Home > Collide (Collide #1)(2)

Collide (Collide #1)(2)
Author: Gail McHugh

Dillon shot Olivia a hard look and placed Emily’s luggage on the ground. “That’s right, Oliver Twist. I’m fucking Superman, so don’t forget it.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve been around you both at the same time,” Emily sighed. “I forgot how fond you two are of one another.”

Olivia smirked and reached for Emily’s hand. “Come on, I’ll show you around the place.” Pulling Emily down the hall, she turned around to Dillon. “Make yourself useful and unpack her belongings or something, Donkey-Dick-Kong.”

Effectively ignoring Olivia, Dillon sank himself into the couch and flipped on the television.

“Oh my God, Olivia,” Emily giggled, following behind her. “Where the hell do you think up these names for him?”

“Pfft,” Olivia waved a dismissive hand. “He makes it easy.”

“Well, you both are going to drive me nuts now. I can feel it.”

“I make no promises, but I’ll try my best to refrain from doing so, friend.”

As Olivia gave a grand tour of her new home, Emily noticed it was a sleek modern apartment that included two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Although modest in size, the kitchen held white antique cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances. A large window in the living room paraded the direction of Columbus Avenue, a nice area in New York’s Upper West Side. The apartment was breathtakingly beautiful to Emily, and if it weren’t for Olivia, she would have never been able to afford something like it—at least not without Dillon’s help. Although Olivia worked and took care of herself, she came from a well-to-do family, so money was never a problem. Despite growing up on Long Island’s North Shore, Olivia and her brother, Trevor, were two of the most down-to-earth people Emily had ever met.

After helping Emily settle in, Dillon left the two women to themselves, letting Emily know he would be back later that evening. Promptly grabbing a bottle of red wine and two glasses, Olivia dragged Emily to the couch.

Tossing her champagne blonde hair to the side, she gave Emily a bittersweet smile. “I know you’ve been through a ton, but I’m really happy you’re here.”

Emily cast a smile that matched Olivia’s. Her emotions levied between the sadness of the circumstances that landed her in New York to happiness that she was taking a huge leap in her relationship with Dillon by moving out there—even if she wasn’t living with him.

She took a sip of wine and propped her feet on the ottoman. “I’m happy, too, friend.”

Olivia wore a curious expression. “Did Dick give you anymore hell about the living arrangements?”

“No, he didn’t,” she remarked, “but he definitely wants me to move into a place with him by the end of the summer.”

“Well, you tell him that he’s going to have to fight me off during that battle,” she huffed.

Shaking her head, Emily laughed at Olivia’s statement.

“I’m serious, Em; he needs to give you some space right now with this move.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere for a while.” Emily glanced around the apartment, her eyes resting on the stacks of moving boxes in the corner. “I’m really not looking forward to that,” she said, gesturing toward them with her head.

“I don’t have to work tomorrow,” Olivia replied, pouring her second glass of wine. “We’ll do it then. For now, let’s just relax a bit.”

Over the next few hours, that’s exactly what they did. Relaxed. No talks of cancer. No talks of death. No talks of life’s expectations. Just two close friends sharing a bottle of wine in their apartment. One friend returning to the city she grew up in and one friend beginning a new chapter in her book of life.

Two weeks later, Emily stood in front of the Italian restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan. She pushed the door open to what would be her new job for the summer. Her eyes scanned the place for the man that hired her a few days before—Antonio D’Dinato, a native New Yorker in his late twenties.

“There you are, Emily,” Antonio smiled as he approached her. “Are you ready for your first day?”

Smiling, she took in his dark, shoulder-length hair. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“A little overwhelming for a Colorado country girl, but your resume showed you have enough experience to handle the place. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.”

She followed him into the kitchen where he introduced her to the cooks on the line. Each of them held a friendly smile, but Emily knew from waitressing her way through college that the friendliness would soon come to an end. Eventually, they would be yelling at her to pick up her orders from the window, and no doubt their faces would be less jovial. She threw on her black apron when Antonio directed her to a young waitress around her age. With a smile on her face, Emily studied her hair. It was a rainbow fest of every color imaginable, streaking through an overlay of bleached blonde.

“Hi, I’m Emily,” she smiled as she approached her. “Antonio said that I’m shadowing you today.”

The girl returned the smile and handed Emily an order book and a pen. “So you’re the new cat on the block, huh? I’m Fallon; it’s nice to meet you.”

“Yep, the new cat. It’s nice to meet you, too.”

“Well, have no worries. I think I started working here straight out of the birth canal.” Her laughing gray eyes were wide. “I’ll show you the ropes, and before you know it, you’ll be able to run around here with a blindfold on.”

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