Bomb Scare



Scene Title Bomb Scare
Synopsis News of the bomb in Kansas City strikes a little close to home for Emily.
Date November 7, 2018


Julie and Emily's apartment

The lights are all off when Emily lets herself in, and she's not sure if it's due to Julie having already gone to bed, or from her not being at home at all yet. She's not about to go yelling to ask, either.

She'd lost track of time, too engaged with the new internet connection she could lug everywhere with her. It had been the first time in ages she'd been able to enjoy a new game, and she didn't feel the least bit guilty about having enjoyed it until so late an hour. If she hadn't started yawning, she'd still be there.

Standing up from her chair takes effort, but she's parked herself right outside the kitchen to save herself a few extra steps this evening. Her whole body is heavy, aching from a cold she's started medicating for. As far as she figures, it's time to take a nighttime dose and call it a day. She leans up against the counter while opening the cabinet to drag the small box of blister packs down, setting them aside to pull out her phone to provide a little additional lighting to check she's about to take the right-colored pill.

As the screen comes to life, a notification from a news app catches her eye. Brow ticking up, she forgets the task before her momentarily and taps the headline.

BREAKING NEWS: Explosions Reported at Medina Campaign Headquarters…

Medina? That was a familiar name recently. It was right on the tip of awareness. Frowning, she sets down the phone and waits for the rest of the article to appear. While it loads, she grabs a glass from an adjacent cabinet, hand reaching for the fridge before she sees Kansas City as the news location. She freezes, scanning for more information, setting the glass down to cradle the phone between her hands to scroll more quickly.

4th? Broadway? Emily had never bothered asking exactly where she worked at, but it sounded like an important enough intersection. The photos showed a devastated city block, and it was enough to send her into a state of alarm. "Oh shit. Uh…" she's pawing back and forth between screens, checking previous texts, looking up other articles. They all say the same thing. Not enough details. No clear number on injuries or fatalities. Page after page of 'This story is still developing' bullshit. "Fuck."

She's fine. She's fine. She's gotta be fine.

Nothing like being terrified about a bomb to cause someone to break their comm silence.

Not thinking twice about it, she dials and anxiously waits.


"Hi, you've reached the voicemail of Rache—"

"Goddammit, Mom." Emily whispers, staring down at her screen. Everything was probably fine, but that doesn't stop her from immediately redialing, nervously waiting, racing mind hardly calmed by each additional ring.


She breathes finally, relieved to hear that groggy voice on the other end of the phone. She sits in silence, blinking and trying to remember what she meant to say.

"Honey? What is it? It's — past 11, what's wrong?"

She lets out a short breath, eyes darting to the clock on the stove. "Yeah, and I'm two hours ahead of you," Emily greets by way of rebuttal.

"Fair enough." the acknowledgement sounds non-committal, even from here. "So, what is it?" Then, her voice softens. Still direct, still sharp, but softer. "What's worth calling me at 1AM over?"

Obviously she's fine, perhaps even oblivious, but Emily can't bring herself to hang up. On one hand, she wasn't raised like that. And on the other…


"I was worried." Emily confesses, a child caught red-handed. It's more a reality than a metaphor. "I just got home, saw the news, and the bomb—"

"Just got in?" There's a twist of worry and sternness, the sound of Rachel waking up with each syllabic word. She can hear her starting to sit up. "You were out this late?"

"I—" Emily starts to defend herself by muscle memory, then lets out an incredulous scoff as she looks down at her feet. "Mom, really?"

"You called me just as late when the Yamagato bombing happened out here. Don't criminalize me for wanting to call you as soon as I heard." Her brow furrows as she looks across the apartment. As nice as it was to hear her voice, the conversation was starting to sound like it wouldn't be worth it.

There's a crackling silence from the other end of the line as her mother lets out a sigh, presumably rubbing her face. "I'm all right, sweetheart. I don't even work in the part of town the campaign offices were at." So she did know what had happened. Emily rubs at her face in response, wondering why she couldn't have just been more forward with easing her concern. "I heard about it on the news the same as you."

"Yeah— yeah." Emily mutters, turning around to open the fridge and go back to getting her drink. She flips up the tab on the filtered water cooler in the fridge. "It's crazy though. I mean, fuck that guy and all, but I can't believe they bombed those offices after the guy lost. Doesn't look good on anybody else."

"Okay. Language aside, I'll agree with you there. The Medina campaign got under a lot of people's skin. The rhetoric was specific, careful, but it catered to…"

"People who hate Expressives. Evolved."

People like me.

"Well, not exactly, sweetie…"

"I mean, that's who they'll finger for the bombing. Hands down. And why not? Who else would anybody think to blame?" Emily shrugs, nudging the fridge closed with her foot, looking down at her glass on the counter.

"Emma, the world doesn't hate the Evolved." And that was the heart of her daughter's concern, wasn't it? "And this isn't going to make the States start doing just that. There was a whole war fought over the treatment of SLC Expressives. People aren't going to just forget everything that was fought for there. Not when we're just really starting to rebuild from it."

"I think that's optimistic, Mom." she pauses in lifting the glass to say. She gestures with it like her mother were there in person to talk to. "Have you seen the news lately?"

"Have you?" is Rachel's skeptical reply. "A few weeks ago, stable service out there was a pipe dream. You're suddenly caught up on all the news since… when was it… a week ago?"

The phone falls from Emily's hand onto the countertop in a noisy clatter, having slipped between her fingers right as her brow was starting to furrow in preparation for a sharp rebuttal. "Shit." she whispers, looking over her shoulder. If Julie was in, hopefully the commotion didn't wake her up just then.

"—ou okay?" she can hear the clear worry as she picks back up.

"Yeah, I'm fine, just dropped the fucking phone." She closes her eyes, trying to pick up her train of thought quickly enough to hopefully avoid having to endure questions about her health. She keeps the phone pinched between her shoulder and her ear rather than relying on her hand at the moment. "The international news. That shit coming in about riots in the UK. People being killed by their government for not wanting to spend their lives tagged and neutered."

The silence this time is more hesitant, and Emily can feel it. It's the sort of quiet that Rachel had for her whenever a symptom showed itself. Don't. Emily silently pleads. Don't fucking say anything.

"How have you been lately?" is the careful question that comes next.

Fuck. She knows what that meant. She brushes her hair from her face quickly, trying to collect her thoughts and sound as nonchalant as possible.

"I've been doing good. I took the GED back on the 23rd. I passed, of course. So I'm set to apply for colleges out here now… There was this big Japanese festival thing going on. That was nice." she pauses, and hesitantly adds, "I went to it with some friends."

That small addition is enough to derail the conversation from Rachel's intended path. Friends weren't anything she'd brought up previously. Friends said like who they were might be easily divined … if they had been talking enough to know the names of them.

The information isn't offered up.

"Sorry for calling so late, Mom. I'm glad you're okay."

"Don't worry about it." A pause. "You know you can call any time, sweetie." Her voice is soft, soothing.

It causes a lump to rise to the back of Emily's throat, eyes shutting hard to fight it down.

"I'm always here if you need me."

She didn't. She didn't need the judgment about her choices, the second-guessing, the suggestions, the suffocating worry.

She needed something she wasn't sure they had between them anymore. The relationship they had before she grew up, asked questions, made her own plans. Going back to how it was before all the fights.

"I miss you, Emma."

Her voice is more strained than she means for it to be as she replies instantly, "I miss you, too." instead of letting the silence continue to linger.

"You thinking about coming out here for the holidays?" Rachel sounds hopeful about that possibility because she is. All the time and the silence ached, after all. And she had been worried how long it would stretch on for.

"I don't know."

She lets out a long, uncomfortable sigh, head tilting back toward the ceiling. The question causes a spike of anxiety to rise through her, driven by the conflicting rush of emotions the question provoked. Yes, she wanted to see her. No, she didn't want be alone for the holidays. Yes, she could make the trip, but …

No. No, she wasn't sure she could handle it, actually. Maybe having declared her intention to go to college would be good enough to satisfy her mother on that front, but maybe it wouldn't. And who knew what other kinds of earworms she'd work up? What other kinds of arguments they'd get into? She could hear it now. 'Why not online classes? You know, if you did that, you could apply anywhere and live out here in KC. Emma, it'd be so much better for you out here. If you'd just—'

"I don't think so." Emily says abruptly, feeling her chest rise and fall after saying it. Had she forgotten to breathe that entire time?

"You don't have to decide right now." She's trying to come off as supportive, but Emily can hear the disappointment in her voice. The helplessness behind it. The dread of 'if not now, when?' … if ever again.

"No, I— " Emily lifts her hand to the phone to support it again, standing up straight. "I'm going to stay here." If she doesn't get it out of the way now, when? The longer she put it off, the more weight it would hold over her. "I'm—" she pauses to clear her throat. "I'm going to stay here."

"Okay." Rachel relents quietly.

"There anything else on your mind?" she asks, a forced lightness to her voice.

Emily shakes her head, even knowing it can't be seen. She sniffs, her stuffed nose reminding her to take the pill on the counter. "I'm worried about Julie." she confides in an undertone, thumbnail pinching through the side of packaging.

"Yeah?" Her mother sounds more tired than before. Less certain she can help with this one.

"Yeah," she agrees, slipping the pill back with a sip of water to keep it down. She sighs shallowly through her nose afterward. "Yeah, I … I don't like the guy she's been hanging out with. I just get a bad feeling about him. She keeps— " Pausing, she rubs at her forehead, uncomfortable even though the conversation isn't held in person. "— I don't know. I've just got a bad feeling."

"Let her know you're there for her, sweetie. That's all you can do. You and she are both going to do your own things, but the only way you can help her is if she knows you're willing to. You know?" Emily lets out a non-committal grunt in response to the suggestion, her brow furrowing. Julie knew that already … didn't she? "You're family. We're family. You'll always be there for each other, but we just — aren't always good at making that known. Sometimes the reminder helps."

Sobered, Emily takes another drink of her water, thinking.

"I'm gonna head to bed before it gets any later, I think. I… appreciate it, Mom."

"Okay. I love you, Emma."

"I love you, too."

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