Chapter Nine

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"Move, traffic, move," Emily grumbled, her foot on the brake pedal. She'd barely lifted it during the last ten minutes while sitting in rush hour traffic. Ahead of her was a sea of red brake lights that stretched for miles.

She'd decided to celebrate Zeeked's sudden traffic explosion and the new work Sweltry had promised to send her way by treating herself to a pedicure. Her appointment was for seven p.m., but at the rate traffic on Wilshire Boulevard was moving, she wondered if she would make it there before the nail salon closed at nine o'clock.

While she waited at a red light, she reached over to turn on her car radio and began scanning the stations. Dance club, dance club, dance club, super boring song. She pressed the button to stream music from her phone. Before she could find a song to play, her phone rang.

She glanced at the screen and saw Shelby's name. They hadn't spoken since their conversation on Saturday morning.

Emily reached for her earpiece. "Hey," she said.

"Hey," Shelby replied.

"What's up?" Emily looked ahead of her and saw that traffic still wasn't moving.

"I'm calling to apologize."

"About your reaction to Cory?" she asked. The car in front of her began moving forward. Shifting her foot to the gas pedal, she carefully inched forward a few feet.

"Yeah."

"What made you change your mind?"

"I felt bad about being so quick to judge Cory all weekend." Shelby's voice was so quiet, Emily had to strain to hear her. "I felt even worse when I saw the article on Wally Hood's site today. Sounds like you guys had another fun date."

"We did," Emily said, but she didn't offer Shelby any more details.

"How are your parents with this?"

"They're surprisingly cool about it. My mom said she was glad to see me doing something fun. She was even happier that I was out with someone who wasn't Jesse."

"Your mom's a wise woman. Listen to her."

Emily ignored the dig at Jesse, but couldn't argue that it wasn't deserved. "So you really are cool with Cory now?"

Shelby paused for a moment. She sounded hesitant when she spoke. "I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'll admit it's been months since he and Cady Sugarman broke up and that you're not exactly the type of girl he's been spotted out with since then. Maybe Wally Hood is right and he really is over her, and is looking for something real."

"We've been on two dates, Shel," she pointed out. "I don't think we can jump to something real just yet."

"I know. If it becomes that, though, as long as he treats you well and makes you happy, then I'll be happy for you."

"Promise?" Emily brought her car to a stop again. A horn ahead of her blared loudly.

"Where are you?" Shelby asked.

"Wilshire. Trying to get to an appointment."

"I'm going to let you go so you can keep your attention on driving with those crazies. Love you."

"Love you, too. I'll call you later this week."

Ten minutes later, Emily had parked her car on the street and was inside the nail salon. After choosing a shade of nail polish, she sat down in an empty pedicure chair and reached for a magazine from the table beside her.

A young woman appeared at the foot of her chair. "Hello," she sang. "I'm Anna. Pedicure for you today?"

Emily lowered the magazine. "Yes, please. The deluxe, with paraffin wax."

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