The dragon threw Kimberly to the ground, face first. When she had gotten up on her hands and looked back up, he had his gun pointed at her and pulled the trigger, causing the most universe crashing sound ever.

A gun shot.

Kimberly slammed back on the floor with immense force, and felt the blood gush and the room change colors, in her last few seconds of life. Then everything went dark and silent, as if existance was turned off by a switch.

Kimberly awoke with a jolt. She didn't scream, move or blink. Just a sudden spazem was all that signified that she was alive. When she recovered from the shock of being torn from her nightmare, she gave a hard blink and held her pillow tight.

She left her room without getting properly dressed first, which was something she never did, and went to to bathroom right across the hall. She turned on the shower to warm it up, got undressed, and sat under the spicket. As she sat there, being rained on, she hoped the water would wash away the thoughts of the past.

It was 6:26 AM on a Saturday, a little more then two weeks since the incident. Her staples were taken out two days ago, which was a painful ordeal by the way. She couldn't go out with her friends, because her mom and the doctors were afraid of the staples tearing or popping out. Fortunately there was always someone willing to visit. She had someone over every day she was forbidden to do any excessive walking.

Kimberly had kept her head down to not get any water in her eyes. She stared at the tile and wondered. Why did she have that nightmare? After all this time? She grabbed her knees and pulled herself tight, trying to let go of her thoughts.

When she had finished and gotten out, she wrapped herself in a towel and returned to her room to actually get dressed. The house was filling with morning light, and she felt much better then she did before. Craig or Julia wouldn't be up for nearly more then two hours, and her mother only got home three hours ago from the 9 to 5 shift as the night secretary for an engineering company.

After she had dressed, she got a bowl of cereal, the kind with little oats in it, and lied down infront of the TV to properly greet a Saturday morning. She didn't care for cartoons too much, but there were a few ones she sort of liked.

It didn't take long for her to finish her breakfast and get bored.

Craig awoke once the sun began to glare through his window. He ended up lying there for a bit, staring at the ceiling before finding the actual care to get up. He was going to be going to the DMV today to pick up his Learner's Licence. He had passed the driving test in school and could finally drive their car legally. Every once in a while, he could convince his mother to let him drive someplace. Deffinately not often though.

Once he got out of bed, he still slowly got dressed and went to see who was awake. He found the TV on, but no one around to watch it. Finding this alkward, Detective Craig went to investigate. Taking a peek down the hall, he noticed Kimberly's door open a crack with a light inside. He peeked inside quietly to find her sitting at her desk drawing.

"Mornin` Kim.", he said from the door, trying not to be too loud.

Kimberly put down her pencil and turned in the chair. "Good morning. You gonna hit anyone with that car today?"

"I'm only going for a permit, there is no driving test", Craig said to make her little quirp sound stupid.

"Erm, oh. Nevermind", she said embarassedly.

Craig left with a chuckle and went to go watch that poor, unoccupied TV. They were showing a Road Rules marathon on MTV, so that kept him awake.

It wasn't till Gina got up that they got productive. By now, Julia was making herself an early lunch, since she slept through the general breakfast time. Craig was off getting ready to go, as was their mom. Kimberly on the other hand, still had nothing productive to do. Sheila had left this weekend to spend time with one of her relatives across state, and Kimberly had nobody she would rather be with, other then her family. She sat on the edge of the bed flipping through a book on animal species she kept on her dresser. Even though they were all animals in a sense, their unevolved ancestors still lived, including dragons. She liked reading about her own species and kept a bookmark at the begining of the dragon chapter.

"Kimberly! Craig and I are leaving now, I'll see you later!", her mom called from down the hallway.

"Bye ma`!", she yelled back, returning her book.

"Hey Kim.", said her sister from the doorway. "Why dont just you and I hang out today? We dont get to talk enough."

Kimberly was pretty damn relieved. "Good! No more boredom!"

They went to the livingroom and sat on the couch. Took them a bit to find something half interesting on TV, and just ended up talking anyway.

"You know, I had a dream this morning...I was reliving what happened when I was kidnapped...", Kimberly began explaining.

"That sucks. I have heard of people having to deal with traumatic scenes from their past in their dreams.", Julia found to reply with.

"Well, it wasn't the same. Instead of the guy's gun jamming, it fires....I hit the ground full force...I can feel my own blood gushing and everything looks weird...then it all dissappears...", She said with a chill.

"It's nothing to worry about. Remember, dreams can't hurt you.", Julia tried to reassure Kimberly with, knowing that the nightmare was major creepy and she had all the right to be scared.

There was a knock at the door and Julia got up to answer it.

"Hey there Julia!". It was Frank with some of his friends. "We thought we should stop by before we went over to Ron's place. You wanna chill for a while?"

"Sure, come on in.", she told Frank.

Kimberly wasn't quite expecting that answer. She got up from the couch and went to Julia while Frank and his friends walked by.

"Hey, what happened to just us?", she asked her sister in a very annoyed way.

"Little change of plans Kim. Maybe later I guess.", Julia told her with a sadder note, knowing she was screwing with their own plans. Kimberly just gave her a look. "I'm sorry Kim, things have just come up. They wont be here long, I promice.", Julia said, trying to appease her.

Kimberly sighed and walked down to her room and closed the door, feeling let down. Hoping they would leave soon, she pulled out her species book and tried drawing a picture of a dragon from the European highlands.

After a half hour, she finally made a cute little drawing of the dragon. Not as good as she hoped, but it looked like a dragon. Good enough really. She had gotten a little thirsty and had left for the kitchen. Julia was sitting on the couch talking to some girl and Frank, another was having a cigarette on the back porch, and the last 2 guys were just standing around talking to eachother. She pulled down a glass from the cabinet and filled it with ice. She set it back on the counter and picked a bottle of soda from the pantry. When deciding against Cola or Sprite, the Sprite won. Having her beverage, she left back to her private little domain till Julia's friends left. Sitting at her desk, she stared at her drawings thinking.

Why does Julia always have to do crap like this? I tell her about my dream and it's like she doesn't care. I just wanted to talk to someone about it, and I got blown off again. To her, her friends were more important. So much for sister to sister bonding or something. I'm fucking tired of her cheery additude like she cares! Thats the spirit Kim! Go Kim! Have fun Kim! Anything to shield herself from me.....

Contrary to what Julia said, they were there for over an hour, till Craig and their mom came back. Frank knew his stay wasn't going to be welcome for much longer and gathered up his friends. They all passed Craig and Gina on the way out and gave a nice "Hi Miss Trensetter!" or something along those lines to suck up. When they had all left, Craig piped up with a little excitement he had been storing.

"I got my permit!", he told Julia with a big cheesy smile.

"Don't hit anything", Julia told him jokingly.

"Why does everyone tell me that?!", he said with an irritated look.

"Hi mum`! HoW are Yoouuu?", said a familiar, but not, voice from the hallway. Craig and Julia both raised an eyebrow at the sight. Then their mom turned around.

Kimberly was holding on to the wall to keep herself standing and kept slurring or studdering anything she tried to say. Otherwise she was just laughing.

"Kimberly???!", her mom asked very confusedly, approaching her just in time to keep her from falling. "You're plastered!!"

"I thought I was a dragon", she slurred out laughing.

Their mother looked over her shoulder at the other two. "Craig, I think now is the time for you to go out. I'll take care of things here, don't worry about it". Craig nodded, grabbed the car keys, and left, having persuaded his mom to let him drive to the cafe for the first time since the fight there.

As soon as he left, their mom capitalized on the best time to start yelling. "You let her do drugs Julia??!!"

"No! Never!", she said to defend herself.

"I was going to let having those people in the house when I wasn't home, which I told you to never do, slide. But now, I find THIS! On my twelve year old daughter!! How could you?!!", her mother yelled.

"There were no drugs mom! I swear!", she tried to convince her.

Her mom stood up, pulling Kimberly back to her feet in the process. "You wait here Julia", her mom said sharply, taking Kimberly to her bed.

She lied Kimberly down as correctly as she could get her stupered daughter to lie. She was rather surprised by Kimberly's concerned voice.

"Mom...why do I feel funny? Is there something wrong with me?", she said at a low, quiet tone.

Her mom sat on the side of her bed, thinking if she really didn't know. "Where were you when those boys were over?", she asked.

"I have been in my room drawing", she told her mom with a pause beforehand.

Gina looked behind her and saw the papers. She apparently was telling the truth, even in her current state. This made things even more foul.

"Kimberly, did you ever leave your room?", her mom asked. When she didn't get a responce, she lightly tapped on her muzzle.

"Hrrrumm...I went for a drink...it..over there", she studdered out, somewhat pointing to the desk with the tip of one of her fingers.

Her mom got a notion flying through her head. "I'm going to have to go for a bit Kimberly", she said, getting up and grabbing the glass, walking into the hallway to the livingroom.

Once she got to the livingroom, she barked to Julia, "I think one of those assholes put something in this", holding up the empty glass.

Julia stood up and began walking to the phone. "They went to Ron's place, I'll call him and...", she said till she was commanded not to.

"I will call Ron. You stay here", her mother told her, picking up the phone herself and walking into her room.

By now, she knew Ron's phone number by heart just listening to Julia say it when she dialed it. Dialing his number, she sat on the edge of her bed.

"Hello?", Ron said when he picked up his phone.

"Hi Ron, it's me, Julia's mom", she greeted.

Ron deffinately wasn't expecting a phone call from his girlfriend's mother, but they were close, especially after the whole kidnapping thing. "Hiya. Something you need me for?", he asked.

"There were a group of guys here that just went to your house. They've gotten there by now haven't they?", she asked to make sure Ron knew what she was talking about.

"Yeah, they just showed up a minute ago. Something wrong?"

Damn straight there was, she thought to herself. "Does anyone of them pop pills or anything else you could dissolve in a drink?"

There was a pause. "I just walked into a different room. Yes, one of Frank's friends is a major druggie. What happened?", he asked to know in a concerned matter.

This was easier then she thought. Gina didn't know if he would try to cover for a friend's friend, but she knew how much she and the rest of her family meant to Ron. He was a really good guy, treated Julia right, and would have sacrificed his life for her childeren. If that doesn't make him part of the family, nothing will. "Kimberly is stoned out of her mind. I think someone slipped something in a glass of soda she whipped up", she explained to Ron.

There was no reply, but she heard something like a door fling open. The sounds and voices could be made out.

Ron slammed the guy against the wall and picked him up by his neck. Ron slowly pulled back his arm, aimed at this guys stomach, with something of an evil smile on his face. Frank was yelling for him to stop, which he naturally ignored. Seeing what Ron was about to do, the druggie began pleading and begging, which was pretty much all that Ron wanted him to do before he kicked his ass. He gave him that shot to his gut, plus some, and gave him a knee to the chest when he let him drop. He padded him down and found the little baggie that was to blame. He then picked the phone up off the floor.

"Well he just got his ass beat good", he told Gina.

"So what was it?", she asked in all curiousity.

"This is called Zanny as a street name. You may know it as Zanex. They're little pills, but theres some powder in this bag, so I think he may have ground up a few. Just let Kimberly sleep it off. When she wakes up in a few hours, just give her a big glass of water and a snack to flush this stuff out quicker. By the time she wakes up, she should be a lot more sober. I don't think he put too much in", Ron explained professionally like a Pharmasist.

"Thank you Ron. Savior as usual. You really know your stuff....do you do drugs yourself?", she had to ask.

There was a brief pause, as if he winced at her question. "I smoke pot on occation", he admitted.

"What about Julia....?", she said as what seemed to be the point to the first question.

"No. She wont touch the stuff. I prefer not to myself, especially this pill shit. I really do mean occationally when I say pot. You believe me?", he asked as if he was on trial.

"I would never doubt anything you'd tell me. Thanks", she told him warmheartedly to reassure his discomfort.

After they had said goodbye, both Ron and Gina walked into their livingrooms.

Ron walked out and grabbed the kid that caused this, making Frank and his friends try to get him to let him go. Not wanting them to inteterfere till he told them of this pill popper's exploits, he threw him onto his foyer tile with a slapping thump.

"Frank, your wonderful friend put zanny in Julia's twelve year old sister, Kimberly's drink.", he said to justify if obvious anger.

"H, he, he did d-ddint mean anything by it!", this guy's friend said.

Frank turned around to address the stupid statement he heard behind him. "So you knew he did this?!". When he got no reply, he decked him straight in the nose, knocking him onto Ron's coffee table.

Ron picked up mister druggie and asks, "Anyone object to this guy leaving permanently?". No one replyed, not even Frank. With that, out the door he went. Ron walkes over to his little friend and picks him up as well. "What about this guy?"

"Come on, I didn't do anything! It was funny!", he guy said in his own defense.

"Exactly, you did nothing, and if you think putting something like that in a twelve year old's beverage is funny, get the fuck outta here!", Frank told him.

Agreed upon, asshole number two got tossed out the door.

"You two have fun walking home!", Ron yelled out to them before closing his door. As radical as his actions were, he felt very justified of what he did. Drugging up a little girl? Kimberly? That was far out of the question.

Gina walked into their livingroom to find Julia sulking on the couch. Ignoring her for the moment, having more important things to tend to, she walked down to Kimberly's room to find her already fast asleap. That makes things easy. So one more challenge left to go, she thought while walking back into the livingroom.

She sat down next to Julia, who looked over at her mother, waiting for her to start yelling again.

"Julia, you told me before you left that you were going to spend time with Kimberly while I was out.", Gina began, "She was going to be cooped up here all day, and then you go and let this happen too". Julia opened her mouth to try and defend herself and got interrupted before she even could. "Don't try to make excuses! You let them in. You left one unattended and look what happened. You let people you didn't know into the house! Do you realize how stupid that was and what you've done?! You're supposed to look out for your sister!", her mother said, stabbing her with words.

Julia stared at the couch space between them. "I'm so sorry...I only wanted to be nice to Frank since he came to visit, I didn't expect this to happen"

"You can't expect things to happen. Thats now how it works. You did something stupid like Kimberly would have done a long time back. I'm not going to punish you or anything, you're an adult now, but please, think about your family before you do something.", her mother told her solomly. "I'll spend lots of time with Kimberly this weekend. I won't let any friend's friends in the house anymore either", Julia promiced.

After that the atmosphere lightened up and her mom told her about the druggie and how Ron beat him up. She found that amusing and went off to call him.

Gina thought just maybe she finally said something Julia would adhear to. She sat there, on the couch, staring at the off TV, thinking about her poor daughter.
Craig had made it to the cafe without a hitch. He hadn't been there in quite a while now, and thought he should at least stop by. He walked in and sat down at his usual bar stool and James turned around, seeing who it was.

"Craig! Long time no see! Ya want anything?", James asked with an outburst of happiness.

"Just a soda. The vanilla kind", he said timidly because of what happened last time he was here.

"Hey hey! Its Craig!", called a rocker from a booth. Most of the people who were here during his fight, minus a few, plus a few others, were there. Justin wasn't around so the little stage was empty. Before Craig knew it, he was being shouted questions.

Where've you been? Why haven't you stopped by? Does this have something to do with getting beat by a rapper?

Craig thought he could continue to repress this anger, but he was wrong. "You wanna know why I haven't been here?! Fine! It's because of you people!"

The rockers all looked astonished, even the ones who we're previously not listening.

"Godammit, I stook it out for you! Defended you guys against those asshole rappers! And none of you helped me! Not a single one! I had your backs, where the fuck were you when I needed you to have mine!!", Craig shouted out, getting off his bar stool and storming out of the cafe. James had gotten Craig's drink and was standing in the doorway of the kitchen, wondering what to do with it now.

When Craig got in the car, he stopped, trying to calm himself down. He never told his fellow rockers how he felt about their "betrayal". This is why he never went to the cafe after the fight. When a rocker got into a situation, you helped them. Thats what a friend is supposed to do. But they didn't help him. Craig knew he was in over his head during that confrontation, but a friend is supposed to suck it up and help anyway. If he had help, he may have won. Impossible to know now. He brushed off his anger as much as posible, really being someone who can let things slide and not care, at least for the most part, to be able to drive sanely. Though as hard as he tried, he couldn't fully stop caring.

After leaving he found himself unsure of where to go. Home may not have been the right idea. The other apparent option was Ron's place. He just needed someone to talk to and kept juggling between the two. Mom the neutral, or Ron the true rocker. The final answer was neither. He was going to see Justin. He knew were Justin would be, since he has a weekend job at Guitar Nation during the day. He would be getting off in an hour and would head to the cafe. Being a person who was there that evening, he was the best choice.

Gina began getting very tired of sitting around worrying. She knew she had nothing to fear, but continued to worry anyway. She got up off the couch and went down to Kimberly's room to check on her. Kimberly was actually now partly under the covers and still fast asleap. She walked in quietly and sat down at Kimberly's desk, being the best place for her to be nearby and not disturb her daughter. Noticing Kimberly's drawings again, she turned the chair around to have a look. She had drew a picture of their family, that rapper dragon guy behind bars, and a not half bad dragon. Turning again to look at her daughter, her face looked a little more sad as she began to think. Kimberly had so quickly changed her destructive, arrogant ways. She matured almost instantly, from a mere child, to a miniature teenager. Even so, she was still a child, and it's unfair, having to experience what she has. Throwing away her selfishness to become someone kind and innocent, only to be trampled on, was rather upsetting. If she found this upsetting, she wondered exactly how upsetting it was to Kimberly herself. She crossed her legs and decided to stay with Kimberly, till she awoke.

Craig parked the car as close to Guitar Nation as he could, being that the best parking spaces were already taken. He left the car and walked inside. The shop wasn't too big, but was bigger then most guitar shops. Craig spotted Justin stocking guitar strings in back and went to talk to him.

"Justin, I need to talk to you", Craig said with a serious tone, as he approached from behind Justin.

Justin lifted his head from his work and turned, knowing the voice that just addressed him. "You looking to buy a guitar?" , he asked very inquisitively, almost knowing Craig was here for something else. "No. It's about that night at the cafe", Craig answered, never changing from his serious tone.

Justin raised an eyebrow, scanning Craig's face and tone of voice. "Well, go for it", he told Craig, curious to what this was about.

"Why didn't you help me?", Craig said as his serious tone grew.

Justin raised both eyebrows now at the alkwardness of the question and got quiet. After being eyed like a hawk by Craig, he had to say something. "...Craig,...you know I'm no fighter...", he said looking away from Craig's stern face.

"What about everyone else?", Craig added, strengthening his serious tone into a hostile one.

"I don't know man. Probbably for the same reasons...", Justin put out, getting a little worried.

"Is that any kind of reason to let what happened to me to occur? To not help a bloody comrade?", Craig said raising his voice to the point that Justin looked aroud to make sure his manager wasn't nearby.

"Craig man, calm down. Just calm down. None of us would have landed a hit on that guy. He was too damn strong ok? Is it a crime to be scared?", Justin explained, gaining his own serious tone.

"You people scared? How do you think I felt? Do any of you fuckin` care?!"

"Trust me, I cared, and I'm sorry I couldn't help. You were possibly to stongest person there, and obviously the one with all the balls or no damn sense", Justin told him, gripping Craig's shoulder with his right hand to calm him, "Either way you put yourself out and possibly saved someone else from getting hurt even worse"

"You guys should have tried. Done something...anything...", Craig said solomly, losing all of his seriousness and hostility, and lowering his head slightly.

"Man you took on three rappers and shamed one of them. Any of us probbably would have had our hands full with just that collie. Nobody there that night was a fighter, and those who did have experience, couldn't have faced that dragon ok? If anyone interfered, they would have been hurt baddily, even if it was just for a second. You don't seem to realize the strength and size of this guy! Fuckin` christ man, he had people kidnap you and used you to try and kill Ron. Fucking Ron! The strongest guy there was had met his match against a bunch of armed rappers!", Justin tried to explain to him, loosening his grip on Craig's shoulder and looking him in the eyes.

"Don't you think I know that...", Craig tried to say angrily, but could not, begining to choke back his own tears to stay composed infront of Justin.

"The boys and ladies there that night loved you. You were their idol, their inspiration. The fight was all that was spoken of while you and Ron sat at the bar drinking. People saying how much they wanted to help, how bad they felt that they didn't try. Don't be mad at them man. If you ever got into another confrontation with any of those people around, they would put themselves on the line for you with double the effort to make up for the time they chickened out on you!", Justin desperately explained to Craig, finally letting go of Craig's shoulder and taking a step back, noticing Craig was trying his best to keep his composure.

Craig closed his eyes for a moment and placed his knuckles to his forehead. "I just yelled at them all and stormed out"

"You what?....No matter really", Justin ended with a mere shrug.

"What do you mean 'No matter'?", Craig asked with curiosity.

"They respect you. You're like top brass now. I get off in a little bit, and I'll be going there to unwind with my guitar. You come with, chill, appologize, and get in on things. Everything will be better then it was before", Justin finished, looking for Craig to give some kind of positive aknowledgement.

"Finish stocking that crap, I'm gonna look around before we go", Craig said, looking up and almost smiling.

While Craig wandered the store, checking out the guitars and nearly vommiting at their prices, he came to thinking about what Justin said. As much as he felt let down by the other rockers, was he really? All he knew was that he got knocked bloody and unconcious. But could he really expect someone smaller and weaker then he to find the courage to step up to this guy, knowing worse would happen to them? He would hope someone, even everyone, would risk their well being for another, reguardless of what happened to them. This isn't the way things were though. People get scared. And even though he lost, he was looked upon as some kind of hero, just for being able to do what he did, and taking the abuse that was dealt. Wasn't it better that he did it himself, instead of innocents taking the fall at the rappers hostility?

Gina was flipping through Kimberly's species book when Kimberly gasped loudly. Startled, she jumped off the chair, dropping the book on the floor to reach Kimberly's side. She put her hand over hers, which was trembling.

"Are you ok Kim?", her mother asked with serious concern.

Kimberly's trembling began to subside, but she was still upset. "I had another dream...", she wimpered, barely not crying.

"Another?", her mother said, not knowing there was a first.

Kimberly went into telling about her new nightmare, to get it off her chest. "I had a dream I was back in that crackhouse again. They beat Craig to death and shot Ron....then they left. It was so dark and I was all alone. I screamed for help but there was no sound"

Gina leaned over a bit, rubbing her hand up and down Kimberly's arm as gently as she could. "You're ok now. Everyone is ok....have you been having dream like this?"

"No. None till this morning. In that one....his gun fires instead of jams....and I die", Kimberly said, as a shortened version.

"I don't know why this is happening now, but it should subside. Don't be frightened", her mother answered.

"What happened earlier?", Kimberly asked, remembering her previous state, or at least some of it.

Gina had forgotten about all that when Kimberly woke up from that nightmare. "Well you see, one of those boys put something in that glass of soda you poured"

"I'm such an idiot...", Kimberly sulked.

"Why? None of this is your fault. Julia shouldn't have let them in, and deffinately shouldn't have left one unattended to play a prank on you like that. But don't worry, Ron beat the kid up for you", she ended with a smile, hoping to get one from Kimberly too.

Kimberly replied with half a smile and dropped back to her sleepy look. "I feel weak and my head feels funny", she told her mother with her eyes half closed.

"You're feeling the effects of that boy's drug. Ron said it's called zanny, and that you will be just fine. Oh, I just remembered, I'll be right back", her mother said before walking out of the room.

Her mother came back to a half asleap Kimberly, who didn't have enough mental power to even move. She just barely was able to help her sit up and asked her to drink a glass of water and eat a few cookies she had gotten. Kimberly complied and lied back down to get some more rest.

"Thanks mom...", she said with a quiet, happy voice, before closing her eyes again.

"Sleep well", her mother whispered, picking up the glass and returning the book she dropped to it's proper loacation, before walking out of the room.

Julia was on the back porch with the phone, so the house was quiet. Needing something productive to do, Gina started cleaning the kitchen. Kimberly acted happy for the most part, but it was all too obvious that she is dealing with some kind of internal struggle. Why would she blame herself for that guy's prank? It didn't make any sense and Kimberly's words wouldn't leave her mind. Kimberly was trying so hard to keep her happy that it seemed like she wouldn't explain everything that was bothering her. Her mother knew she might have to ask her herself, but thought it would be best to give her more time.

After Justin finished work, he and Craig hopped in their cars and proceded to the cafe. Craig followed behind Justin during the drive and he felt uncertain of how the other rockers would react. If Justin was right, all would be well. If he were wrong....well, he didn't even want to think of that. When he arrived at the cafe, he sat in his seat, taking a few deep breaths to relieve his butterflies. When Justin had gotten out of his car and retrieved his guitar from the backseat, Craig pulled his nerves together and got out of his car to join him.

"Just remember what I told you", Justin reminded him before they walked in the door.

They walked in together, with Justin giving a big "Hey!" to greet everyone. Craig found it in his intrests to follow suit. "I'm back", he said happily, but lightly. Sitting farther down the bar then normal, trying to stay near everyone else and Justin's crew, he was quickly met by the people who had shouted to him earlier.

"Hey man, I didn't mean to piss you off with that rapper remark", said one.

"I really wanted to help you that night but I'm a real chicken shit...", said his friend.

"Guys, guys, don't worry about it. I can't expect everyone to jump into a dangerous situation like that. It hurts yes, but I'm not going to hold that against anyone. Sorry bout yelling at you all", Craig told everyone, just trying to drop the subject and appease everyone. When it all came down to it, he was still offended sorta. However, he didn't want to lose any friends or make new enemys on account of a grudge. That just wasn't his way.

"Well Justin, why don't you pick something uplifting?", Craig said to him with a humorous smile. Justin flashed him a thumbs up and started playing his trademark song. The Jackass theme. As short and sweet was it was, everyone liked him playing it on his acustic guitar.

"Look who came back...again!", said a cheery voice. Craig looked over his shoulder to find James.

"You wouldn't mind getting a glass of vanilla soda...again, would you?", Craig attempted to joke back.

"Nah. I'll be right back", James said, walking into the back.

Craig was surprised how painless this was. Justin was right. They really did look up to him. Getting his beverage and sitting around those he cared for, he sat with a smile listening to his friend's guitar, throwing away his petty worries and insecurities.

Around 7:00, Gina was settling in to relax before she had to goto work. She lied on the couch watching TV, dreading the boringness of her night job. 9PM to 5AM, sitting behind a desk doing late night paperwork and taking the occational late night phone call from some stingy contracter or overpaid lacky. She knows she is fortunate to have a well paying job with the hours she wanted, but that doesn't mean she actually has to like leaving her house.

Kimberly opened her eyes and gave a yawn. She felt better, but still groggy. She slowly slipped out of her bed, using as little energy as possible. She streched, being that she had been lying in alkward positions nearly half her slumber. Leaving her room, she payed a visit to the bathroom before seeing who was around, or even what time of day it was. When she walked into the livingroom, she noticed her mom.

"Hello", Kimberly said, stopping at the end of the couch.

Her mother looked over from the TV to the other end of the couch, where an engery lacking Kimberly stood.

"Hi Kim. You feeling any better?", she asked.

"A bit", Kimberly replied, walking off to the kitchen to whip up a little dinner. Gina hoped Kimberly would want to talk, but apparently she isn't ready yet. After Kimberly cooked a TV dinner, she went to the dinner table and sat there alone. Gina couldn't stand waiting. She had been doing that all day, worrying about her daughter. Not being able to stand it anymore, she went into the kitchen and put the kettle on the stove to make some coffee, and use it as an innocent excuse to sit at the dinner table as well. On her way to the table, she grabbed her checkbook and bank recorder to act like she was balancing her checkbook. When she sat down, Kimberly just flashed a quick smile. Kimberly was so happy the past two weeks. Even being cooped up in the house because of her injuries, she was as happy as could be. It was too sad to see her like this. Waiting a few moments, her mother decided to speak to her.

"Whats on your mind?", she asked, looking to her, pushing aside her checkbook.

Finishing her bite of chicken, she stared down at her meal with an unhappy look. Taking a few extra moments to pull together some of that imaginary happiness, she finally looked up.

"Nothing", she said, using the word as a big shield.

"Please, I know you have a lot on your mind. Just talk to me. I miss the happy Kimberly I've gotten to know over the past weeks", she ended with a happy tone.

Kimberly sighed and gave up the false happiness. Staring down again, she replied, "I don't really want to talk about it"

Her mother frowned. This was going to be tough. Thinking for a moment, she found something that may work. "Well, maybe I can start then". Kimberly looked up again. "You're upset by a set of nightmares you suddenly recieved and were screwed over by your own sister. Lets take it from there"

Kimberly stayed quiet for a few seconds, but did respond. "Yes, Julia and I are a problem, but I need to work that out for myself"

Knowing she had struck a right key, her mother continued. "Earlier you called yourself an idiot for what happened. Why would you blame yourself?"

Kimberly jumped from her seat and yelled, "Why am I being interrogated? I don't know!". With that she quickly walked off upset, feeling sick. Her mother got out of her seat.

"Kim! Come back!", she asked almost desperately. Walking off after her, she saw Kimberly's bedroom door close.

"Kimberly...I'm sorry, I only want you to be happy", she said when she got to Kimberly's door. She didn't want to open it uninvited, as she didn't need Kimberly to be more irritated. She thought she was doing a good job but ended up making them both more upset. Her mother slumped against the door frame, absolutely crushed for what she had caused. Putting her hand on her chest and lowering her head, she relieved a tear of guilt. Slowly walking back to the couch, knowing she had failed for the time being, decided to let Kimberly have more time. Gina lied sofly back onto the couch and flicked on "Friends", hoping that happy group would cheer her spirits up.

Craig was having a good time chilling with his friends. Knowing now why he let his grudge slide, he leaned against the bar's surface, tapping his glass to Justin's guitar. He didn't believe Justin when he heard him say what everyone thought of him, but saw for himself exactly how true his words were. Apparently his sacrafice wasn't in complete vain after all. When Justin took an intermission, Craig lit himself a cigarette, and just listened to all the chatter. The cafe was busy tonight and Craig liked it that way. Then, when you didn't think things could get more comfortable and friendly, like 'Cheers', it does.

"Hi Craig. You been here all day?", asked Ron as he and Julia approached his stool.

"Pretty much. Get yourselves a seat and enjoy the atmosphere", Craig said, trying to be fancy, raising a palm as a gesture.

"Have you gotten into James' alcohol?", Julia said with a tiny giggle.

"Funny", Craig replied with, deciding not to answer that stupid joke.

"Speaking of which, do you wanna drink?", Ron asked.

"Not tonight. Don't need it. I'm driving home with my permit anyways", Craig answered to Ron's inquirey.

They had all sat at the bar talking till it came time for Craig and Julia to head home. Walking outside, they stopped to say thier goodbyes. They wouldn't have left this early, being that it's only 8:30, but Craig needed to get the car home. Julia decided to go along with Craig and let Ron drive himself home.

"So what happened at home earlier?", Craig asked on the way home.

"One of Frank's friends put zanny in Kimberly's soda", she said solomly, "and mom blames me for it".

"Well you did let them in and allowed this to happen", Craig said to stick up for his mother's belief.

"It's not like I put the drug in her glass, it's not my fault!", she yelled.

Knowing she was getting testy, he said his opinion anyway, "You can't devulge yourself of responcibility. She got hurt on your watch because of a decision you made. Thats what mom means and you know it's true too"

Julia kept her mouth shut for the rest of the trip, apparently thinking about her denial. Craig found this to be good and kept things quiet for her, thinking about Kimberly's best intrests reguarding her big sister.

"The car is back and in one piece", Craig said proudly, walking in the front door with Julia coming in afterwards. Their mom appeared from her room, dressed and ready for work. Even though she was going to work, she looked more unhappy then she usually would.

"Something the matter?", Craig asked.

Their mother paused at the kitchen enterance for a second before replying, "Kimberly is rather upset...she's been in her room for quite a while now, probably sleeping by now. I tried to get her to talk to me earlier and I only made things worse. Julia, talk to her in the morning please. I put too much pressure on her and I think she's peeved with me..."

"I can do that", Julia replied to her mother's plea.

Craig felt bad for what happened, finding himself coming home to some kind of emotional mess. They said goodnight to their mother before she left, and Craig went to take a shower. Julia stood at the enterance to her room for a moment to look down the hall at Kimberly's. She frowned slightly and went into her own room. Being asked to talk to an upset Kimberly seemed all too familiar, but this situation was worse. As much as she would like to believe that this wasn't her fault, she couldn't get her mind sent on her denial anymore. She knew she screwed up and talking to Kimberly was going to be difficult. Incredibly difficult.

Gina looked at the clock on her desk, knowing her children were snugly asleap. She was still upset about Kimberly and her productiveness was showing it, being that she worked on the company's papers at half the normal speed. Having no real supervisor, this mattered to no one.

"Hey Gina, it's midnight coffee time, drop that damn pen", said her friend jokingly, getting up from her own desk, to the upper left of Gina's. They were the only ones who worked this floor at this time, even for it's large size. The room was the central room of the floor, scattered with desks, computers, and other office things, with the doors branching out to upper- company worker's offices.

"Bout time", Gina replied, dropping the pen carelessly to the desk and getting up.

While walking to the room where they kept the kitchen appliances, including the office worshiped coffee brewer, Gina's parter in pencil pushing, Michelle, a fox, also in her thirties, thought she should chat for a bit.

"So how's things with you?", she asked, looking to spark a conversation since neither have talked all night.

"I'm a little preoccupied with home issues, but otherwise I guess I'm ok", Gina answered, covering up her concerns.

"That Kimberly of your's giving you trouble again?", she said in a lighthearted, joking way.

"Not exactly", Gina replied solomly, looking to drop the subject. Her wish was granted.

"I still haven't found anyone to be my mate", Michelle sighed as they entered the lounge-like room. Michelle had broken up with her fionce a month ago, and had been lonely since. "What exactly happened to your husband?", Michelle asked in a curious manner.

Gina hated this subject. She was fortunate that her kids never brought it up, at least often. Julia hated him, Kimberly never knew him, and Craig barely remembers him. After she processed the thought of explaining her old mate, she answered, "Well, ok....". While Michelle preped the coffee machine, Gina got the moment she needed to think of how to start. "Robbert and I were together for five and a half years. I'm thirty-four now, so I was really young when I married. Only seventen to be precice...", she said, suddenly stopping from hurting herself with her own words. The coffee was just starting to drip, and Michelle was staring with her full attention. Feeling uneasy, she continued, "Shortly after our honeymoon, a pregnancy test came back positive. Robbert was always trying to comfort me when I was feeling blue. He was so sweet, smart, funny. When I gave birth to Julia, we were so happy. I gave birth to Craig two years afterwards, and Robbert begun to change around then. He was getting promotions like you wouldn't believe, working for this same company as an engineer. He started having less time for me or our children, always being off working. Halfway through my pregnancy with Kimberly, I noticed drastic and terrible changes. By now, he had assended high into the company, and was working on large projects and consulting with people around the world even. I no longer had anyone around to comfort me, and I was awfully alone. Trying to take care of my two babies while already carrying another was no easy job. All he cared about was his job and money....after a trip to Japan, he just came back and told me that he was going to stay there. We had a wonderful estate home, I didn't want to leave it all and protested his making this decision without me. Then he told me.....I wasn't coming anyway. He was moving to Japan to be with this Japaneese dragon he had already been engaged to. I cried, pleading for him to reconcider, to talk to me, anything! I could do nothing to change his mind. When he walked out the door, I had lost him forever. He even mailed me the divorse papers from Japan. I was his play- thing....three children are the proof of that....I was such a fool to do anything like that at such a young age. When I became an inconvinience, a hinderence to his idea of a perfect life, he left. Now he's living in Japan, married to this girl who's name I don't even know, living the ritzy life. I had given birth to my little Kimberly two weeks later, and she relieved a lot of my sorrow, as well as add a few new ones. I had gotten a job at the supermarket to try and make money. Even with Robbert's child support, I had to move out of our house in that nice estate. Thats when I moved to our cozy house in the suburbs. It was too big at the time, but it's just right now, having a room for each of my children. Back then, things were tough. Having an infant, a five year old, and a three year old to take care of, provented me from holding my job, so I left the supermarket rather quickly and went on welfare. Sometimes I had a hard time feeding them, and I would go starving myself so they would have enough. I devoted all the time I could to my kids. They're my life, and I refused to let them not have all the love of a normal family because of my own poor choices. When they had all started school, my mother did their school shopping with them and paid for all their supplies. My parents were always unhappy of what I did, but they weren't going to hate me for it, and I was very grateful that they would put my mistake behind them and give me a hand. I was twenty-eight by then, and with the free time of the day that they were in school, I went to college. Anything my parents held against me was instantly wiped away with that. Thats where I got the know-how on word processors, business, and all the other little things that got me this job. Sometimes I damn myself for screwing up when I was young, but then I just say to myself that I wouldn't have my three wonderful children if I didn't", Gina had explained in full detail, occationally changing her tone of voice to sad or optimistic.

Michelle stood in awe. She had no clue what life for her was like back then, and was amased by her story. "Oh my god Gina, like, damn, I'm sorry, I didn't know any of that. Thats not even close to what my ex and I went through. This makes my breakup look like nothing!"

"I need to tell that story sometimes I think. You will find another guy soon, just give him time to surface. I'm just not interested in a relationship....I haven't looked for a man in five years", Gina told her in order for her to keep that happy spirit of hers. Michelle pulled the pot out from under the machine, turning it off, and pouring two mugs of the black sunshine. Gina grabbed three cream containers that you would get in a resturaunt down from the cabinet above her while Michelle did that task. Gina used one and Michelle used the other two, with both of them heading back to the central office. Things were still quiet, with the few employees working her all being on different floors of their five story building.

"Time for me to keep working on those account graphs. Thanks for the story Gina", Michelle said to her appreciatively as they returned to their desks. Sipping her coffee and tapping her pencil against a sheet of paper, she thought about everything she just said and everything that has happened. Whenever her son or either of her daughters were sick, she would treat them and they would get better. When any of them needed help, she helped them. When they required love, they got it. She was encountering something she hadn't really delt with before. Instead of fixing her daughter's problems, she was making them worse, and found herself not knowing what to do, or what should she have done. If she didn't push Kimberly, would she have stuck around and gradually repaired the issue herself, or was the fact that she got angry and ran off just a big sign that things would have only gotten worse? She sighed and gave up. She would do what she always does. Her best.

The sun was glaring in the morning sky peacefully, yet it seemed so dreary and sad. A slight breeze would occationally rustle the leaves on the few trees and cause the little blades of grass to twitch. The day was delightful, but it contradicted the unwelcoming atmosphere. Kimberly stood with wonder at the hilly fields of seldom trees and the greenest grass. Hearing noise behind her, she turned around to be startled and confused by what she saw. Wincing with a shock in her chest, she took a step back, knowing who the people were and where she was. In this field of metal plaques attached to marble slabs on the ground, stood her family, dressed completely in black. Kimberly ran to her mother, finding her weeping over a casket, suspended over an open hole. Looking closely at the casket, she noticed it's smaller then normal size. Then it hit her. This was her own funeral. She grab her mothers arm horrified.

"Mom!! I'm not dead!! I'm here!!", she yelled, trying to pull her mother's arm and make her realize her daughter was alive and well, but for all she tried, she couldn't move her mother's arm at all or get her to respond. She pulled at her arm with all her might, but still not having any physical effect whatsoever. Sqeezing her mother's arm, sobbing and lonely, she pleaded for her family to see she wasn't dead, and that it all wasn't true. Getting an ill sense, she looked over the corner of her eye to see other figures approaching. Kimberly screamed when she turned her head to identify the new people, finding them to be the rapper dragon and the two cohorts that picked her up and kidnapped her, and was slowly approaching from behind her family. "Guys!!! Behind you!! It's them!! Ma`, please hear me!!!", she pleaded with everything she could summon, squeezing her mothers arm. In complete syncronus with their leader, they all stopped behind Kimberly's sorrowful family and drew their guns, raising them slowly to the back of their heads. "Stop!!!!", Kimberly screamed at the three, jumping off her mothers arm and stumbling backwards onto her tail, right before they all fired at the same time. Kimberly felt an expliosive blow to her heart, as she witnessed her family blown foreward in a tromendusly bloody and disfugured manner. In their foreward fall, they fell into the hole, onto Kimberly's now lowered casket. Kimberly's eyes were wide open with her jaw dropped, with a face of unspeakable terror. Never dropping their sync with eachother, they sheathed their weapons as slowly was they drew them and turned, walking away. Immidiately after they begun, the rapper stopped while the others continued slowly, and turned his head towards Kimberly, glaring at her from the corner of his eye as everything began to get wavey and deformed. With a sudden jar of intense force, Kimberly was blown off her rear off the ground. Screaming, she was sucked into the now dark hole.

Unlike the nightmare yesterday morning, Kimberly awoke with a terrifying scream, jumping up in panic, still holding her pillow. She jumped and squirmed untill her back hit the wall behind her, as if she was trying to escape the fear itself. The room suddenly flooded with light when her door flew open and a shadowy figure ran to her.

"Kimberly, you're ok honey, don't be scared anymore", said her mother, putting her arms around her tight. Kimberly welcomed this, putting her own arms around her mother and squeezing, crying against her mother's chest. Gina rubbed her daughter's back, quietly comforting her.

"Ma` I'm sorry!", she said like a plea while crying. Her mother shushed her, wanting her to not have to say anything. Kimberly continued, eventually trying to let up, but couldn't do it, being crushed by the saddness and fear. Gina didn't expect any of this, but welcomed the opportunity to share her daughter's sorrow. Looking to calm her, he mother decided it was time to say something. "Do you want to talk about your nightmare? You don't have to if you don't want to", she said softly. Kimberly cried for a few more moments thinking, and replied, "I wanna talk". Gina sat down beside her and held her close, allowing her time to compose herself enough to begin. Kimberly began when she calmed herself down enough for her voice to be understandable, and explained her dream down to every last detail. Her mother sat, sharing the pain, and was shocked by the intensity of the nightmare she had. By the time Kimberly finished, she had calmed herself down a slight wimper, and wondered what her mother would respond with.

"We're all still here. You, me, your brother, your sister. As terrible as these nightmares you're having are, you cannot forget that we're still here beside you, weather your nightmare tells you we are or aren't. Those people can't hurt you or me. It's so unfair you had to go through what you did....and I'm sorry I...wasn't there for you", her mother lightly explained, expressing her own saddness.

Kimberly wiped her eyes, looking up towards her mother. "I'll be ok. I'm tired", she said, having stopped her sobbing.

"It's only five-thirty, I got home just a little bit ago. Get some more sleep, I'll see you this afternoon", her mom said, giving her daughter one last squeeze and kissing her on the muzzle. She got up and Kimberly slipped back to the center of her bed and got under the covers.

"Goodnight", Kimberly said in a sleepy and relieved way. Gina smiled, closing the door behind her. Walking down the hallway back to the livingroom, Gina felt pitty for what Kimberly is going through. As if what had already happened to her wasn't bad enough. Even so, she felt much more relieved that she and Kimberly were ok with eachother and removed the pressure of what happened earlier, and knew Kimberly felt the same way. The boy's trial was on Wedsday, and Ron, Craig, and Kimberly had to testify against their assailents. Gina could not be certain if Kimberly having to deal with that would make things better or worse. Giving a sigh, she picked the magazine she was reading off the couch, placing it neatly on the coffee table, and went off to bed.

Having gone to bed early, Julia was up by nine, ready to give appeasing Kimberly a shot. She quietly opened Kimberly's door around nine-thirty, surprised she wasn't up yet. She stirred and woke up, even though Julia didn't quite intend to waker her.

"It's nine-thirty, you going to sleep all morning?", Julia said in a teasing tone when her sister looked over to see who disturbed her slumber.

"Oh why do you care", Kimberly replied, getting nasty against her sister's unwelcome false kindness. Julia knew she was in for it, but didn't expect such a rude remark to start off with.

"Come on Kim, you know I didn't want what happened to you to have occured, and I am honestly sorry I let them in while we were talking", Julia said apologeticly, removing any kind of tone in her voice in order to sound truthful.

"You mean I was talking", Kimberly added for her information. Julia didn't quite get the remark, giving Kimberly a confused look, and waiting for her to fill her in. "I talked. You blew me off. You don't give a damn about me!", Kimberly snapped at Julia's lack of understanding.

Julia stayed quiet for a moment, thinking her sister's words over. "Kim, it's not that I blow you off or don't care. I just don't know how to talk to you sometimes, or how to respond", she tried to explain.

"You're still covering up for your ass! Do you think that all the times you said Kimberly is a twit, Kimberly is useless, or Kimberly is a fucking idiot, I wouldn't have heard at least once!? Then you go off with your happy little voice around me, just trying to live with me. I'm not that little brat you still seem to think I still am. I was nine when I burnt that crap, why does it seem you still hold all my mistakes against me? I'm tired of being your last priority, that you speak to only when asked or feel bad enough to!", Kimberly shouted, shocking the hell out of Julia. She didn't realize she heard the little quirps she said about her on occation, or that she felt this strongly.

"Kimberly...", Julia begun, using her full name, "I do care about you. You're my sister. I...only said those things when you did something wrong or mean. You have changed a lot...and I'm sorry if I come off as irritated regarding the past. I really do want to be friends with you, but you see, I just don't know how. I have known you so long as this destructive little girl, who I couldn't get along with as much as I would have liked, and now you're something different. Please Kim, don't be mad at me for my mistakes either. I screwed up, more then once. Can't we put all this behind us and slowly get to know eachother better?"

Kimberly toned down very noticibly and thought for a moment. When Julia got nervous, wondering what her reply would be, she finally answered, "You forgive me, I'll forgive you", giving a smile.

"Thank you Kim", Julia said relieved, not using any of her upbeat sayings that Kimberly didn't appreciate.

Their Sunday was quiet, with everyone in a good mood. Everyone had stayed in, either watching TV, reading, or just hanging around.

Monday morning, the three were up as usual, repeating the same old process. Craig took a shower, with Julia second. Kimberly took one the night before, so she slept in a little till she had to get up and get dressed. When it came time for her to go, they all said goodbye and she went out front. Sheila was already there, and what a welcome sight that was.

"Sheila! Nice to have you back!", Kimberly exclaimed while walking down her driveway.

"And it's nice to be back. It's boring where my grandma and grandpa live. Ready for your court appearance this Wedsday?", Sheila ended with a question.

"I don't know really. It's not like I have a choice anyway", Kimberly replied, quieting her voice for a moment.

"You'll do fine. Give the bastard the chair!", Sheila joked.

The two got on their bus, talking to eachother along the way about their weekends. Sheila didn't know Kimberly's weekend was that eventful, and her own story sounded even more boring then it originally was after hearing hers. Even so, neither talked much about what happened, and Kimberly mention her nightmares at all. When they arrived at first period, Chris was already waiting to welcome Sheila back. While they all talked, Sharon came in and sat down quietly, now knowing better then to mouth off to a Trensetter.

"Ok everyone, quiet", Mrs. Rodriguez ordered when the last bell rang. Naturally, the students talked for a few more moments, wrapping up their conversations, before they turned to give their attention to the teacher. "Today we'll start the section on topography", informed Mrs. Rodriguez, opening her teacher edition of the Earth/Space science book. With that said, Kimberly put her head down, already wishing her boring ass school-day would end.

When Kimberly arrived home, she was surprised by the sight and sound of nothing. Setting down her things, she found a note left on the kitchen counter, explaining the lack of everyone. Julia had to stay after school for a tiny bit longer to get some extra help with a project, and Craig and Ron are just waiting, having decided they'd stay a little longer and drive home as usual. Her mother herself went grocery shopping, saying both parties should be back within fifteen minutes of her getting home. She also left a cute little sketch of herself giving the peace sign in the bottom right corner of note. Typical of her mother, and Kimberly just found it amusing. Not liking a stagnent house, she grabbed a cookie and flipped on the TV, just so there would be some welcoming sound within the house. Going to her room, she got a little more comfortable, tossing her shoes beside the door along with her socks, and returning the necklace she was wearing to her desk drawer. Having the "Daily tasks" of school completed, she could finally relax. Lying on the couch, flipping through the channels, she waited for her family to return, and eventually heard the beep of her mother's car, signaling that she needs help with the groceries. She really didn't want to get up after lying there peacefully, but she did anyway.

"Hi mom. Wha'd you get?", Kimberly said when she went out to the car. Her mom was getting a few bags from the trunk, and once she turned, greeted Kimberly, "Hiya Kim. Just picked up some stuff for dinner, some milk, bread, and I also got you a bag of gummi bears, like you always ask".

"Sounds good, especially that gummi bear part", Kimberly replied, grabbing the last two bags from the trunk and closing it, allowing her mother to close the garage door. Within a few minutes of putting the groceries away, Craig and Julia arrived home, with Ron tagging along.

"Hiya mom. Ron came in to ask you something", Julia explained to her mother, who was sitting at the desk by the door.

Ron stepped in from the doorway, acting a little nervous. "Um, Hi Miss Trensetter", he greeted with insecurity.

"Call me Gina", she said with an upbeat additude, wanting Ron to feel at home.

"I was wondering, could I speak to Kimberly for a moment?", he asked with the sense that he knew his question was odd.

"Sure. Hey Kim, could you come here?!", Gina agreed, calling towards the hallway for her daughter.

Kimberly appeared in a moment or two, asking, "Yes?".

"Are you ok now Kimberly?", Ron asked her inquisitively and concerned.

"Yeah, it only took a day", Kimberly told him, already knowing what he was asking about.

Ron shifted a foot. "Well, Frank blames himself for what happened to you and he's really sorry. He just wanted to let you know", he sighed.

"It's ok", she replied.

"Not exactly", Ron said in a depressed tone. Shifting his eyes to Gina, he explained, "I didn't tell you the complete truth...". Gina cocked her head to the side slightly, giving him a surprised look. "I myself was also knew this person", he admitted, shifting his look to Julia. "He was Eric's brother, the one that lives across state with his dad. Thats why Eric wasn't around today, he's pretty mad at me for what I did to his brother. Infact, he's pissed", Ron explained further, lowering his head slightly at the end. "Apparently I made a poor choice in friends"

"It's not like you really lied to me, and you shouldn't put any blame on yourself for what happened. Just being friends with someone doesn't make you the guilty party", Gina told him, trying to put his caring mind to rest.

"You'll sort things out", Kimberly added to back up her mother.

"I appreciate it", Ron said, scratching the back of his head.

"Ma`, do you mind if we go out?", Craig piped up, finding his chance to ask.

"Sure I guess. Just don't be out too late", she answered.

A lightbulb suddenly turned on in Craig's head. "Say, why doesn't Kimberly come with us for once?"

Gina fidgeted slightly, thinking carefully with an unoptimistic look on her face.

"Hey, I wouldn't mind that! Isn't it for older people though?", Kimberly exclaimed at the thought, looking deeper into it.

"Not really. It's a family cafe that got it's rocker reputation because of us", Ron chimed in, answering her inquery.

With something of a sigh, Gina submitted. "Ok, you can go"

"Cool!", Kimberly exclaimed, showing her enthusiasm and walking off to her room to get ready.

When she left, Gina found it appropreate to give the group special instructions. "This might not be such a bad idea for her. She got better since Sunday, but she still seems different. I can't put my finger on it", she informed the trio. Shifting her look to Julia specificly, she requested, "Julia, if she needs to go to the bathroom, go with her. Don't let her out of your sight. All of you, just make sure there are no recreations of past traumatizing situations ok?"

They all promiced, with Ron swearing he wouldn't let anyone do anything to Kimberly. Gina was uneasy about the whole idea, but she thought it might be a good idea, especially since she would be well supervised. Being in a social environment, or just the idea of getting out somewhere, might help her. Gina gave Julia extra cash for Kimberly, and once Kimberly returned from getting ready, having put her shoes, necklace, and whatnot back on, they left, leaving Gina to finish her work at her desk, and hope for her children's safety.

After a car ride of curious inquerys from Kimberly, they arrived shortly at the cafe.

"We generally sit at the bar, so you grab the stool next to me ok Kim?", Julia instructed Kimberly, who nodded in responce. The trio gave their friends a hearty welcome, with Kimberly staying quiet, not wanting to draw attention to herself. She took a seat next to her sister as asked, with Ron sitting to her other side and Craig next to him.

"Hiya guys", James said happily at their arrival. "Who might this be?", he asked, noticing an extra fourth person that didn't seem to fit as another rocker.

"Our sister", Julia answered on behalf of her siblings.

"Well thats different. Can I get you all anything?", James questioned.

"Chicken would be nice", Kimberly piped up all the sudden, liking the idea of food.

"And I guess vanilla coke for all of us", Ron added, seeing that it was too early for a beer.

Justin was in the house as well, but just not playing his guitar at the moment. The place wasn't crowded because of the time of day, yet there was still plenty of people to chat with or listen to. Kimberly was amused by listening in on people's conversations, being that they weren't topics discussed in middle school, funny, or curiously adult oriented. It was damn nice getting out of the house and seeing the quaint cafe her brother and sister were always at. The chicken breast tenders also kicked ass, so that was yet another plus for the cafe in Kimberly's eyes. Getting in on Ron, Craig, and Julia's conversations were also new. The whole setting made her feel older and all. They had been asked a few times about who she was, and they would always smile or wave at her, which she didn't quite care for. She disliked being concidered a child, even though she still was one for the most part.

"Justin, play something new", Craig asked when he got up on his stage. Before he could start plucking the strings, he was interrupted by a familiar face storming in the door.

"This is what I should have done in the first place!!", shouted the familiar voice to the trio. Ron was already standing next to his stool, and turned around as soon as he heard the booming voice, only to be slammed across his muzzle and cheek. The blow knocked him backwards, making him knock Craig off his stool, but managed to retain his balance. The angered opponent was a stoned Eric, who had apparently lost all of his rationality. It wasn't easy to knock Ron hard enough to make him reel backwards, since he was large and strong, with not one fat cell whatsoever to be seen, but Eric was an exception. Though Eric was bulky, he was still large, proving that size does matter. Ron found himself in a disadvantage, being that his foe was stoned out of his mind, and he himself was sober. Knowing Craig was fine, he enguaged his attacker, delivering his own blows while he recieved new ones. Craig got up off the ground, knowing not one person who would be able to assist Ron in this fight, and this reminded himself of his own night. Not wanting to let Ron do this on his own, Craig leaped after Eric, giving him two shots to the side of his head. Eric moved backwards, away from Ron, and gave Craig a strong shot to the side of his face, sending him a good distance, till he caught his balance on a booth table. Holding a paw to the point of impact, he cringed and squeezed his eyelids at the pain. He wasn't injured, but knew he didn't stand a chance if he continued. Ron and Eric were throwing heavy handed punches, using power over speed. Both were bleeding from a nose or a gash, but neither were going to give up. While the spectators stood in near fear at the two strongest rockers fighting eachother, James was shouting for them to decist, even though he knew Eric was too plastered to concider it. He found this to be one of those times when he should call the police, and picked up the phone on the wall behind him to do so. Craig loathed only being to stand there and watch, and felt how everyone else felt the night of his fight. Both Eric and Ron were begining to stagger from the power of their blows and the pain. Eric was still too stoned to feel it all, and it appeared that Eric may brake the stalemate and overpower Ron. Ron gave it all he had and slammed Eric in nose and solarplexus a few times, trying to use power and speed at the same time together. They both staggered backwards, nearly falling, or hunching over in agony. Eric stumbled for the door, running outside, with Ron trailing shortly behind. It is unsure of where Eric planned on going, because the squad car that was called pulled into the parking lot. Eric stopped dead, and turned to run the other way, giving Ron the time needed to tackle him. The police officer, and rabbit in his twenties, aprehended Eric with his help. With Eric soundly in the back of his car, he offered Ron an ambulance which he naturally declined, even though he was bleeding rather baddily. Most of the other rockers, including Craig, Julia, and Kimberly beside her, came out to see what had happened. Ron answered the officer's questions, and he let him go, being that he needed to clean himself up. Ron walked carelessly past everyone and went into the men's bathroom. Julia and Kimberly returned to the bar, still worried about Ron. Craig told Julia that he would check on him for her and walked down to the men's room and knocked on the door. Finding it unlocked, he opened it. Ron was leaning against the wall, trying to rest as he wiped off blood and tried to find cuts in the mirror.

"Hey man, are you ok?!", Craig asked very concernedly.

Ron grunted in alknowledgement, as he continued to wipe his wounds in the mirror. "I can't believe this happened. I really did have a problem picking friends, didn't I?", he said in a candid manner once he leaned away from the mirror to get another paper towel to clean the dried blood on his muzzle.

"I didn't see it coming. We couldn't have known", Craig replied to his painful question. Walking in from the doorway, he closed the door behind him and walked infront of the mirror, next to Ron.

"Thanks for trying to help by the way. I did notice", Ron said, trying to be appreciative.

"I've never seen you try so hard in a fight, or get hurt like this. Are you sure you're gonna be ok?", Craig felt he needed to say and ask.

"Yeah, but I totally need asprin....could you ask James if he has any? I'll be out in a few minutes. Oh, and tell Julia I'm fine", Ron finished.

Craig nodded and did as requested. James did happen to keep a bottle of asprin in back, and got two for Ron. When Ron came back, he had cleaned all the blood, and all that was noticible was a few cuts. He and Julia hugged, since she was so worried about him. During the whole fight, she didn't know who was holding who; Kimberly or her. Ron got back into his seat and took the asprin that was left for him, right before he recieved congradulations by almost every rocker in the cafe. Justin returned to his stage and began playing Stairway to Heaven when the other rockers slipped back into their normal routines.

"That was scarey, but you did real good", Kimberly commented when everyone else left.

"Just barely....man I hope I don't have to go to court twice now...", Ron depressedly responded to Kimberly's compliment.

"Don't be sad about Eric. Obviously he was just an asshole all this time, and you don't need friends like that", Julia encouraged.

"Yeah man, he was a friend and all, but they don't always last", Craig added to show his support.

"He was just a good pal.....don't worry about it, I'll get over it. I agree with you all, and this is primarily caused by my own judgement, so I'll deal with it", Ron tried to explain.

"Thank you for what you did to his brother for me. I think your judgement was in the right place", Kimberly added with light happiness to show her appreciation. Ron half smiled for her, guarding his discomfort.

After another ten minutes, everyone was talking normaly, exept for Ron. Kimberly finsihed her chicken, and discribed the cafe as the best place she's been in a while, even though what happened earlier dampened things. Craig and Julia we're a little worried over Ron's silence, but thought they shouldn't bother him further after the crap he's been through.

"I'm pretty tired. You guys wouldn't mind leaving early would you?", Ron suddenly asked, with a tone of guilt.

"Not at all", his group replied.

"Sorry", he replied, feeling even more guilty for cutting their fun short. He slipped off his stool and walked out with them.

The four piled back into the car and Ron set off for his guest's house.

"Would you like it if I stayed with you Ron?", Julia inqueried curiously.

Ron thought for a moment. "Yeah, that'd be nice"

He dropped off Craig and Kimberly in their driveway. Kimberly thanked him for the trip, and Craig said his goodbye. Once Ron had started for his own house, Julia found it to be a good time to talk.

"I feel bad for what happened", she expressed to him. Ron gave a solom sigh.

"Don't worry about it Jul. Like Craig said, friends come and go. I'm just not feeling too well, thats all", Ron told Julia caringly.

Julia knew how tired and in pain he must be, and really did feel bad for his predicament. Having to fight one of your closest friends just sucks. He had a heart of gold in that powerful chest of his, and it made him seem like a diamond in the rough. Someone so strong and looked up to as a dangerous fighter, just so happened to be the nicest and most loving person Julia could think of, and she felt lucky that they shared the bond of love. As much as she cares for him, and worries about him, she doesn't believe she could ever match the feelings that Ron has for her. Deciding to leave him be in the last few minutes of their drive, she rested her head on the window, bathing in her wonderful thoughts of passion.

When they pulled into his driveway and got out of the car, a question popped into Julia's head. "What did the officer get Eric on?"

"Public intoxication and battery", Ron answered, closing his car door and pulling his house keys out of his pocket. Ron walked up his walkway and opened his door, waiting for Julia to come inside. His parents work together from four to midnight, so they left for work only twenty minutes ago, leaving the house to himself as usual. He closed the door for Julia and being that his front door enters directly into his livingroom, he only had to take a few steps before flopping on his couch.

"Ahhhhh....", Ron let out, finally being able to relax and rest his head. Julia quietly giggled at Ron. Ron turned on his side, grabbing the TV remote, and flicking the device on. Before he could offer his girl a seat, she had climbed on the couch, squeezing behind him, and laying her muzzle on his neck to snuggle. Ron smiled, nearly chuckling from having his mood changed so quickly.

"It's easy to see who my real friends are", Ron said, deciding to speak his thoughts to the person most important to him.

Julia put an arm over him, placing her hand on his lower chest. "I'm glad", she said softly.

Ron found a movie on comedy central and tossed the remote to the nearby coffee table, as to not disturb Julia. "It shouldn't upset me any, since Eric turned on me and all, but we've had good times, and it's sad to know that he would let his brother get away with what he did....it's like I knew someone, but didn't. Do you understand any of my ramblings?", he ended with a chuckle.

"Of course I do. It's only natural to feel uncertain after you have been forced into a fight with a friend, even if it was them who attacked you", Julia compassionately replied.

They stayed quiet for a few moments, basking in the warmth of their company. "I don't know how my life would be without you Jul", Ron stated, full of passion and appreciation for what he had.

"And lets never find out. I love you Ron", Julia told her mate, filling her words with all her love.

"I love you too Julia", he replied, not even having the words to express how lucky he was to have someone like her. Julia gave him a loving squeeze, and they snuggled in more comfortably to watch the movie together and relax.

Craig and Kimberly walked in their house, to find their mom watching TV.

"You weren't gone as long as I thought you'd be", Gina said, signifying her curiousity to why.

"Ron wanted to go. I'm gonna take a shower, I'll let Kimberly tell the story", Craig said, ending with a laugh and walking down the hall.

Kimberly sat down next to her mother on the couch and removed her necklace. "Ron got into a fight with some big guy", she blurted out.

"What? With who? Do you know?", her mother asked with much concern for Ron.

"It...was the brother of the guy who drugged me. Eric wasn't it?", Kimberly replied, unsure on the man's name.

"Yes, Ron said Eric....poor Ron...he's always willing to screw things for himself to help another", Gina stated, saddened with appreciativeness for what Ron had done for Kimberly. "Is he alright?", she then asked.

"He got hurt, but he's ok", Kimberly began with a sigh, fiddling with her necklace between her fingers. Gina leaned back in relief.

"Julia is with Ron then right?", Gina asked, suddenly noticing Julia didn't come in with them.

"Yeah. She didn't want to leave him alone, since he wasn't feeling well", Kimberly answered.

Gina fixed her position, sitting up straight. "Go ahead and go take off your shoes and whatnot", she said, giving her daughter's knee a pat.

"Okie", she replied, getting up to goto her room. Gina put her head down in thought. Ron and Julia were such a cute couple. Ron was so perfect. I wish the relationship I had at her age was that great. Well, it was really, but I just know Ron wouldn't do what Robert did to me. I know how close they have become, but neither even has the thought of marrying yet, and that pleases me to no end, knowing that neither of them would make the mistake that I did. Robert...he was good and all, but I was just....to easy, arrogant, and manipulated. Julia is a rational girl, and Ron is a fine gentleman. I love Ron like a part of the family, and I think he thinks the same way about all of us. I could only wish....that Robert was like him....full of true love and care....TRUE love....

"That movie wasn't bad", Julia commented when the credits rolled.

"Yeah, and the best part was when the guy got the perfect girl", Ron said happily, raising his arm to stroke Julia's muzzle.

Julia giggled. "I don't quite remember that part being in the movie", she said to tease his loving remark, moving her head slightly to kiss his cheek.

"You know what, I'm taking you out to dinner. The fancy kind. It's not often we have so much time to ourselves, and I want today to be special", Ron suddenly came out and said.

"Aww, thats sweet", Julia exclaimed, sliding out from behind Ron. "I'll give my house a call and let them know I'll be back after dinner", she added, hopping over the side of the couch.

Ron sat up and stretched. While Julia was on the phone, he walked down to his room to freshen up, change his blood stained shirt, and grab a small wad of cash he kept hidden in a metal box. Fourty-Five dollars, plus the twelve already in his wallet, should cover the place he was aiming for. He and Julia have never had one of those dinner by candle-light evenings, and being that they would be busy tomorrow and in court the day after, this was probably the best time to enjoy themselves. Now that he looked spiffy, he walked back to the livingroom, where Julia was lounging on his couch, awaiting his return.

"I'm all set. You good to go?", he checked.

"Yep", Julia replied, sitting up and getting off the couch.

They left the house, with Ron locking the door again and heading out to let his girlfriend in the car.

"So where are you planning?", Julia asked curiously when Ron got in the car.

"Bellenapolies. It's a very upscale italianish restaraunt, but they have just about everything", he informed her while pulling out of the driveway.

"Yikes, that sounds expensive", Julia said surprisedly.

"I got it covered. The place is dimmed with candles at every table, I think you'll really like it", he reassured with a smile.

"I would like anyplace I went with you", Julia smiled back, poking at Ron's airfreshener.

Kimberly was lying on her bed, somewhat bored, and somewhat not. Not having anything she needed to do, she felt like taking it easy, and just lounging alone for a while. Lying on her back, she played with the tip of her tail, poking it and wagging it back and forth with no purpose. She felt weary that the day of the trial was coming nearer with every metrenome-like flick of her tail. She didn't like the idea of having to see that dragon's smug face again, but didn't actually have anything against going. It was only the wait that gave her butterflies. She stared up at her ceiling fan and her cream colored walls, endulging in the personal comfort of her own domain.

Craig on the other hand, was a little weary of going. Formal court garbage, where he gets to be put on the spot and interrogated by some overpaid fuck in a suit, was not very comfortable. He wanted so much to put that rapping bastard away for good, but was nervous about the process of doing so. Sitting on the side of his bed, listening to the radio and doing his Biology homework, he couldn't help but be constantly destracted.

"Craig", said another destraction from behind. He turned to find his mother in the doorway. "Dinners ready. Julia is out with Ron so it'll just be us", she informed him.

"Alrighty", Craig replied, tossing his book on his pillow and cutting the power on his stereo.

Gina continued down the hallway to Kimberly's door. "Hey Kim, it's dinner time", she said when she reached her door.

Kimberly sat up to address her mother. "I'm not all that hungry. I already had some chicken and all", she said appologeticly.

"Well if you get hungry, there's plenty", Gina added before returning to the kitchen. She had that chicken two hours ago, and it didn't make sense that she just "wasn't hungry" now. This being one of those things she couldn't put her finger on, she decided to let it go for now. "Hey Craig, it's just you and me, so I think we have a lotta food", she told Craig while she fixed herself a plate.

Kimberly sighed, for what reason, she did not know. She slid of her bed, finding the act of playing with your tail to get boring fast. Finding nothing productive, or even not productive to do, she pulled out a pair of clothes from her dresser and left to go take her shower.

Craig spent most of the evening in the livingroom, doing his Biology homework. For some strange reason, the TV was a lot less destracting. When eight-thirty rolled around, Julia arrived home, full of bliss and puppy love. She sat at the dinner table with their mother, talking about and discribing her evening, without missing a single detail. Craig knew Ron was a real nice guy, and he loved Julia very much, but the thought of his best friend and his sister being together wasn't something he cared to hear about. Having completed his homework anyway, he picked up his book and utensils and went back to his room to stuff them in his backpack. Craig switched on the light on the little table next to his bed and lied down comfortably to read a magazine. Things were quiet and normal after the earlier incident at the cafe, and it just seemed eerie. He kept trying to tell himself not to be frightened by wednesday, especially since he didn't think he was. Not being able to admit it to himself, he really was scared of courtrooms and the idea of everyone staring at him, scanning his every word for truth or lies. Of course he wouldn't lie, but would the Judge and Jury know that? Would they scrupulate upon his every word? Annoyed and frustrated by his own thoughts, Craig threw the magazine to the floor and turned the lamp off in a huff, falling asleap from his own self inflicted exhaustion.

The household awoke routinely in the early morning, with the three getting ready as normal. Craig had gotten over last night's thoughts, or at least he believed so. Julia took longer then usual to get ready, still being love struck from the previous day's excursion. Once Kimberly left, Julia sat at their dinner table, staring out the window. Craig thought it was great that his sister was so happy, but the sappyness wasn't something he cared to watch in the morning. Once Ron pulled up, Craig and Julia quickly turned off the TV and lights and piled into the car, where the two lovebirds kissed to greet eachother.

"Isn't that cute", Craig said sarcasticly to poke fun at their sentiments. Ron and Julia chuckled at the remark, and they set off for their campus. Their high school was a ten minute drive, but it would be well over a half hour on a school bus, so they were fortunate.

"Hiya girls", Chris greeted when Kimberly and Sheila walked into first period and took their seats. "Kimberly, you're gonna be out tomorrow aren't you?", he quickly asked, even before either of the two could greet him back.

"Hi Chris. Yeah, I'll be out for the trial tomorrow", Kimberly answered.

While Sheila talked to Chris, Kimberly thought it would be a good idea to pull out her book and the worksheet she did in class yesterday. Sheila really did most of it, but Mrs. Rodriguez didn't need to know that.

Later in the period, when Mrs. Rodriguez was picking up papers, she stopped at Kimberly. "We'll be watching a video while you're out, so you won't miss anything. Good luck by the way", she said, adding Kimberly's paper to the pile. After the whole Sharon thing, she really became something of an ass kisser, being supportive of Kimberly whenever possible. Kimberly understands what she's doing and appreciates the effort, but still recognizes her as the prick she is.

"I can't believe you fought Eric!", Amber shouted at Ron.

It was lunchtime, when the group of rocker dragons met and left for lunch, execpt the new cafe fight was delaying this. The whole group, Ron, Julia, Frank, Amber, and Justin were present, not including the MIA Eric.

"He attacked me, I don't know what you're getting so huffy about!", Ron retaliated.

"You got Eric arrested! You started the whole thing, and it's all your fault!", Amber exploded.

Julia put her foot down, stepping close to Ron's side. "Eric got what he asked for! He got angry because of Ron beating up his brother, who drugged up my little sister! Eric is the one with a problem!", she shouted back to support her mate.

"As much as I would like to support you Ron, I don't believe it was a good call to take on Eric", Frank suddenly came out and said.

Ron glared at him angrily. "What do you mean?! You were there the day I whooped his brother, and you decked his friend! You did the same as me!", Ron shouted, no longer restraining the tone of his voice.

"That was different, he deserved what he got. Taking on Eric, our good friend, was to tell you the truth, very arrogant and nasty", Frank answered clearly, keeping the tone of his voice to near normal, but still expressing his angered feelings.

"What the fuck, how can you say he didn't get what was coming to him!! I didn't attack him! He walked in and attacked me!", Ron yelled in frustration till he was interrupted by Amber.

"He was completely stoned out of his mind, literally, and you have the fucking nerve to fight back! You should have backed off or ran, but no, you and your pride stayed to fuck up everything! He was a friend! A friend Ron!!", Amber screamed, trying to stab Ron in the heart with her words.

"WAS a friend! The moment he defended his asshole brother and attacked me AND Craig might I add, he left my circle of friends, and it sickens me that you would defend him after what he's done!!", Ron again retaliated, deflecting her attempt.

"Are you saying that you've never become drunk or stoned, and did something you didn't want to?", Frank added in.

"If I ever attacked you, I would sure as hell expect for you to fight back! When he attacked me, it wasn't a stupered foul judgement; he came there specificly to attack me for what I did to his brother. I can't fucking believe after everything we have been through, you and Amber would turn against me!", Ron ended with a burst of rage.

Julia was getting very angry and she let them know. "He did what he had to do and it's not right for you to tell him how to make decisions! Standing up for this dugged up asshole is..is..just fucking insane!!", she shouted at the two.

"Justin, don't you agree with us?", Frank asked, turning his head towards Justin, who was trying to stay out of this, being that he was frightened by situations like this.

After a moment of Frank staring at him, he applied a defensive look to his face and stood up from the brick planter he was sitting on. "No", he affirmed, glaring straight back at Frank, who was surprised to have recieved such an answer. "This is Eric's doing, Ron got forced into it whether you like it or not!"

Frank growled. "I should have expected nothing more from you. You're such a fuckin` follower!", he insulted.

"Fuck you! I make my own decisions!", Justin forcefully informed him.

"Ron could have backed down and waited till he was sober, but he didn't. Now Eric is in jail, just because Ron jumped the gun and used his primal instincts instead of his goddamn head!", Amber again explained in Justin's general direction.

"Back the fuck off bitch! You weren't the one put in that situation!", Julia screamed at her, unable to hold her silence.

"And you're the primal whore!", Amber screamed back.

Julia took off from Ron's side, taking only a few quick steps before she slapped Amber clear across her cheek. This sudden action felt like a mallet to the other's chests, but they pretty much expected this to happen. Ron moved to break up the two, but before he did, Amber retaliated, whoping Julia's left eye with her closed fist. Reeling a foot back and grabbing the side of her face with her left hand, she looked to grab Amber with the other, which just wouldn't reach. Ron had gotten between them and pushed the screaming girls apart, only holding Julia, and giving Amber an obvious shove, showing that he was going to play sides if thats what it has come down to.

"Knock it off!", Ron commanded, looking straight in Amber's face.

"Fuckin` bitches!!!", Amber screamed at the top of her lungs in a tantrum, before storming off towards the building. Frank shot them a piercing look, letting his expression speak for him, and followed Amber in suit. Before Justin or Julia knew it, Ron was already hurrily walking to his car.

"I'll wait here", Justin said to Julia with a nod, knowing they would need to talk together.

"Thanks...we'll be back shortly", Julia replied solomly, quickly walking off to catch up with Ron.

Julia got in the car within a few moments. Ron was sitting in the driver's seat, completely silent, with his head down against the steering wheel and his arms over his head, in a very depressed position. If Julia didn't know any better, she would think he was actually crying, though she couldn't tell.

"Ron...honey, are you ok?", Julia asked softly in a sigh. She didn't get a reply for quite some time.

"...I'm fine...", he eventually said, lifting his head slightly, just to move his mouth. "I'm so sorry...did she hurt you?", he asked, with his voice flooding with sorrow.

Julia couldn't stand him being so upset, but replied to his question none the less, rubbing her eye. "It hurt, but I'm ok", she answered lightly. "If they don't wish to be our friends, then so be it. You did what you had to, and you did the right thing.....I love you so much", she comforted him, scooting over and placing her arm around him and snuggling close. Ron again stayed quiet for some time, occationaly making a sigh of some sort.

"The whole groups been disbanded and I may have scarred my image as a rocker. I wonder if they're right...", he said saddily, raising his head from the steering wheel to talk.

"Only you can decide if they're right, but I'll give you a clue: Amber and Frank are complete assholes. They blame you for turning on friends, but what did they just do? They're no better then Eric. Just because their rockers, doesn't make them good people. Don't worry about them, you don't need em`", Julia explained caringly, giving him a little intellectual insight.

"Yeah, I know....but I try so hard to be nice and friendly to everyone, it just pains me so much to lose half my main circle of friends", Ron replied.

"Well.....yeah, I do know what you mean. Amber and Frank were quite good friends of mine as well...but like we agreed upon yesterday, our true friends are what matters. Me, Craig, and Justin will always be there for you, as well as my mother and Kimberly too. Other rockers will come and go, but your family is forever", Julia expressed as lovingly as she could, holding Ron tight and kissing him twice on the muzzle.

Ron smiled and rested his head on hers. "I'm sorry I walked off. I just hate pissing people off you know"

"Yep, I know. It's something that just makes you cute", she happily told him. They closed their eyes for a moment, allowing their love to intertwine in an array of wonderful mental fireworks.

"Let's grab Justin and see if we still have time for a lil` lunch", Ron said, full of reawakened glee.

"And if we don't have enough time, we'll make some", Julia quirped with a laugh, as Ron started the car.

"As most of you know, Miss Trensetter will be in court tomorrow to testify against her primary attacker", Mr. Manus, a badger and Kimberly's 6th period teacher, began when the class settled in. Kimberly blushed embarassedly, with a few people looking at her because of Mr. Manus' mentioning.

"So today, we're going to put a hold on our lesson and discuss the judicial system and the things Kimberly will face", he continued, with his students giving a cheer when he said he was putting lessons on hold. Mr. Manus was a history teacher, so this event fit well into what he wanted to teach. Kimberly thought of Mr. Manus as her favorite teacher, so she didn't mind the embarassment of having her trial used as the main topic. Mr. Manus took a seat on top of a desk in the first row of the center of the room, to have a "Lesson plan free" session with his students.

"Basicly, this is probbably not the kind of trial you're all thinking of. You know, with lawers and garbage. Kimberly and the others involved are there to testify against the accused. A prosecuter would call them up and ask questions, like a witness. The boy would have an attorney of course to defend him, but basicly the person he is defending him from is the prosecutor", he explained. "I'm going to show you a video of a real trial, similar to what Kimberly's will be. This man was arrested on attempted murder charges and this is his trial. Tomorrow, we'll be watching none other then Kimberly's own trial, and the cafeteria TV's and some classes will also be tuned in for the verdict; just to let you know Kimberly", he ended with a chuckle. Kimberly was afraid they would be watching the trial here, since it's on public access and all, but took it lightly, not wanting to be embarassed because of what has been forced upon her.

By the end of the day, the class designated "Rocker", was in chaos. Ron was possibly the highest brass, so the story of Eric and the collapse of Ron's circle of dragon rockers spread like termites. Rumors and squabbles amoungst the rockers caused a severe feedback through their ranks. While some sided with Ron, others sided with the, quote, "Screwed over" rockers. In less then a day, the class of rocker was in turmoil, with people leaving the social aspect of things, or forming smaller isolated circles and factions. The normal way of a "Rocker", is to express your love for the guitar, your hate for cheap rap, and be kind and very social to all. Now, everyone is drowning in their own self created controversy, and backing far away from openly social areas. It's amasing how one turn of events could affect so many, by making them turn on their own kind. Ron was torn appart by the hate he caused, even though he had convinced himself what he did was right, and knew it for truth. Even those who sided with him, would still only turn their heads to whisper to their comrade when he walked by, and those who opposed him would give him a eye that would wound his very soul. Not even rappers would piss eachother off this bad, and Ron could only wonder how his actions left such an ulcerating wound in their social society. Eric's latest actions and the fight could have stayed out of most of the conversations, but it was very likely that the scuffle with the dragon circle caused this shockwave. Ron was labeled something of a traitor, someone who turned on his friends at the flip of his pride, and he knew, from every cell at the tip of his tail, to his giant but docile heart, this was the most disgusting and hurtful thing he ever had to bear. He no longer had the courage to face his friends and ex-friends, feeling that all reason and friendship had been lost due to the efforts of Amber and Frank. Even the listeners of the tale told by the exiled half of the dragon circle knew there was falicy and exaggerations within the story, but they took it to heart anyway. Those who knew the tale was a crock and thought they were assholes, told them that and sided with Ron, and those who sided with the other side, just wanted to stir trouble or for some reason also thought Ron was wrecking things. Ron knew that with time, things would mend, and took this as an opportunity to point out the callus jackasses he thought were good people.

Ron leaned up against the side of his car, talking to Julia, Craig, Justin, and a few other friendly rockers. While many got pissy over what was never their problem in the first place, many rockers and of course, the Trensetters, we're only confused by the sudden cry of panic.

"I think this bullshit won't last a week. Frank and Amber are only stirring the pot, and once it settles, you'll be standing over it like usual", Justin told Ron with the best of his knowledge.

Ron made a huff before he spoke. "I know that as much as you do, but it still upsets me, and for all we know, this may leave quite the scar", he spoke monotonely.

"We're surrounded by bitches. It's apparently always been this way, and we can continue the same as we were before", stated a fellow rocker.

"Come on, let's get out of here", Craig said, not wanting to be on campus any longer.

"I'm with Craig. It'll help your mind by getting away from here", Julia agreed.

"Then lets go. I'll see you guys later", Ron replied, saying goodbye to Justin and the others, and getting in his car.

Kimberly arrived home with Sheila beside her as Ron's car pulled into their driveway, much later then normal. Craig and Julia got out and went into the house, while Kimberly sat on Sheila's front lawn, where they went to talk for a few minutes before departing their seperate ways.

"Everyone is making such a stink over the trial", Kimberly stated, showing she was annoyed by it.

"What happened to you was incredible, and so are the charges against this fellow. You can't blame them really", Sheila said, trying to explain why things are so.

"I don't blame anyone....I...well, nevermind", Kimberly ended saddily, to the dismay of her good friend.

"It seems you are upset about the court thing. I would be too. I want to cheer you up, like you have done for me, but I don't have any words of assurance....", Sheila told her friend with remorse.

"I just don't wanna deal with it. I guess I am a little scared", Kimberly admitted, shifting her tail.

"It's probbably better to fully admit your fear, then you will have less pressure on your mind", Sheila said outright.

Kimberly paused a moment. "Ok, fine. I don't want to see that man again. I really am scared of him, and more then just a little ok?", she fully admitted, with the tone that indicated she didn't like being put on the spot.

"And it's ok to be scared. You should be really, after what happened. Sorry if my advice came off bossy", Sheila replied, sensing Kimberly's distress.

Kimberly sighed and shifted her tail again. "I should head home. Thanks for the chat Sheila, I'll see you later", Kimberly said while getting up and going back towards her own house.

"Take care Kim", Sheila replied in goodbye, masking her thoughts. Kimberly didn't mean to be snippy, she's just nervous. It's rather easy to tell with all the tail flicking. I just hope she'll be alright...

Kimberly walked in to see Craig on the couch, talking to their mother about his day, and Julia grabbing a snack in the kitchen. "I'm home!", she cheerfully greeted.

Craig and her mother said hi, but Julia seemed to be too occupied by yelling at whatever she was trying to cook for the moment. Kimberly walked down to her room and closed to door till it was only open a crack, and routinely tossed her shoes off from the end of her bed. She sighed exhaustedly and flopped on her back to stare at the ceiling. Sheila only wanted the best for her, and Kimberly felt bad for getting snippy with her. She knew Sheila didn't mind, but that wasn't the point. The pressure she has been feeling as of late has been just getting to her. The things going on were too much for a twelve year old.

Later when the evening came about, the family was together watching TV in the livingroom. Craig and Julia decided to stay in today, since they were going to have such a difficult day tomorrow. Gina and Julia sat on the couch, while Kimberly lied on her side infront of the coffee table, and Craig sat infront of the couch's left arm rest, reclined up against it to read his magazine. The group was startled by the sudden knocking at their door for a split second before they realized what it was.

"I've got it", Julia proclaimed, getting out of her seat briskly to answer the door. She opened it to find a distrought looking Ron. "Hey, come on in", she welcomed.

Ron stepped in nervously, clenching his black jacket like a securety blanket. The others had turned around or sat up by now to greet their visitor as well, also noticing that something was wrong.

Ron fiddled a bit with the jacket in his hands, and swallowed hard, looking half at Julia and half at the rest. "My parents just kicked me out of the house", he finally admitted, with his voice full of frightened remorse.

"Thats terrible!", Julia emotionally exclaimed.

"Why did they do that?", Gina asked with concerned curiosity.

"We got into an argument....they brought up my fights, some other things, and probbably the most important thing, the money I had spent on our night out", Ron explained, looking at Julia for the last sentence. "I wasn't supposed to spend that money, and they were even more pissed when they found out it was for my girlfriend", Ron continued with a deep sigh.

Julia lowered her head slightly, feeling guilty.

"It's my fault, don't feel bad", Ron reassured Julia, having easily noticed her look of guilt. Ron cleared his throught, acting like he was scared. "I uhh...well...wanted to ask you if I could...maybe...stay here?", he managed to ask, studdering nervously throughout the sentence.

Gina thought for only a second before she replied, "Sure". Ron wasn't expecting that answer, especially not that easily.

"I can't believe it! Thank you!", Ron exclaimed with unforseen happiness.

"Come have a seat and join the family", Gina said joyfully, waving Julia and Ron over to the couch. Both Ron and Julia seemed to pleased, and Gina couldn't be more satisfied to see it. Having Ron around was no problem at all, and it really made her feel like she had a chance to repay Ron for his unlimited kindness and sacrafices. The things Craig and Julia explained happened in school today sounded horrible, and now she hears that Ron has been cast out of his own house even. One could not help be feel bad, watching the world crush that big dragon's heart.

When it came almost time for Gina to leave for work, she thought she should talk to Ron before she left. Kimberly went to bed early, Craig was off in his room, and Julia was getting a few things ready for morning, so Ron was sitting on the couch by himself. Gina took a seat on the opposite end of the couch, and Ron greeted her with a smile.

"I can't thank you enough for letting me stay....I don't even know how long this will be for", Ron said now that he had a chance to.

"You can stay as long as you want, so don't worry about that. Do you have clothes and things?", she assured him, ending with a question.

"I grabbed as much as I could before I left, including my court attire, so I'm good to go", he answered. "I'll sleep on the couch and help you out as much as I can", he added, trying to show is graditude.

Gina didn't want him to sleep on the couch for the duration of his stay. "I can't just let you sleep on the couch, that'll suck for you. Lemme think....", she stated, trailing off in thought. "Well, I actually wouldn't mind you and Julia sharing a room, but I know how Julia can be. I have evesdropped on her phone conversations, and with Kimberly next door, I don't think she needs to hear all that", she said with a laugh. Ron smiled embarassedly. "Heres an idea. I can get Kimberly and Julia to share a bed, that way you can use Kimberly's room for a while. It wouldn't be right to make you sleep out here with no bedding and a suitcase. Kimberly keeps her room pretty clean, so you should be able to put your things up, you need the space more", Gina explained for her master plan.

"You sure it's ok?", Ron asked out of concern for Kimberly.

"She won't mind. I'll go ask her to move", Gina said, getting up.

"No no, don't wake her. I'll stay here for tonight, trust me, I don't mind really", Ron assured her, not wanting to disturb those who were already sleeping anyway.

"Well alright. I'm going to get going for work, I'll see you in a little while. I'm going to get a few papers straight and I get to leave early so I can sleep before our court appearance. I'll be back around midnight, so look after the house for me eh?", Gina finished, walking down to the kitchen to get her keys off the counter. "Bye everyone!", she yelled out while walking for the door. Ron said goodbye, and Craig and Julia shouted theirs from down the hall.

Kimberly was the first to wake in to morning, just before her mother did. She got temporarily dressed before she would change into the nice stuff for the trial, and walked out into the livingroom. Ron was asleap on the couch, with a foot dangling over the side. He looked comfortable enough, but not really.

"Mornin` Kim", her mother whispered suddenly, appearing from her room.

"Hello. When does everyone need to get up?", Kimberly whispered back.

"Eight o`clock, so they still have ten or so minutes", she replied, walking into the kitchen to start her coffee.

At eight, Kimberly went around waking everyone up so they could get ready. Ron was easy and didn't mind being awoken, with Julia similar, exept Craig didn't really want to get up, but did get up eventually.

"Kimberly, Julia, I need to talk to you two for a moment", Gina said when everyone was awake. The two sisters walked to the dinner table, where Gina was sitting with her coffee. "Julia, I'm going to need Kimberly to share your room with you", she instructed. Julia's facial expression told her she didn't like the idea.

"Ron needs a place to stay, and I thought you and Kimberly could stay together. That sound ok?", their mother explained further, looking for their responce.

"He does need a place to stay, so, I guess it's ok", Kimberly replied, unexpectedly forfitting the personal refuge of her room.

"You want us to share a bed?...", Julia asked annoyed-like, surprised by having this thrown upon her.

"You have a twin size bed, there is more then enough room for the both of you. Kim, could you start moving the things you need to Julia's room this morning so Ron can settle in and get changed?", she told the two.

"I sure can", Kimberly replied, going off to her room to grab her usual stuff to bring to her new domain.

"You wanted to get to know Kimberly better. Well, heres your chance", her mother told Julia when Kimberly left.

"I feel like this has been thrown on me, but I guess it's alright. I'll go help her so Ron can get in there", Julia replied, giving her approval as well as her disgust. Gina knew the two wouldn't like the idea all that much, but they could live with it. Those two need a little more quality time, and what better way to do it then make them share the same room. Getting Ron a room was the main goal, but unexpected benifits might come out of this, she thought.

Julia found Kimberly gathering a few articles from her desk when she entered her room. She walked over to assist her in picking things out and carrying them, and also to talk. "Kim, I think I need to go over a few ground rules here", she began. Kimberly stopped her work to give Julia her attention, waiting for her to continue what she knew was going to be nagging. "All I ask is that you leave me my privacy. That means, no snooping around in my drawers and places you have no business in. I'll make room for all your things, so don't worry. Also, keep in mind it's really my room", Julia went over.

"Yeah yeah, ok. Just help me out here", Kimberly agreed, picking up some things she wanted to move. Julia gave her use of the top of her desk and a shelf of her bookcase by the door, so she had room for her necklaces and books. Julia quickly cleared space in the closet for some of her clothes and one of her dresser drawers that were full of old clothes anyway. Once Kimberly and Julia finished, Ron wandered into his new home for the time being to unpack. Kimberly left the top of her desk, dresser, and some of her closet as clean as Gina had said it would be, so Ron unpacked in no time. He managed to grab his alarm clock, a few CD's, his chain, and a big pile of most of his clothes before he left his house, and placed them about the room in an attempt to make it resemble his own. He adored his "family" for allowing him to stay in their house, while his parents went on a pissy fit. The past days haven't gone right at all, and Ron felt helpless but to just allow time to take it's course. Having his belongings put up nicely, he got the toothbrush and deodorant from his suitcase and put them in his own little spot in the bathroom. After all his tasks were completed, it was time for him to get ready to go.

Gina stood in her bathroom mirror, making sure the collar of her shirt was right. She hated fancy clothes and all the effort that came with them. While topping off the look with a small gold necklace, she began pondering about the trial. She was curious to see what this boy looked like, and how he would react. She made a quick and easy sigh to signify she had completed the ordeal of getting all that crap on, and walked to Julia's room to give Kimberly a hand.

"I think I can pick out my own clothes ma`...", Kimberly stated, unsure of why her mother was rummaging through her clothes for her.

"You gotta look real nice for this sort of thing. Ah, here, wear this and ummm, this", Gina replied, handing Kimberly a newer shirt and a pair of pants.

"Works for me", Kimberly said happily, seeing her mother didn't pick something stupid.

Gina turned towards Julia's bed. "Julia, are you about ready?", she asked.

"Just need to get these shoes on", Julia answered, struggling with one. "So you and I will be sitting behind Ron, Craig, and Kim?", she asked her mother before she walked out.

"Thats how it works", Gina answered back before walking to Craig's room. Craig was already done, and was just sitting on his bed trying to deal with the butterflies, and by now Ron was done too. Everyone came out into the livingroom, waiting for Gina's call to assemble.

"You all ready?", she asked, turning off the kitchen light. They four replied and went out to the car. Gina offered to drive Ron so he wouldn't have to follow her the whole distance there. The federal courthouse was a good fourty minute drive, and Gina quietly wished for it to be a quiet and peaceful drive into Carser City with no traffic or bickering.

Once they had set off, Craig for some reason felt a little better. He stared out the window, watching the businesses and houses pass by, and felt like he was going off on some unforseen adventure of a sort. The city was a nice place to look at, living in the suburbs and all. For reasons completely unexplainable to himself, he actually felt excited to be going to the court and putting that rapping bastard behind bars.

Kimberly sat staring out the left rear window herself. She wished the car would stop going in the direction it was, with the street lights steadily whizzing by, reminding her of the time ticking flicks of her tail. Finding the window to be unsettling, and her thoughts making her restless, she decided to just listen to Ron and Julia who were sitting beside her. The backseat was a little crowded, but neither of the three cared to complain. They talked of Ron's parents, school, and some other more positive things, with Craig sometimes chiming in. Though she wasn't a part of the conversation, she felt much less alone.

Though some didn't want to be there, the entire party was glad when they reached the federal courthouse. The courthouse was brown bricked with interesting slants and curves in the archetecture. A larger then normal stone staircase led up to the glass enterance and doors.

"Goddamn do I have to take a piss", Craig suddenly exclaimed when he saw bathrooms.

"Remember to tuck your shirt back into your pants", his mother reminded him as he walked off. While the group waited for him, Gina tagged along with Ron, who had already walked down to the reception desk.

"Hi miss. We're here for the kidnapping trial today, could you tell me where we should go?", Ron asked pleasently.

"Top floor, the securety guard will direct you to the proper court room", the middle aged ardvark answered.

Ron turned to Gina as they walked back to the rest of the group. "I really hope this is going to be easy"

"It better damn be. It's not like any of you are actually on trial", she ended with a chuckle. Once the party had reformed itself, they took the elevator to the fourth floor. To their right was a curve in the walkway, leading to offices, and to their right, the floor ramped upwards slightly, leading to a metal detector and a securety desk. Obvious which direction was right, they walked down to the securety officer who stood up upon their arrival from the elevator.

"Good day", greeted the guard, a skunk in his late twenties, "Just put anything you're carrying onto the tray". Ron placed a set of keys into the tray and Gina put her purse onto it. The five walked through the detector fine, and the guard handed their articles back to them. "The court room you want is that one right there", he pointed, knowing who they were and why they were here. The doors he pointed them to were slightly bigger then the rest, with a fancy door frame. They walked in and a woman in a uniform directed them to their seats. As Gina guessed, she and Julia were sit directly behind the three in the spectator's area. Ron, Kimberly, and Craig sat at a table at the right side of the central walkway, with the defendant's table on the left. Directly infront of their table was a witness' stand, which was connected directly below the judge's stand, with the defendant's questioning spot on the other side. This courtroom looked like something from court TV, and was not the most welcoming place any of them had been to. They waited twenty minutes before the courtroom seemed busy, and like a sudden blow to their comforts, the defendant was brought in through a side door with police escort. Kimberly and Craig immidiately sneered with a small growl at the sight of their tormenter. Ron just stared with his eyes burning with hate, as did Julia and Gina, who finally got to see this person. Craig looked away for a moment, holding left paw to where the dragon had struck him with his gun. He nearly shattered the bone of his muzzle, and Craig remembered all the blood. That was undoubtably the most painful thing he had ever felt in his life, and it was unnerving actually knowing it. Kimberly stared at him from the corner of her eye, gritting her teeth and clenching her fists, untill his attorney sat down beside him and blocked her view. An officer-looking person in a tan uniform next to the judge's stand spoke aloud.

"November fifth, case 743 is now in session, the honorable Judge Payton presiding", he announced. "All rise", he commanded in monotone when the judge arrived from his office in back. He made his way to his stand and took his seat, giving his gavel a crack to allow everyone else to do so. Taking a short glance of the courtroom, Kimberly noticed some reporters in the audience, as well as the local access channel's crew near the enterance, remembering that people were watching this. The judge was a fennec in his late thirties, which was pretty young for a judge of his rank. Everyone sat quietly at the upmost attention when he began speaking.

"Mister Derek Ramos, you are charged with two counts of kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder. How do you plea?", Judge Payton begun.

The dragon whispered to his attorney for a second and replied, "Temporary insanity". All the spectators and especially his victims didn't expect that plea.

"This isn't going to fly", Gina whispered softly to Julia.

"Please present your insanity defense", the judge asked of the attorney.

His attorney arose and began, "My client was not of sound mind when this act was committed. He has history of previous arrests due to temper related issues, quite possibly psychologicly related"

"I see. But do you have substantial evidence to support this?", the judge asked.

The attorney whispered to his client again. "I have papers here from a psychologist that state mister Ramos may have mental issues", he replied, handing a form to Judge Payton. He looked over the papers and requested an aid to show it to the jury.

"Prosecution now has the floor", Judge Payton stated. A man who was standing to the side in a suit, stepped into the center. This was a German Sheppard in his fourties, and presumably the prosecutor.

"I would like to call Craig Trensetter to the stand", he said, glancing at him. Craig really didn't want to be first, but had to problem going to the witness' stand. "So Craig, how old are you?", he asked when he had taken his seat.

"Fifteen", Craig answered confidently. The dragon, now can be identified as Derek, was staring at him while trying to keep his face expressionless, as to not be noticed by the jury, but still get his sneer across to Craig. Craig ignored him completely and awaited the next question.

"You were the first person to encounter mister Ramos, could you discribe this confrontation to the jury?", the prosecutor then asked.

"Yes. I was hanging around a local cafe, known for it's affiliation with the high school niche called "Rocker". Mister Ramos showed up to cause trouble because he was the opposing niche called "Rapper". He got verbal with a large number of people and I stepped up to defend them. One of his friends attacked me, and when he failed, mister Ramos attacked next. He ended up shattering a bottle over my head, knocking me unconcious. Thats when I was told Ron ran in and knocked him one for me", he explained as clearly as he could.

"Would you say his decision making capability was any different from your fight to your kidnapping?", he continued.

"No. If anything, he began using his head more", Craig responded, hoping to have whacked the rapper.

"That will be all", the prosecutor said, allowing Craig to return to his seat. "I now call miss Kimberly Trensetter to the stand"

Kimberly hoped this would never come. She slowly got out of her seat and went to the witness' stand.

"How old would you be?", the man asked.

"Twelve", he replied with a hint of nervousness.

"And when might your birthday be?", he asked continuing, making Kimberly wonder why he asked.

"April seventh", she answered anyway.

"Being so young, this must have been a troublesome time for you. Could you discribe to the jury how it was like to be kidnapped?", he stated solomly, continuing further.

"I was frightened. I had no idea why it happened or what was in store", Kimberly replied.

"It was also stated that the defendant pointed his gun at you and pulled the trigger with the intent to kill you, and caused a severe wound to your leg with a blade that required immidiate medical attention to stop the bleeding. Is this true?", he explained in a question.

"Yes, it is", she answered, noticing the jury wasn't liking the dragon's actions. Good!

"Thank you, that is all", the man said kindly, allowing Kimberly to return comfortably to her seat. "I lastly call Ron Balger to the stand"

Ron stood up and went to his spot, ready for whatever he asked. "Mister Balger, you are 18, an adult, am I correct?", the prosecutor began again.

"Yes sir", Ron answered professionally, noticing the now obvious sneer on the rapper's face.

"The entire kidnapping was designed to lure you and kill you, correct?", he asked.

"Objection your honor! This is not back up by substantial evidence", Derek's attorney barked.

"Over ruled, allow the witness to answer", Judge Payton ordered.

"Derek Ramos himself stated that", Ron replied, having the chance to.

"And what are your thoughts on mister Ramos' psychological state at that time?", he asked, looking for ammo.

"To have organized a scheme of this scale, would require competance and a clear mind, which the defendant had", Ron replied, giving the man what he asked for.

"Prosecution rests your honor", the man stated, walking back to his spot and letting Ron return to his table.

"Taking prosecution and defense's evidence, the jury will deliberate on whether he was sane when he made his actions, or if he was not. If not, mister Derek Ramos will be charged as an adult, with a minimum of twenty- five years in prison to fourty-five maximum. The court will recess for the jury's deliberation and will rejurn this time tomorrow", Judge Payton stated for the court, ending with a tap of his gavel and leaving for his chamber.

The five didn't think this would continue to tomorrow. Coming once was just enough, but at least they wouldn't have to speak again. Gina and Julia got up and rejoined with the three, all tired from being eyed and intrerrogated. The dragon was lead back out of the courtroom the way he came, and the group of dragons all hoped he would get what he deserved.

"What a creep", Julia commented when the rapper left.

"It's off for home then I guess", Gina said, already tired of the courtroom. The group walked out much faster then they came in, yearning for home. The group stayed quiet till they were on the road, and had the mental energy to speak.

"Looks like we get to miss another day of school", Craig stated very upbeat.

"Oh glorious day", Julia replied to goof off, having gotten into a good mood.

Ron felt fine but didn't feel like talking at all. Now that the distraction of the trial was pretty much gone, the worries of his parents and school was slowly returning. Craig and Kimberly talked most of the trip, leaving Julia and Ron to quietly relax. Ron wasn't sure, but maybe Julia sensed his impending anxiety.

When the car pulled into it's garage, it's passengers made a sigh of relief to finally be home. The phone was already ringing, and Gina rushed in to answer it before the person on the other end hung up. She ran to the phone that sat on the counter next to the enterance to her room and grabbed the reciever.

"Hello?", she quickly said in her haste as everyone else came inside. "I just ran in the door........we just got home......you're what?!...", Gina continued speaking to the person, but Kimberly who was listening, got tired of it and went to her new room. Julia's room had pinkish tinted walls with a wallpaper boarder going around, which was too much for Kimberly's liking. Plain cream colored walls were just fine in her oppinion. Though Julia didn't want her snooping, it wouldn't hurt to wander around and check things out she presumed. Everything was pretty standard and didn't catch her intrest, untill she noticed one of their photo albums on the bookshelf above her own. Being that Julia didn't specificly own it, she didn't hesitate to grab it off the shelf. She slipped onto the bed, lying on her side and resting her head against her pillow she brought over, and opened the album. Within, she found most of her baby pictures, as well as Craig and Julia's. Julia was an ugly baby, but she turned out very pretty, and with Kimberly being a cute baby, she wondered if she would look even better. She laughed at this thought, finding all the memories that happened before she was born to be funny. Her mother had some very cute pictures of her when she was small. A picture she specificly adored was one of her and her mother together. Her mom was playing with her very happily, and by the looks of the picture, she was pretty happy too, sitting in her little baby seat, not even one year old.

"What do you have there Kim?", her mother asked affectionately, suddenly walking in.

Kimberly raised her head from the pillow and sat up on the side of the bed. "One of our photo albums", she replied happily to her mother's curious inquery.

Gina sat down beside her to have a look at the page, and chuckled with a smile when she did. "I remember all of these...", she told her daughter, with her memories coming back to her.

"You're so cute!", the young Gina told her infant daughter with all the love of her heart. She would wiggle a finger infront of her, and her little Kimberly would laugh, smile, and try to catch it. Gina stopped and moved her head closer, giving a happy sigh. "I thought everything was screwed when your daddy left me. Well you're just proof it isn't, is it?", she said, finishing her last sentence with a giggle, tickling her daughter, and making them both laugh.

Gina smiled warmly, and found another memory.

"Momma!", a six year old Julia called to her mother, walking up to her. Gina turned around from her work in the kitchen and Julia continued before she could say anything. "Kimberly said a bad word!"

Gina applied a very confused look to her face. "But honey, Kimberly hasn't learned how to talk yet....", she told her, then trailing into the possibility. "Well, let's see", Gina said curiously, but not all too optimisticly, putting down her dish rag and walking to the playroom, which was Kimberly's room. They walked in to find Kimberly sitting on the floor playing nicely, and Gina sat down infront of her, getting her immidiate attention.

"Kimberly, can you say mom?", she asked very curiously at the pair of attentive little eyes looking back at her. There was no reply. "Kimberly, come on, say mom", she tried again, but still recieved no reply. "Can you say anything?", she said with a pointless tone, emphisizing the word anything.

"Momma!", Kimberly said aloud to the sudden surprise of her mother.

Gina gasped and cheered. "She can talk! She can talk!!", she shouted, giving her daughter a clap. When her enthusiastics subsided, she turned her head to Julia with a big smile. "There's nothing bad about that", she teased.

"Shit!", Kimberly said normally, throwing a block lightly into the air and catching it. Julia pointed an accusing finger, not even bothering to change her facial expression.

Gina exploded into laughter, falling over and rolling onto her back. "My daughter's first word was shit!", she shouted, laughing hystericly. Julia eyed her mother strangely, and used her other free hand to point a finger at her as well.

"I really do love photos. They're the good memories", her mother said after a short pause of smiling at them. Gina got back to why she came and said, "I need to talk to everyone, could you come out to the livingroom? I'll be out in a minute". Kimberly nodded and left the album on the bed, simply replying, "Sure thing". Gina wished to stay for a moment or two to flip through the photo album. They all made her happy, giving her the chance to see the past and her little babies.

"Robbert! Could you give me a hand?", Gina called out to her husband while she was trying to get Julia and her one year old Craig dried and dressed from their bath.

"I'm here", he said happily, walking into the bathroom. While his wife worked on their little Craig, he did Julia, giving her a little poke on the nose when he was done.

"Aren't we lucky?", Gina asked Robbert when the two little ones walked or crawled off.

"We sure are", he replied passionately, giving her a hug. "I forgot to mention, I'll be working late tonight", he informed her.

Gina frowned. "Well you gotta do what you gotta do", she answered him depressedly. When he walked out of the bathroom, Gina let out a sad sigh.

Gina quickly flipped through the pages and returned the album to the bed, not wanting the group out in the livingroom to have to wait for her to finish her reminicing. When she walked out, everyone stopped their chattering and waited to see what she wanted to say. She walked infront of the couch, where Julia, Craig, and Kimberly were sitting, with Ron standing behind it, to begin. "The person on the phone before was my little brother, your uncle Ray", she admitted. All of her kids were weary of their uncle Ray, being that he was odd, loud, and occationally very rude, and even Gina had poor feelings about him sometimes. "He has been seeing someone for a while now apparently, and he's getting married this Sunday. Friday morning, we're going to have to drive all the way there and stay for a few days, probbably till Tuesday", she explained, with her three children giving a disapproving groan.

"Even more school to miss....I guess it's not all that bad....well, yeah it is, but....yeah", Craig tried to say positively, but couldn't do it.

"Ron, I need to know, do you want to come with us?", Gina asked him.

"I would go nuts being all alone. Besides, an excuse to get out of this place is what I need", he replied with a chuckle, giving his approval.

"I know you guys don't want to go, but we have to. I'm going to have to put in my vacation days early to do this, so it's not going to be a picnic for me either. Your other relatives, including your grandparents will be there, so it might not be so bad", Gina ended on a lighter note, since her kids liked her mom and dad. "I guess that's all", she added, figuring there was no more to say.

"Yeah, I guess it won't be all that bad", Julia agreed.

Kimberly heard her bus outside and hopped up off the couch. "I'm gonna see Sheila for a bit", she informed her mother while walking out the door. Sheila was walking towards her house, and took her a few seconds to notice Kimberly.

"Hiya Kimberly", Sheila greeted when they came together.

"Heya. Did you see any of the trial today?", Kimberly greeted back.

"I caught the end of it in Mr. Manus' class, but you had already gone up", Sheila said regretfully.

"You didn't miss much", Kimberly laughed.

"I see you're in something of a better mood huh?", Sheila smiled, seeing her friend not nervous about anything.

"Yeah. Sorry for being snippy yesterday....", Kimberly replied.

"Think nothing of it! I'm just happy you're not scared anymore", Sheila happily told her.

"Thanks Sheila. I'll let you go now, see ya` later", Kimberly said, turning with a little wave.

"Bye Kim", Sheila replied, doing the same.

Gina found herself going to bed early, around nine o`clock, trying to get into a normal sleeping schedule. Having several days off, she wanted to wake and sleep like a normal person, and not go to bed at five and wake up around noon. She clicked off her light and pulled up the covers. The reminicing she did earlier was making some other memories come back to her.

The much younger Gina grabbed her two year old Julia by the tail. Lifting it, she gave her two swats beneath her tail, onto her diaper with her palm, then let go. Not too hard, but it was enough to make the little dragon begin to cry, standing there holding her paws to her eyes.

"I told you a hundred times not to do that!", Gina said forcefully, looking straight at her. She then picked Julia up, with her head resting on her shoulder and brought her down to her room. Gina placed the little Julia into her crib to let her stay there for a little while.

"Momma! Momma!!", Julia cried out in a plea for her to not leave her there, when Gina made it to the door. Julia layed her head down to saddily cry when her mother left the room.

Gina didn't go far. She leaned her side against the wall beside Julia's door, noticing her eyes were watering. She had never before layed her hand upon her daughter, without intentions to caress. She felt so bad for having to do that.

Gina took a deep breath in the dark, and releaced it slowly. Making her children cry was the farmost last thing she ever wanted to do. Julia's cry for her mother that one time, tore her spirit in two. She wished her children came with as much knowledge of right from wrong as they did love and curiosity, so she would never have to do that. With all three of her children, she would damn her parental responcibilities, and wanted so much to never punish them. Being a single mother when Kimberly was growing up, make her the most difficult it seemed. She had regretifully used a ruler before on the other two, but only once or twice when they did something REALLY bad and she felt completely out of options. Kimberly not only did a few bad things, but she also lied, cheated, stole, and a mess of other things while she grew up. She never learned, and it made Gina crazy having to be mean. It wasn't too often it happened, but it was far too much for Gina to bear. Kimberly meant well, even when she was like that, so it wasn't like she was out to hurt people intentionally. Gina had cried a few times after punishing her, knowing her daughter was doing the same. She wanted to appologize every time she diciplined them, but knew she couldn't. She had learned the hard way about the ruler herself, from her own mother, and thats how it carried over. Like Kimberly, she did outrageous things too, always driving her mother nuts. She herself never condoned spanking, but got forced into using it when words or actions had no effect. Why couldn't they get the clue the first time! Why did they make me do those things, she thought. After Kimberly's assistance to Sheila, she threw the ruler away, and never baught a new one. Kimberly had changed, and it so seemed it wouldn't be needed again. Even if she didn't, she still would have gotten rid of it. Never again, she said. Rolling over, she found another, but even less fond memory.

"Japan?! How could you tell them we were going to move to Japan without asking me first?!", Gina shouted in a confused anger at Robbert, who was hastily packing a suitcase.

"It wouldn't have mattered", he replied with irritation in his voice.

"Of course it matters! I don't want to leave here!", Gina shouted in retaliation.

"You aren't", her husband replied the same way.

"What the hell are you talking about?! You just said we're leaving!", Gina yelled in anger, not liking being jerked around.

Robbert slammed his fist on the dresser, making Gina wince. "You're not coming!", he shouted with rage. Gina felt like a bullet just went through her soul.

"W....what do you mean?..", she said lightly, with a small frightened sense. Robbert raised his hand, revealing that his wedding ring was missing, and a new one replaced it. Gina make a big, but silent gasp. "No! You didn't!!", she screamed in disbelief.

"It's over Gina!", he said forcefully, turning back to his packing with even more haste then before.

Gina begun crying. "Robbert why! How could you?!!", she bawled.

"I have found someone else. And you know what? She's not nine years younger then me!", he shouted spitefully.

"What about your son and your daughter! I'm going to be giving birth any day now, how could you do this to them?!!!", Gina screamed, crying uncontrolably at what she hoped to be false.

"I love my kids and it sucks to leave them, but I have found a better life. They will get child support, and a lot of it, I promise", Robbert informed her, lowering the tone of his voice slightly.

"A...better life? Whats wrong with this one!? Dammit Robbert, I love you!", Gina said, with her voice dropping with all the crying.

"I love you too Gina, but it's over. I have found someone I love more, and we can be together all the time in luxury", he continued.

"I have given birth to two wonderful children and done so much....I can't believe you would do this to me, your wife! Your fucking wife!!! Mrs. Gina Sorrel, your wife...", she screamed as hard as she could, with her last sentence drowning out in her bawling.

Robbert grabbed his suitcase, and added it to the pile of boxes already in the livingroom, with Gina following. He placed them on a cart to wheel them into his U-haul, and set off for the door.

"Robbert wait! We don't have to be over! Please! Please for the love of everything, dont go!!", Gina cried, dropping to her knees, begging him not to go.

Robbert stopped at the door and turned his head towards her. "We've had good times, but we must move on......I'm sorry it turned out this way Gina....goodbye...", Robbert replied with sudden saddness in his voice. He turned his head back around, looking outside, into the clear sky. Then he walked out the door, forever. Gina stayed on her knees, slouched over crying over what she never thought would happen.

"Mommy, whats the matter?", Julia asked when she came out of her room, putting her little paw on her shoulder. Gina continued her sobbing, looking over her shoulder to see her daughter's concerned face.

"Your daddy is going away, and he won't be coming back", Gina told her truthfully, choking back her tears to speak. Julia's sweet little eyes began to well, and her lower lip was shakey.

"Daddy....", Julia said before she started to softly cry on her mother's shoulder. Gina turned a bit and hugged her oldest daughter tight.

"It's gonna be ok.......shh, shhh, don't cry. It's just going to be you me and Craig from now on....and don't forget this one", she reassured her lovingly, ending with a look to her belly. Gina moved one of her hands from Julia and placed it on her tummy, giving it a little rub. "I'm sorry Kimberly....you're not going to have a daddy...", she told her tummy with saddness and regret, giving another sob.

Gina shivered at that memory, being it was the biggest turning point of her life. She rolled over again and shifted her tail, trying to get more comfortable. It had been such a long time since she used the last name Sorrel. She had been so sad for those two weeks till Kimberly was born. She was all alone when she started getting contractions, and had to painfully get to her phone and call her parents, who lived only six minutes away. Her father stayed to watch over Julia and Craig through the night, and her mother took her to the hospital, staying to be her supporter, since Robbert was no longer there. Kimberly was Gina's ray of sunshine, making the middle of the night seem so bright. Even as a tiny little thing, she was cute and happy. Finding a happy thought to leave off on, Gina fell into a peaceful slumber.

When it started getting late, Kimberly went to her new joint owned room. Finding it a little unnerving at first to think about sleeping in here, versus her own comfortable room, she tidied up the things she brought over to waste some time. She walked to her closet and changed into one of her t- shirts that was longer then normal and took of her pants, putting them neatly next to the closet to be washed. Getting to the right side of the bed, she sat down to slip into the bed, which is when Julia showed up. It was ten o`clock, so they needed to get to bed for their verdict in Carser in the morning.

"What do you think that Derek guy is going to get?", Julia asked Kimberly while she looked at herself in her mirror.

Kimberly slid into the bed so she could look Julia's direction to reply. "Dunno, but it better be good"

Julia walked across the room and closed the door, then walked to her side of the bed, taking off and tossing her jeans over to where Kimberly neatly put hers. Kimberly rolled her eyes, sort of wondering which one was older, and got under the covers. Julia followed suit, clicking off the light.

"Kim, move your tail", Julia ordered.

"Mine? What about yours", Kimberly retaliated.

"Hey! Watch where that tails going!", Julia commanded.

"Well you asked me to move it", Kimberly replied with a hint of embarassment.

Julia made an irritated sigh and rolled over.

"Your foot is a little too close to mine". Kimberly informed her.

"Just give me a damn second will you?", Julia snapped, fidgeting to get comfortable.

"It's not like this is my fault", Kimberly thought she should remind her.

"But you're still here aren't you?", Julia replied with annoyance.

"Don't be such a bitch, at least you still have your room", Kimberly snapped back, also reminding that her end of the deal sucked more.

"Don't you call me a bitch!", Julia yelled, rocking the bed in her hostility.

"Whatever. Goodnight", Kimberly finished, just wanting to goto sleep. Julia growled and opted to do the same.

Ron closed the door to his new room and sat on the bed to get comfortable, tossing his shirt and jeans by the door. He slipped quickly into bed and shut off the light. He came to think what might become of him. His family didn't want him and neither did a lot of people at school. Ron had never been subject to such rejection in his life, and it was very confusing to be suddenly going through it now.

Craig was already in bed, looking around his room in the glow of the moon. He got out of bed and closed his blinds, finding the moon to be disturbing his ability to sleep. It had been a fine day, and all of his fears were gone. Stupid rapper dragon, what a laugh, he thought.

The family was sitting in the courtroom as they did the previous day, and when the Judge took his seat, everyone waited for him to call upon the jury.

"The darkness comes", Judge Payton said in an alkward manner.

Everyone looked at him strangely, and within a few seconds, all the lights turn off and everyone disappears, exept for Kimberly. The room is lit with only an eerie glow, and a mist wafted across the floor. Kimberly looked around confusedly, noticing a shadow floating across the walls and even in the air. It was so slow, and Kimberly found herself paralized by darkess eminated by the aparition. There was a low sound, similiar to a grumble or a growl, and the large shadow began compressing itself, becoming even darker. Kimberly's heart was racing in fear while she watched the darkness take form. The dragon, Derek, had formed from the black shadow in his chair, sitting and staring at the table infront of him. He took on some color and strange looking attire, and looked up. Without warning, he roared unnaturally, exploding with such speed, literally flying towards Kimberly with sharp teeth and claws bared. When he reached Kimberly, her mind spared her, disconnecting her from her subconcious.

Kimberly's eyes flew open with a small gasp. She exhaled slowly, taking a look around the room. Julia was fast asleap, and it was still pitch black. Kimberly closed her eyes and snugled her head into her pillow. "Please leave me alone...", she whispered to her unseen tormenter.

Kimberly slept for another three hours till 6:56, when she just couldn't sleep any longer. There was barely any light in the room yet, and the house was still dead silent. She slipped put of bed as quietly as she could, heading for the closet to throw on a pair of shorts till she got ready to leave later. When she made it there, the light suddenly flicked on.

"Argh, could you stop waking me up!?", Julia shouted, sitting up in the bed, showing how annoyed she was.

"Sorry, I tried to be quiet...", Kimberly turned, appologizing.

"All night long, I've slept like crap!", she grumbled, getting out of bed.

"Well I'm sorry, it's not my fault. I have told you this already", Kimberly appologized again, reminding Julia of last night's conversation.

"I swear, you just waltzed in here like this was your own little place! You already took one of my things and left it on my bed, like I wasn't going to notice you were going through my things!", she argued, walking over to the closet as well.

"That was a family photo album, and just that. It's not your's, mom and I were looking through it", Kimberly defended herself, being that she did nothing wrong.

"You could have at least put it back!", she yelled back. Kimberly turned around from trying to find a decent pair of shorts in the closet and sneered at Julia.

"What the hell is your problem! Why are you acting like this? Is all that crap you said to me about getting to know me better just another one of your damn lies?!", Kimberly snapped, being completely tired of being mistreated.

Julia growled at her remark clenching her fists, turning her head away slightly and sneering towards the door, away from Kimberly. Within a second, she made an angry shout, swinging her right fist around, slamming her knuckles into and across Kimberly's muzzle. She made a piercing yelp, falling sideways onto the back of her tail. It took her a moment, but Julia quickly realized what she just did, when Kimberly started to cry, holding her right paw to her muzzle, and gripping the other, shaking, into the shag carpet. Julia couldn't believe what she did, and looked around in a confused haste, frightened because she didn't know what to do. Blood began to trickle from Kimberly's right nostril, and Julia realized she hit her a lot harder then she thought. Scared and miserable for what she did, she quickly went and got a tissue from the bookcase and walked over to Kimberly. Kimberly winced and moved back, apparently in fear when she sat closely down next to her. Julia shushed her, holding her close with her left arm, and softly wiping the blood off her nose with the other.

"I didn't mean to hit you, please believe me", Julia said quietly.

Kimberly growled softly over her tears. "Of course you did!", she yelled with a big sniff at the end. "Why else would you wail on me?!", she added afterwards, mocking her sister's defense.

"It was an act of anger, I really didn't want to hurt you! I'm sorry!", Julia pleaded.

"Get off me!", Kimberly demanded, tearing herself from her sister's arm and getting up, looking away from her. She rubbed her muzzle some more, sniffed, and wiped a drip of blood.

Julia sat there looking at the floor, trying to think of what to say. "I had no reason to be angry. I just didn't sleep well, and i'm a little upset over recent things.....I didn't lie to you.....", Julia said saddily to Kimberly's feet.

"If you're looking for forgiveness again, you're not getting it!", Kimberly sobbed lightly, turning to the closet and grabbing the first pair of shorts she saw.

"Please Kim....I don't mean to be nasty, just don't hate me...", Julia said as she watched Kimberly walk to the bed and put her shorts on. Kimberly did not reply. Insead, she just wiped her eyes and walked out of the room. Julia felt horrible, as she sat there, not even bothering to move. Last time, the problem caused was passive on her part, but now, she really was the one who directly harmed her. Even in all her frustration of scanning her mind, she couldn't figure out why she had done that. She really wasn't happy about having her little sister literally sleeping with her, and all the things from school must have warped something. Kimberly wasn't going to go easy on her this time, and if she was in her position, neither would she. Maybe it was that time of the month, she thought. Even so, she didn't even try to look for excuses.

Kimberly grabbed the remote and lied down on the couch, giving her muzzle another rub, knowing she was going to have a bruise. That wasn't exactly how she wanted to wake up, and was one of the things she didn't expect. She flicked on the TV and dove into her thoughts. How could she have done that to me? Even if it was an action out of anger, she still had no right to even be angry. Hitting her with a foot or tail and waking her up wasn't something I did while even awake. Just as I thought Julia and I were going to be ok, she back- fists be. Man that really hurt. High and mighty bitch is what she is, and she isn't going to get on my good side again that easily! I'm going to have to get my message across before that.

Julia had stayed in her room till her mother and Ron woke up. She was afraid Kimberly would rat her out to their mother, but to her surprise, she didn't. She stayed quiet all morning, and that was kind of upsetting, adding to the rest of the guilt Julia was carrying. They all soon left after getting dressed, on their way to find out what happens to their little Derek Ramos. Ron noticed something was wrong with Julia and held her close for the trip, talking to her. Kimberly sat on the other side with her head against the window, keeping a paw or something on her muzzle so no one else would know about what happened earlier. They stopped and walked in the courthouse as they did yesterday.

"I'll be in the bathroom", Kimberly announced when they went inside, walking off. She found the big bathroom empty and quiet, which seemed all too fortunate. She walked up the the mirror that went across the whole wall above the sinks and looked at her muzzle. There was a noticible welt, and she sighed upon seeing it. The door opened to her bottom left, and she looked in the mirror to see who it was. It was her mother, so she acted like she was washing her hands.

"Kim,", she began, "Where did that mark on your muzzle come from?", she continued concernedly.

Kimberly stopped for a moment, realizing her mother must have already noticed it. "It's nothing", she replied, still keeping her head faced away from her mother.

Gina frowned a bit. "I thought you were done hiding things from me?", she said a little saddily, letting Kimberly know it was ok to talk to her.

Kimberly placed her hands flat on the counter beside the sink and looked down in contemplation. "Julia hit me", she admitted with a low voice.

"What?!", her mother yelled.

"She back-handed me with her fist....my nose bled a bit and....well, I cried...", Kimberly continued admitting.

Gina growled a bit and walked over to Kimberly, turning her head with her fingers to have a closer look at what her older daughter did. "Why did she do this?", Gina asked very angrily.

"I honestly don't understand why", Kimberly said, now looking into her mother's eyes that were inspecting the mark.

"I can't fucking believe she did this", Gina growled heavily.

The door opened again, and unfortunately for that person, it was Julia. She stopped short when she saw her mother looking over Kimberly. Gina stopped and turned around, with the obvious look of rage.

"Julia, you have no idea how much restraint I'm using right now to stop me from slapping you clear across your face!", Gina shouted at the paralized Julia, who winced a bit.

"So Kimberly told you?", Julia asked with a hint of curious irritation at the thought of Kimberly telling on her.

"No, she didn't have to. Do you know how noticible that mark you gave her is?!", Gina yelled, defending Kimberly and getting her anger across at the same time. Kimberly put her paw to her welt with a slightly saddened look, listening to the yelling.

"I didn't mean to hit her!", Julia shouted back, trying to defend herself somehow.

Gina sneered and turned her head towards Kimberly, who was sort of hiding behind her. "Kim, go join up with Ron and your brother", she asked of her, lowering the tone of her voice so she wouldn't upset her further. Kimberly nodded and walked out quietly.

"Julia, if you were a few years younger, and if I still had a ruler, you would sure as hell be getting it!", Gina shouted, full of anger.

"I just got mad and swung my fist, I really didn't want to hurt her like that...", Julia said with her heart full of guilt.

"This has got to be one of the cruelist things you have ever done. Do you even have a good reason for being angry?", Gina continued her assault, changing the tone of her voice to disappointed.

"It could be about that time of the month....otherwise, no, I have no excuse at all...", Julia quietly replied.

Gina stayed quiet for a few moments, cooling off. "I don't ever want to see a mark on her that you gave her, is that clear?", she told her sternly with a sigh.

Julia's head was hung low. "I'm sorry, I made a big mistake. I myself never wanted to hurt her.....but please, don't you be angry with me too....", Julia said with a plea.

"Anger is only temporary, I'll be smiling again in a few minutes, and believe me, I didn't want to make you upset either. Just be careful, and be as nice as possible to Kimberly, ok?", Gina finished.

"No problem. I gotta pee, so I'll rejoin you all in a minute alright?", Julia said, walking off to a stall as her mother went back to everyone else.

Kimberly as leaning against a nearby pillar, away from the rest of the group when Gina came out of the bathroom. Getting the notion that she wanted to talk to her she walked over to her.

"How'd it go?...", Kimberly asked.

"She's sorry for what she did. She really does have a few big things on her mind, so she probbably didn't want to strike you conciously. I was kinda harsh on her too", she answered.

"I'm gonna talk to her. I don't want to be mad at her, so I'm going to settle this if I can", Kimberly said, getting off her pillar.

"Thats a real good idea. We still have another several minutes before we need to be up there", her mother agreed.

Kimberly walked into the bathroom to find Julia starting to wash her hands. She walked down to her, and Julia seemed a tad frightened by her.

"Can we talk Jul?", Kimberly asked lightly and nicely, as to relieve her sister's anxiety.

"Of course. I'm truely sorry for hitting you, and so hard to go with it. Does it hurt still?", Julia again appologized, asking how she was doing.

"Not really. I'm sorry for getting you yelled at too", Kimberly answered.

"It wasn't caused by anything you did. I promice to be extra nice to you from now on. Are we going to be ok now?", Julia reassured her, looking for her reply.

"I was going to let you squirm till I got my message across, but mom did that for me", Kimberly said with a smile. "I'm not all that angry anymore, so yeah, I forgive you. Just don't hit me anymore", she added, putting her paw to her muzzle.

Julia laughed for a moment. "Thank you so much Kim. Come on, we need to see what happens to that asshole rapper", she said happily, giving her sister a big hug.

The two walked out together, and anyone could have been completely oblivious to the fact they were all quite upset just a little bit ago. Repeating the processes from yesterday, they went up the elevator and had the skunk guard pass them through. When they went through the two big doors, they were a lot more happier and comfortable then they were yesterday, since they wouldn't be questioned. When Derek was brought in, Craig, Kimberly, and even Ron shot him a smile to mess with his head. When the court nonsense was said and Judge Payton took the stand and prepared to begin.

"Members of the jury, have you come to a verdict?", he asked, looking towards the jury box.

Craig noticed something squeeze his hand, and found it to be Kimberly. He smiled and squeezed back, awaiting the jury's responce.

"We have your honor", the member representing them said standing up.

"Proceed", the judge bade them.

The courtroom's stomachs began getting knots as the jury's verdict started. Kimberly and Craig held eachother for support, Ron kept his nervous hands in his pockets, and Gina and Julia kept their hands to their chests, barely able to wait.

"We the jury,", the woman began, "find that the defendant, Derek Ramos...."

The Trensetters found the weight of the whole courthouse on their souls, clenching every muscle in their body, unable to bear another second of not knowing.

"...was of sound mind when the acts were commited, and is guilty of all charges", the woman said.

Kimberly threw her arms around her brother in utter happiness and Craig just smiled. Ron turned his head to watch Gina and Julia quietly celebrating behind them, and had to hold back his laughter.

"Derek Ramos, you are sentenced to fourty-five years in prison with a chance for paroll in fourty", Judge Payton announced giving his gavel a crack.

Derek Ramos burst into tears, just like every tough guy that gets convicted. Ron laughed and joined a group hug with the other two. The rapper was taken from the courtroom for the last time.

There came a standing ovation in the middle school cafeteria with cheering and celebration. Kimberly's friends and aquaintances alike, all cheered that their legendary assailent got what he deserved.

"Good job Kimberly!", Sheila said aloud, sitting with her and Kimberly's group of friends. They all clapped and joined in the happiness of Kimberly's victory and the well known kidnapper's fall, with all of them laughing when they saw the guy crying.

"Score one for the rockers, yeahhhh", Justin said with a smile, being that he had lunch in the high school cafeteria since Ron wasn't around to drive him someplace. The cafeteria only had two TV's, so most people had to spread around the verdict. Frank and Amber were probbably somewhere in the crowd, a little unhappy, so that made Justin and his group just a little more delighted.

Gina and Julia had come up front to be with the three happy victims. Julia and Ron gave eachother a passionate kiss, not even caring there were still people present, and Gina gave her two brave children a hug.

"Let's go home, and not come back here. We all agreed?", Gina said happily with a big smile at the end.

The group agreed but got interrupted suddenly before they could do that.

"Hello there", said a voice from behind, who quickly made his way infront of the table. Surprisingly, it was Judge Payton. "What you went through was very tough, and I'm particularly sorry it happened to ones so young and bright", he said, looking at Craig and Kimberly. "You were very brave in a time of crisis and your efforts allowed everyone to keep their lives. You should be very proud", he said warmly.

"Thank you sir", Kimberly said lightly and appreciatively.

"We are", Craig added with a smile.

"And then there's you", Judge Payton said, turning to Ron. "You have an incredible lack of self preservation, but who says that's such a bad thing? You saved their lives, and that is the greatest heroics of them all", he said with a smile as well.

"Thanks your honor", Ron replied happily.

"Ramos got what he deserved, and I wish you all good luck. It was an honor to meet people such as yourselves", Judge Payton complimented.

The group left slowly, full of spirit, knowing one crazy bastard was off the streets for good. They all had a happy conversation in the car, with everyone getting involved for once.

"It's good to finally know", Craig said.

"Now we got the wedding to worry about", Gina chuckled.

"It's the closest thing to a vacation out of town we're gonna get for a while, so why not make the best of it", Julia said, resting her her on Ron.

"I haven't seen grandma and grandpa in a while either, and especially our other aunts, uncles, and cousins", Kimberly jumped in.

"I wouldn't mind meeting all your relatives. A big bucket of Trensetters and more!", Ron laughed.

"The wedding is going to be on his soon-to-be wife's property. Apparently it's a huge farm. They have no animals, but it's still a damn huge property, and their house is supposed to be this elongated plantation-like houses. They actually expect to house most of us. I can't even discribe how big a house like that is. He also said the grass is wonderful, and their having the wedding in a field behind the house. He's flooding a lot of money into this", Gina went into explaining what her brother said.

"Is our old house close by?", Kimberly asked.

"Old house?", Ron asked curiously.

"Before we came here, we lived in a fancy house not too far from my parent's place. Shortly after Kimberly was born, I moved here, since I couldn't afford it anymore after my ex- husband left me. This farm is about fifteen minutes away from my parent's house I guess", she explained for Ron and Kimberly.

When they made it home, they piled out of the car and went inside to get settled for a day of relaxation before they had to leave tomorrow.

Gina went to her room and quickly started tossing off the fancy clothes like a little kid would toss her backpack at the end of the school year. She was all too pleased her kids' tormenter could never come back. Removing her bra, she pulled it like a slingshot and shot it across the room, getting a laugh out of it. She grabbed your everyday comphy tshirt and pants to get ready to do absolutely nothing.

Kimberly kicked off her shoes and flopped on the bed. Julia did the same and popped off her bra from underneath her shirt and tossed it into the closet. She flopped on the other side of the bed, lying on her back next to her little sister.

"You're quite happy, aren't you?", Julia more noted then asked, seeing her sister beaming a smile into her ceiling.

"Absolutely. That dragon and the whole trial left me really uneasy, but now that it's all over, and in our favor. I feel that I've gotten my revenge", Kimberly ended with a smirk, making Julia chuckle a bit.

"Sheila'll be home in an hour, you going to meet her outside again?", Julia asked out of curiosity.

"Yep", she answered quite happily.

Julia got up off the bed and walked over to the table next to her desk that she kept her big mirror on and a few other things. "Take this with you", she said, picking up a box out of it's drawer. Kimberly sat up in the bed, wondering what it was. Julia sat back on the bed and handed her the box. "Have a look", she encouraged with a smile.

Kimberly popped the box open, revealing a shiny silver bracelet. It had intricate little designs on it and a few realistic looking foxes. She sat it awe at it, especially since she had never seen her sister wear this beautiful thing.

"I think Sheila might get a kick out of it", Julia answered Kimberly's look of awe.

"It's really pretty! How expensive is this thing?", Kimberly exclaimed, wondering exactly how much a designed bracelet like this cost, especially when it was real silver.

"I saved up for it years ago, it cost quite a bit. I was your age when I saw it in the jewelry store. I saved all my holiday cash and anything mom gave me for months till I had the two hundred needed to get it", Julia explained, happy to tell it's tale.

"Two hundred?!", Kimberly turned to her in shock, then looked back at the bracelet in more awe then before.

"Yep. I only wore it on special occation, afraid I would do something to it. I'm not big on jewelry anymore, my necklace will do. I want you to have it", she said very warmly, especially when she finished.

Kimberly looked at her in surprise. "You're giving it to me?! But you put so much work into getting it!", she expressed her shock.

"And I'm doing something good with it. You'll take good care of it", Julia replied, trying to let her sister's mind calm.

"I don't believe it...", Kimberly muttered, staring at the silver band. "Thank you so much!", she shouted, even more happy then before, suddenly giving Julia a big hug.

Julia laughed. "I'm going to go hang out with Ron for a while. You can take a look at everything in that drawer if you want. There's nothing more expensive then that right there, but if you ever want to borrow something, lemme know", Julia said very upbeat while walking out.

"Ok", Kimberly said when she walked out the door.

Julia was very happy to have done that. She liked that bracelet a lot, but it's better this way. Kimberly was even more happy then she thought giving it to her would make her, and it was a fine start to making things up to her. She walked into the livingroom to find Ron loafing on the couch.

"Think there's enough room for me?", Julia asked playfully.

Ron sat up with a smile, giving her room to sit. "This has got to be the best day I have had in a while", he said, putting his arm around her.

"Why don't we head over to the cafe in a while?", Julia asked, snuggling a little closer.

"Are you sure about that?", Ron said timidly, knowing the current situation they were in with the other rockers.

"Can't hide forever. Let's make the best of things", she persuaded.

"Hrmmm...", Ron mumbled in thought. "Sure thing", he said, giving in.

Kimberly clicked the bracelet open, putting it around her wrist. It took her a few moments to click it closed, but thats a good sign it won't snap open unwantedly. The silver was quite shiny, with a darker, more rustic look on the intricate designs and foxes. It fit loosely around her wrist, but it would fit nicely in another year or so. She stared at it, turning it to see all of the designs. This was another thing she didn't expect from Julia. She's a barrel of surprises, ain't she, Kimberly laughed in her mind. Julia's kindness made it even more special then it already was, and Kimberly already cherished the intricate band. She got up from the side of the bed and went to have a look in that drawer Julia mentioned. The drawer was where Julia kept her cosmetics and trinkets of jewelry. She had quite a few rings and necklaces, and thought she might actually borrow some on a special occation. What meant more was the simple fact Julia offered. Kimberly looked down at her wrist and smiled.

Craig lied in his bed relaxing, trying to regain all the energy expelled from being so damn happy. His painful wait came with a happy ending. He rubbed his muzzle against his pillow, knowing it got retrobution for what that dragon did to it. Craig's spirit was a light as a feather, completely throwing all of cares away, at the thought of no longer having to be afraid.

Ron walked into his room to get ready to go out, shortly after he gave in to Julia. He found his door open and a little visitor inside.

"Oh sorry Ron, I just came in to get something", Kimberly appologized, explaining her intrusion.

"No prob", he said, walking to his closet.

Kimberly was reaching under the bed for something, and exclaimed "Ah!" when she felt it. Ron turned from picking out his normal clothes to see what she was looking for.

"Charlie!", Kimberly said in a childish happy way, holding up a cute plush doggie. "I forgot him when I was moving my stuff, and then forgot where I put him!", Kimberly explained.

Ron chuckled. "It's cute I'll admit", Ron replied with a smirk.

"I had him since I was really little, and I've taken good care of him. He doen't look a decade old does he?", Kimberly said, looking over her little dog.

"Believe it or not, I did the same thing with a plush dragon my parents gave me as a present on my third birthday. I would show him to you, but he's still at my house......now that I think of it, I need to contact my parents and find out what's going on", he explained happily, till he was reminded of the dilema with his parents.

"I hope I get to see him soon", Kimberly said with a little laugh, getting up and starting for the door.

Ron got sudden butterflies from thinking about having to call his house. His parents would be getting ready for work within the hour, so now was the only time he could try. He walked into the livingroom to consult Julia.

"Jul, I think I oughta call my house...", he said rather timidly, leaning over the couch.

Julia looked a little concerned, not replying for a few seconds. "I guess so. Just take it easy", Julia encouraged.

Ron picked up the reciever and walked out the front door, not wanting anyone to hear. He walked till he was in the driveway, pacing back and forth, dialing the number nervously. It rang a few times, then someone picked up.

"Hello?", said the voice of his mother.

Ron swallowed hard, but didn't want a lapse in his reply. "Hi mom...", he said softly. He heard his mom sigh and didn't immidiately reply. "I just wanna know what's going on", he explained saddily.

"You need to come pack up the rest of your things...", she said solomly.

"Why would you guys kick me out? I love you both so much...", Ron replied to that hurtful command.

"You know this isn't my idea. Your father is still very pissed", his mother answered.

"I have been living with the Trensetters, and I don't want them to have to keep me here", Ron said, explaining where he was and how he doesn't wish to burdon his friends.

"I'm sorry Ron", she said saddily.

Ron gritted his teeth and leaned against the garage door. "I didn't do anything all that wrong! I have done so much to make you proud...", Ron shouted, still somewhat softly, in his defense.

"Spending money that wasn't supposed to be spent, and on your girlfriend to boot. Not to mention you're never really home to see us anymore, always running around with her or your friends. And sex in our house even?", his mother went through.

"I never had sex in the house ma`!", Ron really did shout, hoping none of the neighbors were around to hear.

"Then where did that used condom come from huh?", she said spitefully.

"I had to throw it away somewhere! Why would it even matter, I'm an adult!", Ron shouted in his clear defense.

"How bout because your girlfriend isn't an adult?", she reminded him.

"For the love of god mom, we're in a serious relationship! I'm not some kind of player, and she isn't a hussy! That money was just supposed to be saved for emergencies, and I do realize it was wrong of me to spend it, but thats not the reason you're all mad. What's wrong with Julia?!", he shouted, demanding for an answer.

His mother sighed a lot deeper this time. "A fine boy like you could have any girl in the world. A doctor, a scientist, an ambassador. We're just a little.....disheartened by your choice....especially your father", she quietly explained.

"You said it yourself. My choice! Mine!! I don't care about being rich like you and dad, or working together at a research lab. Julia is a beautiful, bright, loving girl, and that's all that matters. The Trensetters are far from poor, and her mother has made it that way with the same amount of hard work you and dad have put in!", Ron forcefully explained on behalf of himself and the Trensetters.

"Your black jacket, jeans, and even chains sometimes, you could be so much more! You're a genious like us Ronald Surret! Why do you fall into this crowd?", his mother continued.

"I'm not going to change who I am! If I was anything else, I wouldn't be the kind Ronald you know. I can be as smart as I want, with the people I want. Just because people dress in dark colors and listen to rock music doesn't make them poor, stupid, or bad people. You two put people down when they aren't like you and it's not right! Everyone is who they are, and I am very fortunate to have a wonderful girl, friends, and even a good upbringing, and I'm sorry if I was a waste of your time", Ron explained with saddness and disgust.

He didn't recieve a reply for a few moments. "You weren't a waste of time Ron, and I appologize for saying what I did. We just want what's best for you", she replied with regret.

"Let me speak to dad...", Ron suddenly asked, looking to end this now.

"I wouldn't recommend that....please, let me talk to him for you. It may take time till I find the right moment, or a few tries, but I can probbably get you back in the house. But untill then, I'll pack up most of your things and you can pick them up ok?...I'm sorry baby...", his mother persuaded very saddily, knowing she has been wrong.

Ron bit his lip at the overwhelming saddness. "...Alright. I'll stop by in two hours, just pack everything you can find", he said with a sigh.

"I'll leave them in the front of the garage so you can pick them up after we have left then. I promice I'll do the best I can on your father. I miss you", she said, a little happier.

"I miss you too ma`....love you...", Ron replied to her sentiments.

"Love you too honey. Bye", his mother ended as lovingly as she could in their sad state, and the two hung up. Ron leaned his entire back against the garage, trying to calm himself. He felt his eyes a little watery, and Julia and the others didn't need to seem him like this. He didn't want to ruin their own happiness. His would return shortly, but untill then, he'd think about his home, parents, and the little Ronald he once was.

Kimberly went outside as soon as she heard her bus, walking briskly to meet Sheila.

"Kim!", she shouted whe she saw her. She ran to Kimberly and hugged her, to Kimberly's surprise.

"Well hello to you too Sheila", Kimberly replied with a laugh.

"You did it! That bastard is...hey, what's this?", Sheila cheered, then noticing the bracelet. Kimberly smiled, holding out her hand so she could have a look. "Wow! That's really nice! And foxes too!", Sheila exclaimed.

"Thought you'd like it. My sister gave it to me", Kimberly said, looking at the band.

"You're lucky! Very! Are you going to show it off in school tomorrow?", Sheila added.

"I'm going to a wedding across state. I found out yesterday after I talked to you. I won't be back till Tuesday even!", she remembered, finding the whole thing to be very poorly timed.

"That sucks! Now I have to deal with a weekend without you", Sheila ended with a chuckle.

Ron and Julia had left shortly before Kimberly went outside, to goto the cafe for a while. Ron hadn't mentioned his call or his needing to pick up his things at his house, and thought the parking lot was a good place to tell her quietly and alone.

"Before we go in Jul, I need to fill you in about my parents", Ron said kind of painfully.

"I was wondering when you'd bring that up", Julia said, admitting she had been curious.

"It's all very complicated and...you don't need to worry about it. My mother is going to try and get me back in the house, but it's going to take a while. I need to go to my house after this and get my things....", he explained.

"Sorry to hear", she said solomly, giving her mate a light hug. Ron smiled, knowing he had the finest support he could ask for.

"Come on, let's see if we're still welcome around these parts", Ron said playfully, like a western cowboy, making Julia giggle.

They walked in, finding Justin wasn't there yet. Some others were, and they gave a friendly wave at their arrival, which pretty much answered Ron's question. They took a seat at the center of the bar, and James popped up from the kitchen.

"Well hey! There's been talk about you two", James greeted.

"What kind of talk might that have been?", Julia asked with a smirk.

"Word is you two helped cause a little disagreement with everyone about Eric", James chuckled, remembering the stoned dragon.

"It'll blow over. No big deal", Ron shrugged.

"Optimistics are good, but the stuff I've been hearing hasn't. I'm refering to Amber and Frank particularly", James said, leaning on the counter to rest his feet a bit.

"So word has already gotten to you about what happened between us all", Ron sighed.

"That bitch Amber and that two faced Frank are just stirring the damn pot", Julia quirped.

James laughed a bit. "You'll work it all out", he added. "So what will it be today?", he then asked.

"It's early, but hey, I'll have a glass of Dire Dragon", Ron said, deciding he should have a lil` beer before he left.

"I'm glad Julia did something nice like that", Gina told Kimberly, having a look at the bracelet. When Kimberly came inside, the two sat down on the couch together and just ended up talking.

"I just love it. It's already very special to me", Kimberly added, holding the band to her heart.

"It'll be very nice to show off over the weekend. I really don't want to deal with this whole thing but there's nothing I can do...", she recommended, being reminded by herself of what a hectic weekend it will be.

"Hey mom, do you have a suitcase I could use?", Craig asked from the hallway.

Gina looked over to him with a smile. "You're packing early, good. There's one in my bathroom closet", he told him. "Kim, why don't you pack too?", she recommended Kimberly, turning her head back to her.

"Well, ok", she said positively, hopping off the couch.

She pulled a carrying bag from her old closet and brought it back to Julia's room. She stood at the closet, grabbing a few shirts and pants, then grabbed some socks and underwear from the dresser. For good measure, she put her necklace in the bracelet box so she wouldn't forget it, placing the box next to the bed so she could put the bracelet away later.

The house was quiet and restful throughout the day, with anyone stopping to really think at bedtime.

"You all set?", Kimberly asked Julia after she got comfortable, put the bracelet in it's box, and slipped into bed.

"Yep", she replied, turning off the light and getting into bed herself. "Ron's going to be here for a while, so I hope you like my room", she said with a smile, even in the dark.

"That would explain the mess of boxes he brought in", Kimberly sighed. "I feel bad for him"

"He'll be fine. Goodnight Kim", Julia assured her, snuggling into her pillow.

"G`night", Kimberly replied, doing the same.

Gina flicked off her light, getting under her covers for the night. It had been a long time since she had seen her parents, even though they were only a little more then an hour away. Gina had always felt like the black sheep of the family, being so far and different from the others. She knew she was better, but had other reasons for not seeing her parents. She loved them, but something repelled her from actually seeing them.

Different from usual, Gina was the first to wake up in the morning, finding herself a little restless about the day to come. She started a pot of coffee to start off with and discovered how unnerved she was. She disliked her brother and her parents being there as well was very worrying.

"Good morning", Craig greeted, emerging from the hallway.

"Now this really is different. I'm up first, and you're second?", Gina joked.

Everyone was up within a half hour, getting ready to leave. They needed to be out of the house a little earlier then they needed for the courthouse, so they could get to Ray's fionce's place.

Kimberly took her bracelet from it's box and placed it on her wrist, along with the necklace, stuffing the empty box into her bag.

"Think the school is going to mind us missing five days?", Kimberly asked he sister, who was getting the last of her things ready on the other side of the bed.

"Who cares, it's school", Julia laughed, making Kimberly chuckle.

Kimberly stood up and looked herself over, finding everything to be in order. "Hey Jul, how do I look?", Kimberly asked Julia, turning around and holding her arms out.

"Let's see....arms, legs, tail....yeah, you look fine", Julia joked with a smirk.

"Funny", Kimberly said, laughing again.

"Everyone ready?!", Gina called from down the hallway, causing all four to emerge from their rooms. "Guess so", Gina said with a smile.

Everyone went outside, putting their things into the trunk.

"I almost forgot. Hey Kim, have a look at this", Ron said, opening his bag. Kimberly looked over to see a big green plush dragon, smiling when she did.

"He's cute, and you took great care of him", Kimberly remarked, touching it's fabric. "His color is still perfect!" , she complimented, comparing the back of her hand to the dragon.

"Thanks Kim. Don't ask me why I decided to bring him....I guess it's just a reminder of my home I", Ron thanked, explaining himself.

Kimberly smiled and opened her bag, removing Charlie from the top. "I thought this old little plushie could use some air", she laughed, returning him to the bag.

Ron closed the trunk and he and Kimberly got in the car, joining the other three.

"And off we go!", Gina said while she pulled out of the driveway. They took a last look at their own house, since it would be a few days till they saw it again, and set off for the unknown.

Craig was the first to get bored, staring out the window at the never changing cenery of the highway. Two words could basicly sum up a long car trip, crammed in with eachother. This sucks.

"Any of you back there have a good way to pass time?", Craig asked the three with the tone of restlessness.

"Play with your tail", Kimberly suggested playfully.

Craig lifted his tail that was resting beside his left leg till the tip was at the height of his nose. "Well, what do I do now?", he asked, looking for instruction into Kimberly's little idea.

"Wag it, poke it, whatever suits your folly", Kimberly laughed. Craig flicked the tip of his tail a few times, giving it a poke as well. Julia giggled at this act and came up with a better idea.

"Why don't we have an 'intelligent' conversation?", Julia suggested, thinking a debate would be a lot less boring then the trees that all look alike.

"What about?", Craig inqueried, still wagging his tail in the air.

Julia thought for a moment. "I have no idea", she ended up saying, finding nothing.

"If playing with my tail is the funnest thing anyone can think of, we're screwed", Craig joked, even though his statement was correct.

"I have an idea", Gina suddenly said, drawing the eyes in the car to her. "Someone starts a story, and you all take turns going in a circle adding new sentences. I'll start it for you. Let me see......there was a young dragon girl that left her house. Craig, you'll start", she explained, giving Craig a place to start from.

"Not a bad idea", Craig complimented. "She went to see a friend", he added to the story, thus passing it to Ron.

"Her friend was a fat and ugly dragon", Ron chuckled, with the story going to Julia.

"She was at work, and it took a while to walk to the dildo factory", Julia said with a smile, trying not to laugh. Everyone looked to her strangely, passing the turn to Kimberly.

"I don't like where this is going....", Kimberly said with a sigh.

"Yeah really", Gina laughed. "I'll just put on the radio", she then decided, flicking the device on.

Kimberly looked out the window, looking over a bridge with another highway beneath it. It had been a long time since any of them had seen any of their relatives. Most of them lived in the area her mother left, shortly after she was born, so she never got to know them. They had met their mother's parents a few times, and didn't mind them. Kimberly glanced at her bracelet and thought of the love of her family, hoping this wedding would be pleasant.

"We're almost there!", Gina announced while they neared their destination. The senery was now businesses and fancy little places. She turned into an estate community, resembling her old one. Driving through specific roads she had written down, she got farther and farther from the commerce and into the residential high class. She found herself driving up a small road, with grass and tress on each side. Then they all saw it.

"Holy crap, that house is huge!", Craig exclaimed when the elongated plantation house came into view. It had an older design, but it looked so new with it's sky blue paint job and bright white frames.

"And he wasn't exaggerating the grass either...", Gina said in surprise. The edges of the property couldn't even be seen from where they were. It was just a house in a giant field of green.

A mess of other cars were parked next to the road and in a clearing area by an archway that lead into the property. Gina found a nice spot and parked the car not far from the arch. A stone walkway extended from the wooden, fancy vine covered arch to the front porch of the house and the double white doors upon it.

"I'll try and carrying everything for you all", Ron declared, grabbing everything he could from the trunk. Gina grabbed the two he didn't have room for and they set off towards the house. It was quite a distance, and there was already plenty of other relatives around.

"Sis! You're here!", called Ray from the porch, hopping down the steps to greet them.

"Hiya Ray. We've got a lot of things, could you show us where we could put them?", Gina asked her brother.

"Sure, follow me", he said happily, showing them inside. Craig, Kimberly, and Julia, who weren't carrying anything, just looked around at the congrigation of dragons as they walked through the fancy house. The enterance was very old- style, with two staircases on each side. Ahead of them was a livingroom and to their sides were doors, which they didn't know what was on the other side. They followed their mother and uncle up a flight of stairs to the second floor, and he took them to their left. The second floor looked exactly like a hotel, with room after room, where a servant or something of the sort would sleep.

"I only have two rooms to spare you all, will you be able to manage?", Ray asked, stopping infront of a door.

"Of course", Gina replied, thinking the question was a little dumb.

"I'll see you downstairs when you're all ready", he said with a smile, walking back down the hallway.

They had the last two rooms in the front left wing, and Gina thought she should direct the bunch a bit on where to go.

"Us girls will take this room, you two can have the other", Gina said, looking towards Craig and Ron. Ron set down their bags and they went off to see their room, carrying their own. Gina popped open the door of their room to find it suitable enough. It had two beds and it's own bathroom, and really did look like a hotel room.

Kimberly frowned a bit. "I guess I'll make a bed on the floor", she sighed.

"Guess so", Julia said sympetheticly, putting her bag next to one of the beds.

Gina was busy looking about the room and checking out the bathroom. The door lead into a simple bedroom, with beds as soon as you walk in. There was a throw rug in en empty space in the middle of the room, with a dresser and mirror on the right side. The bathroom and closet were on the enterance side of the room, making a small enterance hall when you walk in because of the bathroom's walls.

"Not too shabby", Gina commented, finding all the needed furnature and things were readily supplied. "His fionce must be a real cash tosser", she added, having a look at the rug.

"What an odd little place", Craig commented at the sight of their room, that was identical to the girl's.

"Good enough. We won't really be in here, so why worry", Ron replied, putting in the intelligent insight.

Craig put his things on the dresser top and set off downstairs, and Ron went to get Julia first, being that he was a little shy.

"Julia, you ready to go down?", Ron asked from the girl's doorway.

"Sure thing, I'm all set", she replied, leaving with Ron.

Kimberly was rummaging through the closet, looking for beddings to make herself a makeshift bed on top of the throw rug, while her mother finished unpacking her things.

"Your brother was kind of weird", Kimberly commented, looking to make conversation.

"I know, but you get used to it", her mother replied with a soft chuckle.

The two heard someone come in and looked to see who would appear from the short entryway.

"Hello there!", said the voice of Kimberly's grandmother, Gina's mom.

"Hi ma`", Gina greeted while Kimberly gave her a hug.

"I came to see you when I heard you came. Your father is busy downstairs, so you'll get to see him in a little bit then", she ended with a tiny laugh.

Kimberly continued her rummaging while her mother and grandmother talked, standing next to her makeshift bed.

"I haven't seen you or your kids in a long time. Can you believe your brother is finally getting married?", she started.

"It wasn't something I was expecting", her mother replied, seemigly different then she would usualy talk.

Kimberly climbed onto a shelf to grab what looked like a pillow off the top shelf. Before she grabbed it, she lost her foothold, sending a pile of bedsheets and linens falling to the floor and some ontop of herself.

"Aww, shit...", Kimberly said annoyedly at the mess she caused.

Gina's mother gave Gina an awkward, but stern look. "Kimberly, come here", her mother ordered, getting a small wooden stool from beside the bathroom door and placing it inside, infront of the sink. Kimberly knew she was in trouble from the sound of her mother's voice, and slipped out from underneath the sheets that had falled on her. Slowly walking towards the bathroom, she silently complied with her mother's gesture for her to sit on the stool, looking at her with puppy dog eyes. Her mother picked up a fresh bar of soap and Kimberly guessed what she wanted to do with it, opening her mouth wide. Her mother placed the bar in her mouth, pushing it back till it went no further, and Kimberly clamped it between her teeth, holding her head low, with a sad, apologetic look on her face. The bar was large, keeping her mouth open quite a bit, and making her look even more helpless. Gina turned and returned to her mother who was standing only a few meters from the bathroom door. She positioned herself facing towards the door, so she could keep an eye on her.

"Sorry about that ma`", Gina apologized, different from her usual self.

"I don't think you're strict enough with her", her mother mumbled rather sternly.

Gina lowered her head a bit, turning away only slightly, with a saddened look on her face. She looked back up, changing the subject, "Well, as you were saying before"

"I'm just happy Raymond has found himself a girl, and quite ritzy too! He's made me so proud", she continued rambling. Gina stopped paying attention, already being disheartened by her 'he has made me proud' remark. She looked over at the corner of her eye to see her daughter, quietly sulking. She would occationally cringe when some soap disolved on a more sensitive tastebud, and fidget once in a while on the hard wooden stool. She looked down, sometimes looking towards her mother saddily, and would turn away when Gina looked towards her. Kimberly just sat without a sound, dealing with the burning and the bad taste in her mouth without objection, and sulking with her disheartened face.

Gina and her mother talked for another ten minutes before her mom wrapped things up. "I'll see you later then", she said, walking out. Gina walked into the bathroom with a heavy heart. Kimberly looked up upon her arival, snuggling her hands into her lap. Her mother placed her fingers on the two sides of the bar, signaling for Kimberly to let go. She releaced it from her jaw's grip, allowing her mother to slip it out as easily as it went in. Kimberly immidiately leaned over the side of the sink, quickly giving a spit to remove the foul taste, while clenching the side of the counter.

"I'm sorry ma`....", Kimberly apologized with sad regret in her voice, looking completely down at the bathroom counter. "I didn't mean to cuss infront of grandma...", she said patheticly.

"I'm more sorry then you, I can assure you", her mother said lightly with a sigh. Kimberly looked up from the counter a little confused by this reply. "You know I don't mind your cussing, and I would never, ever, punish you for it. It's just because your grandmother was here I had to do that, and I am very, very, sorry", her mother said, as sad as her daughter replied.

"Why's that?", Kimberly asked, wondering why that is.

Gina paused for a moment, looking at the sink. "I was raised differently from you", she said in a low tone. Kimberly quickly noticed her mother trembling, and got off the stool.

"Mom?", she said with worryful fright, putting her arms around her mother, looking straight up into her eyes.

Gina made a deep, painful sigh, patting her daughter's back, unable to say anything. Kimberly noticed her mother's glistening eyes. "Mom, I don't know why you're so sad, but I'm not angry at you for what you did. By the looks of things you did what you had to, and I'm sorry for causing you this", she said to make her mom feel better. Gina took a deep breath and smiled, returning an affectionate squeeze from her daughter.

"Just watch your language while you're here, and be as well behaved as you can infront of your grandma, ok?", Gina asked of her.

"I'll do my best", Kimberly smiled back. Using a cup from the sink, she rinced out her mouth of anything still remaining and set off downstairs to find her brother and sister. She walked slowly, observing the walls and everything she passed by. The only thing she didn't quite get was about her mother. Kimberly wanted to know what was wrong, but wasn't going to force the answer out of her. She didn't like it when people interrogated her when she was sad and flustered, so she wasn't about to do it to someone else.

Gina sat on the end of her bed, wiping the little moisture that was bothering her eyes. Her mother had treated her so harshly when she was young, and practicly up till she left with Robbert. "Bad things happen to bad girls Gina!", she heard in her head, making all of her nerves tingle in the rememberance of it. What Kimberly showed today was a page out of history, and it was racking Gina's mind. The little Gina, completely submissive and quiet, always complying, with the apologetic and saddened looks....because of the fear. Why do I still let her control me?! Gina slammed her fist against the matress, trying to forget all of this. She had much to do while she was here, and couldn't be side tracked with these repressed memories, she thought, giving a sigh.

"So many dragons, and not one other species", Craig commented, standing near the enterance of the livingroom with Ron and Julia, staring at the bunch of his relatives around the big room, dining room, and kitchen, which were partially visible. The walls were a very light blue, and had many intricate corners in the room. There was a slightly lower portion in the floor to the right with couches and a coffee table, reminding him of a little japanese livingroom.

"This house is just right for this sort of thing", Ron commented next. Someone bumped into him from behind, making him turn his head to see what happened.

"Oh sorry about that. Hi there, I'm Eliza, Ray's fionce. Are you his sister's kids?", said the tacky, higher pitched voice of the thirty year old woman. Her clothes were fancier then the rest, wearing pearls around her neck.

"Yes", Julia answered to her question, finding her a little strange. Then again, so was her fionce.

"This is strange. I thought there were two girls and one boy", the ditzy woman said.

"I'm, umm, not related. Kimberly is still upstairs", Ron answered, seeing how quickly confused this lady gets.

"Not anymore", said Kimberly, walking in from the enterance behind Eliza.

Eliza turned around. "Oh hi! So you're Gina's little girl!", she said with a hint of surprise in her voice.

"Well, yeah. I'm Kimberly", she greeted, not seeing what her uppy additude was about.

"I wasn't expecting someone so young here, other then my sister's infant. Oh well, a pup will fit in too", Eliza said with a cheesy smile.

"Pup?...", Kimberly mumbled, confused and insulted by being called that.

"That's a cute bracelet you have there too. Where did you get it from?", the particularly annoying woman added.

"It was a gift from my sister, and it's very special to me", Kimberly replied happily, giving her sister a smile.

"Oh, I was thinking you might have taken it from somewhere. I didn't think it was something you could afford", she said pompusly, running her fingers down her pearl necklace.

Kimberly shot her an irritated look, trying not to growl at that insult. The other three didn't look so pleased either, especially Julia, but they were behind Eliza, so she didn't notice.

Eliza turned to finish addressing the other three. "Julia, right? Could you keep an eye on your siblings and keep them out of trouble? I've got work to do, ta-ta!", she ended, walking off briskly to the kitchen. The four sneered at her behind her back, and waited till she was out of the room to speak.

"Goddamn, what a stuck up bitch!", Kimberly forcefully whispered to the three, joining their circle.

"I hate that rich aditude, and she takes it way to far", Ron growled, thinking of his father.

"So you need to keep me and Kimberly out of trouble Jul?", Craig said sarcasticly, conveying his disgust about her remark.

"I guess so", Julia replied with even more sarcasm, making herself chuckle.

Ron and Julia took at seat on one of the couches nearby, and Craig found a seat on another, talking amoungst themselves or saying a few things to one of their cousins. Kimberly walked towards the back of the livingroom, to a table behind the couches, seeing something of intrest. A little baby dragon, which she guessed was the one that Eliza mentioned.

"Hi little guy. You look lonely back here", Kimberly said affectionately to him, while he stared at her from his baby seat. Remembering the pictures she looked at the other day, she wiggled one of her fingers infront of him playfully. He grabbed her finger, putting it in his mouth.

"Eww, do you really have to suck on my finger?", Kimberly giggled with a smile. "You must be hungry", she decided. She looked around a bit and asked the little one, "Now where would your mommy be?"

"Right here", said a younger, nicely dressed, dragon carrying a bottle, appearing from the close by kitchen enterance.

Kimberly felt a little embarassed, though she knew she shouldn't be. Maybe it was just shyness. "Your son is cute", she complimented, getting the tiny dragon to releace her finger by playing with him for a moment.

"Thank you", she laughed, picking up her son into her arms, putting the bottle in his mouth. "Who might you be?", she asked, looking to make conversation with the person who kept her baby company.

"I'm Kimberly, Ray's sister's daugher", she announced proudly. "And yourself?", she asked out of kindness, and a bit of curiosity.

"I guess I'd be your aunt Christi. It was nice meeting you. Maybe you could play with my little Michael sometime. I have a lot of work to do with my sister, and it's not fair to drag him around with nothing to do", Christi said, introducing herself and getting a quaint little idea.

"Sure!", Kimberly replied happily, being honored by her trust. She liked little dragons, and it was very uncommon for her to have the chance to interact with one.

"Great, thank you! If I need you, I'll give ya a call", she thanked with a smile, giving her a wink to say 'see you later' since her arms were full and she couldn't wave.

Apparently not all of Eliza's rich family were pricks. Her new auntie Christi was actually quite friendly, and far from pompus. Finding herself restless, she ventured through the first floor, just looking around the kitchen and diningroom. She was able to see that one of the unknown doors lead to a study, and it wasn't anything interesting.

Gina walked down the stairs after she had pulled all herself back together, to her normal, happy little self. The front doors were left open and a wonderful face to see walked in as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Dad!", Gina yelled excitedly in greeting, running to him and practicly jumping on him to give him a hug.

"Gina!", he exclaimed, with a big smile, laughing at her affectionate greeting. "How are you doing? It's been so long since I've seen my girl!", he asked, more then happy to see her, returning a squeeze.

"I'm doing ok I guess", she replied happily.

"How's your little ones? Where are they?", he asked curiously, not seeing his grandchildren yet.

"I'm not sure, I just came down", Gina admitted, not knowing.

"Ah, we'll find them", he said with a small chuckle, walking in towards the livingroom, beckoning for his daughter to follow. Her father was one of the people she loved in the world that wasn't one of her own children. Her father was always so kind and loving, comforting her in her times of need. Her mother however, made direct communication with him difficult, since she couldn't bear to deal with her mother. Both her parents were fifty-five, making them sort of young grandparents.

"Here's two of them, plus a bonus one", Gina joked with a smile, sitting down on the couch across from Ron and Julia, sitting next to Craig.

"Hey grandpa!", Craig greeted when he sat down beside Ron, across from his daughter.

"Hello Craig, Julia", he greeted back, tipping his head to the both. "Who's this fellow?", he asked with a smile, looking over Ron, pretty much already knowing who he was.

"I'm Ron, nice to meet you", he said with a handshake, looking to be polite to their relatives.

Gina's father laughed. "You're all looking great. Where is your little Kimberly though?", he complimented, then asking about the missing girl.

"She was here a little bit ago, wandering around. You'll see her eventually", Julia answered for him, taking a look around the room to see if she was nearby.

"Let's go talk for a bit Gina, outside in the fresh air", her father asked of her, getting in a compliment about the property at the same time.

"Alright", she agreed, giving a small wave to her kids before she walked off for the front door with dad.

Kimberly found herself watching the bustling back patio, full of relatives from her side, as well as Eliza's. The backyard was quite pretty, with a small meadow and a few innocent trees. The back patio was a classy stone one, extending a little ways, covered with poolside tables and umbrellas. Don't forget the big pool with a stone waterfall, emphisising the tranquil meadow behind it. She took a seat at an empty table near the water, getting a cool breeze from it's surface, just to watch the out of the ordinary comotion around her. The thoughts of her mother had yet to escape her, and she was puzzled by her mother's actions and words even more then before. She cared not what happened to her, but what may have happened to her mother. What seemed like a simple worry for her mother's well being, felt like so much more, even though she didn't want to worry at all.

"Hiya Kim!", Craig greeted happily, taking a seat on the round bench, circling the table.

Kimberly looked up from her thought, slightly startled by this sudden greeting. "Oh heya Craig", she said in a casual manner.

"You've been wandering around for quite a while now, none of us knew where you were", Craig explained.

"I'm just checking the place out. This property really is pretty", she replied, gazing over the pool into the meadow.

"Mom and Grandpa were looking for you a while ago too", Craig added.

"Hmm...I didn't think I would be needed so I just kinda wandered around till I got tired", Kimberly replied, crossing her arms on the table and resting her head on them.

"So what do you think about all these people?", Craig asked, wondering what her personal reply would be.

"The place is nice, but some of the people aren't. There are a few really nice ones though. Even Eliza's sister is actually friendly", she said, giving her insight.

"Good to know. I've been with Julia and Ron for most of the time so far, so I haven't talked to all that many people. I don't like these kinds of social gatherings", he ended with a small laugh, thinking about his own shyness around certain people.

"Nah, it's fine. I just don't like aunt Eliza, but fortunately you can hear her irritating voice from a room away", Kimberly informed him, giving a smirk in her mid last sentence.

"She sure as hell pissed me off earlier with what she said to you. If someone ever said something like that to me, ohhh damn would I go off", he said, expressing his anger in his voice.

Kimberly picked her head up off the table, moving her tail to get more comfortable. "Yeah, that hurt my feelings a bit. I just didn't want to cause any problems", she said in a calm, tired tone, remembering what her mother asked of her.

"I guess", Craig sighed, finding her actions to be more feasible. "Just be sure to see grandpa later", he reminded her, sliding off the bench.

"Ok", she aknowledged before he walked off. She again looked to her right, gazing out into the open. They sky was a clear, sunny blue, with only a few clouds, making the grass seem so lively with every slight breeze. She tapped the tip of her tail against the cool, stone ground, finding a part of tranquility that she had never before experienced in the suburbs. Without a care, she sat, letting her mind wander. Colorful daydreams about the future and her imagination filled the world around her. Upon hearing a welcome voice, not too long after Craig left, she turned back towards the house to see her mother had found her as well. It also seemed someone else had found her mother, who came out of practicaly nowhere, stopping her mother before she reached her.

"Hello again Gina", said the voice of her mother. Kimberly was only several meters away, and it didn't look like her grandma had noticed her from the direction she came from. She decided to evesdrop as best she could.

"Hi ma`", Gina replied, again using her timid voice.

"Your brother is starting to prepare an early dinner for everyone. That's going to be quite a bit of food", she informed her.

"He's just going to do things buffet style?", Gina asked.

"It's the only way it will work with all these people. What did you do with your Kimberly?", she added, then asked about the young dragon.

Kimberly leaned over the table a little more, tapping her fingers on the table at the mentioning of her name. "I sent her on her way after you left", her mother said truthfully.

"Alrighty then. I'm going to help your brother, could you do the same when you get the chance?", her mother nicely asked.

"Sure, I'll only be a bit", Gina replied, with her mother setting off for the house with a smile. Kimberly made an disappointed "hrmph", not getting anything juicy from anything they spoke of. She wanted a few clues about her mother, and even what she said about her herself didn't point to anything. Gina continued on her original path and took a seat on Kimberly's bench.

"Hi mom", Kimberly greeted first.

"Hi Kim", her mother replied, back into her normal voice yet again. "It's going to get crazy around her getting dinner served, do you want me to just bring you something so you don't get trampled? I'm already doing the same for the others, I just haven't been able to ask you yet", she asked.

"Sure. Sorry if you lost me for a while, I've just been wandering", Kimberly replied with a chuckle.

"I also heard you met Eliza's sister. She thought you were a very nice girl", Gina filled her daughter in on what Christi had complimented her with.

"Most of the people I have spoken to so far have been pretty nice. Only Eliza wasn't all that nice...", Kimberly said with a smile, which disappeard when she thought of Ray's fionce.

Her mother frowned a bit. "Sorry to hear that. She is very strange, and from what I have seen, self centered", her mother commented. "I'm going to go help with dinner, are you just going to be sitting around?", she stated, wondering what her daughter might be doing.

"I'm done being by myself, I'm gonna find Craig, Ron, and Julia", she quickly decided, getting off the bench along with her mother.

"They're setting up a game of monopoly on a coffee table in the livingroom. If you hurry, maybe you could play too", Gina suggested.

"Sounds good", Kimberly replied happily, walking towards the house along side her mother. They parted once they got inside and Kimberly made her way to the livingroom. The three were sitting where she had last seen them, along with two other relatives.

"Hiya guys", she greeted them all, taking a seat next to Ron. She was with Ron and Julia on that couch, and Craig was sitting with the two others. The three said their hello and Julia took it upon herself to introduce the other two.

"Kim, this is your cousin Ricky from our side of the family", she said, pointing to the one in his mid twenties, "And this is your uncle Nick, aunt Eliza and Christi's dad", pointing to the much older dragon, who happened to be a little bit more casual then Kimberly would have thought. He wore black slacks and an everyday button collar shirt, with a pair of reading glasses hung on his chest pocket. He looked about sixty, but not all that old really.

"Nice to meet you", she greeted to them personally, looking for that good first impression, and to just be her friendly self.

Ricky smiled and replied with a simple, "You too".

"Well it's nice to meet you too", Nick replied as a happy gesture.

Julia leaned over again to talk to Kimberly without Ron being in the way. "You wanna join in?", she asked conciderately.

"Room for one more", Ron added with a happy smile.

"Sure", she replied enthusiasticly. "I call the puppy", she said with a laugh, picking up the little metal puppy piece.

The group ended up having a long game with so many playing, and had their dinner while still zipping around the board. To his surprise, Craig was the first to go bankrupt after landing on his uncle's three house park place. Julia was the second most powerful entrepenuer, holding all the utilities and railroads. She caused the eventual loss of her cousin and even Ron, which left only Nick, her, and Kimberly. Kimberly held two different sets of properties, building house after house, with the properties being the green set and red set. She had gotten lucky early, and had suckered Craig into a deal, which ended up being one of his downfalls. Everyone got a big laugh when her little puppy landed on boardwalk, which now had a hotel. Losing most of her cash, she declared bankruptsy, knowing she no longer stood a chance, and getting a chuckle herself. The others sat watching with their soda, beer, or whiskey, wondering which 'side of the family' might win. Since the "wise and old" Nick had park place and boardwalk, he had the ticking time bomb in his possession. Julia quickly aimed for the property forfitted by Kimberly, looking to squander his money every time he moved. She even baught medditerranian and baltic just to increace her net worth. Nick got slapped with a repair fee on his houses and hotels, which ended up being a pretty penny. Ron gave Julia a hug when she "won the beauty contest", getting another laugh out of this game. Craig said she looked like the guy on the card, and she threw the battleship at him playfully. Julia managed to avoid his big properties, and wore him down to the point that he had to morgage park place. After a few more turns, he declared bankruptsy when he landed on water works and got too discouraged to continue. They all had their laughs and fun, and a few claps from people who had watched most of the game. Craig went outside to have a cigarette and Ron tagged along with him, while the two girls headed up to their room a little tired from their day.

Craig found a nice spot beside the house that nobody could see and took a seat, taking a lone cigarette from his pocket, wanting to have a smoke before he went upstairs. The sun was setting, and it was begining to get dark. He felt far away from the comforts of home, looking at the orange horizon. Ron took a seat on the grass beside him and looked off to the sunset, trying to take in whatever Craig might be thinking. Craig whipped out his lighter and lit his cigarette, giving it to Ron since he gestured for him to do so.

Craig took a puff and sighed. "I hate being away from home", he said quietly, still staring above the far trees.

"I miss my own home as well...", Ron quietly replied back, removing a joint from his pocket. Craig's attention quickly shifted from the sunset to Ron lighting the rolled up green.

"I don't know where the hell you got that, but lemme have some!", Craig said, looking to get him to share.

Ron thought for a moment and ended up giving a relentful sigh, taking the extra one from his pocket. Craig took it along with his lighter, trying to hold his cigarette and light the thing at the same time. The two sat there, just staring off, enjoying a little silence for a while.

"It's been a while...", Craig said after they had smoked for a bit. They were both reclining against the house, enjoying the sunset's end and the appearance of the first star.

"For me too. I picked these up on Thursday while I was out. Julia doesn't know about them, so, shhh", Ron replied in a carefree voice, letting the marajuana do it's thing.

Craig made a funny laugh. "I feel ill whenever I think of my best friend and my sister together....", he admitted, continuing his chuckling.

"Ahhh, don't be. We don't do anything often. It's all in good fun anyway", Ron answered, giving a giddy chuckle himself. Craig shifted to his cigarette for a moment, trying not to waste it, and went back to his joint. When the two had finished their smoking and pointless conversation, they set off for the front of the house, feeling a little happy. Their tails were limp and dragging against the ground.

"I'm hungry", Craig declared when they reached the front porch, finding no one on it.

Ron quickly spun around and spooked Craig, making a fake lunge. Craig screamed and sent himself backwards, falling on his back laughing. "Yeah, I think you would be hungry", Ron chuckled, watching Craig get off the ground. They both went in the front door and took the left staircase up, with their tails thumping against the steps. They walked down the hallway to their room, that is, untill a voice startled them right before they reached it.

"Could you two come in here", Gina asked alkwardly from her doorway. Ron and Craig complied, walking into the girl's room, finding not one other present, but they did hear the shower running. They stopped in the open space next to Kimberly's makeshift bed after coming in from the little entry hallway. Gina closed the door and did the same.

"Do you two realize someone saw what you were doing on the side of the house?!", she yelled, making the two happy dragons quickly wince into a more frightened state. "What's wrong with the both of you?! And Craig, what are you doing with that stuff?! You never said anything about that to me!", she shouted, very angrily.

"I didn't think you'd mind", Craig said, full of nervousness.

"I do if you're going to hide it from me!", she retorted.

"I've only done it like four times....well, five now. I didn't think it was important!", Craig said as best as he could to defend himself.

His mother made something of a sigh and a growl, shifting her angry eyes to Ron's red ones. "Craig had a cigarette in his pocket, not marajuana. You gave it to him, didn't you?!", Gina asked accusingly.

Ron felt his muscles tighten as he found his situation getting worse. Craig spoke up before he did however, defending him with a plea, "I pestered him for it, please don't blame all of it on him!"

"You two just don't get it! Eliza knows about what you did, so now my brother is going to find out, then my parents!!", she screamed, slapping her hand against the outter bathroom wall. "She'll keep it all quiet, but it's all going to come back to me anyway!.......Craig, I would have allowed you to do it once in a while like Ron, you should have just told me. Most of all, there is a time and place for things, and this was not one of them. You can go back to your room now, I want to talk with Ron alone", she growled loudly before calming her voice to a lower tone to speak to Craig.

Craig did as asked but stopped beside her mother, holding his head low. He turned his head and looked into her eyes. "I'm sorry...", he whispered before continuing on his way. Gina watched him leave, with a simpethetic look on her face. Once he closed the door, she turned her attention back to Ron.

"I know you have better judgement then this", she said disappointedly.

"I just didn't think anything would come of it...", Ron replied sadly.

"You're smarter then to play with chance Ron! I'm not your mother, but I think you just need to know this. It was wrong for you to bring that stuff into my house, it was wrong for you to being it here with you, it was wrong of you to use it here, and it was wrong of you to get Craig involved in this little mess. Like i said to Craig, there's a time and place for this. You are to do that while you're out with friends, and it is to stay away from my house, is that understood?", she said sternly, looking him straight in the eyes.

"Yes and I'm sorry", Ron answered her with sadness and regret.

"Did Julia help you get this?", she asked curiously.

"No, not at all. She....didn't know I baught it while we were at the cafe on Thursday...", he admitted truthfully.

Gina made another deep sigh. "Julia knows about this too. She was shocked and couldn't believe what you and Craig did, but she won't be angry. Neither will I. Just please...", she said solumnly before Ron interrupeted her.

"No need to say anymore. I promise to stop smoking, from the bottom of my heart, and I'm very sorry I caused you this undue stress", he said very sadly. "Craig will quit too. Without Eric or me to share, he no longer has a source. I think he would have quit after this too anyways. Craig is a really good kid Gina", Ron added on his friend's behalf.

"And so are you. Everyone makes mistakes, they just have to be fixed. You're quick about fixing things, you'd make a fine husband", she told him reassuringly, getting a laugh.

Ron smiled a tiny bit, still feeling a little guilty though. "Thanks", was all he found to say.

"Julia is in your room. She went and got you both a snack, knowing you'd want one. Just relax for the rest of the night, anything that comes our way, we'll deal with it", Gina said with a smile, changing her mood and finding comfort in her own words.

"Goodnight", he said with a appreciative voice before he set off down the hallway.

Only a minute after he left, Kimberly came out of the bathroom after drying and getting dressed for the night. "You're not all that mad at them are you?", she asked with concern after hearing the shouting in the shower.

Her mother sat on her bed and thought about the question. "Probbably not.....", she said lightly.

"Probbably?", Kimberly said confusedly, wondering how that can be.

"I feel angry, but I also know they're just doing what they do. Mistakes are a part of life", her mother sighed, seemingly making an intelligent insight.

Kimberly lied down on her little bed and pulled her sheet over her to her chest, grabbing her Species book she left nearby, and placed Charlie by her pillow, settling in. Gina got up off the bed and went to her suitcase to settle in herself.

Ron arrived at his door, feeling a little bit more sober after having that chat with Gina. As much as he might miss his little friend the "Canniby- Goodness", Ron knew it was time to put it beside him. His promises were golden, and none shall ever be broken. He opened the door and walked in, seeing Craig sitting on his bed and Julia was across from him, on his own bed. They stopped talking and looked at their new arrival.

"Welcome to the rehibilitation center. Here's your complimentary 'Munchies Stopper'", Julia said jokingly, handing him a paper plate of goodies left over from dinner when he sat down next to her.

"Thanks Julia. I'm sorry for what I did", he thanked her, appologizing all the while.

"It's ok. You know how much I hate this stuff, so you did it quietly so you wouldn't hurt me. You tried at least", she said lovingly, knowing she wouldn't make herself mad over this.

"I'm quitting. Craig, I just wanna know if you're with me or not", Ron announced, looking for Craig's stance.

Craig sighed. "Fine, I'm game. This is the last time I'll be high.....", he agreed, leaning back and thinking about the good times the wonderful smelling herb has brought, as well as this bad one. He felt very, very bad for upsetting his mother, and knew it was time to stop as well.

"Jul, why is it so dark in here?", Ron asked, seeing that none of the lights were on, and the only light was coming from the rising moon.

"I thought it would make you two feel better if you didn't have to deal with lights", she explained to his curious question.

Ron make a quick chuckle. "Being high isn't an illness. I do appreciate the thought though, maybe you're right", he said with a smile, noticing he was getting rather drowsy.

Craig apparently found himself the same way ofter his little snack and lied down on the bed, still awake for the most part. "I think i'm ready for bed already now", he said, speaking half into his pillow.

"I'll let you two get ready for bed", Julia said with a smile, giving Ron an affectionate kiss on the muzzle. "Goodnight", she added when she got off the bed and headed for the door. Craig and Ron both replied with their own goodnight and she left, closing the door quietly. Ron lied down on his back, getting that floaty, lack of energy feeling. The two buzzed dragons didn't speak for about a minute, while each of them thought about the recent events.

"I feel like shit for getting everyone riled up. When will people see that the herb isn't a dangerous, big ass thing?", Craig said depressedly, talking towards Ron.

"I do too, but it doesn't matter what people will think of weed. We won't be doing it anymore. I think we should just take your mom's advice and just relax untill something comes up", Ron replied quietly, looking to put his friend's concerns to ease. He got up off his bed and closed the blinds, making the room even darker. Sitting on the side of his bed, he took off his jeans and placed them beside the bed and slipped under the covers. Craig did the same, and the two just went into a peaceful sleep.

Julia arrived back to the room to find Kimberly lying on her back, under her covers reading, and her mother doing likewise with a magazine. "I put the children to bed", she said as a happy joke.

"Good to hear. I just hope they're not getting me into trouble", she said relieved, finding a thought that messed it all up.

Julia went through her suitcase and pulled out a shirt, going into the bathroom so she could ditch the bra and her pants. She lied down in her bed, even though she wasn't all that sleepy yet. Getting under the covers and pulling them up to her muzzle, she thought she would just lie on her side and daydream. Within ten minutes, she was already asleap.

"I'm going to sleep now ma`. G`night", Kimberly told her mother in a whisper, placing her book next to her and removing her bracelet.

"I'm going to sleep too. Goodnight Kim", she replied, putting her magazine on the floor beside the bed and flicking off the light. The two snuggled into their beds, with Kimberly's being harder then the other, and shortly found an early sleep, being exhausted from their long day.

So dark....so lonely. Gina found herself watching something from her past, as a free entity, seemingly viewing different camera angles of something she had long repressed. The room she knew was her basement, beneath the simple two story house she had once called home. The walls were of stone, cold and damp from the winter's weather. Solitary struts were placed about the room, showing specks of wear and age. Though the basement was poorly lit, casting a dreary glow over it's contents, she could easily make out the child that she once was. No older then Kimberly, she stood sadly, unclothed and shivering in the moist, unwelcoming air. Her younger mother slowly went through a box on a nearby table, making her daughter nervously wait for whatever she had in store. The little Gina shifted her feet and stared appologeticly, hoping everything would be ok, and that her mother would suddenly stop and tell her she just made a mistake and she could go play. All the wishes in the world would not stop the stern ambition of her mother, and the poor Gina knew this. Living under the merciless hand of her mother, she was fearful of her. Love was a luxury she could not afford.

"Ma`ma, please....", the frightened dragon said quietly in a plea.

Her plea fell on deaf ears and her mother continued rummaging through the box. Gina's heart stopped when her mother did. She removed a cane from the box, giving the rod a test swing, just to scare her daughter some more. Without any word, her mother grabbed her arm, taking her forcefully a few steps, bending her over a stand. Gina gripped the stand without being told and looked over her shoulder towards her mother.

"I'm sorry...", she said quietly close to a sob, knowing of what is to come.

Her mother gripped the device firmly and positioned herself behind her daughter, making Gina hold up her tail on her own. "Bad things happen to bad girls Gina!", she finally replied, with her voice bellowing sternly, raising the implement. The entity watching felt helpless and even in pain, witnessing one of her own ordeals. The little Gina gripped the stand as hard as she could, crying hard at every stinging strike. Even the unseen witness couldn't wait for it to end. Her mother continued relentlessly for practicly four and a half minutes untill she finally stopped. Taking the crying Gina's arm hard, she pulled her across the basement to the wall where the stairs were. Dragging her to the corner opposite of the door, she nearly threw her to the floor. She quickly grabbed some hard twine left on the ground and pulled Gina's arm towards a steel pipe next to the corner. She tied her by her wrist to the pipe, securing her as tightly as possible. Gina looked up while sobbing and watched her mother leave her there, flicking the light off on the way out. The poor dragon rested her forehead against the cold pipe and continued her painful, lonely, frightened crying, finding no comfort in the damp darkness.

Gina quickly awoke to to a loud gasp that wasn't her own. In her own fright, she sat up on the bed, clenching her bedsheets.

Kimberly was sitting up in her bed as well, holding the palms of her fists to the sides of her head. "He won't leave me alone!", she growled with her head down and her eyes closed.

Julia had woke up as well and creaked her body into an upright sitting position. "You're still having those nightmares?", she asked, sort of confused.

Gina was listening, but it didn't look like it. She held up her head with the palm of her hand and stared towards the window.

"Yeah....", Kimberly answered with an irritated sigh.

"But he's locked up now", Julia stated, unsure of why she would have another.

"It will subside. Give it time", her mother said, trying to be supportive.

Kimberly sighed and lied back down. "Goodnight again", she wished them.

The other two replied with the same and settled back into their beds. Gina lied there with her eyes open for a while, afraid to go back to sleep. Her mother had left her tied to that pipe for hours, and her father didn't know where she was. He was never in on all the stories, and was always her supporter. Her mother had punished her much more cruely and unusualy then the one she had witnessed, and was almost overjoyed Kimberly woke her up, so that the dream could not continue to more horrible things. All the times she was left down there in the cold, with her skin moist from the ground and her own tears. Gina shivered, finding that her memories were resurfacing, even after all the work to hide them.

The girls woke up at mostly the same time to the rising sun. The window was just a pale glow, and they had woken up pretty early. Gina needed to assist her family with the preperations for tomorrows wedding, so she got dressed and ready, even though she was afraid to leave. They had agreed to get up early to start the last minute planning, so that they may get all the phonecalls and shopping done. Julia and Kimberly got dressed as well, since they couldn't sleep any longer. The boys were still fast asleap, recovering from their stuper, so Julia and Kimberly went downstairs with their mother to help start breakfast. Gina was relieved to see that her mother had went out with Ray already to get a suit and a chaplain. This wedding of theirs was very sudden, so everything still needed to be done. Eliza and her parents were sitting in the dining room discussing things, so Gina decided to stick with her own dad, who was already making coffee in the kitchen while the other two made eggs and toast.

"Mornin` dad", she greeted her father, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"Good morning", he said with a happy, but groggy smile, having not had his coffee yet.

The group had their breakfast and coffee at a little table in the kitchen, while mostly everyone else slept. Gina and her father left the two girls before they finished theirs, heading out to the back porch. They took a seat, enjoying the cool morning and the quickly rising sun.

"I heard about your boy last night", he suddenly brought up, making her daughter's mind jump. She looked to him, but couldn't find anything to say. "Eliza and your mother aren't happy", he said somewhat quietly.

"I'm sorry for what he did", Gina appologized, finding no other words to be appropreate.

Her father made a little smile. "You'll get through it", he said supportively.

Ron groggily woke up when the sun was bright enough to pierce his eyelids. He gave himself a scratch, before suddenly remembering another male was present in the room. He looked over to find Craig snug under the covers, fast asleap. He quietly got out of his bed and grabbed a change of clothes from his bag, looking to take a shower before he went downstairs. Grabbing a towel from the closet, he softly closed the bathroom door, sucessfully keeping Craig asleap. While showering, he thought about his own home, and how Eliza reminds himself of his father. Pompous and rich. Eliza was obviously worse, but Ron was going to compare them for the sake of doing so. The memories of last night came back to him and he still felt bad for putting Gina in a rut. What was I thinking, he said to himself silently. After getting dressed and leaving, he checked the girl's room to find it empty, so he continued downstairs to hopefully find Julia.

"Good morning aunt Christi", Kimberly greeted her when she appeared in the livingroom, where she and her sister had been talking since breakfast. Julia just smiled, letting Kimberly's greeting work for her too.

"Hello Kimberly, I was looking for you", she replied. "My sister, mother, and I are heading out to get a wedding dress. Could you watch Michael while I'm out?", she asked, hoping she would say yes.

"Of course!", she answered happily, finally getting her chance.

"Good!", she exclaimed, having gotten a babysitter. "Come on upstairs and I'll show you to my room", she asked of her, gesturing for her to follow.

Kimberly followed her upstairs into the right wing, taking a hallway into the back corridor. She opened the door to her room and showed Kimberly inside. The room was a darker color then theirs, and had a bigger open space with only one bed. Michael was sitting in his little seat, so he couldn't wander when Christi went to get his babysitter. She knelt down and unbuckled him from the seat, carefully putting the tiny dragon onto the soft throw rug.

"I've changed his diaper and fed him already. Just in case, I made an extra bottle and put it on the holder on his diaper bag, which is right over there. His toys are here too. All you really need to do is keep him occupied and keep an eye on him", her aunt explained, showing her all the things she needs. "I'll be back in about two hours. I trust you'll be a- ok till then", she added, getting her jacket.

"No problem. See ya` later", Kimberly told her when she went for the door. She waved back and set off, leaving Kimberly to her job. She took a seat next to Michael, who was just stretching from sitting in that seat. He was wearing cute little light blue with dark patches PJs, and Kimberly just found him to be adorable.

"Hiya Michael", she greeted the curious little thing that was staring at her. He made a baby dragon noise and sat down, getting off his paws. Kimberly got up and grabbed a few of his toys and sat down infront of him. Taking two blocks, she placed them infront of him, curious to what he'd do with them. He picked one up and tried chewing on it. She laughed and got it out of his hand, placing the block on top of the other. Michael hit the small tower, finding it to be funny to knock it over.

"You're gonna grow up to be demolitions expert and blow things up", Kimberly giggled, moving the blocks out of the way. She moved back a bit and lied on her side, giving him a little truck, just to watch him play. Baby dragons were so adorable with their tiny little tails. This was the first time she had been able to care for one, and she begun thinking of what her future children might be like. Michael made a few funny sounding noises and drove the truck into one of the blocks, making her reaffirm her 'demolitions expert' theory. Would she have a boy or a girl first? What would they grow up to be? The thought of her own little pup seemed wonderful, even though it was so far off. She reached over to Michael and tickled his tummy, watching the tiny dragon squirm and giggle. Kimberly smiled and let him continue playing happily. She could realize now, exactly how happy a little pup could make someone, and Kimberly was glad she was there for her mother when she needed her. The door of the room opened and Kimberly got up to see who it was, while Michael payed no attention.

"Sis, where are....hey!!", Eliza started saying while coming in the short entryway, before she noticed Kimberly. She quickly went to Kimberly and grabbed her arm before she even said anything. "What are you doing in here?! I knew you were a thief!", she shouted angrily, scaring not only Michael but Kimberly too.

"Stop it! You're upsetting him!", Kimberly demanded, thinking of the little one before herself. She looked Eliza in the face, giving her a sneer and a little growl. "I'm here to watch Michael, as your sister asked", she informed her, growling all the while at her persistantly hurtful words. Eliza let go of Kimberly's arm, not as easily as she should have.

"If I find anything missing, I'll have your ass!", she shouted sternly, pointing her finger too close to Kimberly's face for comfort.

Kimberly smacked away her aunt's hand. "You shouldn't cuss infront of your sister's little pup", she sneered spitefully.

"He isn't the only pup in the room either...", she retorted, quickly being interrupted by an angry Kimberly.

"Yeah, I agree!", she growled back, tired of this crap.

"Watch your tongue! Don't you ever tell me what to do or say!", Eliza shouted with a sneer, making the little Michael cry.

"I'll say and do as I please!", Kimberly affirmed, getting worried about the upset pup.

Eliza turned and went for the hallway, turning back around once she got there. "I'll be keeping my eye on you dirtbag! Same goes for that pothead brother of yours!", she yelled, trying to be threatening, before she stormed out. Kimberly made a big growl at the whole thing and quickly sat down infront of the crying pup. She picked him up, cradling him in her arms as she watched her aunt Christi do, with her left arm supporting his head and back and the other supporting his legs and tail.

"Shh, shhh. Come on little guy, you're ok", she told Michael affectionately, looking to calm the frightened child. She cradled him close, giving him a little rock. He stopped his crying slowly, and ended up nuzzling his head into Kimberly's chest, finding her to be comfortable. Kimberly smiled and shifted Michael's weight to her left arm, allowing her to wipe the little tears from his muzzle. He closed his eyes and looked so tranquil. Kimberly slowly stood up and walked to the side of the bed. She sat back down on the floor, letting the soft bed support her back, since the little guy didn't want to go anywhere. She snuggled Michael into his living bed and she rested her head against the side of the matress. The room was so quiet and peaceful, and her mood was quickly turned around by Michael. He was such a cute kid, she thought, closing her eyes, and taking a short nap.

"Kimberly.....Kimberly, wake up", she heard when she awoke. She opened her eyes to find a rather happy aunt Christi.

"Oh hi. Forget something?", Kimberly said, still waking up a bit.

"Nope. We went out and got the dress already. Have you two been sleeping that long?", her aunt asked, impressed by Kimberly's abilities.

"I guess so", Kimberly replied, surprised she had slept that long, especially with all the sleep she got last night. She looked down and noticed Michael was waking up too. He stretched his legs and shifted his tail, grabbing Kimberly's shirt, already looking to play.

"He likes you a lot. You're a fine babysitter, thanks for the good work", Christi complimented, standing up to watch the two.

"Thanks, it means a lot. I just wanted to spend a little time with your pup. He's quite the joy", she replied appreciatively, tickling Michael.

Christi took a seat on the bed beside Kimberly. "You're not anything like my sister says....", she said confusedly, with maybe a hint of sadness too. Kimberly looked up.

"So she's been talking about me huh?", Kimberly quietly asked, with a deffinate hint of sadness herself.

"Yeah. I don't believe a word of it, so don't you worry. I know how my sis` can be", she said reassuringly.

"She's so mean to me, I can't take it.....she made Michael cry...", Kimberly said softly, finding Eliza's words to be more sad and hurtful now then they were before.

"I'm sorry", Christi appologized on her behalf.

"Don't be. You're nice", Kimberly said with a smile, placing Michael back on the floor since he finally wanted down.

Her aunt smiled. "I'll probbably need you again, so this won't be the last time you see Michael", she said warmly, getting off the bed. Michael made a hand gesture and repeated a sound a few times towards his mother. She picked him up and grabbed his bottle, sitting back down onto the bed to feed him.

"Ok. Bye aunt Christi, bye Michael", Kimberly said with a happy wave while going for the door. She headed back towards her side of the house, looking to use the bathroom in their room and fix her makeshift bed. She walked in their room, seeing no one at all on the way there, since they were all awake and downstairs now.

Craig groggily woke up from his long slumber, being surprised by the time on the clock. It was 10:30 already, and Ron was already gone. Craig slowly slipped out of bed and grabbed a new pair of clothes, looking to freshen up before he did anything. His shirt smelled like weed, so he put that one beside his bag so it wouldn't transfer to any clean clothes. Having a complete change of clothes ready, he grabbed his toothbrush and a towel, and went into the bathroom to shower.

Once Gina had wrapped up a good portion of her duties, she set off upstairs, looking to rest for a while. Helping to take care of all these people, newly arriving guests, and their last minute wedding was a bitch. She had thought quietly to herself while walking down the hallway to her room, untill a voice shattered every thought and made her stop.

"Gina, come here", her mother ordered sternly, having arrived back from her long outing, standing at the top of the staircase. She complied, knowing her mother wasn't happy, and that meant trouble. After all this time, the fear never dicipated. Her mother grabbed her wrist and pulled her down the hallway towards her room, with the same force and anger that she had witnessed and endured for so long. Her mother closed the door to her room and they stood in the open space of the room, with her mother glaring at her.

"I can't believe your son and that Ron! Are you trying to wreck your brother's wedding?!", she shouted, using that angry tone of voice of hers that made Gina easily frightened. She stood there like a young girl, wringing her hands.

"They meant no harm", she said quietly, not looking into her mother's eyes.

"I will not, WILL NOT, allow your children to misbehave! First it was your girl, and now THIS!", she continued shouting, imposing more fear upon her subject. Gina stood without a word. Everything was coming back to her. Her mother got agitated by the silence and quickly went to her suitcase, removing something that made Gina wince and nearly gasp in terror. It was her mother's cane. She had brought it here, and her daughter was still minipulated to it's control. Her mother swung the rod untill it almost touched Gina's nose, leaving it within easy visual distance. "Do you remember this?!", her mother yelled with her controling anger, paralizing Gina with the painful memories. She shoved the rod against her daughter's chest, and Gina took it into her own hands, looking at it with a bleak, distant look on her face. "You go down that hall and do what you should have done last night!", she commanded. Gina looked up from the rod and to her mother.

"I...", Gina muttered, not even able to fathom what was happening with her mind flooded with her own memories.

Her mother took a step forward, giving her an irate sneer. "Are you arguing with me?!!", she screamed.

Gina shuttered, gripping the old implement in her hands. "No mother...", she whispered, overcome by her mother's fear tactics.

"I will follow and listen to make sure you do the job right. Ray and Eliza will get their retrobution and you're going to do it for them", her mother said in her vendictive voice. Gina turned slowly and walked out with purpose, walking in almost a haste down the hallway with her mother following. She silently hoped Craig had already woken up and disappeared, but she knew this was unlikely. She stopped at Craig's door staring at it for a moment. Her mother leaned her back beside the door, closing her eyes and pointing her muzzle directly ahead. Gina pulled together what nerves she had left, being that most of them were destroyed, and opened the door, holding the cane to her side. Craig had just got out of the shower and was dressed and ready for a new day. He was neatly piling his old clothes next to his suitcase between the two beds and at the end of his, looking up with a smile to greet his vistor. This smile very quickly diappeared when he noticed his mother's stern look and additude, noticing some object at her side. Gina stopped once she had fully cleared the entryway, lifting the rod and lightly slapping it down into the palm of her left hand. Craig winced and took two steps back with a loud, frightened gasp.

"Jesus Christ mom, no!!", he yelled at the sudden, piercing fear, staring at the rod. He had recieved the ruler once when he was little, and this thing looked hella more painful. Craig was struck with literal terror as his mother began approaching him. "Please!! Don't do it!!", he screamed, stumbling backwards against the wall. "I promise I'll stop smoking all together!! PLEASE!!", he begged with his voice full of panic and horror, as he slouched against the wall with his arms spread apart, finding no more means to move away. He clenched his eyelids tight, almost sobbing with the pleas he had shouted. His mother stopped direcly infront of him and waited for him to open his eyes and look at her. She mouthed something in complete silence. Craig made it out to be, "Don't make this harder then it already is". If that was supposed to calm him, it did the opposite. "No!!", he screamed, trying to jump away from the wall. His mother had grabbed him by his shirt, stopping his horrified escape. She quickly grabbed his upper arm and begun strugling with her panicstruck son. "Let me go!!", he pleaded, trying to escape her grasp. Though as much as he tried, he couldn't escape his mother. He had done enough to upset her, and it looked like the end of the line. Craig stopped fighting back. Her force subsided at the surrender of her son, bending him over the end of his bed. She grasped the button of his jeans above his tail and undid it, quickly pulling the jeans down. Taking his tail, just below the tip, she held it up, raising the cane along with it. Craig gripped his bedsheets and grit his teeth, almost sobbing at what he knew was impending. He screamed and cried in pain while his mother lashed him, over and over. All the muscles in his tail had tensed and the pain only got worse. Craig wanted so much to beg and plea, but couldn't say a word over the constant cracking of the rod. Gina knew how long this was supposed to be and hoped her innocent son could handle it. He wailed and bawled at the merciless sting, begging fate to end it. Gina eventually stopped and quickly left, knowing Craig would want his privacy to cry. She closed the door behind her and handed the rod back to her mother, who set off down the hallway without a word. Gina quietly went back downstairs with a blank expression and watery eyes.

Unbeknownst to them, a certain evesdropper had listened in. Kimberly heard the whole thing from their room, sitting by the wall, cringing and not believing what she was hearing. When it all stopped, she crawled in a stumble to the door and opened it a crack to see who walked by. Sure enough, it was her grandmother, carrying the rod, and her mother behind. She had finally got a big piece of the puzzle, but she wasn't sure what to do with it. Being so sad and nearly scared didn't help anything either. She crawled back to the wall.

"Craig....", she wimpered, before she put her head down and cried lightly, in sympathy for her brother. "How could you...", she whispered, thinking of her mother and shedding a few more tears. When she had stopped, she got up and lied down on Julia's bed to think. Her mother had acted so strangely around her grandma. "Why do you let her control you...", she growled quietly. "That wasn't my mommy...", she said sadly after another pause, with a notion of fright. It was far more then obvious that her mother was more then just strange around her grandmother. There was something bigger, and it was screwing with her. Kimberly didn't know what to do now. Her stomach was in a knot, and she felt sick. She didn't know if she should confront her mother or bring up Craig at all for that matter. Being the only one who knew about this, she was all too confused by the torrent of thoughts. After calming herself a little more, she decided that she would keep quiet, feeling that she had no power to stop any of this. Her mother's mental state could only be fixed by herself.

Ron and Julia had been sitting on the back porch by the pool for a while. Afternoon was approaching and the weather was becoming more delightful, as the few scattered clouds floated by.

"It's great to get a vacation like this. Just getting away from school for a while is something.....well needed", Ron said with a smile, staring at the little stone waterfall with Julia at his side.

"Totaly. No Frank, no Amber, no anybody. Getting away from your hastles and daily routines helps the nerves a bit", she replied with a calming voice, getting comfortable just staring off.

"You know, I haven't seen anybody this morning other then you. Your mom, Kim, Craig", Ron mentioned, realizing it had just been the two of them all morning.

"Kimberly was babysitting for our aunt Christi, I'm not sure if she still is. Moms inside helping Ray, and I don't think Craig ever got up", Julia answered for him.

"Oh well. You wanna play another game of Monopoly? Just me and you?", Ron asked, getting a little bored.

"Hmmmm, ok I guess. I feel like going inside anyway. But couldn't we get just like one more person? Go wake Craig's sleepy ass up", she ended with a chuckle, setting off for the house with Ron.

"Sure, but you have to set up the board while I'm upstairs", he replied with a smirk.

"Fine", she smirked back.

Once they reached the livingroom, Julia branched off to the coffee table where they left the Monopoly box. Nobody was using the couches at the moment, but Julia quickly swiped them up. Ron continued through to the entryway and up the stairs, going down the hallway to their room. He opened the door and walked inside to see Craig lying on his bed on his side, facing away from the door.

"If you're gonna sleep without any pants on, at least sleep under the covers", Ron chuckled, looking to wake him up. Craig made a sad sniff and Ron realized he was already awake.

"Please leave me be....", he asked of Ron with a teary voice and another sniff and sob.

Ron took a step foreward, standing next to his own bed. "Craig?", he said confusedly, seeing something was wrong.

"Not now", he sobbed back, sinking his fingers deeper into the matress.

Craig was keeping his tail in an awkward position, pointing it straight out instead of keeping it close to his body. He curved most of it exept the base of his tail. Upon noticing this, something else caught Ron's eye. Numerous thick, red welts protruding from the visible leg hole of his underwear. The lines were a dark red and purple, swelling high. Ron quickly walked in between the beds and looked over Craig's back, seeing his tear drenched muzzle. "Craig, you're crying! What happened?", he asked with a concerned panic.

"My mother happened!", he said with a little anger, squeezing his eyelids, dripping another tear.

"Why did she do this?", he asked sadly, feeling sympathy for the kind of pain he was in. Ron ripped the soft sheet off his own bed and draped it over Craig, wanting to give him a little privacy.

"She didn't even say a word, but we know why don't we", he sniffed softly, trying to calm down.

"But she said everything was ok! She knew how sorry you were!", he nearly shouted, not understanding why she would do any of this.

"Maybe I did deserve it...", Craig said softly.

"Don't even say that", Ron said, sitting down on his own bed.

"I caused her enough trouble...", he softly mumbled back.

Ron sighed. "What did she do to you?", he said, lowering the tone of his voice, trying to be comforting.

"Please, I don't....", Craig said, being interrupted by his own sob. "......It was a cane", he admitted, giving a few sudden sobs, trying his best not to cry. "I was so scared..." , he whispered.

Ron looked down at the floor. "I'm so sorry. This is my fault", he said sadly with a little sigh. Craig just sniffed. "I came up here to wake you up. Julia wants you to play Monopoly with us but.....you probbably don't want to huh?", he said with sympathy.

"Not right now.....she left only ten minutes ago.....it hurts too much...", he said quietly so he wouldn't sob.

Ron got up and went into the bathroom. He grabbed the glass off the counter and filled it with water, taking it back to Craig.

"I really hope you feel better soon", he wished Craig, putting the glass on his bedstand and placing his jeans next to his bed.

"Thanks...sorry you had to see me like this and...don't tell anyone", Craig said appreciatively, giving a quiet sniff. He had calmed down with Ron's help.

"No one can blame you. See you later", he said comfortingly, saying his goodbye for now. Ron left and Craig snuggled his muzzle into the pillow to wipe some tears. He might have gotten a new most painful moment in life and it was driving him nuts. He couldn't move without feeling like the base of his tail was being stung, and the position he was keeping his tail in wasn't supporting it's weight very well. Never before did he cry like this and he felt so embarassed, especially with his best friend walking in to find him like this. Craig moved his hand to his upper thigh, running a finger over the thick welts that weren't covered by his underwear. The pain and swelling of the welts were frightening, and he felt saddened by the fact there was nothing he could do be endure the horrible pain whenever he walked, sat, shifted his tail, anything. He tossed his jeans across the room when he couldn't pull them back up earlier, finding them to be too painful. All he could do now was wait for the long lines to cool so he could at least put on his pants.

Ron took a seat across from Julia and tried to make himself look happy. "Craig's up, but he doesn't feel like playing", he said in an upbeat tone, hiding what just happened quite well.

"At least we asked. It's too bad", she said a little disappointedly. She grabbed the car playing piece and tossed Ron the battleship. "We're all set", she said with a smile, giving the chance and community cards one last shuffle.

Ron motioned to let her go first, while he just stared at the board, leaning his elbow on his knee and holding his head up with his hand. He knew it wasn't like Gina to do that. There was no way. But what hurt, was that she did. Craig looked horrible, and Ron could point a finger at no one but himself. He damned himself wholeheartedly for buying that herb, and even more for giving Craig some. He wouldn't have even known about the joints if he didn't take them out infront of him. What kind of friend was he, to put his friend and his 'adoptive' family through this because of something he did? He didn't even realize Julia had already made her turn while he quietly sat, staring off into space, mentaly beating the crap out of himself.

"Come on Ron, wake up already! You're as bad as Craig", Julia piped up, trying to get the dazed dragon to pay attention.

Ron quickly lifted his head off his hand. "Sorry", he appologized, picking up the dice and giving them a roll.

"Are you ok?", she then asked, noticing something was a little weird.

"Yeah....I'm uhhh, just not feeling all too well...", he replied with a lower tone, losing his coverup abilities, but adding another good coverup to sustain himself.

"Are you sure..?", she added, leaning over and looking into his face, trying to examine him a bit.

"Really, I'll be fine", he reassured her. Ron read his community chest card from his turn. "Looks like I get twenty bucks", he said with a small smile, returning the card to the bottom of the deck and taking his twenty.

Julia looked a little worried, but she baught it. Ron went back to his thoughts, trying to be a little more inside reality at the same time. He couldn't get Craig off his mind.

While Julia did her turn, she kept a close look on her under the weather companion. She was about to say something, but then a new visitor did.

"Hi you two", Kimberly greeted in a more normal way, lacking her usual enthusiasm.

"Hi Kim", Ron greeted first.

"Heya Kim. We already started this game so I can't invite you", she said sort of sadly. "Sorry about that", she added, feeling a little bad.

Kimberly took a seat next to Ron. "I don't feel like playing. Don't worry about it. I'm just a little lonely", she said with a comfortable sigh, snuggling and reclining into the extra space on the couch.

"Did everyone get tired of Monopoly that fast?", Julia joked with a laugh, giving the turn to Ron.

"I'm just not feeling well", Kimberly said a little patheticly, trying to make it sound convincing.

"That makes you and Ron both. If it was something you ate, that probbably means I'm going to get sick too", Julia informed her.

Kimberly and Ron shot eachother an eye real quick, getting the feeling the other knew about Craig. Ron finished his turn and passed it back to Julia. While she was looking down at the board, Ron turned his head inconspicuously to Kimberly and mouthed, "You know?", taking the chance. Fortunately, or maybe not so fortunately, she nodded in reply. They said no word of it, but it made them feel a little comfortable to know they weren't a solitary holder of a painful secret. The game continued on, and Kimberly stayed pretty quiet, not having anything positive on her mind to discuss.

"Hiya you three", greeted a voice that made one happy, but the other two wince.

"Hi mom! I haven't seen you almost all all this morning", Julia told her happily, taking her attention away from the game for a moment.

Ron and Kimberly just looked without a word. A blank expression was the best they could muster at her friendliness, knowing someone was suffering because of her.

"I'm going to be helping with lunch. They got a pile of coldcuts from the deli, so we have a lot of sandwitches. Should I bring any of you one?", she asked, with her voice almost to her normal self.

"I'll have one", Julia replied first, getting a little hungry.

"Well....yeah, I guess", Ron said a little strangely.

"I'm not hungry", Kimberly replied, blowing off her mother's generosity, and Gina noticed it a bit.

"Well, just let me know later then. I'll be back in a few minutes", Gina said, walking back to the kitchen.

Ron and Kimberly didn't watch her leave. Kimberly found herself noticibly angry, though she didn't want to be. She loved her mother so much, but she just couldn't put Craig aside so easily. Ever since she changed her ways, other people came first, even if it hurt her own feelings. Ron just felt awkward and seperated. He thought he knew someone so well, and he still has no clue behind why Gina did it. I am the cause, why did you do that to him!, he shouted in his mind. Julia found the other two to be very preoccupied with something and held off the Monopoly game, just by being silent. Gina returned carrying three paper plates with different types on sandwitches that she knew certain individuals liked.

"Here you are", Gina said a little upbeat, seemingly trying to keep her appearance happy. She set down Ron and Julia's plates and took a short look at the third for a few moments before she put it caringly to the table. "If Craig comes down, could you give him this?", she asked of them, staring longingly at the roast beef and ham sandwitch, Craig's favorite.

Ron looked to her a little astounded. "Yes, sure", he assured her, never taking his eyes off the saddened mother. Kimberly was watching from the corner of her eye and Julia was busy eating already, facing the other direction. Gina turned and did what Ron thought to look like wiping a tear when she was halfway to the kitchen. Now that looked like the Gina he knew. She looked so sad and sympethetic, staring at that sandwitch. Just the fact she brought one for him just showed what she was thinking. Ron found this even more confusing, but at least he knew she felt bad. Kimberly kept her eyes directly off her mother, but lightened up a bit after thinking about her sandwitch gesture for Craig. She cared, and a lot, just like her mother always did. Kimberly gave her mind a moment to give sympathy to her mother. Maybe she needed it too.

After almost an hour, Craig was still lying in bed. His eyes were bloodshot and his larynx were sore from all the crying he did. He lied on his stomach, finding himself able to at least bend the base of his tail now, even though it still hurt, and plenty. Craig had turned his pillow over when he stopped crying, wanting to rest his exhausted head on a dry pillow. He was dreading getting up, but knew he had to eventually. His pride was scarred and he felt like such a little child, lying there for so long, bawling his heart out. Yes, just like a little child, with his tail between his legs. Being fifteen, he was ashamed that he was still lying here, wincing at the pain when he moved. He knew what he recieved would have even made Ron cry, but that was besides the point to him. He felt betrayed by his mother. He had a deep appology, solumn and pure, from the bottom of his heart. He knew he did something wrong, and hated himself for upsetting his beloved mother. With his hour of tears and thought, he judged his mother's actions, and the bond of love they share. He was the only male of the house, and he always tried to live up to certain expections that he thought to be required of him, since they had no father. He grew up as the most well behaved of the two, never feeling out of place or left out, even being surrounded by females. His mother did the work of two, playing mother for the three, and a special father for him. She always made sure he was happy and content, never leaving him out or forcing feminine things upon him. He grew up to be a rock loving, everyday kind of guy. You couldn't tell he grew up around girls, and that's what her mother wanted. For all her children to live a happy childhood, with all the love and benifits of a full two parent family. He was her little boy, pride and joy. Whenever he broke something, caused trouble, made a mess, he felt disappointed in himself. Mommy would always be there, good times and bad, ready to help him tidy up his mistakes and tell him how proud his accomplishments made her. Their bond was untouchable. But now, was it a different story? He had been grounded a few times, and maybe got a swat or two when he was small, but never anything like this. The only exeption was the time he really did something he shouldn't have, when he was eleven. That was the time his mother punished him, and even she was just as upset as he was. He had disappointed her so much, and took it like the man he felt he was being raised as. Doing that to her good natured son made her sad for the rest of the day and onto the next, never being truely comfortable when he wasn't. She had cared so much. This time, Craig didn't know what was going on, and the chain of trust that held their words golden, seemed to have lost a link. She didn't say a word. Only what she mouthed was the only thing he had recieved by means of communication. She said nothing at all to her frightened boy. By what reason did she do something so severe? She said everything was ok....she knew how sad and sorry he was....why did she do this now....her sweet little boy, that had always put all his effort into making her proud....last he checked, she never wanted to hurt him. Did she feel sympathy and saddness? Craig stopped his mental escapade and made a small groan from lying in the same position for so long.

"Fuck it. I need to get up...", he mumbled to himself, almost trying to encourage himself since no one else was there to do so. He took a deep breath and slid on his hip off the bed, causing more stinging then he thought would happen. He squeezed his eyelids and commanded it mentaly to cease. He grabbed his jeans off the floor and managed to get them on, holding his breath towards the end. He latched the button above his tail and gave it a test wag to see how much movement he could make. Not too much, but more then enough to get around, since a good half of his tail could be moved without pain. Taking a look at the side of the bed, he thought he should sit down, curious to see how painful it was.

"Here goes nothing...", he sighed quietly, pulling a few nerves together. He slowly sat down and made a sudden yelp when his weight made contact with the matress, and jumped back on his feet. He growled, increasing in his volume as his anger increased with it. "Damn her!", he shouted, refering to his mother in a way he had never before done so. "How could she do this to me!? Ron's right, I didn't deserve this! I never wanted to hurt her! She hurt me! Even more then she thinks!", he screamed, slamming his fist against the wall right before he finished, unable to hold his feelings to himself any longer. Though the wall could not reply or even hear for that matter, Craig got it off his chest. He made a solumn sigh, toning down his temper, while walking slowly to the bathroom. He washed his face and made sure he looked alright, needing to be able to present a smile. He just needed his mind and body to cooperate. Craig left his room for the first time all day, walking a little awkwardly. He could hide it enough, but already felt uncomfortable. Once he made it to the livingroom, he found no one he knew. He saw a Monopoly box sitting on top of the coffee table and two empty plates on each side, as well as a lone sandwitch. Craig took a seat on the couch, cringing while he found a comfortable position, trying not to yelp. He ended up putting more weight on his lower thighs, leaning over to calm the powerful sting. Having invented a tolerable way to sit, he looked at the sandwitch, getting an idea of who's it was.

"Hi Craig", said a passer by, a slightly lower tone then normal.

"Oh, hiya Kim", Craig said with an unintendedly slightly depressed sounding voice.

"That sandwitch is yours. Mom wanted us to make sure you got it", she told him, making sure he knew that last bit of information.

Craig pulled the plate infront of him, shifting his attention back to Kimberly. "So whats with all the new people here?", he asked, seeing the place to be a little more bustling.

"You haven't even seen out back yet. Ray and Eliza are having some kind of get together with their guests before the wedding. I haven't seen so many sandwitches in my life", Kimberly joked with a small chuckle, looking to lift his spirits a bit. "I'll leave you to your lunch, I'm going to be out back", she smiled, looking back when she walked off.

Craig took a bite of his roast beef and ham, finding that some care went into making it the way he liked it. It looked as though she still cared, but she was communicating it without words, which was still totally strange. Even so, Craig still wouldn't condone what she did, and almost felt insulted by this seemingly kind gesture after what she did to him.

Kimberly weaved through the tight entryway to the back of the house, finding it difficult to move by some of the ruder guests that stand in doorways. The more then a dozen umbrella covered tables were all crowded with relatives, aquaintences, their friends, guests, and anything else that might have ended up there. This was going to be the site of their party tomorrow, and the wedding will take place in the meadow right after the pool. The podium was already being set up, but the final preparations wouldn't be done till tomorrow morning. Some of the tables had been moved a bit, and they placed a white tablecloth covered buffet table in the center, which was currently distributing the randomly assorted sandwitches.

"Hello everyone! Can I have your attention please?!", Eliza shouted with a cheesy smile while standing by the pool, infront of everyone. Kimberly rolled her eyes, already blowing off anything this bitch has to say. When the crowed of people quieted, she continued, "I welcome you all to our little pre-wedding party! Raymond and I wish to make a toast!". Ray laughed and grabbed his glass, getting up from a nearby table and going to her side. "I wish for everyone to have a good time, and for us to have a sunny wedding tomorrow. A toast to all, and of course, the couple-to-be!", she toasted with a fancy glass of cognac. She turned to Ray, looking for his toast.

"And a toast to wonderful children, and a prosperous future!" , he added with a laugh and smile, raising his glass to his fionce's level.

"Cheers!", toasted the group, with numerous chiming of glasses tapping one another.

Kimberly sighed and leaned her back against the house. "You're not having any kids unless you get your dick out of your ass", she mumbled mockingly at her uncle Ray's toast. Everyone went back to normal, and Kimberly went about face searching the crowd, looking for anyone she knew. By the looks of things, everyone she knew was either working in the kitchen, or in the house.

"Kimberly! Thank god I found you!", happily said her aunt Christi, startling her a bit. Kimberly looked over her left shoulder to see her standing in the dooway. "I'm swamped in here with your mom pouring drinks and still making those damn sandwitches, can you please watch Michael?", he asked, nearly pleading.

"I wouldn't say no", Kimberly smiled, trying to be amusing.

"He's in his chair next to the kitchen door and so is his bag . The study should be nice and quiet. I really appreciate your help, and I'm sorry I don't know when I'll be finished up here", she explained for her in a haste.

Kimberly got off the wall. "It's fine aunt Christi, don't worry about it!", she chuckled. Christi went back to work and Kimberly picked up Michael, who was being temporarily stored upon a kitchen counter. He was kind of heavy, so she carried the handle of his seat with two hands, letting him hold his own diaper bag. He was occupied with it, at least untill they got to the study. The study was primarily wood in nature, trying to replicate oldtime libraries, and had a dark patterned carpet. The room wasn't much bigger then a master bedroom, surrounded by bookshelves and a desk at the end. A few other chairs sat on the sides as well. Kimberly placed his seat on the desk and unstrapped him, picking him up, resting his head on her shoulder, and placed him in the center of the room. She jumped to the floor beside him, just sitting there and watching the youngster for a moment to see what he'd do first. He crawled to her and got on her right leg, trying to climb her shirt or something of the sort. "Yeah, you're a male. Watch where those paws grab little guy!", she giggled, trying to amuse herself at least. She took this as a request to be picked up and granted it, holding him as she did before, but he still continued to paw at her shirt, so he lifted him up a little higher. Kimberly smiled and looked into his curious face while her looked her's over, touching her muzzle in examination. "You're just now trying to figure out who your babysitter is and you've already slept with me? Does that make me some kind of slut?", she joked, making herself laugh pretty good. Michael laughed back, finding whatever words she said to be funny. "Your mom's lucky to have you", she told him as he began to suck his finger happily. She cradled him a little better in her arms, looking to give his back a little more support, and thought of a few things. "Well little Michael, there's some things about growing up you need to know about. You see, even though you're cute and wonderful now, you might become mean and inconciderate to your family. Misbehaving, lying, being bratty. My only advice is to always be nice to your mom, and don't do anything to get yourself into trouble, because nobody likes that", Kimberly advised the pup, thinking of how she used to be. She took a look at her bracelet and found the warm thoughts that were her now. Michael noticed her staring at her wrist and he decided to grab the silver band playfully. "I'm glad you like it", she told him. Kimberly took a look around the room and thought she should read him a book. She set him down on the floor and begun scanning the walls for some solitary children's book. It took a little searching, but she found a book titled "Fables and Storytales", and it actually had illustrations. "Hey Michael, I found something you might like", she told him, even though he most likely didn't understand. She sat down on the floor beside him and lifted him onto her lap. Once he was snug, she grabbed the book from her side and popped it open, looking for something good. "Ah, this looks good", she commented at a story, while Michael poked at the picture.

"Gina, these drink orders are coming in faster then I can fill! Is there anyway you can slow the sandwitch production and give me a hand?", asked Christi the bartender, standing at the kitchen counter filling and refilling glass after glass of what one of these guests demand.

"I think they'll live without stuffing their face for a while", Gina replied, wiping her hands with a rag and tossing it to the counter to go over and give Christi a hand. "They're liking the free expensive booze a little too much huh?", she added as a joke when she got to her side.

"Damn straight! Cognac order after another. My damn sister couldn't just wait. We had to have a big party BEFORE the wedding too! I swear she's driving me insane!", Christi griped, running across the kitchen to get another bottle of cognac.

"I've seen enough coldcuts to make me go vegitarian!", Gina laughed, taking a few whiskey requests. "How can your sister spend this much money?", she asked, curious of her sister's sanity.

"You haven't seen what she's doing tomorrow. Full catering and some huge, six hundred dollar wedding cake!", Christi exclaimed, pouring some glasses and sending them off.

"Yeah, she's nuts", Gina said in reply.

"Nah. She's just prude", she growled.

Gina noticed someone walking by, and he stopped when he saw her. Craig gave her a strange look from the entryway to her left, before he flicked his tail and walked off. Gina looked down at the glasses and knew what he was feeling. She wanted to talk to him, but not only did she not have the time, she also didn't have the nerve. Once she recovered back to her normal self, she hid in one of the downstairs bathrooms and cried for quite a while. Her mother forced her to do something she never in her life wanted to do, and she had no power to stop it. Everything from her childhood was still there, and she is still at her mother's mercy, or lack of. She was so scared of her mother, she would have done anything she said. Her mother was using, and apparently had always used fear as a mind control tactic. Everything she did had a reason, and it was to make her daughter follow her every command, even when she was all grown up. Her memory was no longer able to be supressed, and with every action she thought of her past, and Craig now. She had hurt her poor boy and she couldn't face him, especially when she knew first hand the serious pain he was in, physically and mentally. Gina wiped a tear from her muzzle so it wouldn't fall into one of the glasses and tried to continue her work for now.

Craig made his way out front, finally finding Ron and Julia, sitting on the lawn together while mostly everyone else just hung around the porch. "Hi you two", he greeted when they noticed his approach.

"Bout time you came down!", Julia yelled, even though she was smiling.

"Craig!", Ron just exclaimed happily, actually surprised to see him walking.

"Yeah, I know", he said with a smile, lying down on his stomach beside Ron, feeling relieved to give his stinging tail a rest.

"Hey, don't tell me you're still sleepy now", Julia said, looking over Ron's legs to Craig.

"Just getting comfortable", he had said perfectly, being that the cover up wasn't a lie.

"Well it's good to see you down here", Ron added enthusiastically, getting his personal message across incognito.

"So, how'd the morning I missed go?", Craig asked.

"Just fine. Things have been busy, so we've been out here enjoying the air", Julia said happily, putting an arm around Ron to give him a snuggle.

"Thats good. Well I'm gonna go", Craig had said before he slowly got to his feet.

"You're leaving so soon?", Julia had asked with a hint of confusion.

"Well....", Craig mumbled, unsure of how to reply.

"Just stay with us for a while and relax", Ron invited, not wanting his friend to go off and be alone.

"Alright, I'll stay", he replied with a smile. He carefully lied back down and gritted his teeth, making sure Julia didn't notice he was in pain.

"Well, what did you think of those stories Michael?", Kimberly asked the happy pup who was still sitting in her lap, content as ever. Kimberly placed the book down and lifted Michael off her so she could stretch. While she popped her back, Michael started yelling for her attention. She looked down, listening to him say "Ba`", and making a grabbing gesture with a paw, which Kimberly remembered from earlier. "So you're hungry?", she had asked while getting a bottle from his bag. "I do believe I can feed you", she joked, sitting down beside him and lifting him into her arms. She managed to rest him up on her right arm while holding the bottle with the left, finding his weight and the angle of her left arm to be uncomfortable. She lived with it anyway, being that he needed to eat. She smiled and watched him, taking her mind off the ache.

The door of the room opened a bit and a familiar head stuck itself in. "Hiya Kim", greeted the voice of her mother, having found her daughter. Her voice was a little lower then normal, having so much on her mind. "I got a break so I thought I'd come see how you were doing", she explained while slipping in the door and quietly closing it behind her.

Kimberly's expression became mildly stern, having not fully forgiven her for what she did to Craig. "I'm fine", she replied, raising the tone of her voice a bit.

Gina took Kimberly lightly, just giving a slight frown. "You haven't been yourself all morning. Why are you so angry?...", she asked in a concerned curiosity.

Kimberly shifted Michael's weight a bit and looked up into her mother's eyes. "You weren't yourself either", she said, piercing a notion into her mother's head, almost making her wince.

Gina looked down a bit. "So....you know", she said in a sad, low voice. Kimberly acknowledged her by saying nothing. She only stared with her angry eyes. "I did what I had to do Kimberly....", she said, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth a bit.

"You did it because of your mother", Kimberly replied with a monotone voice.

Gina opened her eyes in shock. "How do you know?", she whispered, having found out that someone knew more then just the simple story.

"I was right next door. I heard everything. I also saw who walked down the hallway carrying that stick", she replied with the same amount of monotone, calling the cane a stick since she knew no better.

Gina closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, much harder then before. "You don't understand...", she growled softly.

"Even if I really did understand any of this, Craig would still be suffering just as much", Kimberly growled softly back.

"I had to do it Kimberly!.....trust me, I know the pain he's in...", Gina snapped, still with her lower tone, finding herself getting sadder.

"Then why did you do it?", Kimberly wanted to know, growling a little louder.

"For the same reasons I put that bar of soap in your mouth!", Gina tried to growl back, but found her voice to be too sad to do it.

"Which I don't know. All I know, is that something is wrong between you and your mother. You need to do something and go see Craig!", Kimberly explained, giving her own suggestion in a forceful way.

"I can't do either! I....don't have the heart to see Craig after what I've done...", she said giving a sob, putting a hand over her mouth, realizing she was about to cry after thinking of her poor child.

Kimberly made a small sigh, feeling sympathetic. "I'm sorry...", she said quietly, feeling that she had pushed her mother too far.

"None of this is your fault. I feel horrible for what I did to Craig to the point where it's tearing me up inside. You don't know how long I cried after getting away from my mother. I don't have the courage to face him, and I know he's upset with me.....he begged me....", she said saddly, holding back her sobbing, but couldn't help but drip a set of tears, up untill the end when she couldn't hold any of it back. Gina felt weary crying and sat down on the floor.

Kimberly couldn't believe the torment her mother was in. She removed the bottle from Michael's mouth and gave him two quick pats on the back before setting him down on the floor along with the bottle. She scooted to her mothers side and put her arms around her. "You need to stand up to your mother", she said sportively, trying to comfort her and give her a needed course of action.

"I can't Kim", her mother sobbed in reply, feeling vulnerable and helpless.

"Craig will forgive you in time, don't be so sad. I can see how sorry you are", Kimberly said reassuringly.

"Craig was sorry too...", her mother whispered.

"You'll do the right thing. I have faith in you mom", she said as supportively as she could, giving her mother a squeeze.

Gina sobbed a few more times, trying to calm herself. "Thank you for understanding Kim....", she said appreciatively. Michael crawled to Gina and into her lap. He sat down and stared up, wondering what was wrong with his visitor. Gina smiled over her sadness and tickled the little guy's tummy.

"Michael is a good kid", Kimberly said with a smile, watching her mother play with him.

"Pups can make a mother so happy", Gina chuckled, wiping a few lose tears, getting into a better mood. "Your aunt Christi will be done soon, we're running out of booze for these alcoholics", she added with another chuckle, lifting Michael above her head.

"I think I've been lying out in the sun for too long. It's actually getting a little hot out here", Craig commented about the weather.

"I was getting used to it being cool and breezy", Ron added, taking a look at a nearby tree to see if the wind was blowing even a bit.

"Well, lying on your stomach the whole time, I'm sure you would get a little warm eventually", Julia giggled, still oblivious to Craig's dilema.

"I'm going inside for a while. I'll see you guys later", he had said while getting to his feet, surprised that being still so long in the sun's gentle warmth had soothed his sting.

"See you at dinner then. Julia and I are just going to chill for the day", Ron said as a goodbye, putting an arm around his girl.

Craig wandered back towards the house with his hands in his pockets, having had his spirits lifted. It was such a nice day, although a little of that usual breeze would be welcome right about now. He walked through the entryway, greeting passers by with a smile, trying to forget his own troubles. He had asked Ricky in the livingroom where Kimberly might be, and he told him that he saw her take Michael to the study. Craig found he was right whe he popped open the door to see Kimberly watching the little Michael play with a few toys. "Hi Kim", he greeted while coming in and closing the door.

"Hey Craig. How are you feeling now?", Kimberly asked when he lied down next to her, watching Michael.

Craig looked over to her puzzled. "How do you know?", he asked with surprise.

Kimberly giggled, having realized she didn't tell him that she knew. "I was next door. Sorry about what happened to you", she explained, giving her sympathy.

"Hrmm...", Craig mumbled, having no other response.

"Mom was here earlier", Kimberly told him, lowering the tone of her voice to a "serious" but comforting tone. Craig shifted his attention to her without a word. "She cried almost all morning. She's really sorry for what she did, but she had to", she explained.

"Had to now?", Craig growled angrily.

"Craig, there's something serious with mom and grandma", she added, trying to get through to him.

"So?", he asked, displaying his lack of care.

"Grandma was next to your door when mom did that. That thing mom used on you was hers! Grandma forced mom to do it somehow!", Kimberly explaied forcefully, defending her mother.

"...W...What?..", Craig studdered, losing his anger fast.

"It's true Craig. This wasn't mom's solo decision. Grandma forced this upon her...", she added, lowering the tone of her voice further.

"How?", he asked.

"I don't know, but mom's totally torn apart. She's too ashamed to talk to you, thats why she hadn't tried, and she can't talk to her mother either. It's something serious and I'm worried", Kimberly continued, giving a sigh. Craig was speechless. Now he knew even less of what's going on, and it seemed like he was betrayed by more then one person. Maybe his mother was innocent, but she had some explaining to do before his full forgiveness would come, and if she refused to speak to him, then angry he shall stay.

"Well I'm going to head upstairs to relax on my bed a bit", he said with a sigh while getting back up.

Kimberly felt a little concerned for whatever he was thinking. "Take things easy Craig, it'll work itself back to normal", she said for support.

Before Craig could thank her, the study room door opened. He stopped before his first sylable, turning around quickly to see who it was.

"So you ARE in here!", said the annoying and irritated voice of Eliza, coming in a huff.

"Yes, I am", Kimberly said, intentionally being rude.

"I want you out of here pronto! My study isn't a nursery for you two, or should I say three pups!", she shouted as a direct order, adding an insult to Kimberly and Craig too.

"I'll move elsewhere, but personally, you can kiss my ass lady!", Kimberly retorted, picking Michael up into her arms, holding him close so he wouldn't get frightened by her again. Craig just crossed his arms and sneered, not wanting to start anything with someone who was obviously an idiot.

Eliza growled and took a step foreward with a stomp. "I have had enough of your mouth you little bitch! You will treat me with the upmost respect, as goes for the rest of your peon family! I wish Raymond didn't have any filthy relatives, my side of the family is so much more revered!", she snapped, getting more pompous and disillusioned as she went on.

"Maybe your side of the family, but not you, you stuck up harlot!", Craig suddenly snapped in retort, clenching his fists at the words she used on his sister.

"The pothead can use a fancy word! Bravo!", she quirped as a direct insult. Craig bared his teeth and growled in anger. "I hope your mother had enough sense to whoop the crap out of you! Even though a good parent wouldn't have let it happen in the first place, especially at such a time as my wedding! MINE!", she growled in addition, insulting everyone it so seemed.

"Don't you fucking say anything bad about my mother!!!", Kimberly screamed in uncontrolable anger, giving Michael a gentle squeeze, trying to feel some support. Craig got quiet fast, hurt from her words.

"Get out of my study! NOW!!", Eliza screamed, having had enough of this. She flung the door open and stood in the doorway, making sure her 'guests' got out quickly. Kimberly strapped Michael into his seat and grabbed his bag, while Craig patiently stood waiting, giving Eliza the 'evil eye'. Once she had Michael, she picked him up and Craig walked over to her and took the bag for her, then they walked out, giving their aunt a dirty look on the way out. Craig followed Kimberly to where ever she wanted to relocate, which happened to be the livingroom. She picked a secluded part and sat down on the floor, placing Michael down beside her and unstrapping him. Craig lied down out of the way beside them, putting the bag at Kimberly's side.

"Craig, don't pay any attention to what she said about you", Kimberly said suddenly, getting concerned about his quietness.

Craig sighed. "If you say so", she said. He reached his arm out and took the tip of Michael's tail between two of his fingers to confuse him a bit. He turned a bit to look at whatever was latched to his tail and tried to grab it.

Ron and Julia had moved a bit so they woulnd't be staring at the same cenery. They had moved over a scooch and turned the other way, staring off into the trees on the other side of the lush grass. Ron had an arm around Julia, and she snuggled herself comfortably, resting her head on his chest.

"I don't know how things would be without you", Julia expressed passionately, scared to find out.

"Boring", Ron chuckled, trying to answer the question for her as a joke.

"That and a little more", she happily replied. "I would be lonely. I don't know how much more crappier this trip would have been without you. I doubt I would have left my room!", she continued.

"And my life would have been absolutely boring without you. I would still be sitting in my parents house doing nothing if I didn't have you to see, caress, and love", Ron admitted, ending on a passionate note.

"Yeah....love...", Julia trailed off, getting lost in her own thoughts of passion. She snuggled comfortably and closed her eyes, getting a small squeeze from her lover, getting in his own reply to her feelings. Ron stared off into the trees and the blue horizon, wondering what was to come in life. Even with all the problems arising in his life, and the lives of those he cared for, everything seemed so peachy when he was with Julia. She had such a way of removing his cares, and bringing out the softhearted lover that he kept inside. She was the prettiest dragon he knew, and she wasn't stuck up or preppy at the least. She could be a horny little thing sometimes, but Ron wasn't about to call that a fault of course. From what he had seen, he was the only person she flirted with, and that made him comfortable enough to go that extra distance with her.

"Ron?", she asked with her soothing voice, releacing him from his thoughts without startlement.

"Yes?", he said caringly in aknowledgement.

"If we have kids, what would their names be?", she asked, looking for his honest answer.

"Kids now?", he said with a big smile, wondering where this question came from.

"Yeah, sure. What would it's name be if it was a boy or girl?", she giggled in reply, simplifying her question a bit.

Ron thought for a few moments, wanting to answer her as precicely as he could. "Sarah or Anthony", he answered truthfully, having thought of names before.

"I like those", she said with a happy smile, moving her head up to look at him. When she did, she recieved a kiss on the top end of her muzzle, making her laugh. The two embraced and made a long kiss, wishing for their dream to never end.

After Gina left Kimberly, she quickly finished up what she was working on in the kitchen and went up to her room. The room was a peaceful excursion, from the havoc downstairs. Gina took off her clothes and placed them nicely on the bathroom counter, sluggishly getting into the shower. She was tired from all the work and the tormenting thoughts of her own mind. She pulled the dial, welcoming the soothingly warm water. Gina made a relaxing sigh and turned to allow the water to massage her back, while she dove into her mind. The shower is the perfect place to think. Well Gina, today was far from delightful, she spoke in her head. I think I finally understand though. Kimberly's lapse in happiness had subsided for a while there, after Julia's gift and them making up. After the trial was over, everyone was overjoyed. So now I understand why she has been different, and had been having those nightmares. She wants everyone to be happy. All these bad things keep happening to her, and the little disputes amoungst the family seem to upset her heavily. Kimberly's faith in the "good" of the world was harmed by all the events she had to experience. The poor girl. No child needs any of this to happen to them. It's not fair. Craig....my son....I feel extra sorry for you....because it's all my fault. Gina crossed her arms, seemingly protecting herself, and leaned against the chilly tile, resting her muzzle as well. "I'm not strong enough to stand up to my mother....after everything thats happened to me....", she whispered saddily, wishing she had the courage to tell her poor son directly. "I can't forgive myself for what I've done to you....and I can never expect for you to forgive either. I know the pain and the suffering. There was never a moment I didn't experience it. No child deserves anything like that, and no good mother could hurt their own like that. I don't deserve his love. He has been a great boy, and has made me so proud, but I no longer deserve anything", she continued whispering painfully, feeling like she was going to cry again. Disconnecting from her thoughts, she got off the wall and grabbed the soap from it's holder to wash herself. Her mind refused to be shut out so quickly, and thoughts rushed into her mind to give their commentary before she ended. Craig was not just suffering, he was sad. Her fear and cowardice was going to fix nothing. Gina took a deep breath and quickly finished her shower. Once she got out, she dried off in a haste and threw on her shirt and underwear. She walked to her bed and flopped onto it, carelessly throwing her blanket onto herself, being too exhausted to continue worrying, and fell asleap quickly.

As the evening approached, guests began leaving and family members started to congrigate inside for a late dinner. Tonight was basicly all the leftovers from the previous night and today's little party. Michael had been returned to his mother, as cute as she left him. The three Trensetters and their personal guest, took their place at the couches for another Monopoly play-off. Uncle Nick and to the group's surprise, Christi, had come to play. Gina had not woken up yet from her nap, so Christi had personally served the group. Craig found it uncomfortable, but he could sit normally now. He had been much more quiet since earlier and Kimberly noticed it like a giant pimple on the end of someone's muzzle. Ron and Julia had found themselves being a little preoccupied with their loving relationship, and ended up having a much better day then the rest of the family. The six had the board setup and got the final preparations ready.

"Hey Kim, I think you would want this", Julia said as a joke, passing the metal puppy to her sister.

"Naturally", she replied with a smile, putting her piece on the GO square.

Christi gave the cards one last shuffle. "Been a while since I've played Monopoly. I wonder how badly I suck at it now", she said with a chuckle, leaning over to tickle the muzzle of her Michael, who was sitting in his seat directly next to her feet at the end of the couch. He wasn't strapped in, so he could move freely.

The game started and the property rush commenced. Kimberly rolled low and ended up with Baltic, already seeing where this game was going. The group wasn't about to let Nick take Boardwalk and Parkplace again, and by a stroke of luck, Ron got a piece of the set, being boardwalk specificly. He teased Julia with it and thwaped her nose with the card.

"I'll shove that card where you don't want it if you don't place it back on the table", Julia giggled.

After a while, Nick was the first to go bankrupt. Monopoly wasn't very merciful, and attacked with awkward irony. With last night's superpower out of the way, Julia was the last master remaining. Ron was doing a lot better then last night, and everyone else was sitting on an equal platform. The game was longer then it was last night, with everyone holding on by a thread or a one hundred dollar bill, but it eventually came down to two. Kimberly and Ron. Kimberly stayed in with lucky roll, after lucky roll. Ron was far above her in value, and it would take some effort to pull through. Parkplace was up for grabs, and both parties were trying to grab it before the other did. Craig was the last to fall, and his properties were still fresh. Kimberly declared bankruptsy when she began to get disheartened by Ron's cash. Now the two love-dragons were the masters, leaving Kimberly to laugh at her own near win.

Gina sat up in bed, realizing she had slept for a good three hours. She needed a nap, but still felt uneasy for some reason. She figured she might have had another nightmare, and thanked everything living that she didn't remember it. Flicking on the light, Gina grabbed her magazine to relax till her children came. The sun was almost set, making a dark orange glow on the window blinds. The evening was cool and it felt like the weather was returning to what it had been yesterday. Craig was still a primary thought, but she had done her damnedest to block the sadness effects of what she did. If she didn't try to repress the memory, like she does all the memories of her childhood, she might go nuts. Gina read most of her magazine before her two daughers returned for the evening.

"Ah, so you woke up", Julia commented when she came in, having found her asleap earlier.

"Yep. Don't know how I'm going to sleep now", her mother smiled, happy to not be alone anymore.

Kimberly didn't waste any time getting comfortable and placed her excess clothes next to her bed and slipped under her covers. "Ron won the game tonight. I still lost", she said with a tiny chuckle, placing Charlie next to her head, looking into his fuzzy face, finding it cute.

"She lasted the longest. I didn't do so well tonight", Julia said from inside the bathroom, muffled by the door. She wrestled with her uncooperative bra strap, but eventually got it off and got comphy for the night.

"I guess I'd better get you four a Monopoly set huh?", Gina guessed while Julia got into her own bed.

Craig and Ron wandered down the hallway to their room, sober this time. With Julia not around, Ron began to notice Craig's passiveness and thought about mentioning it to him. Ron didn't want to push his luck though, since Craig's nerves were probabbly thin. Ron flicked the light on when they walked in, and both got a quick memory of earlier when they saw the lit room. Craig stood at the side of his bed and slipped his jeans off, obviously not wanting to sit if he didn't have to, and quickly got into bed, finding more relief then he did all day. Ron wasn't expecting to rush into bed so quickly, and got more worried by Craig's actions. Ron tried to think of some things so say while he tossed his pants beside the bed, and got under his covers.

"You don't have to be so quiet man", Ron said in a somewhat supportive way, looking to get Craig to snap out of it, when he reached over to click the light off.

"I'll be as quiet as I feel like", Craig snapped in an irritated way.

Ron didn't appreciate that answer, but felt something should be said that was still sort of nice. "If thats what you want", he replied with a lower tone.

Craig made something equal to a sigh and a growl. "Just don't worry about me, I'll be fine", he said in a nicer way, appologizing in a sense for what he had said.

"Ok. Good night Craig", Ron wished, flicking off the light and snuggling into his bed. Craig did the same, and tried to block out all his thouhgts to fall asleap fast.

Everyone began waking up around seven, from a peaceful, well deserved sleep. Gina and Kimberly were spared from their nightmares, and the two thanked their minds by not thinking of it. The girls started getting washed and dressed for the wedding at noon, with the boys doing likewise in thier own room. The comfort of a new day had quieted the noisy minds of the group. Craig was still slothful and quiet, and Ron knew there was nothing he could do to assist his friend. Gina, Julia, and Ron went downstairs for breakfast, and Kimberly and Craig stayed behind to finish their showers in their repective rooms, enjoying the quiet. The hustle and bustle away from your home makes you yearn for peace, especially when you haven't had such a good time.

Gina and the other two found the downstairs already busy with their relatives. Ray and Eliza couldn't see eachother before the wedding, so their parents and siblings were doing the final preparations. Eliza was preparing with her family in her room, and Ray was doing the same in a different room in the opposite wing. The kitchen was already in full use, making the act of getting a simple slice of toast impossible. Ron and Julia decided that waiting sucked, and went out back to watch the preparations and enjoy their morning together. Gina on the other hand, got herself a mug of already brewed coffee and went to the dining room, which was being used as the family meeting place. Her dad was sitting at the long table, working on some finantial papers, and smiled at his daugher's company.

"Hiya sugar", he affectionately greeted, stopping his work for a moment.

Gina took the seat next to him and moved it closer. "Good morning. You get stuck with the desk job?", she greeted back, adding a joke to go with it.

"Yep. Your mother and Eliza's mother are upstairs getting the wedding dress ready, and Nick and Ricky are out back setting up the chairs and platform. Your brother is talking to his best man upstairs too. I've been pretty bored in here by myself!", he explained, ending with a hearty laugh.

Gina thought for a moment and choked. She wanted to talk to him about what her mom had done to her so long ago, and what she had done now, but she froze, just like all the times she tried to talk to him when she was little. The fear could not be stopped, avoided, or ignored. It was there, and had been there and long as Gina could remember.

Her father's cheerful expression changed a bit when Gina didn't give a witty reply back. "Something the matter?", he asked.

"Oh, sorry....it's still kinda early for me, I'm getting destracted", she appologized, adding a smile at the same time to repair the atmosphere, taking a sip of her coffee.

"I was the same way when I got up. Need my coffee!", her dad laughed playfully back. Gina appreciated his cheerful additude, and it made her feel just a little more at ease.

"Just think Ron. You'll be standing infront of a minister on a decorated platform like this one someday", Julia said quietly, not so secretly daydreaming about the two of them.

Ron crossed his arms and laughed. "Yeah. I guess I will be. I wonder with who....", he said with a smile, stroking his muzzle in fake thought to mess with Julia.

Julia smacked him lightly on the arm and laughed. "Yeah, I wonder", she said with happy sarcasm. They were standing on the other side of the pool, on the grass a tiny ways from the waterfall in the pool. Before them, was a plain of cozy grass, with a new additon. Numerous white chairs and a fancy platform at the head of it all. Red carpeting, a decorative arch with flowers and vines, made it all so perfect in Julia's mind. The poolside tables were going to be used as part of the party afterwards, and so will be the grassy area the two were standing in. The poolside was going to be for the traditional cake feeding and the party itself, and there would be dancing and chatter amoungst the grass. All this stuff was rented the day before, and the Caterers would be arriving in about three hours, bringing the foodstuffs, cake, and utensils. The two wandered back to the poolside and took a seat where they did the previous morning. Some tables had been moved, so that the large buffet table could be placed along the middle. The other tables went around the left and right sides of the pool, since they really needed the room for this long table. The morning was gentle and cool in the early sun's orange glow, allowing the lovers to embrace in a kiss that woke the two up for a long day.

Within two hours, everything was a chaos. Everyone was awake and running around, with a few important guests showing up early to assist their friends. Gina sent Kimberly upstairs to give Eliza a status report. She didn't want to, but didn't argue outright. Making her way upstairs and into the rear corridor, she went to the room which she was told was Eliza's with the few papers she needed to deliver. She tapped on the door twice and opened, trying to be as polite as possible so she wouldn't start any trouble with this bitch. She walked in to be glared at angrily as expected.

"You can go check up on dad, I'll be fine for the time being", Eliza told her mother, carefully taking a seat so she wouldn't mess up the work they had done on the dress. Only her mother was present in the room, and once she left, Eliza went straight into her more arrogant nonsense. "Did I give you permission to come in here?", she growled at Kimberly.

Kimberly made a small sigh, holding back her anger. "These are...", she had begun, before she was interrupted.

"Did I give you permission to be in here you filthy pup!? Answer me!", she screamed, jumping out of her seat.

Kimberly sneered, baring her teeth with bulit up rage. "Shut up and listen damn you!!", she shouted in reply.

Eliza grabbed the front of Kimberly's shirt with both her hands, clasping it hard in her fists and holding them close to Kimberly's neck, making it diffucult to breathe. Kimberly gasped when she grabbed her and cringed when she pulled, dropping the papers to the floor. "Stupid little pups like you have no repect for those better then you!! I deserve the upmost respect from you, understand?!!", she screamed in rage, out of character for the frail girl in the wedding dress.

"Let me go right now!!", Kimberly screamed, strugling to get Eliza's hands off of her. Eliza threw her hard, making Kimberly land flat on the back of her tail. She scrambled to her feet screaming, "Don't you ever touch me you bitch!!!".

"I give the demands here! I have the money and the power! You're just a poor dragon, raised in a half-assed family, with a pothead and an idiot for a mother! How dare you walk into my house and give ME orders!! If I tell you to jump, you'll do it off my roof!!!", Eliza retaliated before Kimberly could continue with what she found to be futile.

Kimberly had enough of listening to this crazed woman. "Fuck you!!!", she cussed outright with an upset and angry sounding voice, going to the door in a huff and slamming her fist against the door before she bothered to fling it open.

"I don't want to see you at my wedding you useless cunt!!", Eliza assaulted back right before Kimberly slammed the door. She stomped down the hallway, angrier then she had ever been. She could have delt with being insulted, but she went way too far when she insulted her family.

"Hey Gina, the Caterers are here already! We don't have to slave in this damn kitchen any longer!", Christi told her playfully, happy to have been liberated.

"Then I'm going to hang out in the livingroom for a while", Gina said with a relieving sigh. She headed out and sat down with Ron and Julia. "Have any of you seen Craig this morning?", she asked the two as she took a seat across from them.

"Yeah", Ron answered, with Julia quickly following up.

"He's been wandering all morning", Julia added.

"Well, it's good to know I guess", Gina replied, looking away a tiny bit.

Angrier then a high school assistant principal, Kimberly tore ass down the stairs and out of the house, making her way around to the back. Enough was enough. She made it to the back of the house, and commanded her boiling nerves to stop for a moment. Difficult to stand still with this much anger, she took a look around. A giant cake caught her eye, and the thought of retrobution raced through her head while she made an evil smirk. Last time she required such retrobution, she torched a boat, so this wasn't going to be hard at all. The cake was the largest she had ever seen, white with so many layers and careful desings, and a replica of Ray and that bitch on top. This was all too perfect, Kimberly chuckled in her mind, staring at the long table with the cake and other trinkets. There were people off working on the wedding area, and a few others on the back porch, but she thought this could be done fast enough. She innocently went down the side of the house a bit, grabbing the hose and turning on the water. The hose had a sprayer attacked to the end, and Kimberly knew this was going to be funny. Kimberly walked with a calm and determinded additude, looking particularly innocent. When no one was watching or close by, she raised the nozzle and changed her expression to her evil little smile, beaming with revenge, putting full pressure on the trigger. A strong jet of water blasted apart the cake for two seconds, before the while thing collapsed and blew itself to the ground. There came a frantic scream from the house, causing a few others. Kimberly ran the jet across the table, ruining anything else she could and threw the hose into the air, taking off running. She fled as quickly as she could, making a distance before the nozzle even hit the ground, hearing the angry and confused screams from the back porch and the sounds of being persuded. Kimberly failed to think of what she was going to do after she ruined Eliza's plans, and just ran like hell, suddenly realizing how frightening being persuded was. She made it to the front of the house, looking to evade them all by fleeing to her room, since the front entryway was a quick way to get there. However, as soon as she turned the corner, she winced in sudden realization, finding another persuder infront of her. Before she could issue her legs the command to high-tail it, her grandmother caught her in a restraining hold and slammed her against the wooden railing of the front porch. She practicly lifted her off the ground, catching Kimberly's gut against the rail, causing her to make a cough when the wind was knocked clear out of her in a painful way. She was thrown hard to the ground, falling to her side, cluching her stomach and coughing, trying to get air back into her chest.

"Damn you!! You've ruined everything!!", her grandmother screamed in rage above the painstricken dragon. Her other persuers had either left to tend to the damages, or had just arrived. Unfortunately, someone she didn't want to see again came from the front door.

"Stupid pup!! You goddamn bitch!!", Eliza screamed when she darted out of the house and across the porch. When she reached Kimberly, she grabbed her forcefully and pulled her off the ground to her feet, squeezing her arm to make sure she cannot flee. "Do you have any idea how much money all those things you destroyed cost??!! I knew you were a horrible pup!! I knew it!!!", she screamed franticly in Kimberly's face.

Kimberly recovered a bit and sneered at Eliza with a small growl, using some of the air she just got back. "I told you not to touch me", she said in a low, injured tone, reminding her that she wasn't as invincible as she thought.

Eliza growled and stared in unrelenting anger at the young girl that had ruined what was supposed to be the best day of her life. Then she got a notion of revenge herself. She smirked and grabbed Kimberly's wrist with her free hand. "I think this will cover some of the damages!", she said, clasping Kimberly's silver bracelet.

Kimberly got a shock to her chest. "Don't you dare touch that! Get off!!", she demanded, refusing to let her get something what meant so much to her. The two sneered and growled at eachother, strugling over the band around Kimberly's wrist.

"Give her that!", her grandmother demanded, which was naturally ignored.

Then a new voice shattered everything. "Kimberly, give her the bracelet", her own mother ordered with a solumn tone.

Kimberly froze, halting her strugle, but still keeping a firm grip on her posession. "...what?...", she said confusededly, not believing her mother would say that.

"Give it to her", she repeated, making sure she was clear.

Kimberly couldn't believe her mother would make her give up something she knew was so precious to her, and stared at her with an upset confusion. Eliza yanked the bracelet from her wrist, being that Kimberly did as her mother had told her. Her eyes welled with tears and she darted towards the house with a sob, throwing her hands to her face. Gina's mother shot her another look, and Gina set off inside to confront her daughter. Gina was furious that Kimberly would do this when she had asked her to behave, not exactly being mad at the act itself. She felt pity or worry for her little one, knowing she only did rash things like that with a reason. Gina went up the stairs and down the hallway with a haste, wearing a face of determination, and deeply hidden sorrow. When she encountered the door to their room, she slowly took the knob of the door, and actually found it unlocked. She quickly opened the door and went in, closing it behind her. Kimberly sat on her knees underneath the window, crying hard with her hands on her knees and pointing her muzzle downward, with her Charlie staring at her from her side. Gina took a second to observe, then went back to what she was thinking. She walked quickly into the room, grabbing a belt she had dropped beside her bed that morning, and stopped a very short ways from her heavily crying daughter.

"Kimberly, go downstairs and appologize", her mother commanded, with a slightly lower then commanding tone, being the one she gets when she was forced to do something by her mother.

Kimberly cried for a few seconds more before sobbing out a reply. "...No", she answered within her tears.

"I'm not asking you. Go downstairs and appologize", Gina insisted.

Kimberly turned around on her knees and looked upwards to her mother with drowning eyes and a tear stained muzzle. "NO!", she affirmed with a high pitched cry, making her anger rise.

Her mother gripped the belt, sneering slightly at having her orders denied. Before she could yell at her, Kimberly exploded into a frenzy.

"I can't believe you!!", she screamed with a high pitched outburst, using all the engergy she had to vent her anger through her frenzy of crying. "You knew how much that bracelet meant to me!!", she screamed again, bursting into a relentless explosion of crying. She clenched one of her mother's pant legs, grasping it with all her will, pulling it as she bawled. "You took her side instead of mine!! It's all because of grandma!!", she assaulted. Gina froze, with all her muscles tightening and her heart aching, at her daughter's frenzy. "You do everything she says, even if it's not right!! That bracelet represented the love of our entire family and you give it away!!!", she screeched, hitting her fist lightly against her mother's leg. Kimberly jumped backwards, getting off her knees, and got to her feet, staring at her mother through the tear's blur. "You're not my mother....", she said quietly, staring at her with fear and pity.

"I...", her mother mumbled, shocked to the point of sickness by her daughter. She didn't have anything to reply with, at all.

"....My mother is gentle and kind, and would never do the things she has done this weekend. You're not her....you're something created by your own mother....", she wimpered sadly, out of her anger's energy, "...and I want her back". Kimberly made a few sobs and paused. "I don't care what you do to me! Nothing will hurt more then what you've already done!", she cried, reaching her paws behind her to undo the button above her tail, ready to submit to what her mother had clasped in her hand.

"Kim, wait", her mother said solumnly, with her tone like that of what she usualy used, while using the short version of her daughter's name to go with it. Kimberly stopped short, and let go of the button before she unlatched it, looking up with watery eyes, that somehow looked happy and hopeful. They stared at eachother for a few moments untill Gina pulled every nerve in her body together, giving her will a boost that it has never had. "I'm sorry. I know you had a good reason for doing what you did, thats your nature. I'm scared of my mother, and you'll find out why in a moment", she said with a new kind of determination, beaming with her motherly love, ready to fix something that should have been fixed a very long time ago. She tossed the belt to a pile of her clothes and set off for the door, motioning for her daughter to follow, with a reassuring smile.

Kimberly started walking, liking the answer she had recieved from the mother she knew. "Welcome back mom", she said with a hint of rising happiness, wiping her eyes and stopping her sobbing. Her mother stopped at the door and waited a moment for her daughter to catch up.

"Thanks", she said, fueling herself off the love of her children. What she planned to do, she could never have done when she was small. Not only was she no match to the painful hand of her mother, she was also missing a part of herself, that sat lonely and dorment in her mind. That space was to be filled with the joy, happiness, and love of her kids, and the warmth of being a mom. She felt the courage now, to stand up to someone she had been frightened into control by. Making up with Craig would be no easy endeavor. Her mind was flooded with damaging repressed memories, but also had powerful good ones, that gave her the happiness and power to do her best to make things right for someone she loved so much. To Kimberly's surprise, her mother walked past the stairs and continued, but didn't say anything. Gina threw open the door to her mother's room and went to her suitcase, pulling out the rod that had smited her, and her son, and walked out the door for the staircase. Kimberly had never seen her mother so determined, and had stopped her crying quickly for her sake. She felt proud that she was going to make things right, even how difficult it was going to be. When they went down the stairs and into the livingroom, they found it empty and heard voices from the diningroom. The other guests were out back while the wedding deliberations went on, and only a few relatives were still inside the house. They approached the main enterence to the diningroom, and Gina slid the double sliding wooden doors open with a slight bang. Everyone standing around the table tossed their looks to the door, surprised by such a loud intrusion. Kimberly leaned her left shoulder against the door frame, hiding a bit of her body from view, being particularly scared by some of the people in that room. Gina stepped up to the end of the table, since mostly everyone else was around the other side of the room by the kitchen enterance.

"Are you looking to wreck my doors too?!", Eliza shouted in her frustration.

"Gina, you did as I wanted?", her mother asked, seeing the cane in her daughter's hand.

Gina ignored Eliza and took her mother's words as a perfect intro. "No mother, I did not", she said proudly, smiting her mother with words she did not expect, especially not in such a rebellious way.

"Excuse me?!", her mother growled, taking her voice into her controling one, and taking a forceful step foreward to the left side of the table.

"I'm not doing a damn thing!", Gina growled back, joining her mother on the side of the table.

"After everything to raise you, this is how you treat your family?!", she yelled. Her father was watching from the kitchen entrance, baffled by what was going on, while Eliza, her parents, and Ray watched. Kimberly heard something behind her and turned to see Craig and Ron, staring almost blankly at what was going on. Kimberly turned back to the argument, being how important it was right now.

"You did nothing to raise me! You ruined my childhood!!", Gina screamed in long repressed anger, shocking her mother by not cowering to her words. "You did nothing but hit me and torture me!!", she screamed even louder, making the occupants of the room and those outside of it become far more confused.

"I can do whatever I want!! You were far from perfect, and deserved everything you got!!", her mother retorted, trying to affirm her power.

"No child deserves anything you ever did to me!! I could never sit without feeling pain, or play without sore paws!!", Gina screamed with all her might. "Spankings, canings, paddlings!! All you ever did was hurt me!! Why don't you tell dad how you used to lock me in the basement, tied to that pipe?! You did so many cruel and inhumane things to me that have left scars that will be with me for a lifetime!! Not to mention all the so called punishments that I can't even mention!! You're a sick, sick woman to try and use fear and pain to mind control me, and make me turn against my wonderful children!!!", she screamed in relentless anger, saying what she wanted to say since she was seven.

Kimberly felt a tap on her shoulder. "Sparkle, Sparkle!", said the happy voice of her sister. She turned her head and gasped with her mouth open, with a smile that could part the sea. Her bracelet rested in the protective hands of Julia, who was smiling proudly. "You got it back!", exclaimed the overjoyed Kimberly, turning completely.

"You could say I stole it from Eliza's room when I heard the news, but then again it is yours, so I guess I'm really just returning it", she chuckled with a smile. Kimberly clasped the bracelet back on and hugged her sister, noticing that Craig had disappeared. Her grandmother growled loudly all the sudden, and the two girls turned to the door to watch.

"How dare you tell ME whats right and wrong!!! You're supposed to do everything I tell you to!!! You're a horrible daughter, and you always have been!!!", her mother screamed, taking a sudden lunge at her Gina. She threw a hard slap, only to have it not hit anything. Gina had grabbed her arm and pulled back the cane in her other hand, giving her mother a sudden shove, bringing the cane sharply across the side of her muzzle with a crack and a yelp.

"Never again", Gina said deeply, taking the cane in both hands and breaking it in two with a slam on her knee. Her mother took a few steps back, holding her hand to her muzzle, afraid of Gina. Finaly, it was the other way around.

"You're no better then that stupid girl!", Eliza shouted at Gina, who continued to ruin "her" day.

"Shut up you stuck up bitch! That "stupid" girl is one of the finest people I know, and I am very proud and grateful to have her as my daughter!", Gina snapped in Kimberly's defense.

"She's right Eliza", said Christi sternly when she walked in from the kitchen. "Kimberly is responcible and kind, and I don't appreciate all the crap you've put her and her family through! Our money doesn't make us better!!", she shouted at her sister, getting something off her chest.

Eliza growled, very unlady-like. "You're all against me!! Dammit, I want you and your kids gone, pronto!!", she demanded, pointing her finger at Gina.

Gina made a small chuckle. "I always thought I was the black sheep of the family. Now I see that I'm one of the few who isn't", she said aloud.

"You've never done anything good you ungrateful bitch", her mother growled, refusing to be quiet.

"All my life has been a great adventure. While you have always shot me down, I have always gotten back up. I've given birth to three children, who really are "perfect". Children make mistakes, and hurting them isn't right. I couldn't even be a parent, remembering everything you did to me. A childhood is golden, and you took mine away from me. You're fortunate I grew up as good as I did, having such a fuck for a mother", Gina said with prejudice, laying it on her tormenter hard.

"I hate you. You were supposed to do everything I ever said. I don't ever want to see you again! You're a failure!!", her mother fired back.

"I did as I pleased, and tried to please you at the same time. That was a waste of time. The only thing I failed at was keeping my children safe from myself, with you near me", Gina said sternly, with no fear or doubt whatsoever. Gina turned and walked to the door, passing through it's arch liberated. The past was meaningless now, and she had the present to take care of. "Oh, and Ray,", she said with a smirk, turning her head around, "if you thought my marrage was short lived, just wait and see how your's comes out with that hoe", she laughed, recieving a dirty sneer from her brother. She walked quickly to the stairs and went down the hallway with Ron, Julia, and Kimberly following. "Come on, we're leaving", she said with a smile. "Pack your stuff fast, I wanna get out of this hell hole", she chuckled when they reached their room. When Julia and Kimberly went inside, Gina asked Ron, "Could you wait with Julia for a short while? I need to talk to Craig, alone".

"Of course", Ron said with a low voice, sad for hearing about her childhood, and went to the girl's room.

Gina continued down the hall and opened Craig's door quietly, finding him packing his things already. She shut the door and walked in slowly, since they had not spoken for a day. Craig stood up from his packing and didn't say a word. His mother embraced him tight, begining to cry lightly. "Craig, I'm so sorry!", she appologized, dripping a set of tears onto the back of his shoulder.

Craig held nothing back. He started to cry himself, against her chest, no longer caring about his pride. The boy wanted his mommy, and his wish was granted.

"I know how much it hurts, trust me, I do", she assured him in a teary voice. "It goes away in a few days, but the pain that stayed in my head never left untill today", she whispered to him. "I couldn't protect you from myself, and I hate myself for it, and I never expect your forgiveness...", she sobbed, patting the back of the one she had hurt.

"I will forgive you", he said quietly, surprising his mother. "I didn't know your life was such hell. You didn't hurt me, someone else did. She brainwashed you, and I can't hold it against you", he explained sadly, having now known the whole story.

"Craig, I don't deserve your forgiveness!", she said, not knowing why he wasn't going to be angry.

"You've always been there for me, and I love you for everything you've done. You had reason for your actions. It hurts, but I refuse to hold this against you. This was my fault. You raised me to be kind and forgive, and that's what I'm going to do. I'm sorry for what happened to you when you were little...", Craig expressed, finding personal comfort with his own words.

"You make me so proud! I promice I'll make this up to you!", she sobbed, looking into his eyes with a smile.

Craig smiled back, happy to have a mother again. "Let's get out of here", he said, wanting to pick up the pace.

"Damn straight!", she said in a glad way, giving him a kiss on the muzzle before she went to her own room. Once she went in, Ron smiled and left, knowing all was well. Gina sat down next to her bed and started gathering any loose clothes, placing them back into her suitcase. This weekend had been a hell, that was for sure, but she was glad to have finally freed herself from the haunting memories. Kimberly had finished packing, placing Charlie in last so he wouldn't get crushed. She smiled with relief at the bracelet residing on her wrist, glad to still have something so important. Within a short amount of time, everyone was ready to go, and they made their way downstairs and outside. Once they made it to the car and begun putting thier things into the trunk, they were greeted by those who still wished to say goodbye.

"I'm going to miss you all, especially you Kimberly", her aunt Christi told her happily, holding Michael in her arms. "Michael's going to miss you too. You're going to be a great mommy", she added with a chuckle.

Gina's father arrived then as well, approaching her daughter with a distrought look. "Gina....", he said as a sigh, "I never knew".

"You didn't need to be burdoned with such unhappy things...you're too joyful a person.....but really, I just never had the courage to say anything", Gina replied.

Her father paused and looked into her eyes. "I just told your mother I'm divorcing her", he said sadly, shocking the hell out of his daughter. "I can't live with her, after all the things she said, and had done to you in the past", he added, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry...", Gina said with a sigh of her own.

"It's for the better. We'll be able to see eachother then", he said with a half smile, still uneasy with what he did.

"I love you daddy", she said with a full smile, giving him a hug.

"I'll try my best to keep in touch too", Christi added.

"I'd miss you if you didn't", Kimberly chuckled.

When all was said and done, the group said their last goodbyes.

"Bye everyone! Say bye to Kimberly", Christi said, holding Michael's paw to get him to wave in a cute sort of way.

Kimberly giggled before she got into the car. "Goodbye aunt Christi, bye Michael. I hope I see you again!", she said, getting in the backseat.

Craig, Julia, and Ron as well, said their goodbye. "Tell Nick goodbye for us, and that playing Monopoly with him was fun", Ron asked Christi to tell her father.

"Sure thing", she agreed.

"Well dad, we're off", Gina said, giving him a kiss goodbye.

"Take care honey. I'll see you soon, ok?", he said, sad to say goodbye, but promicing to see her again shortly.

"Okies. Bye", she said with a big smile, getting into her seat and closing the door. She started the engine and pulled out of the grass she parked in, turning the car with the road ahead of her, and her good family behind. Their grandpa and aunt Christi waved goodbye, along with the little Michael, as they drove away, back to their personal sanctuary.

On the way home, Kimberly told the story of what Eliza did to make her go off the deep end and trash her wedding. Everyone got pissed, but ended up laughing at the end result. Ron and Craig let Julia in on what happened to him quietly, and she was sort of shocked and worried, though Craig insisted he was fine. Everyone talked and joked on the way home, finding nothing in their lives to be more then they could handle. When they arrived home, they unpacked and lounged, caring not to do anything. Ron felt like a member of the family, and that was fortunate, since his mother was not successful in getting him back home. He was going to be a resident for the time being, and Julia and Kimberly didn't care about sharing a room any longer. Craig held true to what he said, and forgave his mother, with her swearing that she'd make it upto him, no matter what. Everyone was happy and carefree, finding a moment in their lives when everything was just a-ok.

The dragon threw Kimberly to the ground, face first. When she got on her hands and looked over her shoulder, he pointed the gun and pulled the trigger, as he did before, but something happened. It just clicked. He fumbled with the gun as he did when it really happened, and Kimberly got to her feet with an angry determination. She knew she was in a dream, and wanted to end this for the last time. Kimberly shouted, causing an explosion of power around her. Derek dropped his gun in awe, and took a few steps back, away from the angry girl, glowing from her mind's own determination to wipe him from her subconcious. She extended a hand, and fired a wave of energy, created by her lust for salvation, obliterating the rapper's body and the entire rear end of the house. The beam soared into the sky and split the dark clouds, destroying any bit of darkness that remained in her mind. A bird chirped, and the keeper of Kimberly's mind, herself, smiled at the beauty of what has become, and wondered of the marvelous dreams that will follow.

Kimberly awoke with no jolt, no scream, no twitch. She lightly opened her eyes and smiled, before she closed them and nuzzled her head into the pillow, falling into a peaceful slumber.