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Mary-Kate and Nichole dodged puddles, and the kids playing in them as they made their way home. Mary-Kate glanced up at the dark sky. It was an in between rain patch, which she was grateful of, she didn't feel like walking home in the rain.

"I don't see the silver lining" She observed, still looking up in the sky. She almost tripped over a stick in the middle of the sidewalk and Nichole had to put an arm out to steady her.

"You're depressing sometimes, you know that?" Nichole asked, only half joking.

Mary-Kate frowned "But I don't see it"

Nichole glanced up at the sky, then across the street "I do" she said pointing at the house.

"It's just a house" Mary-Kate said looking in the direction Nichole was pointing "Make that a bright orange house" She scratched her head "Weird"

"No silly!" Nichole swatted her on the arm "That's where Tobey lives!"

"So?" Mary-Kate groaned "PLEASE don't play matchmaker on me"

Nichole shrugged "Maybe I will, maybe I won't" She suddenly started running "Catch me if you can!"

"Hey!" Mary-Kate called as she started running after her.

The two laughed happily as they ran down the rain spattered street. The weaved through the crowds of teens walking home from school, as the sun shyly glanced out from behind a dark, grey, cloud, momentarily bathing the world in a warm glow.

~*~

As was becoming quite an afterschool tradition, Mary-Kate visited Edith before going home on that cold, winter day...

"Are you ok dear?" Edith asked, concern creeping into her voice

"I'm fine" Mary-Kate reassured her, she forced a smile to clarify the statement.

"How are things at school?" Edith asked as she set a plate of shortbread on the table then took a seat across from Mary-Kate.

"Pretty good" Mary-Kate said as she took a piece of shortbread and took a bite "MMm delicious!" She said as she closed her eyes to savor the taste.

Edith smiled "And at home?" She asked, trying not to sound overly interested.

"Pretty good" Mary-Kate said vaguely. She knew Edith didn't know much about her home life. She'd been talking to her parents about inviting her over for dinner, but no matter what her they always seemed to come up with an excuse. Usually the same old one.. they were too busy with work. She sighed.

"You ok?" Edith repeated.

Mary-Kate smiled and made up her mind, "How would you like to come over for dinner tonight?" She asked.

"Oh, well, shouldn't you ask your parents first?" Edith asked concerned.

"I already did" Mary-Kate crossed her fingers behind her back, not that it would do much good "They're really excited about meeting you"

Edith smiled happily "Then I'd love to"

"Great!" Mary-Kate said happily, now all she had to do was tell her parents.

~*~

Mary-Kate made sure to take her time as she slipped down the hill from Edith's house to her own. Thanks to the torrentual downpour of the last couple or days, it was a soggy and difficult journey.

A feeling of worry had settled on her shoulders the moment she invited Edith, and as she dodged puddles of mud all she could think about was what her parents would say.

For some reason they had refused to meet Edith, she didn't understand it, her parents weren't usually snobs.

The moment of truth was drawing near.

~*~

"You what?!" Mary-Kate's father roared as he turned to face her.

"I... uh... invited Edith over for dinner tonight" Mary-Kate said quietly, she unconciously backed up a few steps.

"Did you, I don't know, maybe consider asking your mother or I first?" Her father asked sarcastically, he crossed his arms and tapped his foot angrily.

"Well.. no" Mary-Kate shook her head "But I didn't know you'd be so upset"

Ashley's mother walked over to her father and put a hand on his shoulder "Maybe it's a good thing" She whispered, Mary-Kate could only just catch what she was saying "It's time to make peace" She said quietly.

Her father sighed then nodded a little "I guess you're right" he glared at Mary-Kate "Next time ask us first!"

Mary-Kate nodded then looked at them as if they'd suddenly sprouted wings and were happily flying around the room. She glanced over at Ashley who was sitting at the table. They looked at each other questioningly. What on earth was all this?

~*~

"Edith's here!" Mary-Kate called as she ran to the door.

Mary-Kate's mother helped her father straighten his tie, checked the dinner table was in order, for like the fiftieth time, then joined Mary-Kate at the door.

Mary-Kate opened it and helped Edith with her coat.

"Edith this is my mother and my father, you already know Ashley" Mary-Kate said pointing at them.

Edith barely heard her, she was staring at Mary-Kate's father in shock "Tommy?" She asked.

Chapter 7