A week passed. The whole thing was a bit of a head fuck for her at first. Those unexplainable feelings that Emily had stirred in her had been so strange and intense…then she'd suddenly gone and revealed herself to be a stuck up, cold-eyed, snotty little bitch and forced Naomi to realise just how fucking crazy she'd been acting over a complete and utter stranger. A stranger with a goddamn split personality as well, since the very next day Emily had texted her as if nothing had happened. [Hey, I had fun the other nite. Kind of inspired me actually. Think I'm goin 2 buy some paint and just go nuts on our bland apartment walls. What u reckon?]
Jesus christ. She'd ignored her, obviously. Think she can blank me like that when I'm not convenient. Who the fuck does she think she is? The following day, she got another one. [You ok? Guess yr works have been shipped out by now…u busy creating? Would luv 2 see it. Get in touch if u want 2 go for a drink sometime x] No way. Get. The. Fucking. Message. She stomped around her sadly barren studio in a grouch for the next two days, waiting for the new blank canvases to arrive and trying not to check her phone every few minutes. No more messages came. And fuck you too.
Alicia disappeared for a couple of days as well - their only contact consisting of notes left behind, missed calls, and one quick, hungry, stolen fuck as her girlfriend returned mid- afternoon to pack her bags for another overnight in London. Naomi now officially hated everything about this exhibition. And she couldn't help the nagging feeling that Alicia was being secretive somehow...as if she was hiding something from her. Naomi shook her head to clear her thoughts. She knew it was just a side effect from her own guilt over those brief secret feelings she'd had for someone else other than her girlfriend. I can't be trusted, so neither can she? Get your shit together Naomi…
She took a deep breath in, steeling herself, before walking into the restaurant and giving her name to the maitre d', who escorted her to the table and pulled out a chair opposite the slim, annoyingly beautiful young man with the pretentious glasses. He stood up, shaking her hand firmly, thanking her for coming. Alright Al, she muttered internally. I'll play the game. Just this one fucking interview. She smiled fakely at the art journo. "What did you say your name was?"
"Freddie," he said eagerly. "Freddie McLair. I really appreciate you meeting with me Ms. Campbell, I know you're not a fan of art critics, but we're not all bad, I promise you." Naomi managed not to roll her eyes. It wasn't the poor guy's fault she was in such a bad mood, but she had a feeling this wasn't going to go too well for him.
She took the train home afterwards, feeling thoroughly irritated with Alicia. Not only had she insisted that Naomi go all the way to bloody London and back to meet that gormless journalist, thus taking up her whole fucking day, but she'd also told her she didn't have time to meet with her, even though they were both in the same fucking city. She'd refused Naomi's suggestion that she stay overnight in Alicia's hotel room, pleading her long hours, constant meetings and total exhaustion in response. She'd catch up with her back in Bristol. Naomi tried not to be suspicious. But something wasn't adding up. Her girlfriend wasn't fucking having an affair. Was she?
It was seven o'clock in the evening before she finally arrived back in Bristol. Walking down the laneway to her front door, she paused suddenly in alarm. Music was floating out into the street and looking up she could see lights blazing through the open windows of their apartment. The front door was ajar. Frowning, she pushed it open, only to have it held the rest of the way back by a tuxedo clad, skinny, bearded guy she'd never met. "Welcome!" he exclaimed, gesturing with his arm and inviting her into her own fucking house. "Congratulations, by the way. Simply amazing. I'm absolutely honoured to be here."
She stared him down until he blanched. "What the fuck are you doing in my house, wanker?"
Without waiting for a response, she pushed past him and up the stairs towards the sound of wine glasses tinkling and voices raised in laughter and conversation. Stopping at the top and turning to see who the invaders were, her breath caught in her throat. The room was filled with at least a hundred people, including waiting staff moving around with trays of champagne flutes. Her hand whipped out instantly to grab a passing glass. A fucking exhibition night, what the hell was Alicia playing at? Her eyes flew around the walls. My work. Suddenly people started turning and staring at her, then the whole room erupted in deafening applause. A tantrum began to brew inside her, but she caught sight of Alicia standing off to one side, looking pleased as she saw her girlfriend's flushed face, clearly mistaking the emotion being conveyed there. Okay, great, not an affair then. She bowed cheesily to the crowd, raised her glass and necked it. More applause. She considered mooning them as well, just to see their response to that, but she held herself in check.
"Fucking hell babe," she kissed Alicia's cheek, when she finally managed to make her way through the annoying throng of well wishers. "Could have warned me. I'd have…dressed better," she frowned down at herself. Alicia's green eyes sparkled as she tucked a strand of dark hair behind her ear and smiled at her.
"You look gorgeous. You always look gorgeous. And if I'd warned you, you'd have pissed off and not come back at all, and you know it." Naomi kissed her girlfriend softly to avoid replying to that one.
"What's this about then? Shouldn't this stuff be in London already?" she waved her arms vaguely at the huge works all around them.
"Might of lied to you…just a little bit," Alicia smiled, stroking her hand softly across Naomi's lower back. "It's not actually opening there for another week. I just thought…I know you hate opening nights, but this collection really is something else…it's fucking special, Naomi. You should be celebrating it, not grumbling away to yourself in the corner like I know you will be when we get to London. Just…relax, enjoy it, tonight's just about you and your friends."
"My friends?" she asked before she could help herself. Alicia shot her a sharp look. "Sweetie, they are your friends as well, no matter what you might think about them. Everyone I invited is just here to support you. Besides," she sighed at Naomi's lack of response, "that one's got to be one of yours."
Naomi looked over to where she was pointing. Through the sea of black designer clothes, someone was wandering around in slightly ripped jeans and a bright green vest. That wasn't what caught her eyes though. It was the long, gleaming red hair that did that.
Downing the rest of her glass and grabbing another one on her way, she pushed through the crowd, "Scuse me, yeah thanks, great to see you too, sorry, scuse me." It wasn't exactly the subtle arrival she'd have preferred, but Emily still jumped slightly when Naomi finally made it over to her, a glowing smile appearing when she turned at the sound of her name. And that was despite the ferocious glower Naomi had worked up in preparation.
"Wanker," Emily greeted her.
"Wearing black at your own exhibition opening? Bit hypocritical of you," she eyed Naomi's outfit and raised her eyebrows.
"Believe it or not, I didn't know about it. Sort of a surprise party actually. Who invited you?" she asked bluntly. Emily looked sheepish.
"No one. I just…you haven't replied to my messages and I wondered why. I thought I'd drop by and demand an explanation….that and check you were alright. Some weird guy let me in. Looked a bit like Jesus?"
"What the fuck is your problem?"
"Look Emily, I don't play games alright? I fucking…I liked you; I thought you were different. Then you end up being this two-faced, rude little cow and I just don't have time for more bullshit alright? You disappointed me." Naomi put every single shard of ice she could into that last line, and Emily stiffened, her face flushing instantly.
"I disappointed you?" her tone was incredulous. "What, are you my mother or something? Fuck you Naomi Campbell. Jesus christ, I guess all those journalists were right about you after all…god, though everyone here seems to be lapping that shit up. This artistic temperament business might drive your prices up but it's not going to win you any fucking friends." Her brown eyes burned with distaste as she met Naomi's gaze for a few seconds. "I won't bother you again," she told her quietly, then she disappeared amongst the crowd.
"Naomi…darling, this is all simply divine!" a woman leaned in, air kissing in the general region of her suddenly flaming cheeks. "Now tell me about this piece, because I was saying to Antonia just a moment ago that it's highly reminiscent of the early work of a young-"
"Sorry, I'm a bit busy at the second…scuse me, um, sorry, scuse m- jesus, MOVE!" Naomi finally caught the redhead by the elbow just as she reached the bottom of the stairs. "Emily, wait…"
The girl just glared at her and pulled her arm free, stepping out into the alley, backing away as she spoke. "What?"
"Can we…can we go somewhere?"
Emily just stared at her. "Where?" she said finally.
Emily though - the stubborn little bitch - had flat out refused to go anywhere with her at all. Naomi had wanted to escape with her, just fucking…take off, go somewhere quiet and beautiful, maybe smoke a joint or drink some fucking vodka and just…talk. Instead they'd stood in the laneway, arguing about it for a full minute, until Naomi rolled her eyes and pulled her further down the little side street, turning the corner and pointing her towards the small wrought iron ladder that lead up over the top of the brick wall before disappearing. Emily looked slightly intrigued despite herself, so Naomi felt fairly safe in leading the way. Sure enough, after she'd walked along the ledge and climbed to the top of the fire escape, Emily wasn't far behind her. Jiggling firmly with the window catch, she held it open for the redhead and they both climbed down into her studio.
Emily looked about her with a small grin of surprise. Then she remembered she wasn't doing the smiling thing at this particular moment in time and turned to Naomi with her hands on her hips and began her demands. "Do you mind telling me what all this is about please?"
Naomi gave her a long look. She couldn't fucking work this girl out. Everything that had drawn her to Emily in the first place was back…god, those eyes…she even liked the way they'd looked flashing dark with anger…fucking sexy…NO…god, focus Naomi, she exhaled loudly in frustration. Quickly she thought about that awful fluffy white excuse for a dog, and her own glare quickly returned. "The other day in the park. What the fuck was that about? You treated me like I was a piece of shit you'd just scraped off your shoe."
"What?" Emily looked at her, as if thoroughly confused. "What day in the park?"
"Oh, great tactic Emily. Just pretend like it didn't happen."
"Naomi…god, you really fucking need to stop smoking so much pot."
"Well yeah, obviously. Just this journalist this afternoon got me really fucking stoned and- hey, fuck you, that was hours ago! And that's got nothing to do with the fact that, frankly you dress like a total skank when you're being an accountant and who the fuck would choose a horrible little dog like that anyway? I don't get it. It's like you're two entirely different people!"
Emily sat down abruptly and started to cry. No, she wasn't crying - she was laughing…hysterically in fact, tears appearing on her cheeks. "Oh my god Naomi…" she was practically pissing herself, gasping for breath. Naomi stayed standing, not quite sure quite how to react to Emily's third personality - the insane lunatic one - appearing out of nowhere. "Fucking hell…" the redhead spluttered, wiping at her eyes. "You're right about that, actually. The thing is, I…" she cracked up again, before a serious expression appeared on her face, and she announced solemnly, "I have an evil twin." Then she completely lost her shit.
"Well now. That's a perfect excuse." Naomi rolled her eyes. "Grow up Emily…"
"Naomi, I'm serious. Jesus…I have a twin. Her name's Katie, she's basically a professional WAG, she's got a pomeranian called Paris and fuck you, I can't believe you thought she was me! What, are you blind?"
"And we look nothing alike! What did she say to you?"
"Well nothing nice obviously," she said pointedly. "I never got closer than about ten metres away cos of that horrible little hairy ferret thing she was walking," she explained in her defence. A fucking twin? Suddenly she felt really fucking stupid. Emily looked up at her, biting her lip at Naomi's face. She cracked up again, and a small snort escaped from Naomi as well. She slumped down on the couch beside her, not daring to catch her eye. Then Emily jabbed her in the ribs and they both laughed themselves sick.
An hour and one last roll of Freddie's pot later, Naomi gasped. "Shit Ems, we have to go downstairs. Alicia's going to kill me."
"Ems?" Ems smiled up at her from her position right next to her on the couch, and Naomi started to giggle. "Oh no, don't you start that again," the redhead grinned. Fuck she's adorable when she's stoned. Uh oh…keep your hands to yourself Ems, she warned the redhead internally, as Emily leaned in and poked her ribs again.
"Come on," she stood up, swaying slightly with the head rush. Emily watched her for a second, and then stood too.
"Woah…" she croaked, hanging onto Naomi's shoulder for balance. They stood there together, carefully readjusting to being upright. Then they caught each other's serious look of concentration and fell apart laughing again.
"Right…" breathed Naomi, gripping Emily's wrist and leading her to the door. They stumbled down the stairs together. The art appreciation society were all still there in force, their voices now raised loudly in a cacophony of champagne infused chatter. Fucking hell this room is bright. Naomi glanced at Emily and wondered if her own face was as flushed and giddy looking as the redhead's. She certainly hoped her own hair wasn't that mussed. As she reached up to check, she caught sight of Alicia's face, turning up to look at the two girls on the stairs. She looked hard at Naomi for a second and then she started to frown.