Allison feels like she's living in a shadow of herself.
For a while, everything was okay, because the shock absorbed everything that was wrong with what she was hearing, and like putting a shell to her ear, she only heard what she wanted to hear.
Kate's dead. Dead. And the spell that she'd cast has worn off. Allison can hear everything loud and clear, and what she missed before is on repeat. Every minute of every day, of every night, of every dream. Everything she thought could never be real is.
And she's supposed to defeat it.
Allison feels physically ill for days. Eating is a chore, and so is showering, but she forces herself to complete the mundane tasks of her former life, because it's better than facing the questioning glances of her mother, and the sympathetic yet cold touches of comfort from her father.
In her head, she knows they should understand; they had to be here themselves at one point, but she doesn't trust them right now.
In fact, Allison hasn't decided who to trust. The fact that she's in a house with people she doesn't, though, wares on her. She avoids eye contact at all costs, makes excuses to eat in her room, and otherwise ignores the fact that she has a so-called family.
The days have been ticking off since anyone has dared knock on her door, but in the late, quiet afternoon of a normally bustling Saturday, Allison is awoken from a nap by a solid, rhythmical rapping at her door. Scrunching up her nose, Allison considers very hard the option of just lying in bed, letting whoever's on the other side grow tired and leave on their own.
But then a small voice, shrill from the attempt to penetrate the wood, says, "Allison? It's me. Let me in."
The command would offend Allison. It would. Except that hearing Lydia's voice filled Allison with so much relief, and so much sadness, at the same time, that tears sprung to her eyes. "Come in!" she calls, throat sore from not speaking.
Allison watches as the door handle turns, and then Lydia quietly closes the door behind her as though she might disturb something. "Allison?" she asks, seeing that Allison hasn't changed from her pajamas, and she furrows her eyebrows, stepping further into the room with her hands crossed in front of her. "Are you sick?"
At first Allison shakes her head, but then changes her mind and shrugs. She feels sick. She feels... homesick. Alone, and lost, and confused, and like she'll never find her way back. Then her vision grows blurry, and Allison feels a hot tear rail down her cheek.
"Oh sweetie, what's wrong?" Lydia asks, and she's coming to sit by Allison on the bed, arm over her shoulder while her other palm pulls Allison's face down to her chest.
"I just - I don't know." Everything, maybe. It feels like everything. Or it would if it felt like anything was real anymore. She's crying steadily, now, shaking out soft sobs into Lydia's silk shirt. Lydia brushes away a tear at a time with the gentle pad of her thumb, and brushes her fingers cautiously through Allison's wavy hair, careful not to catch on the tangles Allison hasn't been able to comb out for days.
"Oh honey..." Lydia is frowning above her, and is staring into nowhere, thinking about Allison, how strong she always seemed, and how Lydia wants nothing more than to sit here and protect her. She never thought she'd have to protect Allison. But it's all she wants. Whenever Allison needs it.
Lydia lets Allison cry herself to sleep, Allison curled into her side. She pushes her heels off with her feet, and crosses her legs on the bed, careful not to jostle her friend. She sits there, awake, alerted to every movement Allison makes. When Allison awakes, it's dark outside, and since Lydia didn't want to leave her side to turn on the light, so is the room.
"Lydia?" Allison asks softly, like she's afraid she might wake up in the arms of a stranger.
"I'm here," Lydia says with a sad smile. Allison turns to look up at her, and when she looks at Lydia with those big brown eyes, Lydia feels an ache in her bones. Allison cranes her neck, pressing a quick kiss to Lydia's lips, before dropping back into Lydia's chest, arms tightening slightly around her.
With wide eyes, Lydia says, "Yeah," and holds Allison closer.
Allison thinks she has one person she trusts. And for now, that can be enough.