“So, do I need to set aside an important date on my calendar yet?”
“No, I haven’t spoken to him since I last saw him before we went to France. We don’t talk anymore.”
“Alissa, I know that if you wanted me to know what’s happened between you and Alex you’d tell me. I’m not trying to pry. It’s just that I talked with Leslie yesterday and she told me that Alex got a big promotion. He can’t tell them much about what he does now!”
“Don’t say it like that! Everything is fine. Dale knows everything, and Dale and I love each other more than ever!”
“Then why do you sound so funny, Alissa? What’s wrong?”
Alissa hadn’t told her about her mother and sister staying with them. She didn’t want another person telling her that she should make them leave!
“Well, I’m glad you called. I saw your Dad this morning. He’s fine too! He said he’s planning to go see you next month.”
“That’s good! I really miss him.” Alissa knew that there was no way her father would understand why she had allowed her mother through her front door! He would be very upset!
“I’ll talk with you next week, Miki. Take care!”
“You too, Alissa!”
Alissa called a babysitter and then left the house. She had some errands to run.
“It looks like your perfect, Stepford wife sister is not as perfect as she pretends to be!”
“What do you mean?” Crystal asked.
Devra told her what she had overheard, and what she thought it meant.
“We can use this! When Dale gets home, ask me in front of him if Alissa took me for my interview today. Then follow my lead!” Devra continued.
“I didn’t have one, but Dale doesn’t know that.”
Crystal followed her and asked, “Did Alissa take you for your interview today?”
“No, Alissa has never mentioned him.”
“It’s so nice outside today! I think I’ll go for a swim in the pool.” Devra said.
“That sounds like a good idea!”
“Hi Hon, how’s everything going?”
“Everything’s okay! I just had a few errands to run. I still need to go to the grocery store!”
“It’s been a while since I went shopping with you! Why don’t I grab the twins, and we’ll come meet you!”
“Okay! I’ll meet you there!”
“Wait a second, Dale! Sharlee wants to speak with you!”
“What are you doing out of school so early?”
“Okay! I”ll see you in a few minutes!” Dale told her.
Dale was relieved and ashamed of himself for ever doubting Alissa. He knew that Devra and Crystal had deliberately made him believe that Alissa was with Alex. Somehow they had found out about Alissa’s past relationship with him.
This was just another example of how much Alissa’s mother wanted to hurt her. He could see clearly that she wanted to destroy their marriage. How could he just stand by and allow her to hurt Alissa over and over again!
“I’m glad I ran into you! Brandon and I were going to call and ask you all over for dinner one night this week. If you don’t have any plans, why don’t you come over tonight?”
Alissa felt her heart constrict at Sharlee’s words. Sharlee didn’t want to be at home. She understood, but it still hurt that she had allowed home to become such an unpleasant place for her. She decided that she would make a change soon!
Alissa smiled at her. “Thank you, Lala! We’ll see you in a little while!”
Dale and Alissa took the groceries home.
“Where are you all off to tonight?”
Alissa was surprised by her question. She normally showed no concern for their comings and goings.
“We’re having dinner with friends. We’ll see you later!” Alissa responded and then headed out to the car with Cara.
“No, no. You just sit at the table and keep me company!”
“Thanks for having us! You know what things are like at home.” Dale said.
“Yeah. It’s a shame that its not any better. Alissa just won’t give up will she?”
“She doesn’t seem to know what is best right now. Eventually, she will probably thank you!” Brandon responded.
“I hope so!”
“What is that horrible smell Mom?”
Sharlee stopped and Alissa put Cara down on the floor beside her. Dale came in with Shawn.
Then he too smelled the odor and he knew what it was. He fought down the anger that immediately arose.
“Keep your brother and sister in here, Sharlee, until we call you!” Then he too went into the livingroom.
The livingroom was a mess. There were empty vodka and wine bottles. Spilled glasses and cigarette butts. Empty pizza boxes and underwear on the floor. Devra and Crystal had thrown a wild party while they were out.
Alissa spotted some pills sitting on the coffee table. She hastily scooped them up. She did it quickly not only because it was dangerous for the children, but also because she knew that Dale would go even more ballistic.
“Please, Dale. I just need more time! I’m taking my sister out tomorrow. It will be just the two of us. Then I can really talk with her, and then we can all go to the beach like you planned! I know this is awful and I’ll talk with my mother about it! I promise this won’t happen again! I’ll talk with her and then I’ll clean it up!”
Dale was trying hard to keep his temper! How could a woman with Alissa’s intelligence be so unreasonable? He didn’t say another word. He went and got the twins and Sharlee. He took them to the stairs without going through the livingroom.
Alissa went to find her mother. She was sprawled on her bed completely out of it! Alissa didn’t know what the pills were but it was clear that she was high off of them and probably the drinks. There was no point in trying to talk with her tonight.
“Alissa, we can’t go on like this! You know this situation is impossible!”
“I know Dale, but please just let me have a little more time! My sister is softening towards me. I promise that it won’t be for much longer! You would do everything you could to help your sister too!”
She couldn’t stop the tears from falling down her cheeks. She wiped them away angrily. She had no one fighting for her as a child, and she was determined to help her sister.
Dale looked at her and didn’t say anything else. Crystal’s attitude toward Alissa was not softening. Alissa was fooling herself. She was still refusing to see things as they really were. He lie down on his side facing away from her again.