|Because It Must Be
Author: BlueLizardQueen PM
Alexandria Forrester, otherwise known as Aly, has returned to Los Angeles to live with her father Thorne again. Once home she finds herself deeply embroiled in the problems plaguing her family...in addition to discovering many things about herself.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Words: 5,401 - Reviews: 3 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-14-11 - id: 7635737
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The property rights for The Bold and the Beautiful belong to William and Lee Philip Bell. But I own the original characters presented here. I've never written fanfiction like this before, but I was inspired when I first heard the rumors about Aly Forrester returning, albeit with the SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) treatment. Her mother, Darla Einstein-Forrester, was one of my favorite characters, and I quit the show for a while when they killed her off. As far as I know, the rumors about Aly ended up being false, but that gives me more of an incentive to write this fanfic.
Because of the direction the show has taken with other children SORAS'd, like Hope, Steffy, and Thomas for example, I was worried that the same would happen to Aly, even though Darla was a woman of integrity. So this story, Aly's a little different from the other SORAS'd girls in that she deals with her confusion over her sexuality. It's actually quite surprising to me that out of all the soap operas that have been on television, a fashion-heavy one like The Bold and the Beautiful has never dealt with LBGT issues. Granted Aly starts off a little off the straight-and-narrow in the beginning of this story, but I'm not going to let her go over the deep-end like some of the others. My idea is far from original, but I'd like to hope that if Aly is ever brought back that they take her in a far more different direction.
This takes place roughly in the current timeline, but severely AU. In any case, I hope you enjoy!
Because It Must Be
Steffy Forrester-Spencer had her hands full of paperwork when her office door opened. She bristled immediately at having her office open so rudely without the visitor knocking, and she looked up. When she saw who strolled in though, she relaxed slightly.
Only slightly though, because of the second person who followed.
"Hi, Steffy." Ridge Forrester smiled at his daughter as he walked up to her desk. "What plans do you have today?"
Steffy eyed the woman following her father. Brooke Logan wore an expression of smugness and derision. Steffy returned the gaze, though she addressed Ridge. "I'm reviewing applicants, Dad."
"Applicants?" Ridge didn't bother to hide the surprise from his voice. "You're hiring someone, Steffy?"
"I'm looking for a personal assistant." Steffy looked at her father then. "Grandma suggested that I have a secretary to help me out."
Brooke snorted discreetly, and Steffy glared at her. Ridge didn't seem to hear his current wife, only looking at Steffy. "Do you have some free time? I'd like to take you to lunch."
"Thank you, but I'll be reviewing applications all afternoon." Steffy shifted through said applications on her desk. "I made the job posting yesterday online and received sixty applicants. I want my assistant chosen by the end of the day, so I'll be very busy."
"Steffy," Ridge teased her. "I'm sure you would have time for a bre—"
"I'm not taking any breaks, Dad. Not until I choose my assistant." Steffy's voice was cold and firm as she continued to look through her application.
Ridge was silent for a long moment. Brooke took the opportunity to address Steffy. "Your father wants to treat you to lunch, Steffy. Don't you think it's rude to refuse him?"
Steffy looked up then, giving Brooke a cold look. "Then he can take Hope or RJ to lunch, if he wants company."
"Steffy," Ridge said finally. "I know we're not on the best of terms. I know that you feel I'm hurting you deliberately. But I'm not. This is all about business. This—"
"I'm really busy right now," Steffy said dismissively. "The applicants will be arriving for their interviews. Thanks Dad, but I'm really busy."
Ridge opened his mouth and closed it silently. He looked at Brooke helplessly, but she didn't have any words for him. "…All right, then." Without another word, Ridge slowly left Steffy's office.
In his shock, he didn't even notice that Brooke didn't follow him.
"How can you talk to your father like that?" she snapped at Steffy. "How can you be so disrespectful?"
"Excuse me, but you're not my mother," Steffy said harshly. "So don't you dare ever correct me!"
"Oh—!" Brooke threw up her hands in open frustration. "You're like a spoiled little child who throws temper tantrums if she can't get her way! Ridge chose Hope's line over yours! So what? I think that shows that MY daughter has the talent for it!"
"It shows that you have my dad on a leash. All you have to do is offer him your body and whisper in his ear during pillow-talk, and he'll do whatever you want."
"You're insinuating that Ridge only chose Hope because of me." Brooke actually sounded insulted. "You think I whored myself out to my own husband so he could choose my daughter's superior ideas!"
Steffy snorted, and took a sip of coffee. "What else do you ever do, Brooke?"
Rage flooded Brooke's face, and her hands shook. Steffy wished that Brooke would try and leap over the desk and attack her. She wanted to have a reason to wring the Logan-whore's neck, and to give Ridge a chance to see who she really was.
But…Brooke let out a long breath as she calmed down. Then she smiled coyly at Steffy. "I'm not going to allow the words of a child in a woman's body hurt me. I've already gained more than you, Steffy. I have Ridge, I have influence at Forrester Creations, and Hope's ideas were chosen over yours." She braced her hands on Steffy's desk. "The only way that this could be more perfect for me was if Liam were to dump you and go back to my daughter."
Steffy scoffed, and laughed shortly. "Liam had his opportunity to go back to Hope, Brooke. He decided, all on his own, that he loved me more than her. Hope seems more comfortable now with Thomas, so why don't you be happy for them?" Steffy looked through her notes. "Although, I can understand your concern over their relationship. After all, you were so close to Thomas briefly, and now your daughter is with him. Of course, when has your daughter ever stopped you from taking a man?"
"That's enough!" Brooke snapped at her. "You're poison, Steffy. You're bad for this company, and you're bad for Liam! And I'm not going to stop—ever—until you've paid for every horrible thing you've done and are GONE!"
"Spare me," Steffy sighed, shaking her head. "Look, can you get out of my office? I'm still reviewing applications."
"It's laughable that you need an assistant."
"I'm a busy woman, Brooke. Unlike you, I don't sleep around to move up the career-ladder. I'm working hard at what I do, and having my own assistant will keep me organized. You know where the door is."
Brooke let out two sharp breaths, but moved away from Steffy's desk. Steffy thought that that would end it, but Brooke had the last word.
"You've messed with the wrong woman, little girl. And you've messed with the wrong family."
Brooke stormed out of Steffy's office. Steffy didn't look up, and she didn't even flinch. After a moment though, she answered Brooke's threat.
"So have you."
"It just feels ridiculous to me that Ridge would find Steffy's line to be overly provocative. If my memory serves correctly, wouldn't Brooke walk down the runway in a full negligee for her bedroom lines?"
Thorne Forrester forced a smile at the woman sitting across from him. "That's because, Taylor, my dear older brother has a weak spine for Brooke Logan. Whatever she wants from him, he will do for her. Of course." He quickly added. "He will refuse her at first. And then she will bat her eyelashes and cry and use her body to sway him, and he inevitably gives in."
Taylor Hayes sighed very quietly, and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I honestly don't understand Ridge anymore. For all of the tough times we had during our marriages, and the many times Brooke would steal him away from me, I always thought I could count on Ridge to be there for our children. Instead, he continuously throws Steffy under the bus because Brooke and her sisters don't like her."
"Taylor—" Thorne reached out and took her by the hand.
"It's so disgusting how those three women turn their noses up at Steffy and lecture her about her behavior," Taylor said heatedly. "I mean, I don't necessarily approve of Steffy's actions at all. But for those Logan women to constantly confront her and stonewall her, all because of her personal life? All three of those women are home wreckers!" Taylor stood up from the table and rubbed at her forehead. "With every Forrester man Brooke had wedded and bedded, she had to break up a relationship to do it! Donna stole Eric from Stephanie! And Katie—she stole Nick from Bridget right after Bridget saved her life! Let's not forget the fact that Brooke stole two husbands from Bridget! Her own daughter!" Taylor wrung her hands a little, looking as though she wanted to punch something. Or someone. "Don't get me wrong—I'm not saying Steffy is perfect. She shouldn't have tried to break up Bill's marriage to Katie, which is why I put a stop to it. But those tramp Logan women have all the power at Forrester Creations and are using cut-throat methods to denigrate my daughter and my son Thomas! And Ridge is letting them do it!"
"Which is why we're working together to make Ridge remember his priorities," Thorne soothed her, standing up and taking Taylor into his arms. "Brooke has Ridge wrapped around her little finger again, which is why Ridge is bestowing all of his favors on Brooke's children. Ridge considers what we're doing to be a betrayal, but I call it a wakeup call. He shouldn't pick one woman's selfish needs over the needs of his biological children. He seems to have forgotten what your children have suffered, Taylor. You were thought dead for so many years, and you lost Phoebe. All of this has obviously affected Steffy and Thomas."
"I wish Phoebe was here," Taylor said sadly, shaking her head. "If Steffy had her twin sister, then maybe she wouldn't feel so cornered all the time in the face of the Logans. And she wouldn't be so cornered either. I want to do everything I can to keep Steffy and Thomas afloat in Forrester Creations, without Brooke, her sisters, and her daughter getting in the way."
"That's why we're here," Thorne reassured her. "I'm going to look out for my niece and nephew because their father won't. You can count on me, Taylor."
"I know." Taylor forced a smile at him. "You've always been someone who had loyalty, Thorne. Ridge and Stephanie never give you enough credit, but I know I can trust you."
Thorne returned her smile and pulled her in for a quick kiss. Yes, things were very rough for Taylor and her children. Steffy brought a lot of the trouble onto herself, but it didn't help that all of the women who took stands against Steffy were a bunch of manipulative hypocrites. Brooke was one such hypocrite, and she had Ridge at her beck and call as usual. Thorne used to go with the flow in the past, which usually resulted in his own embarrassment. But when Ridge's own children suffered for it, Thorne couldn't stand by and let it happen.
I'll stand by them, because I had so few people stand by me. All I had were Macy and Darla…and both of them are gone. But I'll be strong for Taylor's children, as those women were strong for me.
As the kiss broke, Thorne's cell phone went off. Irritated with the interruption he pulled out his cell phone. "Sorry," he muttered to Taylor, pulling away slightly. He looked at the caller-I.D. and made a face. "I don't know this number." He answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Ciao Papà! Come stai?"
Hearing this sweet, familiar voice immediately filled Thorne's heart with joy and he clutched at his phone. "ALY! How are you?"
"I'm doing fine, Dad." Alexandria Forrester switched from Italian to English. "The plane ride was a bit long, but jetlag never hurts me too much."
"Oh, I can understand," Thorne laughed. "It—" he trailed off as he took in her words slowly. "Wait…what? Plane ride?"
"Sì Papà. I'm home in Los Angeles."
"Y-You're home?" Thorne exclaimed. "Aly, this is the first I've heard of it! Why didn't you tell me you were coming home? Is everything okay? Are you being harassed? Were your studies in Milan stressful?"
"Dad, Dad! Please give me a chance to answer!" Aly's cheerful laughter rumbled through the phone. It reminded Thorne so strongly of Darla that he couldn't help but smile, even given the situation. "I'm okay. Milan is a fabulous city. I just missed you, and I missed L.A. I wanted to come home. But I'm sorry for not telling you."
"No, don't worry about it. Are you at LAX?" Even as he spoke, Thorne hurried about his house to find his coat.
"Yes. My plan just landed, and I'm still waiting on my luggage. I know this is so sudden, so I can take a taxi—"
"Nonsense, my teenage daughter isn't taking a taxi after a fourteen hour flight." Thorne found his coat and quickly shrugged it on. "I'll be there soon for you sweetie, okay?"
"Okay. Thank you so much Dad!" Aly paused for a moment. "And Dad?"
"What is it?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, sweetheart." Thorne spoke the words easily back to her, but he felt a rush of emotions to hear Aly say it. He really did love his daughter so much. She was all he had left of Darla, and he'd missed her so much while she was abroad.
Now she's home. My little girl is home!
"Aly's come home?" Taylor asked, guessing what the phone conversation had been about.
"Well, you know how Mom suggested to me that I send Aly to Milan for some time to learn about Italian fashion? She was supposed to only be there for a few months, but she enjoyed it so much that she's been there over a year." Thorne tucked his cell phone into his pocket. "I think Mom really wants to groom Aly properly for the company. But I'm just happy she's home."
"Aly was always a smart girl," Taylor agreed. But she fidgeted a little where she stood. "Well, I'd better leave—"
"No, stay," Thorne insisted. "Aly will want to see you."
"I-I don't think that's necessarily true. After everything I've done, it will only bother her to see me."
"Taylor." Thorne went over and put his hands on her shoulders. "Aly will be fine. Things were so rough for such a long time, but Aly had been a toddler. She didn't understand everything. She's older now, so she will understand."
But Taylor didn't look so convinced. "I don't think she'll ever forget that I'm the one who killed her mother."
"You didn't kill Darla," Thorne cut in quickly. "What happened was a tragic accident, because you were trying to save Phoebe. Aly didn't understand it when it happened, because all she had was a twisted version of the facts that Hope had told her. Aly's older now, and she's going to understand what truly happened."
"…I sure hope so, Thorne. I don't want that little girl to look at with hatred anymore."
"She won't." Thorne kissed her on the forehead. "Aly is compassionate, just like her mother. She doesn't have it in her to hold grudges."
Steffy held the application high, reading the résumé carefully. Across the desk, the latest applicant sat very stiffly in the chair.
Finally, Steffy lowered the application so she could see the applicant. "So…your name is Rachel Shaw?"
"Y…Yes, Mrs. Spencer." The young woman fidgeted under the scrutiny. "I just moved here from the Midwest."
Steffy frowned. Rachel Shaw couldn't have been much older than her. She wore heavy clothes that revealed very little skin; her glasses kept slipping down her nose, which she fixed awkwardly with shaky fingers, and her blue eyes were shifty. Bright red hair topped her head, though it was currently tied in a tight braid, and her hands fidgeted violently in her lap.
Something…Steffy couldn't really put her finger on it. But something about this young woman repelled her and she felt immediate hostility towards Rachel. This was unnerving, because she didn't even know her.
"I see you've graduated from high school, but no college?"
Rachel answered the question, but her quiet voice had drifted into a stuttering, incoherent mumble. Steffy leaned across the desk. "I'm sorry, but could you repeat that? I didn't hear you."
"R-Right!" Rachel nodded repeatedly. "I said I couldn't afford college, and I went to work right after high school!"
Nothing about Rachel screamed "confidence". Or decent fashion on her person.
But Steffy saw her sketches, and she was impressed against her will. "Did you draw these dresses in your free time?"
"When I can," Rachel agreed. "I-I'm not the most fashionable person in the world, I know, but I—uh—love fashion and clothing and accessories like that."
"I like this one dress." Steffy showed Rachel her own sketch. "This looks like a ladies suit, but without a skirt."
"I-I designed it like an overcoat that's a—um, uh—dress." Rachel nodded. "It's supposed to be fashionable and work-friendly."
"I would certainly wear this," Steffy admitted. Her stomach was churning. Being around Rachel was unsettling. She tried to chalk it up to Rachel's annoying mannerisms. "I have to say, though, that I've seen at least forty other applicants today. Most of them have gone to fashion school, or had secretarial experience, and had an entire portfolio of dozens of sketches. You, however, only have a high-school diploma and ten sketches. So why should I choose you over them?"
Rachel winced. She looked embarrassed. "B-B-Because…" she adverted her gaze and flushed.
Steffy tried not to sigh. "I—"
"Because I love fashion and I really need a job, Mrs. Spencer!" Rachel said finally. The pitch of her voice was a little higher, but she was still soft-spoken. "I'll work thirteen to fourteen hours a day if needed! I'll work seven days a week! You would be able to count on me to do anything you ask!"
Her conviction was surprising to Steffy. But Steffy could also see her desperation. Rachel really wanted this job. Her instincts were screaming at her to send this woman away, but…
This doesn't look like someone who would betray me. I just can't figure out why I don't like her.
Steffy sighed, and slowly put Rachel's application down on her desk. "I'm certain that when you applied for this job, you realized your chances of getting the job were slim, right?"
"Of course," Rachel said.
"But let's be honest—how am I going to criticize the credentials of an applicant when I'm surrounded by superiors who have no schooling experience either in fashion?" Steffy smiled thinly. "It would be hypocritical of me."
Rachel stared at her for a moment. Slowly but surely, her whole face lit up. "D…Does this mean—?"
"What sets you apart from the others is your lack of experience and you minimal portfolio. However…" Steffy picked up the fashion sketches again. "Unlike the other applicants, I like all of your designs, and not just a select few." Steffy forced a smile. "And you don't look like someone who would backstab me."
Rachel blinked in confusion. "W-Why would I backstab my own boss?"
"Let's just say I'm not exactly a "favorite" around here. My dad may call all the shots, but he follows the will of his new wife." Steffy shuddered at just having to refer to Brooke as Ridge's wife. "But if I were to hire you, can I count on you?"
Rachel nodded enthusiastically. "Of course, Mrs. Spencer! What would I gain getting involved in the politics of Forrester Creations? I'll do everything I can to help you!"
Steffy slowly stood up. This was pretty risky, but she'd decided to ignore her unease and go with the flow. "Then let's do a trial run, Rashel—"
"Rachel," Rachel corrected her quietly.
Steffy flushed with embarrassment. "Yes, Rachel. Let's do a trial run. I'll give you one week to really prove yourself. If you're successful, I'll let you stay on permanently. Do we have a deal?"
"Yes!" Rachel cried out, quickly jumping up. "Yes, absolutely! Thank you so much, Mrs. Spencer!"
Steffy smiled a little more genuinely now. "I like how you say 'Mrs. Spencer'. Do me a favor and call me that as much as possible. Especially in front of my associates."
"Certainly! Thank you again for this opportunity!"
Rachel's voice was still so quiet, even with her enthusiasm. And by her appearance, she looked more suited inside a library and not in the fashion industry.
But Steffy had decided to take a risk. Even though a part of her felt like she would regret this.
It didn't surprise Thorne that LAX was overcrowded as usual. He was quick to find a parking spot though, and headed up into the airport.
Aly had called him from a payphone because her cell phone had died. Thorne had wanted to properly keep track of his daughter, so he would know where to look for her. When he'd last spoke to her, she was still trying to collect her luggage.
But that was some time ago. Aly had to have been done by now.
Thorne walked past large groups of people, either waiting to get tickets or waiting for the new arrivals. He hadn't liked that Aly had traveled halfway across the world all by herself and without telling anyone, but he was more happy to know she was home than angry with her.
A lot had changed since she left for Italy. For one thing, Thorne had resumed dating Taylor. He had dated Taylor and was even engaged to her after Darla died, but Aly had been so heartbroken over what had happened to her mother that they called off the wedding and broke up.
But Aly understands now, Thorne thought. Before she left for Milan I told her what had happened, and she accepted it. I'm certain she'll accept Taylor now.
Then…then he spotted a girl with her back to him. She had shoulder-length dark blonde hair, and a very fashionable Italian suitcase was at her side. The girl was craning her head around, looking for someone.
Thorne felt his heart leap into his throat, and he waved his arm. "Aly!"
The girl flinched, and turned around. Thorne could've sworn he was looking at Darla. It was the same smile, and the same bright eyes.
"DAD!" Alexandria 'Aly' Forrester screamed. Grabbing her suitcase, Aly ran towards Thorne at full speed. "Papà! I'm home!"
Thorne ran towards her as well and swept his teenage daughter into his arms. "Oh, I've missed you so much!" he squeezed her tight, feeling tears build up behind his closed eyes. Aly really had grown up in the time they were apart. Now she looked so much like her mother that it was bittersweet to see her."Let me take a look at you."
Aly was dressed in expensive Italian fashion, and she was glowing. It didn't even look like she'd been on a thirteen-to-fourteen hour flight. Thorne sighed shortly, and cleared his throat to control his emotions. "I swear, you look so much like your mom that I thought she was standing here!"
Aly's brow jumped, and her face lit up even more. "Do you really mean that, Dad? I really look like Mom?"
"Absolutely." Thorne grabbed her suitcase and slid an arm around her. "This calls for a celebration, I think! My little girl has come home!"
"Let's go out to eat!" Aly agreed. "Maybe some Vietnamese?"
"I'm surprised you're not asking for Italian."
Aly made a made. "Dad, I was in Europe for a year. Italian, French, German—I've tried a ton of European cuisine! I want something a little different!"
Thorne laughed loudly. "That makes sense! Oh, why don't we invite your grandmother out? I haven't told anyone yet that you're home, so she'll be quite surprised!"
Aly nodded enthusiastically. "I like it! You, me, Grandma, Grandpa! Unless Grandpa got remarried again—"
"No, he's back with Grandma, thankfully." Hopefully it'll stick this time, Thorne added quietly.
"But yeah!" Aly continued to gush. "All four of us should eat out together!"
Thorne hesitated. He'd intended for Taylor to join them for dinner as well. "Would you mind making it five?"
"Five?" Aly looked at Thorne. "…Are you seeing someone, Dad?"
Thorne coughed again. "Yes, I am." Despite his earlier confidence, Thorne still waited for the other shoe to drop.
"Oh, good!" Aly cheered. "I want to meet her! Is she nice?"
"Yes. She's always been an incredibly nice and loyal person." And you know her, Aly.
"Well then I can't wait to meet her! Come on, let's hurry home and get ready!"
Thorne couldn't help but laugh. It was amazing, with the amount of stress in his life, that all he had to do was see his daughter and it all melted away. Seeing Aly gave him back his inner confidence and made him so happy.
It was funny how the women in his life tended to have that affect on him.
They left LAX and drove home in constant conversation.
"—how much the Italians take fashion seriously!" Aly said; texting someone on her phone while talking. "Did you know that people in Italy take out bank loans to finance brand new wardrobes?"
"Really? Wow, I didn't know that!" Thorne laughed and gave her a sideways glance. "Can I ask who you're texting?"
"Hope," Aly said. "I'm just letting her know I'm back in L.A."
Thorne tensed up. He'd forgotten that Hope and Aly had been best friends for years. Thorne cared about Hope as she was his niece, but she was on the opposing side of his fight against Ridge. "That's…nice, sweetheart."
Aly looked at him fully. "Are you okay, Dad? Are you fighting with Uncle Ridge again?"
Thorne shrugged stiffly. "It's nothing you have to worry about, Aly."
"I remember some of the fights when Mom was still alive. Uncle Ridge use to say such ugly things to you, but Mom always stood up for you. Is it like that now?"
"Aly, you don't need to worry about what's going on between your uncle and me. It's Ridge and mine's problem. I don't want you to feel like you have to alienate yourself from your uncle on my behalf."
"But if he's disrespecting you, then I wouldn't want to even pretend to be nice to him," Aly insisted. "He use to say terrible things to Mom, too. Is it about the company again?"
"…Yes," Thorne said reluctantly.
"You're a Forrester too, Dad, and you deserve to have a say in Forrester Creations. Uncle Ridge shouldn't treat you like a nobody."
"Honey, it's not me he's treating like a nobody. It's his own children."
Aly stared at him in silence for a long moment. "How so?"
Thorne shook his head. "Look, it's nothing. Don't worry about it."
"Is it anything I can help with?"
"I don't want you getting involved in the family drama, Aly. I'm handling it on my own end, and it helps that my niece and nephew are grown up and can handle themselves. But don't worry about it. I don't want to ruin your relationship with the rest of the family because of my situation."
Aly frowned, and looked out the window. "If Uncle Ridge is hurting you Dad, then I don't want to be around him."
Thorne knew he couldn't change Aly's mind, and he was angry with himself for involving her in his problems. He wanted his daughter to be on good terms with everyone in the family, so she didn't end up with a whole ton of enemies like Steffy did.
But she's just like Darla and Macy, in that she won't stand by and let other people walk on you.
Thorne forced a smile, and reached over to pat her on the shoulder. "Finish up that text message to Hope, okay?"
Aly smiled back at him. "Okay."
They arrived back at Thorne's house. Aly was practically running up the front stairs—"I've missed this place so much!"—and Thorne was beside himself with happiness. Taylor was a good support for him, but having Aly back was like breathing in fresh air after drowning. She just made things so much better for him.
"I'm going to go take a quick shower," Thorne told Aly as they went inside. He loosened up his collar. "Go relax and get ready. You might not be feeling jetlag now, but it'll settle in eventually."
"I know, I know." Aly smiled at her father and kissed him on the cheek. "I love you, Dad."
"I love you too, sweetie." Thorne pulled her in for one more quick hug before hurrying upstairs. I've got my little girl back.
Aly let out a deep breath as she propped her suitcase up. "I can't believe I'm really home…"
Not that she didn't love Milan, though. Milan felt like her second home. But she'd missed her dad and she'd missed the rest of her family and Los Angeles in general. She was truly happy to be home.
Aly wanted to go upstairs and unpack her suitcase, but she wanted to re-explore her house and reacquaint herself with the place. Giggling to herself, she hurried into the living room. "Let's see—"
She stopped dead on the threshold and cried out as she saw someone sitting on the couch. She took a few steps back. "Who are you? Dad!" she yelled towards the stairs.
The person on the couch stiffened, and turned around in her seat. "…Aly."
Aly gaped in horror at Taylor. Her heart went cold and her body began to shake. She couldn't think or move as the older woman slowly stood up from the couch.
"Hello, Aly," Taylor said tentatively. "I'm sorry I startled you."
"Aly, what's the matter?" Thorne shouted from upstairs. His footsteps pounded down the stairs.
Aly continued to stare at Taylor in silence. When she could finally form words, there was no mistaking the hate in her voice.
"What are you doing in my house?"