It’s Saturday and Maddie might just have had enough of waiting for her friend to make a move…
Sometimes all one needs is a little push in the right direction.
Emily got out of the shower and checked her phone to see if Maddie had replied to her text but it showed nothing. Maddie had rung her the night before to tell her that she’d be picking her up at 10am but wouldn’t say where they were going. Emily had become a tad weary of Maddie’s surprises, too many of them over the years had ended up with Emily having to be the sober driver while Maddie made out in the back seat with some girl she’d just met at whatever club they’d been at.
When Emily had broken up with Richie she’d stayed with Maddie for a couple of months and it was at one of her events that Maddie had met Harriet. The two women had instantly clicked and realised they were in love with each other after about two weeks. Harriet was quite the cook and Maddie and Emily had been all too willing to try any of the delicious dishes she’d tried. Harriet’s job as a stewardess meant she was away a lot for work so it had made sense for her to sell her house and move in with Maddie.
Emily heard a car in her driveway so she picked up her phone and handbag, locking the house before she walked out to Maddie’s car.
“Are you finally going to tell me where we’re going on this fine day?” she asked as soon as she was in the car. She didn’t especially feel like going out but she couldn’t spend another day alone in her house thinking about how much she’d fucked up. At least work was going great; they said one should always look for a silver lining.
“You’ll see,” Maddie replied, concentrating on reversing down the driveway. “We just need to make one stop first. I need to pick up something from Tamara’s house.”
“Chick I met at work.”
Emily stared at her best friend in disbelief. “You met a woman at work? What’s this? 2013 all over again? What exactly did you forget at that woman’s house? Did you spend the night there? You remember you have a girlfriend, right?”
“Jesus, Em! I didn’t mean it in that way! I would never ever cheat on Harry! How can you even think that?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t really think… Ugh. I’m such a mess, why are you even bothering?”
“Sweetie, breathe. You’d be less of a mess if you’d done what I’d said and talked to Richie.”
“Maddie… I… I’m scared, okay? There, I said it. I’m scared to see him again. I’m scared that, if I do see him, whatever lame ass apology I come up with won’t be enough for him to forgive me. And I’m scared I’ll never see him again after that. Happy now?”
Emily turned her head away to look out the window, trying not to cry. She realised she had no idea where they were, the neighbourhood looked nice though, leafy trees lining the streets, immaculate lawns and tidy flower beds.
“You think seeing you in meltdown mode makes me happy? You’re my best friend and it hurts me to see you like this. And you want to know something? He’s feeling just as bad as you.”
“You have seen him. I was right. I bet he told you he’s glad he never has to see me again.” Emily knew she was being childish and petty, considering she was the one who’d made Maddie promise to never mention Richie, but she didn’t care.
“Oh my God! You two are as bad as each other. I wish I could just bang your heads together and make you see sense. If you must know, you broke his heart and he doesn’t believe that you’re going to change your mind just because he sent you a handful of emails.”
“So I was right, he wants nothing to do with me. Can’t blame him, really, and I–”
“Emily, shut up!” Maddie said loudly as she stopped the car in front of a house.
Emily looked back at her in shock. There had always been a lot of banter between the two of them but Maddie had never yelled at her like that before. Feeling rather like a naughty child, Emily sat in her seat, unsure what to do.
“I’m sorry. I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. But in my defence you were stuck inside your head, like James Van Der Beek in that show about the bitch at Number 23.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I’m right. Now come on, I want you to meet Tamara,” Maddie said impatiently.
“What? But…” Now she had to meet this woman too?
“Just get out of the car, Emily. Please?”
She followed Maddie up the path to the house, which was cream weatherboards with a dark grey roof and a swing seat on the porch. Maddie knocked and after a minute they heard what sounded like small feet running very fast towards the door, and a child’s voice yelling, “I’ll get it!”
The door opened to reveal a little girl who looked vaguely familiar to Emily.
“Auntie Maddie!” The little girl took a step then stopped, giving Emily the once-over. “Who’s your friend? Is she coming with us?”
“Hey TamTam,” Maddie said, picking up the little girl and walking into the house like she owned the place.
Emily followed her in and closed the front door. She waited in the foyer, unsure what to do next. She didn’t know the people who lived in this house and Maddie had gone into a room with the little girl. A couple of minutes later Maddie reappeared with the child holding her hand and carrying a pink backpack. They were both wearing a lanyard and Emily didn’t get a chance to read what it said because a male voice that she instantly recognised called out to Maddie and she felt rooted to the spot.
“Bec said she left her carseat by the front door, so we–”
Richie stopped in his tracks, the rest of the sentence dying on his lips. He was wearing jeans and a light blue button-down shirt and he looked so good Emily felt her heart skip a beat then it started racing. She managed to tear her eyes away from him and turned to Maddie who looked like the cat that got the cream.
“Maddie? What’s happening?”
“Maddie?” Richie asked, taking a step forward.
“Oh great, you’re both here. TamTam, this is my friend Emily, she’s come to say sorry to Uncle Ricky, then they’re going to kiss and make up while you and me go to the zoo. Talking about that, we better get going, don’t want to miss out on feeding the giraffes.”
“Let’s go!” said the excited little girl, whom Emily now remembered was Richie’s niece, Tamara. They’d flown over to Melbourne when Richie’s sister had had her; Emily felt stupid for not connecting the dots.
The little girl opened the door while Maddie got her carseat and the two of them exited the house, Maddie
winking at Emily.
“We’ll be a while. Make it count!” Maddie said before she slammed the front door shut.