Frozen Sea

Sixteen-year-old Alaska's whole world is slowly but surely starting to crumble. Her boyfriend is charged with the rape of her best friend, and she is staring at a long, lonely summer of secrets and unimaginable pain. Losing herself in surfing and her night shift at the local pub seems like the only way to pretend none of it is actually happening for real. Until she meets Connor, a mysterious musician on a holiday of inspiration, Alaska finally realises that sometimes the only way to move on is to face up to reality.


3. II

"Alaska? Honey, is that you?"

Who else would it be? I thought to myself irritably. I slid my trainers off my sandy feet and peered into the kitchen, where my dad was sitting on the counter gulping a mug of coffee. His face was worn, drained; his hair tousled and knotted. The navy tracksuits and paint-stained football shirt he was wearing smelt horribly like beer. Altogether, I decided he hadn't slept in a good few days.

"Hi, Dad. It's me."

He peered at me for a second, like he couldn't quite believe it. "You're home?"

I looked down at myself, pointedly. "Yup. I think I'm home."


I laughed wearily, grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl before sliding onto a stool next to him. "I thought you wanted me to come home. You said so in your text."

He belched, patted his stomach. "Of course I want you home, Alaska. What I meant was, why? Where have you been staying?"

"At Isaac's."

"That's kind of Ella. You didn't mention it when I called."

I know. I'm sorry."

Isaac and Ella, long term friends of our family, lived in a huge castle-like place right on the top of the cliff, surrounded by green seaweed rocks and tired grey pebbles. Isaac was seventeen, and my rock; having been there since the day I was born and not leaving my side ever since. I guess he was what you could call beautiful, with his silky black hair sweeping over his shoulders appearing radiant next to his attractive copper skin. Every girl I have ever met had lusted over him, though with no avail; everyone stretching from Coombe Valley to Widemouth Bay knew that Isaac was homosexual. That's why he was safe. Ella was his older sister and also his mother; having taken care of Isaac since he was seven years old when their real mother was killed in a surfing accident. Ella was the spitting image of Isaac and they were always recognised as siblings, even twins sometimes as Isaac was so tall, and she had equally pretty skin and luscious hair reaching right down to her shoulders. They had spent the majority of their childhood bouncing from care home to foster parents and back again, but as soon as Ella turned sixteen she had put her foot down and moved herself and Isaac away from the care system and into the ancient castle left to them by their grandparents. Ella was now twenty, and had welcomed me into their home as soon as I turned up at their doorstep, the rain pelting down behind me.

"Alaska. Come in. Is it Carter?"

I thought she must have been psychic. But after, I realised she was just being human. Ella had never been a fan of Carter, and had made her feelings towards him crystal clear whenever they were within muttering distance between each other. Ella was the only one who could see through Carter, and for that I was grateful. Everyone else thought his winks and harmless flirting was friendliness, joviality; he was a nice guy who made friends with everyone. That's what I thought of him. That's why, that cold February morning at the beach breakfast barbecue, I fell for him.

Everyone fell for Carter.

But now I knew the truth behind those gorgeous, hypnotic eyes. Carter was a predator. And only Ella saw it. That evening, after I had dried off and was sitting in front of their beautiful flickering log fire, Ella told me the truth, with Isaac holding my hand, keeping me with him. Ella had told me of all the times Carter had went for her; the seductive glances, the wandering hands, the amount of times he had left flowers at her workplace. I hated the fact that at first I wouldn't, or couldn't believe her. Carter was my everything.

Carter was the person I relied on, though not anymore.

The weeks that followed became sort of dream-like. In the mornings, Isaac and I would spend endless hours walking on the beach, just talking. Then we would venture into town and sit in the French cafe, eat pastries and drink coffee until we were full. The afternoons varied; sometimes it would be me working free shifts in Ella's homemade jewellery boutique in town, sometimes it would be surfing with Isaac. My half term was quite, productive; away from my dad and everyone else who reminded me of Lily or Carter. I had a specific schedule, and I was grateful for that. At least my mind was always active and I was always thinking of the next thing that I would be doing. There were no empty gaps that thoughts could fit into.

School was slightly more complicated though. Carter was in most of my classes, and although I could ask the teachers if I could switch places, I couldn't escape Carter's slightly amused gaze wherever I was sitting. Lily avoided me too, so normally I was wondering around aimlessly in any free time I had, which meant I liked to keep myself busy. I joined the netball team, the swim squad, the book society, the debate team. When I wasn't doing school activities I buried myself in my school work, and sure enough my grades shot up. Dad wasn't sure whether he should be pleased or worried. Surfing had always been such a massive part of my life there wasn't normally enough time to focus hugely on my homework, even though I always got it all done.

In June, my GCSEs came and went like a sparrow fleeing the nest. I had prepared so much for them over the past few months that I hardly had time to notice them. While everyone else was stressed out, I was surprisingly calm, and managed to get A*s and As respectively. My teachers were delighted, though dad was spooked out of his mind. He knew it was to do with Carter, but after I explained what had happened in minuscule detail he figured I didn't want to talk about it, so he left it there. 

Now, looking at him over the rim of his coffee cup, I realised for the first time how much I had put him through. I reached out and put a hand over his.

"It's over now, Dad. Things are going to go back to normal."

"Good girl." His blue eyes crinkled at me. "I'm glad you're over it. Now, why don't we wax your board up?"

As he slid off his stool and ambled towards the garage, I couldn't help but swallow a few tears back.

'I'm not over it, Dad. I'm so not over it.'

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