I’m cuddled up on the couch with Alex beside me flicking through Netflix until she stops for a second landing on ‘Money Heist’. A big smile graces my lips as I rip the remote out of her hand.
“Elizabeth Wren.” She all but yells.
I stick my tongue out at her click on the show. “Shut it Alex, you’ll love it.”
Her mouth drops open, “Yeah I just love watching ridiculous people in red suits and masks.”
I turn my head to her and smirk, “Trust me you will.”
She folds her arms over her chest letting out a not so lady like grunt. Ignoring her I grab my bowl of strawberries and throw one into my mouth. As soon as she sees Denver, or maybe even Rio, she will definitely change her mind.
Ten minutes into the show her pout is long gone. Her eyes stare at the Tv intently. I knew she would, she’ll watch anything with a hot guy in it.
“He’s so sexy.” Alex drools.
“I know.” I pop another strawberry into my mouth, “You have a boyfriend you know.”
“Fuck Gavin.” She mutters.
I look at her and she looks at me, then we burst out laughing. Gavin and her have been fighting since yesterday, I find it comical really. Sometimes Alex isn’t the easiest to get along with.
She came over an hour ago declaring we were going to have a sleepover, typical Alex. She doesn’t ask, she just invites herself, but I don’t mind she’s here all the time.
Alex’s sister is a year younger than her and they don’t get along. She’s always getting into Alex’s stuff, taking it, wearing it, sometimes ruining it. They are always at it, fighting non-stop and Alex’s parents do nothing to stop it. Apparently they always take Alex’s sisters’ side because she’s the ‘favorite child’.
Alex is sick of it, so she spends most of her time at my place.
We watch the show and binge on strawberries. I’m glad Alex is enjoying it because it’s my new obsession, it’s just so good.
The doorbell rings causing me to get up, I tell Alex to keep on watching since I’ve already seen it so I’m not missing anything. Lazily I trudge to the door, and once there I open it.
My eyes widen and my heart stops. I blink to see if what I’m seeing is real, and he is completely real. It’s him, it’s really him, he’s here. My dad is home in front of me with an easy smile upon his face.
“Princess.” That name slices through my shock.
I jump into his arms as happy tears slide down my face. I can’t believe it, I haven’t seen him in what feels like forever. “Dad.”
We pull away and he chuckles, “I missed you Lizzie girl.”
“I missed you too dad.” He ruffles my hair and kisses my cheek.
Picking up his bags, he steps into the house, drops his bags onto the floor, and shuts the door. Every time he comes home he does it, not worrying about them till later.
“Lizzie, who is it?” My friend yells from the living room.
Turning my head I yell back, “Come see yourself.”
A few seconds later a huff is heard, then footsteps following afterwards. Her mumbling can be heard from here, “uhh...making me get up.” And “what a bitch.” Along with other things. My dad and I laugh hearing her ramble to herself. She makes her way to us and lifts her head stopping dead in her tracks, “Mr. Rose.” She gasps in surprise.
“Hello Alex, it’s good to see you.”
She too runs up to him and hugs him. “It’s been so long.”
They pull away both with a smile. Happiness swells within me, he kept his promise. Still he has never broken a promise to me. But how long will this last, how long is he staying? Shaking my head, I try not to think of that right now.
“You’re back.” I murmur.
His smile fades, “I am Lizzie girl, I am.”
I hug him once again very tight, my cheeks dampen with my tears of happiness. I’ve missed him so so much, he doesn’t even know. My day just got ten times better...and let me tell you it’s been a long day.
The moment goes by too quickly, the surprise, the overwhelming happiness.
“Where’s your brothers....and your mother?”
I don’t let it get to me, I got my moment of his attention and for now it will have to be enough. I won’t be selfish.
“Layten and Rex went out to pick up pizza and wings, they didn’t feel like cooking dinner.” I tell him honestly, “Mama is in the den reading.”
His eyes brighten at the mention of my mother. In a second he will leave me and go to her, like always. But it’s okay...she needs him.
He leans in giving me one last peck on the cheek and ruffles Alex’s hair, “I’ll see you two girls at dinner, yeah?”
“Definitely.” Alex and I say in unison.
We watch as my dad moves across the mud room and through the opening into the hall. From here I can see his quickened pace as he gets farther away, his fingers rubbing into his palms, anxious to see my mother.
Slight disappointment settles in my stomach, I feel like he’s here one minute and gone the next. Our encounter was too short. I feel guilty that I feel disappointed, it’s selfish he’s here and that’s what I wanted. I should be grateful.
With my father’s absence, leaves Alex and I standing in his wake. Now the silence of the room settles between us. She turns to me with a look.
“You good?” She asks, eyes accessing my face.
I meet her eyes, putting on my best fake smile. “Great.”
She shakes her head, auburn hair moving with it, “No you’re not.” Her voice comes out even, she knows I’m not.
Of course she does, she’s my best friend. I can’t lie to her because she knows me too well, which is quite inconvenient if you ask me. She’s going to want to know why and I don’t want to tell her because it’s stupid, it’s selfish.
The smile drops from my face easily. No need to pretend when she already knows.
“What is it Elizabeth?” She takes a step closer.
I begin to think up an excuse until a car door shutting sounds outside, and with it voices are heard through the door. So instead of answering, to avoid the question I open the door up and find Layten walking towards us with two pizza boxes in his hands and wings on top. Rex trails behind him with his keychain dangling back and forth.
Layten sends me a wink and I smile, my mood lifting. “Hungry babydoll?”
“Very.” I say happily.
Layten enters the house and Rex is about to, causing my smile to disappear. We haven’t talked since the day I stormed out of the house, since he grounded me. And to be honest it hurt, I don’t like when he’s disappointed in me.
Alex gives me one last look, the look that says “we’ll be talking about this later” look before following Layten into the kitchen.
Rex stops in the doorway, eyes on me. My eyes trail down to the floor, is he still mad at me?
My eyes slowly trail up to meet his chocolate one. He must see I’m upset as his eyes soften. He closes the door behind him and takes a step towards me, wrapping his muscly arms around my frame.
“What’s wrong Lizzie.” He asks, concerns laced in his voice.
“Are you still mad at me?” I mumble pulling away, my vision falling back down to the floor.
He shakes his head, “No.” A simple answer before saying, “Now what’s really wrong?”
What? How does he know? “Nothing?”
I can feel his eyes access me. “Cut the bullshit babydoll, I know something’s bothering you. Now tell me.”
I glance up at him and he’s completely serious, we won’t be leaving to eat until I tell him.
All he has to do is see me to know something is wrong, he knows with just one glance. He has patched up my knees when I scraped them, he’s chased away the monsters hiding in my closet, he’s wiped away the tears when I was sad. He always knows...and he’s always there to fix it, to make me feel better.
“Dads home.” I say. For a second Rex just looks at me before his face changes into realization.
“Oh lizzie.” He says softly, “Look I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere.”
He once again pulls me into a hug, this time I hug him back. He knows, he knows how I feel. Dads here now...but when will he leave me again?
“Okay.” I murmur.
He pulls away with that soft smile he only gives me. “Let’s go eat I’m starving.”
I laugh feeling my mood take a one eighty turn. Together we walk to the kitchen where both Layten and Alex are already digging into the pizza. I grab a plate off the counter and grab two slices of pizza, after I move over to the wings and add four to my plate. Yes I can eat and am not ashamed of it.
Alex nudges my shoulder, “There you are, for a second I thought you vanished.”
I smile nudging her back, “Not before I eat.”
We’re all sitting in the dining room, Alex, Layten, Rex, and me. Rex moved the pizza and put it in the middle of the dining room table along with the wings, so if we wanted more we didn’t have to get up and get it.
Both Layten and Rex’s plates are full of food, like very full. I thought I could eat a lot, but them, they eat tons.
Layten and Rex are talking about the football game that they were watching earlier. I don’t bother to pay attention because football doesn’t interest me. So instead Alex and I have our own conversation ranging from her and her fight with Gavin to where I disappeared to the night we went to the drive ins.
“What happened to you at the drive ins?”
I chew the piece of pizza in my mouth and swallow before answering. “I came across a friend I met not too long ago.”
“Yeah and?” She pushes.
“His name is Jay.” I tell her, taking another bite.
Her mouth drops, like literally drops and in it is unchewed food. Internally I cringe, what’s the big deal? She closes her mouth, gulps down the food before saying, “You met a boy, a freaking boy and you didn’t tell me?” She accuses.
I shrug my shoulders. What’s the big deal, he’s just a friend.
“Well is he hot?”
Before I can answer Rex does, “Is who hot?”
All eyes turn to me, my cheeks tingle with warmth. I send Alex a glare for being so loud and careless in front of my brothers.
“Yeah Elizabeth who is hot?” Layten voices seriously.
I can’t tell them because it will only make them mad. They will want to know how I met him (at a party I wasn’t supposed to go to). What his name is, what he looks like and so on. And in the end they would never let me see him, their way to overprotective.
Right on time my dad and mom walk in. “What’s going on?” My dad asks, staring at all of us.
Layten looks up to our dad, “Lizzie thinks a boy is hot.”
I sink into my seat in embarrassment. Why is it such a big deal?
My mama smiles next to our scowling father. He knows I met a boy, and I just hope he doesn’t say the name out loud. I told him because I didn’t think he would be coming back anytime soon, but I was wrong.
“Does this boy happen to be that Jay you mentioned?” My dad’s full attention is now on me. Great he just had to say his name.
“No.” I mutter glaring at everyone at the table.
Layten and Rex look at dad obviously surprised that he knew they didn’t. After their gaze again comes back to me. Of course they knew I was lying, and very poorly at that.
“Jay.” Rex says staring right at me. “How did you meet him Lizzie?”
“Will you boys leave her alone, I think it’s lovely she met a boy who makes her blush.” My mama defends me proudly. But it only makes me all the more embarrassed.
“He makes you blush huh.” It’s Layten interrogating me this time. “How could you meet a boy when you’ve been home?” He asks kindly, he knows he’s setting a trap that I can’t get out of. I met Jay when I was supposed to be home, but instead I was at a party and Layten knew something was up.
I drop my pizza onto the plate and stand up. I look each of them in the eye. “So what, I’m almost seventeen. I can talk and see whoever I want.” And after I turn around ready to speed walk my way out of here, I reach the doorway before I hear my dad.
“Elizabeth Wren, turn right back around and sit down, we are not done.” His voice is loud and clear, not to be defied.
If it were Rex or Layten I would have kept going, but this is my dad and he was not happy. Slowly I turn around and cross my arms even though all I want is to bolt out of this room and out of the embarrassment.
Alex sends me an apologetic look which I ignore, she got me into this mess with her big mouth.
“Layten asked you a question.” My dad says....gosh like I didn’t know that.
My teeth begin to grind as my fists clench. Fine if they want to know I’ll tell them...whatever it’s my life. “I went to a party got drunk and had sex with him.” I say loud and clear, then I turn around leaving not waiting to be called back.
But the gasps are heard.
When I get to the stairs I run up them as fast as I can to my room and lock the door. I know what I told them wasn’t true, but I wasn’t going to sit there and have them rummage all over me.
Besides, if they really know me, they will know that it’s not true.