“Oh. My. God.”
Emilia sat on the basement’s carpeted floor, while she regarded Olivia with a stunned expression.
Olivia had just finished telling her everything. From when Michael appeared outside her doorstep, smug and arrogant, telling her he was going to be her date for Tracy’s wedding, fast-forwarding to when he was dropping her off at her house. To her moronic question about coffee, her irrational behavior afterwards, to finally her make-out session with a half naked Michael on the couch.
There was simply no need for Olivia to get into too much detail about what had gone on at the wedding, especially the song he’d chosen for them.
“So, you slept with Michael. Was he really that bad?”
Olivia spurted out the coffee she’d just swallowed from her second cup of the day.
“Well, you have this sort of chagrined expression and your eyes look all swollen up from crying too much.”
“I didn’t……..that’s not what happened.”
But Emilia kept on talking as if Olivia hadn’t spoken.
“Man, don’t tell me I’m gonna have to stay here until I find you another suitable guy who’s crazy about you and who might actually want to marry you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Michael is not crazy about me. This is all a game to him. And he certainly doesn’t want to marry me.”
Emilia only shook her head and let out a defeated sigh.
“Fine. Whatever you say.”
“And….I didn’t sleep with him.”
This admission was enough to make Emilia sit up straight. She eyed the other woman with a quizzical stare; she’d been sure this was where all of her friend’s angst was coming from, but apparently she had been mistaken.
“Then, I don’t understand. If you didn’t sleep with Mr.-he’s-so-into-you-it’s-cute-even-if-you-deny-it, why are you all so……..miserable?
“Weren’t you paying attention? Me, with just my cute and sexy red lace underwear, plus a bare chested Michael making out on my living room couch?”
“Yes. So what?”
“What do you mean, so what?”
“Why are you freaking out about it? As if you haven’t done that before. I mean no offense, but I’m pretty sure you’re not the first woman Michael has seen in her underwear.”
At Olivia’s loud intake of breath, Emilia beat her to it by correcting.
“Sorry, sexy and cute red lace underwear.”
“I knew I was going to regret this.” Olivia pressed her hands to her temples.
“Okay, now that is just insulting. You think because I’m dead I couldn’t see through your sudden need to share your naughty exploits with me, as a way to distract me from my own messed up existence and get me out of that cemetery?”
“It worked, didn’t it?”
Emilia’s lips curved up in a smile, and for an instant, she wanted to go over to the couch and wrap her arms around Olivia. Because she couldn’t, and she wasn’t ready to admit it to her that she, too, considered Olivia her friend, she just stretched her legs and gave Olivia a look that said she was waiting for her to tell her the rest.
“The thing is, just as we were about to really….you know, do it…..the phone rang.”
“It was Noah.”
Oh, Emilia thought, this just keeps getting better and better.
“And?”However, before Olivia could tell her the answer, Emilia saw it sketched on her ashen looking face.
“I see. Jeez, that boyfriend of yours certainly needs to work on his timing. It sucks!”
“God, I can’t do this on an empty stomach.”
Olivia stood up and ran up the stairs to the kitchen. Yanking the door of her refrigerator open, she searched for something really loaded with calories. She let out a cry of triumph when she spotted the leftover brownies from Tracy’s bachelorette party. Not caring that they were cold and not as moist as the day she made them, she bit aggressively into one.
Emilia was next to her in a flash. Again, she wanted to wrap her arms around Olivia because she really looked like she needed the comforting gesture.
“And apparently I kind of suck in the shoulder to cry on department. I shouldn’t have said that. Please, tell me what happened. I promise to keep my mouth shut or at least to keep the rude comments to myself.”
Eyeing her with misty and teary eyes, Olivia bit into another piece of brownie. She grabbed the entire plate and motioned Emilia to follow her back down. Once Olivia was back on the couch and Emilia on her place on the floor, Olivia closed her eyes while she finished swallowing and got ready to finish her story.
“I swear I felt like he was standing right there next to us. I have never felt so embarrassed before in my life, so ashamed of myself. Michael just stood up and began putting his shirt back on and I attempted to put my dress back on. The next thing I know, I am blaming Michael for everything.”
Recalling her promise, Emilia remained quiet.
“Go ahead. Say it. I was the one who practically threw myself at him. I was the one who kissed him first. I am the one said yes to that let’s go as friends nonsense. I, was the one who was willing to cheat on my boyfriend because God knows what got into me.”
Emilia raised both palms in a defensive gesture.
“I was just going to say that you shouldn’t beat yourself so hard about this whole situation. You have a right to make mistakes just as any regular, normal person. I only have to ask one thing.”
“Why did you kiss him first? From what I gather, he’d kept his side of the bargain until the moment he brought you home. Which reminds me, don’t think I didn’t notice the way you skirted around the juicy details about what went on during the wedding. But you can tell me all about it later.”
Damn it, for a dead person Emilia sure didn’t miss a thing.
“I don’t know. I just……..I wasn’t thinking, which is something I’ve started to realize happens whenever I’m around him. I feel, I let go and let this unknown force take over me and control me. I don’t like it.”
“Okay. I’m going to have to break my promise because I really, really need to say this. Maybe you did what you did because Michael has awaken something inside you that……”
“That Noah hasn’t. Olivia, you are a very rational, clearheaded woman. “Well”, Emilia shrugged her shoulders, “maybe not so much lately as you’re talking to a ghost, but my point is, you might be having trouble dealing with Michael because you have feelings for him.”
It was a conclusion Olivia had been skirting around ever since he’d first kissed her. Obviously, it was one she would never agree with. So, maybe she and Noah were having problems at the moment regarding the marriage issue, but that didn’t meant she had to go on and kiss the first stranger that she happened to meet. And especially not someone a dead woman insisted was totally crazy about her. It was ridiculous, even more ridiculous than her having to convince a woman who’d had to go to her own funeral yesterday, that she was just nuts.
“The only thing I feel for him is dislike. And if whenever he smiles at me I feel about to dissolve into a pool of hormones then it’s because I am a woman. And you are right, he’s one attractive man. But that’s it. I mean, when we were watching True Blood the other day you said the same thing about the blonde vampire and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in love or some stupid thing like that. It’s just attraction not some oh-my-god-he’s-the-one kind of feeling. Besides, I have Noah. And if I’ve been with Noah for this long is because I love him. I just haven’t had to experience this type of situation before, so that’s why I am nervous and reckless. But I’ll be fine. I am fine.”
Who are you trying to convince Olivia, me or you? Emilia wondered.
The roller coaster of emotions Olivia had hoped on ever since Emilia’s arrival, was starting to wear down on her. All Olivia wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep until tomorrow. Of course, she was also avoiding the call to Noah. Going to bed at four in the afternoon seemed like a nice evasive maneuver. Plus, Noah had said she would be beat today, so if she forgot to call it wouldn’t be because she was drowning in guilt.
“I am so damned tired. Wanna watch T.V. until we die of boredom? Oh…..I mean….”
“Relax, Ms. manners, I won’t sink back into my depression again just because you want me to do something I already beat you to. I was never one to go through life complaining. You know the why does it always rain on me type of person. And yes, I could use some serious T.V. fix. Perhaps a good dosage of Grey’s Anatomy and Mc Steamy’s gorgeous body might be what we both need or if you are tired of gorgeous men, we can always watch Desperate Housewives and feel bad we don’t have Gabrielle Solis’ body. You pick.”
“I think we should stick with the ladies.”
“You’re the one with enough body mass to pick up the remote and choose, so…”
Once they were both settled comfortably on the couch in front of the basement’s T.V., Olivia turned to look at a totally absorbed Emilia and whispered.
“Thank you, I, too, needed a friend today.”
“Shsh, trying to watch something here.”
Olivia snuggled the pillow closer to her body. As she returned her attention to the screen, she missed Emilia’s face light up as she, too, was glad she’d had a friend to help her get through the day.