High school is nothing like juniors; Eliza excelled in all areas enjoying the work and the escape from home. She thrived on debating; maintaining friendships when they took opposing views was difficult. Eliza’s determined attitude, inherited from her, cost her friends as she learnt to balance this with respect for their opinions. Lee walked her home; the pair enjoyed each other’s company as they loved debating everything from the best sandwich filling, the perfect grilled cheese to policies like “No Sim left behind” and the upcoming election. They walked slowly, Eliza resisting the plan to go home, Rylan seemed to have a plan for her life, and he expected her to go along without complaint.
Parties, bowling with friends, her volunteer work; squeezed into Rylan’s strict timetable for her. She understood he wanted her to succeed where he failed, but this was her life and future he was trying to control. Charlotte and Patrick were free of this obligation; Eliza suffered as he began to feel regret, refusing her entry to private school when she was younger. The teachers said Eliza needed a challenge, she understood material taught to senior students; they predicted great things were abundant in her future if she put in the extra work. Rylan took this to mean a 9 pm curfew, regulation of activities, and additional responsibility in the form of volunteering.
Eliza embraced any opportunity to escape her family; she loved volunteering, the conversations with people outside her family and peer group gave way to life lessons. She listened to the older generation; without grandparents, these were the closest she got to hearing what life was like when they were young. Romanticised memories were nothing like her home life, whatever she or her siblings needed shoes, a party dress, or a replacement part for the pirate ship, Rylan had them covered. Money gave her father power; he held her desires hostage; denying her a trip to San Myshuno with friends as she had an uncompleted project, despite having the weekend to work on it.
Sparky was her other joy, Charlotte teased, overusing the phrase “Pets are like their owners”, referring to his stubbornness. Exercise through the day was hard since she had school, and Emilie was no substitute for the long runs; Eliza started taking him on. An unstimulated dog was trouble, scratching the carpet, flowers dug up, and a routine inspection of the bin, Sparky deposited samples of his finds in various areas of the house. Rylan fumed, his shoes host a moulding sandwich, he threatened to send him to the pound, but Sparky was safe, Rylan outvoted four to one.
Rylan sighed; he planned book writing that evening, hoping another murder mystery would bump his flailing book sales. Instead, with the project in hand, at Emilie’s suggestion, engage in a father-daughter bonding activity. Eliza attempts to follow her father to give him space to read instructions and assist in the literal bridge she needed to build. Her patience is short-lived, agitated by his fumbling and presence; Eliza bites her lip, desperate to shout, thankful for the phone call.