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**** Chapter Nine ****
Emily pulled into her driveway to find Hanna's car was already there, her friend visible in the front seat. Once Hanna spotted Emily, she got out to greet her.
Emily turned off the ignition and stepped out of the car. "Have you been here long?"
"A few minutes. I wanted to be here when Spencer arrives, *if* Spencer arrives."
Emily rolled her eyes, "Yeah. I'm not holding my breath." She locked her car and they walked to the front door, and into Emily's home.
"Hi, girls. I thought I'd seen a car in the drive. Hanna, why didn't you just come in? You know you're welcome here anytime."
"Thanks, Mrs F... Pam. I knew Emily wouldn't be far behind so I just waited."
Pam nodded. "Have you girls got plans for tonight?"
"Spencer might be coming over."
Pam looked surprised, "She's in town?"
Emily nodded, "She got here this morning. There's some law case she's working on in the area, and she wanted to hang out while she's here."
Pam nodded, "That's nice. You girls will have lots to catch up on." Emily and Hanna looked at each other, raising their eyebrows. "Hanna, would you like to stay for dinner, I have some pasta on the stove?"
Hanna smiled, "If you have some spare, that'd be great Mrs Fields. I don't want to put you to any trouble."
"You were nearly there, Hanna, now you're making me feel old again."
Hanna looked puzzled, Emily and her mom laughed. "You're back at Mrs Fields again."
Hanna smiled, "Sorry, it's going to take a while."
"Dinner will be about 10 minutes if you girls want to take your jackets off or whatever."
Emily and Hanna made their way upstairs. Emily took off her bag, jacket and shoes and pulled on a pair of slippers. Hanna put her jacket on the coat-hook and sat her bag down before they both returned downstairs.
They helped Pam sort the plates and cutlery for dinner, and then sat round the table eating their pasta. Hanna discussed her job and Pam asked about the designer that got sick.
After dinner was finished, Emily put the dishes in the sink and began to wash them, telling her mom to put her feet up. Pam smiled and walked through to the living room, taking her shoes off and getting comfy on the couch. Just then, the doorbell rang. Emily's mom sighed.
"Leave it mom, Hanna will get it."
Hanna raised her eyebrow at her, "What if it's Spencer?"
Emily laughed, "It probably is. You'll be fine Hanna. She doesn't bite." Hanna looked at her. "Okay, she doesn't always bite."
Hanna smiled, "Oh well, here goes."
"Hi, Mrs Fields" announced Spencer when she entered the living room.
"Hello, Spencer. Don't you look all grown up?"
Spencer laughed, "I do my best."
Hanna appeared behind Spencer, sharing a look with Emily.
"Hi, Emily" Spencer said, noticing Emily in the kitchen.
Pam got up and walked to the kitchen. "I'll get the dishes. Emily, you girls go upstairs and catch up."
She turned to Spencer. "How long are you here, Spencer?"
"I'm not sure, anywhere between a couple of weeks and a month I think."
Pam nodded, "What's the case you're working on?"
Spencer made a face, "I can't really discuss it I'm afraid."
Pam smiled, "Fair enough I guess. Well it was nice to see you again, try not to become a stranger."
Emily gave the dish cloth to her mom and walked towards Spencer and Hanna, who turned to go upstairs.
"Are you still in the same room, Em?"
"Yes. Where else would I go?"
"I'm just asking, Emily" Spencer replied as they walked up the staircase and into Emily's room. "Wow, it looks the exact same."
Emily sighed, "Not all of us moved on, Spencer."
"I'm just saying... I like it." She walked around the room, looking at photos on the wall and books on the bookshelf. "Oh, do you draw?" she asked, holding up a sketch.
Shit. It was the sketch of Paige. Emily must have forgotten again to put it away in the drawer. Hanna looked at Emily, thinking the same thing.
Emily took the sketch from Spencer and put it in the drawer. "No. I don't draw."
Spencer looked at Hanna, "So who drew it then, and why do you guys look weird?"
"Look, Spencer, it's none of your business" Hanna answered.
"I'm just trying to find out what you guys do now. I'm your friend, not your enemy. Why do you keep attacking me?"
"We don't mean to" Hanna answered, sighing.
Spencer looked at Emily.
"She's right I guess. We're still in Rosewood, doing the same thing, and you and Aria got out. You're off somewhere doing amazing things while we're here. And you come back after years without so much as a text and it's like your flaunting your success in our faces, making us feel more pathetic than we already do."
Hanna looked at her, frowning to show her disagreement to the last part.
Okay, it's just me that feels pathetic then. Great.
Spencer sat on the bed beside Emily, taking her hand. "You're not pathetic. Neither of you guys are. So what if you're still in Rosewood; you're happy right?" she asked, glancing between them. Hanna nodded, so Spencer looked at Emily, "Em?"
Emily looked up, "I guess. But it doesn't mean that we're not jealous of your life. That we don't dream of having a piece of it."
"It's not exactly a Hollywood lifestyle. I work my ass off every day just trying to get my stuff done. I'm by no means living it up. Sometimes I wish I could run away and get my old life back. But I chose to be a lawyer and I'm passionate about it. Yeah, I'm so busy I didn't text you guys, and I feel terrible for it. Can we not just forgive and forget?"
Emily sighed, "Yeah. I'm sorry, Spence, I've just not been myself lately."
Spencer nodded. "So, what have you guys been doing? And seriously, who's drawing is that cos it's not that good."
Emily laughed and punched Spencer in the arm, "Hey" she teased.
Spencer laughed, "So it was you then?"
Emily sighed; at that moment it felt like she was with the old Spencer and she'd never left. In high school, they had no secrets.
"Yeah, fine. It's my drawing." Spencer looked at her, so she expanded. "For a while I had dreams, they stayed with me for days and I got to the point where I wanted to draw them. It's like they were connected somehow; trying to tell me a story. So I drew them, yeah they're not the best. I'm not giving up my day job so it's okay. But it was a way to get them somewhere and out of my head." She looked at Hanna. "I've not had one for ages; I just was tidying my drawer the other night and must have forgotten to put that one back."
Spencer nodded, "Can I see the others? Did you figure out the story?"
Emily shook her head, "It really doesn't matter. I think it was just something I was going through. For a while I got a bit down and drank a lot. Maybe it was the drink that caused the dreams. But I'm done with that." She turned to Hanna. "Hanna... has a job in fashion" she said, eager to get the focus away from herself.
"Seriously, Hanna? Wow, congratulations."
Hanna gave Emily an angry look, "It's not really fashion. I work in a storeroom... but I did get to go to fashion camp."
Spencer smiled, "Sounds cool."
They sat and talked for a few hours. The initial tension wearing off as they became like they were in high school again, happily chatting to each other. Hanna and Emily told stories of their work, of speed dating and Mark, of Caleb and fashion camp. Spencer talked about her family. She didn't have a boyfriend at the moment because she just didn't have the time.
Later, Spencer had to go home to put some case notes together, so they said their goodbyes and Emily was left alone for the night. She slipped on her pyjamas and crawled into bed, tired from chatting so long.
After a decent night's sleep, Emily made herself some breakfast and headed to the Rear Window Brew for her morning shift.
"Can I have two hot chocolates please?"
Emily looked up, surprised by an unfamiliar voice. A blonde girl, not a local accent. "Sure. You're not from around here?" Emily asked, while she fixed the girls order.
"No, I'm just visiting with a friend of mine."
Emily nodded, giving the girl the hot chocolates and taking her money before moving on to the next customer.
"A skinny Latte please."
Emily smiled, "Coming right up, Tom." Tom was one of the regulars.
Next in line was Mrs Montgomery. "Hi, Ella."
"Wow, Emily, finally you're calling me Ella. I don't feel so old now."
Ella had been at the speed dating night and had since been on a few dates with Zack.
"How are things with you and Zack?"
Ella laughed, "Oh, things are going okay thanks, Emily. I'm still surprised he's interested in me, he's so much younger than me I'm sure there's someone more his age that's out there."
"Don't put yourself down, he talks about you all the time."
Ella smiled, looking over at Zack. "He does?" Emily nodded. "Thanks, Emily, I'll see you later."
Emily glanced over at Zack, who was in the centre of the cafe cleaning up a table. She noticed the blonde girl who bought the hot chocolates, she was with a girl. Emily's heart jumped in her chest. It can't be. She looked closer, her hair was now a natural brown colour, and slightly longer. Her bangs growing out and tucked behind her ears. The girl laughed, and Emily's heart ached.
The girl was Paige.
Paige is here. Just a few feet away.
Emily wanted to run to her, to talk to her. She watched her laughing with the girl, her hand resting on top of the girls hand as she laughed at her jokes. Were they together? She felt like someone had kicked her in the stomach. She'd missed her chance.
"Emily?" - Zack was next to her, "Are you okay, you don't look so good."
"I'm fine" she lied. "Sorry" she added, returning behind the counter and starting to serve the line of customers that had formed. Paige's laugh punching her each time.
Every time she served a customer another one joined the queue. As she finally started to get the queue down, she looked up. Paige was leaving. The girl and Paige looked her way as they left. Paige gave her a half smile, acknowledging her.
Emily felt deflated. Paige had moved on. She couldn't blame her. Emily had ran off after they kissed, never trying to contact Paige again until she had left. Emily had messed it up. She couldn't do much now, Paige was happy. She deserved to be happy.
Emily went through the motions for the rest of the day, her mind not fully on her job. She left the Brew without saying much to Zack.
She smiled at her mom when she got in the front door. Dinner was waiting for her in the kitchen. She sat across from her mom eating it.
"How was work?"
The rest of the meal was eaten in silence. Once finished, she went to her room and took the sketch of Paige out of the drawer. She looked at it for a long time, interrupted by a knock on her bedroom door. She looked up to see Hanna walking into her room. She put the sketch down, looking at Hanna.
"Your mom let me in."
"I didn't even hear the door."
Hanna looked at the sketch in her hand, "Are you okay?"
"She was in the Brew today."
Hanna smiled, looking excited "Really? What did you say to her?"
Hanna looked confused, "Why?"
"She was with someone. I think she's got a girlfriend." Girlfriend, that sounds weird.
Hanna walked in and sat on the bed, "Em, you have to talk to her. Did she recognise you?"
"She sort of smiled at me when they left."
"You said you met in a bar right?"
"Why don't you go there and try to find her?"
Emily shook her head "But she has a girlfriend now. What would I say? I don't want her to break up with her girlfriend for me. I just want her to be happy, and she looked like she was happy."
"But the dreams, Em, you should tell her about the dreams."
"Hanna, I don't want to seem like a mad stalker."
Hanna rolled her eyes, "So do nothing then. Sit here and stare at that drawing feeling sorry for yourself when she's actually here; when you could actually reach out to her. Why don't you go to that bar tonight, I can come with you?"
Emily shook her head.
"Okay. I'll go. But I want to go alone."
Hanna frowned, "But you will go?"