Original Work: You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home, Chapter 10, Part 5
Chapter 10, Part 5
It was a welcome change not to have the day scripted out for me before I had even completely woken up, though I found myself at a loss for what to after the movie had ended. Schapelle and Linda usually told me what to do and now that I wasn’t running around doing interviews and commercials, I wasn’t really sure what to do. Emilia still hadn’t come out of her music studio but I had the feeling that even if she had a little sisterly bonding wasn’t exactly on the schedule. It wasn’t like we could go out shopping together or go out to lunch and I had the feeling that if we were forced to spend too much time together in the confines of the house we would end up killing each other.
Despite the short length, my hair was crazy from having slept on it wet last night and I showered, enjoying the steam as it swirled around me, fogging the air and blocking out my surroundings, allowing me to imagine that I was anywhere else in the world. It was something I had used to do back home, letting my mind wander until I imagined myself in a hotel in Bangkok or a hostel in Europe. Now I couldn’t help but imagine myself in my bathroom back home, washing off an afternoon of helping my dad with his car or a grueling high school day.
Thinking about school made me wonder what Jordan and Zach were doing and it also reminded me of my promise to my dad to meet with Emilia’s tutor and the work at school that was surely piling up. The last thing I wanted to do was sit down to an afternoon of school work; it was hard enough forcing myself through a school day in school, let alone having to prompt myself to do it on my own. Maybe I could slack off for another day, write it off to jet lag.
When I finally got out of the shower it was closer to noon and I wondered if I was going to pass every day like this: trying to keep myself entertained without stepping on anyone’s toes, dreading having to go out in public and play Emilia but looking forward to it nonetheless because I had something to do.
After doing my hair and makeup and getting dressed in an outfit I had actually brought with me, I headed back downstairs and found that the kitchen and living room were empty, as were a couple of the other downstairs rooms. I didn’t want to head back upstairs and go poking around in all the rooms looking for Linda or Garth, hoping one of them would entertain me or suggest how it I do it myself. I peaked outside and saw Emilia had pulled a lawn chair onto grass and was sunning herself in a barely there bikini, which I assumed was to maximize exposure to the sun and wasn’t something she often wore to the beach. Though with Emilia you could never be sure.
I slid open the door and stepped onto the patio. When Buster heard the door open, he lifted his head and started thumping his tail but he didn’t move from his spot in the shade of Emilia’s chair. If Emilia heard my approach she didn’t let on, remaining motionless with her head tilted toward the sun, her face hidden behind huge designer sunglasses. For a minute, I stood there awkwardly a few paces away from her, unsure of what to say or why I had even come out here at all.
Obviously Emilia was thinking the same thing because she finally spoke. “What do you want?” There was no kindness or actual interest in her voice, just a question and a bit of exhaustion.
“Just wondering what you were up to.” I answered and before she could fire off a ‘what does it look like?’ type answer, I added, “I couldn’t find Linda or Garth or anyone inside.”
Emilia didn’t say anything, just shifted her head slightly so that she was angled more in my direction. “You’re not going to get any sun dressed like that.” She remarked, taking in my jeans and tee-shirt. “Don’t you know that skirts are required California attire?”
“It’s on my list of things to pick up for total assimilation.” I replied, though I had to admit the air was all ready heavy and hot despite the fact that it wasn’t even noon yet.
There were several beats of silence and I wondered if we were always just going to converse in short bursts then go back to the understood silent treatment. Emilia seemed to be wondering the same thing because she remarked, “Are you just going to stand there watching me or what?”
I sat down in the grass rather than go through the trouble of dragging out another chair, suddenly glad for the jeans. Buster slid out from beneath the chair and started licking my hands and smacking me with his wagging tail. “So what do you do around here for fun?” I questioned. “Aside from bar hopping of course.” I smiled and wondered if she was still looking at me and knew that I was making a joke.
“Why? You want to highjack my daily activities too?” Emilia retorted.
I rolled my eyes and really hoped she could see my expression now. “That’s not what I’m trying to do Emilia.” I felt like I’d had this same conversation with her numerous times and she just wasn’t listening. It was just like Schapelle had said: paddling a canoe in a circle. “And if you’re so mad about me being here, why don’t you do something about it? Stop doing all this stupid crap and just do what your mom wants you to do. I’m sure if you straightened up I’d be out of here in a heart beat.” I had the feeling that this was true, that I wasn’t just throwing this out to make Emilia feel better and wondered if I would still hear from Linda and Emilia when I went back home.
Emilia frowned and turned her head so she was looking skyward once more. “Maybe I don’t always want to do what she wants me to do, ever think about that?” She snapped back.
Again, I rolled my eyes. “No one ever wants to do everything their parents want them to.” I pointed out, thinking back on all the times I had ignored my dad and Beverly and used the whole ‘I didn’t hear you’ excuse that Luke was perfecting. “But is it really worth all this? If you just listened to Linda, you wouldn’t even be having to deal with me at all.” I pointed out. I wondered if Linda hadn’t decided to get me involved in this whole ordeal if Emilia and I ever would have met or if she would have just gone through her entire life completely oblivious to the fact that she had a twin sister.
Emilia exhaled in frustration. “I wish everyone would just stay out of my business and let me do what I want.” I’d heard those same words come out of the mouths of everyone I knew at school, which only reaffirmed my belief that Emilia was just going through a typical case of teenage angst. “I still sing don’t I? I still sell CDs and tickets and tee shirts don’t I?”
“Not the way I hear it.” I replied and I could see Emilia’s brow furrow around her sunglasses. I wondered if she was actually listening to what I was saying or if she was just letting my words go in one ear and out the other. Well I really didn’t care if she was listening to me or not; if she wanted to go out and get drunk every night, it really didn’t matter to me.
Except that suddenly it did matter. And I didn’t know if it was because she was my sister or because of what Schapelle had said, about how Emilia’s antics looked badly on me now because I was trying to make a good impression and get people to like me/Emilia and she was just wrecking the whole thing and making Emilia look very bipolar. Whenever I talked to someone or smiled at them I wondered if they would thinking about whether I was faking the whole thing or if I was genuine. Emilia was doing best to make sure that nothing about…us was genuine. And I couldn’t help but think about Joshua now that Schapelle had put that idea into my head. What was he thinking about this whole thing? I doubted he was very happy with Emilia’s behavior, given his reportedly very Christian upbringing and I wasn’t exactly like I could explain it away with a ‘that wasn’t me.’ I wished that we’d exchanged phone numbers last night so I could try and talk to him about what happened but I was at his mercy now and had to wait until he contacted me again. If he contacted me again.
Emilia didn’t seem to be in the mood to talk anymore and I definitely wasn’t in the mood to sit outside in the heat and stare at my moody sister. I got to my feet and brushed the grass and dog hair off my jeans and as I turned to head back into the house I heard Emilia say, “Shopping.”
I paused and turned back to face her. “What?” Maybe she was trying to have one of those mental-twin conversations with me and I was only catching the tail end.
“That’s what I do around here for fun.” Emilia replied with the exasperation of someone explaining something to a small child. “I go shopping. Or to the beach but obviously that’s out of the question.”
I glanced down at myself and thought about snappishly assuring her I owned more than this outfit but decided to try and keep things as cordial as possible. “Thanks, I’ll have to check it out.” I started toward the house but quickly stopped and turned back to face her. “Unless you wanted to-”
Emilia waved a dismissive hand. “I’m now officially on house arrest. Mom took my phone, my wallet, my credit cards, my ID, the car keys, the whole shebang.” Not that I really thought that all that stuff would stop Emilia if she really got it into her head that she wanted to go out but for the time being at least she seemed to be taking matters seriously and I figured that was good enough for now. “So you go, have a great time, live my life.” She tilted her head back toward the sun and seemed content to be done with the conversation.
Though I was tempted, I decided not to say anything to her about her last comment and figured that if she was trying to bait me, I wasn’t going to bite. Not this time at least.
I went back inside and rummaged through my temporary closet and suitcase until I found the bathing suit I knew that I had thrown into the pile of clothes I had lugged all the way across the country. I put on a sundress that I’d bought with Jordan in October when all the summer stuff had been on sale and that I hadn’t had a chance to wear yet and mentally congratulated myself on actually having a pair of shoes that matched almost perfectly. When I looked through my purse and wallet to make sure that I had everything I would need for a shopping spree (more like browsing spree, given the fact that my salary back home and the prices of the boutiques out here didn’t exactly add up) I realized that most of my money was on my debit card, which didn’t have Emilia’s name on it and couldn’t help but wonder if my shopping spree was about to become nothing more than a trip down to the beach.
When I went downstairs once more, Linda was standing in the kitchen, dressed in what looked like a very expensive jogging suit and nursing a glass of water. I wondered if she’d gone for a run around the neighborhood but knowing this house, there was probably a home gym tucked in one of the rooms somewhere. When Linda saw me she smiled what seemed to be a genuine smile (a nice change from this morning) and gestured for me to join her by the kitchen island. “Good to see that you’re planning on taking advantage of your day off.” She remarked, setting down her water glass and taking in my appearance. “Going to the beach?”
“I was thinking about it and maybe doing a little window shopping.” I replied.
Linda smiled and shook her head. “Honey, you’re supposed to be Emilia, remember?” How could I forget. “Emilia doesn’t window shop.”
Well I wish we all had that problem. “Emilia also doesn’t have the cash flow problem that Scout does.” It wasn’t exactly like I was rolling in the money back in Little Paris.
But Linda only smiled once more. “Remember when we went to Madison’s and Clare was happy to give us those outfits for free? And how she gave you that dress? Well, it’s like that in most stores.” I stared at her, hoping that I wasn’t misunderstanding her meaning. “Emilia’s like a walking advertisement, all the owners want is a few pictures of Emilia browsing the racks and walking out with a bag with their name on it and they’re more than happy to indulge her.”
Only now they would be indulging me. “And Emilia wants to give that up why?” I questioned, incredulous. The fact that I could just walk into a store a pick out an outfit and pay only with the promise that I’d wear it where people would notice made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning, trying to figure out which presents to open first. There were so many stores I’d read about in magazines, so many places I’d always dreamed of visited but had always known that I would never be able to afford the shopping bags. But now it seemed as though my genetics weren’t such an awful thing after all, seeing as my appearance was the only ticket I needed to that dream spending spree.