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21 January 2012 @ 07:32 pm
Thanksgiving II/Assertive  

Title/Prompt: Thanksgiving II/Assertive

Author: mkrobinson

Rating: PG-13

Words: 4098


Summary: Dawn's third day back in Stoneybrook is not the most pleasant of days...

Warnings: some foul language

Notes: thanks to ozqueen for betaing this!


I can't just let Granny and Pop Pop make fun of Mom like that. It isn't fair.

She hasn't done anything to them. Anything at all.

And they were so generous when Carol had Gracie. I thought it was a bit weird, but I didn't say anything.

Maybe I should have. I don't know. I don't know anything, anymore.

I don't know what to do.

Should I stay in Palo, with my dad, Carol, Gracie, Jeff, and all of the drama surrounding me?

Or should I come home to Mom, Richard, and Mary Anne, where things are refreshingly normal?

I really don't know what to do.

I don't.


Dawn Schafer stood on her grandparents' front porch, watching as Shannon Kilbourne's mother and Rita Porter were involved in a, well, bit of a disagreement.

“I cannot believe you made Sharry cry, Rita! She's obviously pregnant, and what do you and Charles do? You embarrass her in front of the entire country club, Charles takes the opportunity to give her a smack around, and you can't even pretend to be happy!”

There it was: her mother's hated nickname. That was weird.

Why were they arguing about her mother? Why were they arguing at all?

She moved closer, unabashedly eavesdropping. 

Mrs. Kilbourne's hands were on her hips, and she looked angry. People never looked angry at her grandparents, not even their daughter, and Dawn suspected there was a reason for that.

“You hate Sharon, Kathleen. I don't see why you're defending her!”

“I don't hate her. Honestly, even if I did, at least I know how to behave when someone announces a pregnancy! When someone's house burns down! When someone gets remarried! You don't have your husband smack her! You don't stay in Aruba! You don't skip out on the wedding reception!”

Almost immediately, she could tell it was the wrong thing to say. Mrs. Kilbourne seemed a bit uneasy, especially when Dawn's Granny glared at her.

I can do what I want. Sharon has been nothing but a disappointment.”

“Why? Because she doesn't work as a secretary at Unity any more? Because she got remarried? Because she's happy? What is it, Rita? What?”

If there was one thing that Dawn had picked up on with dealing with both Granny and Pop Pop over the years, it was that they were never to be questioned.

“You don't understand!”

“Understand what? That you're behaving like a bitch? That you can't even give your only child the time of day?”

Mrs. Kilbourne cleared her throat.”Because that is what I understand, Rita. This is what I understand. You are being positively awful.”

She nearly shouted the rest of her sentence, her voice thick with anger.

“You're a snob, Rita!”

“Kathleen! How dare you say that to me?”

“How dare I? You've been awful to Sharon ever since she divorced Jack!” 

Dawn wanted to run away. She didn't want to hear about what her grandparents had done, or how mean they'd been to her mother, or how mean they'd been to poor Richard. But she couldn't let Mrs. Kilbourne be the only one defending her mom. She just couldn't.

She wanted to cry, and she nearly did. She steeled herself, knocking loudly on the door.

She was furious.

“She never listened to me! Never! I told her that a good Porter girl stays married! And what did she do? She dumped that wonderful man and shacked up with Richard Spier!”

Dawn knocked louder.

How could Granny say those things? How could she?

The door opened, and Mrs. Kilbourne stood there, surveying the visitor. Dawn noticed the look of recognition, and she flashed her a bright smile.

“Oh-oh no, you're-you're-”

“Dawn Schafer. It's nice to see you again, Mrs. Kilbourne. I believe you know whom I'm here to see.”

“Is Sharry-”

“Mom doesn't know where I am. She's at work. I didn't want to upset her.”

“Come in.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Kilbourne. Where is she?”

“In there.”

Dawn stormed into the sitting room, where her grandmother sat, primly, as if she was a perfect angel, and not the same woman who'd just said all of those horrible things about her mother and Richard. As if this was a happy visit, even.

Shannon's mother waited by the door frame, obviously only staying to make sure they didn't kill each other.

“Dawn, dear, what are you-”

“Just shut up, okay? Just shut up.”

“Dawn! Don't speak to me like that! I'm your grandmother!”

“You are so awful! You know, I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt! I really was! And then you said all those awful things-”

“They're all true.”

“What? How can you say that? Mom and Richard have done nothing wrong!”


“Don't “Dawn” me! Oh, so you would have rather had Mom miserable once she moved back to Stoneybrook? You would have rather-”

“Richard Spier has lead your mother astray from the moment they met one another!You know that, Dawn!”

“No, I don't. You're just a bitch.”

Her grandmother was speechless. Dawn turned on her heels and stalked away.


Dawn Schafer hated Rita and Charles Porter.

They were so awful.

She started to cry. It just wasn't fair.

She waked down McLelland Road, not caring that tears were falling down her face, not caring that she wasn't really appropriately dressed for the snow that had begun to fall, and, furthermore, not really paying attention to where she was going.

Unfortunately, neither was the girl with wildly curly hair who was arm in arm with a familiar looking guy. They smacked right into each other.

Dawn fell to the ground, and she recognized the person who'd bashed into her. Abby Stevenson.

They hadn’t seen each other since after her house had burned down, and Dawn didn’t quite know what to expect.

“Why don't you watch where you're going, veggie freak?”

“Excuse me?”

Was that what people thought of her? That she was some kind of freak? She felt hot tears coming to her eyes.

“Aren't you going over to your little baby friend Kristy's? You can tell her that my mother would never walk in on Bart and me making out and make us stop, like she and Watson did, okay? Oh, look, you're crying. I guess Mary Anne and you are closer than I thought.”

It wasn’t just the harsh words that were coming from someone that she’d viewed as a friend that were causing her to be so upset, but she floundered. There was no need for Abby to be dragging her and Mary Anne into a fight between her and Kristy. Over Bart Taylor, of all the guys.

“Abigail Stevenson, you shut up!”

“Why should I? You know it's true. I bet you're going to go home and tell your mommy about this, aren't you? Or maybe you're going to be a baby and run back to your daddy in California, the second the going gets tough? Like you did in eighth grade, huh?”

“I hate you. You don't know what happened! My best friend's mother was dying, okay?”

Abby looked like she'd been punched in the gut.

“You made that up. You made that up! You knew my dad died!”

“Abigail Stevenson! Bartholomew Taylor! Just what are you two doing to Dawn Schafer?”

For the second time that day, Dawn Read Schafer was glad to see Kathleen Kilbourne.

“Putting that snot Thomas's friend into her place!”

“That's enough! You, Bartholomew, are lucky I don't call your parents, and tell them that you are harassing an innocent young woman! And you, Abigail, could do with conducting yourself with a little more composure! Do you want people to think you've gone mad?”

“She deserved it!”

“Abigail, you knocked her to the ground and insulted her! You are behaving like a boor!”

“I am not! She's Kristy's friend! She deserves it!”

Dawn stood, wanting to disappear. Across the street, David Michael and Emily Michelle were watching open mouthed, and her great-aunt and her gardening club had congregated on her front porch.  Hannie Papadakis and Melody Korman were watching from their respective yards, and she couldn't blame them. Abby Stevenson was having a temper tantrum. In public.

“She doesn't deserve anything. You know, not everything is black and white, Abigail! I had a friend...” Mrs. Kilbourne trailed off, looking at her uncomfortably. She nodded, switching her tactic.

“I suggest you both go to your respective homes and think about what you did. Come on, Dawn, I'll take you home.”

“No, Mrs. Kilbourne-”

“I insist. I have something I need to tell Sharry.”

Her mother hated that nickname. She really did.


“Dawnie? May I come in?”

“I guess.”

“Are you okay? Kathy told Richie and me that you had a bad experience at Granny and Pop Pop's...”

“I hate them! Granny was being so mean and she was yelling at Mrs. Kilbourne, and Mrs. Kilbourne kept saying how Granny and Pop Pop shouldn't be being so mean to you and Richard and-”

“Shush. Come 'ere, honey. I'm sorry you had to hear whatever Granny said.”

“I called her a bitch, Mom. I didn't mean to, it just slipped out! Are you gonna ground me?”

“Oh, honey, no. Of course not. You're right. Granny is a bitch. Come on, why don't we lay in bed together, like we used to when you were a kid and you didn't want to sleep alone?”

“Okay, Mommy.”

“Oh, sweetie...”

Sharon sank back against Dawn's mountain of pillows, pulling her  eldest child close. She sighed heavily. Being a parent was tough, it really was.

“Mom, I wish Granny and Pop Pop liked Richard.”

“Me too, Dawnie. Me too.”

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Yes. I'm fine. Don't you worry.”

“How's my baby sister?”

“Oh, she's fine, too. She'll probably kick in a few minutes.”

“How do you know that?”

“'Cause she always does it. You're excited?”

“Yeah. Why wouldn't I be?”

“'Cause you've already got-”

“Mom, that doesn't matter. I mean, yeah, Jeff and I have Gracie, but this is yours and Richard's baby, mom. I love her. Stop thinking that I don't. You're being silly!”

“I know, honey, I know.”

Sharon kissed Dawn on the head, letting her snuggle closer, and took her hand and placed it on her abdomen, hoping the baby would kick there.

It had really been a long day. Even though she wasn't that far along, just over five months pregnant, she was really looking forward to her maternity leave. She'd been planning on taking a nap when she'd gotten home.

Unfortunately, when she'd finally come home, she'd found Jeff had invited the Pike triplets and two of their friends, Scott Danby and Shea Rodowsky, over to watch a football game on TV.

They remained oblivious to the fact that she'd been planning a nap.

Mary Anne had escaped to the library to study-Sharon didn't blame her-it was that loud.

She'd even started to contemplate cleaning when Richie, Dawn, and Kathy had shown up all at once.

That had certainly been a disaster. Sharon still wasn't entirely certain what had happened.

Finally, she’d been able to relax. Richie had insisted the boys go over to the Pikes’, and was likely preparing dinner for them. He was the greatest.

She and Dawnie had gone up to her bedroom for a mother-daughter chat.



“I thought you and Richard weren't gonna have any more kids.”

“I know, honey, but things changed. We decided we wanted to have one.”

“I'm glad.”

“Me too-oh, Dawnie, did you feel that?”

“Was it the baby?”

“Yeah. I think she likes you. She knows you're her sister.”

“I am her sister! Mom, she's really active.”

“I know. She always is this time of day. You were too.”

“I was?”

“Yeah. I think it's because you knew that your daddy was on his way home. She knows her daddy's on his way home too.”

“She's silly. Richard's just downstairs.”

“Yeah, but she doesn't know that. She thinks he's still at work.”



“I think Granny's wrong.”

“Thank you, Dawnie. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

She sighed, stroking her daughter's hair, wanting to take all of the pain away. She could tell it hadn't just been her grandmother that had upset her.

“You can stay here, if you want. Jack would understand.”

“What about Sunny?”

“What about her?”

“If I leave, and come back here, I'm leaving her too! You don't think I haven't thought about coming back to Stoneybrook?”

No, she supposed she hadn't. She let out a sigh. “Dawnie, you should come up for the summer. Bring Sunny.”



“Will it be okay with Richard?”

“I'll talk to him about it, okay?”

“Okay, Mom. Thanks.”

“You're welcome.”

Sharon sighed even louder.

Dawn was sound asleep, so she slipped out of her room, shut the door, and padded downstairs. She had a letter she needed to write.

Sure, she could call Sunny, she supposed, but if she called her she'd have to deal with her tears, and with the sounds of Jack Schafer and Paul Winslow shouting at one another, and she'd have to stop herself from getting on a plane to Los Angeles then and there, and she didn't want to do that.

Besides, Dawn was right.

Sunny was impossible to deal with, even she could see that, and she just couldn't deal. She felt guilty enough about how Sunny was dealing with Betsy's death, she really did.

For how she'd dealt with Betsy's death.

How was the two lousy weeks they'd stayed at Jack and Carol's good enough? She, at the very least, should have stayed longer. Richie and Mary Anne had had things to do back home, but she...she could have stayed.

She hadn't wanted to. Why would she, when Sunny and Dawn's new friends didn't even try to like her, let alone Richie and Mary Anne? When she didn't approve of three fourteen-year-old girls hanging out all the time with a seventeen-year-old man? Sure, she'd rebelled, but nothing like that. That was weird.

Though she supposed people had thought she and Richie dating was weird too.

She felt like a hypocrite if she disapproved.


Dawn hadn’t shown up for dinner (Mom had said she’d been sleeping soundly), and so Mary Anne had decided to stop by her sister’s room, to see if she was awake.

She was.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really, Mary Anne. You know what Sunny's like.”

“I know that I'm worried about her. She's my friend, too, and I thought she was getting better.”

“Over the summer? She was, she really was, but she's still seeing Ducky-”

“Why? Doesn't she know she's not ready for a relationship like that? It's barely been a year since her mother died. Does he take advantage of her?”

“She says it's mutual, but-”

“I know she's sleeping with him. She told me. I don't think that's a great idea.”

“It's not just Sunny, Mary Anne. I went to see Granny today. To ask her why she'd been so mean to Mom. She was just awful!”

“I'm sorry, Dawn. So sorry.”

“It's not your fault.”

“I know. I still feel bad, though.”

“I wish she'd just apologize to Mom, you know? It really isn't fair. I hate how she won't give Richard a chance.”

“I know, Dawn. I know. Do you want to come downstairs and have dinner? I haven't eaten yet.”

“Where were you?”

“With Stacey, studying at the library. The triplets and their friends were a bit annoying.”

“Is Stacey here?”

“No. She went home. She has to babysit Charlotte tonight. Come on, Dad made lasagna. M-Sharon”

“You can call her mom. It's fine. It makes her happy that you consider her one, Mary Anne. I don't mind.”

“Okay. Mom said that it was delicious.”

Dawn looked slightly dubious, and she knew that she was likely imagining some of the bizarre food combinations she’d seen Sharon eat over the past couple days. She shrugged.

“Let's go have some then.”

Mary Anne watched Dawn walk out of her bedroom and she quickly followed, Tigger at her heels. She ran her hands through her shoulder length hair, catching a quick glance in the hallway mirror as she walked down the stairs. Her sister made a detour into the living room and kissed their mother on the cheek, pulling her into a hug before hugging her father, who returned the gesture with a smile. Both of them turned their attention to the evening news, where Mimi Snowden was giving a report on the recent wave of crime in Howard Township. The two sisters went into the kitchen and reheated their meal, sitting at the kitchen table while they ate their salad. The lasagna, her father’s specialty, would be positively delicious when it was hot.

Over the course of her father's marriage to Sharon, Mary Anne had slowly began to think of her as her mother, and not just as her stepmother. She had no recollection of her real mother, not even vague memories, and, besides, Sharon was there for a lot of things. She'd gotten her father to be happy again (Mary Anne had never thought that would happen, not that she didn’t make him happy, but something, someone, had been missing), she'd been there for all her breakups with Logan (he was currently dating Cokie, who sort of deserved him), she'd been the one that had held them together during the aftermath of the fire, and she was giving her (and Jeff and Dawn) a younger sister.

It had begun to make sense to her that Sharon was more than a stepmother to her, and calling her mom had just came naturally.

Mary Anne had assumed it would upset Dawn and Jeff, but Dawn had given her a big hug and Jeff had just shrugged.

Mary Anne stopped her daydreaming and focused on their topic of conversation: Sunny.

“Why doesn't she move out to Atlanta?”

“Because she doesn't want to. And the deal was was that she had to pass her classes at Vista. She did. Mr. Winslow's sister knows nothing about her relationship with Ducky.”

“Do Carol and Jack know?”

“Yeah. They have rules for her, but he convinces her to flout them, I think. What does she tell you?”

“She doesn't hold much back. She seems to think that your dad only let her move in with him because he feels guilty-”

“Dad doesn't feel guilty. He feels like a dumbass because Mom knew Ducky was dating Sunny-he thought he was gay.”

“Was that what they were arguing about at Mrs. Winslow's wake?”

“Yeah. I don't blame her for disliking him. I don't.”

Dawn paused, as their mother peeked in. “Hi Mom, you want to come join us?”

Sharon Spier joined them at the table, helping herself to a bowl of salad.

“What are my girls going to do while they're both on break?”

Mary Anne spoke. “I've gotten Kristy to take my jobs at the Engles'. Mr. and Mrs. Engle weren't very happy, but I wasn't going to spend the two weeks that Dawn's home babysitting for Karen. I was thinking that tomorrow we could go to the movies?”

“That sounds good. We could see My Week With Marilyn,” Dawn said, and Mary Anne was pleasantly surprised.



“Thanks! Mom and Dad said we could have our friends over for dinner tomorrow. Jeff said he was bringing the triplets, but I was wondering if you wanted me to invite everyone?”

“Who's everyone?”

“Stacey, Claud, Kristy, maybe Shannon?”

“That sounds good. It will be good to see everyone again,” replied Dawn.

The fact that everyone had, not too long ago, included more than those four people, went unspoken as they ate their lasagna, though mostly because she and Dawn were both hungry.

Sharon spoke, taking a bite of her salad. 

“I don't understand, what happened to your club?”

“People change, Mom. Abby and Kristy hate each other, Jessi's busy with her ballet, Mallory's in boarding school, and Logan doesn't want to be in a stupid sitting club, especially now that he's dating Cokie. You put a bunch of people that really have nothing in common together to babysit, it's no surprise that at some point things fall apart.”

“Jeff said that Mallory's home.”

“Yeah, for her break. It's different for Dawn, because she's a bit older, and the parents we sit for trust her. It’s not that they wouldn’t trust Mal, it’s just that everyone else in the club’s in high school now-”

She paused, sensing that she was quickly losing their mother’s interest. When Sharon stopped reading the back of the bottle of salad dressing, she continued.

“-We tried to give Mallory some sitting jobs, but it was worse than our experiment with Jeff and the triplets. I guess people don't want an eighth grader baby sitting for their kids when they could have a high schooler. And add in the fact that she’s away in Massachusetts most of the year-Dawn had two years of sitting before she moved, Mal had less than one.”

Once they'd made it to high school, the BSC had switched to a more streamlined model, one that even Kristy had approved of.

Besides, she had tried to stay friends with Mallory and Jessi, but graduating from middle school had made her encounters with the latter next to none and the former kept sending her links to her Twilight fan fiction and demanding she read them. Mary Anne hated Twilight. She much preferred Harry Potter.

“...Oh...Dawnie, are you planning on doing any sitting while you're home?”

“Probably not. I'm not really sure.”

“Well, okay, honey. I might take some time off work to spend with you three.”

“You think Jeff wants to spend time with us?”

Their mother smiled, sipping her glass of water.

“Probably not, honey. I might make him, though.”


“What? Your father and I don't pay for him to fly cross-country so he can spend all his time at the Pikes!”

“I know.”

“I'll just threaten to cry. I think he's scared of my hormones.”

The telephone rang, and Mary Anne answered it, unsurprised that Kristy was on the other end of the line. 

“How did your sitting job go?”

“Awful. Lisa and Seth had Nancy Dawes's mother spying on us the entire time.”

“How do you know?”

“Karen pointed it out. I don't understand why her mother has to constantly screw with the custody arrangements. Did you know she doesn't want us to have Karen and Andrew every other month now? She says that Mom and Watson are too lenient with them. I think that's ridiculous.”

“Kristy, it's not right of the Engles to say that to you. You're just a kid.”

“I know.”

“Come over tomorrow night. Mom and Dad are letting me, Dawn, and Jeff invite our friends over. It'll be a good distraction.”

“If it isn't any trouble-”

“It isn't. You can help corral the Pike triplets.”

Kristy laughed.

“I have to go, Mary Anne. I'll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay, Kristy. Bye.”

She returned the phone to its base, sitting back down. Dawn had her hand on their mother's stomach, obviously feeling the baby kick. Much to her surprise, Sharon reached for her hand and pressed it next to Dawn's smiling brightly at them. Mary Anne smiled back, and they felt the baby kick.

Sharon spoke, breaking the silence.

“You know, you don't have to be so shy, Mary Anne. You can feel for the baby. She's your sister too.”

“I know. I don't want to upset you, that's all.”

“It doesn't upset me. I like having you feel. Don't worry about it.”

Dawn spoke up. “Yeah, Mary Anne. Someone's got to keep the baby company while Jeff and I are back in Palo. It should be you. You're her other older sister.”

“I know-”

“I hope you do, 'cause I mean it.”

“I know you do.”

She wished, rather desperately, that Dawn and Jeff didn't have to return to Palo City, but she knew it wasn't possible.

“Mom said I can come back for Christmas and February and Spring breaks, Mary Anne. Won't that be fun?”

“Yeah. Are you going to?”

“Of course. I might even bring Sunny, if Richard says it's okay.”

“That would be nice. I worry about her.”

Sharon usually told her not to worry so much, but she didn't say a word. Mary Anne thought that was a bit weird.

“Everyone does, Mary Anne.”

Lisa: BSC: babysitters100ozqueen on January 22nd, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
You're welcome for the beta ♥ You did a wonderful job taking so many of my suggestions. It's always lovely to beta a fic with someone so eager to take advice ♥

These are my favourite parts:

the girl with wildly curly hair

I love how you introduce Abby with this. It's obvious it's her and it's still such a fitting description that fits in with her canon self. ♥

“Yeah. I think it's because you knew that your daddy was on his way home. She knows her daddy's on his way home too.”

This is so cute :D

She'd even started to contemplate cleaning when Richie, Dawn, and Kathy had shown up all at once.

Lol at cleaning being last on Sharon's list of things she wants to do. ♥

She paused, sensing that she was quickly losing their mother’s interest. When Sharon stopped reading the back of the bottle of salad dressing, she continued.


Again, great work! I think the way you're setting the scene now, with little descriptions and introducing the characters rather than just relying on dialogue, really, really adds to the story. I can actually picture scenes now, instead of trying to pull dialogue apart to see who is saying what. You've developed a richness to things. Well done. :) ♥
mkrobinson on January 22nd, 2012 02:54 am (UTC)
I'm glad we worked well together!

I'm glad you liked that-I wanted to establish that it was Abby and not Anna that had knocked Dawn over.

Aww, I'm glad you liked that bit!

lol of course it's last on the list-even watching football with Jeff's friends was higher!

lol I figured that Sharon wouldn't really be able to concentrate on Mary Anne's verbal exposition for very long, even if she'd asked the question in the first place!

Thank you so much! I agree, I think it's much nicer written than it was before! I can really see the difference!
-: Beverly Cleary - Beezus Quimbyisabelquinn on January 23rd, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)

Both of them turned their attention to the evening news, where Mimi Snowden was giving a report on the recent wave of crime in Howard Township. The two sisters went into the kitchen and reheated their meal, sitting at the kitchen table while they ate their salad. The lasagna, her father’s specialty, would be positively delicious when it was hot.

I like how this para sets the scene, it makes it feel all warm and cozy :)
mkrobinson on January 23rd, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

I'm glad you liked that paragraph as well, I thought it was important to show how Mary Anne had stopped thinking of Dawn and Jeff as her stepsiblings a long time ago.

Thanks for your comment!
automatic doorautomaticdoor on January 23rd, 2012 04:08 am (UTC)
Whoa, what happened to Abby?! That's such an ugly 180-degree personality change! What does Anna think of all of this?

my shippy brain still thinks that Abby has a thing for Kristy or vice versa.
mkrobinson on January 23rd, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Abby and Kristy got into a fight over the summer over the toxic combination of Abby dating Bart, Kristy deciding that she can't handle a relationship with Patrick for the meantime (and Abby finding that ridiculous because she doesn't have a dad at all), and Abby's still not entirely dealing with her father's death.

Anna's somewhat relieved that Abby got a soccer scholarship and transferred to SDS and doesn't like to spend a lot of time with her twin due to her complete personality change.