Olivia wakes to the smell of coffee. It’s smells delectable. It takes her a moment to put together the events of yesterday. The amazing fact that her and Nick are now somewhat of an item and the devastating fact that her best friend hates her for it. She shuffles out of bed and walks through her adjoining bathroom and into Emily’s room. The bed is empty and unslept in. She sighs sadly. Olivia closes the door and slips down the stairs in search of caffeine. The coffee machine on the side is pouring out a fresh pot and Olivia notes that a timer has been set for seven o’clock. Nicks doing. She looks around, he must have left already.
Poppy comes bounding to her from across the room. She almost forgot that this ball of fluff and joy was now her responsibility for a couple of days. She tickles her ear and notices the funny way she wiggles her bum from wagging her tail so hard. Olivia opens the back door and Poppy races out for her morning toilet break. She fills her bowl with dog food and another with water. The dog taken care of, she pours out two cups of coffee, each with a splash of coconut milk.
Outside the air is still and fresher than it is back home. You can almost taste the shade; it’s a nice respite from the supressing heat they’ve grown used to. Her bare feet are warmed by the flag stones on the path leading to the side of the house. There it stands, hidden like a safe, the log cabin. It sits like an omen of darkness underneath the trees and Olivia notes, painfully, that there are still no lights to be seen. She knows that Emily will have been up most of the night, contemplating the events. It’s the kind of things she does when she has to think through things, and Olivia wonders if she has come to any sort of understanding yet. It’s possible she’s come to more of an ultimatum and will ask both Nick and Olivia to give each other up so that they can stay in her life…no. No, that’s not Emily. That is but a fear of Olivia’s and is unfair to push onto a person she cares about. Olivia reaches the door and takes a deep breath. She raps on the wood, cup of coffee in hand. There is no answer. She tries again. No answer. “Em?” She calls gently. “I’ve got coffee. Are you in there?” She wonders if, perhaps, Emily had left during the night. This village has no shortage of B&B’s and if Emily really couldn’t stand being near Olivia, then there would be no problems with her finding somewhere else to stay. She knocks again and sees a curtain twitch by the window. She takes advantage of the liveliness. “I know you’re in there. I’ve brought coffee…I know you; you can’t turn down caffeine…I’ve known you my whole life, Emily.” Her voice catches. “I love you; you know I love you.” No response. She sighs and instead decides to set the coffee on the ledge beside the window. “It’s right out here for you and when you’re ready…so am I.” Olivia thinks she can hear a sniffle and her heart pulls and aches that she has made her best friend feel this way. “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you.” She whispers through the door before she walks away, back to the house. Poppy runs to her side and follows her back in. Olivia takes her cup from the counter and sips at the wonderful nectar that is coffee. The potion of the Gods. Poppy brings her a toy to throw, it’s in the shape of a donut and whilst covered in saliva, it makes Olivia feel suddenly hungry. She throws the toy for the dog, who then, humorously, doesn’t bring it back, but instead takes it to her bed to chew on. An idea comes to Olivia. She heads upstairs to get dressed and wash up for the day. She opts for sturdier footwear than usual, a pair of brown, calf boots. She wears them with a knee length white dress, with frills at the shoulders where it cuts off. A brown belt is tied at the waist and she runs a pair of straighteners over her hair, letting it fall to her side. She puts some concealer over her already fading bruise and daps some rose coloured Vaseline, gently, over her cut lip. She notes how, even though it is still sore, the cut there is knitting together nicely and the one on her cheek is barely visible with makeup. A quick brush of mascara to her lashes and she’s ready to head into the village.
The road isn’t long. Olivia makes it there in lesser time than yesterday. Perhaps because she is on a mission. The land is heating up and plastic cracks somewhere, like throwing popcorn kernels at a pop bottle. A squirrel dives across the road in front of her and she smiles, slowing her pace to a stroll so that she can enjoy the peace a little more. She can take in extra sights this way. There is a museum in this town for a man called Ruskin. She doesn’t rightly know who that is but will be sure to Google it when she gets back. First, she heads into a bakery. There are rows and rows of cakes and pastries. Oven top muffins are packaged in little see through bags and displayed in a fridge by the door. There are a mass amount of pies and stacks of fruit pots. Olivia approaches the counter. An elderly lady, with wispy grey hair and crystal blue eyes, that tell the tale of a life lived, looks over at her. She narrows one eye as she takes in the stranger. “Good morning.” Olivia beams. The old lady smiles warmly at her, having made up her mind that she is apparently polite. Her crooked teeth fill up her face and she is beautiful to Olivia. “What can I get for you my dear?” She asks. Olivia takes a look at the options and decides on what would be best for Emily. She orders a couple Danish pastries with jam in the middle, three croissants, four glazed donuts, an éclair and five tubs of fruit. “Having a brunch party, are we?” The old lady asks, as she bags up Olivia’s order.
“That’s the plan.” She chirps back. In fact, that was a good plan. Could she maybe put together a brunch party? That would help massively. If she could get some company in, then Emily wouldn’t be as cross with her. Besides she’s just bought enough food to feed a small army and Emily would have to come in and say hello. She’s a hostess at heart and loves to entertain guests. Olivia’s mind goes to the twins at the top of the hill and she internally plans on taking a hike up there to invite them over. She’d probably have to drop the food back at home, so they didn’t get ruined but apart from that, there’s nothing stopping her from making this happen. She takes the bag of goodies from the old lady and wishes her a great day, prompting more toothy smiles. She turns giddily and struts out the door, plan in hand. She practically skips as she leaves and as she does, she barges right into someone, who goes tumbling to the ground. “Thierry!” She cries. Poor Thierry lands on his bottom. He winces a little but looking up and realising who shoved him to the ground, he stands and throws his arm at her in a way that suggests it was nothing. “I’m fine!” He laughs. “No harm done…just a bruised pride.” Lily stands next to him. Actually, Lily hunches over beside him as she laughs at his expense. He is clearly a little embarrassed and pushes his sister into the road. She shoves back and they calm. Thierry looks quite dashing today, he wears a light blue shirt, that shows off his muscled arms and brings out a lovely glow in his complexion. His white shorts, though now a little dirty, bring together the ensemble and match perfectly to his white canvas shoes. Lily wears a gorgeous yellow sun dress and a pair of black heeled boots that Olivia decides she absolutely needs in her life. She makes a mental note to ask her later where they came from. “I’m so sorry.” She gushes. “Really sorry. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Really, I’m fine.” He says, brushing dirt off his backside. Lily smiles between them both. “What brings you to town?” She asks. Olivia can’t believe her luck.
“Actually, it’s quite funny. I’m here buying breakfast. I was on my way to your place to invite you to brunch. If you’d like to join me and Emily? Nick headed off to Paris this morning and so, we have the house to ourselves.” Lily smiles widely and Thierry does the same. They nod. Thierry looks at his watch. “It’s more breakfast than brunch, unless you’d rather we come later. I mean…we’re free right now?” He suggests. Olivia thinks on it for a second. The house is tidy, the food doesn’t need preparing, the only issue would be waking Emily to a house of people. Then again, she could wake in the meantime and head out for the day and Olivia, whilst wanting to give her space, doesn’t want to give her enough room to avoid the situation completely. “Sure.” Olivia says. “Why not. Emily will be thrilled, I’m sure. Heads up, though, I’m not sure she’s awake yet.”
“We’ll wake her up with some amazing food. In fact, I’ve got a brilliant idea. Let’s make mimosas. That’ll get the party started, right.” Lily says, giddily.
“Okay.” Olivia wonders if alcohol will make the situation better or worse. Emily has never shown aggressive tendencies when she is under the influence but does have a track record of getting quite emotional. Olivia wonders if this is a good thing or a bad thing. As a matter of fact, she wonders if what she is doing is a little manipulative. What would Emily think of her plan? No. She thwarts the idea in her mind before it becomes a genuine worry. It may be a little manipulative but at the end of the day, if it means she can save their friendship, then she’ll do anything. Emily is one of the most important people in her life, she is the sister she never had and Emily’s family had always made her feel like she had a second home. It kills Olivia to think that she has hurt her so badly. She racks her brain as they walk for things, she can do to make this whole thing go away. The chances are, a sacrifice to the Gods is the best chance she’ll have of getting her to move past her best friend dating her uncle. Thierry, Lily and Olivia head into the local market to pick up the needed ingredients required for making mimosas. It’s not much. Champagne and orange juice are all they need. Lily pays and Thierry buys various packets of crisps. “What chocolate do you like?” He asks Olivia.
“I’m kind of on a bit of dairy free diet at the moment. I’m trying the vegan thing.” He nods and picks up various packets of locally made chocolate and spends a good ten minutes reading the labels. “This one.” He finally says, handing Olivia a bar of dark chocolate with raisins and nuts in it. She takes it from him, and she smiles. “Thank you!”
“No problem. This thing could easily turn into an all-day party, so I figured I’d pick up some snacks.”
“Well I appreciate it.” An all-day party? Hmm. Olivia seldom has this much company in one go and is quite excited by the idea of hanging out with new people. Emily will love the attention and a fun day is probably what they need right now. With all they need in hand, the trio head back to Nick’s house.
Olivia opens the front door and pokes her head inside. It’s nearly nine o’clock and the heat of the day has started settling in its sweaty place. Her brow has a glistened sheen near her hairline and her palms are sticky. She walks into the cool hallway and as she heads into the sitting room she comes face to face with Emily. Her hair is damp showing that she has showered, and she is dressed in fresh clothing. A pair of floral shorts and a pink crop top, showing off her heart tattoo. She stops dead when she sees Olivia. Olivia thinks she may be about to yell at her or slap her. The look on her face is one she can’t decipher. There’s still that look of hurt and she looks tired. Olivia feels a tight clutch of guilt around her stomach. She wants to hug her friend and reassure her, but in all honesty, she can’t do that until she knows exactly what it is about her and Nick that she doesn’t like. What is the exact thing about the situation that hurts her the most? If she knew, maybe she could fix it. “Hi.” Olivia says as gently as she can. Emily doesn’t say a thing. Her eyes turn to the doorway as Thierry and Lily enter. A smile breaks out on Emily’s face and she rushes past Olivia to hug Lily. “Hi lovely!” Lily cries. “We thought we’d come by for breakfast with you guys. Emily hugs Thierry and he swings her up of the floor in a bear hug. “How are you?” He asks, setting her back down. Emily tucks her hair behind her ear and clears her throat. “I’m much better for seeing you.” She replies. Olivia leaves them to catch up and starts emptying the bags of pasties onto the side. She pulls out a platter tray and lays them all out, like a buffet at a hotel. She puts the fruit into a glass bowl and takes some flute glasses out of the cupboard. Lily comes to her side and talks in hushed tones as Thierry and Emily head outside to the patio. “You guys are in a fight, huh?” Olivia turns to her, a little taken aback. She is thinking of denying it but if Lily can tell something is wrong, then what would be the point in lying now? They’re here for, potentially, the rest of the day. It’s not like Emily is talking to her and eventually that may start to look a little odd. So, Olivia is thinking it’s probably best to just tell the truth. “Is it that obvious?” She asks, sheepishly. Lily nods. “Sorry. You two were so comfortable in each other’s company the other day. I have a talent for spotting these kinds of things. I can tell you all about the body language between people and instantly assess the situation. I’m thinking about moving into a career in law. I’d be great in the interrogation room.” Olivia admires her confidence and decisiveness in what she wants to do with her life. She can’t help but feel a little jealous at her certainty for her future plans and wonders if everybody else has it figured out. “Anything I can help with?” Lily asks, taking Olivia out of another accidental thought spiral. “I don’t think so.” Olivia says.
“What happened?” Lily seems a little nosey, nevertheless she is a sweet girl and Olivia really doesn’t mind all that much. “Look,” Olivia says, pouring some orange juice into the flute glasses, “I actually, really wanted you guys here to cheer her up.”
“Not so that she wouldn’t yell at you with company around?” She asks pointedly. Olivia laughs. “Okay, maybe that would help and was, yes, part of the thought process, but no. That wasn’t the main goal behind my cunning and evidently transparent plan.” She thinks a moment. How can Lily help? How can the twins turn the day around? It comes to her. “I don’t want you to try and help us fix this mess that, I feel the need to point out, I got us into, not Emily. I’d rather you help her. Just her.”
“How?” Good question.
“I don’t know.” Olivia thinks on it a second. “Just, give her a really fun day. Make her laugh, even if it’s at my expense. Do something crazy and childish. Make amazing drinks and tell funny stories. Show her a really good time. I don’t really care about me right now. We can fix our issues later but for now, just make her happy.” Lily puts a hand over her heart.
“I want a friend as good as you.” She puts the bottle of champagne under her arm. “Okay, I’ll help you, but you’ve got to tell me one thing, because it’s driving me crazy.” Olivia is hesitant to continue the conversation. “Okay, go on.” Olivia says.
“How did you mess up your pretty face?” Olivia laughs. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really seem like a secret that needs to be kept any more. “I pissed off a crazy mum.” Lily raises her eyebrows then laughs and shakes her head. “All mums are crazy.”
“True that.” Olivia picks up the tray of food. “And Lily?” Lily picks up the flute glasses, all four, like a pro. “Yep?”
“We are friends.” Lily rolls her eyes at her corny comment, but Olivia knows she liked it.
“Well good, or this would have been a really awkward party.” The girls head outside into the glory of Cumbrian sunshine, ready to create a day for Emily she will never forget. For Olivia’s sake, she hopes she won’t forget it for the right reasons. Judging by the scowl she receives when Olivia sits at the table, it’s not going to be an easy feat.