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8. A Strange Calmness

She had taken his advice and the very next day asked Miles if he could take her home when she stayed outside after sundown. He was more than happy to oblige and after that they had grown even closer. They had yet to share their first kiss but Miles had proven to be a very patient and understanding man. That was exactly what Emilia needed and she was not surprised to find that she was falling steadily in love with him. She had not made a confession or anything but she knew where her emotions were heading and she was more than fine with it.

Since Miles became her regular driver, she saw the man less and less. She could not tell if he had indeed reduced the frequency of his visits or if he had gone back to being invisible, but she chose not to dwell on it too much.

She still had his jacket though. She kept it tucked in a dark corner in her closet pretending she had forgot all about it. That night, she had removed the thing from her body the moment she entered the house and she had folded it neatly, holding her close to her chest. It was a rather unconscious move that she remembered she had done much later.

She was lucky that her parents or her sisters had not seen her coming in wearing it for they were sure to start asking questions she would not be willing to answer. She had gone up to her room quietly and had locked the door. She opened the closet door, yet just before she stored the jacket away the strangest impulse to smell the fabric came over her.

As if in a trance, she buried her nose in it and breathed its scent. It was a mix of fresh washed clothing and cigarette smoke. She had scrunched her nose in confusion. Funny thing; she could not recall having ever seen him smoking, though apparently, he was. She laughed at her foolishness; until the previous day she did not even know the colour of his eyes. She knew nothing really, apart from a name she did not dare to use and what the other had told her about him. But he, the other man, was not to be trusted. What he said about the man could be lies; it would be the first time.

“Where is your mind travelling again?” asked Beth teasingly pulling her from her unwanted thoughts.

“Nowhere interesting” she smiled.

“You know, sometimes, I think Mary is right”

“About what?” Emilia pretended not to know what her friend was referring to.

It was one of the rare times they had gone out alone, but perhaps that was necessary too.

“You have greatly changed since your disappearance back then. Of course I understand that whatever happened then…”

“Beth, I am here now” she cut her off trying to control her irritation.

“I know you hate it when someone brings it up, Emmy, but truly you cannot ignore it. It was a life changing experience”

“I am not ignoring anything. I just want to leave the past to rest. I am here, I am alive and I am getting on with my life. Why you all make such a fuss about it? It’s more than a year already”

“We care about you, honey, that’s why”

“I know and I appreciate it B, honestly. But all I really want is a calm, happy life. Holding on the past is the wrong way for me to go”

“Maybe you are right” Beth shrugged and then smiled. “Since you mentioned happiness though, how are things going with Miles?”

“Perfect!” Emilia beamed content with the change of subject. “He is the greatest guy I have ever met!”

“So you do see a future with him?”

“Absolutely. I don’t want to rush things though and he seems to be on the same page, so we are really cool” she explained and the other nodded smiling.

As they talked more about their love lives and made plans for the following days, Emilia could not help but think that finally she was going to be alright.

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