Original Work: You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home, Chapter 10, Part 2
Chapter 10, Part 2
Tightening my robe, I headed out of the bedroom and toward the sweeping staircase, taking the stairs two at a time to see what was causing the uproar. Not surprisingly, it was Linda who was doing all the yelling, though Emilia was far from a captive audience. Garth was sitting at the table, looking like he wished that he was somewhere else. Emilia was standing in front of Linda, her arms crossed over her chest, toe tapping impatiently. When she spotted me, she turned away from her yelling mother, giving me a wide smile. “Looking good, sis.” She remarked, as though Linda wasn’t standing there arguing with her. Emilia held out the newspaper that she’d been holding in her hands.
I reached for the newspaper and found myself staring at a photograph of a very dazed looking me, standing in the back alley of Antonio’s in a rumpled, soup and salad covered dress. My attention wasn’t on the photographers and but in the picture it was impossible to see that my eyes were fixed on Joshua, who was escaping to his car after pressing his lips to my cheek. All I had wanted was for him to come back and kiss me again and in the picture I thought that the longing was clear in my eyes. I hoped that Joshua wouldn’t think so if he happened to see the picture and if he did, I hoped that he wouldn’t think too much into my expression.
Though, on second thought, it was highly unlikely that anyone would be paying that close of attention to my face when my ragged appearance was so obviously on display. I definitely wasn’t looking my best and, to be completely honest, it was pretty much like all the candid pictures that had been taken of me by yearbook photographers. It just figured that even in Hollywood, I was photographed looking like a complete idiot.
I forced myself to look away from the picture and scan the article for any mention of Michaela to make sure that she was getting her due for her participation in all of this but the headline caught my attention before I could get to the article itself. The Good Girl Goes but I couldn’t read the rest and I realized that the paper had been folded in half so that the picture of me was on display. Back to Bad was how the rest of the headline finished and I saw that there was another picture coupled with the one of me in all my salad dressing glory. Now I knew what Linda had been yelling about.
Though it would have been impossible for most of the world to tell, the girl featured in both pictures was not the same. I could only see myself in the unflattering picture of the girl struck dumb by a kiss on the cheek and soup in her lap because she was the same girl I saw whenever I looked a picture of myself or studied my reflection in the mirror. But the other in the other picture, the one dancing on top of a bar with a drink in her hand and a crowd of enthusiastic and worshiping onlookers gathered around, that girl was not me. Though you wouldn’t have been able to prove it to the general public. Emilia looked like she was having a good time and with her eyes closed and her body in mid-pivot to some thumping pop song, arms raised over her head it was clear that she was in her element. I looked up from the picture and at my sister and she didn’t look like she was having fun now.
I realized that Linda had stopped yelling and that her attention was focused on me, as though she was waiting to see how I would react to the picture, like I would take up the mantle and start shouting too. But I wasn’t really entirely sure what to say, though I was pretty certain the last thing I wanted to do was start yelling at Emilia. Despite her nonchalant and unimpressed attitude, she looked like all she wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for the next several days and I was sure that Linda’s yelling wasn’t mixing well with the hangover that was probably starting to set in.
The fact everyone in the kitchen was looking at me and obviously waiting for me to say something wasn’t the kind of pressure I was interesting in dealing with so early in the morning. I handed the newspaper back to Emilia and somehow the words, “That’s not me,” left my mouth even though it was obvious that it wasn’t me. Emilia snorted at my idiotic remark.
Linda snatched the newspaper before Emilia could take it back. “No, Scout, it’s not you. Because you came back home last night and you went to bed like any normal and decent teenager would do.” Obviously my obvious statement was a good enough jumping point for her to begin her ranting all over again. “But Emilia decided it would be a good idea to sneak out of the house, Emilia decided it would be a good idea to sneak out, Emilia decided it would be a good idea to spend all night bar hopping and getting into trouble and letting everyone photograph it and splash it across the morning’s headlines.” Her voice seemed to rise with every word until she had reached a shrill crescendo of anger. I was sure if she had continued only dogs would have been able to hear her.
Emilia crossed her arms over her chest. “What’s making you more upset, Mom? The fact that I was out drinking all night or the fact that it’s in the news?”
That seemed to halt Linda’s tirade and she looked at Emilia as though surprised by her question. “Emilia, I’m upset because you’re making bad decisions about your life.” She answered finally and I felt like I was listening to Linda the manager and not Linda the mother. I wondered if Emilia felt that way too.
Looking at Emilia, it was impossible to tell whether she felt anything but pissed off. “I’m sure Mom.” She scoffed, rolling her eyes. She looked at me the way someone might look toward the one person in the room they figured would understand where they were coming from and I hoped that she could tell that I knew exactly what she was thinking. “I’m just living the rock star life, isn’t that what you always wanted?”
Linda threw the newspaper down on the table and Garth just narrowed avoided getting hit in the face with the offending headline. “Emilia, I want you to have fun and be successful and enjoy all of this!” She gestured wildly around her, no doubt referencing the expansive house that Emilia had no doubt financed. “I don’t want you to make stupid decisions that put you in jeopardy!” Again, I couldn’t help but wonder if Linda was talking about Emilia putting herself in jeopardy or her career.
“Well good thing you have another daughter as a backup.” Emilia fired back, looking over at me again with a little less kindness than she had shown before. I felt like I was going to need a roadmap to figure out where I was heading in my relationship with my sister because the hot and cold was really starting to confuse me.
This comment seemed to hit the desired effect because Linda winced at Emilia’s words. “You know that’s not what this is about Emilia-”
Emilia was quick to interrupt. “I know exactly what this about Mom, what everything is about: my career.” Clearly Emilia and I were having the same thoughts about Linda’s intentions. “Well, Scout can have that too.” And with that Emilia pushed past Linda and instead of heading for the stairs she made a beeline for the sliding glass door that led into the backyard. At the sound of the door sliding open, Buster came charging into the kitchen from some other room of the house and followed my sister out of the house in a much happier mood than the one she was in.
With Emilia gone, the kitchen filled with a heavy and uncomfortable silence and it was clear no one knew what to do or what to say. Suddenly I wished that I had decided just to stay in bed and let the argument play itself out. Scratch that, I wished I had just stayed in Independence and minded my own business.