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**** Chapter Seven ****
"Tall Latte to go, coming right up, Miss Morrison." Emily smiled, turning her back on the customer to prepare the beverage.
"Hey, you" said a familiar voice, suddenly behind her and with their hands on her hips.
"Mark, you can't be back here, you need to get out beside the other customers. And you're distracting me" said Emily, putting down the milk jug she was steaming and turning round to face him.
Mark looked a bit taken aback. He raised his arms and backed off, "Okay, sorry" he said.
Emily sighed, immediately feeling guilty. Ever since Hanna had left for fashion camp he was coming into the Rear Window Brew every day, and then turning up at her house at night unannounced. His heart was in the right place; assuming that she would be lonely without Hanna. But she was fine on her own, and only a few months ago she didn't even hang out with Hanna much. She was used to loneliness, and she wasn't very happy with his sudden need to be so close to her.
She lifted up the milk jug again and finished off the drink, handing it over the counter to the old woman. "Here you go, Miss Morrison."
"Thank you dear, you know you're too beautiful to be working in a cafe in Rosewood. You should be a model or something."
Emily laughed, old ladies came out with the strangest things, "Thank you very much, Miss Morrison" she replied, smiling at the old lady, genuinely touched by her words. Maybe the day wouldn't be too bad after all.
Taking off her apron, she walked over to Mark, who was now sitting alone at the corner table, sulking. "Okay, my shift's over now if you want to go somewhere?"
Mark looked at her, "Yeah, if I'm not distracting you" he replied, the tone in his voice immediately deflating Emily after Miss Morrison's comment had just filled her with joy. He was like a punching bag, knocking the happiness out of her and bringing her back down to earth.
She sighed loudly, "I wasn't expecting you to come up behind me! I didn't even know you were in the shop. I was making a coffee; I could easily have burnt myself. I've been burnt with the steam of that machine before, and it's not something I want to do again if I can help it."
Mark got up, "Let's go then" he said, starting to walk to the door.
Emily followed him, lifting up her arm and looking at her previous steam burn. The skin a different colour from the rest of her arm; the feeling not fully returned yet. She touched the burn, thinking about when it had happened. She thought about the dreams she'd had night after night, about ignoring her friends, and finally sharing those dreams with Hanna. And the drinking, she thought about that. Drinking, and drinking with Paige. She still hadn't managed to completely erase her face from memory.
"Are you coming?" Mark asked. Emily noticed she had stopped walking and was just standing there, in the doorway of the Rear Window Brew.
"Sorry, I got distracted."
She suddenly felt the need to look at the dream photos again. "You know what Mark, there's something I need to do. Can we hang out another time?"
He raised his eyebrows in disbelief, "Oh sure, whenever is convenient for you."
There it was again, the way he stretched out the "convenient". Emily didn't like the way he was talking, but she could sort it out later. She walked away from him.
"Emily?" he asked, again with the same tone.
She turned round, "What? Why are you giving me attitude tonight, what's your problem?"
Mark laughed, "What's my problem?" There he went again, stretching out that "my".
"You know what Mark, this isn't working out. We're done" Emily suddenly announced.
She shook her head, "We're over. It's finished. I can't do this anymore."
Turning her back on him again, she walked away. She didn't look back or stop all the way home.
Walking in her front door and straight up to her room, she muttered "Hi" to her mom as she walked past her.
Opening the drawer and taking out the photos, she laid them down and let out a gasp when her eyes passed over the one of the girl.
Lifting the drawing up to study it, she let her eyes take in the details.
The hair was different, slightly longer, and darker. But those eyes, and that little scar above her eyebrow, she would recognise them anywhere. She was looking at a drawing of Paige.
She had dreamed of Paige before they met.
Taking a seat, she ran her thumb over the girl's face. "Paige" she said aloud, a knot tightening around her heart.
Suddenly her phone was vibrating on the desk, the display telling her that Hanna was calling. Wonderful timing. Putting down the drawing, she picked up the phone, "Hey, Hanna. How's fashion camp?"
The joy was evident in Hanna's voice as she talked about the camp, "Oh it's amazing, Em. There's so many designers here, and makeup artists, and photographers, and they have the most amazing outfits which you can try on. The classes are amazing. I love it here. I want to do this forever."
Emily smiled, "That's great, Han."
Hanna then asked what she was dreading, "How are you? How's Mark?"
Emily sighed. She might as well tell her, or she'd have Hanna fishing for information all night and she was never very good at lying. "We broke up."
"Oh shit, Em, that's terrible. When? Why?"
"This afternoon. It just wasn't working out."
"I'm so sorry, Em."
"There's nothing to be sorry about. I ended it. It was getting claustrophobic. I like space to breathe."
"I guess I understand that."
"You hate being alone."
"Yeah, but I'm not you. We're different that way."
Emily looked at the drawing in her hand; yeah, we are different that way.
"Hanna, I have to go. There's something I have to do."
"Oh, okay. I'll call you tonight?"
"Sounds great, I'm stoked that you're having a great time. And I'll see you in a few days anyway."
Ending the call, she suddenly decided that she needed to go back to the Hungry Owl Tavern and see if she could find Paige. She grabbed her jacket and phone, went downstairs and said goodbye to her mother, who looked on in confusion.
Emily pulled into the parking lot of the Hungry Owl Tavern. This time she didn't have to prepare herself, she walked right in there. She needed to find Paige.
There was no karaoke on so she scanned the bar, looking up and down the rows of booths when she didn't see her in the seats. She knew it was not the most ideal time to come here, it wasn't even dinner time yet and although the tavern opened early for meals, not a lot of people were there.
Emily looked to the source of the interruption; it was the woman with the karaoke folder from last time. "Hi. Do you know where Paige is?" She couldn't remember if they were on first name terms, but she thought she'd give it a go.
"Aww, sweetie you won't find Paige here. She went back home a few weeks ago."
Shit. Emily didn't even know where she stayed.
She tried to remember the woman's name... Peggy, yeah that was it.
"Thanks, Peggy." Turning to walk away, Emily changed her mind. "Peggy? If she comes by again, can you tell her Emily was looking for her?"
Peggy nodded, "Sure thing, Pumpkin."
"Thanks" replied Emily, before she left the tavern.
There was Paige's uncle, he may know where Paige is.
A little unsure about going there, but not knowing what else to do, Emily drove her car up the short route to the cottage. After walking up the path, she banged on the door.
What's the use in knocking the door if he's deaf?
She kicked the door with her boot, trying to make as much noise as she could. "Hello" she called. What's his name? After checking all the windows she could see into; she couldn't find any signs of life in the cottage. Reluctantly, she gave up.
For the second time in her life, she slammed her car door and sped off down that road to home. She had messed it up. Typical Emily... Something good comes along, I ignore it. When I'm finally ready, it's gone.
"The story of my life" she said aloud, turning into her driveway.
Walking straight up to her room, she threw herself on her bed and bundled herself into a tight ball, her hands gripping each other round her legs, pulling herself as close together as she could. Shutting her eyes, she tried to think; had Paige said anything that night that would suggest where she could be? Would she want to be found?
Emily was not even sure what she would do if she found her. She still didn't fully understand what she was feeling towards her; Why her heart skipped a beat when she seen her, how she could still remember the sparkle in her eyes and the glow in her face when she laughed. The way she could make Emily feel; just by touching her.
Was it all to do with that dream? Was she being drawn to her like this because of some unknown force? Was she supposed to be doing something? Finding something out from those dreams and acting on it, but just getting the signals all wrong?
Getting up and walking over to her drawers, she removed the sketches again. As the last sketch was removed, her hand touched on something jammed at the back of the drawer. Pulling it out she realised that it was the flyer from the Hungry Owl Tavern karaoke night. She ran her fingers over it, a sadness immediately hitting her.
If only she hadn't ran away that night.
She was brought back to the present by her phone ringing in her pocket. Pulling the phone out and swiping the screen, she accepted the call. "Hey, Han."
"I'm home!" Hanna squealed.
"What? I thought you were coming home tomorrow."
"Yeah, it was supposed to be but the camp finished early. One of the designers got sick. It was maybe contagious or something, I don't know but they sent us all home early."
Emily raised an eyebrow, "Wow that sounds serious. Are they okay?"
"I have no idea, Em, we weren't exactly allowed to hang around and find out. I'm at the airport right now; Caleb is coming to pick me up. What are you doing tonight? Can I come over? You must need a hug right?"
Emily laughed, "What? Why would I need a hug?"
"Uh, duh! Hello Emily... Mark!"
Emily looked down at the karaoke flyer, oh right, Mark. Like I'm thinking about him right now.
"Right, Mark" she answered sadly.
"Oh, you poor thing. I am coming over there right now."
Emily laughed "No you're not, Hanna, you're standing in an airport right now. Spend time with Caleb. Just come round tomorrow. Take your time. I'm doing okay, honestly" she reassured Hanna, who sighed down the line.
"Okay, Em, if you say so."
They said their goodbyes and ended the call, just as there was a knock on Emily's bedroom door.
Opening the drawer, she shoved the sketches in. "Yeah?"
Her mom opened the door and looked round to find her, "I was just gonna make a cup of tea. Would you like one?"
Emily smiled, her mom concerned about her as always. "Sure, mom. I'll come down and have it with you" she replied, noticing the happiness in her moms' face at that simple gesture.
She walked downstairs with her mom and into the kitchen. She got the cups and saucers out of the cupboards while her mom sorted the kettle.
"Is Mark not coming over tonight?"
Emily sighed, "No, mom."
Her mom turned round, "Did something happen?"
"We broke up."
Her mom stopped what she was doing and walked to Emily, hugging her. "I'm so sorry honey. What happened?"
Emily hugged her back, "It's okay, mom. I ended it. It just wasn't working out."
"I thought it was going well?"
"It was. But he came into the Brew today and came behind the counter when I was making a coffee. I told him he shouldn't be there as I could have burnt myself, then he got all touchy and argued at everything I said and I just got fed up with it, so I told him it was over."
Her mom nodded, "And you're really okay?"
"Yeah, mom. I am" she replied, as they continued to make the tea. "Hanna's back."
"I thought the camp ended tomorrow."
"Yeah, it was supposed to but one of the designers got sick and they all got sent home. It sounds a little odd to me; I think she's coming over tomorrow so I'll try to get more information out of her."
Her mom smiled, pouring out the tea. They sat across from each other drinking it, almost in silence.
"I spoke to your father today."
Emily almost choked on her tea, "What? When? How is he?" she questioned. Her dad was in the army and had been away for 3 months. They didn't hear from him very often as he was so busy over there.
"Earlier today. He said he might be able to come home soon."
Emily beamed, "Really?"
Her mom nodded.
"That's amazing!" Emily added, taking her mom's hand.