Super Sunday Smackdown: What a Twist!
Last Thursday’s entry I talked about twist endings. Now I’m going to share a mild twist ending with you. Of course you won’t be able to see this coming unless you’ve read the rest of the story. Which you could here.
Anyway, what’s happened is that through magic (the details of which don’t need explained right now) Dr. Emma Earl and her best friend Becky switched bodies. This led to Emma-as-Becky sleeping with Dr. Dan Dreyfus, the man of her dreams. After they switch back through more magic that doesn’t need explained, Becky promises she’s going to break things off with Dan to avoid hurting Emma. Now, can you see the twist coming? Probably.
The restaurant was already full when Emma arrived. The meeting with Markova had left a sour taste in her mouth for the rest of the day that no cup of tea or throat lozenge could cover up. She had made it through her two other classes, feeling as if she had just gone a round with Koschei by the time she climbed into the cab to head for the restaurant downtown.
The maitre d’ led her to Tim’s table, which befitting a student’s income level was near the kitchen. Emma stopped in her tracks when she saw Sylvia sitting next to Tim at the table. The witch only nodded slightly to her as Tim rose to greet Emma. “Dr. Earl, I’m so glad you could come. I hope you don’t mind I brought my girlfriend. This is Sylvia.”
“We’ve met,” Emma said.
“I’m Dr. Earl’s stylist—sometimes,” Sylvia said, sneaking a wink at Emma.
“Well, that makes things easier,” Tim said. Though they weren’t on a date, Tim insisted on pulling out Emma’s chair for her.
“How did you two meet?” Emma asked.
“In the bookstore,” Sylvia answered. “He was looking for a book on government grants and I was looking for one on small business regulations. We got to talking and just hit it off.”
“That’s nice,” Emma said, meaning it. She supposed it was good not only for Sylvia to find a friend of her own, but also for Tim to find someone to drag him out of the laboratory once in a while. “I’m happy for both of you.”
They placed their orders and then Tim began talking excitedly about completing his RAT project. “Once I get everything finalized, I’m going to write a proposal for NASA. I think we can make RATs far more cheaply than what they’ve got now and they can be just as effective in exploring other planets.”
Sylvia stifled a yawn and then interrupted to say, “I’m going to use the little girl’s room.” She gave Tim a peck on the cheek before heading off for the bathroom.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“It sounds like an interesting idea. I’m not sure they’ll go for it.”
“You don’t? Why not?”
“I think they prefer to come up with ideas in-house. You might run into some bureaucratic politics.”
Tim deflated visibly at this. “Oh. I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Even if they don’t like it, I’m sure there are other applications. Commercial applications maybe.”
“I thought maybe if you have some free time, you could help me.”
“I’m not sure how much time I’ll have,” she began and then saw Tim deflating again, “but I’m sure I can find some.”
“Great. Just great.” He had folded the schematics to stuff back into his coat by the time Sylvia came back.
“Was he talking to you about his pet project?” she asked.
“She’s such a mind reader,” Tim said. “It’s like she’s psychic or something.”
“You have no idea,” Emma said.
After the main course came, Tim excused himself to use the bathroom. This gave Emma the chance to talk to Sylvia about her new beau. “He’s a great guy, don’t you think?”
“He seems nice. And he’s very enthusiastic.”
“He can go on with that science stuff for hours—like you.”
“Thanks, I think.”
“I thought maybe you could help me with that. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about most of the time. Maybe you could stop by the house sometime this week. Aggie’s still visiting her friend at the archives, so we’ll have the place to ourselves.” After getting her strength back two months ago, Ms. Chiostro—or Aggie as she liked to be called now—had turned herself into about the same age as Akako. The two of them had then gone off to the archives to work on getting things in shape for someone else to take over. What would happen then remained up in the air. Although Sylvia’s hatred of Akako had cooled somewhat, she still refused to refer to her sister’s friend by name.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Great.” Sylvia leaned close, a smile lighting up her face. “I think he might be the one.”
Sylvia nodded. “It’s been so long since I felt this way about a man.”
“That’s good. You two seem like a great couple.”
“How are things going for you? Maybe we could double date sometime?”
“I’ve been a little busy lately. I haven’t had time.”
“You’re still pining for Dan.” As Tim had said, sometimes it seemed as if Sylvia was psychic. “If you want him, why don’t you go out and get him?”
“I don’t know. Every time I get mixed up with him, bad things happen.”
“Come on, Emma, at some point you have to stop running away from it. Take a chance. Maybe you’ll be surprised.” Sylvia brushed a tress of hair away from her face. “Weren’t you the one who told me to do something to make myself happy? Why don’t you take your own advice?”
“I guess I could try.”
“Atta girl. In fact, why don’t you do it now? I’ll tell Tim that you left something back at school. That’ll give us some alone time.”
Emma took a deep breath and then let it out. “OK,” she said. “I’ll do it.”
She hurried out of the restaurant, careful so that she didn’t run into Tim on her way out. She hoped he wouldn’t be too disappointed by her sudden absence; she supposed Sylvia would take care of that. It had begun to rain since she arrived and she had not thought to bring an umbrella. Tightening her jacket around her, she waved frantically for a cab.
She didn’t need the cab, though, as she saw Dan coming down the street. Pressed next to him beneath his umbrella, holding his hand was Becky. As Emma watched, Dan leaned down to whisper something into Becky’s ear. They laughed at whatever he told her. Then they stopped, turning to face each other. Time seemed to slow down as he bent down to kiss her on the lips just as he had done in front of her house the day Emma moved in.
Emma stood paralyzed, watching them until the cabbie said, “Hey lady, are you getting in or not? I don’t have all night for you to make up your mind.”
Emma turned away from her best friend and the man she loved to duck into the cab, out of the rain. Choking up, she said, “Take me home.”
To Be Continued in Imperfect Love, Tales of the Scarlet Knight, Volume V…
Now that’s a twist ending that’s not too twisty. Earlier in the story I had established Emma-as-Becky sleeping with Dan and some of regular Becky’s interactions with Dan. So it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Becky decides to keep seeing Dan. Who Emma actually winds up with is even twistier! Though even that if you read the series isn’t so far out of left field.
Next Tuesday the blog returns…or does it? Yes, it does. Or does it? What a twist!