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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Lobster Shack

Ivy lay sprawled on the floor, while worried people gathered around her.
"Mother," Amanda called, "Mother, are you all right?"
Julian rolled his eyes, "Oh please. She's just being melodramatic."
Ivy groaned and opened one eye, "Amanda?"
Amanda leaned back, "Good, you're awake. Do you remember what happened?"
"Uh…"
"You fainted."
Ivy's eyes widened, "You said that you were marrying Noah Bennett!"
"It's what's commonly known as a joke, Mother," Amanda sighed.
"Oh," Ivy said breathlessly, as she stood up, "Right."
Julian, meanwhile, was studying Noah as though the young man had just crawled up out of the sewer. "A Bennett," he grumbled under his breath with a shudder.
"Excuse me?" Noah asked him, annoyed.
"Nothing," Julian smiled sweetly, "Ivy dear, if you're done dusting off the floor of this damned place with your jacket, we'll be going."
"But we haven't eaten yet," William protested.
"I can't stand it here a moment longer!" Julian exploded.

William drew himself up to his full height and stared his father down, pointing furiously a his backwards baseball cap, "I AM A REBEL! HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO UN-REBEL-IZE ME IF YOU DON'T SPEND ANY TIME WITH ME?!"
Julian cringed, "You're right son. Ivy, stay and have dinner with William."
He hurried out without another word.
Ivy let out an exasperated sigh, "William, go sit down."
"But Mother-"
"GO!"
William harrumphed and headed off in search of an empty table. Ivy tapped Noah on the shoulder, smiling sweetly at him.
"What now?" he asked, irritated.
"Can I have a minute to speak to my daughter please? Just a minute?"
Noah sighed and stood up, "I'm going to the bathroom to wash my hands."
He disappeared into the crowds. Ivy turned desperately to Amanda, "Amanda, PLEASE reconsider this. You're making a terrible mistake-"
Amanda rolled her eyes, "Mother, please. Don't tell me who I can and cannot date based solely on social class. I couldn't care less what Father and Grandfather think."
"It's not the social class…" Ivy sighed, once more thinking of Sam, "It's just…you can't date a Bennett."
"Why the hell not?"
"Based on…personal experience…ah…it will never turn out well."
"I think I'll be the judge of that," Amanda said darkly.
"Look," Ivy glared at her, "You dating Noah Bennett just brings back unpleasant memories for me, and I will not stand for it! Do yourself a favor and end this now before it gets out of hand!"

Amanda crossed her arms and stared her mother down, "Mother, what is it you're not telling me?"
Ivy coughed, "Ah…nothing important darling. Just please, be careful."
"But-"
"You're brother needs my attention," Ivy sighed, "Good night Amanda."
She hurried off to locate her unusual son.
Amanda narrowed her eyes suspiciously, but changed her expression into a watery smile when Noah returned.
"Interesting, huh?" she laughed.
Noah shook his head, "I've never seen anything like that. Your mother just keeled over. Is she all right?"
"She'll be fine."
"Why was she acting like that?"
Amanda threw her arms in the air, "Who understands the ways of the rich and famous? Certainly not their children. That sort of personal information is reserved for people who know all the dirt."
"Like who?"
"Well, usually, it's the housekeeper, or someone along those lines-" she paused.
"What are you thinking?"
"PILAR!"
Noah blinked, "Huh?"
Amanda was grinning, "Of course Pilar would know!"
"Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald? Theresa's mother?"
"She has been working in that house for years. She must know everything."
"Well-"
"Let's go talk to her!"
"Now?!" Noah exclaimed, "She's probably sleeping!"
"Those with the weight of the world on their shoulders rarely sleep."

Noah sighed, "You really are crazy, you know that?"
"I've been told as much."
They were silent for a moment, before Noah finally shrugged, "Fine. Let's go find out."
Amanda grinned as they rushed out of the Lobster Shack, leaving the startled waiter behind, holding their orders.




Crane Cottage

Finally Luis and Sheridan managed to roll to the table.
"Now what?" Sheridan grumbled.
"Come on," Luis urged, "Just roll into the table a few times. Let's see if we can knock the phone onto the floor."
"I can't believe this…" she sighed as they rolled forcefully into the table leg, "OW!"
"Sorry," Luis said through gritted teeth, "Try again."
They rolled into the table once more.
"This isn't working," Sheridan said finally.
"Just try one more time."
She groaned and pushed off once more, ramming them into the table.
"See?" she scoffed, "It didn't work."
The phone suddenly dropped off the table and landed square on her head.
"OW!"
Luis bit his lip to keep from laughing, "Guess it worked."
Sheridan glared at him, "Now how do you plan on dialing? Using our noses?"
Luis paused, glancing down at the ropes that bound them together, "Ah…"

Sheridan sighed, "This is hopeless. We're doomed to be stuck here forever."
"I'm sure someone will wander in at some point. They always do."
"Wait!" Sheridan suddenly smiled, "I've got Pilar on speed dial."
"Why do you have my mother on speed dial?"
Sheridan shrugged, "I've got a lot of people on speed dial."
"Am I on speed dial?"
"Luis, you live here."
He grinned, "What about when I don't live here?"
"You live with your mother. Obviously you're on the speed dial."
Luis smiled.
"Anyway," Sheridan continued with a small laugh, "If we can just manage to push the number two, I can call Pilar."
"Okay," Luis nodded, nosing the phone over towards her.
Very carefully, Sheridan punched at the power button with her nose. Luis snorted with laughter.
"What's so amusing, Officer?"
"I've never seen you try and dial a phone using your nose. It's…a sight."
She huffed with laughter and attempted to peck at the number 2. Finally she was successful and the phone began to ring.

Pilar's sleepy voice suddenly floated through the receiver, "Hello?"
"Pilar!" Sheridan exclaimed desperately, "Pilar, we need your help."
"Dios mio!" Pilar exclaimed, "Sheridan, what's wrong?"
"Ethan and Amanda tied Luis and I together, and we need you to come untie us," Sheridan felt somewhat foolish explaining their predicament.
"Dios mio," Piar said softly, "I will be right over."
She hung up. Sheridan nosed at the power button until the phone was turned off. Then she raised her eyes to meet Luis', which were only a matter of centimeters apart from hers.
"She's on her way."
"Good," he whispered.
"Yeah," she replied softy, unable to tear her gaze away.
"You know," Luis' voice was barely above a whisper, "There is one good thing about this situation."
"And what is that?"
Luis was very serious as he leaned forward and captured her lips in a kiss.




Lopez-Fitzgerald Residence

Pilar sighed as she hurried out the front door. So much for getting some rest…
"Pilar!" a voice startled her from the bushes on the side of her house.
Pilar jumped, "Dios mio! Who's there?"
Amanda and Noah stepped up to the front door, "Pilar, it's Amanda Crane and Noah Bennett."
She sighed, "Amanda, so good to see you again."
Amanda hugged her old caretaker, "Same here Pilar. We've all come up for the wedding."
Pilar looked nervous, "Ah, yes, the wedding."
"You look nervous Pilar," Noah piped up.
"Oh Noah!" she exclaimed, hugging him, "Your parents did not tell me that you would be coming up as well."
Noah shrugged, "Why am I not surprised?"
"Amanda, Noah, what exactly are you doing here so late?"
Amanda and Noah exchanged glances.

Amanda cleared her throat, "Well, Noah and I were at the Lobster Shack together, when my mother showed up. She behaved rather…oddly when she saw the two of us together-"
"To put it mildly, she fainted," Noah piped up.
"Dios mio!" Pilar exclaimed, covering her mouth with her hand, "Is she all right?"
"She seemed fine," Amanda shrugged, "What I'm more interested in is *why* she fainted."
Pilar shifted uncomfortably, "How would I know?"
Amanda crossed her arms and stared the older woman down, "Pilar, you've been the housekeeper there for as long as I can remember. You're also my mother's most trusted confidante. OF COURSE you know."
Pilar sighed, "I don't think Mrs. Crane would approve of this conversation. I must go."
"Where are you going?"
Pilar shot her a knowing look, "To Sheridan's cottage."
Amanda paled, "Why? No need to do that! Let the woman get some sleep!"
"I received a very urgent phone call, Amanda. It appears that two individuals burst into the cottage and tied my son to your aunt," she smiled faintly.
Amanda sighed, "I should have taken the damn phone."
"If you'll excuse me-"

Amanda grabbed her arm, "Pilar, PLEASE tell us why my mother was so distraught to see me having dinner with Noah Bennett?"
Pilar winced as she studied the two in front of her. Ivy's daughter and Sam's son. Good god, this was a nightmare. "Please, just forget anything happened. And-"
She took Amanda's arm and whispered urgently in her ear, "Please, try to reconsider your actions."
"WHAT actions?!" Amanda practically screamed, "Why is everyone telling me that?!"
Pilar sighed again, "Amanda…Sam Bennett's son might not be the best choice-"
"I'll make my OWN decisions."
"It will only cause unnecessary stress in everyone's lives-"
"WHY will it cause stress? Please, I would really like to know what the big deal is!" Amanda begged Pilar.
Noah cocked his head to one side, "Is my father going to have the same reaction as Ivy Crane when he finds out?"
Pilar shook her head, "Please, forget any of this ever happened."
"He is, isn't he?" Noah persisted, "I think I've figured it out!"
Pilar studied them both with a worried expression.




Bennett Residence

"Kay," Simone grumbled, "I don't see why we couldn't just use the front door. You DO live here."
Kay glanced up at her friend, who was dangling halfway through the upstairs window, "You're almost there! Stop complaining!"
Finally Simone managed to crawl inside the window, where she collapsed breathlessly on the floor. Moments later Kay climbed up the side of the house and scurried inside the window, collapsing next to her friend.
"As I was saying…" Kay grinned evilly, "I don't want anyone to know we're here."
"And I suppose no one heard us crashing our way into your house?"
"Stop being so negative Simone. We're going to drive Charity insane tonight!"
"No we are not. You are going to attempt some stupid plan and I'm going to go along with it and then it's going to fail and we're going to look like idiots."
"No we're not! Before the night is done, I am going to have Miguel all to myself!"

Simone shook her head as they stood in Kay's room, while her friend rummaged through her dresser drawers.
"I don't see why Noah couldn't just stay in the Bed and Breakfast," Kay grumbled as she kicked her brother's luggage out of the way.
"You better hope he doesn't come home early from his date."
Kay grimaced and pulled out a coil of rope, "I have been planning this for a while."
Simone sighed, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to tie up Jessica."
"WHAT?! I thought you were trying to drive Charity insane, not your little sister!"
"You'll see Simone," Kay was smiling wickedly, "You'll see."
Then, armed with flashlights and a coil of rope, they made their way into the room that Charity and Jessica shared.




Lobster Shack

Ivy sat awkwardly in front of her son, attempting to engage him in conversation.
"So…William…do you do much skateboarding at school?"
He glared at her and stuffed his cheeseburger in his mouth.
Ivy delicately ate a bit of lobster, "William…"
"I'm eating Mother," he said through his mouthful of food.
"Well," Ivy sighed and gulped down a glass of wine, "Then I'll tell you all about Harmony. I'm sure you don't remember much about it."
"Of course I don't," he harrumphed, "I've been at boarding school my whole life."
"Well…the Chief of Police is named Sam Bennett. No matter how you two get along when you meet him, I want you to keep in mind that he is a WONDERFUL MAN. He just…has trouble expressing his true feelings sometimes. But don't ever get angry with him! He works hard to protect everyone who lives here-"
"All right," William said crossly, "I get it. He's a great guy. Can we move on to another topic please?"
"Well what would you like to talk about?"
William thought for a moment, "Aunt Sheridan."
"What about her?"
"Why does she only have one bodyguard? If her life is in danger, I don't see why-"
Ivy cut him off, "Don't even go there William. It's a fight you will never win. Please."
William glared at her again, "Fine."
"Fine."

William smoothed his freshly-pressed shirt, "I think that the food here is terrible!"
"That's what you get when you order a cheeseburger in a seafood restaurant. If you wanted burgers, we should have gone to the Burger Hut."
"You never gave me that option MOTHER. You said we were going to the Lobster Shack," William spat hatefully.
Ivy sighed, "Yes, I suppose I did. I'm sorry William, tomorrow you can pick where we eat. All right?"
William took another bite of his cheeseburger.
Ivy sighed. This was going to be a long night.




Bennett Residence

"I gave Charity a sleeping pill."
Simone gaped at her friend, "Where'd you get a sleeping pill?"
"The medicine cabinet. Anyway, she'll sleep through anything now," Kay giggled.
"Now what?"
Kay suddenly pounced on the sleeping form of her sister, slipping a blindfold over Jessica's eyes and stuffing a sock in her mouth.
"MMPH! MMPH!" Jessica squalled, but she could have no idea who it was who was overpowering her.
"This is terrible," Simone whispered to herself, shutting her eyes.
Kay quickly tied Jessica up so that her sister was squirming sightlessly on the floor, without any use of her arms or legs.
"Help me," she whispered to Simone, as she began to drag Jessica towards the stairs.
"I can't believe I'm doing this," Simone muttered as she followed along. Behind them, Charity slumbered peacefully on.




Crane Mansion

Ethan sat in his room glumly going over the wedding plans. His gaze landed on a memo on the bridesmaid's dresses that had been written by Theresa. He heaved another heavy sigh.
"I can't believe Gwen is postponing the wedding again," he said in a low voice, "I don't know how much more of this I can take."
Then he sighed and shut off his light, sliding into bed and closing his eyes, dreading the dreams of Theresa that were sure to come.





Lopez-Fitzgerald Residence

"I think I've figured it out!"
Pilar was studying Noah with a panicked expression. *Could he know Ivy's secret?* she wondered nervously.
"Ivy Crane is worried about the difference in social class. And my father will be worried because he hates the Cranes!"
Pilar breathed a sigh of relief, "Yes, I suppose that is it."
Amanda laughed, "Is that all? Why couldn't you have just told us that before?"
Pilar shrugged, "I…I suppose I was just sleepy, that's all. Now I need to get going-"
"Oh yes!" Amanda chuckled, "You have to rescue my aunt. Noah and I will go with you!"
"We will?" Noah asked, confused.
"I want to see this…" Amanda rubbed her hands together and smiled, as she, Noah, and Pilar made their way down the street.

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