Always Watching


I haven't received a single email from my mom, making me feel conflicted. On one side, I'm angry at her for not telling me about her cancer and on the other side, my guilty side, I'm worried about her. I tried calling her, but she didn't answer then, or the day after, or any of the days after leading to today. 

Dad says to give her time, but something is telling me that time is something I don't have anymore. It escapes through my fingers like the sand on the beach whenever I sit there to get lost in my thoughts, quickly and unfeeling. Since Dylan's harsh words, the idea of leaving Pueblo has been haunting me, keeping me up at night and keeping me close to dad's house during the day. 

Ella hasn't called me or visited me after I told her about Dylan, despite her reassuring words. I shouldn't have trusted her with the importance of my past, but I just needed someone to talk to. 

I'm sitting on the black couch, staring at my cellphone on the coffee table. I can hear my dad shuffling in from the kitchen as the rain falls heavily outside, but I don't look away from my cellphone. 

"Nothing today either?" he asks from behind me. 

"No," I say quietly. "You don't think she would do anything drastic, do you?"

There's an uncomfortable silence and I turn around to look at him. His hair is matted down from the rain outside and his black shirt is soaked through. He smiles at me weakly, "I don't know. You're mother is capable of anything."

I stare at him until he turns back into the kitchen. Then I'm left alone with my thoughts and my what if's. On a sudden impulse, I pick up my phone and dial a number that is as familiar to me as the toes on my feet and the fingers on my hands. 

After a long warning about long distance calling, the call finally reaches the other side of the line. Someone picks up after four rings.

"Hello?" Becky's voice is weary.

"Hey Becks," I say, trying to sound cheerful. "How are you?"

There's a long pause and she clears her throat. "Why are you calling me?"

Her tone surprises me. She sounds almost angry. "What?"

"Why are you calling me?" she repeats, her voice low. "I thought you left for good."

Oh-no. "I only came here for the summer, you know that."

"Right," she says with a snort. "Your mom told me that you were moving down there, why didn't you tell me?"

"I..." my voice catches and I can't believe that this is happening all over again. "Why haven't you emailed me?"

"What would be the point in that?" she answers. "Since you're not coming back anyway."

"I am," I whimper. "I'm going back at the end of the summer."

"According to your mom, it was time for you to leave Toronto."

"My mom lied to you," I explain, "she lied to me too, please Becks believe me, my intention was not moving here forever."

Another silence cuts in between us before she finally says, "I miss you."

"Me too."

"What's going on?" she asks and I have an idea.

"Hey Becks," I say, "can you do me a favor?"

I inform her on my mom's medical problems that I only recently just learned about and I pitch her my idea. My mind is racing as I wonder why I hadn't thought of this sooner, but I hope that I'm not too late.

"Could you do that for me?" I ask finally, after telling her my plan.

"Of course," her voice is back to the happy best friend I'd left back in Toronto. "Just give me a few days."

"Thank you," I say, meaning every word. "Really, Becks, this means a lot to me."

"I know," she says. "I'm just glad that if you do move over there, I at least know the truth now, so it won't be as painful."

We say goodbye and I hang up, feeling more accomplished than I have in the past few weeks since arriving in Pueblo. I'm fighting off the anxiousness of awaiting news from Becky, when the door bell rings. I wait for a few moments, but when the doorbell rings again I figure that my dad has gone back to his office. Dad runs a shipping company for the local stores, so he is usually working during the day. 

"Coming," I yell out as the doorbell rings again, the sound bouncing off the walls of the empty house. 

I open the door and a girl with black hair put up in a large bun atop her head rushes past me, leaving her wet umbrella by the door. She stands, looking around, in the kitchen. She looks at the old pictures of my family, of Dylan and I, and of the beach before turning back to me. She has beautiful blue eyes that match the ocean during a lot calmer weather than today. She raises her chin at me, scrutinizing my face and body. 

"So you're Alycia," she says coldly.

"Who are you?" I say, trying hard not to show my surprise at her knowledge of me.

"I'm Angelina Enriquez," she says, expecting me to know who she is. When I don't respond she looks straight at me. "I'm Dylan's girlfriend."

"Ah," I say, letting it sink in. Ella warned me about this girl and despite my lack of enthusiasm for this meeting, I put my senses on alert. "Nice to meet you."

She gives me a glare before beginning her speech. "I heard that you and him were very close at one point?"

"Maybe," this girl was entertaining me so far.

"Well that was in the past," she snaps, "way in the past and now he's moved on."

"Go on," I offer her.

"He doesn't need someone like you to come into this town, thinking that she has the right to do or say this or that."

"You don't know me," I say slowly. "You have no right to say any of this to me."

"I know of you," she smiles, "and trust me, it isn't at all good."

I smile at the idea that the teens of Pueblo are gossiping about me.

"Look, just stay away from Dylan. He has enough problems to deal with," she looks me up and down. "Let alone some girl who thinks that she can come back to our town whenever she feels like it."

I have to laugh at that and she stares at me angrily. "Your town?" I walk up close to her and though she is taller than me, I stare up at her confidently. I am not one for being threatened. "I was born here and even if I left for some time, I'm back, and that gives me the same if not more, reason to be here than you."

We glare at each other for a moment, my words sinking into her mind. From up close, I can see little flecks of gold in her eyes and a small beauty mark under her eye. 

"Just stay away from him," she warns one more time, breaking our staring contest so that she can pick up her umbrella. "You abandoned him once and I know you'll do it again."

"Go to hell," I say quietly, letting her words burn through me.

She smirks at me. "Oh Alycia, you have to understand," she opens the front door and looks out at the rain with a grimace. "Even if you were born here, I have more say than you do with the other girls in this town. They're always watching, so careful with what you do." 

She closes the door, leaving me alone once more in the house that started it all.


The End

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