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He Loves Me ~ He Loves Me Not

"Bye Emma!" My dad stood holding me tightly in his arms as he had for the past I don't know how long. With one arm upper back and the other petting my hair, he whispered to me over and over again that he loved me more than anything and would call every five minutes and email me every three.


"Okay, dad. I love you, too," I pulled away and stood there adjusting by carry-on bag; my purse of course. "But I'm only going to be there for a year to see if I like it. And I mean really, moving to Georgia from Texas. Totally no comparison. Don't worry. I'll be back for junior year." A tear escaped my eye and crawled down my cheek falling onto my black Converse.

"Oh come on, Emma. Don't cry." Even as he spoke the words, I could have sworn I saw a small tear fall from his gleaming green eye. "We can talk whenever, and I'll come out for visits."

"I know. It's just that ever since the- um-" I couldn't finish what I was saying. It was too hard. I couldn't bear to think about all the pain that the stupid divorce caused. When I was nine, my mom decided that she wasn't getting enough out of life, went down to Vegas, and won fifty grand, only to gamble it all away the very same night. Along with my clothes. And money. I had had everything, and all in one freaking night, it was given, not taken away, but given away by my own freaking mom. But now, seven years later, I'm flying Southwest Airlines from Houston to Atlanta to live with my mom who apparently has surrendered her gambling ways. Maybe after seeing how much pain and sorrow and loneliness she inflicted on me, that woman really had changed.

As if!

"Yeah that. But living in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Houston is not the way I want you to live for the rest of your high school education." Wiping the tear of his rough, tan skin, my dad quickly changed the subject.

"Yeah but-"

"Flight seventy-three to Atlanta is now boarding." A voice came on the overhead telling me it was time to leave my dad. Time to leave my friends. Time to leave my home. Time to leave my life.

For a moment we just stood there, not even looking at each other. I turned and walked away toward gate seventy-three without so much as saying good-bye to my dad.

He stopped me.

"Emma" He cried so quietly you could barely hear, but just loud enough for my ears to be alerted.

I didn't turn. I didn't stop. I just slowed down. A little.

Before I could protest, there he was; my dad hugging me. Again. For the millionth time. Talk about embarrassing. I finally gave in due to the fact that at the moment, he was all that mattered in my life.

"Bye daddy." Despite the fact that I might miss my plane, we stood there holding each other for what seemed like forever until the voice on the intercom came on again.

"Last call for gate seventy-three. All for Atlanta board now." Gradually, we pulled apart and without a word, I went to the guy at the gate, showed him my ticket, and walked into the tunnel-thing to the plane without looking back.

#

Three hours, and seven packs of peanuts later, the plane was preparing to make its way down the runway of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Rays of bright sunshine bursting through the tiny window of the plane, waking me from my not-so-deep sleep. Waking up, I found myself on one of those airplane pillows leaning against the side of the window, and let me tell you, not comfortable!

Wow. I thought to myself, now wide awake. Next time, I fly first-class. If my mom was rich enough to live in some huge freaking house and have all these expensive cars, why the heck did she put me on a coach flight?

The red light above me flickered with life that said "Seat Belts On". I followed the directions as some voice told me that we were going to land now.

Fun.

Not.

#

I got off the stuffy plane and walked through the tunnel-thingy to see my "mom". I say that in quotes because I swear to you, she is so not my mom.

Anyway, even though I tried to hide behind some fat old guy, my ‘mom’ saw me and came running. Bleach blonde hair, obviously dyed several times, coach purse flung over her shoulder, and stiletto heals that defied gravity, this crazy lady strutted her way towards me. At least, attempted to strut. I had no idea that anyone on the earth could squeal so loudly!

"Emms!" The crazy woman who was somehow my mother called to me. She ran straight at me with open arms and a smile as huge as Texas plastered on her surgically made face. "Oh my Emms!" As she embraced me, she squealed yet again and almost killed my ears.

"Hey... mom." With no expression in my voice, I tried my best to smile at the strange woman holding me. "So... you look... different." And by different I mean anorexic. She had absolutely no meat on her at all. Just skin and bones. "Have you been, uh, working out?"

My mom looked at me with a confused look on her plastic face. "Um... no? At least, I don't think so! I just went on a diet and got one of those things they put around your stomach to-"

"Okay, yeah!" The blonde hair fit her perfectly. "That's great and all mom, and I would love to stay and chat, but can we please go get some food. I'm starving." Grabbing my bag, I left my mom standing in the middle of a huge crowd of people. When she finally realized what was going on, she turned and ran to follow me, yelling all the way for me to slow down.

I didn't of course.

When I reached the baggage claim, I hurried up, found my black suitcase with lime green zippers, and walked away to find my mom. She was standing in the middle of some people. In the arms of a guy.

"So mom," I asked turning the attitude on overload complete with the bobbing of the head, and the world famous; eye-roll.

Without even looking at me, my "mom" murmured, "Emma, this is Jason! He's my, um, co-worker down at the realtors estate."

"Well do all your co-workers wrap their arms around you like you're a freaking teddy bear?"

"Actually, no. But most wish they could."

I laughed at this. In the obnoxious way of course. "Why would anyone in their right mind want to get all snuggly with you?"

For the first time, this Jason guy opened his chapped lips and spoke. "Have you seen your mom? I mean, really."

"Oh yeah. I'm sure you've seen more of my mom than I'd like to see in my lifetime!"

"Well... um... actually... you see..." He mumbled as he ran his hands through his brown curly hair.

I rolled my eyes as far back as they would go. "Let's go."

We went outside to my mom's Chrysler and I put my bags in the trunk with no help from anyone.

Half an hour later, we pulled up at my mom's house. I used to live here, up until the summer before high school. My mom and dad had just gotten over a divorce, and I chose to live with my dad in Texas. I stayed there throughout freshman and sophomore year of school, and now for reasons I don't know, I'm back in Georgia to see if I like it during junior year.

The huge two-story house had white horizontal panels and black double doors and shutters on the many windows. The wrap-around-porch on the main floor was fitted with black rocking chairs next to the front doors. A flagstone path led from the driveway to the front porch. Beautiful blue, purple, red, and pink flowers filled the yard with color and personality. And if there was one thing this house had, it was definitely personality.

We parked the car in front of the house and I stepped out gazing at my childhood home.

"Hey mom?" I asked as Jason carried my bags into the house.

"Yeah?" She replied with her full attention on me for once instead of her compact mirror.

"Are there any neighbors my age?"

"Ohmigosh I was so hoping you would ask!" She threw her hands up in the air in excitement, and then skipped toward me from the other side other the car.

"Why?"

"Okay so there's this guy." Here we go.

"Ugh. Mom guys are, like, retarded. Can we just go inside now? Please!" I was disgusted with guys ever since Thomas Green put a frog in my desk in the fourth grade. I was not happy that day.

"Oh but honey! He is so handsome!" Now my mom was freaking me out!

"Handsome for you or for me?" I asked genuinely more curious then I should have been, but hey, who could blame me?

"Both!” Pedophile alert! “He lives right next door and to make it better, he goes to your school and is the star penny back!" She clapped her hands and squealed like a little school girl. Wow.

"Um... don't you mean quarterback, mom?"

"Yeah that. Well he's that, and he is just the sweetest thing in the world." My mother now stared mischievously at me. "You should go talk to him."

"Mom." Ugh. Moms.

"You could, I don't know, give him your number so you can 'study'!" She put air-quotes around the word ‘study’.

"Mom!" School hadn't even started. How would we study? Unless she meant... gasp! She didn't mean 'study' study!

"I mean, just go over there and see what he's like! I'm sure you'll love him!"

"MOM!"

"After all, he is a Dimeback in baseball, you know."

"Okay, first of all QUARTERback, mom. Quarterback. And it's in football not baseball. Second, I'm not going over there. If he's going to come here, then fine, but no way am I going to his house!" I grabbed the one bag Jason didn't, my purse, and went toward the door.

"Well that's great, because he is coming here." My mother's words stopped me in my tracks and caused me to turn to face her.

"What?"

"You heard me. Damien is coming over tonight." She stared straight into my eyes with a huge smile on her lips. Looking quite pleased with herself, she waited for a response.

"Who?” Question time.
“Damien and his parents.”
“What?”
“They’re coming over for dinner.”
“When?” I swear, this woman…
“Like, tonight.” Can someone say ‘bimbo’?
“Where?”

“To our house, silly!” She said it with that ohmigosh-i-like-broke-a-nail voice.
“Why the he-”

“Finish that word and I swear I am going to kill you.” She threatened. As if I’m scared of her! “And it’s because I was their realtor and so thanks to me, they now own the home next door. You can thank me later, but right now you have to get ready.”

"Yeah, whatever. What am I supposed to wear?"

"There's a dress I picked out for you. Go try it on and see if it fits which it will. I want you to wear it tonight."

Without a word, I rushed upstairs to find the most hideously ugly dress I have ever seen in my 16 years of life. It was a halter top that had a sash under my breasts and flared out from the sash down to my mid-thigh. Some may say it was gorgeous but to me, I would rather die. It was pink! Pink!! Of all the colors in the world. I mean really! Pink! Ugh. I am totally not a girly-girl at all under any circumstances. Give me any other color, except pink.

I sighed and put on the dress with some black heels of my moms. I found a black ribbon that was just as thick as the sash on my dress to cover the original sash to make it look slightly more like me. My hair was naturally straight, so I just put it half up half down and curled the ends with my moms curling iron since all of my things were still packed away in boxes.

I finished applying some smoky eye make-up right when the door bell rang.

"Emma, could you get that? I'm just getting the chicken out of the oven." My mom yelled to me from the kitchen.

The doorbell rang again. I sighed, looked myself over in the mirror quickly, and ran to get the door.

When I reached it, the doorbell rang for the third time. Gosh, these people were so impatient. I put on my best hostess smile and turned the knob to open the door.

"Hi! You must be-" I was staring at the most amazingly good looking guy I have ever seen.




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