Read Forever altered Online

Authors: D.J. Pierson

Forever altered (page 6)

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“Hey,Alyssa.  Better get over here and get some of this while it’s still hot,”Shane says giving Rocco an odd look. 

Forthe next couple of hours, we eat, drink, and laugh as though we’ve all beenfriends forever.  Never once did I worry about what happened earliertonight, what will happen tomorrow, or what will happen later in thefuture.  Tonight, it was just about letting go, if only temporarily, withfriends that would be there when I needed them.  Friends that were righthere.  Right now.   





Inthe morning, I wake up to the sound of Leah getting ready for her class. She’s rummaging through her closet trying to find something to wear.  There’sreally no reason for her to stress so much.  It’s Friday morning.  Noone really cares what you look like on a Friday morning.  Not to mention,she has spent plenty of nights with Tyler wearing old t-shirts andboxers.  His opinion is the only one she should be worrying about. She doesn’t know I’m awake until I reach over and grab my cell phone to checkthe time.  She has plenty of time before class. 

“I’msorry for waking you up,” my roommate whispers.  “Go back to sleep. I’ll try to be quieter.”

“Nobiggie.  I want to get up anyway.”  I sit up and get out ofbed.  “I’m going to get ready and head home for the weekend.” 

Sheturns to me.  “Why?”

“Whatdo you mean why?” I was on my way to the bathroom but stop and look over at herconfused at why she would ask that.

“Areyou really going home?”

“Whereelse would I go?”

“Whatday is it today,Lyss?”

“Friday?”I answer but it comes out like a question.

Sheis smiling now. “Really?”

“Leah,can you please stop speaking in riddles.  It’s toofrigginearly for me to think and I have a headache from drinking beer lastnight.  That shit is disgusting, by the way.  Why does everyone likeit so much?  Remind me to stick with vodka next time.”

“Forthe last month, you’ve been waking up telling yourself how many days it’s beensince, well, you know.  Now you are telling me that today isFriday.” 

Nowthat it’s clear what she is talking about, I understand why she is questioningmy sudden announcement of heading home.  She was afraid that I was goingto go see Jeff.  “No, I’m really going home.  My dad was asking meyesterday to come home for a couple days and I need to get some warmer clothes,anyway.  You guys deserve a weekend free from worrying about me. Don’t you agree?”  I shrug my shoulders.  “Besides, you’ve barelyspent any time with Tyler.” 

“Isee Tyler all the time.  You know he doesn’t mind spending time with you,Lyss.  He loves you just as much as I do.”  Shethrows her shirt on and stands in front of the mirror on the wall checking howit looks from the front and back.  “Don’t you ever think for a second thatyou are some kind of burden onus.  Do youunderstand me?” 

“Honestly,I just want to go home and clean out my bedroom.  There are lots of picturesand other crappy mementos that need to be tossed.  I’ve been purposelyputting it off.  I miss my dad and Jill, too.  They’ve been worried.”

“Areyou really okay?”  This question has been asked too many times.

Isigh.  “I’m better than thirty some days ago.  I’m still upset aboutit, especially after Jeff showed up here last night.  I also know there isno way I could be with him again.  It doesn’t matter that he was once mybest friend before he was the love of my life.  Or at least that’s how it seemed. It’s going to take a while to heal, if it’s even possible.  Some peoplemight think I’m overreacting, but I was so sure the rest of my life would bespent with him.”

“Youare dealing with it the best way you can.  No one thinks you’reoverreacting.  Shit, I’m surprised you’re doing this well.  I have noidea how I’d handle walking in on something like that.  Not to mentionyou’re also still dealing with losing your aunt and uncle.”

“I’mjust going to deal with things day to day.”

“Hey,do you want me to come home with you?  We could leave right after my classand I can help you clean out your room.  Then we can go to that restaurantyour dad always takes us to.”

“Thanks,Leah.  This is something I need to do on my own, though.  It will dome good.”  I smile at her. 

“Ifyou’re sure?”  I nod at her.  “I’m going to call Ty to see if hewants to go home, too, then.  Just let me know if you are going to comeback before Sunday and I’ll meet you here.”

Sinceit’s so early and there’s no rush to get home, I crawl back into bed while Leahgets dressed.  The amount of energy she puts into getting ready every dayis exhausting.  When she’s finally satisfied she looks perfect, it’salmost time for her to go to class.

“Damnit!  There’s no time for me to eat breakfast now.”   

“Youhad plenty of time to eat.  You just spent it in front of the mirror.”

“Ohshut up!”  Leah throws her brush at me.  “Not all of us can pull offthrowing their hair up the way you can.  I really hate you for it!”

“Yes,if looking like a slob implies pulling it off,” I say back sarcastically.

“Aslob?  Really?” She’s shoving her notebook into her bag. “Girlfriend, do you think you would have landed such a handsomelabpartnerif you looked like a slob?”

Notthis again.  It’s time to get out of bed and pack my stuff to gohome.  “Do we need to discuss this again?”

Leahis laughing now.  “Did you not see the way he was looking at you lastnight?  There’s no way it’s only about feeling bad you had to do someassignment alone.  No guy is that nice.” 

“Whatever. This conversation is getting old.”

“Seriously,Lyss.  Everyone noticed but you.  Even hisfriends were talking about him acting different when he was too distracted withyou to hear what they were saying.  Maybe Julia was wrong about him theother day.  I’ve seen him around campus ruthlessly flirting with othergirls, but last night was different.”

“Leah,please,” I don’t want to hear this crap anymore.  “No more, okay?”

Shesighs in defeat.  “Fine.  Will you still be here when I get back?”

“I’mgoing to try to leave within the hour.  This way I’ll have some time alonebefore my dad and stepmom get home from work.  No point in them watchingme clean the shit out of my room.”

Shecomes over to give me a hug.  “Be careful driving.  Call me if youneed to.”

“Iwill.  You, too.  Enjoy your weekend.  Don’t do anything Iwouldn’t do.”  I wink at her. 

“Itwill definitely be a great weekend if I follow that rule.”  We bothlaugh.  “See you Sunday.”


It takesme less than an hour to get a shower, pack my stuff, and eat breakfast. Right before leaving my apartment, I call my dad at work to let him know myplans.  Erin and Julia either aren’t here or are still sleeping, so Ileave them a note on our message board by the door, before walking out to mycar.

Abouthalf way through my two hour ride, my cell phone rings.  Leah’s nameappears on the display, so I answer using the hands free device my dad insistedon being in the car I purchased two months ago.  “Hey.  You miss mealready or did I forget something?”

“Ofcourse I miss you, but that’s not why I’m calling,” she says.  “Where areyou?”

“I’mjust about to get off of the New Jersey Turnpike.  What’s up?”

“Don’tkill me for telling you this, but I thought you’d want to know.”


“Someonejust stopped by to see you and was awfully disappointed to hear that youweren’t here.”  Something tells me I don’t need to ask to know who she istalking about.


“Theone and only,” she announces.

“DidI forget to give him a copy of the lab or something?”

“Ohmy God, Alyssa!  You still think this is about some assignment?”

“Giveme the damn phone,” Julia is saying in the background.  “Alyssa, get yourhead out of your ass.  Rocco Matthews is totally into you, bigtime!”  Julia’s voice is now screaming through my speakers.  “Youshould have seen the look on his face when Erin told him you went home for theweekend.”

“Gottago,” I’m saying.  “My phone is breaking up. I’ll talk to you guys later.”

“AlyssaAdler, don’t you dare hang up on…”  I hit theENDbutton on the display and blast my favorite CD, ignoring my friends as they tryto call me back. 

Beforelong, my car is parked outside of my house.  Suddenly, my nerves have mesecond guessing the decision to come home so soon.  It gets even worseonce I’m inside the house.  Instead of going upstairs to clean out myroom, I drop my bag at the bottom of the stairs and decide to hang out on thepatio in the backyard with my favorite book.  The weather is a littlecool, but it’s so calming out here that it doesn’t bother me.  I make itto the middle of the fifth chapter when I hear my stepmom calling my name frominside the house.  She comes out to sit with me when she sees where I am.

“Welcomehome,” she says giving me a warm hug.  Jill is the sweetest person I’veever met.  Since she started dating my dad about 5 years ago, we havegotten along great.  She never had children of her own and my mom left uswhen I was about three years old.  We’ve been more friends thananything.  Jill didn’t pretend to be my mom even after they got marriedwhich was just fine with me.  After over a decade without one, I wasn’tlooking forward to anyone to fill the role.

“Thanks. It’s good to be home.”  Now that she’s here, it really does feel good tobe here.

“We’vebeen worried about you.  I’m really sorry about what happened.”  Ionly nod and look away out into the yard.  “Do you want to talk aboutit?”  She isn’t trying to be a meddling parent.  She really justwants to help. 

“Notreally.  It happened.  We’re done.  I’ve been pretty upset, butI’m working on it.”

Sheacknowledges me with a nod, then adds, “One day, he’s going to realize what ahorrible mistake he made.  You may not think so right now, but it’s a goodthing this happened before…”  She stops talking because she didn’t mean tosay that. 

I’massuming they knew what he was planning on doing.  “I know that he wasgoing to propose at the party next week.”  The sympathy in her eyes isunmistakable.  “Jeff showed up at my apartment last night.”

“Ohmy.  What happened?” 

“Longstory short, we fought.  I said goodbye.”   

“Goodfor you.”  She brushes her long blond hair out of her face.  Thelight breeze seems to be picking up since I first came out here.  “Do youmind coming with me?  I want to show you something.”  Finding my spotis never a problem, but I slide the bookmark into place before following Jillinside.

“Yourdad asked if you wanted to go out to eat or if you’d rather we stayedin.”  She’s heading up the stairs.

“Thinkhe’d mind if we stay in?  I’ve been craving something on the grill.”

“Ithought you might say that.”  She looks at me over her shoulder.  “Igrabbed some steaks on the way home.”  We stop outside my bedroomdoor.  “We thought that you might need a change.  I hope you likeit.” 

Shepushes open my door and I’m completely speechless.  The bright blue wallsare now a light sage.  My old, plain blue comforter has been replaced witha white, fluffy new one and is covered with sage and white pillows.  Mytwo dressers were cleared of any picture or other reminder of my formerboyfriend.  What is there is a picture of me with my aunt and uncle whopassed away nine months ago in a car accident.  I smile as I look into theeyes of the two people who always treated me like the child they never had.

“Ilove it!  Thank you so much!”

“Allof your stuff was put away.  We didn’t go through it, it’s none of ourbusiness what to keep or get rid of.  Your dad thought maybe you’d want todo it later.”  Jill seems a little more relaxed. 

“Thiswas so nice of you guys.  You really didn’t have to.”

Shesmiled.  “Your dad didn’t want you to be uncomfortable in your own home.”

“Mydad is the best,” I say and she agrees.

“I’mgoing to start dinner.”

“I’llhelp,” I follow her back downstairs.

“Youare more than welcome to come and talk to me, but no helping.  I’m makingdinner for you tonight.”  When we get to the kitchen, she ties on herapron over her work clothes while I climb up on the stool that overlooks thecounter she will be working at.  “How are Leah and the girls?” sheasks.  “They need to come for a visit again.  We had so much fun thelast time they were here.”  I tell Jill all about how everyone’s semesteris going, how their boyfriends are doing, and how Cell Bio is getting a littlebetter.  Why it’s getting better isn’t a subject we discuss.  We werelaughing and having such a good time that we didn’t notice my dad was homeuntil he called my name coming through the door.