Their breakfast date finished. Lace sat parked outside of Rico's house dropping him off.
"So what are you going to do" he said referring to her going home suddenly feeling worried for her
"I don't know I'm probably gonna be grounded or excommunicated or something". Lace said genuinely unaffected.
"Aww that sucks" Rico said looking at her his eyes sincere "because I had such a good time today I was hoping we could hang out again tomorrow.
"Are you asking me out"? she said smiling
Rico's first instinct was to downplay it, but then Lace looked at him her brown eyes hopeful almost encouraging him and so he thought the worst she could say is no
"Yeah I am" he said owning it.
"Good" she said grinning like a proud parent as she nodded "I was hoping that you would". She reached for her phone, then gently placing it in his palm she told him to program his number in and said "I'll call you tonight okay", as he exited her car.
She blew a kiss at him before she pulled off making Rico laugh as he caught it and thought how he couldn't remember the last time he felt this free.
Seeing Lace pull into the driveway Judy Porter rushed to the door to meet her.
"Danielle Porter, what were you thinking yada yada" Lace said. "Can you just get on with it Judy so I can go to my room and you can go collapse somewhere.
"YOU Disrespectful Ungrateful Witch" her mother said following behind her as she slipped past her into the house. Lace could already smell the aroma of alcohol in the entryway. But once she made it towards the living room it erupted into a stench.
How The HELL Do You Stay Out All Night, When You Just Got Released From The Hospital, Judy began "With Explicit Instructions That You Rest. "Do You Want To Have A Relapse". She continued in full parent prose. "You Probably Haven't Even Taken Your Medication".
" Well How Can I When You're Always Taking It". Lace said rounding on her then added "I mean What's the Point of getting out of the hospital if I'm too drugged up like you to know the difference?
"Don't Talk To Me Like That Little Girl". Judy said pulling her mother card out in defense.
"How should I talk ", "Should I say I'm sorry mother dear that I didn't want to hang around and watch you drink and pop pills all night until you passed out". "What are you really mad about that I left Or that I didn't stay here in this Pathetic Pity Party With You."
"Why are you're saying this to me", Judy said her lip trembling her voice becoming small.
Oh no Lace thought silently groaning here it comes "The Guilt Trip" Where Judy becomes the victim no matter what they were talking about. It was one of the few things that Lacey couldn't bear to see and she felt an internal battle beginning with Lace arguing that was she was being manipulative and Lacey saying that she was really hurting.
"I'm not perfect. I know I'm not perfect, but at least I'm here" Judy said referring to Samuel's absence.
Look I'm trying to get better Lace she said sounding desperate and hopeful. I keep...Judy paused fighting back tears "I... Keep...Trying" her voice slowly began breaking and becoming thick as tears escaped her. Lacey watching her became distraught so Lace relented letting her take over.
"Mom" she said her voice gentle as she walked over to her mother who looked so fragile curled up in the corner of the couch cradling her head in her hands. Her hair fell around her face giving her the appearance of a frightened child trying to hide from an abusive parent.
Her mother didn't respond but kept crying as she rocked slowly back and forth. "Mom". Lacey said again her eyes clouding over as her mother lifted up her face stricken and streaked with tears and mascara but still she sat rocking, remouthing her words staring ahead.
"Mommy" Lacey uttered her voice cracking when her mother continued to rock seemingly unaware. Lacey's heart constricting in her chest as she did.
I'm sorry mommy". Lacey said swallowing back her tears as she eased next to her. "I'm so sorry I yelled at you". "You're gonna get better and then everything will be okay".
Lacey began talking in a soothing singsong voice. "Shhhh. Don't cry. Its okay, you're gonna get better", wrapping her arms around her mother rocking with her gently as she cried. She wondered if she was saying it for her mom or herself.
Once her mother had exhausted herself crying. Lacey got up to get her a blanket. While placing it on her, Lacey looked down and saw a momentary ghost of her mothers past. Her face was glowing and happy before it faded replaced by her tearstained sleeping one.
Lacey tiptoed out of the room so as not to wake her and headed upstairs to shower.
Underneath the spray her mind began to revisit things, things she wishes she could forget...
Staring through the slats in the banister she sees Her dad Samuel looking at her mother his face contorted in rage as she stands in front of the front door his cell phone in her hand screaming at him. He pushes her into the wall knocking over a crystal lamp by the entryway. It flashes as it shatters violently into so many little pieces that some of the shards embed themselves in Lacey's arm
Realizing what he has done he looks around and sees Lacey spying on him from the top of the stairs and runs out of the house. Her mother is in the same spot curled up and rocking back and forth.
7 year old Clara is sleeping peacefully until she hears the crash. She screams her cries reverberating off the walls. Lacey runs to her then strokes her back and rocks her gently until she settles down. Walking downstairs to her mother she does the same.
Once they are both sleeping she cleans up the broken glass and goes to call Danny he tells her he will come if she needs him. She says all she needs is to hear his voice so he talks to her until she falls asleep..
She wakes up to a light flashing in her eyes painfully bright blinding her. She is 12 years old in Dr. Kurtz's office after an intense session of hypnotherapy.
After 1 year of sessions they try hypnotize her to get her to open up about what happened the day Aunt Tara died but Lace refuses to cooperate. Instead she sits in defiant silence reliving the image of Tara's body lifeless yet somehow malicious staring at her accusingly as if she should've known Danny would do this that he was capable of it and then she could somehow have done something to prevent it.
He suggests to her mother that perhaps writing Danny would help the memories to surface but both Lace and Lacey know they never cease.
They are nightmares that morph into a labyrinth where Lacey hears Danny crying for her and she finds him just as he points to Aunt Tara and disappears. Tara is grabbing at that ugly necklace as it becomes smaller and smaller around her neck choking the life out of her until she falls into the exact position she was when Lacey found her.
Her eyes become accusing and Lacey cant look away .They pull her back into the darkness that she knows she will not be able to escape until morning. When the night comes she pulls the blankets over her head and closes her eyes waiting for them to come.
She feels the warmth of the sun on her skin and opens her eyes admiring its rays. She is 13 and she and Jo are at the fort trying to fix a hole in the roof. While they attach a piece of tarp Jo begins talking about Danny again and how much him killing Tara has traumatized her sounding like a miniature copy of her father Kyle.
Lacey who relives the trauma every night and is forcibly reminded by the town everyday makes a silent decision that she won't let her nightmares ruin her days anymore. She makes sure Jo is clear that she no longer wants to talk about that day again and watches as Jo now irate storms away . She takes out her camera phone and takes a picture for Danny finally feeling in control. She smiles as the flash goes off.
She is floating, And endless rows of lights dim and brighten and then become a stream. She feels fireworks exploding in her eyes and the soft sound hummingbirds make and peace as she allows the weight to fall off her rising form level by level.
She hears and feels a conflicting sound. It is jarring as it vibrates within her. It sounds like it says "Here it goes again" in an eerie distant echo but as she strains to hear it she becomes heavier. it fades and returns vibrating within her again and again each time pulling her down into the washed out grayness.
She tries to reach for the light above her. It is leaving as the song becomes louder and it is not vibrating within her but buzzing near her hip. She feels a pressure of someone's touch at her side but Her head is spinning and her stomach is violently contracting and she can't move.
She is becoming aware in a growing state of confusion. The background is a stark white color and there is shouting and noise. She hears her mother say Danny's name then phone.. HER PHONE it is buzzing with Danny's ringtone. The sound is making her sick her stomach churns as all of its contents empty out of her.
She is alone in a white room in darkness no longer able to handle the light. ...