An irritating ringing played in Rylie's ears, and she finally accepted the fact she had to awake from her slumber.
The hotel sheets, which always seemed to be softer than normal sheets, enveloped her in a warming embrace, and she cursed the noise that blared in her ears.
She looked up to see a blurry body in the bed next to hers, and she panicked of where she was for a split second before remembering Katie and her were in Australia. The sun peeked through the slit in the curtains that were supposed to be crammed shut. The light pierced her eyes, and she put her hand up to block the brightness.
She yawned and stretched her aching limbs before rubbing her tired eyes and picking up the ringing phone on the bedside table. She didn't bother to read the name before answering because her eyes were still adjusting to the light.
"Hello?" she croaked, expecting her mother to be begging for forgiveness on the other line.
There was no answer at first; only a heavy, deep breathing that sent Rylie's nerves in shock.
"Luke?" she asked, her voice speeding into a cautious anticipation.
Today was the day that she was planning to see him and repair the damage she caused, so if it was him, the possibilities of what would happen were endless.
"Um, no." The man replied, and Rylie slouched in sudden disappointment. Maybe it was better it wasn't Luke, so she could have more time to plan out what she would say to him. She knew, though, that as soon as she saw his face, no matter if it was sad or happy, the plans in her head would magically disappear, and she would be left speechless.
She thought back to the person she shared the phone conversation with, and tried to place his voice. She had heard it all too much, but it must have been awhile. It could be anyone for that matter, because she hardly kept in touch, although she was on the road to recovery, and was trying to get better.
"Who is this?" she asked, her brain too groggy from sleep to think hard enough.
"Th-this is your father."
Rylie nearly dropped the phone. Her dad. The person she had hated for 2 weeks straight. Why on Earth did he suddenly decide to call her. Coward was the only word to describe him.
"Oh..." was all Rylie said, scanning her mind for words to say. She really was in no mood to talk to him, and she almost pushed the end call button, but then she figured if she was on the road to recovery, it was time to let the past be just that: the past. She had forgiven Luke; it was time to forgive Paul too.
"I know you hate my guts." Paul's voice slurred slightly, and Rylie could automatically tell he was drunk.
"I don't hate your guts." her voice was calm, knowing how her father was when he was drunk. He was a sentimental drunk, but one word could trigger his explosion of cusses and foul statements.
"I'm so sorry!" Paul said quickly, and started sobbing into the speaker. Rylie could picture him sitting in the armchair in the small flat she shared with him when she left her mom's house.
"I know you are."
"Good, because I'm a real dick! You're my daughter and I love you more than anything. You're my only child, and I should treat you better than I did." Paul hiccupped, and let out another cry of hurt and regret.
"I love you too-" Rylie cut herself off, thinking about what he said. You're my only child.
"Dad...how did you know Katie's not yours?"
Paul hesitated on the other line. He huffed. "I guess I've always known. Katie looks nothing like me, but you do. I've always been suspicious. The only thing you have of your mother is her eyes."
"Light brown with a tint of green." Rylie stated. That really was the only resemblance of her mom's. Katie was her made over, but Rylie definitely favored her dad.
"Gosh, I'm sorry-"
"Dad, I'm over it." Rylie admitted. She honestly didn't care anymore, as long as everyone stopped bringing it up. It didn't really seem like a big deal after Michael died. All that was on her mind was Michael and getting Luke back.
"Why weren't you at Michael's funeral?" Rylie asked suddenly, remembering she never saw his face.
Paul's voice was tense and scratchy as he spoke slowly. "I-I knew you'd be there."
Rylie felt a flustered anger boil inside her. "So? I went even though I knew Luke and everyone I didn't want to see would be there, but I went! It wasn't about me! Michael was a great guy, you know that, and the least you could've done was see him get buried!" She huffed at his inconsiderate self. That really was a cowardess moment. She was proud she had gathered up the courage to go, and it was a dreadful experience, but at least she went. Paul was only thinking about himself, and how bad he would look.
She tried to calm down, and not let the anger get the best of her. "I'm sorry..." she apologized, not wanting to start yet another faulting fight. "It's just when it comes to Michael, I get protective." She always defended Michael, and she would continue to for eternity.
The phone was silent for a moment before she heard her father's voice. "What happened?"
"What do you mean?"
Paul sighed. "You were never like this before Michael? What happened before he got in that car accident?"
Was it that obvious? How did everyone seem to know about her and Michael even if they didn't know...if that makes sense.
She realized her dad had no idea about the one-night stand, and she would have to explain yet again.
She exhaled, searching for how to explain. "I- sorta fell in love with him. He came to visit me a couple days after the-you know- and he comforted me...and made me feel wanted...and," Rylie stopped, scared to speak to her dad about the mushy stuff. "We had sex, and then he left to go die."
What she automatically expected her father to say was, "You two had sex?", because that's what everybody said.
"You loved him?" Paul asked surprised.
"Not as much as Luke...but yes." Rylie laughed at her star-crossed, trio affliction. Luke would always be number one, but like she said before, she could've had a happy future with Michael too.
Rylie looked at the clock that only read eight in the morning, and she yawned yet again. She didn't want to talk to him anymore. She just wanted to go get Luke back, because her patience was wearing off.
"I'm sorry about Michael, Ry, I really am. I didn't realize your feelings for him. I wish none of this ever happened."
Rylie looked over at a waking Katie, and she opened her big eyes to look strangely at Rylie. She pointed a lazy finger from under her bed sheets at the phone in Rylie's hand, and Rylie mouthed, "Dad."
Katie nodded, and smiled, happy for the reunion. Even though technically Paul wasn't her dad, of course she considered him her father. Blood really doesn't matter. She didn't even know the man who aided in her making, and she didn't plan to find out.
"Are we good?" Paul's voice was shaking, but slowly gaining soberness back.
Rylie didn't have to think about it. "Of course dad." she smiled through the phone, glad another loose end tied up perfectly. "See you soon."
"I love you." Paul breathed out in relinquished relief, and Rylie could feel his happiness radiate through the phone. She could imagine the guilt gnawing at him for the last 3 weeks now. She knew the pain of overbearing agony, even if it was sadness, not guilt. She felt joy in her heart knowing Paul could move on and get better.
"I love you, too." She answered happily before hanging up.
She felt like she could check off someone from the long list of apologizers. There was no list, however.
Rylie suddenly gripped her stomach as it lurched with a sickening pain. She figured she was hungry, but she ran to the bathroom just in case, and good thing she did, because she immediately threw up nothing but acid. She gripped the sides of the toilet viciously.
"Not again.." she faintly heard Katie say as she pulled herself up from the ground, and flushed the disgusting contents.
She left the bathroom smiling weakly at Katie, and glanced at her sickly pale complexion in the tall mirror.
"I think you need to go to the doctor." Katie stated, gently concerned. "You're coming down with something."
Rylie nodded. "I'm will after I get my love back." She quickly remembered Luke, and panicked at what to do. "How do I find him?" she asked suddenly, rubbing her temples.
Katie shrugged, finally pulling herself up in bed. "Just call him."
"No." Rylie disregarded. "I want it to be a surprise." She was anxious. She had no idea how it would go. She hoped Luke would see her and open his arms for a loving embrace, but he most likely hated her guts to the point he would push her off a nearby cliff.
She ignored Katie as she started rambling on about how Rylie shouldn't have caused this mess in the first place. Rylie rolled her eyes, and texted Karen, figuring she knew where Luke...or at least his mom...lived. She had no idea how she had her number, but it was good thing.
She waited for a reply as she dug through her suitcase, deciding on a plain t-shirt, and a leather jacket.
Katie lulled distantly in her thoughts about how she was guilty about what they did to mom the previous night, and Rylie figured she would feel so ashamed. Was it bad Rylie wasn't? It was simple teaching a lesson that what goes around comes back around.
Her phone chirped, indicating a notification, and she jumped up from her current stance, and lunged for her phone.
Karen read on the screen. She read the foreign address, and a small good luck under it. Karen was such a nice lady.
Unable to wait any longer, Rylie put on just a bit of makeup, the whole time shaking impatiently. Se slipped on some loafers, and took a last look in the mirror. She needed to look presentable for Luke, and she figured she needed to try just a little harder in her appearance. He loved that jacket on her which was the only reason she wore it.
The whole moment seemed to fly by.
"Goodbye Katie." Rylie breathed out, suddenly terrified that today was the day. "Wish me luck." It sounded like she was going to a job interview, not to reconnect with her star-crossed lover.