When Ryker showed up for his BLT lunch, he too received strange glances and pats on the shoulder. As he slid into his booth, he gave Emmie a conciliatory look. "This is turning into a fiasco. I'm sorry Emmie."

She poured his coffee without saying anything.

He cleared his throat. "As I was leaving to come here, Gene at work told me I'd better get used to changing diapers. No offense, but I'm kind of glad that's not going to happen."

"You're the second man in twenty minutes I've wanted to throw coffee at." She put the pot down before she used it as a weapon. "You know what? You suck! I don't think I can take your crap today."

She stomped back to the kitchen, waited for Delton to make his stupid sandwich, then marched it back to his booth, where she unceremoniously threw it on the table in front of him.

He looked between her and his basket lunch. "I don't even fully understand why this is all so traumatic for you, but... that doesn't matter. What can I do to make this better?"

Shaking her head, she willed herself not to cry. "Undo time. Change the past. Stop what happened from happening."

"And if I can't do that? Because... I'm a roboticist, not a time traveler."

She sighed and slumped into the seat across from him. "I don't know Ryker. And I know this isn't all your fault, it's just... because of the picture and what happened with it... I'm not sure if I can stay in Moon Beach."

He stiffened, hands frozen around the sandwich he'd just picked up. His left eye began to twitch. "What? Why?"

"I've given you so many clues, Ryker. I know she doesn't grasp the specifics, but I'm pretty sure Trisha has figured out what's going on, in a broad sense. Have you really not?"

"How can I know if you won't tell me."

She took a deep breath. "Maybe it's too late for that now."

"I don't understand why it would be, or why you want to leave Moon Beach."

"I don't want to, it's just... I can't go into it now." She looked around the restaurant uneasily and then slid out of the booth. "Unscheduled break's over. See you later, Ryker."

She kept herself busy the rest of the time he was there, which wasn't difficult considering she was getting slammed with lunch rush customers. Back and forth she went from the kitchen carrying people's food. On one of those return trips, she emerged out onto the restaurant's floor to find Ryker's booth empty. He'd left without saying goodbye, not that she could blame him.

Soon after, during her scheduled break, she received a text from Sam. His plane had just landed in Portland and he'd be in Moon Beach around six.

She texted him back. I'll be home. See you then.

The rest of her shift was spent serving shakes and deflecting Ryker-related questions. It was a relief to leave Iola's and walk back to her apartment where no one was waiting to ask how she'd managed to catch the biggest whale in Moon Beach.

#

Never one to run late, Sam showed up on her doorstep promptly at six o'clock. From the looks of him, the last day hadn't been any better for him than it had been for her.

"Is that... scruff I see on your face?" She'd never seen him anything but cleanly shaved.

He scratched at his chin but didn't say anything as he slumped onto one end of her sofa. She took a seat on the opposite side.

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