Ethan and Emily…and Joel

I’ve introduced all the characters in Call Me Emily. Stay with me because there are more, really fun characters to read about in Emily Calls It. But that’s a later blog post.

For now, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt. In the first book, Call Me Emily, Ethan, Emily’s brother feels a little guilty he hasn’t helped his sister get acquainted with southern California. Out of obligation, he invites her to the movies. The following passage gives you insight into Emily and Ethan’s relationship. It also gives you a glimpse of what’s to come between Emily and Joel.

***

I only knocked once before he opened the door.

“Hey,” he said backing away so I could pass.

“Wow, you’ve really done wonders with this place,” I said sarcastically, easing the door shut. His apartment was a mess. Clothes everywhere, empty macaroni and cheese boxes on the counter, and don’t even get me started on the piles of papers on every surface. I always found his furniture taste, or lack thereof, interesting. I guess.  If you could assemble it with an Allen wrench, it was in his apartment. Down to his kitchen table, a glass-topped patio table with a hole in the middle for an umbrella.

I stayed in the entry, afraid to make my way into this obvious black hole of disarray.

Ethan returned from the other room, tennis shoes in hand. He slipped one on and looked at me. “What’s with the look?” he asked.

“Look?”

“Yeah, your nose is all scrunched up. Does it smell in here or something?” He looked around.

“No, but the fact that you have to ask that speaks volumes,” I said further wrinkling.

He grabbed his keys and nodded toward the front door. “Let’s jam. We’re meeting Joel.”

Huh. I was surprised. I don’t know why, but I thought it was just a brother and sister night.

“Wait a second. You have something in your hair,” he pulled out an almost-dry, pencil-eraser-sized drip of yellow paint. “Oh, great,” I said.

“Yeah, you missed a spot,” he laughed and messed up my hair with his hand.

Sure enough, when we parked Joel waiting out in front of the movie theater.

“Hey Joel,” Ethan said as we approached. “I have these passes.” He tapped his front pocket. “Grab a spot in line with Emily and I’ll be right back.”

The line was forming fast as we joined it. I knew the movie was supposed to be good, but this seemed ridiculous. The line just kept going.

“What do you know about this movie,” I asked Joel.

“Nothin’ much. But it’s got that short guy from Top Gun in it.”

“Hey! Don’t be mean to Tom,” I said jabbing my elbow into his arm.

“Ouch! Fine,” he laughed.

I noticed an older couple in line behind us. Probably the age of my parents, but maybe older. Their smiles indicated they were listening to our conversation. She met my gaze.

“You two are so cute. You remind me of us when we were younger. How long have you been dating?” She swept her arm across her husband’s back.

Joel’s posture went rigid. “Oh, we’re, um friends.” I spit out.

“Well, isn’t that interesting,” she said with the same mischievous smile. Before I had a chance to continue our conversation, Ethan came back and picked up mid sentence.

“Wow that’s a long line.” He looked at the trail of people behind us. “I’m glad we got here when we did.”

Joel moved beside me to give Ethan room, and we stepped forward in line.

“So what did I miss?” Ethan asked.

Joel and I looked around, both not looking at each other. “Nothing,” I said as I shrugged my shoulders.

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