The days in Sacramento blurred together for Elizabeth

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The days in Sacramento blurred together for Elizabeth. They all followed the same routine, most of which included being ignored by her parents. That ritual of hers took a turn for the worse when she stepped out of her room the morning after the dinner disaster. Instead of being left by her lonesome, Elizabeth emerged to find both of her parents sitting out on the balcony.

The pair was never still in the room by the time Elizabeth woke up, not unless she was to tag along for a business meeting. But there they were, with their coffee mugs and open laptops sown about.

"Lizzy."

The nickname made her blood boil, even more so than it had been all night. Avoiding eye contact with Mary, Elizabeth made a U-turn and disappeared back into her room.

"Elizabeth," Steven tried coaxing his daughter out next. "Can we talk to you please?"

"If you wanted to speak to me you should have showed up to dinner last night." The rough tone of her voice matched her movements. Shutting the door she proceeded to lift the tank top over her head.

Mary's somber voice filtered through the bedroom door. "Let us explain."

"I have no interest in hearing how you put work before your daughter. Again."

Shuffling through drawers Elizabeth searched for one of the two bathing suits she brought along on this trip. The black material was stuffed in the back corner in a discarded ball. She hadn't planned on the springy fabric seeing the light of day.

"Elizabeth, you're being ridiculous. We couldn't cancel. By the time we made the call the Morrisons were already on their way," Mary explained.

Elizabeth could hear the persistence in her tone. As per usual Mary Blackwell was trying to make herself sound innocent. It frustrated her to no end. Slamming the drawer shut, with more force than necessary, Elizabeth tossed the bikini on the disheveled duvet behind her.

"Honey?" Mary's voice was closer now. She was standing right outside the bedroom door.

Dropping her shorts Elizabeth made the switch, tugging on the snug fitting suit.

"Lizzy."

That name was grating on her nerves, like nails to a chalkboard.

"Yeah, well... while you were chit-chatting with the Morrisons about your dinner plans I was waiting by myself, looking like an idiot," Elizabeth said. "But that's not even the best part. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Gibbons showed up and told me that you two weren't coming and that he was the replacement."

Elizabeth could feel her throat constricting on itself. It was like her body didn't want her to say another word — like it didn't want her to admit the relationship she had with her parents. The silent thoughts held conviction when she said them out loud. But it was the truth. When it came to her parents, Elizabeth was never a first priority.

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