~ It's the day before Heather's flight to Paris. She is finally home, packing up some last minute stuff for Paris. Her answering machine is beeping, and she pushes the button to listen to her messages. She goes into the closet to get a suitcase to start packing more clothes. But the voice on the answering machine makes her stop dead in her tracks. It's a deep, strong voice with an Australian accent. One she hadn't heard for a very long time, since he'd went back to the Sunset Coast and left her again. It was her Mr. Big, Steve Jason. ~

*Steve on Machine*
Hey kid, it's me. Just calling to let you know that I'm coming back to New York in a few days. I'd love to see you. I tried to call your cell, but I must have written the number down wrong. Not unless you are some angry Mexican named Taco. Anyway, give me a call. Bye.

~ Heather stands there for a minute, not sure as to whether she should be mad or sad. She doesn't have a chance to decide as the answering machine beeps, and Steve's voice comes from it again. Slight surprise fills her, as Steve would normally never call more than once if he didn't get a response. ~

*Steve on Machine*
Hey, its me again. I guess you didn't get my first message. Well, I'm in New York now. I'm staying at the Ritz, you should come meet me for dinner, or at least a drink. We have to catch up. Bye.

~ Heather sighs and turns to go back into the closet, but for the third time the machine beeps, and Steve's voice once again fills her head and the room. Now she stands rooted to the spot, not believing that he actually called three times. ~

*Steve on Machine*
Have I done something to make you mad? If I did, let me take you out so I can apologize for whatever it is I did. I miss you kid. Call me.

~ Heather bites her bottom lip and waits, but there isn't another beep. She stands in the doorway of her closet for a moment, thinking about what she just heard. She walks over to her answering machine, and without hesitation, she deletes all three messages she just heard. As if nothing was ever one her machine, she goes about her business of packing. ~

* Later that Day, at Heff's place *

~ Heff and Heather are sitting in front of a warm fire. Heff and Formico have just moved into a new place, and it's still being organized. But a big, comfy sofa is already in front of the fireplace. Both girls are holding glasses of red wine, both silent. Heather is smiling to herself, and finally turns to Heff. ~

Heather Bradshaw
I deleted Steve.

Heff Hobbes
You deleted Steve?

Heather Bradshaw
Yup, delete, delete, delete.

Heff Hobbes
Woooow, what do you think he wanted?

Heather Bradshaw
I don't know. And for the first time, I don't really care. I'm happy, and he's not the reason. Not like he ever truly was.

Heff Hobbes
That's great. Maybe everything that is happening is a good thing for you.

Heather Bradshaw
I really appreciate you not voicing yoru opinions anymore. I mean, of course I care what you think, but this is making me happy. I want to do this, and I'll be coming back for visits.

Heff Hobbes
I know... I'm just going to miss you so much. I really just don't want you to go, it's not about Raz anymore.

Heather Bradshaw
I'm going to miss you guys, as well. But I've never wanted anything more than to be swept off my feet, all the way to France.

Heff Hobbes
I just wish there was another way he could do it... That would keep you in New York.

~ Both girls get slightly choked up. Heather looks away and wipes her eyes, and sees Heff do the same. Heffs husband, Formico, walks in then, and both girls regain their composure quickly. Formico looks at both girls and smiles, holding up a white bakers bag. ~

Formico Brady
Hey ladies. I come with cookies and canolies. So, how do you like the place so far, Heather?

Heather Bradshaw
It's wonderful Formico. It's going to look so nice once it's finally done all the way.

~ Heather stays over Heff's all night, just talking. At around midnight, she finally gets home and falls asleep. ~

* Several Hours Later *

~ Heather panics slightly. She has finally realized that she has too many clothes, and not enough suit cases to fill them all up. Frustrated, she begins to fold things as neatly and smally as she can. Her flight is in six hours, and she's having an early, farewell dinner with Lilly, Jennefer, and Heff. While she does so, the phone rings. Annoyed, she answers, but smiles when she hears Raz's voice on the other line. ~

Raz Petrovsky
What are you doing, lover?

Heather Bradshaw
Last minute packing. Remind me to curse myself for buying so many clothes.

Raz Petrovsky
Do not worry about packing all your clothes, there are clothes in Paris.

Heather Bradshaw
Yes, but I must represent my New York threads, darling. I have to keep New York a part of my life somehow. Might as well be my clothes. How is Paris holding up for you so far?

Raz Petrovsky
It is okay. It will be even nicer once I have my lover with me to keep my company on the lonely nights I have to spend alone for the time being.

Heather Bradshaw
Patience, darling. I know you're Russian, but you do know more of that than I do. I'll see you in another day.

Raz Petrovsky
Alrighty, lover. Have fun with the girls, and don't drink too much. You want to look fresh faced when you arrive in Paris. After all, we can't have the most beautiful woman there looking worn out, can we?

Heather Bradshaw
No, I guess not... I'll remember to keep it to only a couple glasses of wine, then. Love you!

~ Heather hangs up her phone and tosses it onto the bed. She spends the rest of her day attempting to cram her clothes into as many suitcases and boxes as she can muster. Finally, she gives up, looking at the million suitcases she's already packed, and heads into the shower. She gets ready and dressed to go meet her friends for their early dinner. One more look in the mirror tells her that she looks good. Smiling, she skips down the stairs of her apartment, and onto the sidewalk. Her heart drops to her toes when she catches sight of the black car pulled up in front of her house. She knows that car all too well, and as if to confirm her fears, the back window slides down and Steve pokes his head out. ~

Steve Jason
Hey baby.

Heather Bradshaw
Hi... Look, I'm sorry, but I can''t talk...

Steve Jason
Come on, get in, talk to me for a minute. It won't kill you.

~ Heather didn't say it, but she thought that it might. Despite her better judgment, Steve had always had the power to talk her into doing things she didn't want to do. She walked over to his car and slid inside with him. She closed the door, and saw that the driver, Pedro, was still there. Steve noticed too, and nodded. Pedro nodded back and stepped outside of the car to wait. Heather glared at Steve. ~

Heather Bradshaw
It's freezing out there.

Steve Jason
I'll double his tip. So how've been babe? Why didn't you ever return my calls?

Heather Bradshaw
I haven't been home. I've been with my boyfriend.

Steve Jason
Boyfriend? Is it serious?

Heather Bradshaw
Yes... In fact, I'm... I'm flying to Paris tonight to live with him.

Steve Jason
Why are you going to Paris to be with him?

Heather Bradshaw
Well, I didn't see anyone else make any offers.

Steve Jason
Ouch. You still got it, kid. Tell me, does this "serious" boyfriend have the skill in bed that I have?

Heather Bradshaw
Ugh, I've got to go, I'm meeting the girls for dinner.

Steve Jason
No, I'm sorry, wait.

Heather Bradshaw
No Steve... I waited for over 5 years. I'm done waiting.

~ Heather gets out of the car angrily. It was just like Steve to joke like that and not take anything seriously. Steve sits stunned in the car for a minute. Suddenly, he realizes that Heather is going to walk away. He gets out quickly and grabs her arm. ~

Steve Jason
Wait! Heather, I'm sorry. At least tell me his name.

Heather Bradshaw
His name is Raziel Petrovsky.

Steve Jason
Haha, that's great!

Heather Bradshaw
You know Steve, this is just like you! You just can't take anything seriously. Do you have some sort of 6th sense about me? Uh oh, Heather might be happy, why don't I come back in and shit all over it!

Steve Jason
What? No, Heather its not like that this time... Its different now.

Heather Bradshaw
It's never different with you, Steve! For six years, you have made a pattern of coming back in when one of my relationships is going good, screw it up so I'd be with you, then break my heart again! It never changes, and neither will you!

Steve Jason
Heather, please just hear me out. I came back here, because I have something important that I have to tell you.

Heather Bradshaw
No, NO! I do not care what you have to say anymore. I am done with you! You had your chance, you've had MANY chances, and you ALWAYS blew it. I am happy with Raz, and I am not going to let you screw that up for me. So from now on, forget that you know my name... In fact, forget that you know ME. And you can come back here all you want and knock, because I don't live here anymore!

~ Heather turns away and runs from Steve. She can feel his eyes following her as she goes, but he makes no attempt to come after her. While she is still fuming over his casual manner, she can't help but feel a little sad that he didn't come after her. She wasn't willing to admit it, but she was sad with Raz, knowing that she was constantly coming in second to his artwork. She can feel the hot tears welling up behind her eyes, but she refuses to let them fall. Those tears would be better served over dinner, when she was saying good-bye to her friends. She finally reaches the stylish restuarant where she and her friends would be spending their last night together. As usual, the seat next to Heff was waiting for her. All her friends looked absolutely gorgeous. Jennefers lustrious hair was pulled back softly, and she was wearing a pretty white dress. Lilly sat next to her, her white-blonde hair in wavy curls. She was wearing a dark green corsette shirt and black leather mini-skirt. Heff's fire-red hair was in its usual style, but she looked amazing in flame red tank top and black pants. Heather walked over to her friends, still fuming. They picked that up right away. ~

Heff Hobbes
What happened? Did Raz call and tell you that you can't come to Paris after all?

Heather Bradshaw
You're not that lucky, Heff. No, I just had a run-in with Steve. He had the nerve to wait for me at my doorstep.

Jennefer York
Wow, he was at your doorstep? What did he want?

Heather Bradshaw
I don't know, but I didn't give him a chance to tell him. I'm not going to give him the chance to screw up my life, again. I'm finally happy with where I'm at. So fuck him! And you guys know I NEVER say that.

Jennefer York
Especially about Steve...

~ Heather smiles now, and taps her fork to her glass of wine. She flashes each girl a soft smile. Before she can even begin, Jennefer begins to cry. All the girls look at her in disbelief. ~

Jennefer York
Don't.. Please, just don't.

Lilly Jones
Oh for christs sake, Jenn. She hasn't even started yet.

Jennefer York
I know, but I can't stand it. I just feel like our circle is breaking.

Heather Bradshaw
Don't think of this as the end of an era. Think of this as a glorious part of evolution. It has taken us all six years to finally find a stable place in our lives. But we all have. And mine just happens to be out of the country. And even though some had some very strong opinions...

Heff Hobbes
Me? I've never had an opinion in my life.

Heather Bradshaw
Well... I just want you girls to know that you always have, and always will, play a huge role in my life. I love all three of you so, so much. Each one of you has touched me in your own special way that no one else ever has. You are my family, and I never want to lose any of you three. So even though I'll be in Paris, I want you girls to just think of me, sitting in my usual seat next to Heff, talking and laughing, just like we always did.

~ Heather goes silent, feeling her throat constrict. This time, the tears fall freely down her face. She looks at each girl, and the other three are now crying as well. Even Lilly, who had sworn never to cry in a public place. They just sit staring at one another for a moment until the waiter comes with another bottle of wine. The four quickly begin to wipe their eyes, and crack jokes to take away from the emotional moment. ~

Lilly Jones
That's enough with the water works, ladies. I'd like to be able to show my face in here again...

Heather Bradshaw
Lets just spend the night keep up with our lives. Lilly, how is Sean doing?

Lilly Jones
He's great. But these new pills I have to take for my sleeping disorder are putting such a sex drive in me. It's making it so hard to keep my legs shut.

Heather Bradshaw
What was your excuse before?

Lilly Jones
I'm going to miss you, you bitch.

Jennefer York
Me and 504 have an interview tomorrow with a Southern couple about a baby. It hasn't been born yet, but they are looking to get rid of it. Heather, is your reference ready?

Heather Bradshaw
I left it on the bed, all you have to do is go pick it up tomorrow morning.

Jennefer York
Thank you so much.

~ The girls spend the rest of the night talking and laughing, just like old times. But when the time finally comes for them to depart, none of them seems to want to leave. They are standing outside the restuarant, none of them wanting to seperate. The tears are starting to flow again, as Heather stands before her friends for what could be the last time. She bites her lip to keep from absolutely breaking down and gives each of them a hug. Then she gives in and gathers them all into a group hug. People stare as they pass, but the girls neither notice nor care. Heather's cab with all her bags in it pulls up to them, and Heather gives them each one final hug before sliding into the taxi. She stares out the window at them for a moment, taking in each one of their faces so she can never forget. She stares out the back window as the taxi pulls away, until it turns around the block and she can no longer see them. ~

*5 PM, Paris Time *

~ A black taxi pulls up to a curb on the clean streets of Paris, France. The driver gets out and opens the back door closest to the the curb and holds out his hand. A fresh-faced, excited Heather steps out of the cab and looks around. She can't stop grinning, still in disbelief that she is finally in Paris. She thanks the driver, eagerly testing out her French. He smiles understandingly at the broken dialogue. Eagerly, Heather skips into the huge, fancy hotel and right up to the reception desk. A kindly looking older gentlemen is there. ~

Heather Bradshaw
Ah, bonjour. Je'mapple Heather Bradshaw... I am here with Raz Petrovsky.

Receptionist
Ah, of course. You speek Eenglish.. Where from Amereeca are you from?

Heather Bradshaw
New York... Manhatten to be exact.

Receptionist
Veree good, madam. I will see to your bags right away.

Heather Bradshaw
Merci! Have you seen Raz, by any chance?

Receptionist
He is in the lobee, madam.

Heather Bradshaw
Merci.

~ Heather walks gracefully out to the lobby area and spots Raz quickly. She stops short when she notices he's sitting very closely to a young woman with long, messy chestnut colored hair, wearing a skimpy blue dress. His arm is around her, and they are both laughing about something. Heather forces a smile and walks over to them. She clears her throat, and they both look up. Raz smiles happily when he sees her and jumps up quickly, kissing her passionately. Heather kisses back, but keeps her eyes open, looking at the girl Raz was with curiously. The girl is smoking a cigarette, staring with obvious distaste at the scene unfolding before her. Raz finally breaks off the kiss and sits Heather down across from himself and the strange girl. ~

Raz Petrovsky
Heather... I'd like you to meet my daughter, Chloe. Chloe, this is my girlfriend, Heather.

Heather Bradshaw
Oh, of course! It's so nice to finally meet you, Chloe. You're father has told me so much about you.

Chloe Petrovsky
Indeed, as he has to me about you. A pleasure, I'm sure.

~ But the look on her face told Heather that it was anything but a pleasure for Chloe to be meeting Heather. Heather senses this and gets up. ~

Heather Bradshaw
Well, I won't take another moment of your time. I think I'm going to go catch a nap and try to adjust to Paris time. Will you meet me for dinner?

Raz Petrovsky
I cannot, love. I have to meet some men from the museum for a big, fancy business dinner. But I'll tell you what. You get that nap, I'll eat lightly, and when I get back, we shall go out, and celebrate your first night in Paris together.

Heather Bradshaw
That souns wonderful... What room are we in?

Raz Petrovsky
Room 625.

Heather Bradshaw
Thanks you sweetie. God, I can't believe I'm finally here! Chloe, again, it was very nice to meet you.

~ Chloe inclines her head in a slight nod. Heather nods and walks away and up to their room. As she looks around, she is taken aback by the elegance and richness of it. It's a room truly fit for royalty. She samples the fruit that sits in the basket on the table. Finally, she catches a shower, dresses up early for dinner with Raz, and lies back on the bed to wait. Hours pass, and she falls asleep. She wakes up in the middle of the night, and sees that Raz is still not back. Upset, she gets up and goes to the window. Paris is lit up, the Eiffle Tower absolutely glowing. Sighing, she goes back to the bed, and in her weariness, goes back to sleep. Raz returns a few hours later, and sees Heather asleep on the bed. He loosens his tie and sits on the bed next to her, kissing her awake. Heather's eyes flutter open and she gazes up into Raz's face and smiles. ~

Raz Petrovsky
I am so very sorry, my love. The dinner dragged on for hours and hours, and I just couldn't get away.

Heather Bradshaw
Why didn't you call?

Raz Petrovsky
I did. You had the phone set so that you couldn't recieve calls.

Heather Bradshaw
Oh yeah... Man, I'm sorry. Well, did you enjoy it?

Raz Petrovsky
Dinner was alright... But you look like a much tastier dessert.

~ Raz begins to inch his way down Heather's body. He pokes his head under her dress, and Heather starts giggling. They spend the night making love until they are both exhausted and fall asleep. ~

* A Few Days Pass *

~ Heather is sitting alone in a deli. Raz had been with her when the day started, but the museum called and asked him to come in. Though she was upset, she understood that he needed to do everything he could to make sure his lights display was a success. So she sat alone, sampling the plate of pastries she had bought. Nothing seemed to be going right at all. The night before, Raz had promised that she was the only one he focuses on, and that after the opening was over, it'd be just them. They started kissing, but Raz broke it off when some friends called out his name. Heather had sat by him, completely forgotten, for the rest of the night. The same thing had been happening the whole time she was here. She sighs, and looks at the big dog sitting next to her. She feeds him some pastry, then stands up and leaves the deli. As she's walking, she passes a cafe. Looking in the window, she sees four women, sitting together, talking and laughing. A sharp pang of sadness hits her. It reminded her so strongly of the times when she was home in New York, sitting in the diner with Heff, Lilly, and Jennefer. She continues to stare at the girls for another few minutes, until they finally notice her staring and shoot her dirty looks. Heather walks away sadly, and takes her phone card out of her pocket. She finds the nearest pay phone and stops. It would be 7:30 AM in New York right now. Heff would be awke. Heather inserts the phone card into the phone and dials Heff's number. ~

Heff Hobbes
Hello?

Heather Bradshaw
Hey girl, it's not too early, is it?

Heff Hobbes
HEATHER! HI, how are you? Of course it's not too early, whats up?

Heather Bradshaw
Oh, not too much. I'm alright, I'm just...

Heff Hobbes
What... What's wrong sweetie?

Heather Bradshaw
It's nothing really. Paris just wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be... I mean, Raz is always gone, so that leaves me alone all my days. Everything seems to be going wrong for me since I got here. And I just miss New York... Today I saw these girls in this cafe, and it just...

~ Heather stops as she gets too choked up to speak. Heff stops on the other line, understanding. Heff sniffs, and wipes a tear out of her eye. ~

Heather Bradshaw
It just reminded me of all the times we had together. I miss it, and I miss you guys so much.

Heff Hobbes
Oh honey, we miss you too. Come home! Seriously, if you are that upset, you should just pack up and come back to New York.

Heather Bradshaw
I can't do that, I just got here. I am just being a big baby. I'm just lonely, because Raz is always gone. But I just can't help but... Oh, nevermind, it's stupid.

Heff Hobbes
No sweetie, go ahead. You can't help but do what?

Heather Bradshaw
If I tell you, do you promise not to use this against me in any way, shape, or form?

Heff Hobbes
You have my word as your best friend.

Heather Bradshaw
Sometimes... When things aren't going great, I just compare it to Steve. Like, I wonder what it would have been like if I had moved to Paris with Steve, and how things would be different. I do that with every relationship I'm in. If things are going great, I compare it to the way things were with me and Steve.

~ The phone goes quiet on both lines. Heff is digesting what she just heard. She's not surprised, but it doesn't take away from the relief of finally hearing it. Heather, on the other hand, is trying to figure out how to get the phone to stop talking. It's speaking to her in French that she can't understand. Sighting in frustration, she talks over it. ~

Heather Bradshaw
The phone is talking to me, and I don't know what it's saying, but I think it's about to cut off. Tell the girls I love them and that-

~ Before she can finish, the phone cuts off. Sighing, she hangs up, takes the phone card that it it back up, and tosses it in the trash. Determined to make herself enjoy Paris, she heads off towards the nearest store. ~

*Later that Day, New York Time*

~ Jennefer quietly makes her way into Heather's apartment. She looks around, hating the empty feel of it. Sighing, she heads over to the bedroom and sees the envelope with Heather's reference on the bed. She smiles and picks it up, looking at the note. Tears spring to her eyes, as she misses her friend very much. She looks on the bed and is shocked to see Heather's laptop lying there. No column or not, that laptop had always been Heather's baby. She gently sets aside the note and sits down on the bed. She picks up the laptop and caresses is softly, as if Heather's presence will call to her from it. The phone begins to ring suddenly, and Jennefer jerks her head towards it. She considers picking it up, then decides to let it ring. After all, it might be just a telemarketer or bill collector. She stares at the phone untiil the answering machine picks up. Sighing, she gets up to leave, but Steve's deep, strong accent rings out from the other side. ~

*Steve on Machine*
Look, Heather. I'm sorry things fucked up the way they did. I've made a lot of mistakes, and god knows, I'm paying for them all now. I wasn't sure if you had kept your phone connected or not. But I figure at this point, I have nothing to lose. Heather... I love you.

~ Jennefer drops the laptop in disbelief on the bed and picks up the phone quickly. Before she even thinks about what she's doing, she's responding to Steve, hoping he's still on the phone. ~

Jennefer York
Steve? It's Jennefer....