Can woke up to a lot of noise. He looked at the clock. It was already nine o’clock. He got straight out of bed and went to check what all the commotion was about. It was yet again coming from the kitchen. The scene he walked into was Osman sitting by the island, a confused smile on his face, while Emma and Veronica were fighting over a frying pan.
‘I have now said that I want to do breakfast for everyone three times, the kitchen soothes me, Veronica, you know this. Just get out of the kitchen, take your loverboy with you and leave me to it.’
‘Don’t call him my lover boy, just because you’re in a bad mood. His name is Osman, and I am going to cook everyone breakfast. I want you to just relax.’
Osman decided to interject.
’Ladies, why don’t you just cook it together?
Both Veronica and Emma stopped to look at Osman, and both noticed that he, too, had come into the kitchen. Emma gave him a small nod, but Veronica was looking at him with pleading eyes.
He could tell her thoughts were in line with his own. It was way too fucking early in the morning for Emma’s cooking.
‘Can, I have been telling Emma here that she should go out into the back yard and relax after the day she had yesterday. But she won’t budge.’
Emma was quick to follow.
‘That’s because I was here first, and as you probably know, Can. When I’m feeling stressed or out of sorts, I find the kitchen soothing. That’s why I was wanting to prepare breakfast for everyone.’
Osman just gave him a look of baffled confusion. And of course, if you had never experienced Emma’s omelette, you wouldn’t understand what the big deal was. And he had no intention of letting his friend find out today. Osman wouldn’t be able to fake it either. All it would serve to do was embarrass Emma. And he was fairly sure that, combined with not actually wanting to eat the god damn thing, was why Veronica was fighting her so hard for the frying pan.
‘Look. Why don’t we do this, I cook breakfast for everyone. That way, neither of you get your way.’
Emma looked at him like he was from another planet.
‘How is it better that no one gets their way. Then that one of us does?’
‘It’s fairer that way?’
‘Do we look five years old to you?’
‘In this instance, you really want me to answer that?’
Now she looked to be heading towards pissed again. So, Can decided a small lie would do the trick.
‘Look, I’m out of potatoes anyway.’
Yep. She was no longer just heading towards pissed. She had settled.
‘Would you please stop doing that?’
‘What do you mean, what? How would you feel if I knew all your secrets, and then I continually said them out loud? Potato is the secret ingredient. Secret is one of five words in that fucking sentence, it means no one should know. Do you need me to explain the other four words?’
Jesus. He was still half asleep.
‘Give me a break Emma. I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet.’
‘So? That’s no excuse.’
‘Look. I’m sorry.’
He looked around the room and said in a loud voice.
‘Will everyone in here swear, to take the secret of Emma’s omelette to the grave?’
While Veronica and Osman started chuckling, Emma looked even more put out. God, he had missed that woman in a temper.
‘Are you making fun of me?’
‘Yes. A little bit.’
She just gave him a frosty look, and then turned around and walked out through the doors leading to the back yard. Great start to the morning, just lovely.
Veronica gave him a commiserating smile and just said.
‘Thanks for the backup. Osman and I’ll cook breakfast, and you take a cup of coffee out to our girl.’
‘She told me this morning about Shane Filan, and you know the secret ingredient in her omelette. Not even I knew that. You’ve been close. Really close. So yes, I would say you have convinced me that she is our girl. God speed, my friend.’
They were all fucking crazy as far as he was concerned. Veronica was no exception. But he had her backing now, which at least felt somewhat like a consolation prize.
Emma saw him walking towards her, two cups of coffee in his hands. How was it possible to look so good when you had just woken up? It was like he was always ready for a red carpet.
‘I come bearing a small peace offering. It’s not as good as you make it, but it should be drinkable.’
She took the extended cup and looked at him while he took a seat next to her on the grass.
‘Are you going to give away my tips for making a good cup of coffee as well?’
He did look at least a little bit contrite at that.
‘Look. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to laugh at you. I don’t function well first thing in the morning. Now, if you had your memory, you would know that about me and not judge me so harshly before I’ve had at least two cups of coffee.’
‘But I don’t have my memory.’
‘But you do. Which doesn’t exactly put us in the position of being equals.’
‘It’s tough being around someone who seems to know your deepest secrets and not remember telling them. It makes me feel exposed and embarrassed, and not a little bit angry.’
He didn’t say anything to that. So, she continued.
‘What else do you know about me?’
‘Look Emma- ’
‘I want to know. What else?’
He looked into her eyes for quite a long time before he continued.
‘I know that you are clumsy. If there is anything to walk into or fall off, you will find a way to do it. You believe in kindness, even to people that don’t deserve it. You are naïve in the best of ways about life and love. You’re honest to a fault and says what’s on your mind. You are confident, but shy, beautiful, loving, strong, and principled. Your motto is slow and steady wins the race, but you sometimes wished it was, grab life by the balls, just like Veronicas.’
He took a small pause before asking.
‘You want more?’
Can saw she didn’t need to hear more. Her face had gone a little pale, and she was trembling when she brought the cup up to take a zip.
‘No. I think that’s quite enough for now.’
‘I told you I knew you, inside and out.’
‘Well, I was hardly going to just take your word for it.’
No, she wouldn’t have. And for this next part that was coming, he needed her to know and believe in the fact that they had been more than a casual fling. He needed her to know that they had been special to each other. But he had upset her with all that information.
He didn’t think. He took her hand in a show of support, and he supposed comfort, only to have her quickly take it back. That stung. And she saw his reaction.
‘I’m sorry. Look, I think it would be best if Veronica and I went back to the hotel.’
‘I’ve upset you again.’
‘Well, I upset you first. And I’m angry at the situation, not you. None of this is your fault. And I need to remember that.’
The silence engulfed them yet again, and for a few short minutes, he could sit there and pretend that they were back to how they use to be. Until Emma ruined the mood again.
‘We need to talk about my phone call with Mr. Langham. You said we would discuss it today.’
‘I did, didn’t I.’
‘Do you think- ’
‘Hey, guys. Breakfast is ready, come, and eat.’
Veronica saved his ass again.
‘Let’s go have breakfast, well talk about it later.’
‘You have got to be kidding me.’
Emma was outraged, but that didn’t move Can one inch. And he wasn’t kidding at all. But he had not wanted to have this conversation with Veronica and Osman looking at them like they were a circus show. He had wanted privacy.
‘I’m afraid I’m not joking.’
‘There’s no way in hell that I’m taking off and spending two weeks alone in a beach house with a man I don’t know.’
‘That’s the deal.’
‘But that’s barbaric. You must see that what you’re asking for is absolutely ridiculous.’
‘Last time you wanted a favour from me, we bartered for it.’
‘And what did I give you that time?’
‘I’ll agree to that.’
‘That’s not the deal on the table. You want the information; you’ll pay the price.’
He could see that she was upset, but he could not give in. If he did, she wouldn’t give him the time of day.
‘I have a court case in three weeks. I don’t have time to play these games with you.’
‘I’m only asking for two-thirds of that time.’
‘You’re asking for too much.’
‘I’m sorry you feel like that.’
Osman tried to intervene; he supposed to help him.
‘Emma. I think what Can is trying to do here is help you. He loves you very much, and he wants to give you time to remember.’
God, he loved him. A better friend you really had to search high and low for.
‘Yes. I feel very loved right now.’
The sarcasm was not lost on anyone. He saw her taking a deep breath, and then she looked at him again and used a very conciliatory tone that grated on his nerves.
‘Look. I have been thinking as well. I understand that this has been extremely hard on you. And I completely understand that you feel you are deserving of some kind of closure. I would even agree with you. But two weeks is too much. You must see that.’
Closure? It was like waving a red flag in his face. And Can could feel his emotions getting the best of him.
‘You think I want closure?’
‘Well. You want something, that’s for sure. And I don’t know what else I can offer you.’
‘I want you.’
Her face became dead set.
‘I’m not on offer.’
‘I can tell. You have completely shut your mind from even the possibility of you belonging with me. And I need it opened. I need you to give us a chance.’
‘I don’t want to do that. You’re not part of my plan.’
‘You don’t have a fucking plan. So how do you know I’m not a part of something you haven’t even figured out?’
Now Veronica was trying to mediate.
‘Look, guys. I think- ’
Emma didn’t let Veronica finish.
‘You’re not what I’m looking for. Ok. Just accept that you’re not my type and get on with it.’
Emma didn’t realise what she was doing to him. He had to remember that. But he couldn’t keep his temper in check, no matter how much he tried.
‘I’m not your type? I typically like tall leggy brunettes with a cheerful disposition. Which part of that description do you think applies to you?’
Can saw Emma’s face and realised, he shouldn’t have said that. A year ago, she would have fought back, but this was not his Emma. All she did was push her chair out and leave the table, and as she walked away, he felt the guilt coming on. He called after her.
She turned back and pointed at him.
‘I am not your fucking honey.’
And with that, she was gone. What he was left with was silence, and two pairs of eyes looking at him like he had lost his mind. Which maybe he had. Perhaps it had finally gone.
Osman was the one to break the awkwardness.
‘Smooth. Real smooth man. Really, couldn’t have handled it better if I tried.’
‘Shut up. Let me think for a minute.’
Think about what? He had to go apologies. He looked at Veronica and Osman and said.
‘Get ready. We’re leaving for the Bazaar in thirty minutes. If you’re coming, I need you ready.’
Veronica wasn’t following. She probably didn’t know.
‘Bazaar? Why are we going there?’
’Emma and I did that your third day here. We’re following the same path, remember. So, like I said. If you are coming, be ready to leave in thirty minutes.
Osman looked at him with serious eyes.
‘What are you going to do?’
The only thing he could do.
And with that, he left to find Emma.
Emma was sitting in the guest bedroom, brooding. Leggy brunettes? He didn’t have to tell her that was his preferred woman. She had seen it with her own eyes last night. And it bothered her just as much today, as it did then.
She didn’t get it. She did not want him, had told him repeatedly she wasn’t interested. But confronted with not just the images in her mind, but also his verbal confirmation that she wasn’t what he preferred. And armed with the knowledge that up until just a few days ago, he was enjoying himself with women very unlike her, hurt. She didn’t understand why, but it did.
She was so fucking confused. All she really wanted to do was get on a plane and go back home.
The door opened, and she could see Can hovering in the doorway.
‘May I come in?’
She couldn’t hide her resentment.
‘You mean, I have a choice?’
He put his hands on his face and rubbed his forehead.
‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.’
In truth, she had said worse things to him.
‘It’s all right. I don’t know why I care.’
He kept silent.
‘I saw a lot of pictures on the internet yesterday. I know I’m not exactly what you prefer.’
He hadn’t expected her to say that. She could tell. Now it was his turn to look a little pale. He walked into the room, shut the door a little, careful not to close it completely, and came over and sat down next to her on the bed.
‘I really didn’t want you to see that.’
‘You haven’t exactly been pining away for me, have you?’
‘I suppose that depends on your definition of pining. I’ve behaved very badly this last year. I was hurt and trying everything I could to bury it.’
‘Did it work?’
‘Not for a single moment.’
Emma didn’t know what else to say. He didn’t owe her any explanations. She wasn’t even sure she wanted any. He continued.
‘I hurt you with this, and I’m sorry. I didn’t know I had the power to do that anymore.’
‘Neither did I. I’m so confused, I don’t know which way to turn.’
‘I’m asking you to turn to me. To trust me. I meant what I said out there, even though I could have said it differently. We don’t choose who we fall in love with Emma. But you are so dead set against me because I don’t suit your thoughts on what your dream man should be like. Well, you’re not my dream woman either.’
He reached for her hand, and this time she let him.
‘But you are my perfect match in every way. You are my other half, Emma. I have been chasing you since I met you, and I don’t mind continuing to do so. The first time around I was the driving force, I’ll admit it. Left up to you, we would never have happened. I charmed you, and I convinced you, but you let me, Emma.’
He took a deep breath.
‘You let me. You have to give me a chance. You owe it to both of us not to run away because all this makes you uncomfortable.’
‘I don’t think I can give you what you want.’
‘But it costs nothing to try, except time. And you have some to spare.’
‘I don’t think I can agree to two weeks.’
‘Then think about it for a day or two, you have some time before your flight home.’
‘And If I decide, I can’t stay? Will you tell me what I need to know?’
‘Let’s leave that for now. You need to get ready.’
‘I’m taking you to a bazaar we went to last time you were here. We should get going.’
‘I don’t think I want to go out with you into a public place like that. A repeat of yesterday’s craziness isn’t high on my list right now.’
‘Don’t worry. Sunglasses and a hat and I’ll be fine. I might have one or two people coming up to me, but otherwise, we should be left alone.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Pretty sure. It’s a lot of tourists, and no one from here will expect to see me there.’
‘Is Veronica going?’
‘Yes. Both she and Osman are coming. I think we should take two cars, though.’
He gave her a look that said she had missed something.
‘Osman took about fifteen minutes to get to the restaurant yesterday. That guy can stand and fiddle with his hair for thirty minutes easily before leaving the house. And I wake up, and he’s already here? He is really into Veronica, and in case you’ve missed it, she’s really into him. I think they would appreciate having some, one on one time.’
‘Oh. I suppose I might have been a little wrapped up in myself these past few days.’
‘She’ll forgive you. Be by the door in twenty minutes, ready to go.’
She saw him pause before opening the door, and he turned around and quietly said.
‘Are we ok? I mean, I know we’re not ok, but are we good from this morning?’
Emma didn’t know what they were. But she certainly didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to sitting in judgement over him or his life.
‘Yep. We’re fine.’
Can exited the bedroom and saw that Osman had been standing waiting for him in the foyer.
His friend gave him a small smile.
‘Did it go all right?’
‘As good as can be expected.’
The silence dragged on, and he could tell Osman felt a little uncertain, maybe even nervous.
‘Come on, man. You have been standing here waiting for me. You want to say something, and you’re stalling. Just say it. And if it’s about me behaving like a jackass, don’t bother. I already know it.’
‘It’s not that. I just…- ’
Osman handed him his phone.
‘I woke up to this. There’s an article on the internet that you’re getting married?’
‘Yeah. Should probably have thought that through a little before I opened my mouth.’
‘That would probably have been a good idea. What if Emma sees this?’
‘She doesn’t understand a word of Turkish, so I don’t think it will be much of a problem.’
He could tell by his friends’ tone of voice, that he was yet again going to get a lecture. And even though he knew it came from a place of concern, he did not want one right now.
‘Don’t say anything. I am very much aware that I’m jumping the gun. Emma didn’t even agree to marry me last year. She thought I was rushing things. In my defence, I called her my future wife, it’s not like I specified a date.’
‘But you know you’re going to initiate a circus?’
‘We’re not going to be here anyway, so It doesn’t matter. Let’s talk about this another time. I cannot think about this now. I’m having a hard enough time getting her to stay in the same room as me.’
‘Ok. I just worry about you, that’s all.’
‘I know. But let’s just concentrate on having a nice day. Ok?’
‘Were driving separately by the way. That way, you can have Veronica to yourself for a bit.’
The grin Osman showed him, told him he’d been right.
‘Am I that obvious?’
He grinned back.
‘Just a little bit.’
‘I might steal her away tonight as well.’
‘Aren’t you moving a little fast?’
‘Hey, you’re just jealous. My girl remembers me, were picking up where we left off.’
‘Fuck you, man.’
He walked back to his room to get ready. Was he jealous? Fuck yes. But in the end, he had to have faith that they too would pick up where they left off. And it couldn’t come soon enough for him.
Can got just as much joy from watching Emma’s excitement at the enormous market this time around as he had the first. There was something about showing people his city for the first time. The girls were behaving like kids in a candy store. He and Osman had ended up carrying a lot of bags, as the girls went from stall to stall. Emma was the one who soon realised perhaps they had bought too much.
‘Veronica, how on earth are we going to get all this home with us?’
‘Shit. I didn’t think about that. We only have carry-ons. Are we even going to be able to take the perfume oils with us in that?’
Both girls looked to him and Osman, silently asking for their opinions. And that’s when he had an idea.
‘I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure that you need to check that. And considering all the stuff you guys bought, there not much else to do but buy a suitcase to shove it in.’
Emma looked at him with big eyes and gave him a big smile. She’d had fun today.
‘You’re right. We need a suitcase. I think one should do it. I’ll buy it. I needed a new one anyway.’
Can looked at her and smiled back.
‘I know just the place to get one.’
They started walking, and Can was doing his best to try and navigate where he was, so he could find the same place they went to last year. They passed by a lot of other stalls that carried suitcases, but he came up with excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t possibly buy one there. Until he finally recognized the familiar little man they had bargained with last year. And judging by the look on his face. He remembered them too. Not surprising after the spectacle they’d made of themselves.
The girls said hi to the man and started looking around. It wasn’t long until all of them had a glass of apple tea in their hands. Emma came up to the front with a familiar-looking bag.
‘Look what I found? I have one just like this at home. And I have been looking everywhere for the same one so I could have a matching pair. And boom. Here it is.’
She gave the small man a smile.
‘I’ll take it.’
The man looked at Can, and he could feel another smile coming onto his lips. He was going to conduct the negotiations with him.
‘Five hundred lira.’
Emma looked confused.
‘Excuse me, sir. I’m the one shopping. You can talk to me.’
The man just looked at her with a small smile and mischievous eyes and responded.
‘Why? He’ll just take over anyway, just like last time. But this time not so much discount. It’s five hundred, give me a fair price.’
He looked back to Can and pointed a finger at him while still smiling.
‘Not two hundred. She wants the same bag to match. Now you pay more.’
Emma was watching the two men, feeling both confused and amused at the same time. They were deep in negotiations, not paying her an ounce of attention. What was it with men and negotiations? She would have paid the man what he wanted.
The scene somehow felt a little familiar, and when she felt Can’s hand on her arm, trying to turn her away so they could leave, she got yet another sense of déjà vu. This time she tried to block everything else out and just relax her mind. Searching for what was hidden deep within.
‘Come on, Emma, we need to take a little walk.’
She didn’t answer him, just kept her eyes closed and let him guide her away. But nothing.
She opened her eyes when she could hear the little man behind her laughing shouting out.
‘Ok, same as last time two hundred seventy-five. Take it or leave it.’
Can was looking at her. He must have noticed that she had been acting a little strange.
‘Should we take it?’
Emma was disappointed that she hadn’t been able to grab hold of whatever her mind was telling her. But what could she do?
‘Yeah. But I’m paying this time.’
She walked up to the man and pulled out her wallet. She started counting out the money, handed it to the smiling man, and thanked him. When she turned back around, she saw Can was standing almost frozen in the same place she’d left him. And he was looking at her weirdly.
‘How did you know I paid last time?’
‘You said. Yes, but this time I’m paying. How did you know I paid for the bag last time?’