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Awakenings: Melinda

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Day 1: Cocoa


Melinda took Émilie to her car and practically pushed her inside. Émilie was sitting on the right front seat, looking more depressed than Eeyore. Melinda looked at her, closed her eyes momentarily and shook her head. Her lips turned upwards, and she sighed. Shrugging, she hopped into the driver’s seat and started the car. She glanced toward Émilie.

“You ok there now, Emi?“, she asked softly. Émilie nodded at her and gave her a sad, brief smile. Melinda smiled at her and started driving. She occasionally glanced at Émilie, who was passively just looking out the window, her shoulders slumped and her hands hidden under the shawl or whatever that Melinda brought her. Melinda turned on the radio, but as soon as she recognized ’Never, Ever’ by Hammerfall, she quickly turned it off. “Sorry,” she said. Émilie looked at her and a single tear fell from her eye and she sniffled.

“Am I broken?“, she said in a very quiet voice, almost whispering. Her voice quivered, and she sniffled afterward.

“No, you’re not broken, Emi!” Melinda said. “You’re an awesome person and there’s nothing wrong with you! I don’t know all the details, but what N—What she did to you was wrong. And it’s not your fault, Emi,” she said. She slowed down, then stopped the car and looked at Émilie. “Look at me, Emi. It was not your fault. Not. You did nothing wrong,” she said. Émilie sniffled and nodded at her.

“Thanks,” she whispered. “It’s just… I thought we were good… I thought she actually was like… like me,” she continued and her lower lip quivered again and she closed her eyes. “Not that there’s anything wrong with being bi,” she added. “But the way she swore all those things to me…”

“Shh, Emi. It’s gonna be alright. It hurts like hell now, I know, but it’ll get better. Look, we’re here,” she said and pointed outside to a small cozy cafe on the other side of the street. She parked the car, went to the other side, and opened the door to Émilie, who let Melinda lead her out of the car and across the street.

They enter the cafe, and Melinda leads Émilie to a table and sits her down. She fusses over her like a mother over her child. She makes sure Émilie is comfortable, then walks toward the counter. She stops and turns to look at Émilie.

“It’s normally a mint choice, but for these times it was dark chocolate with orange flavor, right, Emi?” Melinda says. Émilie looks at her, smiles weakly, and nods.

“Yeah…” she said, then raised an eyebrow. “You remembered?” she asked. Melinda puts her hands on her waist and smiles widely at her.

“Of course. You’re my important friend, Emi,” she said and grinned at her. “I could never forget something like that. Just a bit, one dark choco plus orange special coming up!” she said, turned around, and walked to the counter. Émilie looked after her and her lips turned slightly upwards. With friends like Melinda, the world wasn’t that bad of a place after all. She’d live through this. She wouldn’t give Evans the satisfaction of having broken her.

A couple of minutes later, Melinda arrived with the cocoas. She put Émilie’s cup in front of her and sat opposite of her. Melinda smelled her cocoa with a content smile on her face. The vanilla fragrance was clearly detectable, but not overpowering. Émilie looked at hers and smiled at the dark and thick liquid. She smelled the oranges there and the slight bitterness of dark chocolate. She took a sip from it, closed her eyes and leaned backwards. It felt a tiny bit thicker than normally and the aroma was richer, the orange flavor more noticeable. It was so very good, and Émilie’s lips turned upwards on their own.

“This is different,” she whispered, still with closed eyes. “It’s somehow richer and… more flavored,” she added.

Melinda smiled at her widely. “That’s because I asked for the special edition,” she said.

“Special Edition?” Émilie said, opened her eyes a little and raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah,” she said and nodded toward the counter. “She added a couple of pieces of real dark chocolate and a drop of orange extract,” she said, and looked at Émilie with a tender expression. “I thought you’d want to have an extra special drink today,” she said. Émilie nodded at her and a small smile creeped onto her lips.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. Melinda smiled at her and just nodded slightly. She didn’t want to bother Émilie too much. They drank their cocoas in relative silence, and then talked about anything and nothing, just had the kind of small talk friends have when they don’t want to discuss something heavy.

It was almost evening when they exited the cafe. They walked to Melinda’s car in silence. At the car, Melinda looked at Émilie and tilted her head slightly. “Will you be okay, Emi?” she asked.

Émilie looked at her hesitantly and flashed a little awkward smile. “I’ll be… okay, Mel. Thanks,” she said. She sat down in the front seat and Melinda looked at her doubtfully. She shook her head.

“Emi…” she said, “why don’t you come spend the night at my place? I don’t want you to be alone today.”

Émilie looked at her. “Really…?” she said. “You’d be okay with me there? I mean, I’d like it, I don’t wanna be alone either, but… is that really ok?” she asked nervously.

Melinda smiled at her. “Of course, Emi!” she said. “You’ll always be welcome to my home. You’re my dear friend, Emi. Why wouldn’t it be okay?” she said.

Émilie shrugged slightly. “I mean, just like that, with little warning. What about your boyfriend or…?” she said.

Melinda smiled gently at her. “I’m single, Emi. There are no boyfriends,” she said.

Émilie glanced at her and raised an eyebrow. “I thought… never mind, my bad. In that case, I’ll gladly accept your invitation,” she said.

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