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.
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!
And to those who are not keen on Mark, stick in there for another chapter or so. You'll be rewarded with Paily.
**** Chapter Six ****
Emily sat across from Mark in the Rear Window Brew. She wasn't working today. Part of her thought it was quite pathetic to be at work when you were off. In Rosewood, there weren't that many coffee shops to choose from, and the Rear Window Brew did have good coffee.
She had decided to give it a go with Mark. Emily figured that because she hadn't had a boyfriend for so long she was perhaps getting confused about what she was supposed to be feeling. Maybe that's what it had been with Paige.
She was having fun with Mark, yeah she still didn't get those lightning bolts but maybe it was the drink that night playing tricks on her mind. The memories of that night were fading and slowly she was managing to try and forget about Paige.
"Hi Emily, Mark!" Hanna beamed, suddenly right beside their table. Sometimes she just seemed to pop up out of nowhere.
"Hi Han, what's up?" Emily replied. Mark smiled politely.
Hanna pulled up a chair, breaking their conversation, "nothing, just wondered how you guys were doing?"
Mark smiled. "We're good."
Emily nodded in agreement, "Good."
"Great!" replied Hanna, "well, Bridget got me that job in the mall. Finally! I had to wait more than a month for her to arrange it though."
Emily smiled, "That's great news!"
Hanna beamed, "thanks! I start tomorrow."
"Where will you be working?"
Hanna looked deflated. She let out a sigh... "in the stockroom."
"So you're not actually gonna be working in the shop?"
Hanna sighed again and looked up at Emily, "Look, Em, can you just not do this. Be happy for me!"
Emily put her hand on Hanna's, "I am happy for you! I just think you're better than a stockroom girl, especially with your eye for fashion."
"The only way is up, right?"
Emily nodded, "Exactly."
"You'll be working your way to the top in no time" added Mark.
Hanna smiled, thanking them before leaving the table to order a coffee.
"That was sweet, what you said."
"No problem. I do think she could be successful, if given the chance to shine."
Emily smiled, as Mark took her hand.
"You could do more than this too, you know, if you wanted to."
Emily frowned, "What's wrong with what I do?"
Mark shook his head, "Nothing, I'm just saying, you could do more with your life."
Emily took her hand away from Mark's as Hanna returned to the table. Emily turned to her, "So, how are you spending your last day as a free soul, before you start the old 9 to 5?"
Hanna smiled, "Caleb is coming over."
Emily glanced at Mark, who smiled at her.
After Hanna had been working in the mall for a couple of days, Emily finally had another day off and decided to visit her. Hanna was always distracting her at the Rear Window Brew so it seemed fair to do the same now that she had a job too. And she was curious to see what she actually did at work.
Emily had cleared it with Hanna the previous night, not wanting to turn up unannounced and get her friend into trouble.
There was a back entrance; like a garage door into the stockroom which Hanna told her to knock. She seemed a bit unsure of that, but if that's what Hanna wanted, then that's what she would do.
Standing in front of the door now, she assumed it was the right one as it had the store name, "Handbags and Gladrags" spray painted on the door. It was the delivery entrance so was excluded from anything extravagant. They saved that for the front of the shop, which the public actually got to see.
Banging on the door, Emily looking around uneasily as delivery trucks reversed and moved around, delivering to the other shops. She knew she shouldn't technically be hanging around in that area but she didn't know how else to get to the stockroom and wouldn't want Hanna to get into trouble by strutting into the main shop entrance and asking for her. They probably wouldn't even recognise her name anyway, if she didn't work on the shop floor.
"Hanna, are you there!" she chapped again, getting inpatient.
The door rolled up, "Okay okay, keep your hair on" Hanna announced, Ushering her in.
Emily bent down and entered the stockroom. It smelt musty, and old. There were many rows of shelving; each stocked full of old looking boxes. Several were covered in a thick layer of dust.
At the far end of the room there were some mannequins; a couple at the end had been dressed up. One had a breath-taking white dress, very Marilyn Monroe style. It was twinned with a red ribbon tied round the waist, a pair of heels sitting on the floor underneath. The other mannequin was a man's Tuxedo and top hat, no shoes had been twinned with that outfit yet.
Hanna noticed Emily looking at them, "You like them?"
"Wait, you did these?"
Hanna beamed at her and grabbed her hand, "Come over and look." She pulled her to the other end of the stockroom to get a closer look at the outfits.
"So, is this your job?" Emily asked, running her fingers along the fabric of the Marilyn Monroe dress.
"No" Hanna replied, leading Emily to look at her in confusion.
"See all these dusty boxes? They want me to tidy them out. It's old stock, I have to sort it into categories and see if there's anything that can be used. I found the mannequins when I was tidying the boxes. I started dressing them with the cool stuff that i've found. I'm kinda hoping someone notices that I'm not just a pretty face and I deserve to be more than a nameless stockroom girl."
Emily hugged her, "You know you're more than that."
Hanna smiled, "I know... Just, nobody ever comes down here. Only to tell me I can go on a break, and even then it's only Shayna and she's not exactly high up the chain. Nobody that can make decisions ever comes down here."
"Give it time Han, these are really good. Someone will notice. They're bound to come and check on you at some stage to see how you're doing with the box clearing, then they'll notice."
"Yeah, I guess."
"Okay, when's your next break? I'm thinking you need a caffeine boost!" Emily announced.
Hanna smiled, "Yeah, you could be right." She looked at her watch, "I think I should be due one soon actually. Maybe you should go just now incase someone comes down... I can meet you?"
Emily nodded; she didn't want someone coming in and Hanna getting into trouble for having a friend there.
"So, the cafe by the fountain? Text me when you'll be there, so I can look around some shops while I'm here?"
Hanna nodded, "Sounds like a plan to me."
They smiled at each other and then walked together to the end of the stockroom, Hanna opening the door and Emily diving underneath, waving at Hanna as she went.
Emily sat at the end table upstairs in the mall, sipping her Cappuccino. Hanna had texted her less than 5 minutes ago so would be there soon. The store entrance was situated directly across from the stairway so Emily would be able to see Hanna arriving.
Emily checked her watch and looked over at the stairs; Hanna was just appearing at the top. They waved to each other. Hanna didn't come directly over to the table, but went to buy a coffee first, before returning and sitting with Emily.
"Guess what just happened?" she beamed.
"You'll never guess who came down to give me my break?" Emily looked but didn't reply. Hanna continued "Only the store manager! She seen my mannequins and loved them. She told me I had a natural flair for fashion. Turns out there's a fashion camp shortly and one of the staff who were going has had to drop out, so there's a free spot. I think I might be in with a shot!"
"That's great Han, what's Fashion Camp, and where is it?"
"It's in Manhattan. It's lectures, store visits... there'll be actual designers there which you can talk to. Editors, stylists, everything. And they give you transport there and back, and free meals. It's heaven, Em!" she beamed.
Emily smiled, "Did your manager tell you that you could go?"
"Not exactly, but she said she'd consider me. I should know something tomorrow I think. I really hope I can go, it'd be amazing!"
They finished their coffees before Hanna had to return to the store room. Emily walked her to the front of the store.
"Emily!" shouted a voice behind her.
Turning in the direction of the voice, she saw Mark walking up to her. He hugged her tight, "Mark. What are you doing here?"
"I was in the area, I was sure it was you. I'd know you anywhere; you're the hottest girl in Rosewood."
Emily rolled her eyes at him and laughed "I don't think so Mark... What are you doing at the mall?"
"Just popped in for a coffee. Are you heading home? I can give you a lift."
Emily shook her head, "I have my car outside."
He nodded, "Okay. Do you fancy doing something tonight?"
"Sure. What did you have in mind?"
"Hmm. We don't have to do anything. I can just come over to your house and we can hang out?"
Emily considered this, "Okay."
Mark smiled, and kissed her on the cheek "Say, 7pm?"
Emily nodded and they went their separate ways.
Emily heard a knock on the front door. She looked at her watch, 6:40pm. Mark was early. Going downstairs, Emily reached for the door handle and opened the door.
"I got it!" screamed a grinning Hanna, launching herself in the door and wrapping her arms around Emily, knocking the wind out of her.
"Um, Hi Hanna."
Hanna let go of Emily and composed herself, "The fashion camp. The store manager tonight told me I can go!"
Emily smiled for her friend, "That's great Han. When?"
"What?!... How can they make you go away for a week with only a few hours' notice?"
Hanna gave her a half smile, "I know right, I need a week to pick out outfits!" Hanna paused as this piece of information sank in. "Shit, I need to pack... You need to help me. Now! Come on." She started down the path, Emily standing in her doorway stunned.
Hanna turned round, "What? Come on Em. You need to help me pack!"
"Mark is coming over at 7."
"So ask him to come to my house and he can help me pack too."
"I don't know if he would be into selecting the best dress for a pair of shoes."
Hanna laughed, "Probably not, but every little helps. And a guy's opinion can be useful sometimes. You can text him on the way over."
Deciding there was no way around it, Emily called to her mom that she was going out, grabbed her phone and door key and left to catch up with Hanna. Once she was in Hanna's car, she sent a text to Mark.
Hanna pulled the Prius into her driveway, parking in front of the garage. She got out and walked across to open the front door.
Emily always thought it was a bit weird to visualise Hanna in this massive house alone. "Where's Caleb? Does he know you're going away?"
"Yeah... I texted him. Hopefully he'll come over later. It's only a week right?"
Emily laughed, "Yeah, I'm sure you two can manage a week apart."
Hanna smiled as she opened the front door, "Do you want a drink or something?"
"No, I'm good. We'll need the whole night to pack so we better get started" Emily replied, already almost at the bottom of the stairs.
Hanna raised an eyebrow, "Jeez, Em. Do you have somewhere else you'd rather be or something?"
"No, I just know how you are when it comes to clothes. Get a move on!" she grinned, pulling a funny face.
"Ugh" Hanna announced, flapping her arms before walking to the stairs and catching up with Emily, who was already in her room and grabbing the suitcase from where it sat in the corner.
"Okay, have you made a list?"
Hanna stood in her doorway with a look of shock on her face, "A list of what?"
"You know, the essentials. You're there five days right, so that's five pairs of socks, five pairs of panties, a set of pyjamas, all that stuff. Toiletries. You need to make a list of the essential items you need. If you get all the way over there and remember you forgot to pack your underwear and your face wash then you're gonna be stuck."
Hanna shook her head, walking over to Emily and taking the suitcase from her and putting it down. "Okay, where's Emily? She's gone crazy! And what's all this about my underwear?"
Emily looked at her, "I'm just telling you what you need to pack, I have no interest in your underwear. I'm just being a helpful friend, I'm not getting the blame when you get over there and discover something you forgot. And I'm sure there'll be something; there always is."
Hanna smiled, "Em, I'm just going for a week. I am coming back, you know."
Emily smiled as Hanna pulled her into a hug, "I know, I just, I'm gonna miss you. It'll be lonely here without you."
Hanna pulled away, "Em, you know I'll be texting you and phoning you all the time when I'm not in class, and *hello*, you have Mark here! I'm sure he can keep you busy."
Emily rolled her eyes, "You have such a dirty mind Hanna."
Hanna smiled, letting out a squeak. "I know!"
Emily laughed; trust Hanna to see that as an accomplishment.
They started to make progress with the packing, Emily writing the essentials on a pad of paper and consulting with Hanna where she wasn't sure about something. Hanna tried to go through the list at the same time, putting everything on the bed to pack into the suitcase later. They were interrupted by a knock on the front door.
"Okay, you continue looking through your stuff. And don't sneak anything extra into that pile as I'll find it when I pack!" Emily announced wiggling a pencil at Hanna.
She walked downstairs to the door, leaving Hanna at the packing. It was Mark, as she expected. "Hi. Are you ready to pack girls clothes for a fashion camp?"
"Not so much, but I can put up with it if it means spending time with you." He walked in the doorway and put his arms round her waist. "I feel like we rarely see each other" he told her, kissing her.
"We had coffee together this morning!"
"I know, but in general I mean, it's like we don't spend a lot of time with each other these days."
Emily frowned, "I'm doing the best I can, but I work strange hours and tonight it was supposed to be just the two of us, but Hanna basically hijacked me. I didn't have a lot of choice."
Mark gave her a smile, "Let's go get packing then" he said, taking her hand as she shut the door and made her way upstairs.
"Hi, Mark" Hanna announced cheerily as he walked into her room.
"Hey, Hanna. I hear you're leaving us to become a big designer?"
"Hardly, Mark. I'm just going to a fashion camp for a week. I don't see me becoming the next Vivienne Westwood any time soon."
"So, what can I help with?"
"You... can sit in the corner and provide a guy's opinion when I ask how something looks." Hanna put her hands on Mark's shoulders, pushing him over and onto the wooden chair at the corner of her room.
"Okay, that's that then" he said, smiling.
"Okay... I think that's all your essentials. Now you just need to find some clothes to wear. Now remember, you're going for 5 days. That's 5 days! So you don't need 30 outfits remember?" Emily had that school teacher look on her face again and once again wiggled the pencil at Hanna as she spoke to her.
Hanna laughed and pulled the pencil from Emily's hands.
"I'll fold these and pack them as you look through your stuff okay? Mark and I can provide opinions as you go through it."
Hanna smiled, "What would I do without you?"
"Over-pack" Emily replied with a grin.
Hanna smiled back, shaking her head then turning her attention on the wardrobe. The door went again, Emily and Hanna both immediately turning to Mark.
"I'll get it, shall I?" he asked, getting up from the chair and leaving to go downstairs.
"If that's Caleb, don't get distracted. You only have tonight to pack remember."
Hanna grinned, "Now who has the dirty mind?"
Emily frowned, "What? No, Han, I didn't mean that! Maybe they'll clean your mind out when you're away. Take some of that dirt out and put fashion tips in its place."
Hanna grinned, "Hardly."
"Hi" Caleb announced, walking into the bedroom. Emily smiled at him and Hanna rushed over to kiss him. Caleb laughed, "Well it looks like organised chaos in here. How's it going?"
"Good, I think" Hanna replied, looking to Emily for backup.
"Yeah, good so far, I'm 95% sure we've packed all the essential items. All that's left now is for Hanna to choose her outfits for the week."
Caleb gave Emily a knowing glance, "So that won't take long then?"
Everyone laughed, "Oh come on, I'm not that bad. And besides, a girl's gotta look good you know. How else will I impress the designers and big names? I can't exactly turn up in a sack."
Everyone laughed. "Whatever, guys. Now sit down and help me."
Mark returned to his seat in the corner, while Caleb and Emily sat on the edge of the bed. Hanna pulled out the dresses she wanted to take and threw them at Emily, who dodged the hangers and caught them as best as she could, flattening them out and putting them on the bed. Hanna let out lots of grunts and sighs as she tried to select only her favourite outfits. When she had enough she did the same with her shoes.
"It's getting late, Han" Caleb observed.
Hanna looked out the window; it was dark now. She had hoped to get everything finished and spend some time with Caleb before she had to leave. She looked at the bed, "I guess we're pretty much done" she said, looking thoughtfully at the pile of clothes next to Emily.
"I'm pretty sure we could finish off ourselves, and let Emily and Mark get home before dark."
Emily noticed the look he was giving Hanna and took the hint, "Yeah, I need to work tomorrow so I guess I don't want to be too late or I'll be working like a zombie again."
Hanna laughed, "Not in a coffee shop. All that caffeine must keep you alert."
Emily wrinkled her nose, "Not if you don't drink too much of it, I do have other things to do you know. Like serving people. Sometimes I never want to see another coffee."
"Come here" Hanna interrupted, as they wrapped their arms around each other in a tight hug. "I'm gonna miss you."
"I'll miss you too."
They stepped back to look at each other, "Safe trip, right? And text me as soon as you've arrived so I know you're safe okay?"
Hanna nodded, "of course."
"And text me every night, I wanna know what you're up to."
Hanna nodded, "I will."
"Hey!" Caleb interrupted "Save some of your time to call me!"
"Like I could forget about you" Hanna replied, giving Caleb a cheeky grin.
"And on that note, we better go" Emily said, looking at Mark, who got off the chair to join her.
"Have a great time, Hanna."
"Thanks Mark, Look after Emily for me okay?"
"You got it" he replied, smiling at Emily as he took her hand.
Once Hanna left, Emily went back to her normal routine. Doing her shifts at the Rear Window Brew, and going home to spend time with her mom.
Mark would come over most nights to see her.