The Rest of Mom's Best Friend
Sadly, after the Shining Stars program was cancelled, I didn't make an effort to copy or back up the scripts I'd written for after the pilot. The idea to try publishing MBF on my own never occurred to me, this was a project that had been given to Tokyopop, and despite their internal problems at the time I didn't want to risk starting a legal battle over ownership.

However, because so many of you awesome people want to know what was planned for after the pilot, I found the flash drive I used to store the earlier synopsis and story arc outlines, when I was exchanging them with my editor for rewrites. These aren't the final story arcs that were decided on, but a lot of the events stayed the same - hope you enjoy!


Over the course of rewriting, the biggest change that took place was the magical method that took Samantha back in time. First, it was a genie overhearing her wish to be her own person, and granting it via time travel. My editor didn't like the genie character, so her wish became granted by a magical ring instead. However, it became difficult to explain where the ring and it's power came from, so the ring was turned into a locket with a watch inside, whose hands could transport the user back in time when they moved backwards. 

But there was still no connection to the locket and the heart of the story, the relationship between Samantha and her mother. Because of this, the final version of the locket instead showed images of herself and her mother, which disappeared when Samantha felt lost and reappeared when she felt like her own person again. The following pieces are from these various revisions.

-----Series Synopsis-------

This is the short synopsis meant to quickly get engage the reader's interest - similar to what you'd read on the back of book cover.

Samantha always hated being compared to the young girl in her Mom's childhood photo, until Samantha found out she was that girl. With the help of an impossible wish and an ambitious genie, Samantha finds herself sent back in time! Now Samantha must save the past from her genie's constant meddling, her future Mom's crazy adventures, and a young suitor who is NOT Samantha's future Dad.

-----Volume One Outline-------

Part of getting the pilot approved included explaining how long the series would be if the readers voted for it, and  EVERYTHING that would happen over the course of that series. MBF was described as a two volume black-and-white series, each volume six chapters, thirty pages per chapter. This was a detailed outline of the story arcs in volume one:

Always being compared to her namesake, Samantha dreams of becoming her own person. When enrolled into Cliffview High Academy as a birthday present, Samantha believes this is her chance to start over, until she learns that Cliffview is the same school her namesake attended. To add insult to injury, Samantha is also given a watch locket that used to belong to her namesake.

Three weeks later, Samantha is waiting in her dorm for her new roommates. Stroking the locket watch, she wishes that she could meet her namesake, to find out why her Mom cared about her so much. As she falls asleep, the hands on the locket watch begin moving backwards.

When Samantha wakes up, she notices that her roommate has come and left her luggage on the opposite bed. Samantha notices how old-fashioned it looks, but when she tries to compare it to her own, Samantha realizes that her luggage is gone.

Not wanting to think it's stolen, Samantha double-checks everywhere in the room to find it. In doing so, she notices small differences from when she went to sleep: scratched up furnishings are now new and polished. The squeaking hinges from the doors are now smooth and silent. She wonders how all this could've been fixed without waking her up.

Frustrated at not finding her luggage, she walks out to report it missing. However, she collides with a girl who was walking in at the same time. After helping each other off the floor, the girl introduces herself as Rita. Samantha's surprised and upset at the luck of her roommate having the same name as her Mom. Not wanting to upset her new roommate, however, she struggles to find something about Rita to compliment.

Samantha notices that Rita is wearing a different uniform than her. She starts to ask about it, when Rita suddenly tells Samantha if she's caught out of uniform she'll be in big trouble. Samantha protests that she is wearing the proper uniform, and it's Rita who needs to change. Rita argues back, saying Samantha's uniform doesn't even have a hat. Samantha suddenly remembers this argument from before, as a story of how her Mom first met her namesake. She realizes that her roommate isn't named after her mother, she IS Samantha's Mom. But if this girl is Samantha's Mom, that would make Samantha her own namesake.

Stunned, Samantha watches silently as her Mom's younger self slips on a beret and leaves for Orientation. Samantha tries to explain to herself what just happened. The only way it would be possible was if Samantha had traveled back in time, which is impossible. Even as she says it, though, it makes sense of all the other small differences Samantha has noticed since she woke up.

Still trying to convince herself it's all a coincidence, she looks out the window of her dorm.  There, she sees parents giving their students final goodbyes and driving off. Samantha can see that their clothes and cars are the kind her grandmother had, and the large trees on the school grounds have shrunk into saplings.

Panicking, Samantha runs out of her room, looking for a calendar. She's stopped by a Prefect girl, who says Samantha's not in uniform. The Prefect tells Samantha she needs to go back to her dorm and change. Samantha tries to think of an excuse, babbling about how her luggage is gone, stroking her locket absently.

The Prefect is surprised by the locket. However, she takes Samantha's wrist and leads her away to the Head Office. Thinking she's in trouble, Samantha cries that she doesn't know where she is or what's going on, pathetically adding she doesn't know who she is, either.

A spare uniform is dropped in Samantha's lap. Startled, Samantha stops crying. The Prefect tells Samantha to get changed in the spare closet down the hall. While Samantha's changing, the Prefect advises her to relax-- she's just lost, is all. Everyone gets lost at some point, and assures Samantha that once she finds her way she'll be better for it.

Confused, Samantha walks out of the closet in her new (old) uniform. The Prefect continues, saying she can get Samantha's luggage. But to do it, she needs Samantha's watch locket. Samantha refuses at first. This locket watch might be her only way back, and she's sure the Prefect won't find her luggage anywhere in this decade.

The Prefect insists, promising to give it back when Samantha's no longer lost. Samantha finally gives in, and hands the locket watch to the Prefect, who introduces herself as Abigal, and tells Samantha to come to her if she runs into trouble. As Abigal walks away, she points in the direction of Freshman's Orientation, saying it started a half hour ago. Panicking again, Samantha runs to orientation.

That night, Abigal visits Samantha's dorm, with Samantha's luggage. Amazed, Samantha thanks Abigal. But Rita, obviously upset at Abigal's presence, icily asks how she's doing. Abigal responds that she's fine, calling Rita a Fish Face. Rita's offended by this, but Abigal explains that the more Rita purses her lips in anger, the more she looks like a fish. Abigal leaves silently, with Rita arguing after her.

Samantha learns that Abigal is actually Rita's older sister (and, consequently, Samantha's Aunt Abby).  Rita explains that she never likes being around Abigal, because Abigal is always so calm and neutral, and, according to Rita, acts like she knows everything. Samantha finds Rita's reactions amusing, considering that in the future, her Mom and Aunt Abby are extremely close.

As classes begin, Samantha discovers she shares Homeroom with Rita. The teacher asks for everyone to introduce themselves, and explain what they want to do when they grow up. Several girl students talk about visiting countries and landmarks, and end in the number of children they want to have. On Rita's turn, she says she wants to travel the world and explore. When asked how many children she wants, Rita bluntly says “none.” Samantha's shocked at this, and begins to wonder why her Mom would have her later in life if she never wanted kids.

As the year progresses, Rita and Samantha have several incidents that Rita feels brings them closer: They try to make their chore of delivering everyone's laundry easier by hanging them on everyone's doorknobs, causing embarrassment for several students.  Samantha goes to Abigal for help, but Abigal says simply that Samantha took shortcuts, and shortcuts end up getting you even more lost than before. While sitting in detention, Samantha wonders if Abigal is really her friend or not.

Rita accidentally insults the track team captain, resulting in being blackballed by the entire team. Samantha, not able to stand watching her mom being bullied, stands up for Rita. The captain sees this as a challenge, and Samantha is suddenly faced with a race between the two of them. The night before the race, Samantha is trying to practice laps around the school, but can't beat the captain's best times. Abigal appears, with a water bottle for Samantha. While Samantha takes a drink, Abigal explains that Samantha's goal isn't to beat the captain, but to show everyone she cares about Rita. 

The morning of the race, Samantha cuts her hair to decrease wind resistance, to confirm she's making her best effort for Rita. During the race, she's always barely behind the captain, but is never able to pass. The captain wins, but the team's impressed with Samantha's efforts. They stop blackballing Rita, saying she's lucky to have someone like Samantha for a friend.

When using the potato peeling machine in the kitchen, Rita's curiosity of other foods that need peeling causes a watermelon explosion. Frantically, Rita and Samantha try to clean the mess, but watermelon has been splattered across an entire sheet of brownies. With no time to cook another batch, they spread the watermelon across the top like a layer of jam. When the cook says the brownies need to be taken to the principal's office for a meeting that day, Rita and Samantha volunteer so they won't be around when the broken peeler is discovered.

They run into Abigal on their way to the office, who immediately accuses them of hiding  something. Rita snaps back, saying she wasn't hiding anything and that Abigal needs to stop acting like she knows everything. As they continue to the principal's office, Abigal tells Samantha she won't find her way if she keeps hiding.

At the office, Rita and Samantha hand the brownies to the principal, who happily samples one. Rita and Samantha quickly discover that the principal is allergic to melons. After this incident, Rita is warned another demerit will earn her expulsion.

The closer Rita grows to Samantha, however, the more Samantha wonders if her future mom loved her daughter, or only loved that her daughter was just like her best friend.

At movie night in the courtyard, Rita and Samantha are trying to find good seats. Everyone's packed in, making it hard to move about. Rita ends up sticking her ice cream cone into the ear of the boy running the projector. Panicking, Rita drops the cone, grabs Samantha, and runs.

The next day, Rita bumps into the same boy at the library. She tries to leave, but the boy asks her out to the next courtyard movie night. His name's Taylor, and it turns out he's had a crush on Rita for some time.

As movie night draws closer, Rita and Taylor become a well-known couple throughout the school, making Samantha scared and upset. She tries to convince Rita that Taylor isn't the one Rita wants to fall in love with, but Rita mistakes Samantha's concern for jealously and begins avoiding her. 

On movie night, Rita and Taylor are sitting on either side of the projector. Their hands meet, then slowly they lean in to kiss. Rita and Taylor are leaning in front of the projection, so everyone can see their silhouettes on the screen. Samantha can't stand watching, rushes over to the projector and separates them. However, she loses her balance and the three of them end up falling over and breaking the projector.

Taylor's embarrassed, Rita's furious, and Samantha has been given detention. During detention, Samantha realizes this night was the first time her Mom had ever yelled at her. Samantha begins to cry softly.

Meanwhile, Rita's fuming in her dorm room, staring across at Samantha's bed. Abigal enters to check in on Rita. Abigal comments on how lucky Rita is to have a friend like Samantha. Rita dismisses the comment to Abigal acting like a know-it-all. Abigal goes on to explain how "romantic encounters" between the boys and girls is against school rules, and if Rita and Taylor had kissed in front of the projector, everyone would know they had broken that rule. Rita might even have been expelled.

Rita's stunned, she hadn't realized this. Abigal leaves Rita to sort out her thoughts.

When Samantha returns from detention that evening, she goes to bed without a word. Rita apologizes for yelling. Samantha remains silent. Rita then says that having children wouldn't be so bad, if her children turned out like Samantha. Samantha's surprised by this statement, but Rita's asleep before Samantha can ask further.

As Samantha falls asleep, she smiles, realizing she knows for certain that her Mom loves her.

Walking down the hallway to her dorm, Abigal also smiles. Touching the locket gently, she notes how Samantha is another step closer to finding her way.

 -----Volume Two Synopsis------- 

There wasn't a detailed outline for volume two written. However, I was able to find this early synopsis:

Time's running out! According to her Mom's memories, Samantha only stayed at Cliffview Academy for a few months. If she doesn't become her own person and complete her wish in time, who knows how it'll affect the future. But how could Samantha focus on becoming her own person while hiding the fact she has no school records on file, athletic teams are beginning to pressure Samantha to join, and her future Mom is secretly dating a classmate? Even if Samantha does manage to become her own person, can she shake her genie out of homesick depression long enough to take them back to the present?

  -----The End------ 

I'm afraid I can't find the notes on the end of this series. Ironically, it's been lost to time. But I've done my best to remember it:

Over the course of the series, Samantha would gain confidence in herself and find reassurance that her mother truly loves her. Rita, in turn, would learn from her friendship with Samantha to listen to others, avoid shortcuts to hard work and be a kinder person. 

When the yearbook photographer arrives, Samantha and Rita pose for the photo Samantha remembers hating throughout her childhood, and is looking forward to someday seeing that photo again. Then Samantha remembers that after today, there's no more stories from her Mom about what happened. Abigail then appears, and informs Samantha it's time for her to go home now. Abigail shows the photos of Samantha and her Mom are already reappearing in the locket, and Sam is disappearing, returning to her own time.

Before Abigail can finish explaining, however, Samantha runs off in search of Rita. She can't leave yet. But Samantha is fading too fast - she's almost completely gone, and her voice has become a whisper. Abigail catches up with Samantha, explaining she's been making notes in a diary of the events from now into adulthood, where just before Samantha's birthday Abigail would use the locket to travel back and leave that diary for her childhood self to find, it's what helped Abigail know how to take care of her sister and niece when this happened. Abigail promises that everything will be okay.

Samantha protests it won't. Her Mom will spend the rest of her life wondering why her best friend abandoned her, then be stuck with a daughter who hates her. Abigail asks if Samantha hates her mother. At this question, Samantha breaks down sobbing. She cries that she loves her Mom. She always has. Abigail says that Samantha is not abandoning Rita, but returning to her. And and in the meantime, Rita's big sister will take care of her. With this promise, Samantha finally lets go and fades completely. 

Samantha is suddenly back on her dorm bed, but everything seems different. Older. Samantha runs to the window, and sees her adult Mom and Aunt Abby are leaving the school grounds. Struck with a sudden impulse, Samantha opens the window and shouts after them. The adult Rita and Abby turn around to witness Samantha loudly proclaim to her Mom, "You're my best friend and I love you!"

The entire courtyard is silent for a moment, Rita and Abigail look stunned. Samantha realizes all her future classmates have witnessed this event, and are starting to whisper among themselves about her. She feels embarrassment start to rise, when her Mother shouts back, beaming, "I love you too! Promise to call me every day!" 

Ignoring everyone around them, Samantha happily agrees. They say their final goodbyes and Rita and Abby head back to the car. Once inside, Rita becomes overwhelmed, laughing and sobbing at the same time. "I missed her so much," Rita manages to finally say.

Aunt Abby gives a small, reassuring smile as they drive away from the school, saying "I promised she'd come back to you." 

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