"She's my best friend, you can't stop me from seeing her." Delta challenged.
"While you live under this roof you'll do as i say." Audra stated.
As soon as her Aunt left the room Delta whipped out her mobile and called Amaretto.
"It's so unfair!" She whined to her friend, "What am i supposed to do just stay in my room forever!"
"Sneak out." Amaretto advised, "I'll pick you up at the bridge."
As Audra stormed away from her argument with Delta she noticed Jonny stretching out his shoulder, he seemed to be in pain.
"Are you alright Dad?" She asked.
"It's just this damn arm, it's been giving me trouble all night." He said wincing.
"Here take this it should help." She offered.
"Nah! I don't want no pills or potions." He refused, "Look kid when you get to my age you'll see everything hurts. It's no big deal."
Audra sighed, there was no use trying to argue with her Dad he was too stubborn.
The morning passed by, filled with preparations for Eliza and Audra's small party and when it came time to celebrate Eliza's birthday Audra called Delta to join them.
Her calls elicited no response, so she entered the bedroom. It soon became obvious that Delta had sneaked out.
Audra sighed and sat on the edge of Delta's bed, when did she become so thoughtless? Eliza would be devastated not to have her big cousin at her party, the two of them had always been so close.
Eliza approached her cake, she was happy to have her Mom, Dad and Grandpa around her, but it just wasn't the same without Delta. These days it seemed that her cousin had no time for her at all.
Just the other day she had snapped at her for asking to play catch.
Eliza wasn't stupid she knew that Delta's Mom and Dad weren't around the way her parents were, Mom had told her that Uncle Casper was a big league athlete and his job was really important.
Eliza couldn't imagine what could be so important that he wouldn't be around for his daughter, but she guessed that was the reason that Delta had stopped caring.
As she blew out her candles she wished that the old Delta would come back soon. She also developed the bookworm trait.
Audra was next to blow out her candles, now both she and Tate were adults she couldn't think where the years had gone. As the last of the candles gave way to her breath she closed her eyes and wished for happiness to return to her family.
Audra cleared up the dishes and glanced worriedly at the clock, it read 11.30pm, and there was still no sign of Delta.
Picking up the phone she dialled Casper's number, he answered straight away.
"Hey Sis! Happy birthday." He said happily.
"Yeah thanks Casper." She replied, "Look we have a real problem on our hands, you and Elena need to come back right away."
"What is it?" Casper asked, suddenly serious.
"It's Delta, she's fallen in with a bad crowd, I think she's ran away from home Cass." Audra choked as the last words left her lips, she felt such a failure.
"I'll be there, as soon as i can." Casper replied.
Audra dried her eyes, she realised she hadn't seen Jonny in a while, he's probably still outside eating birthday cake she thought.
As she headed outside she saw her father, he was laying on the ground surrounded by the party plates he must have been trying to clear them.
"Dad!" She called out as she ran toward him. Kneeling down she felt his neck for a pulse, it was there, but very weak.
She called for Tate to help her get Jonny into the car. Not wanting to upset Eliza, she instructed Tate to let her sleep and asked him to stay behind to look after Finlay.
Audra rushed straight to the ER where her colleagues took over.
Mischa came to find her an hour later, "How is he?" Audra asked worriedly.
"He's had a heart attack." Mischa advised her soothingly.
"It looks as though he may of had a series of them over the past few days, if only we'd caught it sooner." Misha trailed off.
"Can I see him?" Audra asked.
Misha showed her into the private room they had put Jonny in. "Do you want me to call anyone for you?"
"No, i should do it." Audra replied.
She called her brothers and told them they needed to get to the hospital straight away, she knew that the next 24 hours were crucial if her Dad was going to pull through.
Blake, Bobby and Caleb all arrived and kept vigil by Jonny's bed. Even Cassandra showed up to support her husband Bobby and his family, Audra thought that Jonny would be so proud to see them all pulling together.
Some hours later the door swung open and Casper walked in. "Audra, what happened?" He asked.
"Dad had a heart attack." She explained.
"I came as soon as i put the phone down from you." He explained, "Any news on where Delta is yet?"
"Oh I'm sorry Cass but i guess i haven't had time to look for your wayward daughter, I've kinda been dealing with our father being at deaths door."
She exploded, how dare he walk in and expect her to have all the answers, in truth she was barely holding it together.
As Elena walked in Audra released all her pent up anger at the pair of them, "If you two want to do something then get out there and find your daughter!" She yelled.
Casper and Elena had tried several bars and clubs in town before they found Delta, flanked by her friends with a pitcher of beer in Waylon's Haunt.
When Delta saw her parents for the first time in years she flew into her father's arms.
"Dad, what are you doing here?" She asked.
"We've been looking for you. Audra called us saying you'd ran away from home." Casper answered.
"She's trying to stop me seeing my friends." Delta explained motioning to Orlando, Amaretto and Danny.
"We'll talk about that later." Casper advised, "You need to come with us now, it's Grandpa."
The three of them rushed to the hospital, but when they opened the door to the private room they were met by a tearful Audra and an empty bed.
"He's gone." She simply said.
Delta's face crumpled under the weight of her tears and Elena drew her close.
Casper, clearly shocked sank into the nearest chair. "I thought he was going to pull through?"
"His heart just gave out." Audra explained, "He was old Cass."
The days following Jonny's passing were difficult on the whole family, and as the night of the funeral arrived everyone gathered at the cemetery to mourn their loss and to say goodbye to their beloved Patriarch.
Jonny was buried next to Leila, under the shade of a beautiful willow tree.
Delta had taken her Grandpa's death particularly hard. She couldn't help but feel as though she were to blame for what happened, if she hadn't argued with him that night maybe none of it would.
Either way she knew her last words to him had been angry ones that she desperately wished she could take back.
As the mourners began to disperse, Audra found herself wandering to a more secluded part of the graveyard. There she lingered at an untended grave, overgrown with moss and weeds.
She brushed aside the greenery to reveal the name Patrick Sawyer.
She had not visited Patrick's grave in such a long time. His body had been discovered at the bottom of the pit a week after Theo's arrest and he had been buried a hero with the city's police force escorting his coffin.
Now that her father was gone the secret of Eliza's parentage was Audra's alone, she wasn't sure she could continue to shoulder the weight without Jonny.
"Mom? Are you OK?" Eliza approached her mother as she wiped her tears hastily away.
"Oh, Liza. I'll be fine sweetheart."
"What are you doing over here? Who's grave is this?" Eliza asked.
"Just an old friend." Audra replied, taking her daughter by the arm and leading her towards the waiting car.
Eliza glanced over her shoulder and took in the name from the grave stone "Patrick Sawyer"
The day after the funeral Audra, Casper and Elena sat down to discuss Delta.
"It's clear to me that her behaviour is a cry for attention." Audra stated, "And it's not my attention she wants, it's yours."
"We've really messed up haven't we?" Elena asked, "I didn't mean for things to turn out this way, but when we got out on the road I realised that there was so much I hadn't seen or experienced."
"I guess we got caught up in our own adventure." Casper agreed.
"Don't be too hard on yourselves." Audra conceded, "You were very young when you had Delta, it's natural that you wanted to live your own lives. But you need to take your responsibility seriously now."
Elena and Casper both agreed with Audra's advice, they did need to make some changes.
"We've decided that things can't go on the way they've been." Casper began.
"We want you to know how sorry we are for letting you down." Elena added, "We won't do it again honey."
"I've been on the phone to the teams coach and he's agreed for us to bring you with us." Casper explained.
"You'll be coming on the road with us!" Elena said excitedly.
"There is no way in hell that's happening." Delta yelled, suddenly exploding with rage.
"Delta calm down." Casper reproved, but his daughter's face had turned crimson in anger and there was no stopping her.
"I can't believe you think that's what I need!" She screamed, "You actually expect me to just leave behind everything, my friends, my school?"
"It would be a fresh start for you, away from those so-called friends." Casper explained, "They're nothing but a bad influence on you."
"You don't even know them!" Delta retorted, "I'm not going with you." She stated as she stormed out of the house.
She called Amaretto who met her at the bar, "I can't believe they're gonna make me leave!" She complained, "Like i wanna travel around with a bunch of moronic jocks!"
"So don't go." Amaretto said, "Look I'm graduating in a couple of weeks and that means my trust fund kicks in."
"What a weird time to brag about how rich you are, when my life is falling apart." Delta replied, raising her eyebrows in confusion at her friend.
"No silly! I'm not bragging, well maybe a little. But seriously, I'm getting this awesome penthouse in town, you can come live with me!"
"Are you serious?" Delta cried hugging her friend tightly, "That would be amazing, but they're never gonna go for it."
"So you don't ask them you just tell them how it's gonna be. They can't come and play parent now after all this time."
The next day was Finlay's birthday, and although the family were still grieving they did their best to celebrate it together.
Audra could see a lot of Jonny in her young son, he was sure to be a heart breaker when he grew up. Finlay developed the perfectionist trait.
After everyone had eaten their cake, Delta pulled her parents to one side and told them of Amaretto's offer.
They were both against it immediately.
"Dad, please just hear me out." Delta asked, "You owe me that much."
"OK." He agreed
"You remember when you asked me what I thought about you going on the road? Do you remember what i told you Dad?" Delta asked.
"You said go be a star Dad." He answered, "You were being brave, I realise that now."
"Yes i was putting on a front at the time, but i meant it too. I wanted you to be happy Dad, but now I'm asking you to let me do what makes me happy. That's staying here and finishing school with my friends."
Delta could see that her father was considering it, "Please Dad, Mom I've never asked you guys for anything. Just please trust me OK?"
Casper looked at Elena who regarded him with a worried expression, she shrugged her shoulders indicating that it was his call.
"Alright." He answered, "If this is really what you want you can stay, but if it's still OK with your Aunt I'd feel happier if you lived here. At least until you graduate, and no more drinking at bars."
"No more drinking anywhere." Elena contributed.
Delta left her parents and Audra to discuss the arrangements and headed out to the garden in search of Eliza, finding her on the swing set she sat down.
"So, it looks like I'm staying." Delta told her, eliciting no response from her cousin.
"Look i owe you a huge apology." She continued, "I was a real jerk when i missed your birthday, i know how much it's sucks when the people you care about let you down."
"S'ok." Eliza sniffed.
"No it's not OK, but i promise I'll never let you down again." Delta said.
"So my folks just gave me some pocket money, if you want we can go to Bridge Records and get that Simstreet Boys CD you wanted."
"Eww! The Simstreet Boys suck." Eliza exclaimed, wrinkling her nose "Make it the Funky Llama's and all is forgiven."
"You got it cuz!" Delta agreed, hugging her cousin closely. She had a good feeling that things were going to be much better.
True to her word Delta stopped bar hopping and studied hard and when graduation day arrived, she had passed with honours.
To celebrate her achievement Casper and Elena organised a surprise party for, they hired a dance area with disco lights and even a fully staffed bar.
"I hope she'll like it." Elena fretted.
"Don't worry you two." Audra advised, "She will be so excited just to see you both here for her big day."
When Delta saw the party her Mom and Dad had arranged, she was overcome with emotion. The three of them had come a long way since her Grandpa's death. She wished that he could be here to share it.
As she stepped up to blow out the candles on her birthday cake, she looked around at the faces of her friends and family and felt like the most important girl on Earth, it was a far cry from her last birthday.
Delta aged into a young adult and developed the party animal trait (Watch out Bridgeport!) She also transformed into a full vampire.
Naturally Amaretto attended the party.
She graduated a year ago and had moved into her penthouse.
Orlando and Danny also graduated the previous year, but had gone on a year long trip around Europe and hadn't made Delta's party.
Amaretto surprised Delta by showing up with a new man on her arm.
It seemed as though her obsession with Danny was well and truly over, she seemed happy with Connor and the pair of them spent the night dancing cheek to cheek.
When the party came to a close, Amaretto approached Delta "So are you ready to move into the most awesome party pad in town?"
"You bet i am, I can't wait!" Delta replied.
"Well you don't have to, lets go tonight!" Amaretto suggested.
The pair of them left together with Audra waving them off.
She was still uncertain of Amaretto's influence on her niece but she was a grown woman now and she had to trust her to make the right choices for herself.
With Delta gone the house was very quiet, Finlay had started high school and was growing ever popular as Audra knew he would.
She was more concerned about Eliza who never brought any friends home from school.
She seemed withdrawn since Delta had moved out, preferring to keep her head in a book than talk to her class mates. But she seemed happy enough with her life as it was so Audra didn't press the issue.
Eliza was not concerned about her lack of friends, it wasn't as though she was unpopular, people didn't pick on her she just didn't find her class mates as interesting as she found Shakespeare and Austen.
While her peers were busy discussing the latest episode of Glee, Eliza was outdoors enjoying all that mother nature had to offer.
Her Dad had bought her a bike for her birthday and she would ride all over town discovering every corner of Bridgeport.
One day her bike brought her to the cemetery, and she figured she would stop by her grandpa's grave since she was already there.
She still missed her Grandpa, he had been such a big part of her life growing up.
Unfortunately she never got to meet her Grandma Leila but she recalled Jonny's tales of how they had grown up right next door to each other and finally realised they were meant to be together years later. It was so romantic, just like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy.
As she stood at the grave she remembered the day of the funeral, she had a faint memory of her mother standing and crying over a different grave stone. She thought she could remember where it was, and as she came across an overgrown area of the graveyard she found it.
The headstone was fully covered by plants, it was obvious whoever was buried here had no family to tend their grave. She pushed back the overgrown shrubbery and revealed the name Patrick Sawyer, he had been young when he died only 28.
She wondered how her mother had known Patrick, she had said he was an old friend when Eliza asked her the day of the funeral, she wondered what kind of a friend he had been and how he had ended up in an early grave.
She cycled to her home from home, the library, they had records dating back hundreds of years on micro film and Eliza planned on searching the day Patrick Sawyer had died to discover what had happened to him.
As she flicked through the old newspaper clips she came across a front page story;
Local hero's body recovered from abandoned Outlook Point
She scrolled the reel back a few days;
Scientist arrested in double murder investigation:
Local scientist Theo Singer was arrested late last night, he is the prime suspect in the
hunt for the killer of Gene Researcher Dr Janella Parsons and a source from within the
Police Department has revealed that he is also suspected of wrong doing over the
disappearance of Police Officer Patrick Sawyer.
Whoever Patrick was he had clearly met a nasty end.
Over dinner that evening Eliza decided to get some more information on Patrick from her mother.
"Mom, you remember your old friend Patrick Sawyer." She began.
"Eliza!" Her mother said, clearly shocked at the mention of this mans name, "Why would you bring this up?"
"I was at Grandpa's grave earlier and it came back to me that day when i found you at Patrick's grave." She explained.
"Please Eliza, leave the past alone." Her mother pleaded.
As her father approached the table her mom changed the subject and began talking about one of her patients instead.
Eliza decided to drop the subject, at least in front of her Mom, but she was certainly hiding something and if there was one thing Eliza loved it was a good mystery.