5~Emma: The Gift

 

4~Emma: It Begins

Emma sat on the window sill of her apartment. The sun began to peek in and she sat there for just a bit longer absorbing the warm rays while Good Morningstaring at the pendant. So many questions went through her mind. She was too new to the city so she didn’t know that many people and she couldn’t think of anyone who showed a liking toward her, let alone send her such a beautiful piece of jewelry like this.

Getting ready for her day at the museum she contemplated wearing the pendant. It had been a week since she received it and nothing else has happened. It was quite beautiful and it was a gift for her. Maybe the person who bought it would come forward and talk with her if she did. If it was someone she wasn’t interested in she’d politely decline and give back the pendant.

“Think it’s real?” Hilana couldn’t help but ask. The shine on it was stunning and she was almost envious. They were having their morning coffee at the reception desk in the museum as they did almost every morning before starting their daily work routines.

“I don’t know.” Emma touched it with her fingertips. “Do you think I should I get it appraised?”

“I would. It’d be nice to know how much this stranger really thinks of you.”

“Hilana! Just because someone doesn’t spend a lot of money on you doesn’t have a thing to do with how they feel about you. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten were free from the fields of Colorado. You’d be amazed at how it feels to have someone take the time to pick a bouquet of flowers for you.” She fondly remembered her first date with Josh, so sweet and innocent. Now, that seemed like it happened so long ago. She felt like she was in a different world.

Hilana waved her hand at her. “Yea, yea. Mushy gushy crap.” She smiled diverting her attention back to the pendant. “So you have no idea who the mystery man is?”

“None. I don’t even know where to begin.” She seemed to be deep in thought. “I ran into that man who caused a scene in here because he thought I set him up to get mugged when he went to see Miss Cleo? Remember?” Hilana nodded.

“I do. He was creepy.” She gasped. “Do you think it’s him?” She crinkled her nose at the thought.

“No. I set it down in front of him and he had no idea what it was. But he did jump to the idea of helping me solve this mystery like he was in some old Nancy Drew mystery or something.”

“How funny.” Hilana laughed. “That guy was a quack.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the front door. A delivery man entered and Emma’s heart swelled a little. Every day she felt this way when packages were delivered. She was half hoping for some other sign that might point to the man behind the mystery. When she saw it was just the daily delivery she took a little breath, finished her coffee and excused herself. A small thought stuck in her mind that perhaps a piece of art might have some hidden meaning meant just for her, but she tried not to put too much into it.

“I’m going to go start my shift. See you at lunch.” Hilana was signing the packages and waved at her. She was going through them and just as Emma was walking away, Hilana called for her.

“Um. Emma?” Hilana was holding a small brown package and staring at it. Wrapped Gifts“There’s a package…for you.” Emma just stood there for a moment before walking back to the desk. She could feel her heart beat as if she held it in her hands.

“Another one?” They both moved in slow motion. It had been a week and absolutely nothing else happened, no signs, no strange people, no funny looks. And now here she stood with another similar package in her hands.

“Well? Open it!” Hilana seemed more anxious than Emma did. She tore open the brown wrapping and held a matching black box to the one that held her pendant she wore. She slowly opened it and just stared at the contents. Dropping it on the front desk she ran outside again in hopes of finding the delivery man but he was nowhere to be found.

“How the hell does he vanish so quickly?” She went back inside to find Hilana holding up a pendant. “What company delivers….” Emma stopped.

“It’s the same pendant.” Hilana looked at Emma confused. “Maybe it was a mixup? Can I have this one?”

“It’s not…the same.”

“Sure looks the same.” Emma took the pendant and held it up to the one she wore. “Oh yea. Now I see the difference. This one has a little tail.”

Emma snickered. “It’s the symbol of the Scorpio.” Hilana raised her eyebrows.

“Did you join a symbol of the week club or something? I know how much you’re into astrology. Maybe you signed up for something and forgot.”

Hilana’s words were fading from Emma’s thoughts as she began thinking about what this meant. Her mystery man was revealing himself one piece at a time.

“Scorpio.” She mumbled.

Emma was keen to everything and everyone around her now. She couldn’t tell a Scorpio from a Leo by looking at them, but she was sure she could sense who was watching her if she kept her eyes opened.

Lunch time came and although Emma never volunteered to pick lunch up before, she jumped at the chance this time. The diner they chose to order from was packed with several others doing the same thing she was doing; grabbing a quick ‘to-go order’.

“Guess I picked the wrong day for pickup instead of delivery.” She half smiled at the woman in front of her who just looked at her with a blank face. Her attempt at conversation wasn’t returned which made the moment awkward. “O…k then.” She mumbled. She half turned around and pretended to divert her attention to something else to avoid the woman.

Man drinking coffeeA man sitting in the dining area on the other side of a half wall partition seemed to be watching her. She caught his eye when she was looked around and each time she looked in his direction he was staring directly at her.

By this time she was finally the second in line to get her order but the man who was watching her was standing up, gathering his things. This could be him. He could be the one who has been sending her gifts. She needed to talk to him, or at least confront him. She looked at the counter and then back at him. If she waited any longer she might miss him.

“Shit.” The woman in front of her turned around and looked at her in disgust and scoffed at her. Emma crinkled her nose at her and quickly walked away toward the man. “Excuse me, sir? Excuse me?”

The man stopped in the open door of the diner and looked at her. “Yes?”

“Do I know you?”

“I don’t think so, should you?” She held the pendant she wore in her fingers to show him. “Yes, it’s very nice.” His eyebrows furrowed and he lowered his head but not his gaze. “Can I help you miss?”

“I saw you.” She pointed toward where she was standing in line. “You were watching me.” She picked up the pendant again. “Is this from you?” The man laughed and pointed at the half wall.

“I was watching the television on the wall. I always try to catch the news during my break. I’m sorry if you misunderstood.” Emma let out an exasperated breath and apologized with a red face.

Walking back inside the diner she went back to the counter and scoffed at the line of people that seemed to grow from the last time she waited.
“Just my luck.” She stood at the back of the line and patiently waited without so much as a word to anyone else.

~~~~~~

“Any luck on the mystery man?”

“Good morning to you too.” Emma walked in the door and handed her a coffee. She slumped down in the chair across from Hilana. “No, no luck at all.”

“Well, I know I’m not sending you to get lunch ever again.” She smiled hoping for a smile in return. “Sorry.”

“It’s just so aggravating not knowing. Everyone I walk past, everyone who talks to me, I keep wondering if it’s him. It’s making me crazy. I feel like I’m becoming obsessed.”

“It’s not doing me any good either.”

“I did get the pendant appraised.” Hilana sat up straight.

“Seriously? Is it a cheap knock off? Is that why you aren’t wearing it today?” Emma shook her head no.

“It is valued between two hundred and fifty dollars to seven hundred.”

“What??” Hilana stood up. “Are you kidding me? And you have no idea who sent TWO of them??”

“Now you see my dilemma? I can’t accept them and I don’t know where to return them. The next time you see the delivery guy please come and get me?”

“I will, of course.”

“This just got serious.”

6~Emma: Enough Is Enough

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