Chapter 9: Say Whatcha You Wanna Say
The little bell attached to the door of Café Kismet jingled as Naomi walked in, smiling as she read the text Emily had sent her. She truly had a filthy minded girlfriend and she loved it. She locked the text to make sure it wasn't deleted. That was definitely one to reread on those nights she was forced to sleep alone.
"Hey, Naomi, glad you could make it." Naomi quickly locked her phone, turning the screen off, as Chloe walked up to her with a huge smile.
"Yeah, sorry it wasn't sooner, things have been busy the last week." Naomi replied. She did feel a little guilty that it had taken a little over a week to meet up with Chloe but she really had been busy. Firstly freaking out about JJ having dinner at the Fitch's and then spending time with Emily, well she'd lost track of time. The only reason she wasn't with Emily now was because Momma Fitch had been determined to take the twins shopping for school clothes before the new term started.
"It's alright, you're here now besides I can't wait to tell you all about the DAE and Chuck's plans. He's really brilliant, he has these amazing ideas about how to really make a difference." Chloe said as she waved off Naomi's apology. "Come on let's grab something to drink and I'll fill you in."
Naomi and Chloe walked over to the worn out, cracked counter that in another life most likely had been white but was now more an off white, greyish color where the counter itself could be seen between the countless band, protest and bumper sticks covering it. It fit with the overall look and feel of the café, a bit worn down and second hand but cozy all the same, a tiny bohemian enclave for the modern day beatniks, protesters and students alike. There were mismatched couches and donated coffee tables in one corner with overflowing bookcases creating a semi private area for study groups or those wanting to read in relative peace. Instead of the ordinary table and chairs most cafes and restaurants had, Café Kismet had old easy chairs in every shape, size and color arranged around end tables in groups of two and three, there were even a couple groups of loveseats crowded around coffee tables scuffed from countless feet, shoes and boots being propped up on them over the years. In the back a small stage hosted poetry readings and local bands, along with the occasional speaker.
The walls were covered with posters on top of more posters that spanned the spectrum from local bands that had played there to old protest banners to small theatre groups announcing their productions. There was even a poster of a cat hanging on a window ledge that said 'Hang in there, Friday is coming'. Naomi could never decide if someone had put it up there as a commentary about how society was made up of wage slaves, so overworked that all they had to look forward to was a day off or if whomever had put it up meant it genuinely, no irony or social insight meant.
The barista who served them was slender with drab brown hair that looked like it was in need of a good washing, she'd stretched her earlobes so far a finger could easily fit through them. Naomi was all for personal expression but she couldn't help thinking how awful they would look when the girl grew up to be a grannie. When her generation grew old, like all generations inevitably did, there were going to be a lot of elderly people with saggy earlobes and unattractive, stretched out tramp stamps. She felt bad for future old age home workers everywhere.
Grabbing their drinks, Naomi followed Chloe to one of the small tables with two comfy chairs. Naomi sat down in white and blue striped chair, some of the cotton poly stuffing coming out of a tear on one of its arms. Someone had taken a sharpie and drawn a naked woman with the hole and stuffing right between her legs. At least the crudeness of it was offset by the artist talent, it was actually quite a good drawing. Someone else had used a purple marker and wrote "She needs to shave" with an arrow pointing towards the cotton filling falling out. And, yet a third person had written under that "Natural is beautiful, real women don't have to conform to a media controlled society standard." There was more writing that disappeared down the arm that Naomi couldn't read from where she sat. That was what she loved about the Café though, even something as small as a hole in a chair arm could spark a lively debate.
Chloe flopped down in the chair across from Naomi and pulled some papers out of her backpack that she handed to Naomi with a quick smile.
"What World Are We Inheriting?" splashed the headline across the top of a red, photocopied handout, underneath was picture of a city in the aftermath of a hurricane or typhoon, crumbled buildings and debris scattered all around with an elderly woman staring off in disbelief. Next to that another picture showed a flooded neighborhood, people holding pets, food and other important things above their heads as they waded through waist deep water.
Naomi looked up, giving a questioning look at Chloe, who nodded at her to keep reading. Naomi turned back to the red paper, trying to ignore the abuse of punctuation and emphasis. It wasn't that Naomi was a Grammar Nazi but it stilled pained her when bad editing happened to good information.
'Top government officials STILL ignore the Devastating effects of CLIMATE CHAOSon our everyday life and Mother Earth!It is time to STOP Protesting and start RESISTING! The new 'dash for gas' will leave us dependent on a HIGHLY POLLUTINGand increasingly expensive fossil fuel for decades to come. It would make even our modest carbon reduction targets IMPOSSIBLEto hit, and cause household energy bills to soar even further. While energy companies profit, our chances of a secure and sustainable future are slipping away.
The energy company rip-offis a national scandal. The Big Six supply 99% of households and make BILLIONS IN PROFITS!by keeping us hooked on expensive dirty fuels. And they have the Government wrapped around their little fingers. It's time to stand up to the Big Six, for energy we can all afford, is sustainableand is ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY.
Direct Action Earth (DAE) will no longer sit by, ignoredby those in power. We are putting down our signs and picking up our torches. We recognize the FAILURE of traditional means of PROTEST. Through Direct Actions such as civil disobedienceand sabotage,we will RIGHT the WRONGS done to our WORLD, our ECONOMY and our COUNTRY.'
Naomi felt a fire inside her ignite, this was exactly what she was looking for, a new way to express her outrage and to finally do something about it. Since she was a baby her mum had been taking her to protests but with a few small victories, she never saw them do any long lasting change. Somewhere along the line she'd started feeling it was all a bit pointless but she couldn't be one of those who did nothing, she had to do something. So she continued to show up for causes she cared about and shouted and signed petitions and held her signs and passed out her flyers but for what? People still lived in appalling poverty, corporations continued to exploit everyone and everything, climate change policy was a joke and the system was rigged for the privileged few.
"What do you think?" Chloe asked, though the smile on her face showed she'd seen the effect it had on Naomi.
"I think it's brilliant and about bloody time." Naomi said, the excitement in her voice was unmistakable, it was a call to action and she only wanted to know where to sign up. She quickly skimmed through the other papers Chloe had given her, more flyers with mainly the same message worded differently, but all unmistakably a call to action.
"Yeah, Chuck made most of them, I told you he's brilliant. We're all willing to do whatever it takes to wake up the sheeple and make them take notice about what's happening in our world." Chloe said. The pride and conviction in her voice was clear, she was fully committed to the DAE and it's goals.
"What kinds of actions are you guys planning?" Naomi asked. She was curious as to what civil disobedience and sabotage looked like to those involved with DAE.
Naomi wasn't naïve, she'd grown up with an activist and had been one her whole life. She'd heard about "eco-terrorist" and the Earth Liberation Front, along with some other off shots of the more peaceful side she'd been exposed to. A few years ago when her mum was running a collective out of their house one of the guys had been arrested for burying spikes in the ground at the entrance to a logging camp that caused several thousand pounds of damage to the trucks. It had been on the news and generated more awareness and discussion than any of the previous protests had. Naomi could see how taking a more direct approach would get more attention and as long as no one got hurt, she didn't see what harm could come of it.
"Come around my place tomorrow night and find out. We've got something planned that I think you'd like." Chloe replied. Her eyes lit up mischievously as she winked at Naomi.
"Yeah, alright, what time?" Naomi was hoping it wasn't too early, she wanted to spend some time with Emily. She knew once school was back on, Jenna would be on constant watch for Emily'd comings and goings. Their overnights would be drastically cut back.
Chloe gave Naomi a bright smile as she wrote her address down. "Come around midnight, wear all black, a black hoodie would be best and trainers, we're going to be doing some walking and maybe even running."
Naomi felt her heart rate pick up at the possibilities, she even had butterflies in her stomach, a feeling she had come to only associate with Emily.
"Alright," Naomi glanced down at the address, it wasn't too far from her place by bus. "I'll see you tomorrow night than."
"Oh, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you not to breath a word to anyone, even your girlfriend. It's not like what we're doing is even a little legal, right?" Chloe remarked offhandedly, as if she wasn't asking Naomi to keep something this big from Emily.
"Ah, yeah, right." Naomi answered, though some of those excited butterflies morphed into nervous ones at the thought of keeping anything from Emily. If her redhead found out, she knew Emily would feel betrayed and lied too, because it was still a lie of omission.
Chloe noticed how the other girl seemed to deflate slightly. "Are you sure? You don't seem so sure now."
"No, no, I'm sure, it's just, well.." Naomi trailed off, not sure how to explain. Since the Love Ball, Naomi had tried to be more open with Emily. It was still a struggle at times, she wasn't use to being practically an open book to someone else. She'd spent years building up her walls but she was slowly letting Emily tear them down, brick by brick. To not tell Emily about the DAE and what she was doing felt like a major step back, it felt wrong.
"Wow, Campbell, never thought I'd see the day you'd let someone else have control over you." Chloe tried to make it sound like good natured teasing but Naomi clearly heard the underlying accussation.
A sudden flash of anger hit Naomi, though she wasn't sure why the other girls words had pushed a button but they had and something inside her rebelled fully at the thought of anyone having control over her. "It's not like that at all, it's called being in a relationship. Would you keep something like that from Chuck?"
Chloe held up her hands, as if trying to defuse the blonde bomb she'd set off, "Ok, ok, no need to get all mad, I was only making sure your head was in the game, alright. As for Chuck, I wouldn't have to keep something like this from him because I know he'd be right there with me but I don't tell him everything, a girl has to have some secrets."
Not sure whether or not Chloe was trying to make a dig at Emily, Naomi decided to take her words at face value. She still couldn't shake off her sudden anger though. "I'm in, ok, I don't have to tell Emily everything, I want to tell her but I get it, alright."
"Good because I truly want you to be a part of this and even though you trust Emily, none of us know her. The less anyone knows outside of our little group, the better for all of us." Chloe said, as she quickly continued to cut off the objection she saw on Naomi's face. "I'm sure Emily is trustworthy but I'm also sure that if it ever came down to saving your arse by giving up one of us, she'd do it in a heartbeat. That's what people in relationships do."
Naomi's retorted died on her lips, she knew it was true. Emily was fiercely loyal and wouldn't hesitate to do whatever she thought she had to do to protect Naomi. "Ok, I said alright already, I won't tell her."
Naomi quickly gathered up her stuff to leave, she didn't want their misunderstanding to turn into Chloe taking back her invitation to join the DAE. As much as she didn't want to keep things from Emily, she didn't want Chloe to decide that she'd made a mistake in asking Naomi to join even more. The DAE was exactly what she had been looking for without even realizing it until the opportunity came along. She didn't plan on keeping Emily completely in the dark, she's just not tell her everything or much of anything beyond the bare minimum.
"Alright then, no worries, I'll see you tomorrow night." Chloe said brightly, as if they hadn't just gotten into a minor row just seconds ago.
Naomi left the Cafe not nearly as excited as she'd entered it, upset that somehow, without her realizing it, Emily had become her Achilles Heel.
The next evening, as some crap reality show played on the telly in the background, Naomi and Emily were necking on the couch like a couple teenagers who hadn't seen each other in over a day, (which they had not) while the parents were out for the night, (which they were) as they fully planned on taking every advantage of the situation (which they did). Keiran, the cheap bastard that he was, had shocked all and taken Gina out for a proper date. Or whatever he considered a proper date. On her way out the door Gina had gave Naomi a cheeky wink while stating loudly that they wouldn't be back until quite late and they could help themselves to whatever in the fridge except the chocolate sauce, that was for her and Keiran later.
It had taken Emily almost ten minutes to get her girlfriend to stop alternating between scowling and complaining about how nothing was truly sacred anymore.
"Seriously, Ems, bad enough I have to hear them going at it like rutting pigs half the time but now my fondness of the Hershey's chocolate sauce is tainted."
"Well, I 'm sure I could give you some new, untainted thoughts regarding chocolate sauce." Emily had replied. The smirked she gave Naomi didn't leave any doubt as to the dirty, sticky thoughts she was talking about.
Naomi's eyes glazed over for a second before her face twisted in revulsion, "Sorry, Ems, it's a no goer, I can't get the image of Mum and Keiran out of my head."
Emily laughed at the look on her girlfriends face, she couldn't be offended when Naomi looked so ridiculously cute with a half pout, half grimace, completely kissable. So that was exactly what Emily had done. She walked over and pushed Naomi down onto the couch before she straddled the surprised blonde. Emily kissed her hard and then lightly bit Naomi's lower lip as she pulled back far enough to stare into the blue eyes that were rapidly growing darker. "Fuck the chocolate sauce, I'm sure I can come up with something to distract you." she whispered, her voice even huskier than normal.
The next hour was spent doing exactly that. Naomi's senses were all Emily Fitch, her feather light touch that turned rough in the most delicious ways, the taste of her when Naomi ran her tongue over her collarbone and nipped at the hollow of her throat, the sound of Emily's ragged breath when Naomi continued running her tongue down even lower, the sight of Emily's small frame shuddering against her own as she came, the smell of Emily's arousal on her fingers. As cliche as it was, Naomi was well and truly intoxicated with all things Emily Fitch.
Sex had always been about scratching an itch, and in those times when Naomi was truly honest with herself, a means to prove something to herself. But it was nothing like that with Emily, with Emily she finally got what all the sappy songs meant and she hated to admit that. Hated admitting that she could be so sappy and sentimental, so out of control when it came to the other girl. It felt like a weakness, the way Emily had breezed into her heart and kicked down all the doors without even realizing it. Naomi felt like she'd been caught sleeping at the gate while Emily just slipped right in.
Chloe's words from the other day burned in her ears, she hated how the other girl had found her weakness so easily, as if Naomi wore it like a button on her chest 'Love's Bitch for Emily Fitch'.
Sometimes though, late at night with Emily sleeping soundly in her arms, when she allowed herself to be truly honest, Naomi knew she'd left the gate unlocked, hoping that Emily would slip in because not being with Emily wasn't an option she could even fathom anymore. These were the times Naomi knew beyond a shadow of doubt what her and Emily had was real love. Mind-blowing, exhilarating, all encompassing, terrifying love. She'd allowed herself to feel it until it would become too much, too overwhelming and she felt as if she was on the verge of falling into an ink black, never ending ocean to drown. It would make her dizzy, and it felt so fucking unfair to her that the only way she could get her equilibrium back was to pull Emily even closer to her, that Emily was her anchor in those dark, honest hours.
But here, now in the light of her sitting room, cuddling with Emily on the sofa, watching shit telly as they leisurely kissed, both basking in the afterglow, she kept those thoughts locked deep in the back of her mind because at this moment it wasn't so scary being in love with Emily. It was rather fucking fantastic just feeling the pressure of Emily laying on her, her warm breath on her neck, their bodies wrapped in each other.
"You got a hot date tonight?" Emily asked, a hint of a smile in her voice. She kept her head on Naomi's shoulder, staring ahead at the TV.
The hand Naomi was casually running up and down Emily's back stopped.
"Isn't that what this is?" Naomi asked, stalling for a moment more before she knew she'd have to tell Emily what was happening that night, or at least as much as she could without actually telling Emily anything.
"I thought so but with as much as you've been checking your watch in the last hour, I'm starting to think I'm boring you." Emily replied, trying to sound playful but Naomi could hear the uncertainty in her voice.
The last thing Naomi wanted was Emily to think she was getting bored with her. For fucks sake, she made herself ill with how much she adored the other girl, everyday she found something else to love about Emily. If it had been anyone else she would have laughed at them for being so completely, utterly infatuated with someone else but it wasn't someone else, it was her, sarcastic, know it all, Naomi Campbell and she really didn't know what to do with that so she tried not to think about it too much, it was much more preferable to think about Emily instead.
"Never," Naomi said with a slight shake of her head, she wrapped her arm even tighter around the other girl before dropping a kiss on the soft red hair, "Ems, life would be quite dull without you around, who else would feed me Garibaldi's in bed? Or nag me about being nicer to my Mum?"
"Well, you can be a right cow towards her." Emily leaned back to look into her girlfriend's bright blue eyes, a smirk playing on her lips. "But you're changing the subject now."
Naomi rolled her eyes playfully, smiling down at the girl in her arms, "Yeah, alright. I actually do have something to do tonight."
Emily raised one of her eyebrows, a bemused look on her face as she stared at Naomi. "Yeah?"
"Yeah, I told Chloe I'd meet up with her, Chuck and a few others tonight." Naomi blurted, wanting to get it all out and done with so she could use the last hour she had, hopefully, to convince the redhead to stay over and wait for her to get back. She knew she was playing with fire, that it would be hard to not tell Emily about whatever was to happen that night when she got home but at that moment it seemed a lot easier than not crawling into bed with Emily and waking up with her in the morning, that would be a tragedy. Though that hope was quickly fading when she felt the other girl tense up at the mention of Chloe's name.
Emily sat up, a look of confusion and something Naomi couldn't read quickly flashing in her eyes. "It's already after ten, why do you have to meet up so late?"
Naomi sat up as well, turning on the sofa so she was facing Emily, running a hand through her hair, trying to flatten a few errant strands she felt sticking up while hiding a frustrated sigh. This was the part she'd been dreading all day, the tricky maneuvering between telling enough so she wouldn't be lying but not enough for Emily to figure out what was going on.
"I'm not sure, " Naomi began, realizing that was the truth, she didn't know what they were doing, "but I'm sure there's a good reason."
"And you didn't think to ask what that good reason was?" Emily asked in a disbelieving tone. If anyone asked Emily Fitch who the smartest person she knew was, she'd answer, hands down, without hesitation, her girlfriend but sometimes Naomi could surprise her by being incredibly stupid. Case in point, Naomi truly expected her to believe that she had no clue why she was meeting up with Chloe and Chuck in the middle of the night.
"Well, yeah, I know why we're meeting up, to go over some protest stuff, nothing else. It's not like we're going out clubbing or anything." Naomi felt herself getting defensive at the way Emily was looking at her, like she had done something wrong. "I just assumed that Chuck or someone probably got off work late. I didn't realize it would be an issue. Next time I'll be sure to tell them I need a full report for my girlfriend."
Naomi got up from the couch, ignoring the shocked expression on Emily's face at her outburst. She grabbed their mugs from the coffee table and started walking into the kitchen. Truth be told she needed to get away from Emily and calm down for a minute before she said something she'd regret. A part of her resented the fact that she had to answer to Emily for wanting to meet up with some friends and Chloe's words from the cafe where running through her head louder than ever.
"Naomi," Emily called out to her retreating back, her voice equal parts confusion and anger, "I'm only asking because it's seems well odd, yeah?"
When Naomi didn't reply, Emily followed the blonde into the kitchen, still confused as to how they'd gone from cuddling on the couch to arguing in less than 5 minutes.
Naomi stared at the water running from the faucet as she cleaned the plates from their dinner slowly. She knew Emily was standing behind her, expecting an answer, but she didn't trust herself quite yet. She wiped the plate in her soapy hands with the yellow dishcloth, collecting her thoughts. Part of her knew she wasn't being fair to Emily, that a lot of her anger stemmed from the fact she felt guilty for lying to the redhead but she couldn't help that. Being apart of the DAE was important to her, it was the first time in a long time she felt as if she could truly make a difference in this world and if she had to keep some details from Emily to keep her and everyone else involved safe, than she'd do it, only problem was she hadn't counted on it being so bloody difficult.
Slender arms wrapped themselves around Naomi's waist, almost causing her to drop the plate in her hands in surprise as Emily's smaller body pressed against her back, her body automatically relaxed into the embrace. Soft lips brushed against her shoulder blade next to the strap of her tank top.
"I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to have a go at you." Emily whispered against the blonde's skin. "I...I..just felt..."
Naomi turned around in the other girl's arms, letting the plate and washcloth drop into the sink, cutting off her words with her lips. The redhead's apology making her feel even more guilty as she looked down into those deep brown eyes filled with concern.
"Shh...you have nothing to apologize for, I was acting like a cow and it's me who should be apologizing to you." Naomi softly said kissing Emily again gently. She reached back and turned off the running water, wiping her hands on the towel on the edge of the sink before breaking out of Emily's embrace to take her hand and pull her over to the table. She gestured for Emily to take a seat before she took the one across from her. Standing at the sink she'd already figured out what she had to do because how she was going about it already had messed them up and she hadn't even been to her first DAE action.
Naomi reached across the smooth wood of the table, reaching for her girlfriends hand, ignoring the worried look in the other girl's eyes in order to get out what she needed to say.
"Ems, look, I'm sorry, yeah? I'm a bit shit at this sharing thing." she said staring at their hands as her thumb rubbed circles on the back of the Emily's smaller hand. She chanced a glance up into those burnt honey colored eyes that never failed to be her undoing. Seeing the concern replaced by nothing but love gave Naomi the courage she needed to continue. It wasn't easy for Naomi to admit when she was wrong, especially so many times in such a short time but found it oddly easier when it was Emily she was admitting it to.
"I met with Chloe the other day, when you were out shopping with your mum and Katie. We talked about the DAE, this new protest group her and her boyfriend are starting." Naomi paused to figure out how to word the rest, not wanting Emily to think she was shutting her out, she didn't trust her, that was never the issue. "The DAE, I really want to be involved, it really feels as if I, we, can make a real difference."
"That's great, Naoms, you know I wouldn't stop you from doing what you truly care about." Emily replied, still confused as to why Naomi was acting off. One of Naomi's best qualities, in Emily's opinion, was her strong sense of right and wrong, her need to fix injustice whenever she encountered it. That was one of the main things that attracted Emily to the blonde, well besides the fact that Naomi was one of the most beautiful people she'd ever laid eyes on.
"Yeah, I know, it's just, the DAE is a bit more, ah, active in their, our, protests, not much for sign holding, really." From the confused look on Emily's face, Naomi could tell she was going to have to explain a bit more. "See, we're going to be doing direct actions, things that will directly affect companies and such."
Emily's brow was scrunched up in concentration, trying to work out what Naomi was talking about, "What do you mean, directly affect companies?"
"See, Ems, thats just it, I can't tell you. Not because I don't want to but because I don't really know exactly what actions we'll be doing." Naomi quickly continued, already seeing Emily set to argue. "The thing is, I know you're crazy about me, how couldn't you be?" Naomi added with a cocky smile to lighten the mood a bit. Emily's mouth twitched up at the corners making Naomi feel as if she'd already won a small victory, "Which is why I need you to trust me when I don't tell you what we're doing because if it all goes tits up at some point, I can't put you in the middle of that. I can't let you save my arse by giving up the others."
"Wait, so you're expecting me to sit here and be ok without knowing where you are, what you're doing but knowing that it could land you in trouble?" Emily's eyes flashed with anger and mild panic, "And how would I get anyone in trouble?"
For once, Naomi didn't let herself get angry right back, she took a deep breath, walked around the table and kneeled down eye level with Emily, draping her arms around the other girl's neck, pressing their foreheads together, "Yes, I'm asking you to do just that because you trust me. And I do know that if given the chance to protect your twat of a girlfriend by giving the cops any other information they'd find useful you'd do it in a heartbeat, because I'd do the same for you."
Staring into those eyes so blue they made the sky pale by comparison, Emily deflated. It wasn't fair that she couldn't be mad at Naomi when she was giving her such an open and honest look, one the plead for Emily to trust her, one that told her that Naomi would do that, she'd confess every crime and every secret she'd ever been told if it would protect Emily.
"Yeah, alright, but I'm not going to like it and I can't promise I won't ask questions," Emily said with a slight shake of her head, "because for some strange reason being inlove with you also means I worry about you, even if you are a twat."
Releasing a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, Naomi kissed Emily, letting her lips say what she couldn't quite say outloud, thank-you. She eagerly opened her mouth letting Emily deepen the kiss as their tongues danced together as Emily answered her in the same way.
Reluctantly pulling away, Naomi leaned back on her calves, her hands on Emily's shoulders holding her steady. 'I've got to get ready and go, will you be here when I get back?"
The soft, almost uncertain, very un-Naomi like way she asked made any sarcastic reply she'd have come up with die in Emily's throat, "Yeah, I'll be here." she replied just as softly, squeezing Naomi's arms to let her know she meant it.
She'd wait however long she had to because for once she knew Naomi wasn't running from her, or from them, she wasn't running from anything, she was running towards making a difference in the only way she knew how, in right an injustice and then she was running right back to Emily. And Emily would be there waiting, even if she was worried sick because Naomi wasn't pushing her away, it was the first time that Emily truly felt as if Naomi needed her as much as she needed Naomi.