165 days ago,
A woman, Marlene (Reagan Foxx), is fussing about the living room nervously, straightening the couch cushions, re-facing the decorations on the fireplace mantle and the coffee table, etc. when her boyfriend, Tom (Brad Newman), comes up behind her and puts his hands comfortingly on her shoulders. Just relax, he tells her, come on, sit down, she just needs to breathe and not stress out so much. He leads her to the bay window and sits down, taking her hands in his and gently pulling her down to sit too. She tells him she can't help but be worried - this is her one chance to reconnect with Alyssa (Alina Lopez), and she doesn't want to screw it up. Tom tells her not to worry, he's sure her step-daughter is ready to make amends. Why else would she have accepted Marlene's invitation after all this time, if she still held a grudge? Marlene supposes that Tom's right, and puts her hand on his cheek. Either way, she's glad he was willing to stick by her side this whole weekend, otherwise she'd be an emotional wreck. He didn't have to do that. Tom kisses her hands and tells her of course, he'll always support her no matter what. She knows that.
Their tender moment is interrupted by a car pulling into view in the driveway just outside the bay window. That must be her, Marlene says a bit scared. Tom puts his hand again on her shoulder and gives it a quick rub. She can do this, he reassures her. She nods and looks back out the window where a young woman has stepped out of the back of the car, a travel bag in tow. She lifts her sunglasses and takes a sweeping look around the large mansion-like house with a cold, inscrutable look on her face, before putting her glasses back on her face and closing the car door behind her. The car pulls off as Marlene straightens up and moves out of the living room towards the door to greet the girl, wringing her hands nervously as she walks. Tom follows.
'Alyssa, dear,' Marlene says solemnly as she opens the door and holds out her arms to welcome the teen. 'I'm so grateful you finally decided to come, it's been so long. TOO long.' She continues to hold her arms out but it's clear Alyssa has no intention of reciprocating the gesture, she stops short several inches from Marlene's reach. 'Hello, mother,' she says coldly, not betraying any signs of emotion behind her sunglasses. She turns her head to Tom who is standing a couple of paces back from Marlene, looking a bit awkward and trying not to intrude. 'You must be the boyfriend,' she says to him. He smiles and introduces himself, holding out his hand to shake hers. Bemused, she gives the smallest of smiles as she hands off her bag into her mother's hands without even looking at her, and then takes off her sunglasses. She shakes his hand, and he tells her Marlene has told him so much about her, he's been really looking forward to meeting her.
Pulling back his hand after a firm shake, Tom looks a bit surprised now that her sunglasses are off. Wow, he remarks, the two of them really do look so much alike - if Marlene hadn't told him, he would have sworn that they were real, flesh-and-blood mother and daughter. Alyssa says that that's the ONLY thing the two of them have in common. Tom says come now, he's sure that's not true, he bets that Alyssa is a perfectly wonderful and charming young woman. 'Exactly,' Alyssa says pointedly as she walks forward past Marlene to Tom, taking the sunglasses still in her hand and slipping them into his shirt's breast pocket. She walks past him into the house. 'Coming, mother?' Alyssa calls back from inside the house. Marlene looks over worriedly at Tom, and he tries to reassure her again while rubbing his palm across her back, although he's not quite as brimming with confidence as he was earlier. She's just 18, Tom reminds her, all teenagers are moody and sarcastic. She still came, didn't she? Marlene supposes he's right, and Tom winks saying he knows he is. He heads into the house. Marlene lets in and out a long sigh to calm herself, and then heads inside.