Catch Up (parts 20-56)

 

 

( FOUR )

Emma slept in.

Some mornings she did and some she didn’t. Mark usually tried to be quiet as he got up and got ready for work, so he didn’t always wake her as he left.

The mornings she did wake, she would sit up in bed, and talk to him about his plans for the day, and sometimes tell him which tie to wear. And he would wear that tie, usually. He would put it on, grinning, and then kiss her and leave, and then she would lie there for a while and wonder what to do with herself.

On other days, the days she stayed asleep, she would usually wake and find a cup of cold tea beside the bed. Mark always made her tea, and she never quite knew why. It was thoughtful, but it wasn’t sensible. She might be asleep for hours after he left, and usually was, so the tea just got cold.

That morning she slept in for a long time, and the tea was cold when she woke. There was a note leaning on the mug saying Mark loved her and would see her later on.

Emma rolled over and opened the bottom bed-side drawer and put the note inside it, with the condoms. She always kept the notes because she felt she ought to, but the drawer was overflowing and whenever she opened it, some fell out. She lay there for a while, wondering if she should go back to sleep, or masturbate, or just lie there and stare at the ceiling. In the end she couldn’t be bothered doing any of those things, so she got up and went out into the kitchen. She poured the tea down the sink, and put the jug on to make more. She felt bad for throwing the tea away, as if she ought to be more appreciative that Mark had made it, but it was cold and oily and would be unpleasant to drink, so she threw it away anyway.

She felt bad about it though.

She stood beside the jug, waiting for it to boil, thinking about what to do next. It had been three days since she’d met Izzy in the park, and she decided three days was about right. It wasn’t too soon, so Emma was being pushy, but it wasn’t so long it seemed like she didn’t care.

If she was going to call Izzy, then three days seemed about the right amount of time to wait.

She decided that she would. She sat down at the kitchen table with her tea, and picked up the phone. She looked over at the fridge, at the scrap of paper she’d left stuck there, and then dialled Izzy’s number. She listened to it ring.

After a moment, someone answered.

“Hey,” Emma said. “Is Izzy there?” She wasn’t sure if it was actually Izzy she was talking too. She couldn’t tell from the voice.

The person who had answered said, “Hold on, I’ll get her,” and disappeared. Then, more distantly, Emma heard, “Izzy, phone…” and “I don’t know, a woman.”

Someone who must be Izzy said, “Shit, I’m busy…”

“And she can probably hear you.”

Silence.

Emma sat holding her phone, listening, trying not to laugh. After a moment, she heard the other phone being picked up, and someone said, “Hi.”

“Izzy?”

“Hi.”

“It’s Emma. From down the road.”

“Hey.” Izzy’s voice changed, and suddenly sounded warmer. “Hey, I remember. How are you?”

“Yeah. You know. Fine.”

“Good.”

“I just wondered…” Emma said. “The other day…”

“Yes,” Izzy said. “I’d love to.”

“You’d love to?”

“Coffee or something, right?”

“Yes,” Emma said.

“Then I’d love to.”

“Oh,” Emma said, and sat there for a moment, feeling stupidly happy.

“So,” Izzy said. “Did you mean for coffee? I mean, you weren’t calling to ask if I wanted to join the neighbourhood watch or something?”

“Is there a neighbourhood watch?”

“Round here? I doubt it. People don’t really talk to each other.”

“Oh,” Emma said. “And no, it was coffee. But if you’re busy…?”

“No, not really. Not with anything I actually want to do, anyway. So you’d be a good excuse to, you know, not do it.”

“Well, we can another time if you’d rather…?”

“No, because of the wanting not to do it. And you’re the excuse. So don’t change your mind now.”

“All right,” Emma said, smiling slightly. “I won’t. So, do you want to…”

“Yep.”

“Oh. When.”

“Right now?”

Emma laughed. “Yeah, all right.”

“Do you want to come down here?”

“Or you can come here.”

“Whichever you want, but I have better coffee.”

Emma was surprised. “I have coffee…”

“But I have better coffee.”

Emma thought about that. “All right. Give me ten minutes?”

“I’ll see you then,” Izzy said, and was gone.

Emma got dressed and brushed her teeth and collected her keys from the bedroom. She decided she didn’t need anything else, and left the house. It was cold outside, as she walked, but it felt like the day was warming up. It always felt like that by mid-morning. A single bird flew over, singing loudly. Emma watched, but didn’t know what it was.

She walked. No-one else was around. It was a completely empty street.

 

 

 

Izzy opened the door. She was holding a tiny coffee cup on a saucer, which she handed to Emma. “Better coffee.”

Emma looked at it. Then she took it, and sipped.

It was better coffee.

Izzy was watching her. “You don’t mind it like that?”

Emma shook her head.

“Good,” Izzy said, and grinned. “Come in.”

Izzy turned around and went back inside. Emma followed her down a hallway and into the kitchen at the back of the house.

Emma knew where she was going because Izzy’s house was the same as her own. Most of the houses in their street were the same. There seemed to be two basic designs, a smaller house and a bigger one. Both looked the same from the front, but there were fewer bedrooms in the smaller house. Otherwise, all the houses were designed the same way, with the same floorplan, so the lounge, and upstairs the bedrooms, faced the street and the park, and the kitchens were at the back, looking into courtyard gardens and at garages.

Izzy led Emma into the kitchen.

“Nice house,” Emma said, looking around. “It’s the same as mine.”

Izzy smiled. “Yeah. And thank you. Do you want another coffee?”

Emma was surprised. “No. I mean, not yet…”

Izzy grinned again. “Sit down,” she said, and pointed to a wooden table.

Emma did.

Izzy made coffee for herself. The machine was large and metal and made hissing gurgling noises as she used it, the same way as a machine in a cafe would.

Emma was quite impressed.

 

 

 

Izzy made another coffee, another small strong one, and then sat down at the table with Emma. She kept holding the coffee, half-raised to her mouth, as if she was waiting for it to cool. It was in a small espresso cup, but without a saucer.

Emma assumed she didn’t think the saucer was worth worrying about, when she was going to drink it so quickly.

“How are you?” Izzy asked. “How have you been? How are you finding it here?”

Emma nodded. “Fine.”

Fine to all three of the questions.

“Not too bored, away from everyone you know?” Izzy asked.

“A little I suppose, yes.”

“Bored enough to actually want to meet the neighbours?”

Emma smiled. “Something like that, yes.”

Izzy looked at Emma and grinned.

Emma looked around Izzy’s house. Their houses were a lot alike, except they weren’t really, because there was different furniture inside each. Except that furniture tended to disappear into rooms, and become unnoticed. Pictures on walls stood out, and wall colours stood out, but Izzy didn’t have anything on her walls, perhaps because she was renting, and all the walls were the same neutral colour they must have been painted when they were made, the same colour as Emma’s.

Izzy didn’t have anything on her walls, and Emma didn’t have anything on hers either. Emma didn’t have anything because she hadn’t yet put anything up. Because she was worried and lazy and thought too much, and because she was a bit odd, sometimes, after too much time on her own.

Emma thought about that, wondering if Izzy would find it strange if she ever came to visit, and saw the empty walls, and had to step around all the boxes on the floor.

Emma hardly noticed the boxes any more, but she assumed someone else would.

She assumed that, and she really didn’t want Izzy to think she was odd.

“So I was thinking,” Emma said, then stopped, and thought.

“Go on.”

“Well, just, I was thinking. It’s always awkward getting to know someone, the whole learning what offends them and what doesn’t and what they’re interested in and bored by. And it’s always complicated because you have to be so polite until you know someone well.”

Izzy started to smile again. “True,” she said, gravely.

“So I wondered whether we should just ignore all that. The being polite. And just be horrible and blunt and just say whatever needs saying.”

Izzy laughed, then said, “Okay. Sure, why not. So we’ll just blurt it right out, and hold nothing back.”

Emma nodded slowly. “That’s right.”

“And not be offended.”

“No.”

“Not ever? By anything?”

Emma felt oddly happy with this idea. “Exactly.”

“You really mean this?” Izzy asked. “I mean, I think it sounds like a good idea, just…”

“We might end up hating each other?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Really quickly?”

“Yeah,” Izzy said.

“So then maybe it’s best to do it now, while we don’t know each other, so there’s a lot less to lose?”

Izzy considered. “That actually almost makes sense.”

“It makes perfect sense.”

“Have you tried this before?”

“Nope.”

Izzy grinned. “Okay. So what do we do?”

“Talk, I suppose. Without politeness.”

“Okay.” Izzy looked at Emma.

There was a brief silence.

“Yeah,” Izzy said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Emma wanted to laugh. “Me either. Ask me something.”

They looked at each other. There was another silence. Neither of them seemed to know how to start.

 

 

 

“So ask me something,” Emma said.

“I don’t know what to ask.”

“So think. Because I’ll ask you if you don’t ask me.”

Izzy shrugged. “Okay, that’s fine. Go on.”

“I will,” Emma said. “Something embarrassing.”

“So do.”

“I really will.”

“And I want you to. In fact, I dare you to.”

Emma wanted to laugh. “You dare me?”

“I do.”

“I mean it. I’ll ask something embarrassing.”

“So do I. And I dared you. So get on with it.”

“All right,” Emma said. “I will.”

“Do.”

“It’ll be embarrassing.”

“And I said that’s fine. So ask.”

Izzy sat there, grinning, and seemed to be waiting. She actually seemed to be enjoying this odd way of talking. Emma was enjoying it too, and liked the whole idea of ruthless truthfulness as well. She decided she had to actually ask something, instead of just teasing.

She thought, carefully. She wanted to start this off right.

She thought, and then realized she knew the perfect question. “So that first day,” she said. “In the park. Why were you looking at my tits?”

Izzy opened her mouth, and then just looked at Emma. “I don’t know,” she said, after a moment. She sounded uncertain, almost flustered. She suddenly didn’t seem like herself, or at least, not the way she had been until now.

“There must be a reason,” Emma said, pressing her.

“A reason?”

“Yeah, a reason. Even if it’s a boring obvious reason, there must be one.”

Izzy kept looking at Emma. “There is, I suppose.”

“So what is it?”

“I don’t know. You were soaked. That’s really all. You were soaked, and I wasn’t looking like… staring. I was just looking.”

“Just looking?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Looking but not looking?” Emma said, teasing.

Izzy hesitated. “Well, not staring, anyway.”

“Oh, you liar,” Emma said. “You so were…”

Izzy flushed, and almost seemed uncomfortable. “Well, not staring badly. I was just thinking about how your clothes had got wet. That was honestly all.”

“Of course it was,” Emma said, sceptically.

“I promise. It was.”

Emma waited a long moment, seeing if she could get Izzy more flustered, then she laughed. “Fair enough,” she said. “I just wondered, that was all.”

Izzy looked at Emma for a moment. “That wasn’t nice.”

“I know.”

“It really wasn’t.”

“And I said I know. Now you ask me something.”

“I still have no idea what.”

“Anything. Just ask.”

Izzy thought for a moment, then shrugged. “I really have no idea. There’s nothing I can think of that I want to know.”

“Nothing at all?”

“I don’t think so, no.”

“Not, say, did I mind you staring at me?”

Izzy seemed surprised. She looked at Emma, carefully, and seemed to be thinking that over. “Okay,” she said in the end.  “So did you mind me looking?”

“Not really.”

Izzy sat there, thoughtfully. “Well, good. You really didn’t?”

Emma shook her head.

“Oh,” Izzy said, and seemed almost not to believe it.

“What?” Emma said.

Izzy just shook her head. “Well anyway,” she said. “There, I asked something, so now it’s probably your turn.”

“I suggested that one.  You have to ask something on your own.”

“I do, do I?”

“Yep, that’s the idea of this.”

Izzy just looked at Emma for a moment, and then grinned.

“And anyway,” Emma said. “That question was kind of boring, don’t you think?  I mean, no-one cared, there was no big fuss, and nothing to get upset about.”

“I suppose so.”

“So ask me something else.”

Izzy thought, then shrugged again. “Honestly, I really can’t think of anything.”

“I’ll wait. You’ll come up with something.”

“I really don’t think I will.”

“Just try. Try hard.”

“I am. I will. But I don’t think I can. So don’t blame me if this goes wrong.”

“Of course not,” Emma said.

“Just don’t, okay?”

“I won’t.”

Izzy thought for a while, but still seemed to be stuck.

Emma wanted to help. “I mean it, she said. “Ask me anything at all.”

“I know. You already said.”

“So do. Ask me the things you’d hate to be asked yourself.”

“Like what?”

“I really don’t know. Make me confess the lie I never got caught out in, or the deep dark secret I’ve never told. Ask me about the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me. Absolutely anything. I really don’t mind.”

Izzy just sat there, thinking.

“Whether I ever murdered anyone and got away with it,” Emma said a little desperately. “Why not ask me that?”

“Okay. So have you?”

Emma sat there for a moment, then said, “Got away with it?”

Izzy grinned. “Murdered anyone.”

“Well, no, not really.”

Izzy pretended to be surprised. “Not really?”

Emma laughed. “Yeah, actually never.”

“I’m glad.”

“Yeah, I’d think you should be, since I’m in your kitchen.”

Izzy laughed too.

 

 

Emma kept looking at Izzy. She didn’t seem to be able to look away. She was noticing again all the things she had originally noticed about Izzy, that very first day in the park.

Izzy’s dark eyes, still heavily made-up, seeming darker and brighter and somehow more forcefully there than ought to be possible in mere eyes. Izzy’s confidence, and the way she seemed so alive and intensely herself. Or aware of herself, perhaps, and aware of who she was. Izzy’s laugh, and her smile too, her interesting, teasing, confident smile, a smile that seemed to mean she was sure of herself and happy, both things which Emma hardly ever felt herself to be.

Emma liked Izzy. She liked the way Izzy listened, and concentrated when Emma spoke, and seemed to pay just a little more attention to what Emma was saying than was usual in a conversation, Emma thought. Izzy had an intensity about herself, a kind of intense herness. A herness and a sexiness, Emma decided, because sexiness was what the intensity really was. Sexiness, but a slightly confusing sexiness, one Emma didn’t quite understand, but one which was definitely there, and which she definitely seemed to be noticing.

Noticing again, she thought, and noticing a little uncertainly.

Exactly the same way as she had in the park.

Izzy was teasing, and laughing along with Emma. She seemed to be enjoying talking, and having fun, and might even be flirting a little, Emma thought, although she wasn’t sure. She looked at Izzy and wondered, and decided that perhaps Izzy was.

Or rather, perhaps they both were, which was an odd thing to think.

They both seemed to be having fun, though, so that was probably all right.

Izzy seemed happy, and Emma liked that. She wasn’t around happy often enough, she thought, and Izzy seemed to be it. Emma liked Izzy, and liked being around her, and hoped they could be friends. That was as much why she was here, and talking like this, and trying to be interesting, as it was about the flirting.

Izzy kept staring at Emma as they talked, though, and while thinking about what questions she wanted to ask. She had an intriguing way of staring at Emma sometimes, when she thought Emma wasn’t looking. Staring intently, and smiling a little to herself, but only when she was thought Emma wouldn’t notice. Emma had caught her a few times already, and suddenly did again.

Emma didn’t know what to make of those looks, but they were making her a little flustered. Because it wasn’t just Izzy staring. They were both doing it, sometimes. Emma was staring back, now and then, after she caught Izzy staring at her. They were both glancing at each other for a little too long, a little too intensely, looking more often than was normal when just casually talking to someone else.

Emma wanted to know what those looks meant, and whether they meant anything at all. She wanted to know so badly she was tempted just to ask. That was what had given her the idea of asking each other questions, and why she had suggested that they did. So she could ask Izzy about her interest, and perhaps find out. But now that everything was arranged, and Emma had her opportunity, she suddenly didn’t feel like she could ask after all. Because asking whether Izzy was interested in her would mean admitting she’d noticed Izzy might be, and that seemed somehow to imply that Emma was interested back. Because if she wasn’t, then why would she ask and care? And because if she was, and Izzy was too, then everything in Emma’s life would suddenly become a lot more complicated, and in ways she didn’t think she wasn’t ready for just yet.

So she didn’t ask. She sat there instead. She kept encouraging Izzy to think up questions, and kept pretending to try and think up her own, because that was the far safer thing to do than to acknowledge what actually seemed to be happening.

 

 

Izzy was still thinking. “Okay,” she said, after a moment. “Then what’s your most embarrassing story? The most completely embarrassing thing you ever did, or that ever happened to you?”

“What?” Emma said. She hadn’t been listening, had become a little distracted by her own thoughts.

Izzy smiled smugly, as if she knew exactly why Emma had been distracted. “Your most embarrassing story,” she said. “What is it?”

“Oh,” Emma said. “I don’t know.”

Izzy smiled some more, and now her smile was definitely teasing. “So think of one,” she said. “And tell me. Because this is all your idea.”

“Think of one?” Emma said still a little confused.

“A story,” Izzy said patiently. “That’s embarrassing.”

“Oh, yeah,” Emma said, then just sat there looking at Izzy. She had no idea what to say.

“So what is it?” Izzy said, after a moment.

Emma made herself think.

“Well?” Izzy said. “I’m waiting. What’s the embarrassing story?”

Emma suddenly had an idea. “Well,” she said. “I went for a walk in the park this one time, and some woman started staring at my chest…”

“Liar,” Izzy said, laughing.

“I swear it’s true, that totally happened.”

“Yeah, I know. But that can’t be your actual most embarrassing story.”

“Well, no, I suppose. Not the most embarrassing…”

“So what is?”

Emma sat there, thinking. “I really don’t know.”

“You must have something,” Izzy said.

“I suppose do, but… it’s really hard, thinking like this. Being put on the spot, and just having to remember something.”

“Yeah I know,” Izzy said pointedly. “It is, isn’t it?”

Emma smiled. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine. But tell me something anyway.”

Emma thought. “You don’t care about something from when I was eight, do you?”

“Not really, no. Not unless it’s really embarrassing.”

“I cried when my mother dropped me off at school.”

“When you were eight?”

“I still did it then.”

Izzy grinned. “Okay, yeah, that is kind of embarrassing.”

“So is that enough?” Emma said, hopefully.

Izzy shook her head, still grinning. “Nope. Not at all. Tell me something else.”

Emma thought some more. Izzy was waiting, and she seemed suddenly interested too, as if she’d become caught up in this silly game without quite meaning to be. That made Emma feel like she ought to try harder, that she ought to say something which mattered, so she sat there, thinking hard, but still couldn’t think of a single thing.

She looked at Izzy’s expectant face, and was a little disappointed at herself.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I really can’t think of a thing.”

“Can I help? Make suggestions?”

“Yeah okay. Go on.”

Izzy thought. “Something to do with sex?”

“Nope,” Emma said. “That’s never embarrassing.”

“Liar.”

Emma started laughing. “I know.”

“So tell me something?”

Emma shook her head.

“Okay,” Izzy said. “So how about something from when you were drunk once? So drunk you did something completely stupid?”

Emma shook her head.

“You’ve never been that drunk?” Izzy said, sounding surprised.

“Well yeah, of course…”

“So what happened?”

“Well, how would I know?” Emma said. “I was drunk, remember. I forgot.”

Izzy just sat there, looking Emma, her expression slightly odd. As if she couldn’t decide whether to laugh or be annoyed, and that made Emma feel slightly bad.

“I’m sorry,” Emma said. “I really am trying. But this is really tricky.”

“I know. That’s what I said in the first place.”

“It really is.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Emma thought. “So how about we do something else. We do this a different way. Perhaps instead of asking weird questions, we say horrible things to each other? The awful truths no-one else will tell us about ourselves.”

Izzy didn’t seem sure. “Maybe. Like what?”

Emma shrugged. “I really don’t know.”

“Oh god,” Izzy said.

Emma was a little surprised. “What?”

“Well, now we’ve gone in a circle, haven’t we? Right back to exactly where we started. With me waiting and you trying to think up something to say…”

“Oh,” Emma said, realizing. “Actually, we have, haven’t we?”

Izzy sighed.

“Okay,” Emma said quickly. “So I’m the problem. I’m making this not work. So you take over. You say something horrible about me.”

“I can’t just say something horrible.”

“Please?”

“No way. I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“You’ll be offended.”

“I promise I won’t.”

“Yeah, right. Up until you are.”

“Please? I don’t mind what you say. And I’m letting you go first on purpose, so this will work. So you can say anything awful you like, and I won’t be upset, because I’ll be trying so hard not to be. And because then, when it’s my turn, you can’t be offended by what I say.”

Izzy seemed to think about that. “You mean, I can’t, because I was just so completely rude to you?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“And I’d want that why?”

Emma shrugged. “I don’t know. To make this work?”

Izzy sighed again, then said, “Yeah all right, I suppose so.”

“Good. Go on.”

“Let me think a second,” Izzy said.

Emma nodded.

“I might say something you really don’t like,” Izzy said. “What about that?”

“I won’t mind. I completely won’t. I’m ready, and that’s kind of the point.”

 

 

 

Izzy thought. She looked at Emma, and seemed to be staring, perhaps because she was concentrating as she did. Emma felt a little shiver of something as Izzy stared staring, and made herself stop.

Stop noticing Izzy’s eyes.

“All right,” Izzy said, after a moment. “I’ve thought of something, but are you really sure I should just say it?”

“Please say it.”

“You’re sure?”

Emma nodded. “I’m ready.”

“You try too hard to be mysterious and sexy,” Izzy said. “But it actually kind of works.”

“Okay,” Emma said. She thought for a moment. “Yeah, okay. That’s fair enough.”

“You’re not offended?”

“I don’t think so.”

Izzy seemed worried. “Are you? You don’t seem sure.”

“No.”

“Honestly?”

“Nope. Not at all.”

“Good.”

“See. That wasn’t really that bad, was it?”

“I suppose not. So, your turn.”

Emma thought. “Yeah,” she said. “I still have no idea. I’m sorry. I can’t think of anything.”

Izzy looked surprised. She looked almost upset. “But I just…”

“I know. I’m sorry. I think you’re just better at this than me.”

“You have to try.”

“I am. But I’m not thinking of anything.”

“Even after I…”

“Was so rude to me? Nope. I’m sorry.”

Izzy seemed a little upset.

“I’m sorry,” Emma said, concerned. “I really am. But I honestly can’t think of anything to say about you. I mean, I hardly know you, do I? So how could I, really?”

“I came up with something about you.”

“I know. But you’re better at it, like I said. You probably just understand people better.”

Izzy glared at Emma. “Don’t try and say nice things just to get out of how you broke the deal.”

“I didn’t, I…” Emma stopped. “Yeah, I suppose I did.”

“You completely did.”

“Well, maybe if you just tell me something instead?” Emma said. “You just tell me, rather than me saying it?”

Izzy sighed. “So now you want me tell you something bad about myself?”

“Yeah. Why not?”

“Because…” Izzy stopped, and seemed to give up. “Yeah, okay. If you like. I don’t get how this is going to help, but I will if you want me to.”

“I do. Go on.”

“Anything at all?”

Emma nodded.

Izzy sat there for a while, thinking, seeming a little helpless, the way Emma had felt trying think up something to confess. Eventually, though, Izzy said, “Okay, I have something.’

“Go on.”

“It’s a bit weird.”

“So say it.”

“Don’t laugh.”

Emma was surprised. “Of course I won’t laugh.”

“Just don’t, all right?”

Emma nodded slowly.

Izzy seemed unsure of herself. She seemed suddenly self-conscious. She wasn’t being herself at all, and Emma was a little taken aback.

“Tell me,” Emma said. “Please.”

“Sometimes when I’m having sex,” Izzy said. “I’m really, really bored.”

Emma didn’t answer. She sat there thinking.

“Ah,” Izzy said, “So, that was maybe a little too much?”

“No, not at all. I was just trying to remember. I think sometimes I am too.”

“You are?”

Emma nodded slowly.

“Is that bad?” Izzy said. “I’m never completely sure. It seems like it should be, but then again, maybe it’s just ridiculously high initial expectations not being met. Maybe everyone feels that way.”

“Well, I do.” Emma grinned. “Is two people enough to make it everyone?”

“I don’t know.”

Emma thought. “I suppose sometimes that’s just how it is, isn’t it? That you just have to lie there being bored, letting someone do their thing to you, so that later on, in a little while, you get a turn doing your thing to them.”

Izzy seemed to be thinking, too. “Yeah, I suppose it is.”

“Although it shouldn’t be. I mean, of course it shouldn’t be. But sometimes it just is.”

Izzy nodded.  She seemed to be thinking.  “Has it ever not been like that for you?”  she said.

Emma tried to remember.  “I think so.  Maybe once, with one person.  How about for you?”

“Yeah, with one person it wasn’t.  Maybe with two.”

Emma noticed that Izzy had said person, and wondered if that was significant, and also wondered whether she had been meant to notice it especially. Saying person rather than man seemed as though it might be important, she thought, and began to convince herself that it was.  She had almost decided it was, and that Izzy was trying to tell her something, when she realized that she had said person as well.  She had said person, for no particular reason, so maybe Izzy had done the same.  Maybe person was just what Izzy had happened to say, and it meant nothing, and Emma was reading far too much into it.

Or maybe not.

Emma couldn’t decide. She was thinking in circles, and making herself confused. Then she also began wondering whether Izzy would think she had been vague on purpose, and if so, why Izzy would think that was. It seemed that Izzy might wonder, Emma thought, because it just seemed obvious to. She might wonder about Emma’s vagueness in exactly the same way as Emma just had just been wondering about hers.

Emma wasn’t sure if that was a good thing, or what that might mean either.

She was thinking about vagueness too much because she was starting to suspect there was something going on between her and Izzy, some kind of flirting or hesitant interest, something more than just them both being bored at home all day and looking for friendship, and something more than wet shirts in rainstorms, too.

She thought so, but she wasn’t sure, and she didn’t know how to ask. She didn’t even know if she wanted to ask.

So she sat there, looking at Izzy, wondering.

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