Emma woke with a start. She had clearly been under more pressure than what she had thought, because she’d just had a very crazy nightmare in which Lily, under the pretense of wanting to get back together, lured Emma straight into a trap. A trap, Mary Margaret had orchestrated. She had forced Emma back into her old nursery, and then she had slammed and locked the door behind Emma, claiming that she only wanted to do what was best for Emma.
In the dream, Emma had pounded frantically on the door to get out. The walls had closed in around her, and that was what had woken her. The result was a pounding heart and panting gasps.
Emma blinked a couple of times and tried to tell herself that she was safe. She was on her way away from Toronto and Mary Margaret. Her adoptive mother didn’t even know where she was. Everything was fine.
She blinked once more; her contacts felt a bit wonky after having slept. She could go to the bathroom and take them out. She could replace them with her glasses. Sometimes it was more practical to wear glasses than contacts. As things slowly became less blurry, Emma noticed that the brunette sitting across her was looking at her. She was frowning in concern, and Emma was willing to bet her few money that she had made some sort of noise of distress in her sleep.
“Hi,” Emma said awkwardly and slightly embarrassed.
The brunette raised an eyebrow, and then she whipped out her phone from her purse. After a few seconds of tapping away, she turned the screen, so it was facing Emma. Emma leaned in slightly to see the message written on the screen. ‘Is everything okay?’
Emma nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bit of a bad dream that’s all.”
The brunette nodded in an “oh” manner as she slipped the phone back into her purse.
Emma leaned back in her seat again. She should probably look at the stunning view drifting past the window, but instead she found herself looking at the brunette. She had taken her trench coat off. She was wearing a pencil skirt, a neat, cream colored blouse. Emma could see the top of a camisole peak out underneath it. The brunette was still wearing the silk scarf around her neck, and yes, maybe Emma had recently been dumped and was mending a broken heart, but she wasn’t blind either. Jesus Christ, she’s gorgeous. Really, it would be stranger if Emma didn’t notice it. Then Emma realized that the brunette was glancing back at her, and Emma was quick to flash her a smile and then avert her eyes. She didn’t want to be caught staring. She turned her attention to the stunning view outside her window, but out of the corner of her eye she saw the brunette woman reach within her large purse once more and to Emma’s surprise, she whipped out a thermos and a cup. Emma almost chuckled. Talk about packing everything.
The brunette popped the lid off the thermos and poured herself a cup of coffee. The smell immediately attacked Emma’s nostrils. Mmm, coffee. She hadn’t had any coffee this morning. She had been much too busy running around and throwing clothing into her backpack and then getting the hell out of the door before Mary Margaret found out that she was skipping town.
Emma realized that she was staring the brunette’s cup of coffee down, and she quickly turned her attention back to the window. But she wasn’t fast enough. Soon she picked up on the sound it made as slim fingers lightly tapped the table between them. Emma looked up again. The brunette had leaned forward once more, and once certain she had Emma’s attention, she lightly pointed to her thermos and then back to Emma.
Emma wanted to be sure that she understood the brunette’s intention correctly, so she said: “are you asking me if I want to have a cup of coffee?”
The brunette nodded and then she found her phone in her purse once more. Tapped on the screen for a few seconds and then turned the screen towards Emma. The blonde quickly leaned forward and read the message: ‘yes, exactly. I’m sorry for pointing at you.’
Emma chuckled lightly. “That’s alright, and yeah, I’d kill for a cup of coffee right now.”
The brunette offered a little smile, and then she thrusted one hand inside her purse. She whipped out a second cup and poured Emma a solid cup of coffee. After having slid the cup of coffee towards Emma, she tapped a new message on her phone and then turned the screen towards Emma.
Emma chuckled a bit as she read the message. ‘Sorry I don’t have milk or sugar.’
“That’s fine,” Emma assured. “I prefer my coffee black anyway. Thank you.”
The brunette offered another smile. And a rather beautiful one too. The sight went straight to Emma’s belly, and she took a too large sip of her hot coffee and coughed slightly.
The brunette raised an eyebrow but didn’t react in any other way as she leaned back in her seat with her coffee and book. She had already read a good chunk of it, Emma noted.
Emma too leaned back in her seat and took a smaller sip of her coffee. She tried not to stare at the brunette. She didn’t want to come across as creepy, but truthfully, Emma was intrigued about the beautiful brunette sitting across her. And especially about the brunette’s way of communicating. Could she be deaf? Emma considered it. Yes, maybe. But didn’t I make some sort of noise in my sleep? Yeah. I’m pretty sure I did. And she heard that. That’s why she was looking at me when I opened my eyes. Emma reconsidered. She knew that deafness didn’t necessarily have anything to do with your speech. But she also knew that there were deaf people who preferred not to speak. At least not with their voices. That could be the case here.
Emma once again reminded herself that she was staring at a complete stranger. That’s a creepy thing to do, Swan. Stop it.
But it was pretty fucking hard not to. Not when her “travelling companion” happened to be a pretty fucking gorgeous woman. Emma shook her head. Damnit, Swan. You and your thing for brunettes. Why couldn’t it be redheads? Or blondes? Or anything that doesn’t make you the creepy person who stares at the woman across you.
The brunette didn’t seem to notice, though. After a while of reading, she slipped a bookmark in between the pages, closed the book and then roamed through her purse. A moment later, she had found a lipstick and a little mirror in her purse. Emma tried not to watch as the brunette carefully reapplied her red lipstick and frowned at her own reflection. In Emma’s humble opinion, the brunette had absolutely nothing to frown about. Jesus Christ, she’s stunning.
The brunette slipped the lipstick back in her purse. Emma took a sip of her coffee and finally turned her head to look out of the window. That was what she was here to. Admire the stunning view outside. Not stare the poor woman in the other seat down like this. You’re being weird, Swan.
But Emma didn’t get the chance to admire the mountains outside for long. Soon she felt her phone going off in her pocket. Reminding herself that it could be Ella calling her, Emma wrestled the phone out of her pocket and checked who was calling her.
It wasn’t Ella.
Emma suffocated a sigh. She should have known. Of course it was Mary Margaret calling her. Again. After a while she gave up, but the phone quickly vibrated again, telling Emma that her adoptive mother had just left a message on her voicemail. Emma grinded her teeth as she brought the phone up to her ear to check the message. She knew that it probably was stupid, exposing herself to Mary Margaret’s garbage, but there was a small part of her that kept hoping that it would be different this time. That this would be the time where Mary Margaret called and apologized.
No such luck.
This message was basically just Mary Margaret screeching into her ear. She had somehow manipulated the caretaker in the block of apartments where Emma lived to use his key to get into Emma’s apartment. She was good, Emma would have to give her that. She had probably come up with a long sob story to the caretaker about how she was concerned about Emma’s wellbeing, and being the good guy the caretaker was, he couldn’t resist helping.
And now Mary Margaret was throwing a fit because Emma wasn’t in her apartment. “I came in and found the place completely abandoned, and I can see that your backpack and some of your clothes are missing, Emma Blanchard-Nolan! Where are you?! You can’t just run away like this, Emma!”
Emma scoffed a little. Actually, I can. I’m twenty seven. I’ve been an adult for a while now.
Mary Margaret’s rambling continued in the message: “If you don’t contact me or come home within three days, I have no choice but to call the police, Emma!”
Emma actually laughed out loud as she switched her phone off and slipped it back into her pocket. And tell them what, exactly? That your grown ass twenty seven year old daughter skipped town? Good luck convincing the police to go and look for me. But despite laughing out loud, Emma felt annoyed. And it wasn’t really because Mary Margaret had called and dumped her shit on the blonde’s voicemail, Emma was used to that. No, it was three specific words Mary Margaret had said that annoyed her.
Emma Blanchard-Nolan. The blonde’s jaw clenched. Another sign of how controlling Mary Margaret was. Emma had changed her last name to Swan when she was twenty one. And obviously, Mary Margaret had thrown a fit when she found out. She had even tried to go behind Emma’s back and change her name back to Blanchard-Nolan, but she hadn’t succeeded. But she still called Emma “Blanchard-Nolan”.
Of course she did. Emma probably shouldn’t feel provoked by this, but oh, how she did! She was sick and tired of being harassed by Mary Margaret. It sounded horrible, but sometimes Emma genuinely wished that she never had been adopted. At least not by Mary Margaret and David.
Emma took a sip of her coffee. It wasn’t as scorching hot anymore, and it tasted good. Actually it was very good. Is this some kind of expensive brand? Emma deemed that it very well could be. The brunette had that classy, expensive look going on. It was only natural that her coffee was expensive too.
As Emma leaned back in her seat, she wondered what business the brunette had in Vancouver. It didn’t take long for Emma to imagine that the brunette was on her way to something important. A business meeting or something like that. She definitely looked like the business type. Maybe she owned a company or something like that. She could be a CEO or something like that. In charge of some major company. Emma had no problem with imagining that. The brunette definitely looked like she had a plan with this trip. A purpose. She wasn’t just running away like Emma was.
The blonde grinned a little. She still couldn’t quite believe that she was on her way.
Whether you wanted to remain in your seat and eat the lunch you had brought with you, or head into the dining room and eat with the other train passengers, was optional, so Emma chose to stay seated and eat the sandwich she had packed earlier this morning. The sandwich was a bit dry, but Emma preferred this instead of heading down to the dining area.
The brunette didn’t leave her seat either. But she didn’t have any lunch. Maybe she wasn’t the type who ate lunch. Emma had no problem with imagining that either. Sometimes you could just tell whether someone was the type who had lunch or not, and the brunette definitely struck Emma as someone who ate lunch.
But there were different rules when it came to dinner. It wasn’t optional whether you wanted to head into the dining area. You had to. That was the only way you could get something to eat. Emma groaned quietly as she rose from her seat and went into the hallway. The brunette had left a few minutes earlier, so Emma had to battle the horde of people alone. She quickly lost count of how many times she said “excuse me” as she pushed her way through the crowd. And even quicker, she lost count over how many times a child ran straight into her legs or pushed to squeeze past her. Emma was fully on board with the fact that the kids were hungry and tired of sitting down, but no way she was gonna abandon her place in the queue just because of that. She didn’t care how many shoves she received.
“Watch it,” she said a bit tightly when a child tried to push past her again. Her patience was wearing thin, and she only just managed to smile when the mother flashed her an apologetic look.
Seriously, people have to stop pushing! Emma suddenly developed elbows of steel as she pushed past the crowd, and she was merciless when the kids tried to weasel their way in front of her. Maybe it was petty, but Emma was hungry, and nothing and nobody could come between her and food! That sandwich she’d had for lunch had been so dry. It had almost been impossible to chew properly.
“Be careful!” Emma said as another child pushed at the back of her legs.
“Jordan, don’t push the lady!” the child’s mother said, and Emma suffocated a dry chuckle. Lady. That had to be the first time someone had referred to her as a “lady”.
“Sorry,” Jordan said without sounding very sorry. “She’s standing in the way, mommy!”
“No, she’s not honey,” the mother said tiredly. “She came before us. We have to wait, alright?”
“But I’m hungry!”
Yeah, me too, kid. Me too, Emma thought to herself, and her stomach growled in agreement. Wait... Did I forget to eat breakfast this morning?
Yep. She did. She was much too busy to get out of the door.
Emma finally reached the dining area, and the second she stepped inside, she dearly wished that she hadn’t.
The place was utter chaos. Children running around everywhere, and waiters and waitresses trying their best to navigate around while they took people’s orders. Every last table in here was taken. No, that was an exaggeration. There were tables available, but all of them were placed far too close to a family of six. Mother, father and four screaming children. The youngest was a baby, and the other three were yelling and throwing French fries at each other while the father tried to get them to sit still. Emma couldn’t imagine a worse fate than having to sit next to them.
But it sure looked like she had no choice. All the other tables were occupied. Except for....
It didn’t take her long to spot the brunette woman. She was sitting at a table all by herself. A table for two. Normally, Emma wasn’t one for approaching people directly, but she felt as though she already had some sort of established connection with this woman, and honestly, Emma was desperate. She really, really didn’t want to sit close to the noisy family. So she made a quick decision and strode over to the brunette’s table.
The brunette looked up when Emma approached, and Emma flashed her a little smile as she asked: “can I sit here?”
The brunette nodded once.
“Thanks,” Emma said gratefully as she plopped down on the chair. “I don’t mean to sound bitchy, but that family over there...”
The brunette cracked a brief smile at that remark.
Emma had barely found a comfortable sitting position when a waiter came over to their table and sat a plate full of food and a glass of water down in front of the brunette.
“There we go, one roast and potatoes. Are you sure you don’t want a glass of wine to go with it?”
The brunette shook her head once.
“Alright then.” the waiter turned his attention to Emma. “And what can I get for you?”
“Oh, uhm...” Emma quickly glanced at the menu, but knowing that the waiter was standing there and waiting for her to make up her mind made her nervous, so she ended up blurting out: “I’ll have what she’s having. Roast and potatoes.”
“Alrighty,” the waiter said. “And can I interest you in a glass of wine?”
Emma had actually planned on ordering water, but since this was an “all inclusive” ticket, why not live a little for once?
“Yeah. A glass of wine sounds good,” she said. “Red, please.”
“Coming right up,” the waiter said and then he left their table.
Emma leaned back in her chair. She looked around in the dining area and rolled her eyes a little. The children were still throwing French fries at each other, and the mother was gesturing angrily. She was clearly trying (and failing) to calm them down. Emma frowned. Wow, I really hope they’re not gonna sleep close to me. I’m actually counting on getting some sleep tonight. For once.
Looking at those kids made her mood turn sour, and Emma was grateful when a slight clatter made her turn her attention elsewhere. The brunette had just picked up her knife and fork and was now in the process of cutting her meat into smaller bits. Then she elegantly speared one of the pieces and brought it up to her mouth. Emma was sort of fascinated. She had always envied people who were able to look graceful when they were eating. And this brunette certainly was. Emma almost chuckled as she looked down at her hands. To her, it had never been about eating gracefully. It had more been about getting some food as fast as possible. Emma was chronically hungry. A bottomless pit, as Ella once teasingly had told her.
Ella. Emma reminded herself to call or text said blonde later today. She had promised her that. Emma instantly felt a little guilty. She wasn’t very good at remembering to do important stuff. Like calling her friends regularly. Maybe that’s why you’ve got so few friends, Swan. You forget to keep in touch with them. Seriously, she would have to get better at that. And soon.
That was when another clatter reached her ears. Emma looked up once more. This clatter had been somewhat louder. Not loud enough to disturb anyone, but loud enough for Emma to notice.
The brunette had put her knife and fork down. And abruptly it seemed. There was still a piece of meat speared on the fork. But Emma didn’t pay much attention to the fork. She was paying more attention to the brunette and the obvious pained expression on her beautiful face. Emma watched surprised and slightly concerned as the brunette grimaced, and she didn’t even think twice before she asked: “are you okay?”
The brunette tapped her throat lightly in response.
“You got something stuck in your throat?” Emma guessed.
The brunette shook her head and tapped her silk covered throat again. She still looked as though she was in pain.
“Your throat hurts?” Emma asked.
The brunette nodded once, and then she roamed through her purse. When her hand appeared again, she was holding onto a glass of pills. She was still cringing when she popped the lid off and tilted the pill bottle slightly, making a little white pill slide into her palm.
Emma tried not to stare as the brunette popped the pill into her mouth and then downed it with lots of water. But her concern got the best of her, and once she was certain that the brunette had swallowed, she asked: “I’m not trying to be nosey or irritating, but are you alright?”
The brunette nodded and flashed Emma a teeny tiny smile. Then she resumed her dinner like nothing had happened.
Emma was puzzled, but before she could say or do anything, the waiter appeared at their table with her portion of roast and potatoes, and her glass of wine.
As soon as he had left the table again, Emma grabbed onto her glass of wine. She raised it and said: “cheers.”
The brunette immediately looked up, returned the smile and then raised her own glass, clinking it with Emma’s.
Her smile made Emma feel comfortable, but at the same time, she felt a little bad. When she boarded this train, all she had wished for was some peace and quiet. And now she was travelling with a woman who seemingly couldn’t speak. Maybe it was ridiculous, but Emma felt sort of guilty about her wish now. God damnit, universe! This was not what I meant....
To Be Continued............