Emma had longed for her independence for quite some time. But she soon realized that an empty house without nagging, without feets running, without scolding also were a house without laughter, joy and harmony. At some cases it almost felt like there were ghosts living in the walls. Some nights she could swear she could hear her mother singing or father humming in the garden. She could wake up in the middle of the night and swear there was something or someONE in her room… After several weeks of not being able to sleep properly she decided to take drastic measures. Emma had never believed in ghosts, so to hire a medium was out of the question. Instead she did the next best thing: She bulldozed her entire childhood home to the ground!
After the re-make of both herself and her family home she was forced to put in some extra shifts at work . Still the money were almost always tight. As a matter of fact there were times when she almost ended up loosing her precious electricity due to an unpayed bill. But she was saved in the 11th hour by a raving customer from a side-job she had done and the royalties from a plugin she had created. Still, she could almost here the echo in her wallet, so when her computer broke down she had to make sure that she could fix it herself or be out of a job. She choose the first option….
On the few free hours of leasure she treated herself to she more often than not let herself go completly. As a teenager she had discovered how easy it was to manipulate and to get compliments from the other sex. She never truly understood why a gaming-chick seemed to be so attractive. But the men seemed to gather around her like bees around honey. At the beginning she got a huge ego-boost from this, althought these feelings dvindled eventually.
There were Max….
….and then there were Ashton, the bartender at the internet cafe´Emma usually camped out at. Ash seemed to be a really nice guy. Apparently he just moon-lighted as a bartender while he studied to become a personal trainer and a fitness instructor. Emma did not mind, not at all that his body was lean and he had lips sweet as cotton candy. He really knew how to treat a lady! Still she felt oddly indifferent to his wooing. Sometimes she wondered if it was something wrong with her? Why could she not love him as he deserved? Was she incapable of love?
She even went so far in her search for love that she tried to kiss a girl. She had seen how deeply in love her brother and his husband Robin was. Fredrik worshipped the ground Robin was walking on and although he these day had a successful career as a physician at the local hospital he always made sure that he had time to come home to Robin and their adoptive daughter Linnea. Always. Maybe that could be for her as well?
The girl she kissed was called Sofia. They had met at the library when Emma had tried to investigate some data for new plugin she was creating. They had instantly hit it of and it was like they had known each other forever. But just as freinds. That Emma knew for certain. Still, when they jokingly started to debate who was the best kisser, Emma was not late to jump on the challenge. They kissed, and her kiss tasted like pepper mind: Fresh and tingling, but nothing more.
As days passed and became weeks Emma’s restlessness grew and as she started to drown herself in even more work to be able to ignore her aching heart. She knew people were talking, but she really did not care. A girl had the right to have fun, right? At some point her kissing the boy stopped giving her the gratification and relief she needed and her dating became more bold and physical. These days, more often than not she and her date ended up at her place, in her bed….
One afternoon though everything changed. On her way home she ran into her sister.
–Linn! Hi! Are you home? It has been aaaages! Why did you not tell me you were back? She gave her sister a fond and warm hugg.
–I basicly just landed sis, so don’t you worry. I was on my way over to you. But you know how car-sick I get when I sit on a bus. So I decided to combine pleasure with some good training.
Emma stood silent for a while just looking at her sister. Linn had always been beutiful although at some point growing up she had a very hard time believing it due to a low self-esteem. But now she stood tall, proud and held her ground. There were also a inner glow of serenity and selfassured groundedness that Emma knew could not purely be attributed to her time at the police academy.
–And Sean, is he here to? she asked in a casual but obviously insinuating tone. And it was then it happened and she knew! Her sister blushed!
–Well, we have actually been going steady for a few months now. We have even been talking about moving back here so I can start my intern-ship at WCPD. We are thinking of either moving back here to Willow Creek or to Newscrest. It has not been decided yet.
–Wow! That was amazing news! You know what? Why don´t you two come over for dinner tonight and invite Fredrik and Robin too so we can at least try to catch up?
-Sounds like a plan! And Em, I even might have a surprise guest for you.
-Nooooo! Don’t you dare! Don’t you even dare! But Linn only looked back at her with big innocent eyes….
The dinner might not have been a gourmet dinner, but it was still a raving success! They ate and talked, laughed and remembered their parents and childhood all in one go. Emma got to reaquaint herself with her niece Linnea again and that was a really treat. The girl truly had a temper, but the head on her shoulders were filled with the most amazing ideas. Emma felt really curious about where the world would take this young girl.
But mostly she felt blessed beeing surrounded with so much love. Fredrik and Robin was like an old couple (although not old) fondly teasing each other and showing a general physical affection towards each other. Linn and Sean was quite the opposite. The attraction between them was so real and solid that it almost felt like you could cut it with a knife. But their emotions were still so fresh and fragile as if the slightest wrong move or word would break the illusion all together. So they did not say much, but their eyes and body language spoke volumes instead. Emma was genuinely happy for the four of them, but she also felt a sharp thorn of jealousy. Why was it that she never seemed to be able to catch whatever infatuation they seemed to suffer from?
The surprise Linn had been talking about turned out to have been that she had run into Fredrick Lilja just before Emma and she had met. Freddy and Emma had been very close as children and had an of-and-on relationsip in their teens, but nothing really serious. Despite that, Linn said she found it only appropiate to give back to her sister the match-making she had done before. Emma could not really figure out if she was serious or not.
Emma did not feel like partying as they had done when they were younger, but if he wanted to come in and just talk that was OK too. So he came in and stayed for dinner.
The morning after she woke up with a smile on her lips for the first time in a long time. She and Fredrick had hada great time last night and she even had felt a tiny promising tingling and buzz between them as he bedded her proper as he had said.
But when she rolled over to kiss him good morning his side of the bed was empty besides a small note:
Thank you for last night. It was nice. Got to go, people to see things to do you know.
Nice??? NICE? Emma was fuming inside. How dared he? Screw him. But she also cried in the inside because she felt abandoned and useless. She had started to hope. This time she had actually started to allow herself to believe that this would become something different. How wrong she had been! She vowed to herself to never ever put herself in the same position again. Never, ever!
As days passed she actually managed to put everything behind her. She worked harder than ever. Pressed herself for long hours and got the promotion to show for it. But a few weeks later it started to dawn on her that her night with Fredrick Lilja might have gotten more consequenses than a broken heart.