Archie drove Emily down to her Mom's for the weekend. It looked less of winter here. Just bits of ice and snow on the ground, not like the ice tundra they'd came from. Just a real vacation, he supposed. But not by much. It was cold. Oh, so cold.
Maybe it was more than the weather he felt. It seemed Emily was changing. More quiet. Possibly, even evil.
"Just don't do anything you'll regret." He looked at her and held on to the steering wheel, white knuckled.
"I won't." But she didn't promise anything. She looked simple in her gray T and his slouchy cardigan. She was in her black converses and skinny jeans. Not a bit of makeup on. How would anyone know who she was?
They pulled up in the driveway and got out. She looked at the suburban house as if she hadn't been in it for years. When they got to the door, her father opened it. His smile was irritating, but Archie did his best not to think on it. After all, they'd never met.
Instantly, her dad went through the duties of shaking her hand. He hugged both of them as if all was forgotten. It was as if Emily might be his favorite.
"How's the weather up there?" He made it sound they'd just came from Alaska instead of Nebraska.
"A good bit more snow on the ground." Archie nodded.
Of course, Emily didn't stay to talk, she ran upstairs to see her baby brother.
"Well, she hasn't changed much." Her dad just said as he motioned Archie to come to the kitchen. There were cold cuts out. Chips and dips too. Someone was trying to make an effort. Could it be her Dad?
"Oh, Em's going through some changes." Archie grinned. "You know, its not easy being a newlywed."
"Right." Bart nodded. "Does she cook?"
"Some." Usually, it was the frozen meals that came in a bag, but Archie wasn't complaining. "We cook together, a lot. Mostly weekends."
"She never cooked here. She'd cut some boy's hair, constantly, it seemed. I can just bet they were messing around. She tell you about him?" Bart winced.
"I believe she did." Archie would prefer to make his sandwich than speak of Emily's old boyfriends.
"She was a weird little girl." Bart sighed.
"Well, then, she thought of you as a weird old Dad." Archie bit into a slice of pepperoni and smiled. There was no need to charm him. After all, Archie knew who's side he was on.