantly answered, pouting. “Sorry about the language. I’m just pissed off.”

“Sarah!” Meg laughed softly and kissed her forehead.

Outside, a truck horn honked, signifying what Sarah thought would be her father. She stepped outside with her duffel bag. She blinked several times as her brother approached. She stood, stunned and still as he pulled her into a hug.

“Hey squirt,” he teased, ruffling her hair. “Sorry, it’s just me and you. Dad’s working so he can have the fourth off. Some kind of factory shift swap deal,” he shrugged. “You ready to go?”

“Not really,” she sighed, following him back to the truck. “But I don’t have a fucking lot of choice.”

“Jeeze. When did my baby sister get such a mouth on her?”

“You oughta know. I learned from watching you,” Sarah swiped back

Ricky sighed, turning to face her. “Look, I know you’re pissed off about having to spend time with Dad and Trisha. I get it, but there’s nothing either of us can do, so let’s just play family for a couple of days, then you can come back here to your nice little slice of suburbia and pretend I don’t exist until the next time I’m sent to drag your ass away.”

Sarah bit her lip, hanging her head as she started to cry. Ricky sighed.

“God damit Sarah, don’t do this. Not now.” He stepped closer and wrapped her in a hug, kissing the top of her head. “I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated about something. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. Now, come on. I’m not supposed to tell you this, but Dad’s been planning this all year just for you.”

“F-for me? But he’s never done a damn thing for me.”

“Yeah, well, he’s still not father of the year, but he’s not a complete asshole anymore.”

“What about Trisha?”

“Don’t. Even. Ask,” Ricky answered flatly. As the two climbed into the truck, Ricky reached down to pull a pale pink envelope from the door’s side pocket, handing it to Sarah.

“What’s this?” Sarah asked. Ricky lowered his head.

“That’s a mistake. I was s’posed to mail that off before your birthday, but I only just found it again. Sorry Sarah.”

Something rattled inside as Sarah turned the envelope over, and as she opened it, a small silver chain came tumbling out. “O-oh,” she whispered, holding it up to look at it in the afternoon sunlight.

“Yeah. Ain’t much, but at least he’s tryin’ in his own fucked up way.”


July 4th, 2008, 7:30PM, Stevens Residence

Sarah had been hiding in her room the entire day, burying her nose in a book, listening to music, or any one of a dozen other excuses to not have to deal with John or Trisha, her father’s little wife. Eventually someone knocked heavily on the bedroom door. Sarah, assuming it was Ricky, glanced up from her book.

“It’s open,” she called neutrally. John pushed the door open, holding his weathered baseball cap in front of him with both hands, fumbling with it.

“Sarah, your step-mother and I would appreciate it if you’d join us for dinner. I got hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks enough for everyone. All the neighbors is comin’ over. They wanna see how much you’ve grown.”

“She ain’t my stepmother,” Sarah groused, but sighed after a moment, pushing her book closed. “Fine. I’ll be down in a minute.”

He hesitated, staring at her for a moment or two. It was like he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. He put his cap back on and turned to walk away, leaving the door open for Trisha to walk inside in his place. She pushed the door closed.

“Look, you little brat, John worked hard to put this together for you. The least you can do is show a little gratitude.”

“Oh, you want gratitude? Okay. Thanks for ruining my parent’s marriage, you peroxide blonde two-timing ass-licking bimbo. You don’t have a fucking clue what it was like living with that man growing up. This was my house before it was yours, and I knew him before he suddenly decided to try and treat me like a daughter instead of a waste of money. Now get the fuck out before I throw your skank ass down the stairs.”

Of course, Sarah was bluffing. She didn’t mean it, and had it not been for Trisha, she might even have been grateful. Trisha, stunned silent, fumbled for the doorknob, backing out of the room and pulling it closed quickly. Sarah followed, and even laughed to herself at how fast her step-mother cleared those stairs.

“I’ll have a burger, Dad,” Sarah called from the bottom step. “Miss Twiggy might want one too. All those salads, she’s liable to fall and break something,” she added, smirking at Trisha.

Sarah plodded through the house, stepping out onto the front porch to sit on the steps. One of the neighborhood boys, a tall, lanky kid came over to sit beside her.

“Nice night for a fireworks show huh?” he asked. Sarah shrugged.


“So you live around here?”

“Buzz off,” Sarah grunted.

“Hey, that’s not very nice,” he answered, trying to put his arm around her.

“Get the fuck off me,” Sarah snapped, shoving him away. Before she gould get away from him though, Ricky stormed closer, pulling the kid up by his shirt and tossing him to the ground.

“Get the fuck away from my sister you little assprick!”

“Shit!” the kid shouted. “That’s Sarah?! Fuck man, I’m sorry!”

“You’re gonna be if you touch her again. She’s just a kid you dumb fuck!”

“I’m sorry man!” the boy answered, rolling away from Ricky’s boot just in time to avoid a gut stomping and scampering to his feet. “Sorry Sarah. I swear I didn’t know it was you. You look a lot older!”

“Get outta here,” Ricky shouted then turned back to Sarah, approaching and sitting beside her.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Sarah sighed.

“Yeah, I did,” Ricky answered. “Sarah, you’re still a kid, like it or not. I know you’re starting to look like a young woman, maybe even starting to think like one, but you’re not ready for what guys like him want from girls.” He smiled and put his arm around her. Surprisingly, she let him, leaning into him a little and kissing his cheek.

“Thanks Ricky. I guess I owe you one.”

He laughed. “No you don’t. I enjoyed that, so we’ll call it even. Besides, it’s what big brothers are for, right?”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Since when did you start giving a fuck about being a big brother?”

“Since I realized just how much I lost when you and Mom left,” he answered. “Dad’s a dumbass sometimes, but he tries. Sometimes I think he regrets marrying Trisha. It sure as hell didn’t help things any, but they’re tryin’ to make things work, so... who knows, maybe you’ll have a half-sister to pick on someday?”

“Ew. Don’t even joke,” Sarah made a sour face, but giggled. Suddenly a paper plate appeared, hovering between the two. Trisha looked like she was about to completely lose it and start crying right there, but she managed to hold it together until Sarah took her plate, before rushing back inside.

“Shit,” the pair grumbled in unison.

“I guess I should go apologize,” Sarah sighed as she stood, walking back inside. Fortunately for Sarah, her father was nowhere around, probably what Trisha wanted as well, as she sat on the sofa with her face buried in her hands. Sarah slowly approached, sitting beside her.

“Look, I’m sorry about what I said upstairs. I’m hurting right now. I miss my friends, and I’m still fucking upset with my dad for cheating on Mom.”

“Sarah,” the woman sobbed, “John told me when we met that he cheated on his ex-wife. I’m not the girl he had that affair with though.”

Sarah blinked. “Wait, you’re... You’re not?”

“No! Hell no! I thought Ricky’d have told you that! John and me met at the hospital. He was in for a checkup and me?” she laughed a little, “I just brought in a patient that was DOA. I’m a paramedic. I took the death pretty hard, so I was taking some time to gather my thoughts, when this... sweet southern gentleman walks up to me, sits down, and just puts his hand on mine and says ‘Penny for yer thoughts, darlin’?”

She half-sighed, half-sobbed as she lowered her gaze again. “I’ve tried so hard to be a good wife to John, a good influence on Ricky, and I’ve failed miserably at both. If you want I’ll talk to John about giving up custody. He won’t like it, but at least you’ll have me outta your life.”

Sarah frowned, feeling at once very sheepish, and very humble. She leaned closer to wrap her arms around the woman’s waist.

“I’m sorry. I... I guess neither me or Momma ever really thought about it, about that you might not be the same woman that tore our family apart. When I was little, my parents fought constantly about me. Dad even called me a spoiled little bitch on more than one occasion,” she choked up, swallowing before continuing.

“He was some kinda monster to me. Then when they got divorced, I just knew it was my fault. Momma started working to pay for my ballet lessons, and Dad had been foolin’ around with that waitress from the diner. I didn’t find out until later that he’d been doin’ that long before I started takin’ ballet, different women of course, but... You know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I do,” Trisha answered softly. “He told me everything. Every last little detail. Honey I won’t lie to you and tell you he’s some kind of god among men. He’s still just a man. He makes mistakes, but he’s genuinely trying, and so am I. I don’t want you to call me “Mom” or even step-mom. And I don’t want to force something between us. I just want you to know that I’m not the monster you think I am either.”

“I guess it’s my turn,” Ricky added softly from just inside the door. He smiled faintly as he stepped closer. “Sorry Trisha. For givin’ you so much shit. It’s just... When Sarah was little, she and LeAnn got all the attention from Mom. Sure Dad and me spent a lot of time together, but it was like I didn’t exist to Mom. And then when you came along all you could talk about was meeting Sarah, making Sarah feel welcome. That’s why I never corrected her. I was jealous, and … I’m sorry. Seein’ that little dickhead try and pick her up tonight though, it made me realize what’s important.”

“Oh, Ricky,” Sarah smiled as she reached out to grab his hand, pulling him down for a hug. “You’re my brother and I love you. I’ve always loved you. I just didn’t always LIKE you so much,” she giggled a little and turned to Trisha. “So... Now what happens? Now that everything’s outin the open and shi--” she paused to correct herself, “Um, stuff?”

“Well, for starters your hamburger’s gettin’ cold,” she answered. “But... If you want to, Sarah, RIcky, I’d really like it if we could start over, maybe try this whole ‘family’ thing again. I do want to get to know you both better. Maybe even become friends in time.”

“And I’ll talk to Mom about maybe spendin’ more time with you guys. I kinda want to see her family for Thanksgiving, but maybe I could spend Christmas here.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Trisha gasped. “Are you sure you wanna go that far, that fast?”

Sarah shook her head. “Sure? No, not really, but if Dad’s willing to try like this, then I’m just bein’ a jerk if I don’t try and meet him halfway too. It’s gonna take a long damn time before i forgive him, but I still love him.”

“He loves you too. He just doesn’t know how to show it. Give him time.”

“Hey, you three,” John grunted as he poked his head in the door. “The show’s about to start.” He smiled, winking at Ricky, who stood, tossing a zippo lighter into the air and catching it.

“Ladies first,” he added, smiling at his sister and step-mother.


December 25th, 2008, 6:02AM

Sarah had just pulled her heavy blue fleece robe about herself, stepping into her pink bunny slippers. She slowly walked to the window and peeked outside. A thin layer of snow had begun to fall, just enough to blanket the ground. She giggled, racing out of her room and down the stairs.

Trisha and John sat at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee together. Trisha raised her mug, smiling. “Morning Sarah.”

“Hi guys,” she giggled as she raced past.

“Hey, where’s the fire?” her father asked in an almost playful tone. Almost.

“It’s snowing!” she squealed, stopping at the front picture window to stare out. “God I love snow. It’s so perfect and pure.”

“What’s all the squealing?” Ricky groaned as he stumbled down the stairs, staring at Sarah.

“It’s snowing!” she answered happily. Ricky rubbed the back of his neck as he approached, wrapping an arm around Sarah’s shoulders.

“Sarah, you’re my baby sister, and I love you, but if you ever wake me up for snow again, I’ll throw your ass out in it.” He grinned, mussing her hair, and grumbling as he turned to return to the kitchen about how nobody should be that perky that early without at least three cups of coffee first.

John stood, clearing his throat as he approached the two. “Well, seeing as how it’s Christmas morning, I believe there’s some sort of family tradition we’re supposed to be doing right about now?”

“Very funny Daddy,” Sarah giggled a little as she stepped closer to hug him. “I told you you didn’t have to buy me anything.”

“And what eleven year old girl says that and actually means it?” Trisha teased as she plugged in the Christmas tree. John had gone all out this year, even going out into the woods to chop down a tree rather than buying a fake one, and Trisha, Sarah, and Ricky spent at least a couple of hours decorating it. Sarah giggled, grabbing Ricky and her father’s hands and pulling them along.

“For Sarah,” Trisha announced, handing Sarah a large, brightly wrapped gift. They all seemed to be waiting for her to open it, so after a brief, nervous glance between the three, she tore the paper aside to find a large doll in a box inside. The brand identified it as a “Hearts 4 Hearts Girls” doll.

“It was your father’s idea,” Trisha admitted. “They’re a little expensive, but the proceeds are donated to help girls in need.”

Sarah stared at it for several seconds, her eyes filling with tears. “Oh my God. She’s perfect. I-I don’t know what to say. Thank you Daddy.”

John smiled, and for just a moment Sarah thought she saw a tear in his eyes as he replied, “You’re welcome, Princess.”


February 6th 2010, 2:37PM just outside the MacGregors’ apartment

Sarah, dressed in a plain white top, khaki shorts, and a khaki sash stood outside the apartment door, nervously fiddling with her clipboard. This wasn’t her first cookie drive, but it was her first time visiting this neighborhood. So far she hadn’t had any luck, either. People pretended not to be home, or even slammed the door in her face. If things went south with this one, she had resolved to just give up and find another neighborhood.

Just as she was about to walk away, the door slowly opened, and an older man stared down at Sarah. “Yes? Oh, hello there,” he brightened on seeing the merit pathes and pins on Sarah’s sash.

“Hello sir,” Sarah recited, “I’m representing the Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Girl Scouts. Would you be interested in ordering some cookies? Seventy percent of the proceeds go directly to our local Council, and the rest are to pay the baker for the cookies.”

“Hmm,” he responded thoughtfully. “Just a moment while I talk to the wife.” He paused to wink. “Have to watch our sugar intake,” he teased, chuckling as he turned to step away from the door.

Perhaps against her better judgment, Sarah poked her head inside, and slowly looked around. Despite the small size of the apartment, it had been beautifully furnished. A large portrait of a young couple hung on one wall, and just below it on a shelf sat a row of armed forces medals. Sarah stared in awe. The centerpiece of the collection though was an old army revolver, set in its own little custom-case.

“That pistol saved my life on more than one occasion,” the old man admitted, causing Sarah to squeal and jump.

“I’m sorry!”

He laughed. “Nothing to be sorry about. You were curious. Actually that revolver belonged to my father. I had a standard side-arm in ‘Nam, but I carried that with me for luck. Still fires, but I’ve not taken it out to the range in years.”

“Wow, you were wounded?”

“Twice,” he chuckled, offering his hand. “Name’s Jack. Jack MacGregor, or Jack-O to the few lads that remember the old days,” he added with a grin. “And, little lady, since you like it, I might just give that old piece to you some day. Now about those cookies, I don’t suppose you know what those little peanut butter things are called?”

Sarah giggled. “You mean Do-Si-Dos? How many should I put you down for?”

“Oh, a couple of boxes of those, and those mint things for my niece Ashleigh. Better make that two. I have a special delivery request on the second box of each though, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Not at all,” Sarah answered warmly. “Just write the second address on this form, here, and I’ll deliver them when I get the cookies in.” Sarah handed over the order form for Jack to fill out, and after he handed it back, she stared at the address.

“I know this address. Not as a patient though,” Sarah giggled. “I met Zoey awhile ago, and we just sort of accidentally became friends.”

Jack smiled broadly. “I introduced those two, you know. I knew her by a different name then, but she’s a good hearted woman. Have you ever met Ashleigh?”

“No sir,” Sarah answered, but smiled, “But I’d like to. To hear Zoey talk about her, she sounds amazing. It took me awhile to figure out they’re … you know, involved, but I think it’s kinda cool. Well, anyway, I should get going. Mom’s probably worrying about me.”

“Well, feel free to stop by any time. Katherine usually has a fresh pie baked.”

“Oh, thank you,” Sarah answered warmly. “Maybe I’ll stop by with my friend Christina some time. My uncle says veterans don’t like to talk about the war, but I would love to hear about how you won your medals some day.”

He smiled at that and nodded. “It was a dark period for a lot of us, but I’d be honored to share my humble tale with you some time. You take care now, aye?”

Sarah giggled and nodded. “And you and Katherine as well sir. Thank you for your time.”


January 16th 2011, 5PM

Sarah stared boredly at the screen of her laptop computer. Her homework was finished, Christina was out of town, and she had no idea where her other friends were. She began randomly surfing websites, until eventually, she somehow found her way to the website for a school newspaper’s advice column.

At first, she thought little of it, thumbing through articles about dating advice, how to ask a boy out, how to ask a girl out, how to find your perfect color. She was just about to close the browser when something seemed to draw her attention.

Dear Spirit,

My parents are getting a divorce. I can’t help feeling like it’s my fault. They argue about me constantly, and even when it’s not about me it becomes about me.

Sarah paused to chuckle. “Yeah I know how that is.” She continued reading to the end, and smiled at seeing Spirit responded.

Dear Lost,
It’s important for you to remember that your parents love you. They don’t always know how to show it, or say it, but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be arguing over you, and I’m willing to bet, what’s best for you. One person doesn’t ruin a marriage though. I’m not exactly qualified to give advice on this kind of topic, but I’ll tell you as someone who lost her father when I was little, I do know how it feels.

You wonder if you weren’t good enough for them to stick around, if it was something you did or didn’t do. In the end though, you have to accept that it’s not your fault. I know, I know, it sounds easy, but it’s true. I found out when my dad died that he left a huge insurance policy for me and my sister. He loved us. He just didn’t know how to show it. Take good care sweetie, and don’t be afraid to find a real therapist to talk about these things if you need to. I see one once every two weeks myself!


“I must be out of my mind,” Sarah sighed, clicking on the provided email address.

Dear Spirit,

I know you don’t know me, but I stumbled across the website for your school paper today. I found a letter to Lost, the kid with the parents getting a divorce. I wanted to say that it hit pretty close to home for me. My parents got divorced several years ago, and I totally blamed myself for it. I felt like that because I was the center of so many arguments, that it was my fault.

Eventually I learned to cope with my guilt and let go of it, and you know what? My dad and I are actually pretty close now. Anyway, what you said to Lost was exactly what happened with me, too. That was some great advice, and I just wanted to thank you.

Take care,
Sarah in Arkansas

“Well, that was fun,” Sarah exhaled, returning to her websurfing. A minute or so later, her email program announced a new message. She glanced over, bringing it up. “Well, hi there Spirit,” she giggled.

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for the uplifting email. You have no idea the kind of day I had today. It wasn’t bad at all really, it’s just been a little stressful. I had a close call at the mall, and it just ruined my whole day afterwards. Anyway, don’t mean to dump on you like that. I really just wanted to write back and thank you because you totally made my day!

All my best,

“Wait, what? Dear Spirit, what did you mean by close call? Hope I’m not being too nosy, love Sarah.”

Sarah stared impatiently, hoping she might get another quick response. She squealed a little when the response popped up. “I think I just made my first internet friend,” she giggled, opening the email.

“Hi Sarah. Well it’s a very long story. Basically I have a secret. I’m not comfortable sharing what that is right now because, even though you say you’re from Arkansas, you could well be from around here, and it’s a risk I can’t take, but thank you for asking. All that said, no, I don’t think you were being nosy. I just have to be careful about who I trust.”

“Aw,” Sarah pouted, but tilted her head thoughtfully. “Hey, I have a crazy idea...” She giggled, typing her reply. “Spirit, I understand if you don’t feel comfortable telling me. It just sounded serious so I thought I’d ask. Listen, I don’t know exactly why I’m doing this, trusting you with this I mean, but I’m giving you my cell phone number. It’s an Arkansas area code, if that helps. I figure if you turn out to just be some psycho I can just block you or something. Teehee. Take care sweetie, Sarah.”

“Not like she’d really call,” Sarah laughed, rolling her eyes as she closed down her computer. She had actually begun to forget about it, spinning around in circles in her office chair to pass the time, when her phone suddenly rang. She squealed, tumbling dizzily off her chair as she fumbled to answer it.

“H-hello?” Sarah asked.

“Is this Sarah?” the unfamiliar voice on the other end asked.

“Um, maybe. Who’s this?”

The voice giggled lightly. “I’m Spirit, and FYI I googled your phone number. It’s unlisted, but the area code’s accurate, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to say hi. You sound kind of young if you don’t mind my saying.”

Sarah laughed. “Hey, I’m 13 thank you very much. So where do we start? Oh, how did you get your name, Spirit?”

“It’s my camp nickname,” the other voice giggled a little. “I’m a Girl Scout.”

“Oh my God no way! Me too! I was thinking of doing CIT this year.”

“Wow, small world,” Spirit answered cheerfully. “Okay, Sarah, I’m trusting you with a secret. I must be out of my freaking mind here, but I need to talk to somebody about what happened today, and, well, you’re a fellow scout right?”

“Right. A fellow scout who’s like, a million miles away,” Sarah giggled. “No, but really you can trust me.”

“What’s the first line of the Girl Scout Promise?”

Sarah, without missing a beat, replied immediately, “On my honor, I will try.”

“To serve God and country,”

“To help people at all times,”

And in unison, both stated, “And to live by the Girl Scout Law” A cascade failure of chaotic laughter ensued between both girls.

“Oh my God, you really are a scout. Okay sweetie, I’m going to trust you. This is the story of how I became Spirit.”

The girls chatted for several long hours, but to either, it felt like barely a few minutes. ‘Spirit’ told Sarah about her life before and after Alpine Springs, and Sarah told Spirit about her life growing up in Arkansas, living between two families.

“It’s almost like two different worlds,” Spirit advised with a light giggle. “Kind of like being transgendered. You have the world you want to live in, with your mom, your friends, and all, and the world you were forced to live in before. I’m glad you were able to find a balance though.”

“Yeah. Spirit don’t take this the wrong way because I mean this as a compliment, but I think I’d seriously try to kill myself if I was forced to live like that. You’re such a strong, amazing girl.”

“Hey, you can call me Robin. I mean we’ve been on the phone for like,” Robin paused. “Oh my God, six hours? It’s midnight,” Robin squeaked, causing Sarah to giggle. “Anyway, I should get some sleep, but I want you to keep my number handy in case you ever need to talk. I owe you a big one Sarah.”

“Oh, thanks Robin. Is it okay if I email you too? That way we don’t end up sending five hours talking unless we’re both ready for it,” she giggled.

“Of course sweetie. Hey, I know it’s early, but Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Thanks, you too!” Sarah giggled, setting the phone aside and getting ready for bed.


March 5th 2011, 3:45 PM, The Local Mall

As the years passed, and Sarah got older, she became accustomed to the idea of spending time with her two families. During School things were a little tough, but manageable, as she’d spend some weekends with her father, others at her mother’s, and a few in-between at Christina’s or CJ’s, and following their initial meeting,

Zoey and Sarah actually became an odd sort of friends, always saying good morning or good evening in passing at first, but then sharing more intimate details about each other’s lives after a fashion. Zoey was the first to hear about Ricky standing up for her because she was the first person Sarah saw after returning home, for example.

Sarah was now 13, and had developed into a rather attractive young lady. Unfortunately she had begun attracting the wrong kinds of attention, through no fault of her own. Nathan and Emily had only just broken up, but already he seemed to have set his sights on her.

“I have to pee,” Sarah whined. “Come with me?”

Christina laughed. “Sure, babe,” she teased. Sarah and Christina had a unique friendship. They were known to playfully flirt with each other on occasion, never really making anything serious out of it. They were best friends for years, after all, and most never gave their playful banter a second thought, at least until today.

As Sarah and Christina entered the bathroom, they heard the door swing open behind them again. Before Christina could scream, a large boy grabbed her, forcing his hand over her mouth. Nathan followed quickly, grabbing Sarah by the arm.

“There you are you little cunt,” he sneered. “I know you’re the reason Emily dumped me. I bet you and your little dike lover here are always having hot threesomes with her now that I’m out of the picture huh?”

“What the fuck are you talking about? Get the fuck off me and get out of here!” she shrieked, trying to break free, but the large, athletic boy pulled her close, kissing her rather forcefully. She tried to bite his tongue, but he pulled back before she could.

“Y’know what? I think you need to have the lezzy fucked right out of you. Once you’ve been with a real man you never go back!”

“Get off me!” she screamed. “HELP!”

“Shut up!” he shouted, slapping her hard enough to knock her against the wall. “Once we’re done with you we’ll take care of your little dike friend too.”

At that, he dropped his pants and grabbed her, throwing her to the ground. He slapped her as he tried with his other hand to get her skirt up. She screamed, struggling futilely to get free. He was only mere moments from violating her when the door swung open and a contingent of security officers burst into the room, brandishing weapons.

One of them, a large, burly man grabbed the boy holding Christina, flinging him forcefully against the bathroom stall and burying his knee in the boy’s back once he slid to the ground. Two more officers, a blonde-haired woman and a black-haired woman raced over to help Sarah. As soon as they had pulled him off her, the other security officer, a slightly older gentleman, fired a taser dart into Nathan’s side.

Sarah, still screaming at the top of her lungs, shifted across the floor away from the lot of them as fast as she could. She banged her head against the bathroom stall’s door, knocking it open in the process. She promptly slammed it shut, scampering up onto the toilet seat and locking the stall door tightly.

“Get this fucker outta here,” the burly man demanded angrily, and the gentleman with the taser grabbed him by the arm, dragging him roughly through the door. The burly man handled the accomplice, who went quietly after seeing what happened to Nathan, but it didn’t save him from a little rough treatment as well. Meanwhile the blonde-haired security officer raced over to Christina, pulling her into a hug.

“Are you okay sweetie?” she asked. Christina just numbly shook her head before she burst into tears. Meanwhile the other woman knocked gently on the stall door.

“Honey, it’s safe now.”

“GO AWAY!” Sarah shrieked.

“I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to protect you. The police are on their way, and in the meantime we’ll detain those two little bastards so they won’t hurt you anymore.”

“I said go away!” Sarah sobbed bitterly. “I want my Mom!”

The woman sighed softly now. “Honey, I’ll contact your parents. Is this your purse?”

“T-that’s hers,” Christina managed between sobs, but barely.

The woman nodded. “Okay, I’m going to open your purse so I can find some kind of ID, okay?”

Sarah didn’t respond, so the woman set the small handbag on the counter, immediately spotting a small cell phone. She turned it on, activating the speed dial.

“Yes, with whom am I speaking please?”

“Who are you and how did you get my daughter’s phone? Is that my daughter in the background?”

“My name is Elisa Donaldson, ma’am. I’m a security officer at the local mall.”

“Oh God. What’s happened? I’m in the mall right now. What’s going on?”

“Your daughter was attacked by some thugs, ma’am. We have them detained, but your daughter’s locked herself in the bathroom stall and refuses to come out. The police are on their way, but I need you to come down to the west exit restrooms as soon as possible.”

“I’ll be right there,” Meg answered frantically. Barely thirty seconds later she burst through the door, shouting, “Where’s my daughter? Where’s Sarah?!”

“Mommy?” Sarah cried out, carefully opening the bathroom door. Christina still clung to the other security officer as Sarah slowly staggered out. Her shirt and bra had been torn as well as part of her skirt, and she held her hand to her hip as though she had been injured, though in reality it was to keep her torn underwear in place. She moved her hand, causing her underwear to fall to the ground as she raced into Meg’s waiting arms, both sobbing uncontrollably.

“My baby,” Meg whispered. She turned slowly to Christina, motioning with one hand. Christina needed no second invitation, racing closer and burying her face in Meg’s other shoulder.

“Oh Aunt Meg it was awful,” Christina sobbed. “Th-they said I was next, a-and I couldn’t scream or go for help!”

The security officer that had identified herself as Elisa turned to the other woman, speaking softly. “Let’s try and find this poor girl something to wear. Ask Mary at Old Navy for a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and tell her to put it on my account.”

The other woman nodded, quickly rushing out of the stall. Elisa turned back to the three.

“The police’ll be here any minute, but I promised your daughter I’d protect her, and I’m not leaving until I know she’s safe.”

“Thank you,” Meg wept, kissing both girls’ foreheads, one after the other. “I need to call Christina’s mother, and let her know what happened. Oh Gawd,” she choked up again, shaking her head.

Moments later, someone knocked on the bathroom stall. A uniformed police officer carefully pushed the door open just enough to call inside. “Excuse me, I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be standing outside the door whenever you’re ready to talk. Please take as much time as you need.”

He let the door close gently again without waiting for a response. The sobs were all he needed to hear after all. He smiled faintly as he saw the blonde-haired security guard approach, stepping aside to let her pass.

“Okay, I took the liberty of getting you some fresh underwear sweetie. I had to guess your size, but hopefully they’ll fit - 34A?”

Sarah nodded quietly, quickly accepting the offered clothing and dashing into the stall, locking the door behind her. She threw her torn clothing over the stall door as if completely disgusted with it, and a minute or so later re-emerged dressed in the new baggy gray sweatshirt, faded jeans, and a very, very sour expression.

Meg pulled Sarah into a hug as the two security officers stepped out.

“I just wanna go home,” Sarah sobbed.

“I know, honey. You wait here, and I’ll talk to the policeman, okay?”

“Alright,” Sarah sniffed, latching onto Christina as soon as Meg stepped away. The girls huddled together, holding each other close as she slowly stepped out.

“I’m sorry. She’s not in any shape to answer any questions right now.”

“No need, ma’am. I’ve already taken the security personnel’s statements, and we have video footage of the suspects entering the bathroom. We would like to ask for the girl’s clothing as evidence, and whenever they’re ready we still would appreciate a statement, but given the nature of the crime, ma’am, I think I speak for everyone on the force when I say it can wait a day.”

“Thank you,” Meg whispered. “I’ll call the station just as soon as I get these girls home and make sure they’re safe.”

He nodded. “If you’re unsure of your driving abilities under these circumstances we can give you a police escort. It’s not protocol, but these are extremely unusual circumstances.”

“Oh, thank you so much. Yes, I’d appreciate that very much.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am,” he responded gently as he tipped his hat ever-so-slightly, turning to step away to use his radio, while Meg stepped back inside.

“Girls, are you ready?”

Sarah nodded quickly, without even giving her torn clothing a second glance as she and Christina rushed to Margaret, following her out.


March 5th 2011, 4:47 PM

“Hello, this is Zoey Mashburn-MacGregor, how may I help you?” Zoey answered warmly. Normally she might have let the voicemail get it, but something just told her she needed to answer this.

“Zoey, thank God you’re there,” Meg replied with no small amount of relief. “I need you to come over right away, as soon as you can.”

“Meg? Slow down, what’s wrong?”

“It’s Sarah, Zoey. A boy tried to... to rape her at the mall today, and now she won’t talk to me or anyone. She just sits there on her bed, staring at the wall. I don’t know what to do. I’m so worried about her.”

“Oh my-” Zoey cut herself off. “Meg, I’ll be right there. Just don’t leave her alone. I mean it, do NOT leave her alone!” she repeated more urgently. Meg could hear Zoey’s front door slam as she hung up the phone.

“Sarah honey?” Margaret called, looking back in on her. Sarah hadn’t moved from her spot on her day bed. Margaret slowly approached and sat down beside her, pulling her into a hug. Sarah let her hug her, leaning her head into her mother’s shoulder, but she remained otherwise still, silent.

Barely a couple of minutes had passed before the front door downstairs flew open, and Zoey called out. “Meg? Sarah!”

“Up here Zoey,” Meg shouted back. Zoey sprinted up the stairs, looking around frantically until she spotted the pair and approached.

“Sarah? It’s Zoey, sweetheart,” she approached and knelt, carefully taking Sarah’s hand.

“Honey?” Meg offered. Sarah slowly sat up, looking between the two and burst into tears.

“Shh, I’m here,” Zoey cooed as she sat. Sarah leaned into her, sobbing bitterly.

“Stupid motherfucker!” she screeched. “He thought Chris and me were lesbians! Said he was going to fuck the lezzy out of us both,” she wailed.

Zoey frowned, shifting her gaze to Meg. “I’m going to sit with her awhile and try to help her if I can.” She reached her free hand down, taking a business card from her purse. “Meg, do me a favor. Call this number, ask for Ashleigh. Tell her it’s an emergency, tell her Zoey sent you, and then tell her what happened.”

“All right,” Meg answered slowly, hesitantly, “But... who’s Ashleigh?”

“Ashleigh is my lover and my wife,” Zoey answered simply. “She’ll explain everything else. You have to trust me. I have to focus on Sarah right now, but I promise I’ll come talk to you soon.”

“O-okay,” Meg answered and nodded. She leaned close, kissing Sarah’s forehead. “Sarah, honey, I’ll be just outside if you need me.”

Sarah slowly nodded, and Meg stood to step outside, bracing her back against the door. She carefully dialed the number given, though her hands shook badly.

“I need to speak to Ashleigh. It’s an emergency. Yes I’ll hold, but please tell her Zoey sent me.”

Barely a moment later, a distinctly female voice different from the last one answered. “This is Ashleigh. With whom am I speaking?”

“My name is Meg Cameron. Zoey told me to call you. She said that you’d explain everything.”

“I see,” the woman responded neutrally. “Well, in order for me to tell you what you need to know, I need to know what the circumstances of your call are, Ms. Cameron.”

“My daughter was raped in broad fucking daylight,” Meg sobbed.

Ashleigh’s tone darkened substantially as she responded, “And you’re down near Little Rock, near Zoey’s practice, right?”

“Y-yes,” Meg answered in a quivering tone.

“I’ll be there as quickly as I can. In the meantime, I want you to tell me as much as you can. I’ll have the police reports faxed to my firm’s private jet.”

“I-I don’t know if I can afford all this-” Meg started to reply, but Ashleigh cut her off.

“Ma’am, when I win, and I WILL prosecute the little fucker that did this, the only fee I ask in return is a ‘thank you’. Now, let’s start at the beginning. I need your daughter’s name and any other relevant information you might have about the attacker.”


March 6th 2011, 7:45PM, The Cameron Residence

Sarah sat on the edge of her bed, staring down the barrel of Jack’s old army pistol. She cocked the hammer, pulling the trigger on the empty chamber. It clicked, and she didn’t flinch. She pulled the hammer back again, pulling the trigger again. It clicked. She sighed, pulling the hammer back a third time. Her phone rang, startling her. She carefully reset the hammer, placing the pistol aside and answering the phone.

“Yeah?” she mumbled.

“Sarah,” Robin answered. “Thank God. Sweetie I just heard on CNN about a girl being attacked. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Sarah answered simply as she flopped back against her bed, staring at the ceiling. “I guess I’m just kinda numb right now. I mean... What the fuck, you know? It just hurt so much that I finally kinda just … I dunno. I dunno what the fuck I’m saying.”

“Sarah sweetie, can I offer you some advice as a friend? As someone that’s been exactly where you are right now?”

“What are you talkin’ about?” Sarah asked, a hint of a quiver in her tone.

“I was almost assaulted last summer. I never told you about the Raggedy Man?”

Sarah’s hand found the old army pistol. She brought it up to stare at it a long moment as Robin called her name. “Sorry, I’m still here. What were you saying about a raggedy what now?”

“That’s just... that’s the name I’ve come to use. He was a raggedy, rough looking guy who tried to kidnap my friend Alli and me while we were out jogging. Sarah, do you know what a freak like that would have done to me if he found out I wasn’t as much girl as I looked like?”

“Oh my God,” Sarah gasped, forgetting her own pain for a moment. “What happened?”

“I tried to pepper spray him, but I missed, and just made him even madder,” Robin answered solemnly.

Sarah listened as Robin recounted her story, and when she finished, asked, “So how did you deal with it? That had to be fucking traumatic, like... Like what Nathan...” She started to cry, unable to finish her thought.

“I’d be lying if I told you I’m over it honestly. It’s not something you just “get over”, you know? It does get easier though. You have to lean on your friends a little, and a good therapist REALLY helps.”

“I have one of those. And she says my new lawyer is the best in the business, a real people’s champion.”

“That’s how I heard about it actually,” Robin offered gently. “CNN aired a local report from out of Little Rock about the press conference Ms. McGregor gave. That boy’s going down hard for this shit.” Robin sighed. “Sorry. I don’t usually curse, but this is just so wrong. I wish I could be there, but I’m with you in spirit.”

“Cute,” Sarah managed a quiet laugh despite her tears. “Thanks for calling, Robin. I have to go see a man about a gun.”

“Sarah, wait!” Robin exclaimed.

“It’s just a figure of speech. I’m just going over to see my friend Ashleigh’s uncle. He tells great war stories, and right now I’m in the mood for one. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay,” Robin answered. “I’ll keep my phone on all day.”

Sarah smiled faintly as she glanced down at the pistol. At first, she tried to unload it, but when the cylinder wouldn’t budge, she sighed softly and set it aside. At that moment she suddenly became aware of another presence in her bedroom. A young girl of about eleven years, dressed in a long, flowing green gown. A crystalline tiara of deep emerald rested perfectly on her head, and her eyes shimmered like a vast and beautiful tropical ocean.

It was clear to Sarah that the girl had been crying. Fresh trails of tears glistened all the way down her cheeks. “My daughter, I’m so sorry I let that happen to you. Someday soon, I promise that I will make it right for you.” Tears rolled down the young girl’s cheeks as she touched Sarah’s cheek.

Sarah stared blankly back at the girl. “You... did this? Why?”

“I had no choice, sweet daughter of mine, Events had to happen to lead you to your destiny, to become something greater.” The young girl wept..

“T-then I have one small request,” Sarah stammered. “If you’re really responsible for all this?”

“I shall do what I can, for even though I am powerful there are things I cannot do. It will undo the universe as you know it if I did.”

“Just make it stop hurting for a few minutes,” Sarah sobbed, burying her face in her apparent benefactor’s shoulder.

“The pain will go away dear one, I promise. It will take time,” she responded in a soothing tone, holding Sarah in a loving warm hug. Sarah began to feel the weight of the world being lifted from her as she held the young girl.
“Please stay with me tonight? Whoever... Whatever you are.”

“I can’t, my daughter, but know this; I am everywhere, and if you ever need me, I’m always watching you.” She paused, “Except when you’re in the bathroom”, she gave a soft giggle.

Sarah actually cracked a smile and laughed despite herself. “Thanks. In a really weird way that sorta helped.”

“Just remember, I love you sweet one, and I have great plans for you. We will meet again someday soon, and all things will be clear to you.” The young girl kissed Sarah’s forehead again, slowly stroking her hair.

“As... long as it doesn’t involve me dating anytime soon. I don’t think I could handle it.”

The young lady smiled at Sarah, and kissed her forehead again as she started to fade. Before she completely vanished, her voice echoed softly, “You will meet the one you were meant to be with sooner then you think daughter. Remember that I love you and I’m so very sorry I had to let that happen to you. The asshole will get all he deserves, though.”

Sarah sighed to herself, drawing her knees to her chest. “So God’s an eleven year old girl. That or I’m completely fucking insane.” She groaned, teetering over onto her side and sighed.again. “Nasty motherfucker,” she sobbed, but managed to clear her throat.

“Hey, um, Uh, God? Goddess? Weird girl? … I forgive you, but this better be worth it.”

Sarah felt sleep rapidly taking her. When she woke again, some twenty minutes later, she blinked and looked around the room slowly. “Was that real? Mmph,” she sighed, sitting up. She picked up the pistol and slid it into her purse, stepping out of her bedroom to head downstairs.

“Momma?” she called as she reached the bottom step. Meg glanced up from her text book where she sat sprawled out across the living room sofa.

“Yes honey?”

“Can I get a ride over to Jack’s? I need to give him something. It’s important.”

Margaret glanced at her wrist watch, but nodded, pushing her book closed. “Of course sweetie. How are you feeling?”

“Miserable,” Sarah whimpered. “Robin called though, and it helped.”

“I’m glad to hear that. I know I was upset when you first told me you gave a stranger your phone number, but I’m glad it worked out.”

“Me too,” Sarah answered softly as she glanced down at her purse. “Me too,” she repeated.


March 10th 2011, 6:30PM, the Wilder household

Christina and Sarah sat together watching television in silence. Neither girl had seen each other since the incident, but with their homework finished, they had little else to do.

“So are you-” both girls started, then giggled. “You first” they again stated in unison. Sarah nodded for Christina to go first.

“So how are you holding up?” Christina asked softly.

“Not well,” Sarah sighed, resting her head on Christina’s shoulder. “Everybody at school thinks I wanted it to happen.”

“I know. What the fuck kind of fucked up logic is that?” Christina sighed. “I mean shit. I don’t date guys because I’m fourteen! And you’re my best friend so of course we tease each other.”

Sarah nodded softly. “Exactly. It’s not like we spend all our time making out in public or something.”

“Or in private,” Christina teased. “But I’ll say this much, after that? I really am done with guys. Maybe eventually I’ll try dating, but I just... I can’t handle the idea right now. I mean you saw that thing between his legs. It was gross!”

Sarah cringed. “Like a wrinkly worm or something,” she whined. “God that was nasty. Nasty motherfucker,” she whined.

“Did you ever kiss someone before Nathan laid one on you?”

Sarah reluctantly shook her head. “No. I wanted my first kiss to be special, not fucking attempted rape.”

“Mom says the first kiss only counts if you wanted it. Forced doesn’t count because your first kiss is an expression of love between two people.”

Sarah nodded silently as she reached up to casually play with Christina’s hair. The two sat in silence for several seconds. Christina reached down to grab her purse. “God my lips are dry,” she grumbled, fishing out a fresh tube of cherry chapstick. After applying it, she offered the tube to Sarah.

“Oh, thanks,” Sarah answered, and gave Christina a playful pucker a moment later. Christina giggled, but grew silent a moment later and leaned closer, kissing Sarah softly. Sarah, who still had her arm around Christina from playing with her hair earlier, pulled her closer and smiled, letting her tongue dance lightly across Christina’s lips.

Christina’s hands slowly moved under Sarah’s shirt to her bra. Sarah softly moaned into Christians mouth as they kissed, and as if on cue Sarah’s hands now started to wander under Christina’s shirt. Both girls feeling each other up, neither of them wanted the other to stop.

Sarah gently squeezed Christian’s chest to experiment, and Christina did the same to Sarah in return, as both girls were new to this, other then to experiment in the mirror when they were younger. Suddenly both girls pulled their hands away, each blushing deeply. They stared silently at the ground for several seconds before Christina whispered.

“Okay, I liked that.”

Sarah giggled as she nuzzled Christina’s forehead. “Me too. I’m still not ready to date though.”

“Oh God, me either,” Christina giggled. “I just wanted to make sure my first kiss was with someone I cared about. After... After what happened, I wanted it to be with you, my best friend.”

“Aww,” Sarah giggled a little as she hugged Christina, her cheeks burning more brightly. “I know we’re like, practically sisters and all, but that means so much to me, especially after this week. Thanks Chris.”

“You’re welcome,” she exhaled, relaxing against the sofa and her friend at once.


March 12th 2011, 4PM, the Cameron residence

For the past two days, Sarah positively glowed. Despite her problems at school and increasing threats to her for ‘ruining Nathan’s chances at an athletic scholarship’, she seemed perpetually cheerful and quite suddenly, to the point that Zoey was beginning to get concerned.

As Sarah sat with Christina downstairs, working on their homework together, someone knocked at the front door. Sarah glanced at Christina, who shrugged her shoulders.

“Dunno. Mom usually calls if she’s coming to get me for some reason.”

Sarah leaned close, planting a light kiss on Christina’s lips. “I guess I’ll get it.” She grinned and moved to stand. Christina reached up, playfully goosing her backside. Sarah squealed, leaping to her feet. “Watch it,” she teased and padded barefoot over to the door, where she peeked through the small peep hole. Outside, Zoey stood alongside a taller woman with a muscular build and long, sandy brown hair. “It’s Zoey,” she announced, throwing the door open and rushing into her friend’s arms.

“Hi Sarah.” Zoey smiled, her friend trying not to giggle at Zoey’s surprise. “How are you holding up?”

“I’m okay,” she answered, but the smile suggested something a little better than okay.

“How are you? And who’s your friend?”

“May we come in?” Zoey asked. “Thanks for the cookies by the way. I love mint,” she added with a giggle.

“Aw, you’re welcome. Come on in. Christina and I were just doing our homework.”

The unnamed woman chuckled under her breath. “You got a little of Christina’s, um, ‘homework’ on your cheek there, sweetness.”

“Huh?” Sarah asked, rubbing her cheek. A tiny smudge of Christina’s lip gloss rubbed off onto her finger. “Oh fuck.”

The woman smiled, shaking her head. “It’s okay. I’m Cassandra by the way.”

“Oh, um,” Sarah fumbled, daintily shaking the offered hand. “Sarah.”

Zoey smiled as she hugged Sarah. “Cassandra is one of my best friends. She’s an ex-Army special forces, hm... Would you call yourself a bodyguard?” she asked, glancing at Cassandra, who nodded.

“I do a little bit of everything. A jack of all trades,” she laughed, causing Zoey to roll her eyes and giggle at an apparent inside joke. “Yeah, bodyguard works.”

“Right. I asked Cassandra if she’d be so kind as to keep an eye out for you as a personal favor.”

Cassandra almost seemed to be casing the house while Zoey explained. She turned back to Sarah a moment later. “Don’t worry; I won’t be in your way too much after hours. Basically I’ll be around if you need me, otherwise you won’t even know I’m here. Here,” she reached a hand out, taking Sarah’s, and dropping a small device about the size of a thumb drive into her palm.

“What’s this?” Sarah asked, staring at it.

“If you get into trouble, just flip the lid and press the button. It’s a GPS paging device so I can find you and neutralize whatever the threat is.”

“Awesome,” Sarah giggled. “But could you do me a favor too, and come to school with me for a few days? I’d really like to get some redneck assholes off my back.”

Cassandra grinned. “Oh, I’d be happy to. Honestly you’d be amazed how many times just telling someone the number of ways you can beat the shit out of them without even touching them makes them back down. I can show you a few defensive techniques later if you want, too.”

“And Christina too?” Sarah asked, hopeful. “She was almost attacked too.”

“Absolutely,” Cassandra smiled warmly at Christina, who had by now scurried to her feet as well.

“Cool,” both girls answered in unison.

“Well, if you don’t mind I’m going to look around outside. Zoey,” Cassandra nodded to her friend, glancing back. “It was nice meeting you, girls.”

“Nice meeting you too, Cassandra,” Sarah answered, blushing faintly as she remembered the lip gloss smudge on her finger.


April 10th 2011 Little Rock Law offices of Ashleigh MacGregor and James Nelson.

Sarah stepped nervously into the spacious front lobby with her mother Meg following close behind her. Not sure what to expect exactly, Sarah decided to dress up a little, wearing a creamy off-white blouse and long flower print skirt. Meg had dressed in a smart dark gray business suit and skirt, herself.

A curly brown-haired woman sat at the front desk chatting away on an earphone headset as the two approached. “Yes, three o’clock should be just fine. Okay, I’ll leave Ms. MacGregor a note. Goodbye.” She smiled up at the pair. “Hi, can I help you?”

“Meg and Sarah Cameron,” Meg answered with a professional smile, “Ashleigh is expecting us.”

The woman gave a puzzled glance at Meg when she used Ashleigh’s first name, but a momentary glance at her computer screen later, she quickly rose to her feet.

“Oh yes, of course! Right this way ladies. Ms. MacGregor left explicit instructions that I show you right to her office as soon as you arrived. How are you holding up, sweetheart?” she asked, glancing back at Sarah.

“I’ve found ways to cope,” Sarah answered with a light shrug. “I’ll be better when this crap blows over though.”

The woman smiled sadly. “Poor thing. Personally I think men like that need to have their balls wired to a car battery.” She paused to giggle. “But anyway, right through here.” She knocked as she pushed the door open. “Ms. MacGregor, ma’am? The Camerons are here to see you.”

Ashleigh glanced up from her laptop, carefully pulling it closed as she motioned for the two to approach. “Come right in ladies. Please make yourselves at home. Sarah, how are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m okay,” Sarah sighed. “Talking to Zoey has helped, and I’ve found other ways to deal with the stress at school. People are leaving me alone now that Cassandra’s hanging around too.”

“That’s good,” Ashleigh almost chuckled. “Zoey and I both care very much about your well-being. As far as the case is concerned, it’s basically open and shut. The little fucker can try to plead innocent if he wants, in which case it’s going to be a slam dunk case. If he pleads guilty, then I’ll still push for restitution and maximum jail time.”

“Do you think that’ll work?” Sarah asked softly. “I mean I don’t doubt your abilities at all. It just seems like all-star jocks with big athletic scholarships are kind of a big deal in this part of the nation.”

“That may be so, but attempted rape of a minor in a public place, in broad daylight speak strongly of mental instability, probably a rough home life as well. More importantly, I’m having an expert witness examine him so his lawyers can’t try some insanity plea bullshit.”

Sarah giggled just a little at that. Suddenly time stood still. Ashleigh had frozen mid-sip of her coffee, and Meg had just popped a small mint candy into her mouth. Sarah glanced from one to the other, immediately looking around for the familiar little girl.

“Over here,” the girl almost giggled as she stepped out from behind Ashleigh’s chair. “She talks big, but she has an even bigger heart, my daughter. You must believe in her, as I do. She will win this case for you.”

Sarah stood, approaching the girl and bending down to hug her. “How can you be so sure, though? It’s not that I doubt you, or her, I just don’t understand.”

The girl giggled, resting her hand against Sarah’s cheek for just a moment. She turned back, gliding her fingers through Ashleigh’s hair. “This daughter of mine went to school as I told her. She became a great lawyer just for you, Sarah. She may not know it, but it was all for you.”

Sarah stared back at her, unsure how to respond. “Why?” she asked simply, more than a little fear in her tone now.

“All in due time, sweet one. You have nothing to fear from me though. I do this because I love you, and because you are important.”

“Who are you really?”

The girl actually paused and giggled. “In all the time that I have been able to take form, and appear to others, not once has anyone asked me that question. I am called Faith.”

“Faith... I should have seen that coming,” Sarah giggled to herself. “But I like it. So are you like, God or something?”

“‘Something’, yes. But I’ve tarried too long. I must go. We will see each other again, my daughter. Come here.” Faith pulled Sarah into a hug, and as she bent down to return the gesture, Faith gently kissed her cheek. “I love you, my daughter.”

“I-I love you too Faith. Thank you. I don’t understand why you’re doing this, but thank you.”

She smiled, cupping Sarah’s face in her hands as she slowly disappeared, letting the world return to normal. Ashleigh glanced up at Sarah over the rim of her coffee mug, setting it aside. Sarah blinked, suddenly feeling the overwhelming urge to hug Ashleigh.

“Oh,” Ashleigh giggled a little at the sudden gesture, wrapping her arms around Sarah lightly in return.

“Thank you for everything. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me.”

Ashleigh smiled as she stroked Sarah’s hair lightly. “It’s my job, sweetheart, and I’m glad to do it. People like this need to be removed from society. Whether they can be redeemed and rehabilitated or not isn’t my decision or my problem. I just want to keep innocent people like you from getting hurt. Zoey and I have been talking, and we think that once this trial is taken care of, that you and Meg should fly out to Washington D.C. for awhile. Take vacation, see the sighs, and just relax - on us.”

“Really?!” Sarah squealed happily.

“Really,” Ashleigh answered with a broad smile causing Sarah to hug her again.

“Thank you!”

“Now, let’s talk settlements.”


May 5th, 2011, 10:06 AM - Pulaski County Courthouse

“All rise for the honorable Judge Alice Gilbert,” commanded the stone-faced bailiff. Sarah stood along with her mother, Zoey, and the rest of the court as the older woman entered, taking her seat. She settled in, taking a moment to review a document or two in front of her.

Before the judge could even open her mouth, Nathan’s lawyer, a slick-haired man in an expensive suit and tie stood. “If it please the court-”

“It would please the court if you would sit down and stay silent until I address you. I’ve had enough of your little games Mister Martock.”

He quietly sat down again, and the judge cleared her throat. “Now then, Nathaniel Beckham. You’ve been found guilty of one aggravated assault on a MINOR,” she strongly stressed that word, “and one count of sexual assault of a MINOR,” again she stressed that word, “Do you have anything at all to say for yourself before I read your sentence?”

Nathan scowled at the judge, but said nothing. She sighed.

“All right then. You are hereby sentenced to forty years in prison. You will pay $10,000 in fines and legal fees. You will pay restitution to this young lady’s family, and you MIGHT be eligible for parole in fifteen years if you behave yourself, during which time-”

“WHAT?!” Nathan screamed, leaping to his feat.

“DURING WHICH TIME you will attend mandatory anger management classes.”

“I’ll kill you!” Nathan screamed, leaping over the divider to try and get to Sarah. He didn’t get very far, as the bailiff leapt the divider going after him, and tackling him to the floor.

“Get him out of here!” the judge shouted, slamming her gavel down.

Sarah, by now in tears, hugged Christina and her mother excitedly. “It’s over. Fucking hell, it’s finally over!” she cheered.

Ashleigh smiled as she approached, watching with no small amount of pleasure the bailiff and another officer literally dragging Nathan out of the court room.

“Normally this is the part where we approach the bench and discuss lessening the sentence and blah blah blah blah blah, but after that little display? I’d say he’s fucked.”

“Literally,” Christina giggled under her breath.

“Now I believe I promised you two a trip to DC didn’t I? I need a few days to settle things here before I leave them in the capable hands of my business partner, but that’s the beauty of having a private jet at your command,” she winked.

“Thank you for everything, Aunt Ashleigh,” Sarah giggled, hugging her again.

“Aunt?” Zoey asked, shooting Ashleigh a playful glance. Sarah giggled again.

“You too Aunt Zoey!”

“You’re welcome sweetie,” Ashleigh answered, both women kissing her forehead gently. Sarah smiled as she stepped out of the court room, fishing out her phone and hitting speed dial.

“Trisha, hey! We just got out of court. Nathan exploded and they had to haul him out in two sets of handcuffs, kicking and screaming. It’s finally over.”


By the time Sarah left for Washington DC, Meg had finished her business degree. On the plane, she chatted in private with Ashleigh about what to do about the local situation. She sighed softly.

“Ashleigh I just don’t think I can take it any more. Even if we did technically win, not a day goes by that I don’t hear some snide asshole still upset that the University of Arkansas lost its up-and-coming basketball star, or how Sarah got what she deserved.” She nearly broke down in tears at that last one.

“Oh honey,” Ashleigh answered, pulling Meg into a reassuring hug. “Listen, Zoey and I have a summer home that we haven’t used, except to have it cleaned every so often, in a little town near New Haven called Alpine Springs.”

“That name sounds familiar. I think LeAnn might be interning at the smaller hospital there.”

Ashleigh smiled. “Take some time, enjoy the sights in DC, and then take Sarah there for the summer. It’s a nice, quiet community, very laid-back. I think you’ll both be happy there.”

“I don’t know how to thank you,” Meg whispered.

“You can thank us by saying yes. When Sarah hugged me that first time, it changed everything for me. She stopped being just another case, and I saw for the first time what Zoey has been telling me all along. You have an amazing girl there, and we’re both excited to be part of her life. If you decide you like the house, just give me a call, and I’ll sign over the deed.”

Meg’s jaw went slack for a moment or two. “You’re kidding. Ashleigh I can’t, I couldn’t.”

“Yes, you can,” she answered with a giggle. “You can do it for Sarah’s sake if not the sake of your sanity. Remember, I promised I’d provide investment capital in your new restaurant. I can’t think of a better place to open one.”

“I suppose you have a point there. Okay, we’ll have a look around, and then fly back to start packing.”

“Take your time, sweetie. Zoey will call for a moving truck whenever you’re ready so we can get you settled faster.”

“Is there anything - anything at all that I can do to repay you for all your help?” Meg asked as she wiped away her tears.

“Just continue to take care of that darling girl. It’s going to be a long time before she’s truly able to cope with what’s happened to her. She needs her mother now more than ever, but we meddling aunts will do what we can, too.”


And so it went that Sarah found herself in Alpine Springs. She befriended a pair of twin girls named Em and Beth, and her mother befriended their father, Peter. Though Sarah greatly distrusted most men because of what had happened, she found herself connecting with Peter in similar veins as she learned to connect with Trisha, whom she had by then taken to calling her stepmother.

Sarah butted heads with an attractive sixteen year old named Katelyn, and for a short time they had problems whenever they crossed paths, until Sarah finally lost it and yelled at the girl in the middle of a department store.

“I... I’m sorry,” Katelyn managed softly. Sarah brushed her hands over her eyes and cheeks to wipe her tears.

“Yeah, me too,” she sighed. “I’m sorry I went after you like I did. Is there... Is there somewhere quiet we can talk?”

Katelyn smiled meekly. “The food court’s empty. Can I buy you a chocolate shake? My treat.”

“Mom always said ice cream doesn’t really solve all life’s problems.” She paused, and the pair of them stated in unison, “But it sure helps.”

Katelyn giggled as she offered her hand. “Sarah I really am sorry. Can we maybe start over? And... if you feel comfortable talking about it, maybe you can tell me about what happened in Arkansas?”

“I’m partly to blame too. I’m just kinda frustrated. I miss my friend Christina.”

“I know how that is. Come on, let’s go get that shake and you can tell me about her.”

“Well, for one thing, she’s a dynamite kisser,” Sarah giggled, causing Katelyn to giggle as well.

“So you’re into that sort of thing are ya?”

Sarah blushed, leaning up to plant a kiss on Katelyn’s cheek. “What do you think?”

“I think we should totally catch a movie tonight, just the two of us. You’re probably not ready for a relationship yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”

“With benefits,” Sarah snickered. “Shit. How’d we get from at each other’s throats to flirting so fast?” she asked, a little surprised at herself.

Katelyn laughed. “We’re two of a kind, babe. Frustrated, looking for an outlet. So, movies tonight?”

“I’d love to.”


“Say you’re sorry you little skank! SAY IT!” Katelyn screamed as she shoved the foul-mouthed little girl that had just cursed Sarah out against the wall.

“I’m sohreee!” she shrieked.

“Now say, ‘Please forgive me Sarah. I’ll never call you nasty names again. You’re very beautiful, and you have every right to like girls’.”

The girl quickly, and with no small amount of sobbing, repeated Katelyn’s forced apology word-for-word. “Now get the fuck out of here before I change my mind!” Katelyn shouted as she literally booted the girl out the door.

Stacey smirked as the pair returned to their table. “About time somebody took out the trash. Nice work Kate.”

“Believe me, Stace, it was a pleasure.”


“It’s too bad Katelyn had piano lessons to teach,” Em commented casually as she, Beth, and Sarah entered the pizza parlor together. “Hey Sarah, what do you like on your pizza?”

“Um, anything but mushrooms,” Sarah answered casually as she shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, can you guys watch my purse?”

Beth giggled. “You’re regretting that 20 oz Mountain Dew now aren’cha?” she teased. Sarah groaned.

“Just watch my purse,” she shot back, but smiled as she raced off to the bathroom. Just as she was getting comfortable, two girls exited the other stalls, stopping to wash their hands.

“So did you hear about Katelyn’s new girlfriend? My brother works at the food court, and he says he overheard her talking about how some guy raped her.”

“Oh my God,” the other girl gasped. “You’re kidding. Please tell me your brother’s just full of shit.”

“I dunno. I asked around, and apparently it made national news back when it happened. They couldn’t release her last name, but the first name was Sarah, and the age’s about right.”

“Fucking hell. That poor girl. I’d just shut right the hell down if it was me. We should do something nice for her.”

“Yeah. What can we do though? They don’t make ‘Hey, sorry you got raped’ Hallmark cards,” the second girl sighed softly. as the two exited the bathroom.

Sarah swallowed a hard lump in her throat as she emerged from the bathroom stall. She’d almost managed to put the whole thing behind her, but hearing those two talk about it again, about how they wouldn’t be able to handle it, brought all the dark feelings from that day surging back to her. She did what she could to dry her eyes, splashing water on her face and forcing a smile.

“Sarah? What’s wrong?” Em asked as she approached.

“Huh? Oh, I just splashed some water on my face. It’s fucking hot out there,” she answered, shrugging. “Anyway, I think I’m going to head back home. We’ll hang out tomorrow, okay?”

“Um, okay,” the pair answered in unison, Beth adding, “Want us to walk you home?”

“No, I’m okay,” she answered simply, picking up her purse and bike helmet, and stepping out again.


To find out what happens next, see chapter 10 and beyond of “Everything’s Sunny with Sarah!”

We would like to thank Bailey Summers for beta reading this, before it was posted on Robinverse and here, and for giving us the title name.
We would also like to thank all our fans for continuing to read our stories :)

Thank you

P.S. Bloopers & Deleted Scenes

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Sorry when I went to edit

Sorry when I went to edit the start of the story, it cropped all the rest of it for some reason, it's fixed now, thank you!



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Swift justice...

Andrea Lena's picture I've said before, there's a reason for how some states considered a capital crime. Out in fifteen after good behavior? He ought to count his blessings. By the way, my birthday is March 5th, so I was especially glad to see justice served. After all that child has been through, to deal with the trauma of rape. I was also glad how Zoey introduced Ashleigh. And once again Katelyn shows just why I find her to be adorable, if a tad rough around the edges. Thanks, ladies!

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Andrea Lena


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Love, Andrea Lena

We found the punishments for

We found the punishments for the crime online, the max / fines and what not :)
google is a wonderful tool when writing about stuff you have no idea about sometimes *giggles*



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Interesting retcon...

It must have been an interesting challenge for you two, rewriting Sarah's story so she was a GG, while still keeping most of the incidents that defined her (the exception, of course, being 'the wilderness years') I suppose having Zoey and Ashleigh owning the house next door to Alison's as an unused summer retreat is more plausible than it conveniently coming onto the market at exactly the right moment. I assume then that her trip to the hospital was purely fixing the wounds from the nightmare and arranging counselling, as the SRS element is no longer relevant. I'm still intrigued by the mysterious events of 10.1 with regards to waking up screaming etc.

Given she was on a morphine drip, were the events of BDC and ESWS to date lucid dreams under medication, or are they now completely null and void?


Bike Resources

There are 10 kinds of people in the world - those who understand binary and those who don't...

As the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handers are in their right mind!

Like a dream, but

Zoe Taylor's picture

It's hard to explain, really. Initially when she wakes, she'll still believe she was born a boy, and then have to cope with this entirely new set of memories competing for her attention.

It's a blessing and a curse, having two complete existences thrust upon her. Had the Ladies not intervened, the old Sarah would have died that night, but they took their meddling a step further than what Faith asked of them, believing they were doing what was best for her.

You're spot-on about why she's there now though. The same amount of time will have passed, and I've even preserved the conversations between Katelyn and Robin, and Zoey and Robin in the next BR chapter (which I'll post once we get 10.2 posted :-))

It's going to make Sarah's life a new kind of struggle as she copes with certain aspects of her life being very different, but she won't face those struggles alone. :-)

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Doesn't Appear That Anyone's Asked Yet...

Does that mean that Katelyn no longer knows Robin's secret?

Really interesting reversal, and a good story in its own right.


Big Girls Don't Cry

A very interesting backstory in the Robinverse.

Thanks for having Zoey and Ashleigh in Sarahs support team!


It wasn't easy rewriting

It wasn't easy rewriting Sarah's back story, We had to choose what memories that where important that needed to be rewritten, We also both agree'd since we where doing this, we would save John (Sarah's dad) and Ricky from death as well, it's going to be interesting to see them in future Chapters :)
John and Trisha will probably show up a lot more now that Sarah is on somewhat good terms :)

Thanks for all the positive feed back, Zoe and I where concerned that 10.1 , BGDC and 10.2 wouldn't hit off, but it looks like it did :)



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It looks like at least one

It looks like at least one character was completely abandoned in this retcon/rewrite.

What happened to Nathan's TG sister?

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

*blush* Yeah, um... I goofed.

Zoe Taylor's picture

I don't know how we completely forgot to at least mention Max. She/he wasn't one of the ones intentionally skipped over (for example, not repeating the scene where Sarah returns the pistol because it would've played out very similarly in both cases :-))

As far as Max's role in things though, I've been thinking about it, and I think it would actually be Christina who finds out about Max's abusive home life. She's still upset and probably will be a long time before she's ready to date, but after Sarah moves, she and Max I can see becoming closer just like before, so it's possible they'll still end up dating at some point.

But speaking as a plot point overall, that's an "Oh, crap!" self-facepalm moment on my part :-)

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The main reason I pointed it

The main reason I pointed it out is that it was a HUGE part of the previous storyline. I just thought it was odd that there wasn't a Max anymore :)

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

Halloween tale

Teek's picture

Okay, I read this on Halloween. It seems very fitting for a Halloween tale.

I don't know what to say. My head is still whirling all around trying to get itself around what just happened and the implications of it along with information gained in your other cross universe postings (not Sarah story).

Let me just say WOW! Impressive change to the universe, and you have like three or four different actively going stories that you are trying to merge into one existing . . . okay you aready phrased it right . . . universe. This is one impressive feat. I can't wait to see how you pull it all off and how the fate of all these individuals finally all join together.

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Big Retcon

Jemima Tychonaut's picture

Okay, skipped a little of the chapter but my first thoughts about the retcon could be summed up as 'whuh?!? bhuh?!?'. Wow, that was a substantial piece of tinkering with the universe! Definitely pee'ing in the timestream!! How this settles down now and unfolds will be interesting.

Apart from the Max thing (which you're excused because that's a lot of characters to keep track of!!!), which I assume means (s)he never came out without the catalyst of Nathan's transphobic assault, the main impacts if I follow it right would be that Sarah's now a GG but with all the memories of her old life as well and her father and brother are still alive. I'll be honest, I struggled a little to like the 'new' dad knowing that had Sarah been born as she was what a monster he turned out to be. Yeah, she's his princess now but that's because she's always been his princess not Johnny. How she deals with those two sets of memories is certainly going to be interesting.

I think you did a good job folding the key events of Sarah's old life into her new life, which wasn't from the look of it easy. I'm guessing 10.2 is now going to be all sorts of different from 10.1!!


"Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life."

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Zoe did have a lot of

Zoe did have a lot of characters an events to cover between BDC 1 and ESwS 9, my biggest thought of this chapter was its length lol
I read it as it was written and I read it again after it was posted, 20k words is a lot, google docs says its 50 pages long.
Its huge! Zoe felt bad about Max once it was pointed out we had forgot him/her. I guess we can pop Max in a future Chapter of ESwS? would you all get mad if we did? :P

*hugs* Thanks for reading it, there is parts of this chapter that make me cringe but 9 still makes me cry.



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Athena N's picture

I must agree with just about everyone that the original timeline felt more natural than this new one. But that's how it should be -- this *is* a retcon, after all, even if one created by the universe. Retconning isn't any easier for divine than mortal creators, I guess. :)

Defently diffrent

Renee_Heart2's picture

& I kind of like diffrent this just seams like a paralell dimenchion of how things could have turned out & Sarha Really was a girl & she hasd a place to go insted of the dirty old appartment they had to live it & her mom did go back to school & got her business degree & Ahsleigh & Zoey where actualy dicent to Sarha's mom.

I like how Sarha could see the aperhision called Faith & only she could see her & Faith would freeze time. Something tells me that Sharha is bound for something great what I guss we will have to see.
Love Samantha Renee Heart

Love Samantha Renee Heart

I see wht you mean by "peeing in the timestream"

One act of kindness, the head of the three witches changing John into Sarah, a girl from birth has forced profound changes so that Sarah will still do whatever it is that makes her important in the big scheme of things.


Many are good things, her dad, though still flawed is alive, possibly a father again and married to Trish who is a good woman, perhaps as good in her way as Meg was/is.

Her mom finished her degree -- not sure if she did in the original, and Susan/s brother is alive and better too.

But there are down sides, the rape to replace the assault and possibly more to come. Plus if Trish has any kids these are people who never would have existed in the original timeline.

I have a Q about some of the anger Faith has at the witch who transformed John into her hearts desire. This occcures in your connecting tale about the twin girls who wern't born twins byt he was tricked into *wanting* to be one, kindof, then twicked into a memory wipe of who he once was, also sort of,

-- GRIN --

You said Faith was upset she had to punish the girl they refused to help? Was that a typo? I got the impression at first that meant she wanted Robyn to become a born girl. But thinking it over did you really meant it and by punishment you mean having to make Sarah face a near rape as part of restoring the timeline?

I understand why some don't like the use of magic in a tale but I agree you did have modest hints of it in the Robynverse long before -- and in Ariablade --so it should not have been unexpected.

Nice stuff, magic or no.

John in Wauwatosa

John in Wauwatosa

I found this one to be a real treat girls.

I was lucky enough to beta read this and there are still things you ended up putting in that I never got to read so big bonus there.

On a side note maybe Max that got cut out of the timestream might actually make an appearance somewhere else in the Robinverse as a sort if something that was re-balanced.

And I still love the bloopers, I'm still not sure if anyone has done a blooper part for their stories before.

*Great Big Hugs*

Bailey Summers

Well that was... interesting.

Though regarding the blooper, I still think it was OOC because Faith had a few somethings go horribly wrong/right/left/whereever before Ricky crashed the car. :)

Probably said somethings contributed to the crash too.


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