Chapter 30: Firsts


I wanna know / Who ever told you I was letting go

Of the only joy that I have ever known / Girl, they were lying…

I'm never gonna say goodbye / Cuz I never wanna see you cry

I swore to you my love would remain / And I swear it all over again and I

I'm never gonna treat you bad / Cuz I never wanna see you sad

I swore to share your joy and your pain / And I swear it all over again - Westlife


"Well you're really lucky," Renae said softly as she shut her eyes. She was extremely tired, on the verge of falling asleep. "You already found him."

"It's not a matter of finding." Trent explained. "He was there, the whole time."

"Mmm. I know." Renae said remembering Toni. "But, what about when he's not there anymore?"

"Can't happen," Trent answered. "He's always there."

Even though Renae arrived at B&N ten minutes late, Droven still wasn't in the café. Instead of worrying, Renae started looking through the bookstore. She knew the exact sections to search in: poetry, classics, and historical fiction. But Renae was surprised to find that he was in none of those. She found him in children's.

"Droven," Renae called in an amused voice with her eyebrows raised.

He turned around from the book he was reading to gave Renae a smile. "Hey."

"What'cha reading?" Renae asked teasingly, "The Bearenstein Bears?"

"Hey what's that supposed to mean? Those are good books…" Droven said indignantly. He smiled as he took the book he had in his hand and flashed the cover at Renae, "I'm reading Dr. Suess."

"Oh." Renae looking at the familiar art on the cover, "Dr. Suess. How intellectually stimulating." She started laughing at her boyfriend.

"Yea, yea. Go ahead and laugh. But look, Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson is all good now," Droven lectured trying to keep his sense of respect in tact, "But you can never forget your first." Droven pretentiously hugged the book to his heart to amuse Renae. "The only thing that beats Dr. Suess's Green Eggs and Ham might be… Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends."

Renae nodded her head and got closer to Droven to poked him in the ribs as she agreed. "Now that was a good book."

Droven grabbed the place she had stabbed him with her fingers and gave her a pretend glare. Then he started laughing himself. But as he quietly put the hardcover children's book away, Droven's jovial mood turned quite serious. Renae noticed his discomfort and called him softly in a what's-wrong? voice, "Droven..?"

 He turned to look at her carefully. "Yea…" he mused "Speaking of the subject of 'firsts…'"

Renae guessed what was next. "Mine was probably mother goose," she automatically answered as she moved to a small kid sized chair near a reading table and managed to fit in it.

But she was wrong. Droven smiled and shook his head slightly. "No, I didn't mean books again."
Renacy laughed. "Okay then, what?"

"Trent," Droven said quietly, making Renae freeze. He looked straight at her. "Trent was your first, wasn't he?"

Droven caught Renae biting her lip before she forced a smile. "My first friend in San Luis? Yea sure, you could say that." Renae answered nonchalantly.

Trent's best friend wasn't fooled. "I meant," Droven said swiftly. He rolled the next words awkwardly off his tongue realizing how corny it sounded, "First … crush."

Renae rolled her eyes and stepped up from the child chair she had been sitting in. "Oh God, Droven. You know Trent and I are just friends. We've never even gone on a date."

Droven didn't look like he bought it. "Oh. All right, let me restate the question. Treton, aka Toni Jackson was your "first love" "first crush" whatever." Renae breathed in sharply as Droven continued without pause. "You know, that dude that you pushed into that lake – the one who got cut up. The one that's given you that rumor-phobia. The one whose name you never told me."

He wasn't supposed to know that. "Who-who told you all that?" Renae demanded

Droven sighed, turning his back to Renae to face a stack of Harry Potter books. "Pace, who heard it from Jade, who figured it out with Praya, from watching you and Trent, which means that everyone in the world seemed to know except me." he explained in an annoyed voice.

Renae swallowed as she tried to come up with something to say, "Listen, Droven I- I didn't know that Trent was Toni…If I had known…I wouldn't have… What I mean is, I wasn't trying to lead you on. Wait, I'm not leading you on! Droven. I – I really love you," she insisted clumsily with a face that looked miserable as she gazed at Droven beseechingly.

Droven gave Renae a sad smile and approached her, taking her in his arms. He gave her a tight hug. "Renae, Renae… If we do this, we have to really mean it." He pushed her away a bit to look at her face. "We haven't been really meaning it."

"Yes we have-" Renae tried to insist but Droven cut her off.

"We've been just putting up appearance." Droven said right into her ear. "You buy me a watch, I quote you a poem. But you and I don't need each other. I need Pace. And you need him."

"No, Droven!" Renae said as she buried her head into his shoulder, hiding her face from him. "I did have a crush on him back in 8th grade, but it was nothing. Nothing came out of it."

"Renae, how can you say nothing came out of it?" Droven asked gently. "Trent isn't here, is he? He left his mom, he left track, he left me, he left you, he left his popularity…" Droven's voice trailed off as he felt Renae shaking. "He gave up everything so that you could be happy…"

Renae mumbled something incomprehensible into Droven's shoulder.

"Renae, even if I did feel that you were the one for me, I'd have to let you go. Trent is my best friend. He loves you."

That was when Renae pulled away from Droven. "If he fucking loved me, he wouldn't be dating Jenna right now in Monterey!" she hissed. Droven looked at her with a struck face. Renae realized what she had just spilled and brought her hand up to her mouth to cover it.

"Whoa. Who told you that?" Droven demanded staring straight into Renae's eye.

Renae shook her head but whimpered an answer, "Praya." Tears appeared at her eyes she approached Droven once more and grabbed onto his hand. "Droven, please. Don't leave me. I don't have anyone left. At least Pace- Pace has Jade."

That made Droven give her a look. "Wha-Jade?" Droven repeated.

"Jade really likes Pace now, Droven." Renae explained. She used his hand to real herself into his chest and clutched a fistful of his shirt to herself. "You can't take him away from her. Droven, you can't."

Droven's face distorted as he thought that one out. "Renae, maybe she's just trying to trick you again."

"Why would she?" Renae cried. "She was sincere, Droven! And if you and I break up, and if you start dating Pace, she'll kill you. She'll absolutely kill you."

Droven laughed. "Renae, you drama queen. I highly doubt that Jade – the Jade I've known for 5 years – would kill me. We may not be talking to each other right now but we're practically siblings to each other. She knows that I love her like a brother. "

Renae gave Droven a desperate look. "Droven, she needs help. You don't know what she's capable of. She attacked George!"

"Well, can you blame her? After what he did to you…" Droven grumbled. "I would have tried to drown him myself." He put his hand around Renae's face. "I promise you, Jade won't hurt me. So why don't you go to Monterey and get Trent…"

"I'd rather die!" Renae shouted at him through sudden frustrated tears. "I'd rather fucking die! Than to see that assfuck with Jenna? If I see him with her I'll be worse than Jade when I kill him."

Droven shook his head and put a finger to Renae's lips to shush her. "You can't really believe that he's really with her?"

"Why not? He cheated on you with Vanessa and Carly. He and I aren't even going out, why shouldn't he go out with my best friend."

"Because he loves you." Droven answered, tucking a finger under Renae's chin which was exactly what Trent had said to her, "And he's waiting for you. You should go to him. Forget I ever was your boyfriend. I don't mind. That was a mistake-."

Renae shook her head and simultaneously pulled her face away from his hand. "No. No-Why do you have to so freaking good, Droven?"

He smiled lightly and shrugged. "You know what Emily Dickinson said,  'If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain'"

"No Droven, she's not going to work right now," Renae told him and then asked, "What happened to liking Dr. Suess better?"

"He's short on meaningful quotes." Droven answered, "At least, I can't think of any right now besides 'I will not eat green eggs and ham' and 'hop on pop'

Renae shook her head sadly at him. She breathed in a shaky breath before Droven tried to compel her.  "Renae….You have to go to Monterey."
Renae kept shaking her head. "I said no. Was this your damned good news?"

"Yes. I'm breaking up with you so that you can be with Trent," Droven answered, "That's pretty damned good."

"No. I…can't Droven." Renae whispered. "I really can't be with him."


Trent was invisible in the back row of his new Chemistry class. It was his third week back in Monterey and his father had come home from Germany two weeks before. As Trent had known he would, his absent-minded artist of a father had needed help getting settled in again badly. The studio at home was still covered with webs. Trent had spent a week doing nothing but cleaning at home before his mother in San Luis realized that Trent was serious about staying in Monterey with his father for the rest of the school year. She finally made her husband, Principal Evans, transfer his school records to Monterey High School. Trent was then able to start school.

The first week, people had paid attention to him as the new kid. Particularly Renae's old friends – the whole Juliet, Meghan, Jenna crew. But then everyone asked if he surfed –and not wanting attention, he lied, no –from there the interest dwindled. Jenna and them knew the truth, from having seen him on the waves before, but they just seemed to think that the whole lying about your talents thing was uncool of him. Especially when it made everyone else think he was uncool. So only Jenna seemed to be paying any more attention at all to him, though he would have appreciated it if they had all decided to leave him alone. As it was, Trent was pretty clear on what Jenna wanted. Even though Trent loved Chemistry, he hated this class because he wasn't supposed to be in it. They had made a scheduling mistake and put Trent in the regular rather than honors level course. As a result, the class went too slow for Trent and he was stuck being partners with Jenna who took every opportunity to come on to him. And since the rest of the class already considered him a social outcast, the two of them were stuck with the third person in their group, an unpopular "flamer" named Todd who had overheard that Trent was bi (so he took every opportunity to come on to Trent, too).

During the beginning of the period everyone was talking, except for Trent. The teacher had to turn the lights off to get everyone to quiet down. He started class with a discussion of that day's lab, an experiment Trent had already done in his honors class with Renae back in San Luis.

"All right, class, break into groups for the lab," the teacher announced and within a moment Jenna was at Trent's desk with her hair flipped to one shoulder.

"Toni, you're the smart one so just tell me what to do and I'll do it." She said, grinning a little bit too brightly.

Trent forced a smile. "Fine." His face hardened as he got up slowly and walked back to the lab tables. Todd soon joined them, earning a rolled eye from Jenna who didn't appreciate having to work with the biggest looser in school.

"Trent, what does this gadget do?" he asked as he started playing with the tongs they were supposed to hold the beakers with.

"Put them down," Trent said in an aggravated voice. He briefly looked through the lab packet they were given before he looked up to order his partners around. "Todd, you have the best handwriting so you watch the clock for reactions times and record them. Jenna, you – you- you just help me."

"Oh, okay!" Todd said cheerfully.

Jenna glared at him, but stopped when she noticed that Trent caught her glowering at him and gave Trent a slight smile.

"Hand me the sodium chloride," Trent asked Jenna, rolling his eyes and turning towards the beaker after he had already set up the Bunsen burner.

"But I can't touch any chemicals! I just got my nails done." Jenna exclaimed. Trent turned around completely to look at her bewildered. Jenna noticed with a sheepish face, "Don't…you want my nails… to look pretty?" she asked, pouting.

God, did she remind him of Carly and Vanessa. Trent made an exasperated sigh and got the bottle himself. He poured in the correct chemicals in the correct amount and then yelled at Todd, "Start timing!"

"Oh okay!" Todd exclaimed. "That was one second. And there's two."

"Todd." Trent said. "You don't have to count the seconds. Just keep track of the change in time."

"Oh!" Todd said as he put his hand to his heart. "I am so sorry."

Trent rolled his eyes. "No problem."

They somehow got through the lab, with Trent doing all the work and even watching the time with Todd to make sure that he didn't make any mistakes, which he often did do. Trent recorded all the information and handed it to Jenna to copy. While she was busy doing that, Todd came over to where Trent was leaning against the lab table in exhaustion and leaned back right next to him so that their elbows were touching. Trent looked over at the gay kid wearily. He didn't mind Todd being gay, or even him being flaming gay, but he didn't appreciate being touched. Trent moved to the side, away from Todd, but of course, Todd just moved right next to him.

"So Trent. What are you doing this weekend? I was thinking maybe we could go shopping. There is an absolutely incredible sale at Pacific Sunwear."

Jenna overheard and came stomping over. She pulled Trent of the lab table, which he gladly let her do since it moved him away from Todd without Trent hurting his feelings.

"Actually Todd, Trent is spending the weekend with me so kindly leave him alone."

Todd also stopped leaning on the table and approached Jenna shaking his finger wildly. "Well I wasn't asking you, now was I? I was asking Trent."

"Um," Trent spoke up. He looked hesitantly at Jenna before he went along with her lie. "Jenna and I do have plans…"

At that, Todd dramatically put his hands to his mouth and held them there in shock. "Oh my gosh! Don't tell me the rumors are true! You are dating her?"

Trent's forehead creased. "What rumors?"

Tears appeared at Todd's eyes. "Everyone knows that everyone is saying Jenna is your girlfriend. But that's not fair Trent! You are the first gay boy-"

"Bi," Trent corrected.

"That's come here besides me in, like, a decade!"

Jenna rolled her eyes. "That's not true. You just can't tell about the others because they aren't flaming fags like you. Now Todd, I'm sorry but Trent is my boyfriend, so please… just get fucking lost."

Todd looked thunderstruck with hurt feelings as he shot Jenna a glare and Trent a sorrowful look, before turning around to return to his seat in a huff.

Trent looked disapprovingly at Jenna. "You know that's not true." He said quietly.

"What? Look at him! He is flaming."

"Not that." Trent said in an annoyed voice. "I'm not your boyfriend."

Jenna pouted. "But Trent. It's not like you hang out with anyone else. And I like you. We would be good together. We'd make a perfect couple, Trent. Everyone already thinks we are."

Trent just shook his head at her. "Does Praya think we're going out, too? Has this leaked back to Renae?"

Jenna bit her lip. "I don't know. Maybe…"

Trent turned around and hit the lab table with his fist so hard that the beakers on the counter shook. "Listen." He said sharply over his back to Jenna, whom he refused to look at. "I know you get a sick kick out of dating anyone Renae likes, but it's not going to work with me. All right, slut? Leave me the fuck alone."

Jenna stood behind him with her mouth opened wide in shock. She couldn't believe that he had just said that to her. Leaving her there, Trent pushed himself off the table and walked calmly to his seat in the back row.

He hunched over his desk and turned invisible again, until the bell rung at the end of class.


During lunch, a depressed, rejected Jenna approached Praya and George in tears.

"Trent thinks he's all that." Jenna sniffed. She ran her finger through her hair in front of George, who was, after all, her ex. "George, you have to go beat him up or something," she sniffed. "He hurt me."
George felt guilty watching her cry and felt the protective side of him rising. "What happened? Did that bastard touch you?" He stood up from his seat, prepared to go find Trent and beat him.

"No!" Jenna wailed. "He totally broke my heart! I can't believe he turned me down. No one turns me down!"

Like a bullet, Praya quickly leaned forward choking on a fry. "You mean – you and him – you're not together? I told Renae-"

"We were together." Jenna corrected Praya, lying deceptively. "But he dumped me for that stuffy brunette, - uh, Maria. It's so not fair!" She purposely looked straight at George, "I'm so sick of players!"

Praya suddenly got a suspicion of what Jenna was trying to pull. Feeling irritation prick at her neck, she moved against George's shoulder, protectively, and pointed out to Jenna, "You should choose who you date more wisely, then." And be nicer to them when you have them, Praya wanted to point out.

"What am I going to do?" Jenna asked. "I can't hang out with Meghan and Drew and Juliet and Jordan this weekend without a date!!!" Again, Jenna looked pointedly at George.

Selfish Jenna! Praya had to do something before George offered to go with her out of the goodness of his heart. She was struck with a sudden idea. Praya grabbed her purse and started looking through it. Finally, she found a folded piece of paper and it handed to Jenna, smiling. The capricious girl looked down at the scrap of paper and read it.

Jason Cather 456-8745

"He's really cute. A senior St. John's.Jade and I saw him on the beach the other day," Praya explained.

George looked jealously at the scrap of paper. "Hey, why do you have his number?"

Praya blushed, sort of happy to see him get all possessive.  "Uh, I was just holding it…for Jade."

Jenna, ignoring the other two, crumpled up the number and held it to her heart, grinning mischievously. "Well, Jade's in San Luis. So this Jason dude is totally mine now."

Praya just rolled her eyes at Jenna and smiled innocently at George. "Hey, I only have eyes for you," she assured him quietly. Her hand reached out to take his.

George looked angry for a second more before he broke into a grin and put his hand on top of Praya's. "The same right back at ya, babe." His face became more sincere. "Praya, thank you. I never had a girlfriend as sweet as you. I never thought I could." Praya flushed happily at the grateful tone in his voice.

At least her dreams were finally coming true. She only wished the same for Renae.


Jade didn't know what Droven was doing at the house, especially when his dumb idiotic stupid foolish best friend had decided to live in Monterey again. She almost slammed the door in Droven's face but he had given her the sweet innocent pleading look that Jade had never been able to disobey. She let him in and they both ended up heading towards Jade's room where their conversation could not be overheard by servants.

Inside the room, Droven looked around with interest. He spotted the photo album and headed towards it. Smiling, he sat on the floor and flipped through the pages.

"Wow, I remember taking these pictures."

Jade nodded sedately. "Trent took away all the pictures that had him in it. But that was right after Renae showed up. I think he didn't want her to see any pictures of him when he was younger because she would have…"

"Figured it out." Droven finished looking up into Jade's face.

Jade breathed in, "So you figured it out too, huh? Trent equals Toni."

Droven gave a short bitter laugh. "Who do you think nicknamed him Trent in the first place. His parents called him Toni all the time before I messed with his name."

Jade sat down on her bed. "You two go back so far…"

Droven looked at her quietly. "You and I go back far too, Jade."

She frowned. "No good that ever did."

Droven shrugged and looked back at the album. "Jade, I was really wrong to have said what I said to you at the hospital. I wouldn't blame you if you never forgave me, but I am sorry."

Jade breathed in sharply. "Well," she said quietly. "That took you a while to say…didn't it?"

Droven continued to stare at the album. "Pace was right. I am stubborn."

Jade shifted in her bed. "But Droven," she said softly, "That might be the only bad quality you have."

He looked up and smiled thankfully. Then his face saddened. "What's this I hear about you liking Pace, anyway?" he asked.

Jade gave a short quiet laugh. "Oh that." She answered simply, "Renae's a dumbass."

Droven raised his brow. "I was right, then. Another one of your lies?" He shook his head. "But what was the point of it?"

Jade looked at him and crossed her arms over her chest. "Droven, I'm not an idiot. I knew that Pace liked you – that he was dating me to use me right back and hang out with you more. I just never thought – I didn't think that you would ever like him back. I mean, he doesn't seem your type." Jade looked him over, from his light blond hair to his clean shoes. "Your so pure, and he's so dark." Jade sighed. "When I saw Praya I thought she was exactly your type. I mean, she's just as good as you are. So I was only telling Praya that I liked Pace so that she wouldn't feel bad about going after you knowing that I still liked you. And then Praya told Renae about that, and I thought what the hell, I might as well let Renae think it too." Jade rolled her eyes. "You were supposed to fall for Praya - break up with Renae- and then, let her and Trent be happy. But Praya had to be so damned keen on that assfuck…"

Droven shook his head with disbelief. "Jade, I really can't believe you…God, are your plots twisted."

She laughed. "Yea but, when they work, they work well." Jade's eyes glazed over she looked at Droven for a moment in silence. "But …they don't always work."

He gazed back at her guiltily from the floor. "Jade, you know – I appreciate you loving me so much. I do. And if I felt the same way, I would want to make you so happy. But Jade, I just can't look at you as anything more than a sister. I really can't. And I'm sorry about that."

She shrugged. "I know. I know you are," she said quietly. Then she shrugged. "I think I've finally learned I can't do anything about that." She hesitated and let a moment of silence fall. "You proud of me?" she cracked.

Droven quickly got up from the carpet and moved over to her to offer her a hug.  Letting tears fall freely from her face, the ice queen accepted the saint's warming embrace.

"Jade, you'll probably never understand me but I understand you. And I know how hard it was for you to say that." Droven whispered to her, "Thank you."

"I love you, Droven," Jade cried.


It was nearing dinnertime and Praya was getting ready for another date with George. She had never dreamed that the surf star, the popular Geo, the guy who had been the boyfriend of Praya's prettier friends, would ever be happy with just plain her. And the best part of it all, was that Renae didn't mind and that Praya's father, who had seen George come to church often, liked him and approved and allowed Praya to see him freely.

Praya was happily getting dressed and listening to the radio when Praya heard her bell ring and grew confused because George wasn't due for another hour. She came downstairs and headed towards the door, wondering who it was. Praya was astounded to see an anxious Renae.

"Nae?" Praya exclaimed. "Oh my god. What are you doing here?"
Renae looked at her tiredly. "Trent's not home. Do you know where he is?"

Praya's face grew sad. "Oh, Nae." Praya pulled on Renae's arm and brought her inside the house. Shutting the door behind her desk she wondered about how to break it to her friend. "You came to see him? What about Droven?"

Renacy shook her head. "He broke up with me," she answered quietly. "He's probably somewhere with Pace right now."

"Pace?" Praya repeated. "But what about Jade?"
"He said he'd handle it!" Renae answered sharply. Seeing Praya's tensed face, Renae made her voice gentler. "I'm sorry Praya, I just - I don't want to worry about her anymore. I don't want to worry about Droven. I just want – I just want to see Trent. Do you know where he is?"

"Renae," Praya said softly. She rubbed her best friends shoulders, thinking of what Jenna had told her during lunch. Trent was probably out on date with that Maria slut. He was hopeless. It was hopeless. "It's no use." Praya told Renae gently. "We were wrong about him. He's – he's – Renae, even if he was Toni. Now, he's Trent – the guy who always cheated on his boyfriend behind his back. He's a player. Once a player, always a player. Renae, you have to forget about him."

"I don't care if he is dating Jenna!" Renae exclaimed. "I want to see him!"

"But, that's it. He's not dating Jenna," Praya told Renae unwillingly. She really hated being the one to break the bad news. "Another week – another girl."

"He's already moved onto another girl?" Renae wailed.

Praya's face saddened as she stepped up to embrace Renae. "Oh, Nae." She squeezed Renae harder. "You deserve the best."

Renae bit help lip as she closed her eyes tightly and tried to keep her tear glands from working. She wasn't going to cry. Breathing heavily, Renae pulled of off Praya and told her appreciatively, "Thanks for telling me about Jenna, Praya. But I still have to see him. I'll take my luck."

Praya lifted her hand to her face and bit her nail. "Are you sure?" When Renacy nodded Praya asked her supportively, "Want me to come with you?"

Renae smiled and shook her head. "Thanks. But that's okay."

Praya bit her lip. "If you're sure… just remember that I'm always here, if you need me."

Renae laughed. "I know, I know you're not Jenna at all. Praya, you're the best."

Praya gave her another quick hug. "Damn, Nae, I don't want to see you hurt anymore."

Renae pushed Praya back a little. "Hey, You're not supposed to curse, Pray. You're the good girl," she scolded her.

Praya smiled and touched Renae's blond hair. "And you're the beautiful one. Don't forget it."

Renae gave Praya a thankful look. Then she was silent for a moment, listening to the song Praya had in her CD player.

Once in awhile / You are in my dreams

I can feel the warmth of your embrace

And I pray that one day you'll come back to me

If only you knew every moment in time / Nothing goes on in my heart

Just like your memories / How I long here to be with you once more (yeah)

You will always be inside my heart / And you should know

How I wish I could have never let you go / Come into my life again /

Please dont say no

Now and forever / You were still the one / In my heart (so true) /

I believe I can never find / Somebody like you /

My first love


Renae went to the library. And for Trent, she didn't go searching through poetry, classics, or historical fiction section first. For Trent, she went straight to audio. To the little room with the VCR.

And he was there.

She saw him curled up on the couch, with his head in his lap, his hands over his hair- which had become mixed with strands of black and blonde color since he had stopped bothering to dye it. Trent looked like Renae felt – miserable.

"You're a filthy liar, and I hate you." Her angry voice rang out throughout the room.

Trent sat up quickly and turned around to see Renae by the exit. She came into the room fully, slamming the door behind her. Renacy turned towards him to yell again. "You said you'd be back when you're father came home from Germany! I saw him at your house. He's home. So why the fuck did you transfer schools, Trent?"

"Holmes-" Trent started calmly but Renae cut him off.

"You can call me Racy, thank you. Droven and I broke up," Renae told him.

Trent widened his eyes in surprise. "You did?" He shook his head. "But what about Jade?"

"Jade can deal with it. Besides, I couldn't help it – he broke up with me." Renae retorted angrily.

"Why the hell would he do that?" Trent demanded. It was unlike Droven to so suddenly break up when he and Renae hadn't even been having problems like Droven and Trent used to have.

Renae shrugged as she looked at the TV in the front of the room. The screen was cracked. "I used to come here after you left too," she admitted. "The TV broke like a year after. Someone else was using it and they knocked the table down. I still came here after the TV stopped working, though. When I needed to think and didn't want any middle schooler bothering me." She let herself smile slightly thinking back to times she would come in there to wonder about Toni Jackson – what had happened to him and if she would ever see him again.

New Toni, Trentoni frowned, still thinking about Droven. "But, I thought he was crazy about you – Droven wouldn't just break up…"

"You said yourself he was attracted to Pace." Renae reminded Trent in an annoyed voice as he looked at her in disbelief.

"So… you're single again?" Trent asked. "Just like that?"

Renae's face tensed. "Like that does any good. You, I hear, apparently aren't." Renae folded her arms across her chest and glared at him.

Trent held his arms up in surrender. "Hey, if this is about the Jenna thing – she was the one spreading false rumors. Okay? I hate that bitch. I mean, I even called her a slut to her face today and walked away from her crying."
Renae opened her mouth in shock. "What? Trent! That's so mean! She was my best friend, you know!"

"Well, that's a'right – that don't mean she's mine, does it?" Trent answered.

Renae shook her head frowned at him. Then she froze. "Wait, so… you and her…didn't…?"

"Renae," Trent said angrily.

"Hey!" Renae cried accusingly, "You're the one who was all like 'Oh the blond one is so hot' about my friends! And then – you let her hang all over you when we were at the beach together and – what am I supposed to think? And who's the other girl Praya said you started dating?"

"The other girl?" Trent asked in irritation. Then he relaxed and smiled. "Oh, wait. I know who you're talking about. Or actually – are you talking about her? Or the other one?"

"The other one?" Renae repeated in desperation.

"Yea," Trent said. "Or the others…There's, let me think, actually there's been eight."

"EIGHT?" Renae cried.

"Uh huh." Trent said seriously. Then he grinned. Trent started counting them off on his fingers. "Renacy. Renae. Nae, of course. I loved her. There's plain old Rae. And Raerae. Nacy. Holmes. And my favorite girl of all…Racy. I've loved her for the longest time."

Not fair. Renae had to fight the warm feeling that rose in her chest, hearing that. She made herself remember her anger and then added in bitterly, "You forgot Jenna. Carly. And Vanessa. And Droven, of course."

"Well, it's not like you didn't date him either." Trent pointed out, mumbling moodily. "And those other girls, Renae. Come on. So I made out with them. Like you didn't slobber around with George and other guys in your lifetime."

"Well, I never slept with any of them!" Renae cried.

"Neither did I." Trent retorted with a disgusted look on his face.

Renae glared at him, "Oh. Oh fine. I supposed that you're now going to try to convince me that you didn't tell me that Vanessa and Carly were cute but bad in bed when I first met you."

"They are bad in bed. Everyone knows that. Only every freaking guy on the football team has testified to it after the whores slept with them all," Trent started ranting.

He was quieted when Renae dropped her purse. It made a loud thump on the floor that made both her and Trent stare at the fallen item.

After a moment of silence Trent started quietly, "Did you…Did you think – that I meant – you thought I was that bad?"

"Uh – I- uh." Renae stumbled. Finally, she just slowly nodded.

"Wow." Trent said shortly. He searched her face. "And you… you still liked me despite that?"

Renae bit her lip as she slowly nodded again.

"Wow," Trent breathed. Then his face saddened. "But you – you love Droven more, don't you." Trent looked away from her. "I'll talk to him for you, Racy. He – he probably only did it because he was thinking of me. But he doesn't understand that I – I just want the both of you happy."

Renae lifted her hand to wipe away a tear that had quickly appeared at her eye. "You dumbass."

Trent turned towards her. "What?" he asked indignantly, upset at the insult.

"How am I going to be h-happy with Droven?" she demanded.

"Well, don't you love him more?" Trent asked.

"I never said that!" Renae insisted.

"Sure you did!" Trent answered irritatedly. "When I asked you if you wanted to – well you were all like 'Jade's not the only reason.'"

"I was talking about my parents, you dumbass."

Trent's face distorted. "Your what?"

Renae gave him an impatient look. "Maybe you don't remember but I certainly can still picture the face on my mom and dad when they found me sleeping by you at your house. They looked like they were going to murder the both of us. They think you or your stepdad will like flunk me out of school if I start dating you as if the teachers would flunk me every time I got you mad." Renae rolled her eyes. "Luckily, I talked to mom – and she doesn't care anymore. And she has my dad whipped so-"

"You weren't talking about Droven?" Trent asked in a voice of awe.

"No." Renae answered as if it was obvious.


"Trent, don't get me wrong, okay?" Renae asked of him. "Droven was a really really sweet boyfriend. But he looks like Legolas. He's like, a movie star. You drool over them but you don't want to date them." Renae explained.

"You mean like a pop star?" Trent asked her.

She gave Trent a confused look. "Pop star?" she asked herself quietly. "Pop stars are dumb. Though, okay, for other people, yea they drool over pop stars but they don't really want to date them – unless they are like brainless idiots."

"Wait - so you'd pick a dark haired blue eyes model over a pop star then?" Trent asked gaining another strange confused look from Renae.

"What? Yea. Yea I would," Renae answered. Then she looked at Trent suspiciously. "You're not talking about yourself are you? Because if you want to go into modeling, I swear I'm not going to kill you. I'm not sharing you with anyone. Got it?"

Trent smiled, finally feeling at ease. "Share me?" he repeated. "Honey, you don't have me… yet."

"Is that so?" Renae asked in an annoyed voice. "Do I have to perform some task to 'win your heart again' or something."

Trent titled his head at an angle towards the ceiling and thought about it. "Yep, that's it exactly."

"Well then, what?" Renae demanded.

Trent looked down again and grinned at her. "Well, you gotta drag me to a lake. But – don't push me into it or anything, okay? And then, then you gotta ask me if I'm mad at you. And I'll say 'Yes, I am. I'm furious with you.'"

"What? Why?" Renae asked with a struck face.

Trent held up his had for silence. "And then I'll say, 'I'm furious because you didn't tell the new kid three years ago that George was a retard that couldn't hit an elephant if it were right in front of him and that I had nothing to worry about because you loved me and I loved you and the whole world can go fuck themselves because the only ones we'd be fucking is each other.'"

Feeling indignant, Renae's mouth opened wide. "Ew, shut up, you nasty mouthed spawn of satan!" She stepped forward and angrily shoved Trent like had three years ago, but instead of falling into a hazardous lake - he fell back onto the couch.

Renae spent a moment looking at him sprawled defenselessly over the piece of furniture before she realized that she couldn't help it. She crawled on top of him and started kissing him over his lips and cheeks and nose everything that was in reach. Trent's hands folded over Renae's back and pulled her into him, changing the light kisses into a deep one.

When they stopped for a breath, Trent stroked Renae's face adoringly. "Renae, you know, they might say shit about us if you start dating me after Droven.

"I know," Renae murmured closing her eyes and feeling Trent's hand on her face.

"Will you be okay?"

Renae's eyes opened to smile at him. "They're nobodies, Trent."


An amazing month later, back in San Luis, Renae was babysitting for the kids down the street- a  ten-year-old boy, a seven-year-old girl, and a three-year-old baby boy. The kids were occupied watching TV and playing with toys so Renae couldn't help calling Trent on her cell phone.

Trent: Escort Service. Today's delectable specials are the busty brunnete and risqué redhead. The beautiful blonde, I'm afraid, is taken by me.

Renae: You pervert, I'm not your escort.

Trent: Racy! God, I miss you. Aren't you done with those damned brats yet?

Renae: Trent, they're nice kids. And their parents are my mother's colleagues.

Trent: Then let her baby-sit them! I need you. I can't stand hanging out with Pace and Droven without you. They're being so... Ugh. Racy, I want you.

Renae: Oh quit complaining. You're brattier than the kids I'm babysitting.

Trent: I am not!

Renae: (Laughs) Hey, Trent.

Trent: Yea?

Renae: I was sitting here wondering. You know when you first saw me at school? Did you recognize me? As… like, Renacy from 8th grade.

Trent: Course I did. I wouldn't have gone up against a football player for just anybody, you know. Jake could have beaten me up to get to you.

Renae: Please, Jake only worships you. Seriously! What'd you think when you first saw me?

Trent: I don't remember!

Renae: Trent!

Trent: (Groans) I was fucking hell confused, okay? But I eventually decided that, hey, you were nice to me when I was the new kid – so I was going to help you out, too.

Renae: Oh. Is that why you invited me to your party and tried to make me talk to popular kids and stuff?

Trent: Um, maybe,

Renae: That's IT? You just wanted to – make me fucking popular?

Trent: No honey, I wanted to see you at the party too… I loved you.

Renae: Yea right.

Trent: No, seriously. I love you. I loved you. I never stopped loving you. And I will love you forever.

Renae: Shut up, Trent… You're going to make me blush in front of the kids I'm babysitting.

Trent: Kill the damn brats.

Renae: Trent! (Whispers.) I love you too, okay?

Trent:  Heh. But I love you more. Oh, great news!

Renae: Hm? What?

Trent: Jade got her dad to acquiesce to the Gay Straight Alliance.

Renae: No way! That's awesome!

Trent: It's the truth, Miss President of the Alliance.

Renae: Wait a minute. I don't want to be president.

Trent: Why not? You wanted to, before.

Renae: But Droven should be president.

Trent: Just because he really is gay? That doesn't make a difference! You're the one who wants to look good on your coll – oh. Oh shit. Talk to Pace for a second, Racy!

Renae: What? Trent?

Pace: … hello?

Renae: Pace? Oh hey, what's up.

Pace: Not much... How's babysitting going?

Renae: Ah, fine. What happened? What's Trent doing?

Pace: Oh, he and Droven are fighting over the remote. Driver was switching channels and I think there was a track meet on ESPN, but Droven was already watching a basketball game on ESPN2 so… you know.

Renae: Oh shi-[Renae pauses, remembers there are kids in the other room and modifies.] shoot. They'll fight forever then. I guess I'll go then.

Pace: …Well fine then. You say you don't hate me anymore but you can't bear to stay on the phone with me for 10 minutes, can you?

Renae: Pace. I really don't have a problem with you as a person, anymore, okay? You're just boring to talk to.

Pace: Psh. Yea yea. Go have fun with your little brats. Don't molest them or anything.

Renae: Ew! You sicko.

Pace: Petafiles are very common these days…

Renae hangs up.

"Renae," seven-year-old Tina called. "I'm bored."

Renae looked down at the girl and smiled. "Well, that's a problem. Why don't we play a game or something then?"

Tina shook her head. "I want to watch Barney."

"Oh." Renae said, looking at her with surprise. "Aren't you a little old for Barney?"

Tina's eyes immediately filled up with tears. "That's what mommy shaid!" She wiped her eyes as the drops came pouring down her face. "But I like Barney, Renae! I like Barney!" She started wailing loudly which made her older brother yell at her to shut up and all the noise made the baby start crying.

"Okay, OKAY!" Renae shouted loudly, making all the kids shut up. "Tina, do you have any Barney tapes?" The little girl nodded. "Okay, where are they?"

Tina's eyes filled with tears again. "Mommy hid them sho that I wouldn't watch them again!" She started gasping and crying again.

"They're in the damn attic!" Tina's older brother Andrew shouted at her.

"Andrew! No cursing!" Renae shouted at him. Then she took Tina's hand. "Come on honey, let's go find your tapes in the attic."

"Don't go in there, Chrissy. The ghosts will eat you!" Andrew shouted at her. Tina wailed and dropped her hand out of Renae's grip.

"Okay, okay! Don't come with me," Renae announced. "Tina, you stay here and play with your Barbies a little, okay? I'm going to go rescue Barney. Andrew – if you say anything else to make either your sister or brother cry I'm going to ask your parents to cut your allowance."

"Na uh! You wouldn't do that! And they wouldn't listen to ya!" Andrew said to her.

Renae gave him her most intimidating glare. "You want to bet?"

A few minutes later Renae was snooping around the hallway of the family's upstairs floor. Finally she found the little trap door in the ceiling that opened to the attack. She pulled it down, bringing down a ladder automatically. Renae climbed the dusty steps and entered the storage area of the old house. Unsettled dust floated in the air, making Renae sneeze. That only made another cloud of dust rise in the air. Renae held her finger to her noise until the clouds settled again. Then she took a quick look around at the attic. There was a huge unorganized mess of stuff everywhere. Some of the objects looked like they had been dumped there rather recently – like the blue plastic camping tent – but others, an old wooden rocking chair, looked like it had been there for decades. Out of curiosity, Renae was pulled towards the ancient section of the attic before she could look for Barney. Her love of history just made it impossible for her to turn anywhere else. Renae found a stack of old aged papers and sat down on the rocking chair with them. She started leafing through letters and old newspapers until she finally got to the bottom of the pile where a blank covered book lay.

Renae opened the book and started flipping through pages when she suddenly recognized a name.

June 14, 1919

The case is over. I won, obviously, it could not have ended any other way when the rising young lawyer Jason Wesley was my defense. I got every demand – the money, the house, the furniture. After all, it had been my husband committing adultery – not I. I had done nothing wrong.

The problem I face now is, will anyone ever wish to wed a divorced woman? My parents think not. They have no hope for me. I only take that as a good thing. They will not try to match up with someone ever again.

I am free.

Gail Jacob Johnson

June 17, 1919

I did not think that it would be possible to be so happy. I did not think that he would come back to me. I thought I had lost all chance.

There was a party to celebrate the divorce case for it had been won, happily, in my favor. Of course my lawyer was invited. Though he had been cordial, polite, and cold through out the case, suddenly it was not business anymore. He cornered me upstairs, in my room.

"If you really love someone let them go. If it was meant to be, they will come back to you," he whispered to me with his gorgeous black hair falling into his face. My knees went weak and he caught just as I was about to collapse.

"What about Teresa…" I whispered to him.

"What about her?" he asked with his eyes shining down on me.

"Aren't you and her- haven't you… " I mumbled.

"She was only my client, Gail." Jason explained.

"I'm – I'm only your client," I reminded him.

"No. You – you I love," his head started moving down towards mine and I couldn't help replying back automatically.

"Marry me, Jason."

So I went back to him.

We eloped. And I am moving in down the street tomorrow to live with my second and forever husband.

I never have to ask god for anything again. Because I know Jason will fulfill my every wish. Because I only have one wish. Him.

Gail Wesley

Magical, how things turn out. Renae hadn't known that the house she was babysitting in - down the street from her house, from Gail's house – was the house where Jason Wesley had lived. Where Gaile had moved, after marrying him. Where her final diaries were.

Full of hope, Renae shut the first book of Gail's new life and brought it to her chest, hugging it tightly.

"Renacy Ashwire…" she whispered into the empty attic room smiling to herself. Then she realized a mistake and corrected herself, "Renacy Ashwire Jackson."


Love is like a rumor,

Everyone talks about it,

But no one truly knows.

- Anonymous

___ The End ___

* First Love (English Versian) Utada Hikaru and Jessica Zaragoza

Chapter 29: Renae & Trentoni: 9, Droven & Pace: 2, Jade & Pace: 1, Praya & Droven: 1

Whole story: Renae & Trentoni: 241, Renae & Droven: 84, Trent & Drove & Renae: 44, Droven & Pace: 30, Droven & Jade: 11, Droven & Trentoni: 10, Jade & Pace: 6, George & Pace: 3, Jade & George: 3, Praya & George: 2, Jade & Trent: 3, Droven & Praya: 3, Jade & Praya: 2, Jade & Praya: 1, Trent & Praya: 1, Drove & Renae & Pace: 1, Trent & Pace: 1, Pace & Praya: 1

I do this whenever I finish a story. Lists.

My favorite 5 chapters:

5) Chapter 10: Slumber Party

4) Chapter 12: The Gentlemen

3) Chapter 30: Firsts

2) Chapter 22: A Dust Coated Book


1) Chapter 25: Red Scars

My favorite quotes:

"Why are the hot ones always gay?" - Renae
"Pretty pretty princess?" - Jade
"Oh my god, please send a picture." - Praya
"Why the fuck would I play football? Our team sucks." - Trent
I'm reading Dr. Suess."  - Droven
Goth's don't blush. We bleed." - Pace
I don't know what Renae sees in these wackass friends of hers." - George

And the lessons of this story! 1) Stay loyal to your best friends. 2) Be good to your parents and talk to them and (hopefully) they'll be good to you. 3) Don't stick to "your people" (In Renae's case, surfers/swimmers/etc.).  Don't look down, or let other people look down, on people who are different from you – Goths, gays. Give them a chance. You might find that you like 'em.  4) America is corrupt, again. LEGALIZE GAY MARRAIGES YOU HYOCRITICAL POLITICIANS!!! (Lol, not that Pace and Droven will get married, but they should be able to – if they wanted to – right!)

Don't forget to read my new story, "Supply & Demand" which has appearances from characters in this story and my old story, "UNcreat1ve17". Go read it right now if you've already read "UNcreat1ve17". If you haven't read that yet, what are you waiting for? I suggest you tackle that first because "Supply & Demand" has spoilers for that story since it takes place after "UNcreat1ve17".

Thank you everyone who reviewed. I love you all. This has been a really long project, since January! God! Thanks for being so patient with me to finish and ranting with me about life in general (evil SATs, school, trips to foreign countries, etc.)  while I did it. It was fun! -Zia

THEwriter Lioness: Lol, glad you thought Renae's mom was funny. She isn't all that bad. She's kinda like a kid – selfish and childish. Hey, it was Droven who said "TRENT IS NO GOOD FOR HER," not Pace (he didn't contradict himself). Thanks for reading and reviewing this story so often! You really helped me out :)

Richi-Sama: Oops. Is it bad that it's following the traditional American written novel? But hey, I just spent a year studying American classics and most of them ended up being very tragic. -_-. People used to be very depressed…I hate stories that end sad. So I made this ending the sappiest possible. I even made Gail happier. Lolol. That would be scary if people started writing fanfics on this. o.o They won't. You are very nice to think of Jade, the lonely weirdo, who will continue to be a lonely weirdo, it seems.

Mercedes de Milo: I'm sorry I did end it. Um, I think I solved everything that needed solving. Renae and mom understand each other more. Droven and Pace are together. Praya has George. Jenna has "Jason Cather." And… RENAE AND TRENT!! Whooooo! I even implied that Renae and Pace have reached an understanding rather than hating each other. Haha! Me? Live in California? As if. I live across the country in New Jersey. Thank you for all your compliments which I don't deserve but it's nice hearing them. Your own teen romance probably rocks too. I'll have to read it if you post it! QuOtAtA: Lol…true, I would have updated. :) I hope your exams weren't too bad!    

BLuRRyGrL0305: Ack! Computer problems suck! Hope you enjoyed the ending.

PiDDLiN: Thanks for voting. :)  Hope you enjoyed the end.

Bottledinsideme: Thank you. Glad the last chapter wasn't dragging. :) Hope you liked the ending.

Babypookie: I love HYD! Aw, it's kinda sad she didn't show a wedding or anything because the series ended up being so loooong you'd think it would like, definitely end with a marriage… but that's okay it didn't because we all KNOW they had to get together!!!

I love HYD!! Glad you liked the chapter.

rae-rae6: Jade still likes Droven. *sigh* At least she didn't kill try to kill anyone again. I have no idea if Trent and Renae's coming together is "perfect enough" but I tried. -__- At least they are together :D

dancer chick: The last chapter couldn't have Trent because everyone was supposed to realize how much they love him so they'd be happier to see him this chapter. :) Hope you liked it.

Shams: Lol, you don't like Droven? Well, you have your opinion. I like him okay. Hehe. But he's not as cool as Trent.

Romantic: Glad you loved that chapter! Yep, story w/ Adam started. Go read it now! Kodiak Bear: Droven's 'news' was the break up. Wonderful, eh? Hope you enjoyed the story.

Jamie aka: Blah. They cut it off again. Oh well. Thanks for reading and everything! Read my next story so I don't miss you or anything

GrrrL: Lol, ya sometimes I get into detailed stuff that you have to remember, but it's okay. Thank you so much for reading it (Even th e long chapters, lol) and reviewing. Lol you think Jade is worse than Jenna? Really? Read my next story, kay? Thanks again!

Aznchick: Lol. Yes, Droven's quote foreshadowed something. I don't like Jenna too! She made Praya lie to Renae and make her all sad and stuff! Ewww Jenna. Die. Harry Potter won't for another few years because it's taking J.K. Rowling that long to write the darn books! What does J.K. stand for anyway? Haha. I didn't get my ears pierced till I was like in third or fourth grade so I'm not traumatized as you, poor child. Hope school is going good for you! Thanks for reading and everything and even going through and reviewing every chapter after you came from vacation. You're the greatest. Read my next story so I don't miss you! Thanks again!

Alicia: Go on, keep thinking Hrithik is yours, go on. Lol, Alicia. Do me a favor. We all know how much you adore small testicles man but we do not care to think of him 24/7 ourselves so keep your obsession in your own little world in your mind.  I am mean. :)

Alicia, if you ever say Haila to me I'm going to shoot you.  Hey, you know, that scene was supposed to make her mom seem better because she doesn't care about the whole Trent thing anymore. And she was acting funny and silly. I mean, I had to make her steal the diary and everything, because she is still Renae's annoying mom who thought she was a drug addict – but don't totally trash her :) How many sleepovers did we have last summer? You are still my yaar, yaar. BUT HEY NO SPEAKING HINDI TO ME. ROAAAR.

Chori Chori is subtitled. I love Rani and Ajay! Whoooo. I can have Hrithik if I want him, bitch but I don't want him unless I'm watching Mujhse Dosti Karoge~ hehe.

SpringbloomOpal: Lol. I didn't kill Jenna but didn't you love Trent cursing her off? George may not be good enough for Praya but Praya and Droven wouldn't have worked. They hardly know each other and they live so far away from each other. Thanks a bunch for reading reviewing the story! You rock.

Phoebs: Nope, Trent and Jenna being together wasn't true. I hope you liked the ending. R&T forever!

nyacho-chan: Awww. Lol, I understand what you meant "letting loose strand float in nothingness…" I hope I didn't leave any loose ends. Hmm, it's very possible the next story will have a goth. Awww! You like Pace? That's so great. Hehe. A lot of people hate him. He's cute though.

RoxyKawaii: Yea I had to make renae make up with her mom. Geez, I hope that me and my kids aren't that bad… though… haha me and my mom get each other like that. This story has gone on for a while! Since January, wow. I really hope you enjoyed the ending and that you will enjoy the new story.
IwishMyNameWasZoe: Half a year and two months to be exact! I hope you enjoyed the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

vbunny: Whoo! Desi pride! Lol. I wasn't sure if u were Indian so I explained Bangladesh, I dun't think your dumb or nothing. Lol. I reviewed your story~ it's a pretty good start. You should continue it. Hmmm, I think Zia is a real name. But Aizan isn't… I think. That would be scary if it was. What if there's someone out there named Zia Aizan… I stole their name! Omg!!! Lol, just playing. Thanks for reviewing. I hope you enjoyed the ending.

Sheeba: I'm glad you enjoyed the story! Thanks for reviewing, I hope you're glad with the ending.

MissCutiePie05: Aw, it had to end sometime. Thanks for reviewing!

Minyaithwen: Lol. It is confusing. I'm sorry about that! ;)

Oh yea, btw, I couldn't mention this before because I wanted you all to think that Renae & Droven was a possibility but… I REALLY LOVE RENAE AND TRENT TOGETHER!!! WHOOOO! Putting her with Droven would have killed me. And all those chapters where she was dating him were NO FUN to write. I was going to have Droven and Jade end up together but I didn't want people to think I was communicating some anti-homosexuality thing (by having the couple of two boys each end up with a girl at the end) so I made Droven end up with Pace. That ended up nice. And Praya, well I really wasn't concerned about hooking her up with someone until people kept wanting Jade to be with her or Droven to be with her so o.o I thought I better put her with…someone. I know a lot of people think George isn't good enough for her, but I think that's what makes it cute. He's not treating he like a jerk or anything.

Renacy & Trenton always.