Chapter Eight: Emma "The Whirlwind" Hamilton
I awoke to someone gently shaking my shoulder. I sat up with a start, rubbing my eyes to clear my blurry vision.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," Emma giggled, sitting on the end of the couch. The couch squeaked slightly and Emma frowned. "Have I really gained that much weight since the wedding?
I smiled sleepily. "You look perfect, Ems. Would you mind telling me why you're in my apartment?"
"We need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting," she stated simply, crossing her left leg over her right. That was Emma's serious pose, so I knew this was not going to be good. In an attempt to make myself more awake, I got up to pour myself a glass of water. I knew it was best to be awake during these talks, or bad things could happen.
I leaned on the edge of the counter, staring at Emma from across the room. "So, what's on your mind?"
"First, I should tell you I answered your phone, and Daniel said he's going to be home late today." I rolled my eyes. This was nothing new. I wished he didn't have to work so much, but I figured it would get better eventually.
"What's the real reason why you're here, besides acting as my personal secretary?" Emma scowled and I laughed affectionately. I loved having a close relationship with my best friend, even if she was crazy sometimes.
"I received a voicemail this afternoon," she announced, leaning back into the couch.
"And…?" I asked. I had no idea who would call Emma and produce this talk. I curiously leaned forward, resting my elbows on the counter.
"It was from a certain man, who is very important to you." Emma was always like this when she told a story, really mysterious. I always had to pull the full story out of her.
"Uh, Daniel?" No other man was really important to me, except…no, it couldn't be, he wouldn't call Emma.
"Matthew Carter. Name ring any bells?" As soon as she said the name, my face changed. I narrowed my eyes at her.
"Excuse me? Matt called you?" I was trying so hard not to scream at her right now. "How, exactly, did he get your phone number?"
"That's not important. What's important is that you just called him Matt, and not Matthew, for the first time since we were eighteen. You better spill, Jess, and fast. I'm hurt that you didn't tell me he came to find you, we're best friends." She pulled the infamous Emma pout, sticking out her bottom lip until she looked positively pitiful.
I sighed and put my head in my hands. "It was only two days ago. He ambushed me." I jumped a little when Emma put her hand on my shoulder in a gesture of comfort.
"What happened, Jess?" she asked softly. Soon, the entire story was out. She knew about our run-in outside the café, the second run-in at Starbucks, and the lunch date that had gone horribly wrong. When I was finished, we were both sitting on the couch again and Emma was staring at me as if I was a ghost.
"You are SO in love with him, Jessica!" she suddenly screeched, jumping up and dancing around the room. "It is SO obvious."
I quickly shushed her, afraid that someone would hear her shouting. "Emma, I am ENGAGED. Engaged, as in, going to be married in less than a month! I don't love anybody except Daniel."
"Yeah right!" She clapped her hands together. "Jess, you were NUTS about Matt. He totally broke your heart, and for that reason, I hate him. I definitely think you never got over him, though. Think about it! It's like the most romantic thing ever that he came back to find you!" She flopped back on the couch, smiling like an idiot.
"That's just it, Emma. He broke my heart. He didn't even just break it, he shattered it. You might be the only person besides myself I will admit it to, but it doesn't change anything. Daniel is going to be my husband. It doesn't matter what I felt for Matt, I am in love with Daniel and I'm going to marry him." I felt really adamant about it, too. Matt wouldn't get a chance to break my heart again, no matter what "spark" I felt for him, as Emma calls it.
"Come on, Jess. You know I love you, but you are acting like such an…adult!" She spoke the word with distaste, as if she wasn't one herself. "This is LOVE we're talking about. You can't afford to be cold and calculating and chose who you think is right for you. You have to follow your heart."
"You sound like one of those stupid romance novels, Emma. This is real life. I can't afford to have my heart broken again, and with Daniel I'm not taking that chance." I knew that Emma would never see things my way, but I couldn't see Matt again. She might hate me for it, but I just couldn't do it.
"Jess, it doesn't matter. Matt was your first love! The way that he looks at you is like magic, I can see it. Daniel has never looked at you that way." Her voice dropped to a whisper. She moved away from me, as if she was scared of my possible anger at her remark.
I could feel the anger rising. I could feel the mean words in my throat, ready to hurl at her. And then, in a moment, it was gone, and I slumped over in defeat.
"I don't know, Emma. This man shows up, a blast from the past, and completely changes everything. I don't even look at myself the same anymore, and it isn't fair! I love Daniel, and he loves me. Matt has no right to screw that up."
"A blast from the past? Jess, you, me, and Matt were the three musketeers for all four years of high school. I can't think of a single high school memory without him. He was your life, my life, our lives. We were best friends, and you loved him. He loves you. You can't throw all of that away for a relationship that might not even be true love." She wouldn't give it up.
"But you see, Emma, that's where you're wrong. I can give it up, and I will give it up, because there are some things that are just more important than true love."
Emma waved that off, and I knew this conversation wasn't over, but she was pushing it aside for now. I was grateful.
"So, you're still in contact with Matt?" I asked suspiciously. Emma cringed, thinking that I had forgotten.
"In my defense, he really cares about you Jess! He called all summer asking about you, if you were okay, stuff like that. He's my friend, too." She tried to pull the pout again, and I turned away.
"I can't believe you didn't tell me. We've been best friends for how long?" I wasn't as pissed as I was before, but I still felt really betrayed. I can't believe she just let me go on hating him, all the while secretly talking to him behind my back. "Did you guys talk about me a lot?" I bit my lip.
"Most of the time," Emma confessed. "He always wanted to know how you were doing, what was going on in your life. We talked about me, sometimes, too. He called on my wedding day."
My mind flashed back to Emma's wedding day, trying to remember any details that hinted at Matt. I remembered Emma excusing herself to go to the bathroom, and coming back still fully dressed. She was wearing a huge princess dress with miles of skirt, even more than the dress that I was going to wear on my wedding day. I'd always wondered how she'd managed to zip that big dress up all by herself, and now I knew she didn't go to the bathroom at all. "I can't believe this. Did he know I was engaged?"
"Of course!" she said. "I had told him all about you and Daniel long before that. He would always change the subject from Daniel though, and turned it back to other parts of your life." She sighed. "I'm sorry; I should have seen the signs. I should have told you. I just thought it was so sweet, how he was still pining for you. I've been waiting for him to come back for you, everyone has."
"Thanks for the memo," I said sarcastically. Emma frowned.
"I'm sorry, Jess. But I really think you should give Matt a chance, to be friends again. We could be best friends, even if you do marry Daniel." She was trying to make it seem like a compromise. I knew it was a trap, I knew Emma's ways.
I couldn't make myself say no. There was just something about Matt that make me couldn't stop thinking about him. I had to get him out of my system, once and for all, even if it meant becoming friends with him again.
"Okay," I agreed, and Emma squealed. "This doesn't mean anything. Matt Carter and I are going to be just friends from now on."
So why didn't I really believe it?