The night Emilia Tanner met sixteen year-old Ira Adair was a happy one, she had just finished cleaning her kitchen when she heard a tap and then another coming from the living room, more specifically from the door at the entrance of her home, quickly cleaning her hands on the sink and calling for her son Norah to go and open the door, she practically ran to her room reading herself to call Mrs. Adair, knowing all too well she was capable of putting that less than pleasant conversation off for weeks. That woman will be the death of me, with all that chattering about my faults and unkindly thoughts over things that are yet to happen I don’t dare think how such an amazing child came from that despicable human. Thought Emilia as she gripped her phone a little too tightly and heard the tone of the call progressing, a smile forming on her lips as two excited voices began chattering in the living room, Noah’s being louder and thicker than Ira’s which surprised her considering how the second was one year older than her son. But finally, they were together and that was more than what someone like her could ask from the world.
In the middle of a cozy living room, wearing a blue peacoat and old jeans, stood the 5’7” Ira Adair. His brown eyes wandering from detail to detail whilst he grabbed Norah’s excited hand and tried to keep up with the other’s conversation. He felt both odd and warm, the place he had seen through Skype calls and photos was coming alive in front of him, his tired sight was almost as overwhelmed as his thoughts were, all of the preparation and hard work were now paying up. After hugging Norah for what seemed to be the third time he sat down on the nearest couch and began blathering about his trip, he told him about how the food onboard was unexpectedly okay, expressed his worry about the seven hours he had to ‘survive’ inside the plane and how good it felt to be on firm earth even if he was somewhere completely differing from this home. Half an hour had already passed when the tired twenty-six year old Emilia entered the living room, with her short black hair looking messy and her small eyes swollen, but she still grinned as she walked towards Ira, hugging him without a care in the world.
“Thank Merlin you’re here kid, seriously your mom nearly killed me when I called her, and if it wasn’t for the picture you sent her an hour ago I believe she would have. Talking and babbling about how you must eat your greens and what-not, of course I complied to it all, last thing I want is for you to have to go back ya hear me? Oh Noah dear come here hug us both, let’s have a hug party before I collapse on the couch yes? Yes”
Norah laughed and clung to both of them, he had been with Emilia for so long he already knew she didn’t get this happy that easily, not when she actually meant it, so tonight was a night to cherish. He felt happy for his family now that it had undoubtedly gotten bigger.
“Em, you need to calm down or we might wake up the whole neighbourhood, I’ll make some tea for the two of you so you can rest. And since I’m the youngest I’ll also stay up for a bit longer since I am not like you adults that are tired all the time” Said Norah smirking as he let both of them go and walked to the kitchen. Might as well take advantage of this and pull a Borderlands all nighter. He thought smiling to himself.
Emilia laughed and poked Norah’s back before he got too far to reach.
“Don’t believe for an instant you will go to sleep later than it already is youngster! I love you but I’m not even that drunk for you to think I’ll be that irresponsible kiddo, today we all go to sleep at 1 a.m no buts. Now come Ira, jeez you look even paler in person, let-us-get-ya-settled-in” She said taking Ira’s hand and showing him to his room.
In the end they all went to sleep at 4 a.m that morning, because sometimes first reunions are not completed without a fair game of Monopoly with everyone falling asleep in place.
A week later, Aaron Pierce’s office
Emilia Tanner was not a person you’d like to talk to in the mornings, especially in regards to her writing, but Aaron Pierce knew better. Having dealt before with her moody personality, worried thoughts and awful organisation, he was more than ready to deal with her morning bitchiness, so he was now in front of her, as demanding as ever, expecting a response that was obviously going to be a resounding and strong…
“Hell no Aaron, not now, not in a week, not in a month, for fucks sake Aaron I have two teenagers at home that begin school in like a week and they need me there for them, and you more than anyone know that I take this matter pretty darn seriously! Plus the last thing I want is to fuck it up even more Aaron, just no, please don’t” She said, her hands messing up her hair even more as she thought about his proposal, denying every minuscular chance of it becoming a reality. This wasn’t what she needed right now, time and peace was all she wanted and a new book would give her anything but that. She already had enough money to provide and live well for the next few years, she just needed more time that was all.
The thirty-five year old man looked at the writer trying to show comprehension, and of course he understood her, he had his own teenager back home and would do anything to spend more time with him, but he knew his job was also a priority, and his work right now was to make sure his author didn’t die down now that her career had begun the slow process of decay. She needed to come back to life soon or the publicity would label them both as cowards, and he’d be damned if he even contemplated the idea of that happening.
“Do you remember that night a year ago, when ‘It’s Ok to Not Be’ was published? Do you remember how fifteen months of work, tears and your fits managed to create a New York Times bestseller? How teens and adults came forward and spoke for you, defended you from many critics, how Ellen Degeneres, fucking Ellen Degeneres Emilia, told the media your book had done its job well and should be considered a must read for today’s youth and its parents? You did something remarkable, you managed to change people, to make them think, you gave them a message! And now look at yourself”
Aaron saw the beginning of tears forming in her eyes and knew he had her exactly were he wanted, lowering his voice he kept talking. “You need to write, even if some of the comments hurt, even if it get’s too personal, and I know it’s hard, I’m sorry I can’t help, I can’t even imagine being in that position. But remember those people don’t know you and most of them don’t even read your books, they just want to put attention on themselves so screw them. What’s important is that you are someone that has the opportunity to change many others perspective, to help them grow, even yourself. No one can take Norah away from you now, you know I wouldn’t ask this of you if that was still a possibility. So I beg you do not stop writing” He put a hand on her shoulder and felt a weight lift off his own, it was time to open her up, way too many months had passed with her ignoring his calls and emails, plus she wasn’t just someone he worked for, he considered her a friend. And if she needed to feel vulnerable to be true to herself then he was going to make her vulnerable and take the ride with her for as long as it was necessary. He cared about her too much to just leave her as she was.
Minutes passed as she composed herself, yeah it hurt, of course it did. She could feel it clutching her chest, making her tiny. Those months that she wanted to forget were coming back to bite her in the ass, and Aaron knew it, he had been there, he had seen her at her worst. When they tried to take Norah away, when they called her incapable, a danger to society, a danger to what she held the most precious in her world, her son. Norah had been there with them too, he was actually the angriest of the three, it got even worse when she began doubting herself and tried to tell him that he would grow up better without her. Emilia couldn’t think of a more pissed off Nora than the one she had to deal with that day. And that’s when she realized she still needed to prove a point.
She had to take this anger that was threatening to kill her and put it out there, through her writing. Giving them a taste of just how wrong they were, showing them she was more than capable of writing another New York Whatever bestseller, and that they could put it up their asses if they wanted to. If anything was going to make her stop writing, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be some fifty-year old constipated bitch with a mind the size of a nickel.
Emilia looked up at the ceiling, then down at the floor, trying to escape Aaron’s eyes, the hard part was to look strong but she had to since she didn’t want him to worry so much.
“Ok, sure, let’s do it, just make sure I have coffee and please message my teens, tell them I might get home late because we need to discuss this. And thank Merlin I brought my laptop because heaven knows if I go home now I might just stay home. But it’s going to be alright, right?” The words became a whisper just at the end and she felt even tinnier as the prospect of what was to come became clearer in her head.
And just like that, they began brainstorming.
Aaron got home at 3 a.m the next morning, he placed the covers over his torso and wrapped his arms around his wife, telling her he felt more alive than he had for a while. She looked at him once, kissed him and turned back to sleep, deciding this was a conversation to have on another day, when she wasn’t already in a further dimension fighting with her clients about how much they owed her and planning how to win the case she was currently working on. Soon enough they both would have to wake up for real and leave this bliss behind for another day.
A week before classes start
When Allison heard her father’s words that morning she couldn’t hold back the swear that escaped her red lips, distasteful would be cutting it short. And no, she wasn’t one fond of swearing, it just didn’t go with her image, at all, no no no Allison Young wasn’t known for swearing, she was known for being good at most things and having perfect blond locks of hair that fell abundant to her waist, also for being a pro at surfing and knowing how to dress her awfully wide shoulders in a way that made them not look as bad, Don’t mind your shoulders now Allie, they aren’t that important of an issue now damn it. But this she couldn’t take, give her a summer camp, sure why the fuck no she accepted it and survived it, giver her a public school, it all would be good if she could take her car with her out on the weekends, but why in Christ’s name would her evil father give her a boarding school? It didn’t compute! She had to get ready for the competition of her life and she sure as fuck wouldn’t be able to do that if she spent her entire school year trapped inside of a Christian facility full of rich snobby kids like herself! It would be a prison, she wouldn’t be able to practice, she would fall behind schedule and her entire life would go to hell before even getting to compete.
“Allison Young do mind your tongue! Your siblings will go too and you know they aren’t the reason for this change, I’d expect this from Zachary but considering I don’t know you as well as I thought I did maybe I had it coming, but believe me, you’ll go through with this and only when you prove me you’ve changed I might consider asking the school for permission so you can practice this surfing thing on weekends whilst you study there” The man took a big breath and closed his eyes trying to even his heartbeat, it had been an awful summer for the entire family as it was and he would not have a heart attack and make it all worse.
“Give me the permission thing now and I promise I won’t have premarital sex again, give me the permission and I’ll go to the damn school and even work for decent grades just don’t take my practices away from me” She said this and grabbed a good hold of her dad’s shirt, making him look at her, daring him to find any doubt in her face.
“You have one week to prove yourself, do so and I’ll talk to the school. Also, I want all those girls erased from your contact list by this afternoon” Allison’s pupils shrank and she opened her mouth, he smirked “yes I know you have another phone to your name, so of course I know you still talk to those, people, you think I’d leave your account untouched after all that has happened? So do it, but first talk to your sister, tell her to come out of her room and eat already, she hasn’t moved at all today. Maddison’s been worried about her since last night, she told me Zane was probably mad at you” with that Dean took his daughter’s hands off his shirt and saw her run off to her sister’s room, he took another deep breath and closed his eyes, this was going to be one long week.
“Don’t even dare finish what you’re doing” Said a bored voice as the door-handle budged, finally opening the door, the owner of the voice gave her sister a hard stare.
“Oh grow up Zane, you don’t even know how to close a door properly, dad wants you to eat asap so you better go and do it before he gets on my shit again” Allison said, crossing her arms in a way that she knew, annoyed her little sister.
“Fuck you princess, you can go and work it with dad as much as you want but you won’t get me to help you again, this time your shit got mine and Zachary’s mixed up, so the last thing I want is to hear your bitching, you are the one that needs to grow up and learn to not take us down with you, let me be” Sixteen year old Zane walked towards her sister, close enough for the other to move back, and closed the door on her face.
She turned around and sat on her bed opening her Macbook, ready to act like the teenager she was, she wrote a long-ass message and quickly sent it to Alexander, the thing definitely needed grammar analysis -and some serious censuring- but at that moment she couldn’t make herself give a tit, she wrote it so furiously and fast it seemed like her life depended on it. Maybe because in a way I really do depend on him a lot. She was mostly mad at herself, mad that she was afraid of putting the lock on any door, mad that she needed to hear from Alexander to feel okay in her own skin, mad that her father was an utter twat to her and mad at his girlfriend that didn’t know she needed her personal space. She sighed, feeling an amount of impotence she hadn’t felt in years. With that she returned to her usual thinking position, her arms holding her legs tight and her neck on her knees, Zane imagined her happy place, away from her sister, away from her dad, away from Maddison and away from anything that wasn’t Alexander. In time she began pondering the idea of taking a bubble bath again and lastly gave in to it as she heard her brother and sister screaming to each other upstairs. Anything that can calm me down is welcome. And if that meant taking two bubble baths per day, then she’d take two bubble baths per day.
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