It occurred to me as I drifted off to sleep that I didn’t leave you with any excerpts to demonstrate the relationship that Emily has with Shayla and Jessica. I was so caught up in what those characters mean to me I forgot. So, to pull you back from reality and into the story again, here are a couple of dialog exchanges that will give you an idea about the dynamic between Emily, Shayla and Jessica.
First, to set the scene, this exchange is in the beginning of Call Me Emily. Emily is preparing for her first day at University as well as settling into her new apartment. It’s late afternoon, and following a long day of orientation, Emily slips into the bath.
Putting the Past Behind Me
I heard the phone ring.
I grabbed the edge of my bath towel to dry my hands and reached for the phone.
“Hello,” I said groggily.
“Don’t you call back your best friend?”
“Jess, hey! I’m sorry I was just about to.”
“Yeah, likely story. Were you already sleeping you lazy lump? It’s like five o’clock,” she said.
“No, taking a bath. I was just thinking of all the things I want to do to this apartment.”
“Why, what’s wrong with it? I’m sure it’s a lovely shade of white,” Jessica joked.
“Exactly. You know I can’t stand boring for a second. This place won’t feel like home until I add some of my own touches.”
“And for you that means more than the average college student.”
“Jess, you do know me.” I said.
“Of course I do silly,” she said.
“So tell me, how are things? How’s the weather up there?” I asked.
“Oh it’s fine, cold though. But since classes started, I’m getting used to it.” She said.
“So you met him, huh?” I asked knowing exactly what she would say. I had known Jessica since grammar school. She was settling in fast which meant only one thing.
“What are you talking about Emily?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. You met someone. So spill it. I’ll need all the details, thank you.”
“Ok, so there is this one guy,” she said.
“Go on,” I made a circular gesture with my hand even though I knew she couldn’t see me.
“I met him in my sociology class. He’s a veterinarian medicine major.”
“And what about the rest of him?” I asked. I know it was shallow, but come on, everyone wants to know.
“Oh, well, not like that’s the most important thing. But, he’s tall, with kind of sandy blond hair and yes…a cute butt.”
I smiled to myself thinking about Jessica flirting with a guy. She was kind of shy but she never had trouble finding the nice ones. Apparently the shy thing worked for her.
“I’m so glad you met someone. That’s great,” I said.
“So, what about you?” I knew she was asking if I’d met any guys. But, she asked with a slight hesitation.
“Yeah, she’s kind of short with blond curly hair and she’s from Michigan.”
“Cute Em, that’s not what I meant.”
“I know. No, I haven’t met any guys,” I said, exasperated.
“You’re still coming home for Thanksgiving aren’t you?” she asked changing the subject from guys. Thank you Jess.
In this scene, Emily goes back to the Valley for Thanksgiving break. She’s home only minutes when Jessica and Shayla arrive.
Home for Thanksgiving
“So, I’m sure you kids want to catch up to your friends, but be sure to be home for dinner.”
“Sure Mom.” I knew she missed us and I wouldn’t miss dinner with her for anything. At the same time, I knew Jessica would be in town and probably Shayla too. I couldn’t wait to see them. I looked around and ran my tongue across my teeth. I needed to clean up before I saw anyone. “You know what Mom? I feel scummy from such a long drive. I think I’ll take a bath. Do you mind?”
“Go ahead honey,” she hugged me and added a little kiss on my cheek. “It’s good to have you home,” she smiled, holding my shoulders. She switched gears quickly yelling for my brothers. I took that as a good indicator that I could slip into a hot tub without being bothered. I grabbed some jeans and a tee-shirt and retreated to the bathroom. Passing the linen closet, I grabbed a washcloth and towel and locked the bathroom door behind me. As I inched my way into the piping hot tub, I thought about my week ahead. I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family. It was good to be home. I yawned and closed my eyes letting the hot water seep in and surround me. Just as I thought I could easily drift off to sleep, I was startled with a knock at the door.
“Guys, I’m in the tub,” I shouted without opening my eyes.
“It’s not your brothers!” a voice shouted back at me.
“So let us in,” said a second voice.
“Jess? Shayla? Grab the key above the door.” We kept the key there in case my little brother locked himself in; as he used to do. I quickly got out of the tub and wrapped myself in a towel.
“Hey Em! You didn’t have to get out,” Shayla said with a smirk. Jessica just smiled at me.
“No big deal. I just needed a quick soak.” We gave them each a quick hug. “How did you know I was here?” I asked perplexed by their quick arrival.
“Please, Brad saw you guys drive by and called me.” Shayla’s cousin could always be counted on to keep the town up on its gossip.
“So what are your plans while you’re home?” Jessica asked putting one of her fingers to her chin.
“No real plans. My mom wants me home for dinner tonight. But other than that, I’m free. What’s up?”
“So, she won’t mind if we steal you?” Shayla asked.
“No, we don’t have anything going. What do you want to do?” I couldn’t wait to fall back into hanging with Jessica and Shayla. I really missed them. I wanted to find out how they were doing in school, how it was going with Jessica’s new guy, and how all the gang was.
The three of us took off shortly after that. A bunch of people we knew were getting together in town at the coffee shop. There were a few people I would love to see and a few I wouldn’t mind avoiding, but that was another story.
As we drove out of the valley I watched the blur of the pasture fences, the occasional farmhouse and the mountains in the distance. Everything passed my vision like a slideshow. It was fall now, and the valley looked different than when I left it, but still every bump and turn mixed with the scent of fresh, damp hay smelled like home. I felt myself sigh and my chest tighten. I don’t think I bargained for how much I would think of Christian.