As the taxi drove up the long winding driveway, Catalina sighed as she stared out the window at the immaculately landscaped scenery. "Home sweet home." She muttered as the taxi came to a stop in front of the large house. Slowly she climbed out of the taxi and stared up at the three story stone mansion.

"Do you need anything else, miss?" The driver asked as he sat down the last of Catalina's bags.

"What?" Catalina was brought out of her musings as she turned towards the driver. "Oh no but thanks for asking." She said as she handed over a wad of cash with a smile. The driver looked at the bills with a shocked expression before offering Catalina a huge smile.

"Thanks miss!" He said with a small bob of the head, climbing back into his cab and driving off.

Once Catalina was alone she turned back to her perusal of the house. She took in the perfectly trimmed bushes bordering the walk all the way to, what she was sure, were spotless gutters. During her inspection the front door slowly opened and a blonde girl leaned against the doorframe, a smirk crossing her face.

"Are you planning on staring at the house all day or are you going to come inside?" The blonde called out after a few seconds when Catalina still hadn't noticed her.

"Bri!" Catalina squealed, hurrying up the stairs to the front door. "What are you doing here?" She grabbed the blonde in a huge hug.

"I heard that my little sister was finally coming home after a two year absence and I just had to be here to throw her the most awesome welcome home party." Brianna held Catalina at arm's length, grinning into the liquid gold eyes unique to Catalina. "How are you doing Cat?" Brianna asked, a serious expression crossing her face. "Everything okay?"

"Of course." A confused look crossed Catalina's face. "Why do you ask?"

"You left home so fast and I've barely heard a word from you since." Brianna gently reprimanded.

"I know I've been a bad sister." Catalina sighed. "I guess we have a lot of catching up to do."

"We sure do." Brianna agreed with a smile. "How about I get Paul to carry your bags up to your room so we can go into town and get some ice cream?"

"Sounds good to me." Catalina nodded in agreement. Brianna headed off to find Paul, their butler, while Catalina trudged up the stairs towards her old room with her carry on bag so she could change.

Pushing open the door to her room, Catalina found it to be exactly as she left it. Walking over to her king sized bed, she plopped down on the light blue comforter as she stripped off her light jacket.

Brianna found her several minutes later still sitting on her bed lost in thought. "Are you sure everything is okay?" Brianna sat down next to Catalina, taking her hand.

Catalina offered Brianna a watery smile. "I'm sure. It's just a little overwhelming being back here is all."

Brianna quickly pulled her younger sister into her arms, stroking her silky auburn hair. Closing her eyes, Brianna struggled with what to say to Catalina. Even though the sisters had always been close, Brianna had been hurt when Catalina had taken off without a word.

"So, are you ready to get our ice cream on?" Brianna asked with as much cheerfulness that she could muster.

"Get our ice cream on?" Catalina pulled back and looked at her sister with a laugh.

"I don't know." Brianna shrugged. "Sounded better in my head."

"Well then, let's go get our ice cream on." Catalina stood up and headed to her walk in closet. On her way across her room, she stripped off the tank top and sweat pants she had been wearing for the plane ride back home. Pulling on a pair of low rider jeans and an old Metallica concert t-shirt, Catalina emerged from her closet and grabbed a brush off her dresser. After running the brush through her hair until it shined, she turned to Brianna.

"Ready?" Catalina asked.

"As I'll ever be." Brianna put down the magazine she had grabbed when Catalina went to change and climbed off the bed. "Did you lose weight?" Brianna was able to see Catalina's figure clearly for the first time since she arrived home.

"A little." Catalina answered hastily. Slipping her feet into the sandals that she had kicked off upon entering her room, Catalina grabbed her purse and swung open the door coming face to face with Paul. For a second the both stared at each other in surprise.

"Good timing, Miss Cat." Paul said with a smile.

"Thanks Paul." Catalina smiled back. Paul and his wife, Rose, had been the ones to look after the girls whenever their parents were away on trips so the girls had a soft spot for the couple. "You can just set them over there." Catalina motioned to a spot next to the closet. "I'll unpack later."

Paul nodded his head and moved across the floor to deposit the bags he was carrying. "It's great to have you home. The house was way to quiet without you here."

"It's good to be back home." Brianna noticed that Catalina's smile became slightly forced but doubted that Paul noticed. "Please tell Rose hello for me and that I will come visit her in the kitchen after Brianna and I get back."

"Of course, Miss Cat. I'm sure she'll be excited to see you. She has been working hard on getting the snacks that Miss Bri asked for ready for your party tonight. You girls have a good time in town." With that said Paul sent the girls another warm smile before exiting the room.

"You've put a lot of planning in to this party, haven't you?" Catalina turned to Brianna.

Brianna blushed slightly. "Maybe just a little. As soon as I got your e-mail a couple of weeks ago, I got in contact with Rose and we started the whole planning process. You're lucky you picked a weekend that the 'rents are out of town."

"When aren't they out of town?" Catalina asked slightly bitter.

"True." Brianna nodded. Deciding not to push the subject of their parents any further, Brianna motioned towards the door. "Shall we?"

"I suppose." Catalina sighed dramatically before stepping into the hallway.

"Good to see that pretentious boarding school didn't take away your sense of drama." Brianna said dryly as the sister's made their way down the grand staircase to the foyer. Quickly they walked across the tiled floor to the front door. Once outside, Catalina wasn't surprised to see her sister's silver Bentley sitting in the driveway.

"Guess Paul was expecting us to head into town." Catalina remarked as they climbed into the car.

"He probably figured you would need a pick me up after the long flight you had." Brianna started the car and made her way down the long drive. "So are you going to tell me what made you leave so suddenly or do I have to continue letting my imagination come up with reasons?"

"That could be dangerous." Catalina sent a smirk towards Brianna.

"Very true, so you had better tell me the real reason." Brianna shot Catalina a warning look, letting her know that she was serious.

"Fine." Catalina sighed. "But I'm warning you, the story isn't filled with tragedy or romance or anything like that."

"Doesn't matter." Brianna shrugged. "I just want to know why my sister, my best friend, left with barely a goodbye and didn't find time to visit me the last two years."

"I'm really sorry about that Bri." Catalina willed Brianna to understand what she was about to tell her. "I never should have taken my anger towards our parents out on you."

"What are you talking about?" Brianna shot Catalina a confused look.

Sighing, Catalina launched into the reason she had been sent to Milton Preparatory School for the last two years. "As you know, I have always been a little overweight, wore glasses, and am fairly shy, preferring books to the company of people."

Brianna nodded, remembering all the times that Catalina had snuck out of a party that their parents had been throwing to find a quiet corner to read in. Of course this only happened after she had been subjected to multiple snide remarks concerning her weight and looks disguised as small talk.

"Well Mom and Dad finally decided that I wasn't living up the del Harlow name and they contacted a friend at Milton. Apparently this friend informed them that if they sent me to Milton, they would be able to reform me, making me into the perfect daughter. Plus this was a way for them to make me disappear during the 'awkward' teenage years. As soon as they heard that, Mom packed a bag for me and the Sunday following that awful school dance, I found myself on a plane headed to Milton." Catalina finished with a shrug.

Brianna couldn't believe what she was hearing. She knew how cruel teenagers could be, especially ones that came from money, and the fact that her shy little sister and been sent into a pack of privileged teens all by herself horrified her. "Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"I knew that if you found out, you would find a way to 'rescue' me. Trust me there were days that I prayed you would come and take me away from those horrible people but there was no way I was going to give our parents one more reason to look down on me. Besides, it wasn't all bad. I did lose the rest of my baby fat, learned how to wear contacts, and learned a lot more about society than I ever would if I had stayed here. I can now hold my own among Mom and Dad's peers, giving as good as I get." Catalina sent a smile at Brianna.

Noticing that Brianna still looked skeptical, Catalina placed a reassuring hand on her arm. "Trust me, Bri, this turned out to be the best thing for me. I finally learned how to stand on my own two feet. Even though I still prefer a good book to the company of people, I'm at least comfortable in my own skin now and have no problem being around large gatherings of people."

Brianna pulled up in front of the small ice cream parlor that was a popular hangout for the younger generation of Telego, North Carolina. Shutting off the powerful engine, she turned in her seat to face Catalina. Studying Catalina's face, Brianna tried to gather if Catalina was really okay.

"I still wish you would have told me. I could have given you some pointers on how to deal with the jerks that, I'm sure, were prevalent at Milton." Brianna finally said.

Catalina gave a small laugh. "I'm sure you could have but in the long run it was probably best that I figured it out on my own."

The two sisters smiled at each other before climbing out of the car. "Not much has changed, huh?" Catalina asked as she took in the presence of the small town.

"Nope." Brianna walked around the car and looped her arm with Catalina. "We like to keep things simple here in Telego."

"At least that means the ice cream will still be good." Catalina commented as they made their way into the shop. "Do you know how hard it was to find a good ice cream cone in California?"

"And yet, somehow you managed to survive." Brianna tried to hide the amusement in her voice but from the look on Catalina's face, she knew that she had failed.

Quickly the girls gave their order to the young guy working behind the counter. After they had paid for their ice cream they made their way outside to sit in the sun at one of the many tables that lined the sidewalk.

"Earlier you made the comment that you shouldn't have taken out your anger towards our parents on me. What did you mean by that?" Brianna asked as she licked the ice cream off the bottom of her spoon.

"I was pretty upset with Mom and Dad for being so callous and shipping me off to the other side of the country. I felt hurt, abandoned and all alone in a strange place. At first I thought that you might have had something to do with the decision to send me away. Deep down I knew…" Catalina held up a hand to stop Brianna's protests. "…that you would never do that to me but at the time I was hurt and willing to take it out on anyone. The first day I was there, I vowed to never contact anyone back home. I decided that if they didn't want me, then I didn't want them either. After I had calmed down, I realized how ridiculous that was and that's when I started e-mail and calling you."

Brianna took a moment to think about what Catalina had just told her. She tried to place herself in her sister's shoes, imagining what it was like to be all alone in a new place, abandoned by those who should have been the ones to protect her. Realizing that she could understand where Catalina was coming from, Brianna offered Catalina a smile, letting her know without words that all had been forgiven.

"I still don't know why you couldn't have come visit me at least once though." Brianna muttered as she took a large bite of her ice cream.

Catalina laughed at her sister's expression. "I probably should have but I wasn't ready to deal with the parents. I'm still not sure I am, that's why I chose a weekend that they were away to make my grand return."

"And here I thought it was because of the awesome welcome home party we could throw." Brianna sighed dramatically.

"You call me dramatic." Catalina said under her breath, barely loud enough for Brianna to hear her.

"What was that?" Brianna cupped her hand around her ear, an innocent look on her face.

"Nothing. Nothing at all." Catalina matched Brianna's innocent look, sending the girl's into a fit of giggles.

"I'm really glad you're home, Cat." Brianna reached across the table and took one of Catalina's hands. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." Catalina squeezed Brianna's hand. "So fill me in on the wonderful life of college." Catalina effectively changed the subject, turning the attention to Brianna.

Brianna's face lit up as she began to regale Catalina with stories from her first year at college. The sisters enjoyed the warm sunshine as they caught up on each other's lives. Soon their ice cream was gone and they knew that they needed to head back to the house so that they could get set up for the party that night. Slowly they gathered up their trash and as they were getting ready to get up, they were spotted by a group of people their age.

"Bri!" A petite brunette called out, waving them over to the group.

"Oh no." Catalina groaned as she recognized the girl as Cynthia, one of her main tormenters.

Brianna knew about the problems that Cynthia had caused for Catalina and she looked at Catalina with concern. "I can pretend that I didn't hear her and we can just leave." She offered.

Catalina shook her head. "One thing I learned was to never let the other person suspect that you fear or dislike them. It only gives them ammunition. Besides, look at how much I've changed. I doubt she even recognizes me anymore."

"You sure?" Catalina nodded her head in response to Brianna's question. "Alright then, here goes nothing." Brianna smiled reassuringly at her sister as they made their way over to the group.

"What's up guys?" Brianna asked as they approached.

"We haven't seen you in forever and we just wanted to say hi." Cynthia said with fake cheeriness.

"Okay." Brianna's eyebrows knotted in confusion. "You and I have never really been ones to say hi to each other so why the sudden change of heart?"

Cynthia had the grace to look slightly ashamed of herself as she turned to one of the guys sitting next to her for help. Catalina turned her attention to the guy also and inhaled sharply as she realized who it was. The guy was none other than Zach Denhardt, the guy who had crushed her heart two years ago.

"Actually I'm the one that wanted to talk to you." Zach said. "I heard that your sister was back in town and I was wondering if you could tell me how to get in touch with her."

Catalina was confused. Why would Zach Denhardt want to get in touch with me? She thought. Hasn't he done enough damage?

Brianna realized that none of the people seated in the small group recognized Catalina. Crossing her arms, she focused a glare on Zach. "Why would I ever give you a way to contact her? After what you did to her, you're lucky I haven't kicked your ass yet."

"I know." Zach hung his head. "I totally deserved that but I want to make things right with her. I've been trying to find her for the last two years to tell her I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry but I can't help you. I don't have her new cell phone number or e-mail address and I'm not sure when she's getting back into town. I guess you'll just have to keep your eyes open and see if you can spot her around town." Catalina gaped at her sister's totally blatant lies.

"Alright, well when she does get back into town, will you give her this?" Zach hastily scribbled his number down on a napkin and held it out to Brianna. Brianna shot a questioningly look at Catalina who just shrugged her shoulders.

"Okay but I make no promises that she'll contact you." Brianna slowly took the napkin, folding it up and sticking it in her purse. The sisters walked to the Bentley, got in, and drove away, each lost in their own thoughts.

For the rest of the afternoon the girls worked on getting the house ready for the party. They put away all the valuable items, rearranged the furniture so that it was less likely to be broken, and made sure that the areas that they didn't want people getting into were blocked off. Once they were satisfied that everything was in order they stopped in to the kitchen to check on the food.

"How's everything going in here, Rose?" Catalina asked as she snagged an appetizer off one of the trays, popping it into her mouth.

"Everything is going as scheduled." Rose answered swatting at Brianna's hands as she tried to sneak some food. "At least it will be if you two stop eating all the food."

"Come on Rose. You know that you always make extras." Catalina cajoled as she attempted to steal another appetizer.

"Oh no you don't!" Rose glared at the two sisters. "You two need to get out of my kitchen and get ready for your party. You can sample all the food once your guests get here."

Catalina and Brianna both blew kisses in Rose's direction as they exited the kitchen, their heads pressed together as they discussed the different people who would be coming later that evening. Once they reached the top of the stairs, they parted ways, each headed into their own room. Catalina knew that she had several hours before she had to be back downstairs so she flopped down on her bed, letting her mind drift back to the night that Zach Denhardt had crushed her heart.