MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Rise of a Fallen Angel (Part II of the Angels Series) ❯ Avoidance ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

You all would be so proud of me….I got my first flame! -beams with pride- Someone flamed my “Fall of a Broken Angel” fic. I knew it had to happen sometime! Please send your congratulations via review!
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Chapter 7—Avoidance
Emily thought that Kira and Rei were acting a bit odd the next morning, but she didn't bother trying to find out about it as she ate her way through three stacks of pancakes, two helpings of scrambled eggs, and six strips of bacon, and drank four glasses of orange juice. She's forgotten just how hungry workouts made her.
It was only as she was on her way to the music hall that she remembered the reason she'd been working out.
Akemi. Kiss. Run. That had been her basic thought process when the actual kiss happened. But now that she thought about it, she thought she might have made a mistake. She was only thirteen—fourteen in two weeks—but she thought maybe something could actually be there with her and Akemi, and that thought scared her as much as it delighted her.
Emily did a lot of thinking on her walk to the hall. She needed to get to the music, quickly. Last night she had completely lost her temper, something she had sworn she would never do again, and it couldn't happen anymore. So she had to get to the music, because that was the only other way she knew of to keep herself calm.
Upon reaching the building, Emily slid open the door silently. The desk was empty, so she proceeded into the hall and sat down in front of the piano. There was no music on the rack today, but Emily didn't care. She began to play a song from Les Miserables, which she'd committed to memory because she loved it so much. She had finished with that song and was halfway through “Think of Me” from the musical The Phantom of the Opera when someone touched her shoulder softly.
For the second time in as many days, Emily knocked over her seat as she jumped up and turned around quickly. As she had expected, Akemi was standing behind her, looking just as nervous as Emily herself felt. She felt herself turning red as they stared at each other, the piano bench forgotten on the floor between them. After several moments, she jumped over the fallen bench and ran for her life.
Kira sighed as she finished scrubbing off the dishes from breakfast, rubbing the back of her neck as she did. She was tired. There was an exhibit opening up at the gallery tomorrow and she didn't know if everything was ready yet, she hadn't been sleeping well, and her knee ached from extended hours of constant standing on top of bad weather—which she had taken a very long walk in this morning before Rei got up. She was worried about Emily, too—she was always worried about being a good mother and trying to make her daughter happy—and though she tried her best to hide all of this, the stress was starting to wear on her.
Rei, sitting at the table reading the newspaper, heard her sigh. He looked up, frowning, and stood, walking over to the sink. He put his arms around her from behind and kissed her cheek. “What's wrong?”
“Hmm?” Kira asked, acting as though she didn't know what she was talking about. “What do you mean?”
Rei shrugged. “You just seem sort of…off, lately.”
“Just tired, I guess. You know…work…life…you and your constant existence…”
“Well it's good to know I'm loved,” Rei said, chuckling and burying his face in her hair, reaching down to take her hand in his. After a moment he pulled away. “So…we should talk about Emily.”
“Right,” Kira sighed. “Emily.”
It started to rain again as Emily slowly climbed the steps to the door of their apartment building. She made no effort to get out of the rain, though. On the contrary, she sat down on the steps, rested her arms on her knees, and thought. Hard.
One thing was certain. She liked Akemi. A lot. But she was only thirteen years old. Far too young to start a relationship. She's decided on that particular fact a long time ago. But she had also decided something else.
As a young girl—a young orphan who grew up on the streets, Emily had learned what suffering was. She knew loss, pain, and loneliness, and she wasn't eager to repeat any of it. If she started anything with anyone, that person had better be ready for something long-term. She wasn't going to let herself be left alone again for a good, long while.
So where did that leave her and Akemi? What did it make them? Awkward acquaintances? Just friends? Kindred spirits? Soul mates? Or something else?
It was all so confusing. She wanted to be closer to Akemi, that much she knew. But just how close was she willing to get? What if she gave him her heart—something that she had always kept firm possession of—and he turned his back on her for someone older, smarter, or just plain prettier? How would their friendship survive something like that?
Age difference was a problem. He was seventeen, and she was only going on fourteen. She didn't want anything having to do with a real relationship until she was at least fifteen, preferably sixteen, if she ever entered into one at all.
And then there was Kira and Rei to consider. If Emily ever decided she wanted to be with Akemi, Kira would probably be shocked—though she would get used to the idea and be fine with it. And Rei….well, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Rei would probably skewer poor Akemi where he stood…
Emily sighed as she stood up and headed into the building. Thinking was supposed to help a person sort everything out. But it had just made things more confusing, and now Emily's abandoned-orphan-the-world-can-bite-my-ass self was having a major conflict with her but-all-I-want-is-to-be-a-normal-teenage-girl-again side. And frankly, this was not a war that Emily wanted to fight.
Emily looked even more serious than usual during the next few days. She avoided the music hall at all costs, but she couldn't stay at home, either, or Akemi would corner her and try to talk to her, and as she didn't know what she was going to say to him when the inevitably met, she stayed away from all the places where he might find her. The result was that she spent many hours wandering around the city, avoiding alleyways as much as possible and not going into any shops or cafés that Akemi had been known to frequent.
Rei and Kira were quick to note this change. After Emily declined Kira's invitation to come to work with her for the third time in a row, Kira did some thinking.
Rei was at the track—he spent far less time than usual there these days, having decided that he needed to spend less time racing and more time at home—and Kira had taken the day off work. The house was silent, Emily having left to go for another walk, and that gave a good, thoughtful atmosphere to the apartment. And at last, after much consideration, Kira came to a decision. Reaching for the phone, she dialed Rei's cell phone number.
Kira and Rei were waiting for Emily when she returned from her walk. They were both in the living room, and as soon as she entered they motioned for her to sit down. Emily nervously did so, wondering what on Earth was going on.
“Em, what's going on?” Kira asked, once Emily was settled in a chair across from the couch.
Emily blinked, taken aback by the directness of the question. She just looked down and didn't reply.
“C'mon, Em,” Rei said. “We know something's going on with you. You've been even more serious than usual lately.”
“You've been avoiding the music hall, something you would never do under normal circumstances.”
Emily blinked again. Don't be silly. I'm not…. She paused. I'm not avoiding anything.
“Yes you are,” Rei said. “You're avoiding….him.”
Kira giggled. “Akemi. Call him by his name, Rei.”
Emily felt the corner of her mouth turn up slightly into a tiny half-smile.
“What did he do?” Rei demanded, ignoring Kira and not seeming to notice that Emily was dangerously close to laughing at him.
At his question, however, Emily's face fell once more, and then became an impassive mask. She stares determinedly at her knees.
“Yeah….what did he do?” Kira asked, quite suddenly. “I mean, it must have been something awful, for you to be acting like this.”
“Which means I have to kill him,” Rei added.
He didn't do anything.
Both Kira and Rei blinked as Emily finally replied.
He did nothing wrong. He just….caught me off guard, is all.
“By doing what?” Rei finally exploded. “Tell us!”
Hekissed me, is all.
Total and utter silence reigned in the room for half a heartbeat. The Rei was on his feet. “He what?!”
Kira grabbed his arm and dragged him back to the couch. “Rei, sit down. It's taken you two years to get used to being a father, don't blow it by killing your daughter's first boyfriend.”
Emily's eyes grew wide. He's not my boyfriend. She said it without words, but her eyes spoke volumes. She was not ready to hear the term “boyfriend” used to describe Akemi.
“I'm gonna kill him,” Rei was muttering, just loud enough for the other two to hear. “I'm gonna get hold of him and wring his scrawny little neck…”
Emily's eyes widened and she shook her head violently.
“I agree with Emily,” Kira said. “Rei, sit. I'm glad you want to be involved in our daughter's life but for God's sake calm down. Emily, what do you want to do? About Akemi?”
No one moved for a minute. Then, as the question registered in Emily's mind, she got up and ran from the room.
Rei and Kira stared after her for a moment.
“I think that went…rather well,” Rei commented, after a moment.”
Emily was lying on her bed when Kira entered the room that night. She had been lying there all day, trying to sort out the confused tangle of emotions that was her mind. Kira and Rei had agreed that it was best to leave her alone. But when she hadn't come down for dinner, Emily had made her a plate and brought it up to her.
“Emily?” she asked, quietly.
Emily looked toward the door, and nodded at her mother. Kira came in and closed the door behind her, setting the plate on the night table. “I brought you some food.”
Emily sat up, crossed her ankles in front of her, and wrapped her arms around her knees. Kira sat down beside her and smiled. “So….any less confused yet?”
Emily shook her head.
“Just more gloomy?”
Kira smiled again and tucked back a strand of hair that had escaped from Emily braid. “I know how that feels. I've gone through many times in my life when I didn't know where to go and who to turn to.”
“Oh yeah….you know, the first time Rei started noticing me, I was just as confused and nervous as you are now. Maybe more…”
You couldn't possibly have been more confused than I am.
“Ah….that's where you're wrong.” Kira handed Emily the plate and motioned for Emily to eat. “See, when he was in high school, Rei was the baddest bad boy to walk the halls of our school. He was a total player….sleeping around, smoking, getting into all sorts of trouble…and I though that was all there was to him. But then…well, I started liking him. And I was…so confused. Scared, too. I almost felt like…I was doing something wrong.”
Why would you think that?
Kira leaned back against the wall and thought for a moment. “I…well…I just did, I guess. What you feel is normal, I promise. It's okay to be confused. It's okay to be scared.”
But that's just it. What do I have to be scared of?
Kira chuckled. “Of…rejection. Of ruining your friendship. Of getting into a relationship before you're ready. Of falling in love with someone who is years older than you. Of finding out you should never be in a long-term relationship in the first place. Everything that you have every right to be scared of.” She turned to face Emily, and her face was serious. “Emily, listen to me. I know something awful has happened to you, and I think I know what it is. The same thing happened to me when I was a teenager, and I've learned to recognize it in others. But you can't live in fear. Sooner or later you're going to have to open the door and step out into the sunlight.” She brushed a strand of hair back behind Emily's ear. “But make sure Akemi is the one you want to do that for, okay?”
Emily smiled slightly, and nodded.
“Oh, and there's another reason I came up here.”
What is it?
“Well…Rei and I were talking about what you want to do for your birthday, and we decided that—if you want to—we can go back to New York for that week.”
Emily blinked. New York?
Kira nodded. “It seems like you need to…get away for a little while. And I know Ms. Reese would love to see you. So why don't we pay her a visit for your birthday? How does that sound?”
Could we visit the orphanage?
“Of course we could. So you're on board?”
Of course I am.
“Good. I'll make the plane reservations tomorrow.” Kira stood. “All right, I have a painting I'd like to work on before I go to bed.”
She was almost out the door when she felt a hand on her arm. Turning, she saw Emily staring at her.
Why are you doing this?
Kira smiled. “Because….all that was ever missing in my life was a daughter. Now I have one and I don't want to let her go.”
The two stared at each other for a moment. Then, quite suddenly, Emily threw her arms around Kira and hugged her tightly. Kira smiled and kissed the top of her daughter's head. “Eat,” she said, when Emily stepped back. “I'm going to go work.” She smiled at her daughter and left the room.
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There it is, guys. Finally. I know it isn't much, but it's there. Now, I'm gonna work really really super extra hard on the next chapter because it's what the entire story has been leading up to, so please be patient while you wait for an update. Please don't forget about me while I'm working on it, okay? I promise, I haven't given up on this story, okay?