Beautifully Insightful

By: K.C. Lynn


Chapter 1




Emily


My heart pounds fast and my stomach twists with nerves as I run my hands down the front of my dress, smoothing out any possible wrinkles there might be. “Well, Summer, what do you think, do I look okay?” I ask my dog who stands close to my left side. She gives a low whine and brushes against my leg. With a smile I lean down and run my fingers through her soft fur. “I know, girl, I’m going to miss you too. I’ll be back before you know it then you will be my partner once again.” She releases another whine and nudges my cheek with the side of her nose. Giggling, I kiss the top of her head then hear my bedroom door open as I stand back up. I instantly tense, thinking it’s my mother, then expel a sigh of relief when the familiar scent of warm sugar penetrates the air.

“Oh, Emily, sweetheart, you look so pretty,” Rosa, our housekeeper, says sweetly as she steps into my room.

I turn toward the direction of her voice. “Really? I look okay? Do I look… normal?”

I feel her step closer before framing my face between her well-worn hands. “You look perfect, because you are perfect.”

I smile softly and wonder why she couldn’t have been my mother. Although, I suppose she has been in every way that matters. “Thanks, Rosa, but we both know that’s because my mother wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Nonsense!” she replies heatedly, her accent thickening like it does every time she gets upset. “She can fuss with you all she wants, but she does not control what is in here.” Her voice softens as she lays her warm hand over my heart.

I swallow past the sudden ache in my throat and voice my biggest fear. “I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m scared my parents are right and that I’m going to be nothing but a joke.”

“Oh, Emily, you must know by now that your parents’ perceptions are very misguided. We’ve talked about this.”

“I know, and I’m trying to remember that. It’s just… Going back to school after all these years? What on earth am I thinking?”

“You’re thinking that you want to spend your senior year with society, and not be locked up here like you have been for the past ten years.”

“What happens if my parents are right and I’m not accepted by the others?”

“Then it’s their loss, not yours.” When I don’t say anything she moves her hands to my shoulders in a gentle, yet firm grip. “This is going to be a good thing, Emily, I know it. You are going to shine like you always do. Besides, you will know a lot of the kids, and you always have Cece.”

I think about the one girl who is the closest person I have to a real friend. “Yeah, but a lot of the people I know are ones I wish I didn’t. I have a hard time relating to them.”

“That’s why you are going to make new friends,” she responds strongly.

I shake myself out of my pity party and stand up straighter. “You’re right. Besides, I am doing this for myself, to prove that I can. It does not matter what anyone else thinks.”

“There’s my girl.” I sense Rosa lean in and feel her press a familiar kiss to my cheek. “Now let’s go downstairs, Cece will be here soon to pick you up.”

I lean down and give Summer, my guide dog, one more kiss on the head before grabbing my bag and following Rosa out of my room.

I try to ignore the sudden emptiness I feel without her and Rosa senses it. “She will be okay, Emily. I’ll watch over her while you’re gone.”

I smile and nod. Leaving her is harder than I thought it would be. She’s my very best friend, and has been by my side for the last four years. If there is ever a time I misjudge something I know I can always count on her. You will be fine, I remind myself. I’ve walked that school repeatedly over the entire summer. I probably know it better than any person who can see, and if I do need help I will have Cece.

I grab onto the wooden railing that edges the long hallway leading to my stairs, and feel Rosa follow close behind me as I start my descent. I’m just about to ask her if my mother has come down yet but I don’t need to because I can sense her as I get closer to the bottom of the stairs. Her overwhelming perfume penetrates my senses and I swear the air drops in temperature as I feel her disapproving stare.

“Good morning, Mother.” I greet her carefully, knowing she’s going to be in even more of a foul mood than usual today.

“I guess you’re still planning to go through with this stupid idea of yours.”

I don’t let her condescending tone deter me. “Yes. I told you I am not changing my mind.”

I hear her huff then feel her step closer. I try not to roll my eyes as she fixes my hair and fusses with my dress; I’m clearly not up to her standards. I also get a whiff of vodka on her breath, something that isn’t uncommon. “I don’t remember your dress being this snug.”

I grind my teeth and restrain myself from replying back with a snide remark. I learned long ago not to waste my breath on my mother. Nothing I say will ever change who she is. Hopefully this will be my last year in this house and all my plans will fall into place after I graduate.

I feel Rosa place her hand on the small of my back reassuringly, which makes my mother snap. “Rosa, leave us while I talk to Emily.”

“Yes, Mrs. Michaels.” She leans in and kisses my cheek. “Bye, Miss Emily,” she says softly, adding the ‘miss’ for my mother’s sake. “Have a fabulous first day. I know you will shine like you always do.”

“Bye, Rosa.”

I hear her walk away before my mother starts in on me. “That woman babies you too much.”

“She doesn’t baby me, she is kind to me.” Something my mother knows nothing about. Sometimes I wonder why she and my father bothered to have a child, but then I remember it’s all about image.

“Would you stop looking at me like that?” she snaps with disgust. “Where are your glasses, and why are you not wearing them?”

I reach into my bag and pull out my designer aviators. “They’re right here.” I sigh softly, knowing I should have put them on before I came down.

“Then put them on. You know the deal, Emily. This is embarrassing enough for your father and me. If I hear of you taking them off while you are at school I will pull you out so fast your head will spin. Got it?”

Tears sting my eyes as I swallow past the hurt clogging my throat before putting them on. “Don’t you think I will look more ridiculous wearing them inside?”

“No, I don’t, and you know that!”

She’s right, I do. For some reason, my mother has never liked the color of my eyes; she says they stand out too much. After I lost my vision she made me keep them covered as often as possible. She says they wander and frighten people. Rosa says she’s crazy and that my eyes are beautiful. I don’t remember much about them, since I was so young when I lost my sight. But Rosa tells me they are very unique, a pale blue that reminds her of a snow princess. When I don’t wear my glasses I always try my hardest to focus, but I guess I didn’t do a very good job this morning. That, and my mother is in an even more hateful mood than usual, which I knew she would be.

“I’ll keep them on,” I promise quietly.

Before she can say anything else nasty, my father walks in. “Emily, good you’re still here.” I turn to my left at where I hear his voice and instantly get a whiff of his expensive cologne. “I wanted to let you know I was at the Prescott’s last night, and Kyle has graciously said he would watch out for you at school.”

I tense and my stomach recoils at the mention of the jerk’s name. I grind my teeth. “I told you I don’t need him to watch out for me. I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Stop being a brat,” my mother cuts in. “You are lucky someone like him is willing to include you, and…”

“Lucky!” I interrupt with a shout. “How am I lucky? You do remember me telling you he tried forcing himself on me at the charity dinner, right?”

“He didn’t try to force himself on you,” my father replies in annoyance. “We have talked about this. His father and I think it would be good for you two to see each other, especially with the upcoming campaign. And…”

“Good for you, but not for me! The jerk shoved his tongue down my throat after I said no.”

“Oh stop being such a drama queen,” my mother chimes back in. “And if you ask me, it’s good for you. I mean, really, Emily, if someone like him is willing to date you, with your… disability then I wouldn’t be rejecting it. The chance of you getting another opportunity with someone like him is slim to none.”

I grind my teeth so hard I’m surprised my jaw doesn’t snap, and feel tears start to slip down my cheeks, which only makes me more angry that I let her get to me. “Yeah, well, I didn’t ask you, and I would rather have no opportunity than to have one with him.” Not wanting to stick around a second longer, I step past my mother and head to the front door. I try to push down my anger and concentrate on my direction.

Just as I reach out and grasp the handle, she says: “Don’t come crying to me, Emily, when this all blows up in your face like I know it will.”

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