Loving Emma

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Chapter 9

Emma wasn’t happy about sitting in Can car. But she was furious at being put in a position where she had to turn to him for support. Stepping into that crowd outside of the hotel, she had felt completely and utterly overwhelmed.

Who the hell chose to live their life like that?

It was scary, and her only source of protection had been Can. She had instinctively pressed herself into him, letting him envelop her in his big arms to shield her from photographers and screaming fans. He had made her feel protected and safe. It made her feel grateful at first, but after a few minutes, that gratefulness had turned into anger. He was the one who had put her in that position, to begin with.

He knew things, and she was pretty sure he wasn’t just going to give her the information she wanted. He was going to make her pay for it.

They pulled up to a set of white gates and Can pressed a button to have them opened. There was something about those gates that made her feel…something. She didn’t know what, but she’d had similar feelings like this before. Like something was lurking in her mind, ready to spring free. Instead of shutting it out, she closed her eyes and tried to relax. Opening her mind.

‘Are you ok?’

Can’s voice brought her out of her relaxing mode.

‘Yeah. Perfectly fine. I was trying to relax and open my senses. Before you interrupted me, that is.’

‘Did you remember something?’

‘No. And like I said, you interrupted my concentration. Is there something about those gates that would spark a memory?’

‘Yes.’

‘What?’

Veronica piped up from the back.

‘We’re not supposed to tell you that Emma. You can have hints, but the remembering part, you must do on your own. You remember what the doctor said.’

‘He also said to ask questions if I think about something.’

‘And he told us to be careful with how we answer and how much we give away.’

Stalemate. Veronica could be really fucking irritating when she wanted to be.

‘Fine.’

Can stopped the car. And said.

‘We’re home.’

Emma was stepping down from the car when Can appeared by her side to offer her his hand. She didn’t take it. Why did most celebrities she’d seen in magazines and on tv, including Can always insist on driving huge-ass SUV? What was wrong with a little Prius?

Can stayed close to her while they were walking up to the doors, she could tell he was hoping that this would spark something. But other than a fleeting sense of something she couldn’t identify by the gates, there was nothing.

She stepped into the big entryway, his eyes hopeful, and searching.

‘Please stop looking at me like that.’

He closed up.

‘Like what?’

‘Like you expect me to all the sudden have this burst of memories flooding my mind. I know you don’t mean to, but I feel a tremendous amount of pressure coming from you. And I want to make it clear. That if that’s why you brought me here, there is every chance you are going to be hugely disappointed. Ok?’

Can looked like he wanted to say something else but then decided not to. He just gave her a nod. He had understood what she wanted to say.

He showed them around and then said.

‘You guys must be getting tired. Why don’t we turn in? It’s been a long day for all of us.’

Emma couldn’t agree more. There was, however, something that she had noticed that she didn’t like.

‘There’s only one extra bedroom in this house.’

Can didn’t seem to think this was a problem.

‘Veronica can have the guesthouse. It’s all set up, and it’s just a short walk over the lawn.’

Emma didn’t like that at all.

‘No.’

He looked at her confusion in his eyes.

‘I didn’t think you would be willing to sleep with me. But if you don’t mind, then Veronica is more than welcome to the guest bedroom in the house.’

This guy was really crazy.

‘I don’t think so.’

‘Then what Emma?’

‘Why don’t you take the guesthouse. You’re the one that insisted on us coming here. You sleep out there.’

Now it was his turn to offer up a flat refusal.

‘No. And you don’t have to make it sound like a punishment. The house is the same standard as this main house. It is really nice and private. My mom loves it.’

That would work for her.

‘You’ve convinced me. I’ll take the guesthouse.’

Again. He wasn’t having it.

‘No.’

Emma was getting irritated.

‘Can, we are all tired. Will you please work with me here? Why does it matter if it’s Veronica or me in the guesthouse?’

‘I’m not staying in this house alone with Veronica while you’re out there. That would be really weird.’

‘Why? She knows you better than I do at the moment?’

Why she kept provoking him, she couldn’t really say.

‘I’m sleeping under the same roof as you. That’s the deal.’

She couldn’t contain the sarcasm.

‘Yes, let’s not forget the deal.’

Veronica decided to intercede. It felt like she and Can continually forgot that Veronica was with them.

‘Guys. Why don’t Emma and I just share the guest bedroom? The bed is big enough. And It’s not like we haven’t done it before. I feel like we could go round and round on this for hours if I let you guys continue to talk around the issue.’

Both Can and Emma looked at Veronica, it didn’t take her long to continue. She looked at her first.

‘Can wants you near him. I think he’s made that abundantly clear this evening.’

Then she looked at Can.

‘Emma’s uncomfortable to sleep in this house by herself with you.’

Her cousin had summed it all up.

‘So, we all stay under the same roof. Sorted. Now, I can’t believe that I’m being the calm and rational one here, but for the love of God, can we all just go to bed now?’


‘This feels weird.’

Veronica glanced at her

‘What? Sleeping in this house, being in Can’s t-shirt, or sharing a bed with me again? Let’s pretend its summer camp all over again. I think it’s cosy.’

Emma couldn’t help but laugh.

‘I meant sleeping in this house. And in his clothes. This entire evening has been weird. But staying here? Definitely the tip of the iceberg. We have to go get our stuff tomorrow.’

‘I know. But I do think it was better for us to just go. I wouldn’t want to see what would have happened if we’d refused his kind invitation.’

Even Veronica was acknowledging with her dry tone that Can hadn’t really issued an invitation. It was more of a command.

‘He’s pretty intense. I can’t believe I ever looked at him twice. He’s nothing like what I thought I would ever go for.’

She saw Veronica thinking on that for a few seconds before she replied.

‘I can’t help you much there. I didn’t know about you guys seeing each other before it had started becoming a little more serious. But I can tell you, Emma. You did really like him. You did confess to me that you were falling in love with him. You didn’t want to, but you were. And before you say anything. The rule of not force-feeding you information is still intact. But given the circumstances we find ourselves in, I wanted you to know this. I can’t tell you how it happened or why, but you did fall in love.’

‘I just can’t see it. In my mind. Falling for a guy like Can.’

‘Yeah, it must be hard, having just discovered you fell in love with a sexy, hunky, international superstar. Who, by the way, still seems to worship the ground you walk on.’

‘I know he’s attractive, but…’

‘Emma. Attractive does not sum that man up, at all.’

‘Ok, he’s gorgeous. But what the hell did he see in me?’

‘That I don’t know either. You were very secretive about your relationship. And didn’t tell me much. I don’t know why, but something about it made you want to keep it private. Just between you and him.’

‘Is he incredibly famous? The mob outside the hotel. Is that normal?’

‘I don’t know. He’d been there for a long time. I think his popularity has skyrocketed a bit this last year. The last series he was in, was to die for.’

‘It feels weird not knowing anything about him.’

‘I know.’

‘What was his last name again?’

‘Kaplan, why?’

Emma grabbed her phone and started putting in his name in the browser before Veronica grabbed it out of her hand.

‘I don’t think that’s such a great idea Emma’

‘Why not? Give me back my phone.’

‘I just don’t want you to get a preconceived notion of what he’s like. You know that gossip magazines are not a great source of information. It’s just for entertainment. You should give him a chance to let him show you the guy he is in private. Not the public persona.’

‘You’re hiding something again. And I like it even less this time around.’

‘I’m not hiding anything.’

‘Then give me back my phone.’

Veronica reluctantly gave it back to her, and Emma started looking through what the search had come up with. There were mostly Turkish articles, but some Italian, Greek, and Spanish as well. Thank God for automatic translation. Otherwise, she would have been screwed.

The compassion she had been building up over the past few hours for Can were quickly being doused. What the hell? Article after article with pictures of him stumbling out of nightclubs drunk and with a girl on his arm. Beautiful girls. She shouldn’t care, didn’t really, or that’s what she told herself. But there was something about those images that disturbed her. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but she didn’t like it. Made her feel unsettled, jealous even. And that made her even angrier at herself.

What was going on with her?

She shut down the page and put her phone on the nightstand. Veronica was silent, just lying there looking at her. She had known what she would find. That’s why she had insisted that she wanted to meet Can by herself at first. She genuinely didn’t think he would remember her. And given the hordes of ladies that had apparently followed her departure, she didn’t blame her.

She was surprised that he managed to keep track of them all.

‘Emma?’

‘Let’s just go to bed. I want this day over and done with.’

Thankfully, Veronica didn’t say anything else. They shut the lights off, and Emma just closed her eyes, trying to get her mind to shut down. And not relive those pictures repeatedly as she laid there, praying for sleep to come.


Can couldn’t sleep. He had heard the girls laughing earlier and had felt such jealousy at not being the one to have laughed with her, he could barely stand it. But they’d quieted down.

And now here he was, in his dark silent room, knowing Emma was just a short walk away. It filled him with a longing for her. He found difficult to cope with. He would have given anything to have her walk into his room and lay down with him. Just to have her next to him, to hold her. He genuinely didn’t know if he would ever be able to do so again. And that thought had the tears starting.

Now, he was not a crier by nature. But Emma had a way to bring him to his knees. He thought that if he ever saw her again, he would be able to get her back. He could never, in his wildest dreams, have thought up a scenario like the one he was living. It was more in line with one of his shows. But this stuff wasn’t supposed to happen in real life.

He was also battling with another round of self-loathing. Emma had been hurt. And what had he done? Fucked half the country trying to get her face out of his mind. Drowning himself in alcohol to keep his hurt from eating him up from the inside. Instead, what he should have done. Was looked harder for her.

He hadn’t even had a picture of her. Almost three weeks, and no pictures. A half grainy picture of them walking out of the hotel last year. That was it. And she wasn’t even close him, Veronica was.

If he’d had a good picture of the two of them, he could have paid to have had it been put on the front page of every magazine in England to see if someone would have reached out to him. Hell, they’d probably done it for free. But he hadn’t thought to do that. He’d been completely fucking useless because he thought she had chosen to cut him out of her life. But she hadn’t chosen anything.

He failed her. He had been selfish and pathetic. And now he was paying for it. In ways, he didn’t know how to cope with. His thought was interrupted by a sound. Someone was up. He looked over at the clock and saw it was just gone two. He got up, put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and went to check.

What greeted him was a sight so familiar to him, he almost broke down again. Emma was standing on her toes in just his t-shirt, picking out tea from the cabinet. The familiar sound of the water cooker starting to boil. If this had been last year, he would have walked up to her, put his arms around her waist, and snuggled into her neck. Wait…

‘How did you know where the tea was?’

He shouldn’t have sneaked up on her. She let out a scream and turned around, eyes looking wild and scared. He put his hands up in a soothing motion.

‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-’

‘What the hell are you doing? You scared me half to death.’

She had her hands on her chest, heaving from fright.

‘I know. I’m sorry, I just didn’t think. You were standing there picking out tea like you had never been out of this kitchen. I thought- ’

‘I haven’t remembered anything. I chose this cabinet because it seemed like the most logical place to find tea, given that the water cooker is right under it. That’s all.’

‘Of course. Again, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.’

He took a small pause letting her calm down before asking.

‘What are you doing up this late?’

‘I could ask you the same thing.’

‘I was just lying in bed, thinking.’

‘About what?’

Now it was his turn to look at her like she was mad.

‘You.’

‘Oh. Well…- ’

‘I know. You don’t want to talk about it.’

She looked away and turned her back to him while asking.

‘Do you want a cup?’

He didn’t, not really. But there was no way in hell he was going to miss the opportunity to sit with her alone for a little bit.

‘Yeah. Whatever you’re having is fine.’

‘Ok.’

He watched in silence as she fixed them both a cup.

‘You never said why you’re up fixing tea this late at night.’

She turned back to him, two cups in her hands, and offered him one.

‘Strange bed, strange house and a strange man. I’m having some trouble settling down. It doesn’t help that Veronica snores like a trucker. It’s harder to ignore when I’m laying so close to her.’

‘I can take the sofa, and you can take my bed. If you want.’

He could tell she didn’t. That’s why he hadn’t offered it earlier. She didn’t want to sleep in his bed.

‘No, thanks. I’ll be fine.’

‘Ok.’

The silence engulfed them as they were standing by the counter together, just sipping their tea. Can didn’t know how to even start a conversation. Emma did.

‘This is awkward.’

He couldn’t help a smile forming on his lips. She hadn’t lost that innate honesty of saying what was on her mind.

‘Yeah. A little.’

She smiled too. Her first one yet, directed at him anyway. Then she said.

‘I don’t really know what to say.’

‘Neither do I. Most of the things I’d like to say to you would make me sound like a lunatic to your ears.’

‘I can tell that you have some unresolved feelings when it comes to me.’

This was veering into some forbidden territories. He didn’t know what he was allowed to say.

‘Emma. It’s not just unresolved feelings. I know I’m not supposed to force-feed you information. But I love you. If nothing else, I need you to know that.’

She wasn’t shying away from him, at least. The dimly lit kitchen and the silence around was serving to make it feel like they were completely alone. But it also added a level of calmness that had been lacking since he caught sight of her again.

‘And apparently, I loved you.’

He took another sip while murmuring.

‘Yes.’

‘Is that why I chose to sell my company, the building, I mean? Severing my ties completely to Brad and my old life. Because I feel in love with you?’

He wouldn’t answer that. So, he just kept silent. If he gave everything away now, it would be over. He needed time with her. And he would have to bargain for it, yet again.

He could tell she was frustrated at his lack of response. But she didn’t push.

‘How did we meet?’

‘I’m not supposed to tell you that.’

‘Come on. I was very secretively with Veronica about our relationship. Didn’t really talk to her about anything it seems. And I think I deserve some information. And I can’t ask her.’

‘You didn’t want her to know in the beginning. And after that, we just got caught up in ourselves.’

‘Why didn’t I want her to know?’

Surely a little information, if he wasn’t too specific, wouldn’t be too bad? Maybe she needed some help to spark her memory.

‘I am a celebrity. You didn’t like that, you never liked that. Hated the attention, which is why we kept it secret. You thought Veronica wouldn’t be able to keep quiet. She was very… enthusiastic about me in the beginning. She knew my name before you even had a chance to introduce us.’


Emma understood that enthusiastic was him downplaying her cousin’s reaction. Veronica loved the attention, and a hot celebrity would have been right up her alley.

‘Right.’

She saw Can looking at her with intense eyes, and then he continues.

‘We met at a club.’

‘Veronica already told me that. How?’

‘I was up in the VIP area and caught sight of you standing down by one of the small tables looking as bored as you could possibly be. I was drawn to you and decided to go down and meet you.’

‘And I just put my hand in yours and fell in love?’

His laugh at that, she could tell, was genuine. He closed his eyes, and she could tell he was remembering and reminiscing the moment in his mind.

‘No, you pointed at me and told me to turn around and leave.’

‘Wow. That was rude.’

‘You had cause. Veronica had dragged you out even though you were exhausted and all you wanted to do, was get back to the hotel and sleep.’

‘But you didn’t turn and leave?’

‘No.’

‘So how come we started spending time together? You’re not exactly- ’

‘Shane Filan.’

That was fucking creepy. How did he know about Shane?’

‘How do you know about that?’

‘You told me, while you were trying to convince me that I’m not your type.’

‘It didn’t seem to have worked.’

‘Nope.’

All of a sudden she heard the voice of a very sleepy Veronica.

‘Emma? Are you up?’

Both she and Can looked at Veronica standing in the doorway of the dimly lit kitchen.

‘I woke up, and you were gone.’

‘Sorry. I was just having a cup of tea. I had some problems getting to sleep. I’m coming now.’

She gave Can a small smile and started making her way out of the kitchen. She felt a little lighter. They’d had a good conversation. No emotional ups and downs. Just quietly talking. Maybe he wasn’t so crazy after all. And he knew her. He had just proven that. The fact that he knew her dream man was Shane Filan was significant. She hadn’t even told Brad that. So, she had confided things in him. It was at least something tangible to go on. Small, but something.

She hadn’t brought up the stuff she’d seen on the internet. It was a conscious choice at this point. She didn’t want to talk about it. Then she would have to confront that it bothered her, and she didn’t have that in her today. It would keep.


Can was irritated at the interruption but still could not wipe the fucking grin off his face.

She had smiled at him.

It wasn’t a lot, but it was something.

He’d missed her smiles. She had been handing them out like candy to everyone but him. It had bothered him. Emma’s first inclination even to strangers was always to smile. But with him, she didn’t. She looked at him with suspicion. Which meant he ranked lower than a stranger in her mind. And going from being number one to being less significant than anybody, was a hard pill to swallow. But for the first time today, he felt a little kindling of hope.

All he needed was more time. He was absolutely sure about it. And he was going to use the only bargaining chip he had to get it. She would be pissed. She would probably resent him, curse him, maybe even yell at him, but most of all. She would be with him. And that was all he wanted right now. Just to have her with him.

He closed down the kitchen and went back to his room to lay down. He could feel himself dozing off as soon as his head hit the pillow. They would have their showdown tomorrow. He needed some rest to get ready for it. He had won a small battle in getting her here, but the war was far from over. But you had to savour the small victories. And with that thought playing in his mind. He fell asleep.

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