The look on Richards face told me that there would be no pulling
the wool over his eyes this time. He obliviously was thinking of
the earlier road trip to Georgia stunt that I pulled. I felt a
pang of guilt for taking advantage of the trust he and Norma had
"Richard, I promise I will not try to leave or anything like I did before.… Believe me I have no desire to go looking for trouble…again." He kept his eyes on the road, but nodded in acknowledgement. "Also, Heather is going to come and stay with me while I'm on lock down. I mean she will if it's okay with you guys. Truthfully if I'm stuck at the house for the next few days I could use the company."
"That's fine Ali, just make sure she understands that she will be on, as you say "lock down" too if she comes over."
"Okay." I agreed and pulled out my phone so I could text Heather the latest details. She replied quickly letting me know that she would be over in a few hours. I gathered she was excited from the multiple smiley faces that followed her text. I hoped her high spirits would rub off on me and get rid of the sick feeling of worry that had nestled its way into my stomach. I sent one more text before putting my phone away, but it was to Delaney this time.
~I know you're probably on the plane already, but I wanted to you to know that you don't need to worry about me doing as I'm told. I will, I promise. Please just concentrate on staying safe… I don't know what I would do if something happened to you. ~
I say quietly the remainder of the ride home, and tried my best not to think about the horrible scenarios that were playing themselves out in my head.
When we arrived home I tried to hurry into my room so I could worry myself sick in private but Norma caught me before I could make it.
"Ali, honey can you come in here for a few minutes… I want to talk to you about something." The sound of her voice coming from the kitchen startled me… my stomach plummeted and I felt nauseous at the sudden rush of anxiety. Fuck this couldn't be good. I stopped and turned around back towards the kitchen. Deny, Deny, Deny I kept repeating to myself. I wasn't going to admit anything.
"What's up Norma?" I said as I entered. My tone was a little too sweet and gave away my nervousness.
She pretended not to notice, and looked up at me smiling. She motioned over to the stools at the counter so I walked over and took a seat while she pulled a few envelopes out of one of the kitchen drawers.
"I forgot to give these to you last week, with everything that's been going on it slipped my mind. They are letters from a few colleges. They are thick envelopes so that means its good news."
Colleges? That's what she wanted to talk about? I let out a small sigh of relief and took the letters from her. I opened them up quickly not sure how I felt about the idea of being accepted to college. A few months ago this is what I wanted so badly. A chance to get out on my own and live my life, now I didn't want to leave Delaney, I wanted to live my life with him…
Norma studied my face for a few moments. "Ali is it bad news? I'm sorry I assumed…"
"No Norma, I have been accepted to all three schools." I attempted a smile but failed horribly.
"Oh, well that's wonderful news Ali, why aren't you more excited? You were much more excited that this when we were filling out the applications." She reached over and brushed the hair out of my face. "Ali, what is it? What's wrong?"
I don't know why, but tears sprung to my eyes. The idea of leaving Delaney was devastating, why couldn't things just stay the way they were…before all of this mess with Luther and Lydia.
"I…I just don't think I'm ready yet" I stammered. "Maybe I will stay here and go to community college or something? Or maybe I can work with you guys?" It was terribly obvious I was grasping at straws.
"Ali, first of all you are not going to work with us. I knew your father for many years, and there is no way he would want his baby girl doing this. Secondly, your parents had dreams for you. Your father worked hard most of his life so you wouldn't have to. He wouldn't want you to miss out on anything and I'm quite sure that includes college. It's an experience that you only get to have once, to step out on your own and become whoever you want to be." She paused for a few moments thinking hard about her next few words.
"Listen, I know that you and Mr. Delaney have gotten closer recently and that you have developed… an attachment towards him, but going away to college doesn't mean he won't remain your friend. He expects you to leave, and have your own life.
Expects me to leave … my friend … Her words were echoing in my mind. She had no idea how far it had gotten between Delaney and I. Or she was playing dumb and this was her way of giving me a reality check. Either way, I didn't want to hear what she was saying.
"Ali, there is a lot going on now, don't make any rash decisions just yet. Let's get this whole Luther ordeal behind us and then we can talk again. Okay?"
I took a deep breath, in my heart I knew she meant well. "Okay Norma… Thank you." I took the letters and went into my bedroom. I threw the letters onto my desk, not even wanting to look at them anymore. I grabbed my phone to text Heather and tell her to hurry up, and saw that Delaney had responded.
~ I'll be fine baby. On the plane now… Be good. - L.D.
I smiled. I didn't care what Norma said, I was quite sure that Delaney wouldn't want me to leave, that he would be happy if I stayed.
A couple of hours later Heather showed up. I heard her mustang in the driveway and hurried out to meet her. She had brought a suitcase with her and had somehow managed to get Tyler to carry it in. Security and bellhop services how nice, I thought giggling to myself.
"Hi honey!" She called out as she ran over to me giving me a tight hug. I must have looked as stressed out as I felt because she whispered into my ear before letting me go.
"Don't worry Ali, everything will be alright."
"Thanks Heather, I am glad you're here. Even though I know the real reason you wanted to come be on lock down with me." I nudged her with my elbow as I nodded my head in Tyler's direction.
"Well… He is an added bonus, but I am here to keep you company." She winked at me before telling Tyler that he could put her suite case into my bedroom.
We went out back to the pool area to sit and talk for a bit. We each lay in a different lounger looking up at the sky. The sun was setting and we watched silently as the last traces of light slipped away.
"You're really scared aren't you Ali?" I looked over at Heather who was now sitting up Indian style staring at me.
"Yes" I wanted to tell her I was mostly worried about Delaney, but knew that would bring up too many questions about my feelings for him.
"I'm sure that freak they got up in New York is Luther and that this whole thing will be over soon."
"I hope so, I just have this bad feeling about everything, and I'm worried something happened to Lydia. Delaney said that he hasn't been able to find a trace of her.
"Well maybe she really got away, and is hiding."
"Or maybe Luther got to her first and killed her…"
"Jesus Ali! You need to think positive. Those kinds of thoughts will only make you crazy."
"I know, I know. I'm sorry. You know there is just one thing that doesn't make sense to me about this entire ordeal. Why would Luther kill my parents and not just go after Lydia, and why would he come after me? I mean do you really think all of this is simply for spite, or revenge or whatever?"
"Yeah, people do pretty some pretty sick shit for less reason…"
"I suppose you're right…anyway enough of that. I've been meaning to ask you about Jarred. What ever happened with that? You were all hot and heavy one moment and then next thing I know your hot for Tyler. .."
Heather started laughing… "I don't know. I guess it got boring. I think that I had built him up so much in my head for so long that when I really had him, he fell short."
"And Tyler? You don't even know him."
"Tyler… is freaking hot. I don't want a relationship with him…I just want to put him on my "to do list" so to speak"
"Whore" I was laughing. "Well Heather I think you have your work cut out for you, he is very serious and not too friendly."
"I've noticed, I think that makes me want him more. I have issues don't I?" I shook my head. If she only about me and my issues…
As if on cue, the sliders opened up and Tyler walked out. We both busted out into laughter at the sight of him. He stopped abruptly and looked around.
"What do I have shit on my face or something?" He asked glaring at us. That only made us laugh harder.
"Tyler no…sorry it's not you at all" I managed to choke the words out. "What's up?"
The look he shot me told me he didn't believe me. "Just making my rounds... checking the perimeter"
I wasn't sure why that surprised me, it really should not have. This was a real lock down.
"Oh… well we were just about to go inside so we will be out of your way." I got up and started to walk towards the house when I noticed Heather hadn't moved. I turned and looked at her questioningly.
"Umm…are you coming?"
She flashed me a mischievous grin. "I will in a second I think I'll stay and keep an eye out...you know, make sure nothing happens to Tyler." I rolled my eyes so hard I was surprised that they did not get stuck. I even heard Tyler chuckle as he walked passed us.
All of the worry and anxiety returned as I walked back into the house. My thoughts had shifted back to Delaney and whether he had made ti to New York safely yet or not. Alex was in the kitchen eating when I walked back inside so I decided to ask him for an update.
"Alex, have you heard anything from Mr. Delaney as yet?" He looked up from his plate and shook his head since his mouth was full. "Okay, let me know if you do please." He nodded and I headed towards my bedroom. I immediately checked my cellphone to see if he had texted me again, but there was nothing, so I decided to take a shower and try to calm my nerves.
When I came out of the shower Heather was lying across my bed with my acceptance letters in hand smiling from ear to ear.
"Ali! We got both got into Central Florida! You have to go there so we can be roommates…do you have any idea how awesome it would be? We can get an apartment just outside of campus so we don't have to live in a dorm with a bunch of random's. It'll be so much fun."
She was talking a mile a minute her excitement growing with every word. We had talked about being roommates before… "Heather, I don't know what I'm doing yet. I… may stay here and go to CC."
"What! Have you started smoking crack? Go to CC here. Don't you want to get out? Start your life?"
"I don't know. There is too much going on right now to think about college or being roommates or anything like that." My voice was tight. She could tell I was annoyed.
"You're right. Now is not the time to talk about it. Once this is all over we can… sorry for being selfish… I was just excited. I would have been excited too if this was a few months ago.
"Sorry Heather, I'm just stressed out and tired. I think I need to sleep." I pulled the covers back and climbed into my bed as she rummaged through her suitcase for her pajamas. "Oh yeah, so did anything happen out there with Tyler?" I asked trying to lighten the mood again.
She immediately lit up and nodded excitedly. "Yes! He told me I was spunky and that he liked it" She started giggling and I couldn't help myself but join her.
"Well that's something…I guess" I said finally once the giggling had died down.
"Listen, I'll take what I can get…a small victory is still a victory." She gathered her pajamas and headed into the bathroom to take a shower. I was so mentally wrung out that I was fast asleep by the time she came out.