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The Norling Case

Chapter Text

When the morning came, both of them tried their best to pretend like everything was normal. But with little success – the drive to the bakery felt as awkward as the first time. When Magnus dropped Emelie off, they only uttered quiet goodbyes and parted ways.

Of course the entire town heard about what happened in the supermarket last night. It was all over the local newspaper, radio and even the television. And of course Miss Löfgren put all the things into perspective and realised that the young victim of a psychopath who was long thought to be dead was Emelie. The moment she entered the bakery, her boss flew over to her, ranting about how she should have told her sooner, that she would have let her stay at home until the creep was dealt with. Emelie, startled by her sudden outburst, only stood in her spot, holding the doorknob and letting the cold morning air inside.

Naturally, Sandra noticed the noise and came to the front, immediately joining Miss Löfgren in her yelling. Emelie knew that they meant well, but still, her throat tightened and she had to bite her lip in order to not start crying. They noticed, immediately starting apologise frantically. Sandra hugged her tightly, whispering an apology for making fun of her the first day she came back.

Once Emelie got over the shock of being surrounded by the two women, the day went considerably smoother. Around three in the afternoon, Linda stopped by. Just like when Kavita came to visit, Sandra called her to the front and took her place in the kitchen.

Linda rushed over to her, pulling her into a hug.

"I heard what happened yesterday," she said. "I'm so glad it's over for you."

"So am I," Emelie mumbled as she returned the hug. "Do you want to sit down?"

"Sure, why not?" Linda agreed, letting Emelie lead her to one of the tables. "Are you okay?"

"Never better," she smiled bitterly, remembering the tiny circle shaped bruises on her chest and the big one on her hip where Jens had held her. Linda reached for her hands and squeezed them a little.

They were both silent for a moment, then Linda asked: "I know it's probably still fresh, but what are you going to do now?"

"I wish I knew," Emelie chuckled.

"Maybe you and Magnus could... you know..." Linda winked.

"Yeah, that's the thing," Emelie sighed, rubbing her eyes.

"Excuse me?" Linda raised her eyebrows. "You-"

"No, God, no!" Emelie shook her head frantically, her cheeks turning red.

"Then what are you talking about?" Linda frowned.

"H-he... he kissed me. Yesterday. Well, I guess it was today already because it was like three in the morning, but-"

"He did what now?" Linda exclaimed. Emelie quickly shushed her, not wanting to turn the attention of the entire bakery to them. As she noticed a few heads turning in their direction, she hid her face in her hands and put her elbows on the table.

"And what did you do?" Linda wondered after a moment. "No, that's not the right question. What did you feel?" she corrected herself.

"I know I'm repeating myself, but I wish I knew!" Emelie replied, banging her head on the table. "I don't know! I didn't have the capacity to think about anything but the shit that's been happening since we met. I didn't... I couldn't... I never even imagined that he would..." she stuttered, fidgeting with her hands. "I mean, why would he? I'm just... I was just... was it pity maybe?"

"Hey, calm down," Linda told her, once again grabbing her hands. "What happened then? Did you, like, push him away?"

"I didn't," Emelie peeped.

"So you let him?" Linda asked and Emelie nodded. "Did you kiss back?"

"I did," Emelie admitted. "B-but he must have changed his mind."

"How come?" Linda tilted her head to the side.

"He... he broke it," Emelie explained. "And then he apologised and went to his room."

"That doesn't sound like he changed his mind," Linda pointed out. "Maybe he felt like he was being too pushy. Especially after what had just happened."

"What do I do?" Emelie looked at her hopelessly.

"Well," Linda began. "To me it sounds like you weren't too mad about it."

"Yeah, but-"

"Let me finish," Linda interrupted her with a smirk. "But you're not sure if you're... ready for that, you could say. Yeah? So here's what you'll do. It's gonna blow your mind. Ready?"

"Can you not do this?" Emelie pleaded.

"I'm afraid not," Linda chuckled. "So. You're gonna talk to him."

"And that's it?" Emelie frowned.

"Mind blown, right?" Linda smirked.

"Please, leave out the sass for now," Emelie groaned. "But I've never... had to talk about this sort of thing. How do I even bring it up?"

"How about hey, let's talk about yesterday?" Linda suggested. "It's not that hard."

"You think?" Emelie sighed. "I should get back to work now. Can I bring you anything? Coffee? Muffin?"

"Coffee would be great," Linda nodded. "Thanks."

Since it was Wednesday, the business was quite slow the whole afternoon, so Linda stayed there and whenever she had time, Emelie popped back to her to get some reassurance on Magnus. Linda always scoffed, repeating over and over again that it would be fine. Emelie couldn't help but worry.

When five o'clock approached and it was time to close the bakery, he walked in, his hands shoved deep in his pockets, looking uncertain. Linda's presence went completely past his senses. She took full advantage of that, sitting back in her chair with her arms folded on her chest, watching him as he stood in the middle of the café, quietly waiting for Emelie to notice him, which she did in just a few seconds.

"Hey," she greeted him, quickly glancing at Linda, who rolled her eyes.

"Hi," he replied, a shy smile on his face. "I was thinking that we could maybe... go for a walk?"

Emelie's face lit up with genuine excitement. After all, she was begging him for a walk for nearly two months like an impatient dog. "That sounds great," she said. "Let me just get my coat real quick."

"Of course," he nodded, obviously relieved.

"Hi, Magnus," Linda spoke up, startling him. "Congratulations on being a hero."

"Oh, hey, Linda," he replied. "Thanks, I, uh..."

Linda only laughed shortly, got up and left, waving at Emelie in the process. Emelie quickly finished cleaning the kitchen, said goodbye to both Miss Löfgren and Sandra, and joined Magnus' side.

"Where would you like to go?" he asked her as he held the door open for her.

"You know, I genuinely have no idea," she chuckled. "I didn't really have time to look around the town when I moved here and then... you know. Shit... happened. Yeah."

"We could go to the centre, the square is quite nice, and then down to the beach, around the chapel and back home if you'd like," he suggested.

"I'm in," she grinned. "Lead the way."

It was snowing quite heavily, but the wind was not that strong this time, which was definitely a lovely change. Everything was quiet and dark, very few people were out even though it was quite early. They walked through the streets in silence, none of them daring to speak up. Finally, Emelie built up the courage when they were nearing the beach.

"I'm not going," she said. She had figured out that it might be easier to just say that she wants to stay there rather than try to go back to the previous night directly.

"Sorry?" Magnus asked her, not really expecting her to speak so suddenly.

She took a deep breath, the cold air hurting in her throat. "I'm not going to Grindavík."

"Where are you going then?" he wondered.

"Nowhere. I'm staying, Magnus," she told him, praying with all her being that he hadn't changed his mind about it.

He stopped abruptly, finally looking her in the eyes. "Really?"

"Yeah... if you still want me to," she said, all her courage gone. She even had her fingers crossed in her pockets.

"I do. I... really want you," he nodded frantically. "To stay, I mean," he added. "I want you to stay."

Emelie chuckled, the weight on her chest crumbling away. "Great," she mumbled to herself, making Magnus laugh a little.

"Yeah..." he breathed, the little cloud of steam looking like a speech bubble. They looked at each other for a moment and then resumed walking, their hearts beating harder and faster for seemingly no reason, tiny smiles on their faces.

As they walked to the beach, Emelie shyly hooked her arm with his, then put her hand back into her pocket. Magnus looked at her, his smile widening so much it made tiny wrinkles form around his eyes. Emelie felt his gaze on her, looked up, and seeing his expression, she chuckled and laid her head on his shoulder.