Emily did her best not to sleep. She couldn't. But then what if that's not what this was about with Crystal. What if?
She wouldn't let herself think it. It couldn't be happening all the time, could it?
She kept wanting to call Rosco, but she didn't. She didn't want him to think she was crazy(as if he didn't think that, already). And what would she have said?
a. hey, have you seen anyone a lot like me lately, but it wasn't?
b. have you got anything going on the side with anybody?
c. what time do you go to bed at night?
Emily was jittery from all the caffeine she kept feeding herself through the day. And sometimes, she'd catch herself walking the streets at night going no where. Usually, she hung out at the coffee shop. She'd try to be there when Serena wasn't. Usually, she'd doodle on napkins to stay occupied. It was nothing to get excited about. Of course, there were squares she'd noticed that she dreamed of making into a blouse. Of course, she was sure if she showed it to her mother the first thing she would say, "Its been done already." or "It looks like something your grandmother would live in, in Florida." Emily so wanted to be constructive instead of destructive.
She needed to make something. Emily knew she could take her father's old black silk robe and make herself a new outfit for school. He hadn't came back for it. No one really knew where he was. Except, he'd call Bella ever so often and ask if she needed any money. The hell with the rest of them. So it was fitting that she'd do something with the robe. She had no time for Crystal. She'd see this through. It was going to happen. That robe was hers.
But then it was like falling into a wall of confusion.
Whap! Right in the inner thigh with that stupid stick of his. Emily was beginning to think Casper was rather wicked with that walking stick or maybe it was just an extension of himself and this was all just a little sexual.
"What?" She scolded him. "They let you out at night? They don't keep you in a cage of some kind?"
"Oh, I thought it was you." There was laughter in his voice, and it was if he wasn't really talking to her by the way he smiled and his head tilted back as if she were up above and not down below. "Have you done something, differently?"
"Look, I don't have time for this," Emily fumed. "I have to get home to cut something up."
"Aw, as long as its not you." That hit a nerve. Did he know something? Had he found her razor blade?
"What?" She winced.
"You could stay for a cup of coffee and tell me what this cutting up is all about, really."
"All right." This was like a slow boat to nowhere. Why did she have to be nice to him? Why did he have to be so nice to her?
He ordered something mocha and sweet. She stuck with hot black coffee.
"Why so bitter?"
"I don't like sugar."
"But you could have it, right?" He asked and when his fingers touched her fingers it was if he knew exactly what he was doing. That he wasn't blind at all.
Emily's eyes just stared at his delicate fingers. She was calm. It almost took her breath away.
He ordered cupcakes then.
It felt a bit like a child's tea party as they sat there with the coffee and the cupcakes thick with white icing and a chocolate filling. It made Emily feel peculiar as if this could almost be magical, but it couldn't.
His smile was her weakness. She had to smile back even if he didn't have to know. She didn't want him to know, but he could tell.
"Are you thinking of cutting up stuff?"
"Yes," she said, but changed her mind. "No." Maybe it was therapeutic sitting here with him.
"I'm sure its extraordinary." Suddenly, she felt as if she were in a play, perhaps, but it was going no where until she saw Andy come into the coffee shop. He had his baby daughter in a stroller but he was alone without Rachel.
Emily sipped her coffee and studied her cupcake.
"You could eat the cupcake," Casper then suggested.
Emily hesitated as she looked over at Andy who was mouthing something to her. She just stared. Was he coming on to her? Was she imaging this? Was this something Crystal prompted?
"I will, but you go first," Emily sighed determined to give Andy the evil eye. How dare he start shit like this in front of Casper who's radar was much more fine tuned than anyone could imagine.
"But I don't need any help," Casper shook his head, no.
"Of course you do," she kept her smile small and practically round as she took the cup cake to give to Casper as she could figure out what Andy was saying to her.
She put her arm around Casper's shoulder. She leaned in and held the cupcake to Casper's mouth. Immediately, he had an icing mustache.
"Sorry," she sighed just a little, turning from Andy not wanting to know how much he really wanted to fuck her, she licked the icing from Casper's upper lip and kissed him.
Andy left. Job done.
"You can't keep still, can you?" Casper asked.
"Caffeine." She nodded.
"I don't doubt it, but there is something else too. What is it?"
"Yes, I can sense that." The back of his hand wiped the rest of his mouth clean. He went to the restroom.
Emily felt so alone then. He couldn't just leave, could he? Not when she needed him now. It just didn't seem fair.
Her eyes were damp. It was as if the minute before she'd just imagined. She waited, drinking her coffee. Finally the cup cake. He wasn't coming back. How could Casper have disappeared like that? She paid for the drinks and the cupcakes then. It was time to cut up something.