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We Will Find Our Way

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She remembers the time when they weren’t unbalanced.

When they shared their first kiss, everything was more or less in order.

 

~#~#

 

She isn’t a rum drinker, most especially not this spiced, fake-caramel tasting one. But it’s late and the party’s running low on alcohol in general and fuck it’s not like she’s going to take an appletini or some shite. No, she takes the rum, the entire bottle, brings it out with her to the patio, hoping for some peace and quiet. She’s aware that she’s a little tipsy, and the second she steps outside, the cool summer air hits her like a wall and boy does she ever want a cig.

She scans the grass, sees that it’s surprisingly empty. She smirks a little smirk to herself, proud that she’s actually managed to find a quiet place at a house party. Then she sees it: A patch of red hair sits innocently at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the lawn. Naomi scoffs, doesn’t need this tonight. She turns on her heel to head back inside, but the twist causes her to lose some footing on her already shaky legs. She feels her body slipping off the floor, grabs the doorframe to steady herself. In this moment of panic, a thought enters her mind. The infamous Katie Fitch not surrounded by her usual flock of pig-headed blokes?

No.

She turns back around to look again. She’s turned around, the redhead, and Naomi notices it is Katie, but not. Must be her twin. Erm...Emily. Her face is less round, her nose a bit more of a button. Really, she’s just cuter.

“Hi,” Emily says shyly, hoarsely. And Naomi’s immediately transported, remembers that deep voice. Remembers that one and only time in politics class when Emily raised her hand, to comment on the Battle of Bunker Hill. She made a pretty insightful comment, though in her hazy mind, Naomi can’t remember what the fuck it was, only that she immediately raised her hand to agree with the redhead. She had wanted to continue that conversation after class but Emily had just run away.

“Hey there,” Naomi says, cursing herself that she’s slurring. Her eyelids are heavy, and she wants to sit down, rest for a bit. “Any...” she raises her free hand and motions around the girl, “Anyone here?”

Emily just stares, and Naomi’s never noticed how wide her eyes can go. “No,” Emily says in this tiny voice.

She sits down next to her, offers her some rum, which Emily refuses. They sit in silence and Naomi’s glad she’s managed to find someone who’s quite good at sharing a comfortable silence with. Too many people can’t keep their fucking mouths shut, and whilst she fell into this category more often than not, it was still nice to just sit and be.

Speaking of just being, Naomi remembers the itch to smoke, and reaches into her jacket. Her hand brushes against Emily’s arm, which feels warm, but judging by the goosebumps, must be cold. She can’t imagine why Emily would have goosebumps, because it’s a warm night and Emily’s not exactly dressed as skimpy as Katie always is. “Sorry,” Naomi mumbles distractedly, before curling her fingers around a fresh roll, pulls it out, reaches for her lighter in her pocket. “You don’t mind, do you?” she asks, barely looking at Emily.

“No,” she responds simply. She’s retracted her arm, is caressing the area where they momentarily brushed against each other.

Naomi lights her fag, takes a long inhale, pauses. She wonders where the wind is blowing. But she can only hold on for so long, and she exhales forward, watching disappointingly as the wind carries it right, in the general direction of Emily.

Emily waves her hand in front of her face, coughs a bit.

“Sorry,” Naomi says more earnestly this time, offers a shy smile. Her head is pushing against her ears, and she doesn’t remember whose house this is.

“It’s alright,” Emily says, coughs one more time, and gives her a smile. It’s a great one, Naomi thinks. Too many people have fake ones, the internal kind of smiles that just boast your overconfidence and pride. But Emily’s smile just seems warmer, like a gift of some sort. You should smile more often, Naomi wants to say, because if she remembers correctly, the girl always looks so fucking miserable at school. Or at least, whenever she sees her.

“You’re not like your sister, are you?” she asks instead.

Emily’s eyes squint together. “Why would we be similar?”

“Dunno,” Naomi replies, taking another inhale and exhales against her left shoulder. She turns back to Emily. “It’s good. I suppose.”

“Yeah,” Emily says simply, grins this time.

They sit awhile in silence again and Naomi deciding to give up on the rum altogether and chucks it unto the lawn. The glass shatters and the sound is so distant, Naomi thinks they’re on an island. Thinks it wouldn’t be all that bad to be stuck on an island with Emily. Not really.

“That’s bad for the environment,” Emily says.

Naomi chortles, can’t stop it in her throat. “That sounds like something I would say,” she smirks at Emily.

Emily laughs a small one. “Yeah well, maybe your environmentalism is rubbing off on me.”

Naomi raises an eyebrow at her and stops to think if they’re in the same environment class. Maybe they are. She sits at the front and honestly couldn’t give a fuck about who else is in the class. It wouldn’t surprise her if Emily was sitting at the back or even next to her, she wouldn’t have noticed. “Guess I’m in an abusive relationship with Mother Nature when I drink,” she says dryly, brings the cig back to her lips.

Emily laughs. A big one, this time. It’s loud and unbounded and Naomi thinks it’s surprisingly amiable. Thinks Emily is frighteningly amiable. “You’re funny,” Emily says quietly, stifling a giggle.

Naomi smirks. Is filled with some sort of pride, but not the horrible kind, just a rushing, washing-over kind. She takes one last inhale from her cig, blows away from Emily, stubs it out on the ground and flicks the bud into the bushes. She licks her lips, turns back to Emily. “Yeah?” she asks.

Emily’s nodding, and with a soft “Yeah,” she leans in and kisses Naomi.

Frighteningly amiable it is.

 

~#~#

 

They kiss, four years later, in the same place. Only it’s a little different this time. This time, Emily’s the one who’s been drinking, and a fag is the last thing on Naomi’s mind. This time, there’s that horrible imbalance thing that looms over her head: Emily is too much, and Naomi isn’t enough.

Naomi wonders if one person can be both at the same time.

Emily is just too much emotion, is too open, it just too fucking adorable all the time. And Naomi isn’t open enough, isn’t trying hard enough, isn’t loving her enough, or at least, isn’t showing it often enough. It’s an unmistakable imbalance and somewhere along the way, it just got more and more important. Emily is too much. Naomi isn’t enough.

They broke up for these reasons and in this manner. Emily is too much. Naomi isn’t enough. Even when they split. Emily cries too much, is getting too much off her chest, is just getting too fucking emotional. And Naomi isn’t saying what she means to say, isn’t fighting hard enough for them. It’s a messy break but they manage to be friends. Because friends are on equal footings, and in a friendship, at least an unceremonious one, no one is too much, and no one is not enough.

Only two months had gone by and they’d both taken on new lovers. And Emily took this all better than she thought she would. In fact both girls took it better, took the distance, better than they thought they would. And it was because Emily wasn’t too much for Charlie, the pretty brunette in her Literary Club, but rather just enough passion and just enough honesty. And Naomi was just enough for her casual, physical, unlabelled relationship with Effy. All in all it seemed to be working out just fine, as though the universe had swung back into balance once more.

But then there were moments. Like when they bumped into one another on the dance floor. The lights dimmed and flashing, bodies moving up against one another at such a frenzied pace, they only recognized one another because of their smell, their hair, the familiar curves and creases. And they’d stand awkwardly, only to be bumped into by others and end up crushing against one another. And there was something about those moments that were lopsided too. Emily was too close, her lips too full, and Naomi wasn’t enough, wasn’t trying nearly half as hard as she could have been to move away from her.

Naomi ended up breaking it off with Effy, who took it in stride, with a smile, a nod, and a kiss goodbye. And that reaction filled Naomi with an anger she didn’t quite understand. She expected a fight, expected tears, expected some sort of annoying, bawling show. It was when she was alone in her flat that night that she realized she just expected Emily. Realized no one ever really got under her skin the way Emily did. Does. She comes to the party tonight to tell Emily this. That Emily is just too much, and she needs to get out of her head. Because Naomi isn’t enough, isn’t brave, isn’t ready, isn’t strong enough to live a life where she’s so in love with Emily Fitch, to the point where there is nothing to do about it.

She finds Emily sitting on the patio, the exact same spot where she found her four years ago. She laughs aloud.

The noise startles Emily, who turns her head around. Her makeup, light as it is, is ruined, and streaking down her face. Naomi’s smile fades immediately. She moves over to her, sits down, in the exact same spot. She takes the grey goose vodka out of Emily’s hand, tosses it to the lawn. The glass shatters and the sound is so distant, Naomi thinks they’re on an island. Thinks it wouldn’t be all that bad to be stuck on an island with Emily. Not really.

“Where’s Charlie?” she asks, because really, she’s her girlfriend, and should be here instead.

“Charlie isn’t funny,” Emily says, looking like she’s a million miles away. She wipes at tear from her cheek with a finger.

Naomi tries to grapple this sentence. Thinks she knows what it means. But doesn’t want to say anything, doesn’t want to be wrong. Is so fucking terrified that maybe she’s wrong.

“She’s sweet,” Emily says, sniffing, rubbing her nose, “She’s sweet and smart and...” She closes her eyes and cries again, burying her face in her hands.

Naomi rubs her back, because Emily likes that to be done to her when she cries.

Slowly Emily calms down, wipes at her eyes again. “That’s how it is, isn’t it?” she says more than asks. “That’s just how it is,” she turns to Naomi, their faces dangerously close, “With us. We hurt people. We hurt one another, and we hurt others. Whether we’re together or apart.”

Naomi licks her lips, tries to form a coherent thought. You shouldn’t do this to yourself, she wants to say. Because Emily has a pure heart, and needs, and deserves, someone who’s good for her.

“Em,” she says instead. Doesn’t know what else to say.

“It’s so stupid,” Emily says, another tear sliding down her cheek. Naomi brushes it away. “She wasn’t funny, wasn’t sarcastic or pessimistic enough. And I thought Maybe no one is good enough for you, Emily. And then you just popped into my head and...” The tears come faster, and Naomi continues to brush them away, settling on just holding Emily’s face to hers. “You’re too much,” Emily says, eyes fixated on Naomi’s lips this time. “You’re too much and you’re not enough,” she breathes before kissing her. Naomi wraps her hands around Emily’s neck to bring her closer, and Emily shifts her entire body to press closer to Naomi, wraps her arms around Naomi’s waist.

Naomi thinks Emily Fitch can be too much and not enough at the same time, too.

Too adorable, too loving, too sexy, too silly, too friendly, too warm, too wonderful.

And she’s never close enough. Ever.