As the sun began to rise, she sat there with her mind uninhibited, breathing in the salty air, finally feeling at home. It'd been so long since she'd had that. Funny that it was here, with the wide Atlantic spilling out in front of her, that she felt most grounded.
Alicia smoothed her hands over her cut off jeans. Her fingers brushed over the key in her pocket, the one to her house, and once again the tears rose from the locked place deep inside her.
She didn't care.
She didn't care that the South Carolina coast was boiling hot and dripping with humidity. She didn't care about starting a new school her junior year. She didn't care that she shared a room with Izzy and enough La La Loopsy dolls to fill an entire ToysRUs. She didn't care that the Miller's house was small and they all shared a bathroom. Or that they didn't have enough money to buy her a car or send her to camp.
The ocean waves crashed on the shore, and images of the twelve foster homes she'd been in over the years flashed through her mind. Small and cramped. Sometimes she slept on couches. Sometimes she got yelled at for something one of the parent's real kids had done. The Millers shouldn't have been any different, but they were. Mostly because they actually wanted her to be there.
Alicia fingered the adoption papers in her hand, dog eared and crumpled because she couldn't stop pulling them out of her backpack and looking at them to make sure they were real. The sun rose bright and golden over the ocean. Her stomach grumbled, angry with her for getting up so early and not feeding it first. She'd eat at a breakfast table this morning. With a family.
She brushed the tears from her eyes and jumped down from the bench. It was time to go home.