A.N: Yes, I understand that this chapter is a filler and also a major fail. But I just needed a break from all the seriousness and I've tried to convey the numbness and emptiness felt when you've lost someone. This is Emi and Richard trying to get back to normal. I promise I'm now trying to get things more optimistic again! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
"You said you were going to a casting session today?"
My father grunted an affirmative in response. He kept his head down, studying his plate and food intently as he ate. I knew he was trying to hide the dark circles that were under his eyes from me. I had caught a glimpse of his face when he entered the kitchen a few minutes earlier and it definitely hadn't escaped my notice that hollows were appearing in his cheeks and that his eyes were heavily shadowed and red rimmed.
The kitchen was horribly quiet. I could hear Lucille's radio from the utility room where she was ironing quietly and the clatter of out cutlery against our plates was brutally loud and aggressive to my ears. I had never found speaking to my father hard before but in the few days that had passed since the funeral, things had been strained between us. I caught him staring at me sometimes. He had this far away look in his eye, but it disappeared as soon as I saw him looking and he always averted his gaze quickly after that. It was then that I realised it was probably incredibly hard for him to try and carry on as normal with a daughter who looked exactly like her deceased mother around all the time.
I gulped down my last mouthful of cereal and stood up. The chair made a sound just as horrible as nails on a chalkboard and I watched silently as my father paused and winced, his fork halfway to his mouth. I picked the chair up to tuck it in again and he slowly resumed eating. I sighed and went to collect my bag from the hallway. As I was looking through it to check that I had everything, Lucille bustled into the hallway and picked up the newspapers from the table by the door. As she moved to go and take them through to my father I held up a hand to stop her from going any further. She frowned but stopped anyway and dropped the papers into my outstretched hand. This had been our routine for the past few days. I checked over the papers for any signs of articles about my mother or the funeral, before she gave the papers to my father.
I knew she didn't approve of me sheltering him from anything that might upset him. In fact, her exact words were, "He's a big boy. He knows what he can and cannot handle, Miss. Emi." But I did it anyway. He was so fragile and I didn't want him to be unnecessarily hurt.
I removed one paper which had a two page spread on my mother and gave the others to Lucille to take through to my father. I went back into the kitchen with her and kissed my father on the cheek.
"Bye, Daddy. Have a good day," I said and he glanced at me as he patted my head and tucked a stray piece of hair behind my ear carefully.
"Have a good first day back, Kiddo. I love you," he said and I felt the tears well up in my eyes. I blinked them back and nodded to him.
"Love you too," I said and I fled the kitchen before I cried again.
All the crying I had been doing lately was starting to get to me. My mom wouldn't want me to spend the whole time crying over her and so I wouldn't. I would go back to school, I would see my friends, and I would eat lunch on the field with them as usual. I would do everything as I usually would. I slung my bag over my shoulder and pulled the front door open. Leaning against the small wall by my front door was Romeo. I saw his bike propped against the wall the separated my front yard from Luke's. He was on the phone but he turned as soon as I opened the door.
"I've gotta go now. Okay... yeah. Alright, speak soon. Love you too, Rob," he hung up and gave me a small smile. "Hey."
I stepped forward and flung myself to him. He opened his arms and pulled me close to him.
"Sure you're ready for this, Em?" He asked and I nodded against his shoulder. "Okay then. Well, Luke's gonna drive us all in today. Don't forget you're not alone during all this."
"Thanks, Romeo," I said as I pulled out of the hug. "You can leave your bike there then. I can't believe you cycled round here just so you could ride to school with me."
"You're my best friend, Emi. You and you're family have done so much for me. You were there for me and now I'm there for you. I'll always have your back." He wrapped an arm around my shoulders as we wandered round to Luke's. He was already waiting for us, leaning against the side of his car when we came though his front gates. He gave the pair of us a warm smile.