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Episode No. 20 - New Dreams

written by V R

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About this story

Published: 09 Feb 2000 | Size: 29 KB (5618 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 2.4/5   2.4/5 (123 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

That Night

She stands there, between them, "You’re mom said it’s ok" lingering in the air, the two of them looking like deer caught in headlights, when she was the one actually caught. "He has this strange power over me," she thinks. She had thought it before and now she lets out a small, sardonic smile as she enters the car reflecting on how she has yet to learn her lesson when it comes to Jordan Catelano. As she smirks and gets in, slowly, in a manner automatic yet natural, she pulls her hair behind her ear, giving Brian Krakow, straddling his bike a few feet away, a clear glimpse of her smiling face.

As soon as she settles in the car she thinks, "My god what am I doing here," and any ironic humor she may have found in the situation quickly disseminates. Her head is filled with a million questions and answers all at once. About Jordan, Brian, herself. She tries to push them all down, to focus on the moment at hand. Alone, in a car, with Jordan.

He does not say a word as he drives away from the Chase residence, though he occasionally, cautiously glances in the direction of the passenger’s seat. His own whirlwind of thought has subsided and he has only one on his mind. Perhaps for the first time in his tumultuous teenage years, he has found a bit of clarity. This quirky young woman who almost always looks at him with the most remarkable adoring eyes – he loves her. His elation almost surfaces, but he is still Jordan, so it does so with a small smile as he concentrates on the road.

Soon, the big red convertible is in the high school parking lot and Jordan cuts the engine.

Angela has failed miserably at keeping focused and continues to run certain moments of the past few weeks over in her brain as if they are scenes from a movie. Reading the letter, Rickie painting sets, Brian on a bike, Jordan holding her hand, "it’ll just make you feel worse…"

How could I possibly feel worse? – that is what she had thought at the time. What more could possibly happen to her. How could Jordan ever do anything worse?

Jordan fidgets, tousling his hair a la Angela, obviously nervous. Angela sits and stares forward, aware of Jordan, but ignoring him. He turns toward her: "So, your mom is nice."

"Nice! Nice. Ha, hardly."

Jordan continues to get more and more nervous. "She, like, listens. And she gave me milk." This prompts more silence from Angela. Jordan’s resolve, however, is unbroken. He is a man of few words and this seems like the hardest thing he’s ever done. But they are his own words this time: "I’m… really… um, glad we’re back together. It was, I was… I was really wrong. Really stupid. Angela? (softly) Thank you."

Still facing forward, Angela thinks: Sorry for what? For sleeping with my best friend? For discussing it with Brian Krakow? For letting Brian write this incredible letter? How could he ever apologize for everything he’s put me through? He doesn’t even know everything he’s put me through. How could he possibly apologize for everything that’s happened?

Finally, quietly to Jordan she says, "take me home."

"Angela?’

"I can’t do this, tonight. Now. I have to go home."

"Ok."

Back at the Chase house, Jordan stops the car. He turns to her, moving in close as she continues to stare straight ahead – not angry, just lost in thought and slightly sad. He saddles in closer, as if to get her attention and she does turn her head slightly, acknowledging his action. Slowly, sweetly with pain and fear he reaches up and gently runs his fingers through her hair in a motion not un-similar to one she would use on herself.

From the exterior of the car, Brian views this intimate moment from his perch in a nearby tree, but he begins to jump down and misses the moment’s end as Angela pulls away from Jordan’s action, away from him toward the passenger door. "This whole, thing has been one long, stupid… waste. We have to stop. To stop, like, hurting each other. I have to stop being hurt, Jordan." With that Angela gets out of the car, Jordan looks stunned. As she turns from the car, Brian is right there, his attempt to slip away quietly totally thwarted in a bumbling Brian-like fashion. It’s all too much for Angela to take at this moment. Jordan has not moved, he sits in the car watching her, and Brian stands there too, on the sidewalk at the base of the tree, looking at her.

Angela lets out a frustrated ugh! and flees to her house.

Inside, Patty, an anxious, excited smile on her face, approaches the door. Surprised to see Angela, she asks, "Back so soon?"

"I don’t want to talk about it Mom. Ok?"

"Ok, fine."

Angela opens the fridge. "You gave him milk?"

"I did."

"Mom?"

"Yes, honey?"

"You love Daddy, don’t you?"

"Of course I do. Angela…?"

"I’m going to bed." Angela makes it up a few steps then turns around to face her mother who has followed her from the kitchen to the base of the stairs. "Do you ever regret it? Not being with someone like Tony Poole anymore?"

At that the noise of a car approaching and turning into the driveway is heard.

"Never mind. Good night." Angela bounds up the stairs as Graham opens the door.

Now, instead of an excited smile, Patty greets her husband at the door with a quizzical look.

"What?" Graham asks as he enters the room.

"Angela," is all Patty replies.

"Oh."

"So, how was it? Tell me everything!"

Graham replies with a big smile and a kiss. The two then pull into a hug and Graham remembers another hug he shared that evening. Trying to shake it off, he holds his wife tighter. Patty does not notice the change in his demeanor as she kisses him again, grabs his hand and leads him up the stairs.

 

 

The Day After

The school feels like it’s just waking up from its evening slumber. A few kids begin to trickle in, meandering toward their lockers – it is early yet, no one is in a hurry, no one in fear of the bell ringing. Sharon shoves a stylish bag into her locker, grabs a notebook, checks her bangs in a small mirror in her locker and purposefully closes the door. She begins to walk down the hall to a different part of the school. This hallway, however, and its row of lockers, looks exactly the same as the area she just left. Here too are a few wandering students, perhaps a few more now that it is getting later. Sharon’s look of confidence withers a little; her purposeful walk replaced with part disappointment, part awkwardness.

She walks up to a nearby bulletin board and feigns interest, eyeing a passing student who does not seem to notice her. After he passes, she walks the length of the hall, stops at certain locker, walks back to the bulletin board and does a little turn, as if mocking her own indecisive pacing. This a passing student does notice and he gives her a little sneer.

The hallway begins to fill as the day looms ahead. Sharon continues to reside in her corner of the hall, trying to not garner too much attention. Now, the hallway bustles with activity and a first bell rings. Sharon begins to look anxious – she is not one to be late. She does one more pace-lap down the hall, pausing again at a specific locker. As the halls begin to clear and students enter the various classrooms, Sharon cannot stand it any longer. She begins to walk quickly, gradually going faster and faster toward her homeroom. As Sharon runs down the hall and turns a corner, Rayanne meanders slowly toward her locker – the one Sharon was stalking, seemingly unaware of the bell now ringing or the bustling kids around her.

As a bell rings and the hall clears, Mr. Katimski and Rickie rush through the school doors. Mr. Katimski runs around the metal detectors and without acknowledging Rickie, he heads toward his classroom. Rickie obligingly succumbs to a search by a school security guard and then heads down a separate hallway at a quick pace.

* * *

It’s still fairly cold outside, though spring is looming. Rayanne ignores this fact and takes her brown bag outside to a group of picnic tables. From inside the school, Sharon notes that Rayanne’s usual bustle of energy has been lost. She walks slowly, and to Sharon looks smaller than she has in the past – and much more alone.

Rayanne dumps the contents of her bag lunch, a Lunchable and unwrapped cookie falling with a thud on the table. She then pulls a can of soda out of her massive bag and climbs onto the table’s bench. Inside, Sharon makes note of those surrounding her, and though jacket-less, she exit’s the building toward Rayanne.

"Look, Cherski, I’m not in any mood to be all… teenagery today, ok."

"Ok… So, you want me to go?"

Quietly, after a pause, Rayanne says, "No."

Sharon deliberately mimics Rayanne by dumping her lunch onto the table, a wrapped sandwich, small Tupperware with some sort of salad in it and a fruit fall out. As the apple roles toward Rayanne, she grabs it, takes a bite and hands it back to Sharon. Sharon smiles as she takes it from Rayanne and also takes a bite. The two share a laugh and lean in to begin a conversation.

"So, seen any Brad Pitt movies lately?"

Inside the school, Angela walks past the glass-windowed doors Sharon and Rayanne have both recently exited. Through the doors the two can be seen talking and laughing, but Angela walks by without noticing, a note clutched in her hand.

I had been obsessing over Jordan Catalano for so long, it was like a part of my life. Like eating, or brushing my teeth. I didn’t know another way of life. That was the obsession part. The part where he was actually in my life, that I could never get used to. It’s like… the obsession part, the part where I could imagine this perfect boyfriend really was better than the reality. I guess the lesson is that I was a fool to ever trust Rayanne Graff on any topic, but especially on love. The fantasy was better. I’m through idolizing people.

Angela passes the door to the boiler room, still clutching the note, turns a corner and bumps into Rickie. "Oh my god, I am so glad it’s you, Rickie," she says as she gives him a big hug. "I just want you to know that you are a great friend. Thank you, for telling me the truth, for always being there for me, for not letting me down. Thank you." They hug again and Rickie seems like he’s holding onto his friend for dear life.

"So I am going to break up with Jordan. For good. I am done with him and that letter. Well, not the letter. I don’t want to think about the letter. I can’t, like, handle thinking about the letter."

"Oh, are you…"

"See this?" She holds the note she has been clutching up to her friend.

"Is that the…"

"It’s from Jordan," Rickie tries to peer over the piece of paper to see what it says. Angela instinctively pulls it toward her. "No, it’s actually from Jordan. I am supposed to meet him, like, now. In the boiler room. I should go. I mean, I know what I am going to do, so I should just go. Now. To the boiler room."

"Well…"

"You’re right. I’m going. Thanks Rickie." She gives him a quick kiss and hug and runs back toward the boiler room door. Two guys, one in a school letter jacket, who have witnessed this kiss, laugh at Rickie as Angela takes off. Rickie looks up at them, attempting a look of defiance, then turns away and walks down the hall, and again he looks as sad as he did when Angela was first hugging him.

Outside, Rickie passes a sign marked "Employee Parking", looks around to make sure he has not been spotted, takes keys out of his pocket, and though there is an electronic car door opener on the key ring, he uses an actual metal key to open the car door. He sinks into the seat, tucking his hands into a new-looking jacket in an attempt to keep warm.

Angela is descending the stairs as she too tucks her hands into her baggy sweater for warmth. As the door slams closed above her, she hears a stirring from below her and assumes that Jordan is waiting.

His resolve is still high, and he is determined to meet with more success than he did the previous night, so as soon as he see it is in fact Angela walking toward him, he begins to speak:

"Angela? Angela, I am sorry. Sorry for everything. I didn’t write that letter. I mean, the, like, things in it, they were all true. But the letter, itself was, like, not. Ever since… God why did I do that?… I’ve been trying to figure out how to get you to forgive me. And that guy Brain," he looks up at her glaring face for the first time, "he wrote the letter, he had like, all the words. It’s what I would have said, if I was… But I guess if I was smart enough I wouldn’t have… done what I did."

Slowly, in an attempt to remain steady, Angela begins, "You lied to me. You slept with my best friend. Every moment has been a battle. I get that you’re sorry, but you must see that this is messed up. We’re… a mess. I don’t think we were ever meant to be. Goodbye Jordan." With that Angela turns to leave.

"I love you, Angela. That’s why…"

She turns, and looks at him. For him, there is no turning back. "I just want you to know that. And I want us to be together."

Her chin begins to tremble as a single tear falls down her face. "I can’t be with you, Jordan. It’s been… too much. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. How can that be love? I am sorry you’re hurting. I’m sorry." Angela runs up the stairs and down the hall, not noticing Brian right behind her as she exits the boiler room. For his part, Brian slows his pace, not wanting to be seen.

Jordan has not moved from the ledge on which he has been perched this whole time, only now he seems to sink into himself as he fights off tears.

Rickie quietly re-enters the school, his head low, looking in deep thought, or deeply sorrowful. He passes an "Our Town" poster which he had hung up just days before, one corner of which is drooping down. He slowly runs his finger along the edge of the poster to re-affix it to the wall. Standing there, staring at the poster, he remembers the day Rayanne auditioned for the play and he and Angela had been there to support her. It seemed like so long ago and so foreign to him now.

Determinedly he heads toward Mr. Katimski’s classroom where he sees his teacher and friend talking to a student. "Oh, hello… Rickie." (pause) "Kim," he says as if he has just remembered the girl’s name, "and I were just finishing up. I suppose you’re here about your paper as well?"

"Um, ok," Rickie says as he sits in one of the first row desks.

Kim and Mr. Katimski speak for a while longer, then she leaves. After she has gone, Mr. Katimski gets up and closes the classroom door.

"Everything, ok? You look somewhat …bummed?" Katimski lets out a small giggle – amused at his use of the colloquial.

Rickie fidgets in his seat, looks down at the desktop, then back up at Mr. Katimski. "It’s just… No. I know I shouldn’t be bothering you. I know I am supposed to keep everything secret and I understand. I really do. And you and Joseph have been so kind to me. And how do I repay you? I’m in here, talking to you, in plain view of the whole world."

Mr. Katimski smiles down at his young charge. "The whole world happens to be in class right now. And I’m sorry. Sorry if I ever made you fell like you can’t talk to me. What we talked about, keeping everything quiet until we figure out what to do, that’s important. But the most important thing is what we’re trying to figure out," Mr. Katimski moves closer to Rickie’s desk, leans in and puts his hands on Rickie’s shoulders, "how to keep on being a family," he says with a smile, and Rickie smiles, too. "And in this family, we talk to each other. You can always talk to me."

From outside the classroom, Mr. Forester, the school principal, peers into the English room. Something has caught his eye.

"I hate… all my friends, Richard. Rayanne, for …what…she…did. Angela, for like, having only one thing on her mind, when there’s like this whole other world going on around her. Even Brian, is like, so obtuse, that’s a word, right?, that I like…Am I a horrible person?

Mr. Katimski lets out a small, sympathetic smile as Rickie continues, "They think they’re the only one’s with problems. And… it’s like I only exist if I can help solve one."

"Your friends love you, Rickie. I am sure of that. I’ve seen it. Things just aren’t the same as they used to be. For any of them, or for you. Give it time son, it will all sort itself out." On the word "son" Rickie’s demeanor brightens noticeably. However, the bell rings and Mr. Katimski says, "We’ll talk later, ok. At dinner?" Rickie nods and heads off to his next class.

Students are pouring out of all classrooms and as Brian attempts to exit his, two girls, talking and giggling together, essentially push him out of the way in order to exit the room together. With a look that’s only part frustration, it is part resignation too, Brian exits the room behind them.

With his head low he heads toward his next class. The trek is routine for him, and right now the routine holds comfort. As he is passing the band room, through the bustling noise of the hallway, he hears a specific voice. He looks up to see Angela turning the corner and walking toward him, waving to Cory as he heads in another direction. Brian is caught for a second, frozen in his steps. He has not spoken with her since she came home with Jordan last night, and he had almost convinced himself that he could manage to avoid her forever.

This being his goal, he bounds into the empty band room, confident he has not been spotted.

He’s wrong.

From outside, Angela too has a moment of indecision, standing there watching Brian so obviously trying to dodge her. Part of her longing to turn the other way and continue avoiding him, part of her dying to shake the truth out of him. It is this notion, this anger at him, and at herself, for never having seen the truth, never having really known him, that leads her into the band room.

Brian tries so hard to be casual. "Oh, hi Angela." If he cannot avoid her for the rest of his life, at the very least, he can avoid the situation. "Band. Practice. I mean the band isn’t practicing now, so I was going to …practice. Um, so how’s Jordan?"

He has this ability, Angela thinks, to always, without fail, say the completely wrong thing. Why does he make me so mad?

"Brian, you are unbelievable! How’s Jordan? Jordan? You want to talk about Jordan!"

"Well, it’s all you ever seem to want to talk about," he shouts back. "Why should today be any different!" The second bell rings indicating that it’s time for the next class. Brian brushes past Angela, saying, "I have to go to class," and exits the room.

Angela plops down in the nearest metal folding chair and stares ahead of her, the fight with Brian running through her head. It is finally all too much for her and she begins to cry.

In the hallway, for the first time ever, Brian does not head for his next class. Looking almost fearful of being in the hall with out a pass, he hurries to his locker, grabs his jacket, looks around to make sure he has not been spotted, then begins to walk quickly toward an exit.

Sharon has entered the bathroom after her last class, which is already crowded with girls. Patiently, she waits on line, obviously in need of the facility. The room is particularly crowded and Sharon begins to be anxious that she will be late for her next class. Suddenly, Rayanne bounds in. "Thanks for holding my place, Cherski," she says as many of the other girls turn to look at her in disdain. Sharon acknowledges their stares with an apologetic smile. Rayanne defers to Sharon when it is her turn and Sharon enters a stall as someone exits. Directly afterwards, as a girl in a Liberty High cheerleader’s jacket enters the bathroom, Rayanne also enters a stall. The cheerleader heads directly for the mirror, it is not so crowded now, as the room has cleared out a bit. She checks her face, roots through a fashionable purse and begins to reapply her makeup.

From inside the stall, a newly energized Rayanne begins to sing, "Sunny day, chasing the clouds away…" Again the girls in the bathroom begin to smirk. Sharon exits her stall.

"Oh my god, Sharon! How are you!," the cheerleader asks. Without waiting for a response, "Did you hear about Todd and Shauna?" Again, no response seems necessary.

"Can you believe that girl," she says as she point in the general direction of the Sesame Street Theme, "She is like so weird." She says this as if it is the worst insult. Within the stall, Rayanne responds by singing louder and in a more bluesy fashion.

"So anyway, come on Sharon, I’ll tell you about Todd. And hey, what’s up with you and Kyle. Kyle is so cute. You are so lucky." As she grabs Sharon’s hand, Rayanne bursts out of her stall.

"Oh my god," she says, mimicking Sharon’s friend and looking right at her. She then turns her gaze to Sharon and says, "hey."

"Nice voice," the cheerleader responds snidely as she pulls Sharon through the door. "Come on Sharon, let’s go." Without looking up at Rayanne, Sharon follows the cheerleader out of the bathroom, just as the bell rings. Rayanne is left standing alone.

Slowly fixing her hair, Rayanne waits for the halls to clear before exiting the bathroom. She heads for her locker, slowly, deliberately, almost hoping to get caught. Stopping to grab her coat, Rayanne heads out of the school.

Outside she takes a seat on the top bleacher and snuggles into her coat. If at lunchtime she felt alone, now she feels alone and abandoned. The thought that it is all her fault keeps repeating itself in her head, and she thinks about her night with Jordan, about how she admired Angela so much that she risked everything to just try and feel like her for one minute -- to be like her for one minute. It hadn’t worked out like that, of course. It had been quick and ugly and awful. It hadn’t been love, and she was beginning to believe that that was because she was incapable of being loved.

From her perch atop the bleachers, Rayanne sees a figure turning the corner from the opposite end. Almost immediately she recognizes the distinctive blond curls and surprise over witnessing Brian actually cutting class gives her own thoughts a moment’s pause. For his part, Brian does not notice Rayanne, and with his head down he climbs a few rows and takes a seat on the opposite end of the bleachers from where she is sitting.

For a minute she just watches him. She has heard him cry before, but never seen him do so. Right now, it looks like he might.

"So, Krakow…," she begins and he jumps as he realizes he’s not alone. Looking up at her he looks so lost and so sad that Rayanne doesn’t complete the sarcastic remark that has been her routine with him since she became friends with Angela. Instead she gets up and heads toward him.

Quietly, as she sits down next to him, she says, "Hi."

Looking at her cautiously, he responds, "Hey," attempting to sound upbeat. It lasts about a second and he is on the verge of tears again.

"So, Brian," she says and for a instant Brian flashes back to a phone call he made on Christmas Eve, "can I give you any advice on cutting class? I assume this is your first time?"

Ignoring this Brian begins, "so you finally have a reason to hate me." Her jokes have always made it fairly obvious she can't stand him and now he feels that at least it is justified.

"I don’t hate you," she says. "Um, I mean, why should I hate you?"

"It’s like all my fault," he says matter-of-factly. "If I hadn’t seen you. Do what you did. None of this…"

"Brian, what I did... That couldn’t stay secret. Besides, think about it. You had nothing to do with it. Jordan and I," she pauses, she has never said ‘Jordan and I’ before and it makes what she did seem all the more real and all the more terrible. "Jordan and I really screwed up. We’re to blame. We’re why she’s hurt and miserable. I’m the one to blame."

"She’s like back together with him." Again he tries to state this as a matter of fact, but his voice breaks a little at the end of the sentence. "I wrote this letter for him and she totally forgave him. I even saw her coming out of the boiler room before."

Quietly, as Brian continues, Rayanne begins to cry. At first he doesn’t notice. "They like went out last night – on a school night. And she loved this letter. His letter. My letter. See, I wrote it for him…" Finally he turns to see her crying.

"She’ll never forgive me," she says, "and she probably never should. But I did one really stupid thing. Really stupid. And he has treated her like crap, like, forever. I don’t understand."

"He like just has to smile at her and she smiles back. I wish I knew what that’s like." Rayanne looks up at Brian and he at her and both are a little surprised at the honesty of his statement. "She completely yelled at me before. She like hates me."

In class, Angela is lost in thought. She remembers first meeting Brian. They are five and both standing in front of the ice cream truck. Behind them, Patty and Bernice are shaking hands and introducing themselves. Young Brian drops his ice cream and Angela laughs. At nearly the same spot, years later, Angela and Brian are playing catch. Again a clumsy Brian drops the ball. As Angela passes him to get it she says, "Just wait ‘til it happens to you…" A year or so before, they are in a darkened theater, The Bicycle Thief on the screen. Angela leans over to Brian to ask a question and, pointing at the screen, Brian explains. As she pulls back to her seat, Brian smiles wide. Finally, she thinks again about the night before and about "the person who wrote the letter." It’s like pieces of a puzzle have come together and Angela slowly smiles.

"We could like start a club… ‘The People who love Angela, who Angela hates’. What do you say, you and me Bri?"

"I wish like one thing in my life was not about her." Rayanne looks up at him. His feelings are pouring out in a way he has never let them before, and Rayanne is surprised to be the one receiving them.

Quietly she replies, "I know exactly what you mean." The two stare at each other and share a long look, realizing just how much they have in common.

"She has this power over people," Brian says as he looks into Rayanne’s eyes.

"No, Brian. She just has this power over us. And Jordan. Because we care about her. And because when she cares about us we feel good about ourselves."

All this openness has given Brian a modicum of bravery. He thinks about what she has said, then replies, "we shouldn’t need her to feel good about ourselves. I have the highest GPA in school," again this is a fact, not a boast. "And look at you. I mean… look at you." Rayanne actually smiles shyly, to Brian’s surprise and her own. "You know Rickie invited me to a rehearsal last week. He said I could sneak in and sit in the back as long as no one saw me. You’re really good. You really get what Wilder is trying to say. You really are Emily."

They look at each other and Rayanne is overwhelmed by his kind words. Quickly, she grabs his face and begins to kiss him, hard. Brian, of course, is startled and pulls away. His face is still in her hands and the two smile awkwardly, searching each other’s expression. Slowly they move back in and share a soft, sweet kiss.

 

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Average: 2.4/5   2.4/5 (123 votes)
  • Kats commented on 23 Feb 2000:
    I really loved this story, I thought it was incredibly well-written and captured the spirit and feeling of the show that some other fan fiction stories miss out on, including character development, and moments that were so totally touching and engrossing that I kept reading them over and over (the way I rewind certain parts to watch them over and over!). Thank you, this was definitely one of my favorites!
  • danisha commented on 25 Mar 2000:
    cool story.
  • April commented on 06 Aug 2000:
    This is a great story.When are you putting up the next part.I can't wait.
  • Joe commented on 09 Jan 2004:
    This is actually a pretty decent story. I don't really understand what attracted all the cruel remarks about it. Maybe it was the kiss between Brian and Rayanne at the end? While I do think they are making a mistake, I -also- think that within the structure of your story it is plausible.
    Granted, there are a few errors here and there grammatically etc. But I don't think they were anything so heinous as to warrant those remarks. The characterization was pretty decent and the story was interesting, albiet short.
    I would have like to see where this went. It's too bad it never continued. Hopefully my vote will bring this up past 5, it doesn't really belong down there.
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“I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"