*photos exculsively by Jules.
* "Come As You Are" performed by Nirvana


“You have any place to go? You want to keep me company tonight?” asked Dorian, “I don’t want to be alone.”
Sophia smiled, “Sure Dorian. As long as you let me put in my “Hole” CD…”
“Who?” asked Dorian.
Sophia nodded her head and Dorian stood up. Sophia stood up too and Dorian put her hand on Sophia’s back and they walked out.
Carlotta wistfully smiled.

“Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be, as a friend…” (Nirvana)


The next morning…

Sophia had gone back with Dorian to her mansion and they stayed up a bit just watching TV and not really saying anything. The last thing Sophia remembered was snuggling up on the couch and giggling with Dorian over the “I Love Lucy” rerun they were watching.

She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and sat up. She looked at her watch. 8:30 a.m. She shrugged her shoulders and looked around. Dorian was sleeping on the couch opposite of hers. Sophia grinned a wicked grin, grabbed a pillow and thew it at Dorian.

“Wake up Sleepyhead!” yelled Sophia.

Dorian bolted up in a flash, her eyes wide, “Stop it! Leave me alone!” she yelled.

“Take a pill Dorian. It’s only a pillow,” said Sophia defensively. She hadn’t met to spook Dorian.

Dorian took a deep breath and gathered her bearings.

“You startled me Sophia,” said Dorian.

“I didn’t mean too. What’s got you so jumpy anyway?” asked Sophia crossing her legs, showing concern.

Dorian got up and went over to a desk, pulling out a cassette recorder. She pressed play and the wailing sound of a baby filled the room.

Sophia instantly made a face, “Will you shut that off? It’s annoying!”

Dorian did.

“Why?” muttered Sophia.

“Why? I don’t know why. Someone wants me to think I’m crazy or they want to drive me crazy but I’m getting sick and tired of it, I can tell you that,” said Dorian putting the recorder down.

“Because you killed the baby – that’s why…” whispered Sophia above a whisper, “So is that why you don’t want to be alone?”

Dorian said nothing and just nodded her head.

“I’m sorry Dorian,” said Sophia.

“Yeah, well,” said Dorian, “So Sophia, want some breakfast?”

“Yeah, okay. Tell Ming I want bacon and toast,” grinned Sophia.

“Ming left. She didn’t want to work for me anymore since I’m a heartless baby killer and all,” said Dorian walking out.

Sophia followed Dorian into the kitchen, “Don’t be so hard on yourself Dorian.”

Sophia went right to the frig and took out the bread, bacon, orange juice and a 2 litter bottle of diet coke. Dorian grabbed a pan from the cupboard and looked at each other.

“What now?” asked Sophia.

“I don’t cook,” said Dorian.

“And you think I do?” asked Sophia taking a swig of diet coke right from the bottle.

Dorian’s eyes grew wide, “You heathen! Don’t drink out of a bottle like that!”

Sophia put the bottle down, “Hey! I never claimed to be Miss Fancy manners like you.”

The doorbell rang and Dorian looked at Sophia with surprise. They walked out of the kitchen with Sophia grabbing the diet coke bottle and into the hallway. Dorian opened the door and Sophia stood in back of her. It was Rae Cummings.

There was an awkward silence. Finally Rae broke the ice.

“Can I speak to Sophia?” said Rae playing with her hands.

“Maybe Sophia doesn’t want to speak to you,” said Dorian abruptly, feeling a sudden protective streak towards Sophia.

“Nah, that’s okay Dorian,” said Sophia crossing her arms, “I kinda’ wanna’ hear the Doc’s grovel and snivel routine.”

Rae looked Sophia right in the eye, “First off Sophia, I’m not here to grovel and snivel but I do want to apologize. I got so caught up in wanting to find that rapist – Brian – that I…I…didn’t think that something could have been wrong and for that, I apologize. I want you to come back to work with me,” said Rae firmly but compassionately.

Sophia looked at the ground as she let Rae’s words sink in. Finally, after a long pause she looked up, “I dunno…”

“C’Mon! Sophia! You have nothing to lose! You need a job and I need an assistant,” said Rae forthrightly.

Dorian made a face, not too hip about the idea. Something about Rae Cummings just rubbed her the wrong way.

Sophia opened her mouth and then closed it at a loss for words. “You know,” said Rae, “I’d really like this opportunity…I…I…think of you…”

Rae stopped. She couldn’t continue. Her eyes welled up with tears but she fought them back.

Dorian raised an eyebrow.

“What?” asked Sophia full of curiosity.

“As a daughter. You know, I had a daughter once, only I didn’t get the chance to raise her and only now when I think…thought…of what could have happened…I want to do right by you Sophia. It’s a feeling. I can’t explain it…” explained Rae, surprised at how she opened herself up – especially in front of Dorian, but Sophia brought that out in her.

“Yeah, well, I got a mother,” said Sophia.

Rae looked hurt.

“But…uh…I guess…you know, you’re not so bad…and I do need a job…” said Sophia softening her tone.

Rae smiled, “Good. I‘m looking forward to getting to know you Sophia Pellegrino. Can you be to work after lunch?”

“Sure, Doc,” said Sophia.

Rae left.

Dorian looked aghast, “You aren’t really going back to work for her?!”

“Well, I do need the money Dorian. Look, I better get back to the women’s shelter…” started Sophia.

“Sophia – wait! You don’t have to live there. You can stay…with me…if you want,” volunteered Dorian.

“Is Kelly gonna’ kick me out again?” asked Sophia bluntly.

“I won’t let her,” said Dorian firmly.

“You mean that?” asked Sophia.

“You bet I do,” said Dorian.

“Okay, cool. Look, I’m gonna’ go and pick up my things okay. I’ll be back in a bit,” said Sophia racing for the door. She took the diet coke with her. Dorian just smiled as she watched Sophia leave.

Without a word, Dorian walked upstairs to her room to take a shower. As she took out a fresh change of clothes she noticed Cassie’s picture on her dresser. She stopped what she was doing and looked at her daughter.

“I miss you,” whispered Dorian.

She put the picture down and closed her eyes, fighting back tears.

“I’m glad I got to raise you but like Rae…I didn’t get that chance…with your sister…” she whispered.

She took a few minutes to compose herself and took her shower.

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