By Rich Stachura All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Drama

Chapter 24

Emily sat in her bed staring at the back of a sealed envelope. The return address read JOEY CAFARO, 12-B, TOMPKINS COUNTY JAIL, 779 WARREN ROAD, ITHACA, NY 14850. She looked as though she was contemplating on whether to open it or throw it out. When she finally climbed out of bed, she slipped on her shoes. Then she put on her coat and walked out of her dorm room after dropping the envelope in the wastepaper basket.

Emily strolled outside along the dimly lit promenade, which had a thin coat of snow. She adjusted her wool hat and mittens as she passes students along the path. She liked the way the first snowfall of the season looked. Everything was white and clean. She walked and thought how Christmas was just around the corner. It would be her first Christmas without Joey. She tried to push him out of her head.

When Emily got to the parking lot, she met up with Elizabeth, Matthew and Parker. When they all got in her car, Matthew sat in the front while Elizabeth reluctantly sat in the back with Parker. After they all had fastened their seat belts, Emily started up the car and cranked up the heat. Then she drove into town to a local movie theater. They all agreed on seeing The Waterboy with Adam Sandler and Kathy Bates.

After the movie, they walked and laughed as they made their way through the crowded sidewalk to the local pizzeria a few doors down. Emily stopped and gazed at the restaurant. It reminded her of Joey and the time they exchanged jokes.

"You okay," Matthew asked as he fixed her collar.

"I'm okay." She took his arm and followed Elizabeth and Parker inside.

While they waited for their pizza, they all sat together and laughed at each other's jokes and stories. During the evening, Matthew placed his hand on Emily's thigh. She became hesitant at first, and then she took his hand and gave him a gentle smile. Parker noticed what Matthew had done and tried to do the same with Elizabeth, but she removed his hand immediately.

Matthew had noticed. Queen Bitch strikes again!

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