My mind was already in the car headed to Georgia from the moment I opened my eyes Friday morning. I put myself on auto pilot and somehow cruised through my day. I was headed to Heathers and in just a few hours we would be on our way. I couldn't wait to get this whole thing over with and move on with my life. I felt that Lydia was driving a huge wedge in between Delaney and me. I hated the fact that we were both lying to each other. I hoped that whatever he wanted to keep me from wasn't that bad, although somewhere deep inside I knew it definitely wasn't good. I found Heather sitting in the middle of her room surrounded by piles of clothes.
"What are you doing?" I asked as I walked in. She looked up a little surprised
"Oh hey, I didn't even hear the doorbell sorry."
"It's okay your mom was leaving when I pulled in and she opened the door, now tell me what you're doing with all of this" I said motioning to the mess around her.
"I was packing for our trip" she said sheepishly.
"Um, we are going there and back in one day. Why would you need a change of clothes?"
"You never know Ali, it never hurts to be prepared. What if we get dirty or need a disguise or something." I started to laugh Heather was usually able to amuse me with her nonsense.
"Pack whatever you like Heather, I'm only bringing myself." She grinned
"Yeah, yeah, and by the way I totally made the best playlist for the trip"
"God you are so excited! Meanwhile I'm over here feeling guilty and anxious"
She winked at me, "Well Ali, that's because you're a better person than me. I'm used to lies and deceit." I laughed and stretched out on her bed.
"So, when do you think we should leave?" I asked looking at the clock. It was only 8pm.
"I was thinking like 4 or 5 in the morning."
"Yeah sounds good." I just wondered how in the world I would ever get any sleep being as worked up about it as I was. Her phone started ringing and she mouthed to me that I was Jarred as she picked it up and left the room. I suppose things were working out for them. I hoped she was happy. I thought about calling Delaney but knew that there was no way I could talk to him normally. My nerves were out of control and he would definitely be able to tell that something was up. I did miss him.
I got up and quickly checked my face in the mirror before pulling out my cellphone and taking a selfie. I texted it to Delaney with the message
~I know there's no lingerie in this one, but it's the best I could do tonight. I miss you. Have a good night
A few minutes later he responded. I knew he was a busy man, and it made me feel incredibly important whenever he answered a call right away or responded to a text quickly.
~Beautiful, I miss you too. Be a good girl
I sighed and put my phone away. Oh Delaney if you only knew you would be so pissed. I just had to be extra careful so he wouldn't find out. That meant not taking my cellphone with me either tomorrow. I put it under Heathers bed, and decided I would just pretend I forgot it when we were too far away to turn around. I didn't feel like explaining to Heather that my phone had a tracking device on it also.
I lay in Heathers bed next to her as she snored away watching the hours on the clock creep by. A million thoughts raced through my head. For starters I thought about what I would say to Lydia when I met her. I decided that I would just say who I was and that the rest should unfold pretty easily from there. I mean she obviously knew my parents. I wondered If Lydia was a danger to me and Heather. I quickly dismissed the idea, if she's sending flowers she's a friend not an enemy. I mean killers didn't do that did they? Maybe I would watch her house first instead of just run up and ring the doorbell. Make sure it looked safe, not that I had any idea what safe looked like. After what seemed like forever the clock hit 4am. I sat up in the bed and shook Heather awake.
"Oh my god what" she grumbled struggling to open her eyes.
"Its 4am Heather, let get ready and go."
"Holy fuck Ali, let's sleep another hour or so please"
"No, get up. You can sleep in the car I'll drive for the first half."
"Fine, you are so annoying" She finally sat up and opened her eyes to give me an evil look.
Her mood had improved by the time we finally got into her car and started driving and were able to drive through a Starbucks.
"I needed that" she said as she sipped on her coffee. I don't think I have ever been up this early…ever. Well, at least not on purpose"
"I know me either, thanks for going with me"
"Well, I couldn't very well let you go by yourself now could I?"
"No, I guess you couldn't" I replied
I felt as if I had been driving for a long time and was disappointed when I looked down at the Navigation screen to see that we had six and a half more hours of driving to go. I turned up the volume letting the dark manic sound of the Misfits fill the car. Heather and I didn't really speak for the first hour or so. We were lost in our own thoughts and the music, watching the light from the sunrise dance across the passing landscape. It was actually quite beautiful to see the city wake up as we drove through. Neither Heather nor I had ever driven out of the tri county area by ourselves. It was exhilarating and scary at the same time. The world was much bigger than anything I knew.
After a while Heather broke the happy silence. "So, have you given much thought to the fall?"
"What do mean the fall?" I asked
"You know college? Have you gotten any letters back as yet?"
"Oh I'm sorry. I haven't given it much thought since I've had so much on my mind lately. But no I haven't noticed any letters come in yet. You?"
"Just one so far, I got accepted to FSU"
"That's awesome Heather! Congrats."
"I'm hoping we both accepted to some of the same schools, so if we went to the same one, we could live together."
I smiled at her, but inside I was panicking. I couldn't leave, and go away to school. There would be no way to keep any kind of relationship with Delaney going if I did that. AHHH what was I even thinking. Did we even have a "relationship?" I mean I just had him admit to me that he had feelings for me. Although I was too chicken to say that I loved him, I didn't change the fact that I did. I really had to give this some thought once I was home and all of this was behind me.
"What are you thinking about? You looked like you were far away there for a minute.
"I was just thinking about how I really haven't given my future much thought. I need to do that."
"That's so weird since you were the one basically forcing me to fill out the applications at the start of the year."
"I know I got side tracked" I shrugged. I certainly couldn't tell her what had sidetracked me.
We chatted some more about college, and where she hoped we end up. She also told me about Jarred and how in love she was with him. She seemed to be in a good place, and I was happy for her.
After literally hours of chit chat, zoning out, and at least a dozen playlists we were a mere 10 miles away Lydia's house. I pulled over at a fast food restaurant so we could use the bathroom and freshen up.
"I can't believe we are so close" Heather said as she washed her hands in the bathroom.
"I know me either." I was so nervous. The butterflies in the stomach were swarming. Not in the good way that they did when It came to Delaney, but more in the I think I might throw up way.
I bought a soda before I got back into the car. My mouth had suddenly become extremely dry. Heather and I had stuck out like sore thumbs in the restaurant. Everyone seemed to stop what they were doing and just stare at us. We definitely didn't blend into small town America very well. Heather with her Channel bag, Chanel sunglasses glasses, and glossy lips reminded me of Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinnie". I mean I had the same bag and glasses, but there was just something about the way she carried herself that screamed I'm not from here.
"Good thing we didn't drive my car" I whispered to her once we were back inside of her car. "Could you imagine the reactions we would get if a Range Rover came cruising through this town?"
"Yeah because my bright yellow brand new mustang really blends" She started laughing hysterically. "Where the fuck are we Ali? I didn't even think these kinds of small towns were real."
I smiled. "Ya know Heather the world is bigger than Palm Beach County"
"I know, but it certainly isn't as pretty."
"I know, I know, let's go get this over with" I said throwing the car into drive and heading towards Lydia's house.
We turned down her street and I drove by the house first just scoping it out. I was a large yellow two story house. Large pillars and a wraparound porch adorned the outside. It was old and in need of some repair. I could tell it was once magnificent although its glory days were long gone by now. The driveway was broken and weeds grew up through the cracks. The only sign that it wasn't abandoned was the tiny hatchback parked out front.
"That house looks scary as fuck" Heather said as we passed.
"It's not scary, just run down" I replied. "I'm going to park across the street so we can just check it out for a few minutes before I go knocking on the door okay?"
"Before we go knocking on the door" she corrected. "In all horror movies they die if they split up. We are not splitting up."
"Oh my god you are ridiculous. It's not scary, just old" She rolled her eyes at me as I parked the car across the street from the house.
"So what exactly are we looking for?" She asked after about 10 minutes of starting at the house had passed.
"I dunno, let's just go" I turned the ignition off and opened the door to the car getting out. My legs felt heavy on the approach, there were so many different emotions jumbling around inside of me I wasn't sure how to feel. Thank goodness Heather was with me, I don't think I would have made it to door without her. I know for sure I wouldn't have rung the doorbell without her either, because I stood there facing the door unmoving for a few seconds before she reached over and pressed the button.
I heard footsteps approaching and held my breath afraid of who would be on the other side. The door opened slowly to reveal a young woman a few years older than myself with piercing blue eyes and black hair. Her skin was pale almost like she never went into the sun and her frame small and petite. She looked at us wearily not stepping out completely from behind the door.
"Hi, mam are you Lydia Johansson?" Her eyes grew wide with surprise at the mention of her name. She studied me and Heather for a full minute before nodding. "I'm really sorry to bother you and show up at your home unexpectedly, but my parents passed away six months ago and I think you know them, actually I know you know them since you have been having flowers sent to them every week since they died." I took a breath, and looked at her for a reaction. She went from surprise, to shock in a matter of moments. There were tears welling up in her eyes as she looked at me.
"I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself" I said feeling the need to further explain myself "My name is" but before I could finish she put her hand up interrupting me.
"Alivia, your father spoke about you all the time"
I gasped at the sound of her voice. She had an accent it sounded Russian and she knew who I was. She moved aside opening the door fully to Heather and me. "Come girls, we'll talk inside."