I wake up to the sound of the radio downstairs and the smell of freshly cooked bacon. I pull up the thin blanket covering me to block the noise from downstairs. After last night, I imagine myself staying in bed, or in my room for a long time.
The loud footsteps going up the stairs outside of my bedroom tell me otherwise.
"Come on, Aly," dad says after opening the door. Since he confessed to me yesterday that he didn't leave mom and I all those years ago, he's been acting like he always did before everything happened. He walks over to my bed and rubs my head since the blanket doesn't cover all of me. "Wake up, it's a beautiful day."
"No," I say, my voice hoarse from crying. My eyes burn and my body feels weak. "I'm staying in today."
Dad doesn't hear me and walks over to my window. I look up from under the blanket in time to see him pulling the curtains open in one swift movement. Instantly, the sun shines through and I turn away.
"Come on," dad says, a smile on his face as he walks to where I can see him. He has khaki shorts and a bright blue t-shirt on. His blond hair is full of cowlicks and his green eyes narrow when he sees my face. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"
My dad hasn't called me 'sweetheart' since I was five.
"Dad," I whine. "Please, let me sleep."
He bends down until he is resting on the balls of his feet. "You have to get up, it's only your second day here," gently, he pulls away the blanket so that I can get up. "Besides, Ella already called asking for you. She wanted to know something about where you disappeared off to last night?"
My stomach churns at the memory and dad misinterprets the sound. "Aha," he says, smiling widely. "You're hungry! I made you some breakfast downstairs."
He gets up to go as I sit up in bed, defeated. "Oh," he says, turning back to me, "by the way, Marissa called. She says that she heard you were in town and would love to see you."
The last person I need to see is her.
"Frankly," dad says resting his back on the wall beside my door, "I'm surprised you haven't gone to see her, she is Dylan's mom."
It is currently taking everything I have to not let my emotions get the best of me in front of my dad, but if he doesn't leave or stop talking soon all my efforts will be in vain. Thankfully, he decides that his daughter needs some privacy if she is to leave her bedroom like he wants, so he reminds me once more of the promise of food being downstairs before closing the door behind him.
Now alone in my room, I am left with the silence that my thoughts are trying to destroy. In my mind's eye I see still-life pictures of Dylan leaving me, him kissing me; him hating me.
I rub my eyes with the palms of my hands, afraid that I'll start crying again. Finally, I get up and head to the laptop that mom lent me so I could keep contact with her and my friends back in Toronto. It's a pretty pink Sony and the screen flashes brightly as I turn it on, praying that my dad's internet is fast.
I go to the washroom that dad and I share and brush my teeth and face while the computer loads. I make sure that my face is decent and that the sleep is gone before heading back to my room. I pick a pair of jean shorts and a baggy black t-shirt to wear. After pulling the clothes on and applying cream to my legs, deodorant, and a bit of perfume, I sit down at the desk.
I'm signing in when someone knocks on my door.
"Come in," I say not looking away from the screen. I click on my hotmail to see any emails that my mom and friends have written to me.
"Hey," Ella says from the doorway and I turn around. I quickly grab a hair elastic from beside the laptop and put my hair into a low ponytail. "I called you this morning."
"Yeah," I smile back at her. "Dad told me, sorry, I just woke up."
Ella smiles and for an instant I see relief before she comes rapidly into my room. She sits down on my bed and points her chin at the computer. "Any emails?"
"I was just checking," I say and see the plate of food in Ella's extended hand. "What's this?"
"You're dad was worried that you were going to starve up here," she smiles, "so I brought the food for you."
I thank her and put the plate on the desk. My stomach feels better as I start to eat some of the bacon and scrambled eggs.
"So what happened last night?" Ella asks as I look through my emails.
"That's weird," I say aloud.
"I'm sorry?" Ella looks taken-aback.
"I haven't gotten a single email from my mom or Becky," I respond.
"Becky-who?" Ella asks. "Didn't you just get here yesterday?"
"Yeah," I look over my emails again, double-checking but I only see spam and facebook comments from people who aren't my best friend or my mom. "Becky is my best friend and my mom is usually obsessive over these things."
"I see," Ella says as she gets up from the bed to look around. "So you lived here, huh?"
"Yeah," I answer, closing my account. "Once upon a time."
"It's cute," she says while nodding at an old picture of me and my dad at the beach when I was six. "But you didn't answer my question."
I look at her and nibble on my toast, silently thinking about my lack of emails.
"What happened to you last night?"
My back straightens and I try to avoid her eyes.
"I went for a walk," I say, partially lying.
"Aha," Ella says, squinting her eyes at me. "A walk. To where?"
"Down the beach."
"It wouldn't happen to be in the direction that Dylan Pintos went in would it?" she wonders. "I saw the way you were looking at him."
I flinch and she relaxes a bit, noticing that this is a sore topic for me.
"What aren't you telling me?" she asks, moving closer and sitting back down on the bed.
"Dyl and I," I begin, but she puts up a hand. I stare at her wide-eyed.
"Only his girlfriend, Angela, ever calls him that."
I snort and regret it the moment it happens. "That may be true now," I explain, "but when I lived here we were best friends and that was my nickname for him."
"Wait," Ella looks stunned. "You used to be best friends with Dylan Pintos? Dylan Pintos?"
"I'd rather you not say his name so many times," I say quietly.
"No way," Ella says, not hearing me. "He is like, one of the most popular guys here and you're telling me you guys are best friends?"
"Were best friends," I sigh. "He hates me now."
There's a silence between us and the sound of my dad yelling up the stairs that he's going out makes us both jump. Ella looks at me, unable to phrase what she wants to say regarding my confession. I look away from her, not trusting my unstable emotions.
"Well," Ella finally says, prompting me to get up. "Whatever happens, you've got an ally."
I look at her quizzically as we both head out of my bedroom and down the stairs.
"You're going to need one," she smiles warmly, "that girlfriend of his is pure evil."