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.


18. XVII

Knock knock knock


Bang Bang Bang.

"Oh shit."

There was someone pounding on the front door. I disentangled myself out of Connor's arms just in time before he threw his arm out in my direction, clawing at empty air. "Come back to bed." His voice was tired and groggy. Connor rolled over to face me sleepily, his hair knotted and tangled from his slumber, his eyes squinted from the sudden harsh light as I drew the curtains. "What's wrong?"

"It's probably my Dad. Knowing him, he's probably put out a search party by now."

"He doesn't know where I live."

"Believe me, he'd have found out."

Connor watched me with a sort of amused fascination as I ran around the room frantically trying to find something to wear on top of my thin and skimpy shirt and shorts. He dug under his bed and chucked me a scrunched up grey hoodie. "Why don't you let me get the door?" he suggested, "then at least your Dad will kill me instead of you."

Connor leaned forward and kissed me on the forehead. I smiled in contentment, then coughed. "Um... Connor, do you not think you should put some clothes on first?"

"Oh yeah," he grinned sheepishly, looking down at the only piece of clothing he was wearing: a pair of boxer shorts, "maybe that's a good idea." He pulled on a pair of sweats. "Better?"

I sighed, and followed Connor helplessly as he made his way to the front door where a male silhouette hung luminously behind the frosted glass, my heart in my throat, Connor's long tattooed arm wound around my waist. As we approached the front door I surveyed Connor's hallway interestedly; the wallpaper was shrivelled and wrinkled, patterned with faded grey-pink roses, the walls themselves adorned with discoloured family portraits of Connor and his three brothers laughing and smiling. There was something odd about the portraits, something I couldn't quite place. Then, just as Connor had opened the door, I realised what. There were never any parents in the pictures.

Isaac was standing there, his huge fists balled up at his sides, his face sweating and flushed in anger, his beautiful coffee eyes flashing furiously at Connor. It was silent for a moment, the air dripping with tension, and I was pretty sure I would have died of uneasiness if Connor hadn't of spoken that moment. 

"Good morning." His tone was glacial. Isaac's eyes darted from me to Connor's arm around my waist, then back to me again. He smiled, but it was unpleasant, forced around his clenched teeth as if he was holding back tears. "Nice evening?" He asked, referring to my seemingly bare thighs with a sharp jerk of his head, which were underneath Connor's hoodie, much too big for me. I flushed hotly with embarrassment and pulled down the hoodie as far down as it would go. "Yes. It was fine. You?"

"Yeah, not bad," Isaac shrugged, nonchalantly, running a hand through his long hair like a guy on a shampoo advert. "If it wasn't for the fact that I was worried sick because a guy who I don't even know took my best friend home to bed with him last night."

"Shut up!"

The words had come out of my mouth before I had even realised that I had uttered them. I sighed, shivering slightly in the early morning breeze, and put my arm out to touch Isaac's shoulder apologetically. "I'm sorry," I said, "I didn't mean that."

"I think she did," Connor interjected harshly, cutting through my apology like a knife through butter, his bare chest glittering with sweat in the chilly air. "Because we didn't do anything. Nothing happened. She'll tell you that herself." Connor's voice was hard now, metallic even, like the taste of blood. He leaned forward, staring at Isaac with eyes wide as an ocean, his breath coming out as a cool, cloudy mist. "I would never do anything to hurt her. Do you understand?"

I noticed that Isaac had stepped back slightly, but it appeared like that was as far as he was planning to go. He rested a brawny arm on the door frame. "I don't know that. Neither does she. We don't know you." He seemed to put extra emphasis on the 'we' part, and I thought for a second that I detected a glimpse of possession in his eyes. I pulled Connor's arm down to my thigh and wound my fingers through his, as if I needed to state the obvious. 

"This is happening, Isaac. Whether you like it or not. You're not my father," I added.

"That's another thing." Isaac swept a curtain of dark hair that had fallen over his eyes to behind his ear. "Checked your phone recently?"

"Oh crap." After I had discovered that it was Isaac, not my father, at the front door, I had completely forgotten that my dad was still at home. He was most likely wide-awake now, sick with worry, crippled with anxiety, perplexed at why his once wayward daughter had decided to be wayward once more. I looked at Connor, horrified. "My Dad..."

"It's okay." Isaac stopped me short, cutting me off with a sweep of his gangly arm. "Once he called you about... Oh, about a million times, he phoned me asking where the hell you were."

"What did you say?"

"Well, what could I say? I didn't have a clue where in God's name you were. I wasn't about to go searching for you, when I knew deep down you were..." Isaac looked Connor up and down, his upper lip curled in disgust. "With him," he continued, "I said that... Well..." Isaac paused, fiddling with a loose button on his shirt. I stared at him, afraid of what he might reveal to me now. "Isaac, what did you say?"

"I told him you were drunk. Passed out on my living room floor. Didn't want to wake you up so I would let you stay at my place."

"Are you kidding me?"

Isaac's head, which had been lowered to the ground (as it always was when he told a story), suddenly snapped up, as if he wasn't expecting my reaction at all. His expression was hurt. "What's the problem?"

Connor's fingers squeezed mine warningly. It was as if he was saying, 'don't go too far'. "Alaska," he murmured quietly against my hair, "At least he had your back."

"Okay." I exhaled noisily, then looked to Isaac. "Thanks."

Isaac appeared gratified by my apology. He opened his huge arms and smiled a sweet, dimply smile. "Friends?"

"We were always friends, idiot," I mumbled, and dived without hesitation into his hard chest. We stood there for a moment, swaying silently, then I felt his hands slide slowly down from my neck to my waist. Pulling slowly back I laughed, a little nervously. "Okay. I need to go now."

Isaac grumbled unintelligibly and shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his washed-out jeans. "What you doing?"

"Something," Connor replied, "Something you're not."

I dug a sharp elbow into his ribs. "I'm not sure yet. I might go to Lily's later. I don't know." I felt Connor slide up next to me and dangle the chain suggestively to the door. "Alaska," he prompted. I nodded. 

"See you later, Isaac," I said to him, and then Connor closed the door and Isaac was just a murky, blurred silhouette once more. 

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