CHAPTER FORTY NINE
The Road To Him
"So am I going to get an explanation as to what this means, or are you just going to keep it to yourself?"
Janice asks as she drives on a relatively empty road. She waves around the map, laughingly.
"Well, if I give it away, I won't have much to put in a novel will I?"
"Are you really considering that?"
"Why not? I'm a good writer...right?"
She places her hand upon mine, keeping the other steady on the wheel, "I've only been waiting for this moment for the past five years."
"Emma, you realize you have shelves upon shelves of lined journals, a father who is quite possibly one of the geniuses of his time, and a way with words that leave people astounded....if you would let them read your writing."
"Baby steps." I mutter. "And how did you know about the journals?"
"You're always writing in the bloody things, I can see them on your top shelves."
I sigh, "Anyways..."
"Do you think we'll find him?"
"Ems, didn't you just five me a speech about the bloody clues?"
"What if the clues get harder? What if I get stuck?"
"I'm pretty sure he'll be in Ireland, Ems. If anything else we have one other option..."
"And what would that be?"
"We could just look in every pub in the country."
I lean over and smack her arm, she simply laughs in response.
As soon as the laughter dies down though, she clears her throat and asks, "Do you really love him, Ems?"
"More than anything in the world, Jan."
"That's so fucking scary."
"Fucking right it is."
We both chuckle, but she continues, "We're going to find him."
"Of course we are. I don't think he'll be able to live the rest of his life without you."
"That goes both ways."
I could feel her eye on me, as she asks, "Ems...did you two..."
Oh, I forgot to tell Janice.
"Yeah...yeah we did."
She breaks, and I silently thank God that there was no one behind us.
"And you didn't tell me!?"
"Um, it's much worse than you think."
"Was it that bad? Was he not as great as you think?"
"Well what is it then?"
I look up ahead of us and see there's a town coming up, "Why don't we stop for a bit and I can tell you what's happened."
"How did I manage to miss all of that?" Janice says stirring her coffee with a small silver spoon.
"It happened unbelievably fast." I mutter, looking past her out the window. The sun was setting quickly, and we were still an hour away from Manchester.
"But still. God, Ems. I don't blame your dad."
"I don't either. At least..." Now I didn't. I get it. I get that he had to protect me, but really, wasn't there any other way to go about it?
"He could have gone about it a bit better though..."
I smile, Janice was always able to say what I was thinking.
"And you and Niall, huh. So much for waiting."
"It felt right."
"I bet it did."
She smirks at me as I roll my eyes, "Real mature Janice."
"No but really, I'm happy for you." She takes a sip from the pristine mug and turns around to look out the window as well, "Do you want to take over the driving? We're only an hour away."
"You know I don't like to drive." I mutter.
"I drove this whole day, I deserve a break don't I?"
"Yeah, yeah." I say taking the keys off the table.
"So...where is that we're going?"
"A little inn."
"For the night?"
"Well, I suppose we do need somewhere to sleep."
"Wait, is that where Niall sent you?"
I nod and she widens her eyes, "Wait, is that where you two spent the night?"
"God, he is a bloody cliche." She laughs out loud.
"Alright, enough." I get up from my seat, the metal clanging against the floor, and look at her, "Let's go."
I am a nervous wreck as I start the car, already hyper aware of how fast I have to go, where my feet are positioned and if the mirrors are adjusted correctly.
"Ems, for the love of God."
"Shhh." I quiet her, trying to calm myself down.
It was really a stupid thing I had about driving. While I could easily drive around town, although still a bit shaken, I could not find myself able to drive long distances. Dad had bought me my yellow buggie in hopes that I would attempt to drive it, but it usually resides in the garage as I go on foot to wherever I need to be.
"Do you want me to drive?" She says in an exasperated tone.
"No, I have to get used to it eventually."
She looks at me through her thick eyelashes and smiles, "For Niall, you really would do anything wouldn't you. Even drive an hour, knowing you bloody well haven't driven more than fifteen minutes at a time?"
"I can do it."
"I'm not saying you can't. I just think..."
"Love is a really funny thing."
"It's crazy how much you've changed, Ems. And honestly, I think it's the love that's done it."
I smile, "I know."
"How much do you think I'll change when I fall in love?"
I laugh, "Hopefully a lot."
"Are you saying you don't like me the way I am?" She says feigning disappointment.
"Not at all." I grab her hand in mine and smile, "But love allows us to grow into our best versions of ourselves, you know why?"
"Because if it's true love. If it's really, really love. Then that other person will already see you as the best person you can be. They believe you are already the sun and the stars and the moon. They believe that you are already the best possible version of yourself, and they give you the strength to see that beauty and light within yourself. They push you to be the ultimate person you can be."
Janice shakes her head, tightly grasping her hand in mine, "Jeez Emma."
"Either you're going to be one hell of a writer, or you're going to be the bloody cheesiest person that roams the Earth. Second of course, to Niall."
We both laugh out loud, our hands still firmly grasping each others. I let go, only when I'm finally ready.
"Alright. I think I can do this."
"Funny, I know you can do this."
I roll my eyes, "Who's the cheesy one now?"
"It grows on you though."
I start the car, trying not to think about anything other than the fact that we were close. We were closer than before, with a clue that could possibly lead us straight to him. Could it be that easy? I sincerely doubted it, but I know one thing.
The road to him, is one that I am most certainly now ready to travel. Not because of everything that's happened, not because dad's forgiven me and things seem to finally be falling into place, but because I am ready to run to him. I am ready to be the girl he knows I am. I am ready.
And I am never turning back.