Original Work: You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home, Chapter 10, Part 1
Chapter 10, Part 1
When I walked into the kitchen Linda’s inquiry on how dinner had gone instantly frozen on her lips when she looked up from the magazine she was flipping through and got a good look at me. Seeing the expression on Linda’s face, Emilia turned around to study me, her forkful of noodles mid-way to her mouth. Immediately, Emilia started laughing, maybe going a little too far because I didn’t really think I looked that bad. “So I guess Joshua wasn’t happy with the Emilia upgrade.” She laughed, looking happier than she had since I’d shown up.
I glared at her. “You can thank your friend Michaela for this.” I gestured to my ruined dress and raw legs. “Whatever you did to her to get her so pissed off, try not to do it to anyone else. I don’t think I can take another soup bath.” I dropped down into the chair beside Emilia and buried my face in my hands.
“She dumped soup on you?” Linda questioned, coming to sit down at the table with her daughters. “Scout, that’s awful, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe she would do something like that, what happened?”
I didn’t bother to look up. “She probably knew there was someone out there having a good time and decided that just wasn’t going to fly.” I mumbled.
“So you and Joshua had a good time?” Emilia questioned, her tone incredulous. I looked up at her and glared but she didn’t seem to notice, still looking stunned. “I don’t believe it. You’re boring, how could Joshua have a good time with you?”
“Maybe the car-wrecking girls just aren’t his type.” I retorted, picking a salad leaf off my arm and flicking it in her direction. “Maybe he likes boring.” Wait, did Emilia just get me to call myself boring? How did that happen?
Emilia rolled her eyes. “No one likes boring.”
Of course, I’d had that same thought myself not even a week ago. But instead of validating her insult, I got to my feet again and started toward the stairs. “I’m going to shower.” I didn’t look back even when Linda protested by abrupt departure, trudging up the stairs and into my bedroom, locking the door behind me.
I stood in the shower for longer than I had in a long time, something that wasn’t easy because of my burned skin, and tried to make sense of the night. All in all, I’d had a pretty decent time and I think that Joshua had too and I’d learned that the next time I saw Michaela coming my way I should turn and run the other direction. And I was learning right now that it takes a lot of shampooing to really get rid of the smell of Cesar dressing.
When I finally got out and toweled off, I felt exhausted in spite of the early hour, though I figured I was probably still mentally in my time zone. I pulled on my robe and meant to go downstairs and rejoin Linda, Emilia and Garth (not that I had hopes that the little foursome would last very long seeing as Emilia and I hadn’t quite mastered the ability to stay in the same room as one another for very long) but ended up flopping down on my bed and staring up at the ceiling. I refused to be one of those girls that endlessly replayed their date on loop, remembering and analyzing everything that their date had said and looking for hidden clues that they were going to get married someday. I didn’t have any illusions that one half-date with Joshua Beckett meant that we were destined to spend a happily ever after together, though I was sure that Jordan would be more than happy to feed into that fantasy. She’d probably compare our horoscopes and give me a spreadsheet of his past relationships and pie charts of our chances at success and Venn diagrams of possible honeymoon locations. Not that she’d ever do any of those things for school.
Thinking about Jordan reminded me of my promise to fill my friend in on everything that had taken place that night. Sure enough, when I pulled my phone out of my purse, I had a few text messages from Jordan, all putting forth pretty much the same demand, a few from Zach and another voice message from my dad. I felt bad for not calling my dad or even talking to Zach but I felt too worn out to carry on a decent conversation. Besides, it was much later back home and they would probably all be asleep anyway. As for Jordan, she would see exactly how our date had gone on tomorrow morning’s celebrity dish.
As I lay there, thinking about what those celebrity dish shows would have to say about my evening with Joshua, I must have fallen asleep, done in by my inability to adjust to the changed time zone because the next thing I remember it was morning and I was startled awake by the sounds of yelling and arguing floating up from downstairs. For a minute I remained where I was, staring at the ceiling and trying to force my mind and body to wake up completely; the tendrils of a dream still clung to my groggy mind, though I couldn’t remember the details the memory of the dream was unsettling. I had been watching someone else lead my life, unable to control their actions even though I was watching everything unfold. I had just come to realization that the person stealing my life was Emilia when I had been awoken by the yelling, which was still going on, unabated, downstairs. This wasn’t the first time I woken up to such a racket and I wondered what a family therapist would have to say about that.