I don't own the characters, the places, or anything really, I'm just borrowing them. Please don't sue me, I have nothing you want.
Songs used in this chapter:
Pitbull, Nayer, Ne-you and Afrojack - Give Me Everything (Tonight)
P!nk - So What
Thanks to those who faved/followed/reviewed this story so far. It means a lot, and I love getting feedback about your thoughts on the story. And to those who review every chapter (whether on here or on Twitter), you are amazing!
**** Chapter Three ****
Emily pulled into the parking lot of the Hungry Owl Tavern, which was starting to fill up with happy couples out to have fun on a Friday night.
Switching off the engine, she looked at the Tavern's door, a nervous feeling forming in the pit of her stomach.
Emily had wanted to drown her sorrows again, but in a town as small as Rosewood, people eventually started to talk. She couldn't face the hushed voices around her in the local pub. The whispers about her, the pitying looks.
A quick spur of the moment search online earlier that night brought up the Hungry Owl Tavern. It was near to Rosewood, but far enough away that she was pretty sure she wouldn't meet any locals.
Now that she was here, Emily wished she had brought Hanna with her for company, but she didn't want her friend to worry. She had been trying to give Hanna and Caleb some time with each other, since she had stolen Hanna's time so much after the alleyway incident. They hadn't seen each other for several nights, and just chatted briefly on the days Hanna visited the Brew.
Letting out a deep breath, Emily loosened her grip on the steering wheel, "You can do this, Emily" she said, trying to pluck up encouragement. Opening her car door she heard a wolf whistle from the bar and almost jumped back into her Toyota. Just do this, it's just a bar. How scary can it be? She would only be there for a couple of drinks anyway, considering she would have to drive home. She just needed a change of scenery where nobody knew who she was.
Letting out a sigh, she walked towards the door. Shouting, and rowdy voices could be heard from inside.
As Emily opened the door she noticed the sign - "Karaoke Friday". Oh lovely, just what I need. At least it might be fun, and it's not like I'll be getting up on stage. No way!
The bar had a smoky, musty smell. Faded wallpaper covered the walls; probably from when the tavern was originally decorated. It was quite a small building, the bar and some stools were positioned at the side, tables in the middle.
The tables were scattered to allow people to sit with their friends. Booths provided some privacy at the side of the bar, and the stage was at the end. A couple were currently belting out a Tina Turner number, the crowd shouting encouragement at them.
Emily ordered a drink at the bar. Noticing an empty booth, she made her way over and slid in, looking around to take in more of her surroundings. The place really was rustic. She concentrated on the couple singing, trying to get comfortable in her new surroundings.
Not really interested in the music anymore, Emily started to absentmindedly play with her coaster. Pulling her phone out of her pocket, she sat it on the table; a glance at the screen told her there were no texts.
Glancing up she noticed that the couple had stopped singing, and a girl was now singing a Katy Perry song. Emily felt like she knew her somehow; there was some kind of familiarity but she couldn't place it.
The girls' singing was not that good but she knew how to work the crowd, messing her hair and doing actions to the song, which she sang effortlessly without looking at the auto-cue.
Emily took in her details. Shoulder length reddish hair with bangs swept to the side, a cheeky grin on her face, and big deep brown eyes, like pools. A cut off shoulder black top and a short denim skirt, twinned with black tights and awesome boots. Strange fashion for this time of year, when there's that nip in the air, but Emily felt appreciation for her.
She found herself transfixed on the girl, grinning and laughing as she sang. At one point, the girl looked in her direction and winked. Wait, what?Emily let out a smirk, not actually sure if that had just happened or if she was daydreaming again. She looked up at the girl, trying to place why she looked familiar. Maybe she went to Rosewood High and they had passed in the corridor or something?
The song was coming to an end. Emily hadn't drank her whisky, hadn't touched it since the girl started singing. She felt a shiver run down her body when the girl walked past her booth, she was sure that she had smiled when she passed.
"Whisky is it?" a voice asked, startling Emily.
Turning round to see who had spoken, Emily found herself looking at the girl from the stage. Emily stared at her, trying to process why the girl would be asking her what she was drinking.
The girl laughed as she slid into the booth on the chair opposite Emily, pushing a whisky across the desk, keeping a glass of wine for herself. "There's no free seats, do you mind if I join you?"
Emily looked around, her mouth suddenly very dry. "N.. no."
The girl laughed again, a small smile forming from the right side of her mouth to the left. Emily stared at that mouth, her lips. Those lips.
The girl leaned in, tilting her head to look at Emily. She was waving her hand in front of Emily's face, grinning. "Hey, are you in there?"
"Sorry" Emily said, snapping out of whatever daze she was in.
"I was saying I haven't seen you in here before."
"No, this is my first time here."
"Are you from around here?"
Emily nodded, "Rosewood."
"I'm staying up here just now, for a month or so. Rosewood's a nice place."
"It's okay I guess."
"I'm Paige." The girl held her arm out for Emily to shake.
"Emily" she replied, shaking Paige's hand. "Thanks for the drink. You didn't have to do that, I haven't even finished the last one."
Paige smiled and shook her head, "so tell me Emily, why's a girl like you in a bar like this on a Friday night?"
"I just needed a change of scenery. I have a lot on my mind right now."
"I'm quite a good listener if you want to talk about it."
"No thanks... Not yet." Emily looked around awkwardly.
"Would you like to try the karaoke?... I saw you watching me up there."
Oh shit, she noticed me staring at her. "Uh" she started, "I'm not one for singing. But you were great, the way you worked the crowd like that. You must do it all the time."
"I just like to have fun sometimes. I won't be here for too long so why not, huh?"
"What is it that you do? Why are you here?"
"I'm an artist." Paige took a sip of her wine before continuing. "My uncle had a heart attack last month and is struggling to get back up and about again, so I'm here to give him a hand for a while."
"Sorry to hear that. Is he okay?"
"He'll be fine... Tell me about you, Emily" she said, smiling that smile again.
That smile was infectious. Every time Paige laughed or smiled, Emily did the same. She couldn't help it, there was something about Paige that drew her in. She seemed so kind, and truth be told, she was beautiful. Emily couldn't help looking at her lips as she spoke. She imagined touching those lips. She couldn't explain why. She wasn't into women. She wasn't into anything.
Emily had been single since school, not interested in the hassle of a relationship. There really had only been just one... Ben. For two months at school, until he broke up with her because she wouldn't sleep with him. Emily felt her first time should be memorable, with someone she loved more than anything in the world. Not just something that's done to fit in with what the other kids at school are doing. Since Ben, she'd had a few offers but had always turned them down.
"There's not a lot to tell."
"I don't believe that."
Paige searched Emily's face for clues to what she was about. Emily smiled shyly, dipping her head.
"What do you do?"
"I work in a cafe."
Paige raised an eyebrow, "What else do you do? Do you have a husband waiting at home or something?"
Emily laughed at that, "No, I live with my parents."
"Girls, would you be interested in doing a karaoke number? It's got really quiet and it's not even 10 yet. Care to help an old lady out?"
Emily looked up, the woman from the bar pushing a folder of songs her way, "uh, I don't do karaoke."
Paige, however, had taken the folder and flipped it open. "What do you think Emily, shall we do a duet?" she looked up teasingly.
"N-no way!" Emily replied, scared shitless.
"Nobody's gonna bite... I'll keep you safe."
Paige looked intensely at Emily, causing her to feel a touch uncomfortable and shift in her seat. She was sure she was blushing fifty shades of red right now.
"I really don't think so Paige, I'm sorry."
Paige sighed. Looking through the folder, she paused at a specific page and gave Emily a searching look. Frowning, she scribbled something in the folder and gave it back to the woman. "Thanks, Peggy."
The woman smiled, "Thanks Paige. You're one of the good ones, girl" she said before walking away from the booth.
A few moments later, Paige was called up on stage. Winking at Emily, she walked up to the stage. "Gonna do something different tonight guys" she announced, as a dance style beat started up.
"Let's do it tonight, give me everything tonight, give me everything tonight, we might not get tomorrow."
Emily gulped. Paige seemed to be singing to her. She was certainly looking at her as she jumped up and down to the beat, ruffling her hair with her hand.
"Tonight, I want all of you tonight, give me everything tonight, for all we know, we might not get tomorrow, let's do it tonight."
Emily glanced round, searching the crowd to see if anyone else seemed to notice Paige was singing to her. Perhaps it was all in her imagination.
"Grab somebody sexy tell them hey... Emily. Everyone try to get Emily up here with me?"
Emily almost choked on her drink, "No. No way" she replied, smiling at the thought anyway.
"Emily" the crowd started to cheer, a little drunk now she imagined. "Emily, Emily, Emily" they chanted.
Paige flung her arms up, "Come on, Emily, they love you already. Take a walk on the wild side." She held her hand out, hoping Emily would walk to the stage and take it. "Don't make me look daft up here."
Emily nervously stood up, causing the crowd to erupt in cheer. Paige walked off the stage and over to Emily, taking her by the hand up to the stage.
Emily gasped when their fingers touched; it was almost like a bolt of electricity charged through her body at the contact. Once on stage, Paige handed her a microphone.
Paige never let go of her hand as she moved her legs from side to side to the music. She danced round Emily, "Excuse me, and I might drink a little more than I should tonight, and I might take you home with me if I could tonight, and baby I'm gonna make you feel so good tonight, cos we might not get tomorrow."
She sang, looking deep into Emily's eyes with a teasing look. Emily couldn't move. She couldn't sing. She just stood there, feeling weak looking at Paige. What was happening to her? What was she feeling for this girl?
Paige continued to dance round her, leaning in as the lyrics disappeared, their bodies touching slightly, "You can sing along, or move at least" she whispered, her breath hot in Emily's ear. "Just go with it" she added before backing away.
Emily realised she had been holding her breath. Exhaling, she tried to gather herself together and looked at the auto-cue. "Tonight, I want all of you tonight, give me everything tonight, for all we know, we might not get tomorrow" she managed to sing with Paige. Why the hell did Paige pick this song?
Paige kept bouncing to the beat, swinging Emily's hand back and forth to the music.
"Put it on my life baby, I'll make you feel right baby, can't promise tomorrow but I'll promise tonight" she sang as she looked right at Emily. Emily felt like she was looking right into her soul, unable to understand why this stranger was making her feel like this. Her heart was pounding inside her chest; she was surprised Paige couldn't hear it.
The song ended not long after. Paige and Emily returned to the booth to cheers from the crowd; Paige still holding her hand until they reached the booth and sat down.
Emily frowned at her, "Well what?"
"Did you enjoy it?"
Emily wondered what part she was referring to. She frowned again, unsure of the answer. "Yeah, I think so."
Paige smiled, looking satisfied. "You have a good voice. Shame you only joined in for the last verse."
"Sorry. I didn't know the song" she lied.
Paige smiled at her, letting out a small laugh, "The auto-cue's there for a reason."
Emily laughed loudly, "I know. I guess I was distracted." She instantly regretted saying that.
Paige smiled, tilting her head slightly, "Good distraction?"
Emily studied Paige's face again, "Yes. It is."
Paige smiled, "Can I get you another drink?"
Emily took her up on the offer; Paige later returning with a tray of shots.
"Fancy trying something different?"
Emily hesitated, there was a time where she would order shots and slam them down her throat, the strength of the alcohol making her thoughts go away quicker. She had decided at one point not to do shots again.
"I shouldn't. I have the car outside. I need to drive back."
"Stay with me, I'm just up the road. You can drive home in the morning."
Emily's heart skipped a beat, "but your uncle" she replied, trying to think of a way out.
"He's deaf. He won't hear a thing. He won't even know we're there."
Emily pondered the words; won't hear a thing? What was that supposed to mean?
Paige pushed a shot towards her, "On three, come on... 1, 2, 3" she gulped down the shot, Emily grabbed hers and did the same.
"That a girl. We'll have you singing solo on that stage before the nights out."
"Oh, I doubt that."
"Well, I'll just have to go up with you and hold your hand through it all then, shall I?" Paige teased.
Emily hesitated, "Uh" was all she could say.
Paige reached her hand over the table and rested it on top of Emily's, "I really like you, Emily."
"I, uh, I don't..." was all Emily could reply. Paige said nothing but removed her hand from on top of Emily's.
"On three" she said, lifting another shot glass. Emily sighed and lifted her own glass. They counted to three and swallowed it down.
A few shots later and Peggy returned with the karaoke folder. Before she said anything Paige had taken it from her.
"So, what do you want to sing?"
"Do you like Pink?"
"That's settled then." Paige scored something in the folder and gave it back to Peggy.
"What have you done?" Emily asked, her vision blurring a little and her body seeming to float on air slightly with the alcohol.
"Oh, you'll see. We'll get you loosened up sometime tonight, Emily."
They were called to the bar shortly after, Emily recognising the familiar tune of "Pink - So what" starting as they walked onto the stage, "Nana na-na nana na, nana na-na nana."
Emily was a little unsteady on her feet. Paige noticed this and linked her arm through Emily's to steady her a little, "Give it a shot this time. Just start with the little bits if you want."
"I guess I just lost my husband, I don't know where he went. So I'm gonna drink my money, not gonna pay his rent" sang Paige, glancing at Emily at the end of the line.
Emily grinned as she picked up the microphone, "Nope."
Paige laughed, "I got a brand new attitude and I'm gonna wear it tonight, I'm gonna get in trouble and I'm gonna start a fight."
Emily joined in near the chorus, screaming "I'm gonna start a fight" at the top of her lungs. Paige looked at her, grinning from ear to ear.
"So what, I'm still a rock star, I got my rock moves and I don't need you. And guess what, I'm having more fun and now that we're done, I'm gonna show you tonight, I'm alright, I'm just fine" they belted together.
Emily giggled, she was getting into this. Paige sang most of the lyrics, with Emily shouting the middle lines.
"The waiter just took my table and gave it to Jessica Simps."
"I guess I'll just sit with Tom boy, at least he'll know how to hit."
"What if this song's on the radio - "
Emily cut her off, opera singing "Somebody's gonna die" causing them both to laugh.
Emily even got into the chorus giving it an "Oooooooh" as they worked up into it. She started dancing a little to the music, but was careful not to move enough to make herself dizzy.
They were singing the song to each other, barely taking their eyes off one another except to occasionally glance at the crowd, who were enthusiastically clapping and wolf whistling at them.
Emily and Paige linked arms on the way back to their booth, giggling with each other, "that was amazing" exclaimed Emily as they took their seats again.
"See, I told you you'd have fun tonight."
Emily smiled at her, looking into her eyes again. She felt a pain in her heart, there was sadness in those eyes despite how much fun they seemed to be having. The moment was cut short when Emily's phone started to ring; she picked it up and tried to focus. "It's my mum... Shit."
Paige looked concerned. "Just tell her you've had too much to drink and you're staying with a friend."
"She doesn't even know where I am. And I can't tell her I've been drinking."
Paige frowned at her, questioningly. Emily let out a sigh and answered the phone.
"Where are you, Emily, it's getting late and you're car's not in the driveway. I'm getting worried."
Emily was in her twenties now and her mom still acted like she was a little girl she had to protect.
"I'm out of town with a..." she glanced at Paige, "friend. I didn't realise it was so late. I think I'll stay at theirs tonight and come home in the morning."
"What friend? Hanna called here earlier looking for you."
"She did? Why?" Emily hadn't heard from Hanna for a week.
"I don't know. What friend? Are you with a boy?"
Emily laughed, "What? Mom, no." Paige looked at her trying to figure out what the conversation was about. "It's just someone I met at the Brew the other week. I had said I would visit them. Sorry I forgot to tell you."
"Well what's this friend's name, where do they stay? And what's that noise in the background. Are you at a bar?"
"No. It's not a bar, I'm fine. Honestly. Don't worry and I will see you tomorrow." She didn't want to lie anymore.
"Emily?" her mom pleaded.
"Bye, mom" she replied, hanging up on her and then staring at the phone as she placed it back on top of the table.
Paige put her hand on top of Emily's and looked at her with concern, "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, fine" Emily replied, pulling her hand from under Paige's, who then left her hand in the air for a few seconds before pulling it back. A sad look crossed her face then was gone.
"Shall we call it a night then?" Paige asked. Emily just nodded silently.
"Let's get you home, girl" Paige replied, standing up and moving to Emily's side of the table.
Taking Emily's hand, pulling her arm around her neck and standing up, Paige began to help Emily walk to the door.
"What are you doing? I can walk fine myself."
Emily's heart seemed to skip a beat whenever Paige touched her. She had her hand round Paige's neck, the fingers of their hands tangled together. Paige's other arm was around Emily's waist gripping at her side just above her hips, causing their sides to touch.
Emily felt her vision was blurring and she could feel the heat prickling from Paige's body. She didn't think it was the alcohol doing this, and she didn't think she could handle it for much longer.
"Please, Paige" she pleaded, "Let me go."
Paige stopped walking and lifted Emily's arm over her head so she was standing unsupported.
They stood together, Paige's hand still linked to Emily's. A long moment passed where they just looked at each other. Emily's breathing got faster and she struggled to control it. She was getting lost in the depths of Paige's eyes again. She let out a quiet gasp. Paige squeezed her hand, then let go.
Emily looked down at the empty space where their hands used to be, suddenly wishing she hadn't said anything, and unsure why it hurt not to have Paige's hand in hers.
"Okay, let's go" Paige declared as she pointed her arm in front of her, as if to tell Emily to go first.
Emily walked forward a few steps; suddenly realising she wasn't as stable as she thought, "Wow... the room's moving." Looking at Paige, she saw a smug face looking back at her. She's going to say "I told you so" isn't she?
"Still want to walk alone, do you?"
Emily gave an apologetic look and held her arm out. Paige took it and raised it over her head again.
"Sorry I gave you so many shots."
"You didn't *make* me drink them... But I may hate you for it in the morning."
They began to walk towards the door again, "maybe you can tell me about your mum on the way to my place? It's not far from here so we should be there soon."
Emily looked at Paige; it might help to talk to a stranger who didn't know her situation. Perhaps Paige could give her some good advice, but tonight she wasn't sure she was ready. "Maybe tomorrow."
Paige nodded, "Okay. Just know that whatever you need, I'm here for you."
Emily looked at her, searching her face. They had just met that night, and here was Paige, taking her home so she wouldn't attempt to drive to her own. Willing to listen to Emily's problems and provide advice. Buying drink for her, and getting her out of her shell to sing a song on stage. Was she some kind of superhero? Would Emily wake up tomorrow and she would be gone, was all this a dream?
"What are you looking at me like that for?" asked Paige, a sparkle in her eye and a cheeky grin on her lips.
Emily took a deep breath and dropped her head, her cheeks heating up. "It's just that you don't know me and you're being so kind. I wonder why."
"I like you, Emily."
Emily frowned, wondering what exactly she meant by that.
"You let me sit by you when there were no other seats, other than those beside sleazy old men. And you made me laugh tonight. It's only fair that I can repay you for it... and, besides, I feel kind of responsible for the state you're in. Now come on" she pulled Emily's arm tighter around her neck and they walked the last few steps out of the bar.
They took a right turn when they left the tavern and walked up the road a little. About a street later they were turning to walk up the path to the front door of a little white cottage.
"This is my uncles' place" Paige explained, "It's quite small but it's okay."
"Are you sure he won't mind me being here?"
Paige smiled, "Like I said, he's basically deaf. He rarely leaves his bed. He won't even know you're here." She had that teasing look on her face again. "Fancy a nightcap?"
They both burst out laughing, "No!" Emily exclaimed, quickly followed by a moan. The drink once again making her queasy.
"I think what you need is some water."