Mary: "Hey Em, are you already getting ready? It's hardly noon!"
Emily: "I'm nervous. I don't know why, but my insides are all fluttery."
Emily: "I even have a funny pain in my chest, right here. I'm being ridiculous, I know. Deep cleansing breaths, right?"
Mary: "There's nothing to be nervous about! This is a great opportunity for you- take it!"
Emily: "I know you're right, but still..."
Mary: "No buts allowed. Listen I gotta run- I just wanted to let you know I'll be gone for the rest of the day. I'll talk to you when I get back- I want to know how it goes."
In the hours that followed Emily did everything she could to fill the time in an attempt to keep her mind from wandering too far from the here and now. The past was a bitter cold where numbness was soon to follow while the future was cloaked in a darkness she couldn't even begin to lift. Only in the present could she find a small portion of solitude. Here, truly alone in the house, the demons could really take hold of her if she let down her guard.
Andy: "Hello Emily- are you ready to go?"
Michelle: "Good afternoon, Mr. Stone! How are you?"
Andy: "Michelle, hi! I'm doing just fine- how are you doing?"
Michelle: "I'm doing pretty good- we've been really busy lately, but that's a good thing."
Andy: "That it is."
Michelle: "They've got your table set up for you, sir. Follow me right this way."
Michelle: "Here you go, Mr. Stone. I'll have them bring up two of your usual right away."
Andy: "Thanks Michelle, you're a real peach."
Andy: "I hope you don't mind burgers. This place has the best in town- very gourmet."
Emily: "Burgers are great."
Andy: "If you don't mind too much, I'd like to get right down to business. The sooner we deal with it, the sooner we can move on to more pleasant things."
Andy: "You seem distracted, is everything alright?"
Emily: "I guess 'getting down to business' just sounds so serious, like all of this is actually going to happen. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with all of it."
Andy: "Emily, you're amazing at what you do. You have a unique talent- believe me when I say that I can help you make your dreams come true."
Andy: "I'm giving you free run of the photo studio- if you need anything, just ask for it, regardless of cost. As far as next month's Sanity Assassin goes, I've set up a shoot with the boys tomorrow night at 7. As for it not seeming real, after tomorrow it will be more than real- you'll see. And thus concludes the business part of our meeting today. That wasn't so bad now, was it?"
Emily: "I don't know what to say, Andy. This means the world to me, thank you."
Andy: "Don't even mention it. Now let's enjoy our meal."
The rest of the meal was filled with talk about various 'safe' subjects- the weather, art, music. Slowly, minute by minute, Emily felt her guard coming down. Andy seemed so sincere, like he was really interested in what she had to say even if the topics at hand meant nothing at all. Before she knew it, two hours had past, the sun had set, and Andy was dropping her off at home.
Andy: "I had a wonderful time today, Emily. Having the opportunity to spend time getting to know you was better than I imagined. You'll forgive me if this seems forward, but I just have to tell you how stunning you look today."
Emily: "I think you're just trying to make me blush and feel awkward!"
Andy: "And if I didn't know any better I'd think you were trying to steal my heart with that sweet smile."
Andy: "I'll see you tomorrow night at the shoot. You can get there whenever you want to get it set up however you need."
Emily: "I'm back!"
Mary: "So how'd it go? You were gone a lot longer than I expected!"
Emily: "Yeah, I guess time kinda got away from us. It went really well. Very well, even."
Mary: "Sounds intriguing!"
Emily: "To say the least. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow maybe."
Mary: "How about the studio- is everything arranged with that?"
Emily: "Yeah- it's pretty much mine. The magazine shoot is already set up for tomorrow night, so I was thinking I'd head over to the studio sometime in the afternoon just to get it sorted out."
Mary: "We can go together, then. My studio is in the same building and I have some work that needs to get done."
Emily: "Ok... I really need to try to get some sleep. I'll see you in the morning"
Mary: "I'm heading up as soon as this show's over. Sleep tight!"