It had been less than twenty-four hours since the funeral, and once again Emily’s life had
shifted. The shock was only just beginning to lift, leaving a sharp pain that would creep up when least expected.
For the second time that year, a phone call had given her a way out of a hopeless situation. She’d be given a
chance to start again, now even further from the life she’d escaped. It had always seemed like such a strange name
for a town: Deception Pass. There was a foreboding to it that seemed to give a weighted feeling to the chilly,
As she stepped off the train she felt a whisper of familiarity; she'd spent time here in the past,
many years ago now, and the town had grown considerably in that time. Change is inevitable; even things you count
on as constants often fluctuate with such subtlety that you aren't aware anything has happened until the difference
is so profound you no longer recognize where you are or how you got there.
Mary: "Emily! I'm so glad you made it! How was the trip?"
Any nervousness she’d been feeling evaporated
her friend’s warm embrace. Years melted away as the last of the distance that had separated them for so long was
gone at last.
Emily felt she’d finally come home.
Emily: "I've had better, but I've also had worse."
Mary: "Did you get any sleep at all?"
Emily: "I tried, but these girls kept running around
giggling like it was going out of fashion or something. I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old. We were never that
loud, were we?"
Mary: "Us? Never. We’ve always been perfectly behaved, quiet young ladies.”
burst into laughter for what felt like the first time in years.
let's go grab your luggage and get you home so we can both sleep.”
Emily: “You really did stay up all
night, didn’t you?”
Mary: “No way was I going to risk sleeping through the alarm and leaving you here all alone!”
Emily: “I’m sure I’d have survived. This place seems really nice, actually.”
Mary: “I guess I never really got over my dad’s warnings about staying out too late. Besides, I really want things to start off right for once.”
Emily: “Just don’t ruin it by falling asleep on the way home and killing us in a fiery crash.”
Mary stuck her tongue out and headed down a flight of stairs.
Mary: “My big
debut art show's tomorrow and I'd love to have you there for moral support."
Emily: "Don't worry, I
haven't forgotten! How could I pass up a chance to wear something fancy and rub elbows with the who's who of the
Mary: "Who's Who indeed. I still can't believe I got singled out for my own solo show!"
Emily: “Honestly, Mary, when are you going to just admit you’ve got metric assloads of talent?”
Mary: “Em, I appreciate the sentiment, but really my best talent lies in my ability to bullshit, not
Mary: "You know I haven't even met the guy who put everything together? He's supposed to be the richest
person in Deception Pass; apparently he owns the gallery, the studio I work out of... hell just about every other
building in town I'd guess!"
Emily: "Is this the same guy who owns the photo studio you
Mary: "As a matter of fact, it—“
Mary froze as the two rounded a corner, coming out of a
dim hallway and into a brightly lit vestibule.
Mary: "Oh. My. God! I cannot believe it!"
“Can’t believe what?”
Emily looked around, trying to figure out what had so fully caught her friend’s attention.
Aside from a pair of exhausted looking travelers and a loudly-buzzing vending machine, there was nothing she could
see that warranted such a strong reaction.
Mary: “Over there, by the wall!”
Once again, Emily scanned the area
before her, and once again couldn’t work out what her friend was so excited about. The only thing that had even
slightly changed was that Mary’s excitement was no longer going completely unnoticed.
“Mary, what on earth are you talking about?”
Mary: “Honestly, Em. You don’t see them?”
Emily: “See who?”
Mary sighed dramatically and took off.
"Hello ladies! I'm really surprised you recognized me. You know, it's always nice to meet a fan, no matter--
Emily had started to follow her friend, but froze only a few steps later as Mary rushed past the pair of
young men who were apparently as confused as she was.
Mary: "I can't believe they have
Triple Death Chocolate ice cream bars at the train station!"
up... Triple Death Chocolate ice cream?”
Mary: “Not that I was talking to you in the first place, but
yes. There’s some in this vending machine. You can get your own when I’m finished here.”
had nothing to do with me?"
Mary: "No. Should it have?"
James: "I'm James Selwyn."
“Yes, good for you. Now if you don’t mind, my mother told me never to talk to strangers, so buh-bye.”
winced, taking another few tentative steps toward Mary. Given her friend’s rather combative nature, she wasn’t
entirely sure who she was going to end up attempting to protect.
may have done that, but she apparently didn’t teach you any manners.”
Mary: “Excuse me?”
James: “You know, basic politeness?”
Mary: “Says the man who just started talking shit about my
James: “Listen, lady, you’re the one that brought her into it in the first place.”
you are really something else--”
Tristan: “James, I think we’d better get going before we’re late.”
held her breath as Mary and her adversary turned their attention away from one another and on the young man next to
her. There was a long moment of tense silence that seemed to stretch for eons.
“Late? Oh! Late. Right. Yes, of course.”
Without saying another word, he turned dismissively and
began to walk quickly toward the exit. His friend watched him in shock for a few seconds before turning back to the
girls with a mortified expression on his face.
Tristan: “I apologize for my friend’s behavior. James, er, he gets a bit
crabby when he’s up this late. Early. Whatever.”
Mary: “Yeah, well, someone should make sure he—“
Emily: “It’s fine, really. I’m sure we’re all exhausted. Thank you.”
He smiled, quickly but genuinely,
before hurrying after his friend.
Emily: "Is it always so exciting around here?"
to Deception Pass.”