Veronica awoke early the next morning. She rolled over and glanced at Stacie's empty pillow. "Stacie?" she called out warily. She stretched lazily and pulled the sheets up under her chin. "Stacie?" she called out again.

"I'm right here. Don't have a heart attack," Stacie said smugly while she walked in with a breakfast tray in her hands.

"Oh, you didn't have to," Veronica said, a slight rose color rising to her cheeks.

"I know. I wanted to." Stacie shrugged and placed the tray on Veronica's lap. She bent over and tenderly kissed Veronica's lips. "Morning," she purred.

"Morning," Veronica chuckled. "Sleep well?"

"You have no idea just how well. You?"

"Alright."

"Alright? Just alright?"

"Compared to when?"

Stacie sighed and threw Veronica a teasing dirty look. "You're hysterical, babe, you really are."

"I know," Veronica said, sticking out her tongue. She picked up the mug of coffee and sipped gingerly, relishing the hot temperature and bitter-sweet taste as it slid down her throat.

"So, what do you want to do today?" Stacie asked.

Veronica swallowed her mouthful of toast before saying, "I don't know. Got anything in mind?"

"No, not really. I'm just glad that you're gonna be around. That is, if Marilyn—"

"Don't even get me started, Stacie. You know Marilyn wouldn't mind if I dropped dead this very moment," Veronica said, dripping her words with venom.

"Yes, well, I'm glad that won't come true. I'd miss you too much."

"Oh, come off it!" Veronica set the tray down and laughed. She rummaged around the room until she had gathered every shed article of clothing in her arms. "Um . . . we could always hang out with Jake and the gang."

Stacie shrugged. "Sure. That'd be fun. Want me to call?"

"Please? I'll be dressed and ready before you finish calling all of 'em."

"Okay. Get dressed, babe." Stacie bent over again and pecked Veronica's lips with her own before standing up and walking back towards the adjacent living room.

Stacie picked up the phone and dialed Jake's house. The phone rang three times before Jake picked up.

"Hello?" he asked yawning.

"Morning," Stacie beamed. "Wanna hang out today?"

"Stacie, do you have any idea what time it is?"

"Nine o' clock."

"What's the day?"

"Saturday."

"And you expect me to just get up like that?"

"Mmm hmm."

Jake sighed and chuckled softly. "You never change, do you?"

"Nope! I love being a pestering bitch."

"Yeah . . . the good old days."

"Yeah, the good old days," Stacie repeated sadly.

"Could there ever . . ?"

"No," Stacie said quickly and firmly. "No, there's never a chance of that happening again."

"But . ."

"It was a mistake, Jake."

"Hey," Veronica said, walking into the room. "What's keeping you?"

"Is that Veronica?" Jake asked.

"Yeah," Stacie said.

"She's still at your house?"

"Mmm hmmm."

"I see."

"What?"

"Have you gotten with her yet?"

"She isn't that way, Jake."

"Right. So, what's this about hanging out?" he said, quickly changing the subject.

"Oh, yeah. Veronica suggested the gang just chill. So, I figured I'd call you and get it all arranged."

"Yeah, sure. That'd be great. Give me some time while I rally up the guys."

"Great. See ya later."

"Bye."

"Bye."

Stacie hung up the receive and turned to Veronica. "Jake's gonna call the guys."

"Okay," Veronica shrugged, downing the rest of her coffee.

Before Stacie could do anything more, the phone rang. Stacie picked the receiver up.

"Hello?"

"Hey, this is Jake. Put Veronica on."

"Okay . . ." Stacie turned to Veronica. "It's Jake. He wants to talk to you."

"To me?" Veronica asked. She took the phone from Stacie's hands. "Hello?"

"Hey, something bad's happened."

"What's wrong?"

"It's Zack. Something happened last night. He got jumped by a gang of some sort."

Veronica's heart stopped. We did hurt him, she thought as tears ran from her eyes down her cheeks. "Is he okay?"

"He'll live, that's for sure. But . . . his spine . . . it got really hurt . . . he'll be in the hospital for a couple weeks. But, he'll walk still."

"Oh my gosh!"

"Yeah, Seriously. So, he won't be able to hang out. Is that alright?"

"What?"

"Is it…?"

"Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's fine. We could just run by the hospital and cheer him up."

"Yeah, that'd be great. He'd love to see you again."

"Yeah . . . ."

"Well, alright then. Later."

"Bye."

Veronica hung up the phone. "Stacie," she whimpered out.

"What's the matter, babe?"

"It's Zack . ."

"What about him?"

"Last night . . .we really hurt him . . . his spine . . ."

Stacie wrapped her arms around Veronica as Veronica broke down and buried her crying eyes in her shoulder. "Ssh," Stacie cooed. "It's alright. Everything will be alright. It was an accident. I'm so sorry, babe. Ssh . . don't cry . ."

A/N: Eh … that wasn't the best chapter but I needed it to set the rest of the story up. So, tell me what you thought of this chapter … just how bad it was … yeah … be constructive while criticizing though, that's all I ask. 'Til next chapter! –Damaged--