*Emily

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
How to get your man!

Submitted: April 04, 2012

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Submitted: April 04, 2012

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EMILY

 

Emily had always liked to play. Ever since our days at school she had played with the other pupils, and still today she likes the game. The more dangerous it was the more she liked it. This game has no name, it consists of whispering a few words in someone’s ear and then do the same with a girl friend or boy friend of the victim, stand to one side and wait for the explosion. As a child she had used this with great success between her parents until they realised that they were being controlled by her. The majority never suspected anything. As soon as the victims discovered the set up she had created they ignored her completely.

 

Every morning before going to work, Alex went running in the park. He lived his life around work, a lot of it, and very little fun. He had arrived at thirty years of age without falling into the clutches of the many predatory females that are on the lookout for prey. Alex was not easy prey, perhaps this was the first thing that attracted Emily to him. They met one morning when he was out running in the park, Emily was just arriving back home from one of the many parties that she had been attending recently. She had rung me, asking me to accompany her to the party but I had other much more important things to do than take her to a party. Emily had got angry with me for refusing and hung up the telephone. I went back to my work and put her out of my mind.

Emily and Alex were staring at each other with a question on their lips. “Why are you wearing a tracksuit?” she asked.

“Why are you wearing an evening dress?” was his question.

“What are you doing here? It’s still night,” Emily asked Alex.

Alex looked at his watch, “It’s half-past six, and the moon went to sleep a while ago.”

Emily was eating him with eyes that were on the point of shutting, but she made an enormous effort not to fall asleep. Who was he? Why hadn’t she seen him before? So she asked him, “Have you lived here long? I haven’t seen you before.”

Alex shot her a glance of superiority. “I’ve been living here for five years, and it’s not a surprise that we don’t know each other. I live by day and sleep by night.”

“I live and sleep both the same,” was her reply.

“I must go, as I want to finish the run. Good morning.”

“Don’t go yet, I don’t know your name. My name’s Emily.”

“Alex. Goodbye.” And he went across the park and disappeared among the trees before Emily’s gaze.

She returned home wondering if it would be possible to get up so early so as to catch him again. The mere act of not having stayed behind to chat with her was motive enough to make him more attractive to her.

In the afternoon she rang me, “Hello, it’s me, Emily. I’d like to ask you something.”

“What is it?”

“What sort of men get up early to go running?”

“They’re men who like to look after themselves. How did you meet him?”

“Returning from Teri’s party. I was crossing the park and I came across a runner. At half-past six in the morning!”

“I don’t see much of a future for you with such an early riser. It’d be better if you left him alone and looked for someone more in your line.”

“I like this one, keep your advice to yourself. Aren’t you going to help me?”

“I have helped you, this one is a serious type, there’s nothing more to say.”

“All right. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, egoist. You haven’t asked me about my work.”

“I’m sorry, but as it always turns out right for you…”

“Forget it. Don’t do anything stupid!”

 

Getting up early was the most difficult thing for Emily to do. Her face without make-up was that of a ghost. She had copied the correct clothing even to the sports headband from an advertisement for sports wear.

How cold! That’s why they run so fast, to keep warm, she thought as she crossed the road between her flat and the park and saw a light mist hanging over the trees. How damp it was! It was impossible to run on the grass; the cold penetrated her shoes and went up her legs. Emily was not alone, there were other crazy people running on the path that zigzagged among the trees, bushes, and flower beds. Lazy Emily was going too slowly for it to be called running. A few minutes later she was on the point of going home – and to bed. Then Alex appeared through some trees in the distance. Emily went straight up to him, “Hello, good morning.”

Alex without blinking said, “Good morning.”

“You remember me, don’t you? We met yesterday.”

“Yes, I remember. I was not aware you ran as a sport.”

“I like running very much. It makes me feel I don’t know what all over my body.”

“Tiredness?”

“Not at all. Vitality.”

“I’ll race you. To the park gates. Now!”

Alex shot off like a flash towards the park gates. Emily was behind him running as hard as she could. The pains in her chest and her legs were almost unbearable. More in pride than anything else, Emily smiled at Alex who was waiting for her. “You’ve arrived at last! Are you all right?”

“Fantastic,” Emily, who was on the point of fainting, answered.

“See you tomorrow. I’ve got to go.”

“See you tomorrow, Alex.”

Emily staggered into her house, she prepared herself a bath where she would have fallen asleep if the water hadn’t got so cold. She took her breakfast to bed and slept till eleven when I rang her to find out if she had gone to the park.

 

George was on the edge of a crisis. His job no longer gave him the satisfaction it had once done. Also he didn’t have a girl friend. The most recent one had left him because he paid more attention to the telephone and to his office desk than to her and she couldn’t put up with it any longer. So, goodbye, George.

Emily and George met at Teri’s one afternoon when it seemed that it would have been better to have stayed indoors. There weren’t many guests just enough to fill a corner of Teri’s living-room. On one table there were canapés, miniscule sandwiches, and salads. Emily was sitting down staring into space, George was in an armchair near the window. In front of him on a small table was a glass which he kept replenished. He was bored and was very upset.

“You shouldn’t drink that, you’ll get drunk,” Emily told him.

George stared at her, “Who are you to give me advice?”

“Someone who knows a little about life.”

“If you want to help people, go somewhere else.”

“Don’t be so rude. My name’s Emily. I live near the park, so if you need anything.”

“I don’t need anything.”

“Just as you like.”

Emily asked Teri who the rude man was sitting in the armchair, and after finding out his name and other information, Emily left the party.

 

George was more promising, though Alex was friendlier.

She wondered which one she should choose.

“Teri, how can I get in touch with George?” Emily was ringing from her home after arriving from the party.

“George isn’t your type, Emily. He usually goes to concerts of classical music in the evenings.”

“What was he doing in your place then?”

“He’s been my friend for a long time. His interests are rather limited; work and concerts.”

“Thanks. See you around, Teri.”

Alex with running, and George with music, what kind of men attract me. If I play my cards right I might have a good time. Many ideas passed through her mind. Faithful to her habits, she had to call me, “It’s me, Emily. How are you? Are you still working so hard?”

“Hello, Emily, how’s it going? I’m now working on another project. How’s the running? Have you made any progress yet?”

“I’m better than ever. You ought to practise a sport. I feel fantastic. I’ve rung you to ask a favour.”

“Another one! What is it this time?”

“I’ve met someone who interests me. His name’s George. This one doesn’t run, but he likes classical music. What can I do?”

“What do you want to do with George?”

“Get to know him well. The trouble is I know nothing about music.”

“Buy a book and listen to the radio or CDs,” I advised her.

“Haven’t you got any other advice for me?”

“Yes, I have. Don’t do anything silly. See you around, Emily.”

“Goodbye.” And she rang off.

 

Emily was skilful in her handling of the two men. She got up early to meet Alex before he left for work. Alex was a hard nut to crack, and Emily had tried every trick she knew and invented even more to get to him. There were days when she didn’t go to the park so as to arouse his interest in her.

“Where’ve you been?” Alex asked her on seeing her once again in the park.

“I’ve been busy,” Emily answered and then she said “Let’s have dinner together.”

During the run Alex said nothing. But when it was over he said, “ I’ll wait for you till eight in the restaurant near the bridge.”

At last she had managed to get something out of Alex.

 

At six, George rang, “Emily would you like to come to a concert tonight? They are going to play one of your favourite pieces.”

Emily made a grimace on hearing these words, “I’m very sorry, George, but I’ve got a terrible headache and I’m on my way to take something for it right now.”

“Are you sure you can’t come?” George insisted.

“Yes, George, I’m very sure. I hope you have a good time.”

“Not as much as if you were with me. We’ll meet tomorrow. I’m longing to see you. Sleep well.”

“Thanks, George.”

 

The dinner with Alex was excellent and Emily had done herself proud and had found she had an astonishing appetite and then they had started chatting, but Emily insisted on going home. “A lovely evening, but we have to get up early. We mustn’t miss running for even one day.”

“For once I’d like to get up a little later. Can’t we carry on talking?”

“Not now, Alex, I’m tired. If you don’t mind, I’d rather go to bed.”

“Just as you like. At half-past six at the usual place. Good night.”

“Good night.”

 

“George, what a surprise!”

“Surprise? Don’t you remember that last night you had a terrible headache and I promised I’d come round to see you?”

“And now you’re here.”

George was looking at her, “You are fantastic. Is the headache better?”

“Yes, George. What about the concert?”

George was like the donkey and the concert a carrot. He started talking and talking about the concert till Emily with a yawn told him he’d have to go. They arranged to go to a concert the next Saturday evening.

 

Meanwhile, Emily rang me, “Hello, it’s me, Emily.”

I knew by the tone of her voice that she wanted something or some advice. “I’m pleased to hear you. How’s your love life?”

“Don’t laugh, but I’m going well for the moment. From one I’m learning to appreciate music, and from the other one how to take care of my body.”

“So you are going to be cultured and the body beautiful. Got anything else to tell me?”

“Not at the moment. How’s your work going?”

“Are you by any chance interested?” And I rang off.

 

Emily had everything well organised so that Alex and George would never meet. It was easy as Alex was an early riser and George was a night owl. The worst problems occurred were when Emily arrived home late from a concert accompanied by George, and then had to get up early to meet Alex. As the weather improved, Alex changed from being a man with just one hobby, running, to being a man with blood in his veins. He started to see Emily as someone more permanent in his life. She was the only girl who had got up early all winter to go running with him. Alex realised that he was in love with Emily. How could he convince her? They had never spoken about this. Besides she was such a sport enthusiast that he’d have to keep on running after getting married.

 

George was delighted with Emily. She was the first woman who had understood him and music, and how much she knew! Much more than him. It would be a pleasure having her for a wife. In George’s imagination floated images of musical evenings, conversations based on what their favourite pieces were, and a house with never-ending background music. What a most delightful dream!

 

Emily’s bedroom was a workshop of learning. Sports magazines and music magazines were piled up with the most important things to memorise underlined. Her mp3 player and her radio had never had to work so much since she had met George. She studied with more interest the musicians, the orchestrations, and how to distinguish one conductor from another, than all the time she was at college. All this work she did at night so as not to annoy other members of her family. I was quite surprised at how much she knew about the world of music when she rang me one day asking, as always, for a favour.

“I want to buy George a CD. Well, it’s a recording from ten years ago but I can’t find it anywhere. I know you’ve got some old recordings, that’s why I’ve rung you.”

I own the exact recording that she wanted for George. I don’t know whether she knew or not, but anyway I wasn’t going to please her. “You’d be better off going to a shop or a stall in a market where they can help you. I can’t.”

“You are saying you don’t want to help me. I won’t annoy you any more. Goodbye.”

She always gets angry when she can’t get what she wants. I didn’t doubt she would ring me back.

 

I don’t know whether Emily bought the wanted recording or not, a couple of days later she rang me back.

“Alex wants to marry me.”

“Did you find the recording?”

“No, I didn’t. Alex is the other one. George is the one who likes music. Alex is the sportsman.”

“What do you want this time? A pair of sports shoes, a signed tracksuit perhaps?” I enquired.

“I’m in a situation where I can’t see a way out. I can’t see me getting up early every morning of my life to run in the park.”

“That’s your fault for having played around with him. Worse for you. Now you are inside his game he’s no longer convenient for you. Even worse. Listen, I’ve got a lot of work to do and can’t stay talking to you. Invite me to the wedding.”

 

Alone in her bedroom Emily was sitting at her desk. It was night time and she was unable to sleep. Alex and George had both asked her to marry them. Emily liked both of them. They both had positive and negative characteristics. Out of curiosity, she wrote down on a piece of paper:

ALEX: Sportsman, healthy food, fruit juices, running, light reading, business man, tall and slim, brown hair and green eyes.

GEORGE: Music, good food, wines, sedentary, serious reading, librarian, slightly fat, blonde hair and pale eyes.

When it was written down and she saw what they were like, Emily wrote a question at the foot of the paper. Which one would be easier to live with? Alex would be incredibly healthy, and George would be very boring if I couldn’t change his passion for music.

 

She rang me the next day. “Hello, I want to talk to you about the crisis I’m going through.”

“What crisis is that?”

“I don’t know which one to choose, Alex or George.”

“I couldn’t care less. I thought that at this stage you would be married to Alex. Is there a problem? Don’t worry, the first ten years are the worst.”

“I thought you’d understand me.”

“Well, it looks as if you’re being silly.”

“Idiot!” and she hung up.

 

George was sitting in a bar near the park. He was a little drunk, and the waiter didn’t want to serve him another drink. “Sir, why not have a coffee. It’ll make you feel better.”

“I don’t want advice, thanks.”

Alex entered and went up to the bar. “An orange juice, please,” and sat there on the stool with an empty look in his eyes. “What’s the matter with him?” Alex asked the waiter but looking at George.

“He’s had rather a lot to drink,” the waiter answered.

“If it’s for a woman, a hangover isn’t worth it. There are millions of women in the world.”

“It’s easy for you to talk,” grumbled George. “She said she loved me. George here, George there, George everywhere. But, it seems that there’s another man, and suddenly she no longer loves me.”

“I’m sorry. I’m in the same situation. My girlfriend told me too that she prefers another. And now I don’t exist for Emily.”

“Emily! Who is Emily?” George pronounced the name with difficulty.

“She’s my girlfriend. Or at least she was. Now I don’t know if she really was my girlfriend. I’m in a real mess. Why did you ask me if her name’s Emily?”

“Because my girlfriend’s name is also Emily.”

The two young men exchanged expressive looks. Alex called the waiter over, “Two whiskies, please.” And turning to George said, “For the first time in my life, I need something a little stronger.”

George gulped his whisky back straightaway. He was on the brink of being drunk.

I happened to be in the bar, which was my usual watering hole, and overheard the conversation, and when I heard the name Emily mentioned I realised who they were. It was time to introduce myself to them. After all her phone calls, it’s quite possible that I knew more about them than Emily did. Alex was only interested in himself. He was so wrapped up in his body and fresh air that he was totally unaware of what Emily got up to. George was so conceited, and with the air of a fake intellectual. He lived life like an animal in its den. Only his pride would be damaged by not having conquered Emily with his knowledge.

The two were now on their second drink. They didn’t hear me approach them. “Good afternoon, Gentlemen.”

They stared at me without interest. “I must confess I’ve been listening to your conversation about a certain young lady. It’s a strange case, because I also know an Emily.”

Now they paid more attention, Alex and George both looked at each other and then at me. “Would you like to have a drink with us? So you too have a girlfriend called Emily. But would she be capable of deceiving you as she has us?” Alex asked.

I sat down on the stool indicated by Alex. George had his eyes fixed on a calendar above the coffee machine. I said, “Emily hasn’t deceived anybody. You’ve both been deceived by your own vanity. What she’s done is have a bit of fun, and learned something about life and herself.”

George was wrapped up in the invisible blanket of his own self-pity, and he remained silent, but although he stared at me it was as if he didn’t see me, nor hear my words. Alex on the other hand appeared to be more receptive to my comments. Perhaps Alex was really in love with Emily. Each one was meditating about his own problems.

Alex was the first one to break the silence. “When you say I let myself be deceived, what is it that you want to say exactly?”

“Emily getting up to run! That’s laughable. She has maintained a good figure and learnt how to eat properly thanks to having known you. She used to have an awful timetable and ate food that was disgraceful. Now I see she is on the right road. Thanks to you.” I had to help him as much as possible. He wasn’t a bad sort, just too involved with caring about his body instead of caring more about his brain.

“I thought she was the girl with the same interests as me. She never gave me any motive to think the contrary. I’d like to get married to her, but I’m given to understand that there’s another man, which must be George.”

On hearing his name, George, perhaps due to alcohol, reacted, “I’ve already told you. There’s another man and it must be Alex. But he says it isn’t him.”

“Gentlemen, to clear this up for good, the best thing to do is go to Emily’s place and find out what’s going on.”

They agreed, so the three of us went.

 

Emily opened the front door to us. I must admit she showed no surprise, it was as if she had been expecting us.

“Emily, Alex and George have the right to know why you don’t want to marry them. They think there’s another. Is that true?” I asked her.

Emily was in full control of herself. She was in no hurry to answer any question. She was enjoying herself to the maximum.

“Emily, we’ve come here to find out if you are going to marry one of us. I love you and think you’re wonderful, but I’d like to understand your negative attitude,” George declared, the alcohol animating him.

Emily still remained silent. She seemed to want us to arrive at the solution she had taken without any help from her.

George added, “I suppose I wasn’t up to your standards. You know so much about music.” He was acting the part of the self-pitying victim. Poor Emily! How had she been able to put up with him. She had known practically nothing about music till she had started dating him.

It was intolerable, she was teasing us. “Will you marry me?” I asked.

Emily’s eyes shone. “I’ve been waiting so long for you to ask me.”

As always, Emily had come out of the situation with flying colours. Alex and George were staring at us. I couldn’t backtrack now, nor could Emily.

“Let’s go, George. It’s all too clear now. Congratulations. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.” And the two left the flat.

I took hold of Emily’s arm, she was smiling.

“Then, what on earth have you been up to?” I asked.

“How do you know that all this wasn’t just a big game to trap you?”

 

Supposing it were true!


© Copyright 2018 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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