Scott was barely listening to the doctor, just staring at Alana. He nodded politely and took the pamphlet before walking into the room, shutting the door behind him. "Alana?" He asked in a soft voice. He walked to the bed and set a hand carefully on her shoulder. Her soft sniffles seemed loud in the silent room. He walked around the bed and knelt down. "Lala what did she say?" He asked, feeling his world shattering once again. "What happened?" He asked, his voice barely above a whisper as the familiar feeling of helplessness crept in. He set a hand on her knee and looked up at her face, but a heavy shadow hid her features.
Alana didn't answer immediately. She just kept her head down, tears sliding down her face. "Um..." She said finally, with another sniffle. "Um, nothing. Nothing." She sat up straight now and urgently began to wipe tears from her face again. In her lap were a stack of pamphlets the doctor had given her, and she quickly picked them up in her hands. "It-it's just...um..." She turned away from him to place all of the pamphlets on the dresser by the bed. The doctor had given her all different kinds; of course there were some about addiction and rehab, but there were some more hidden at the bottom of the pile. She kept her face turned away from him. "It's nothing. I'm fine. I'm just, I'm just worried...about like, rehab." Her voice sounded broken and shaky, and she refused to look towards him again. She could hear the helplessness in his voice, and that only made her want to hide this from him even more. She's hurt him enough already...this news would crush him. She tucked a bit of hair behind her ear. "I'm just worried about it not working...and withdrawal...and my parents." It was true, she was worried about all these things, but they weren't the source of all her tears at the moment. "A-and...um, my head just hurts, and stuff. B-but I'm fine, I swear."
Scott sighed and stood up, walking around so she faced him again. "Alana talk to me, please. You're holding back, I can see it, but I need you to be honest with me. I want you to trust me." He glancing at the stack of pamphlets then back at her. "And I want to trust you, too." He added, his heart tightening in his chest. His eyes pleaded. Begged. He'd felt like he'd just gotten her back, and now he was losing her again. Scott sat down on the hospital bed facing her and placed a hand on her back, trying to soothe her nerves but never knowing if he was doing the right thing or not. He felt helpless. He didn't think he'd ever stopped feeling helpless, because he was helpless. He couldn't fix this without her and he could see her shutting back down.
Alana met Scott's eyes reluctantly. Her own eyes were teary and bloodshot. "Um..." She knew he was right. Honesty was not only important, but it was a big step in recovery. If she started hiding things from him now, who's to say she won't make a habit out of it? "W-well...the doctor, when she came in, she was just asking me questions and stuff first. Like about what happened, what I took, how long I've been doing drugs...stuff like that." She started to regain control over her voice, but she knew it wouldn't last. "And then she started telling me about all the different problems in stuff that I'm at risk of because of the drinking and the drugs. Like...like um, heart problems or...like, liver damage, infections...stuff like that." She paused for a moment to wipe the tears from her eyes again. "But...she also said that...because of the heroin I took?" Her eyes started to water again and her lip quivered. She looked away from him again and stared down into her lap. "S-she said that...that um...sometimes when you buy heroin from other people, t-that...that the needle might not be, like, clean. S-so... she said that...sometimes it's possible for people that use those needles to get, um..." She took another pause. A long, long pause. She crossed her arms over her stomach, and the tears started falling at an even quicker rate. "T-to get...to get HIV." She choked out those last three letters, hardly able to hold it together anymore. She lifted a shaky hand and reached for one of the pamphlets at the bottom of the pile. "...She wants me to get tested in four weeks." Her hands trembled as she held the pamphlet in her lap, watching as the tears fell onto it. She couldn't believe what she'd done. Yes, there was no guarantee that she had it, but there was definitely a possibility. After all, that needle had came from some shady drug dealer, not a safe and sterile hospital. There was a strong chance it'd been a reused one. Who knows who had used that thing before Alana had used it? Who knows what viruses those other people had carried within their own blood stream? "I..." She couldn't hold it in anymore. Immediately she started sobbing again, burying her face into her hands again. This time it wasn't quiet sniffles and solemn whimpers; it was crying. Sad, frightened crying. She was scared out of her mind. What if the test came back positive? Then what?
Scott sighed, watching her as she spoke. He'd known about all of the physical problems the bullshit she did could cause, but the HIV thing caught him off guard. He knew the needle she used probably wasn't clean but he held hope that it didn't necessarily mean she was infected. "Lala..." He said softly, pulling the weeping girl into his arms and holding her tight, a couple tears escaped his eyes as he was forced to see what he'd shut out all these years. "You're going to be okay. You're going to be okay." He repeated, speaking mostly to Alana but a little to himself. "We're going to get you into rehab, the best we can find, and in a few short months you'll be out. Clean and sober, and you'll be back with me again. Not that I'll ever leave you. You'll see me everyday. Every day, Alana." He spoke with a shaking voice and forced enthusiasm.
Lala wrapped her arms around Scott's neck, burying her wet eyes in his shoulder. Her hand tightly clenched onto the back of his shirt. "I really messed up, Scott." She wanted to be optimistic, but it was so hard. Especially with the way their lives had been recently. But now she had a choice to make. She could make things right. She had to. "I'll do so good in rehab, I promise." She whispered determinedly. "I'll do whatever they tell me to do. Whatever will help me recover, I'll do it. And then when I get out, I'll..." She wanted to guarantee that she'd stay clean, but of course she couldn't. "I'll try as hard as I can to stay clean. For you." She squeezed him tighter and sniffled. "I promise I'll get it right...and, if I am infected with, you know..." She bit her lip. She didn't want to think about that, but until she took the test there was no telling whether or not she was infected and she had to consider all of her options. "Then I'll do whatever I have to do to stay healthy." She kept her face buried in his shoulder for a while longer, sniffling softly, until she finally had finished crying. It did feel a little good to let everything all out, but it wasn't only the mental aspect of her that was hurting. "Mmm..." She winced suddenly, pulling away slightly and bringing a hand to her aching forehead. Her eyebrows began to furrow to show her discomfort. "Ugh...sorry, um, I think I need to lay back down." It had been a long day; overdosing and constant crying can really take a lot out of a person. "Can you spend the night? At least for today?"
ooc: after your post do you wanna timeskip to when she's getting out of the hospital?
-sure :> what if her parents show up to her last day, all proud and stuff, but there's a lot of tension cause they never visited despite invites?-
It had been four months since the day Scott's life turned right-side-up. That day everything had fallen out of place and then right back into place all in the span of a few hours. And now he stood outside of the rehabilitation facility that he'd been to a hundred times already. This time was different. Scott wore dark denim jeans, a dusty red tee shirt and some white converse. In his hand was a bouquet of a dozen of Alana's favorite flowers. As he stepped up the front stairs his heart was doing somersaults. His life would finally be good. He'd have a healthy Alana back in his life. He had wondered several times if Alana would be able to finish the process. Withdrawal was a nasty thing, and Alana had been using really heavy. He could hardly bare to see how ill she'd appeared at times but he still came. Everyday. For hours would be here to comfort her. He wouldn't have missed a day for anyone. It wasn't a far drive, just under an hour, and it seemed shorter every time he came. As he walked inside the nurse at the front desk immediately recognized him and waved. This place looked basically like a mansion except for the formal/business front room where guests would check in. "Exciting day, Mr. Scott." The nurse said with a warm smile. She pointed towards where he needed to be, out of habit maybe, but Scott was already headed that direction.
ooc: Sounds good to me!! C: Would you like me to play the parents? I don't mind who does it, to be honest!
Alana looked around the lounge area quietly, fiddling with her hands in her lap. Today was the day, and she could hardly believe it. She'd spent the whole morning getting ready; cleaning up her room, packing her things, saying her farewells to the other patients. The center would be hosting a ceremony soon to congratulate everyone who has completed rehab there recently. Afterwards there would be food, music, all kind of things. She'd spent a considerable amount of time getting dolled up for the event. She had also done it to surprise Scott. The center had slightly specific policies when it came to things like dress code, and since Lala had been so focused on recovery she never really bothered to get too dressed up. But today was special. Her dark hair shined as it cascaded down her back and shoulders. Her nails were trimmed and had been neatly painted a beautiful yellow color that especially stood out against her light brown skin. She donned a lovely white floral sundress that stopped just above her knees. On her feet were matching white flats. She'd even sprayed a bit of vanilla-scented perfume as an extra touch. Her eyes were bright and lively. Her skin was soft and full of its natural color. She'd even seemed to have gained a little weight from having a good diet. She looked good. She looked healthy. At the sound of footsteps approaching, she turned her head in the direction of the sound and her eyes lit up. Scott.
She quickly stood up, holding her hands behind her back. She was nervous and excited at the same time. When she finally saw him, a strange feeling came over her. Her throat felt warm and tight, and her eyes stung as if she were crying. A bright smile spread across her face as he approached her and she put a hand to her mouth. She looked at him, and then down at the flowers. They were Buttercups. Her favorite. She looked up at Scott's face again, and her eye's watered. She'd come so far. It hadn't been easy at all. There were so many times she'd wanted to just give up. But she didn't. And here she was now. Here they were now. Her journey wasn't over yet; in fact, it was far from over. But that didn't mean that her achievements so far weren't notable. As he came closer Alana stepped towards him herself. "Hi Scotty," She whispered in a soft tone, trying desperately to keep her voice from breaking. Once she finally reached him, she didn't hesitate to pull him into a tight hug. She managed to stop herself from crying, but a couple tears inevitably escaped and slid down her cheeks. "I did it." She murmured softly, shutting her eyes tight. Pulling away after several minutes, Alana took a step back. "So..." She twirled around one time to show off her ensemble. "What do you think?" She giggled, tucking some hair behind her ear.
Gentle bump C: no rush of course! I usually only bump threads after a week but sometime I'll do it earlier just to make sure my thread doesn't get accidentally lost in someone's notifications and whatnot ^^
-holy cow sorry! i was absent for a couple days and just got back, but didn't have a notification for your reply. don't mind bumping cause if i'm active and dont reply you should bump. my account has always been weird about notifs. and maybe i cacn play your father and you can play your mother just to keep it even?-
Scott saw her, at least he thought it was her. She adorned a dress Scott hadn't even known she owned. It had been so long since she looked like she took care of herself. Slowly through this process he could tell she had a better relationship with her own mind and she looked it. His eyes brimmed with tears as he turned around. Her long dark hair swaying in slow motion. Her sweet scent filling her eyes as she approached him and he couldn't help take a deep breath in as she embraced him. When she pulled away from him he chuckled. "You look incredible Lala. You look so stunning." He couldn't stop himself from pulling her into another tight hug. "I'm so fu-freaking proud of you." He chuckled again. He looked at her again. His heart doing somersaults with the familiar feeling of love for her. It was all worth it to him. Every moment of struggle didn't even kind of compare to these moments. Today was different than the other days. She'd be coming with him today. To their home. The cramped apartment he spent all weekend cleaning and proofing for her return. He'd gotten the couch new pillows and he'd gotten new coasters for the coffee table. He'd stocked up on groceries and snacks. He wanted her to feel safe and welcome. Because she was and always would be. "How do you feel?" He asked grinning as he held out the bouquet buttercups for her.
ooc: It's alright! I figured that there had been an error somewhere in terms of notifications, now that I know your account is weird about it I'll keep that in mind! Also I hope this post is alright, I don't really do a whole lot of threads where I roleplay as two characters as once so sorry if this is a little confusing ^^ I used the white text to represent the dialogue of Alana's mom (Rosita/Mrs.Rodriguez) so hopefully that makes it easy to understand, if you need me to change anything though let me know!
Alana grinned as she took the bouquet of flowers in her hands. "Oh, they're beautiful." She cooed softly as she held them close to her chest, admiring the colorful petals. "How do I feel?" She let out a deep breath as she pondered the question. "God, I feel..." She shook her head. It was a difficult sensation to describe. "I feel so many different things. Relieved, proud...kinda scared." She chucked sheepishly as she mentioned the last word and let her gaze briefly drop down to her feet. After all, she was leaving rehab and going back into the real world. There wasn't going to be anybody there to keep drugs and alcohol away from her. Well, Scott could help, but only so much. The sole responsibility was on her. As she looked back up at him, she let a grin reappear on her face. "But I think, most of all, I feel really homesick. This place and nice and all, but I actually really miss our little apartment." She'd missed home like crazy ever since Lala had first checked into the rehab center. "They're having the ceremony in a little while, but right now we have a little time to-"
"Oh, look, there she is! Alana!" Lala was interrupted by a familiar voice coming from behind Scott, and she quickly diverted her attention away from him and to the voice. Running over to meet the two was Alana's mother, Rosita Rodriguez, with a bright smile on her face. Beside Rosita was Alana's father, who Mrs.Rodriguez was pulling with her by the hand as the two hurried to make their way over to their daughter. The couple came to a halting stop once they'd finally reached Alana. "Oh, mija. Look at you!" Mrs.Rodriguez whispered, putting her hands to her mouth in disbelief as she eyed her daughter. The older woman wasted no time in pulling Lala into a tight hug. Once she let go, she put her hands on Lala's shoulders and scanned her over. "Oh, you look so different. Look at your hair! And this dress! You look beautiful, I can't even believe it. Doesn't she look beautiful, honey?" Rosita asked, turning to Alana's father.
Alana was just as surprised as her parents were, but she wasn't nearly as enthusiastic. She actually took a step back as her parents approached, and she kept her arms at her sides when she was hugged by her mother. "Mamá, Papá...um, hey." She was confused. Why were there here? She'd sent out multiple invites to them to come and visit her while she was recovering, and now they decide to just show up out of nowhere after going four months without giving even so much as a phone call? Furrowing her eyebrows, Lala looked to Scott. "Did you call them or something?" She inquired in a low voice. Looking back to her parents, Alana pursed her lips. "Guys, what...what are you doing here?"
Scott heard the voices, and spun around to see who it was Alana was looking at. When he saw them, even after so many years, he recognized them immediately. His eyes narrowed and he was about to chew them out for their shitty parenting, but what cut off by Rosita's cooing. When Alana addressed Scott he cleared his throat and crossed his arms. "I invited them to all of the visiting days. They must've just saved this date." He said, accusation and betrayal on Alana's behalf was clear in his tone. He didn't feel bad, but they should. They clearly didn't though. Scott had always had anger issues. They'd been doing better and it took a lot for Scott to be maintaining his chill right now.
Samuel Rodriguez, better known as sam, stood behind Rosita with a stern expression and similarly crossed arms. "Hello Alana. I know it's strange of us to show up now, but we wanted to show you that we do love you and support that you're bettering yourself." Sam said giving Alana sympathetic looks and shooting glares at Scott. Scott scoffed. "Why didn't you come to any visitation days? They were practically everyday. You couldn't even show up to one?" Scott said, definitely being as well as coming off rude. Sam looked to Scott. His eyes burning with dislike for the boy. Sam had only ever seen Scott as someone who Alana had run off with and who'd enabled her addictions.
-no it looks great! i'll do the same for Mr. Rodriguez-
Rosita looked at Scott and frowned. Both her parents were clearly taken aback by Scott's boldness. Alana placed a hand on Scott's arm. "Please don't," She whispered to him softly, meeting his eyes with a pleading look of her own. Today was about her, and nothing else. Was she happy that her parents were here? Of course not, but that doesn't mean she had to let them diminish her hard work by letting an argument break out. She knew Scott was frustrated too, but she hoped that he could put his feelings aside for her today.
An awkward silence fell upon the four for a second. Clearing her throat, Rosita forced a smile and approached her daughter again. "Listen...Alana, honey, you know that we love you. And we know that we've been, well, pretty absent in the past...but we're here now. Right? And we couldn't be any prouder of you right now." The woman placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "We're here for you today, alright?" Alana looked up at her mother and gave her a thin smile along with a small nod. Rosita grinned in satisfaction. "Oh, I just knew you'd understand, sweetheart. You've always been so understanding. Why don't you show us around the place a little, hmm?"
"Thanks, mamá.I love you guys too." Alana mumbled quietly. Her voice was a lot less upbeat and cheerful than it'd been before her parents had shown up. "I can show you guys where my room was and stuff, I guess. But i can't take too long, there's gonna be a ceremony in a couple minutes so-"
"A ceremony! Oh, that sounds wonderful mija. I can't wait! Now, which way is your room?"
"Um, it's upstairs...here, just follow me, I guess." Clearing her throat, Lala turned and headed for the stairs, guiding them to where her room, or former room, was. Keeping a slight distance from her parents who walked behind her, Alana kept her head lowered, looking down at her feet with a frown. She wanted today to be a good day, but it did sting to know that her parents had purposefully ignored every invitation they'd gotten except for the very last one. Why wouldn't they want to be there to see the gradual progress? Or to support her on the days that it was really difficult? They didn't seem to be interested in any of that, and it hurt.
Behind her, Rosita was walking alongside Samuel, and was looking around. But she seemed to be a bit skeptical about the place, especially the people. "So do they just let any type of person in here? There's no age limit, nothing like that? And they can just have any type of addiction, too?" She asked the question aloud and pursed her lips. "That doesn't sound very safe, does it? I mean, I wouldn't have wanted our daughter to be living in the same place as just any type of addict. What if some of them are violent or something? Alana isn't, of course, but I read online that a some of them can be." She said critically to Samuel, hoping he'd agree. Rosita spoke in a lowered voice, but didn't make too much of an effort to not be heard.
Ooc: (figured it'd be a nice touch if her parent's were really judgmental of the place as well ^^)
Scott scoffed then cleared his throat. Giving Alana a small nod. But there was a fire in his eyes warning these trespassers that he wouldn't be taking any shit today. Today was about Alana and how far she'd come. And how healthy she looked. But he noticed how timid and uncomfortable she seemed since her parent's arrival and it only angered him further. But, he kept his teeth gritted and his fists clenched as he followed them. He hung back a few feet behind Samuel who was just behind Rosita. Scott stopped when Rosita began to talk, or rather complain about the rehab center. This place was amazing. It was a beautiful place that helped to rehabilitate lost and broken people. Alana had been one of those people before she came here. Scott had even been one, or at least bordering one. "Are you serious Rosita? You're really going to complain now? After the entire process is over? Maybe if you'd come-" His tone was loud and harsh, but he cut himself off when he looked at Alana. This was her day. "This place has done a lot of good. You have no place to criticize it." He finished more calmly but his tone was still sharp.
Samuel turned to face Scott and his verbal assault. "Listen, kid. You have no idea what you're talking about. You're just some punk who my daughter ended up with because you're the only person she could find who supported her addiction. We're her parents, and we do what we think is best for her. And frankly I think you're the furthest thing from it." He boomed. Samuel stood a good several inches taller than Scott and was a lot bulkier than him too. But Scott didn't even appear intimidated, in fact he stepped closer to him as if he was about to start a real fight. And Scott wasn't an intimidating person. He was tall but thin. No matter how angry he got he couldn't win a fight against a dude like Samuel, but you could see by the look in his eyes he would try if it were for Alana. "I didn't enable her. I'm the one who helped her into this place. I'm the one who showed up every fucking day if not only to show some comfort or support. I haven't seen you in half a fucking decade. Where have you been?" Scott said standing barely an inch away from Samuel, looking up to meet his pissed-off gaze.
(reposting because I had so many edits to make)
Both Rosita and Alana stopped and turned to look at Scott when he called Rosita out. As soon as she heard his harsh tone Alana looked to him and quickly shook her head. Rosita scoffed and crossed her arms, but it was Samuel who had spoken up first. Alana furrowed her eyebrows as she watched her father whip around to face Scott. "Dad, stop it." She urged, though her voice got lost among the commotion. When she noticed Scott approached her father, she quickly tried to butt in again. "Scott, no-" She let out an exasperated sigh as she again went unheard. It didn't help that Rosita was standing beside her husband with her arms still crossed. She was saying something about how disrespectful Scott was. Alana didn't hear exactly what it was that her mother had said, though. All Alana could pay attention to right now was how the surrounding people were beginning to notice what was happening. Patients were staring, casting side glances as they walked past and whispering to each-other. A pair of nurses standing nearby was watching out of the corner of their eye as they had a conversation about something else, as if trying to decide whether or not to intervene. The pressing glances burned into Alana's skin. And then she felt a new feeling begin to overcome her. Rage. Yes, it was all about her right now. But not in the way that she'd wanted it to be. She'd asked Scott to just lay low, and now he was doing the exact opposite. And then here were her parents, visiting after years of ignoring Alana, criticizing her and insulting the one person who'd been there for all this And now they were all ignoring her, arguing over her as if she wasn't even there. Not caring about what she wanted. She was pissed.
Her eyes snapped back to them. She wasn't about to let them take this from her. Now it was her that stormed over to the group of three. She relentlessly pushed her way between them, between Scott and Samuel, interrupting their feud and forcing them to now make space for her presence. "I said cut it out. Now." She growled. She didn't yell at them, but she didn't have to. Her voice was low and grim as it demanded the attention of all three of them. Her eyes burned with irritation and she had an irate expression on her face. Of course, right now, everyone in the group was tense and annoyed. But it was Alana, standing there at 5'4 in her delicate sundress, with pale yellow nail-polish on and soft lush hair flowing down her shoulders, that was the angriest of them all right now, and she most certainly looked the part. Rosita immediately looked to her daughter in surprise. Unlike Scott, Alana had never really been too quick to anger. Even when she was still heavily drinking and doing drugs, the toxins had never really compelled her to lash out in anger or frustration; they just made her incoherent and timid. Of course everyone got a little annoyed or mad now and then, but the fury she was exhibiting now was a fairly unfamiliar look on her, to say the least. "I have worked so hard for this." Lala hissed on, addressing all three of them, her wrathful eyes flickering between them all. "So...fucking hard. And none of you are about to take that away from me. Not today." Pushing past them again, and without another word, she began to storm off in the opposite direction of where they were initially heading. Her right hand was clenched in a fist, and the bouquet of flowers in her left hand almost looked like some sort of weapon of mass destruction with the way that she was clutching them so tightly.
Rosita watched her daughter leave, still in shock, before hastily following after her. "A-alana, honey, I thought we were going to see your room-"
"Nope. Not anymore." Lala replied curtly, not bothering to slow down her stride as she turned the corner. She had no interest in showing anything to anyone at the moment. The ceremony would be starting soon anyways, so that's where she was going, whether they came or not. She wasn't about to let any of them ruin this day for her.
Scott watched in horror as Alana lashed out, realizing he'd become just as bad as her parents. He turned and watched her storm off. Guilt replacing his anger ten-fold. "This is all your faul-" Samuel began but Scott turned around sharply to face him again. "Listen you selfish asshole. This isn't about you or me. This is all about Alana and her progress. Maybe it would've been better if you hadn't even shown up but right now you've just got to at least pretend to like me if it'll make Lala happy. And I'll do the same for you." He said with the same angry and sharp tone before turning around and racing off to catch up with Alana and her mother. Samuel scoffed but knew that Scott was right. They had to put their pettiness aside for Alana's sake.
"Alana." Scott breathed out as he caught up with the pair. "I'm so sorry. It was selfish of me to lash out like that." He said grabbing her shoulder. He wanted her to know he was sorry and that he didn't mean for it to happen, but still acknowledged it did. Samuel can up behind them with arms crossed. "I'm sorry too, sweet pea. Today's all about you. And how damn proud I am, we all are, of you." He said in a soft tone with a rare smile on his lips. "Now let's get to the ceremony and put that whole episode behind us." Scott said smiling sympathetically.
With a soft sigh, Alana stopped when Scott grabbed her shoulder and she turned around to face them. Her mother had stopped as well. "I'm sorry too, baby. We know how important this is to you. We shouldn't have let our feelings get in the way." Rosita chimed in with her own apology, wringing her hands in regret. Alana didn't look any happier after they apologized, but she did get a bit less tense. "No. Not so fast." She quickly said, crossing her arms herself as Scott recommending putting it all behind them. She wasn't about to let them off the hook that easily. She looked to her parents. "Listen to me. I didn't 'end up' with Scott because he 'supported my addiction'. Don't make assumptions about me. Scott cares about me. And when I was laying in that damn hospital bed four months ago after an overdose he was the one who suggested rehab and helped me every step of the way. You don't have to like him, but you sure as hell need to respect him because he was the one who visited me everyday that I was in here. Not you. Got it?" She spoke in a stern tone as she looked between the two of them. She was satisfied when her mother nodded. "Good."
"And you."Now she turned to face Scott, pointing a finger up at him. He wasn't safe from this either. No way. "I didn't need you trying to 'defend my honor', or picking fights in the middle of a damn rehab center full of patients. All I needed you to do was be by my side and comfort me. That's all I ever want you to do. If I ask you not to do something, then that means don't do it. And you have to respect that, alright?" She crossed her arms again, pursing her lips again. "Okay. Now we can go."
The ceremony wasn't anything too formal, but it was definitely a nice little event. The room that it was held in was similar to an auditorium, only smaller. The audience was full of family members and friends and other people who would also be leaving. There was a speaker standing at the podium. She welcome everyone to the ceremony, and then gave a speech about adversity, family, love, and many other things. Then she started calling people up, saying their name, what they recovered from, how long they've been sober, and then giving them a handshake as well as a sobriety chip while everyone in the audience clapped to show their support.
When it was Alana's turn to go up, she smiled brightly, handing her bouquet of flowers to Scott before standing and walking up onstage to earn what she rightfully deserved. Rosita's eyes were full of tears and she was snapping pictures the entire time that Alana was up there while everyone else in the audience clapped loudly. Alana couldn't even tell anyone what it felt like to go up there and celebrate her sobriety like this. It was amazing.
After the ceremony, the center hosted a barbecue outside. There was music playing, socializing, and lots and lots of food. Alana was sitting at a table beside Scott and across from her parents and was scarfing down food. When Lala was still struggling with addiction, she didn't really have a good diet. There were plenty of times where she skipped one or even two meals a day or only ate minimal amounts of food. But now that she was sober, even food seemed to taste ten times better than it did before. She ate neatly, but quickly, not even noticing her mother watching in amusement. It was only after she cleared her second plate of food that she decided to finally say anything. "I can't wait to go back home." She said to Scott excitedly. "There's so much stuff that we can do now. Like we can go places! Like out to museums or the movies, or we could even go and watch a play sometimes and stuff! Oh my god, I wish we could get a dog in our apartment. Wouldn't a dog be so nice?! But what if we get a cat? Or a fish? Oh my god, what if we got a bird?! Wouldn't that be so funny?" She laughed loudly, rambling on and on. Neing sober gave her so much more energy than she had before. Rosita watched the two interact, a bit curiously. She and Samuel had of course known both of them since they were young, but after Scott and Alana decided to go off to college together, her parents hadn't been happy at all and they just assumed she'd done it because of her addictions. They'd never really gotten to see what their current companionship was like until now, and in Rosita's opinion, she it didn't look all that bad. Clearly Alana was happy, and that was the most important thing.
Scott continued. He hadn't spoken a word since Alana's lecture, worried that if he did it would be something snarky or otherwise distasteful. Sam didn't seem to pleased either, but he held a smile through the ceremony. They both went on silently, shooting each other looks that were less than friendly now and then, but their attention remained on Alana for the most part. Then they got to the barbecue. Scott got some food and Samuel piled up about twice as much on to his plate. Then they sat down just as silent, until Alana began her ramble. Scott thought it was adorable. It was really nice to see her like this. Like the old Alana, before all of the drugs and the arguments. It gave him a creeping feeling of nostalgia until he remembered that this was her. This was her, hopefully, from now on. This was the sober Alana. The sweet, selfless and loving Alana. He couldn't help fall deeper in love with her in that moment. "You know, we could get a pet, we'd just need to put down a pet deposit for it. What if this weekend we go to the shelter and see if you fall in love?" He asked smiling. Samuel still didn't like Scott, but it almost seemed as if he was getting used to him.
Alana's eyes lit up. "Really?! Oh, I'd love to! That'll be so fun," She said excitedly. "We have to get a dog then. A really cute one. But then again, a cat would be nice too. Or a ferret! Could you imagine if we got a ferret?" She giggled again and took a sip of lemonade. Rosita ate silently, but she watched the conversation longingly. Lala hadn't said a word to her parents since before the ceremony. "Do you two remember the dog we used to have? Alana's dog?" She asked Scott and Alana with a small smile, hoping Alana would want to talk to her. Alana looked to her mom. "Oh, yeah. Of course I remember Zoe." She answered her mother's question in a quieter, less enthusiastic voice than she had just been talking to Scott. She was glad that everyone had stopped arguing, but there was still some tension over the fact that Alana's parents hadn't visited. "How could I ever forget her? I miss her like crazy. I remember she would always, um, chew on all of Dad's socks" She let out a meek laugh and looked down into her lap, tucking some hair behind her ear. "And I remember how she loved belly rubs. Especially from Scott." She did let a thin smile appear on her lips. Despite the tension, nobody could deny that there were a lot of good memories and feelings that Alana shared with her parents.
Soon enough, the barbecue was over. And it was finally time for Alana to go home. She said her goodbyes to the other patients again, giving people hugs, and wishing them luck on their own journey to recovery. Then she went to her room and brought down the suitcase she'd bought. Now standing outside of the building, she looked up at it. A few years back she would've never imagined ending up in a place like this. Looking back, it was probably the best decision she's ever made. Taking a deep breath, she looked to her parents now. "Listen, um...thanks for coming, you guys." She said softly, wringing her hands and shifting her weight from foot to foot. "Of course, sweetie." Rosita stepped forward and outstretched her arms to give her daughter a hug, but Alana stepped back and shook her head, rejecting the embrace. "No," She crossed her arms and looked down at the ground. "Look, I love you guys. It's just...it's too soon right now." She still wasn't sure if she forgave them for abandoning her. They still had some things that needed to be talked about and explained. "I just...need some time. Some time to think." Rosita frowned as she watched her daughter pull away from her. It hurt, but she understood. "Oh, right...of course. T-take all the time you need." She looked at Samuel and then back at Alana. "Well...we won't keep you two any longer." She said with a forced laugh. "We know how excited you are to get home."