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Easy as One Two Three (Emma Frost), Page 2

Willow Rose

  But as soon as the guests had left and Mads and Signe were once again alone, the quarreling began.

  "The cake was terrible. It tasted like sweaty feet," Signe yelled. "How could you use that stupid baker from Rolighedsvej? I told you to go with the one from Nyvej. Don't you think I know why you chose her? Huh? You think I'm that stupid? You had a thing for her all along, didn't you?"

  "For whom? The baker?" Mads asked.

  "No. That girl who is behind the counter down there. Did you sleep with her? Did she put frosting in her bellybutton and have you lick it off, did she?"

  "Ah, come on. That's ridiculous, Signe," Mads said. "But now that we're at it, don't you think I saw how you looked at Jacob during the reception? The way you tilted your head back and giggled every time he said anything. He’s not that funny, you know. No one is. I was watching you the whole time while you spoke to him and looked at him with that little twinkle in your eye."

  "Ah, shut up," Signe yelled. She grabbed her shoe and threw it at Mads. He ducked and it hit the wall behind him.

  "Ha. Missed," he said with a grin. Then he picked up a book and threw it at her. It hit her on the shoulder.

  "You're really bad at this," she said.

  Mads laughed. Signe didn't. She was still angry and determined to show him. It had been a terrible wedding day. Well, not all the way horrible. There had been good moments as well. A lot of them, to be honest. She had enjoyed herself. It was just…well he just made her so jealous. She hated the way women looked at him. She was constantly afraid of losing him, of some rich girl coming between them and sweeping him of his feet, making him realize that it was all wrong of him to marry her. That he deserved so much better.

  Because he did. Signe knew he did. He was such a good man. A great catch and she was lucky to have him. But he could never know that. Of course he couldn't. He would be too sure of himself and stop fighting for her. That's what Signe's mother had always told her.

  The moment they stop fighting for you, it is over. Men love the chase. Let him chase you. Keep it going. Never let him be certain of you.

  So Signe made him fight for her constantly. And she was constantly jealous and afraid that someone better would come along and snatch him. She had to stay on her toes and could never rest.

  "We should start packing for our trip to Egypt," Mads said, and picked up the shoe from the floor. "We need to be at the airport early in the morning."

  Signe sat in a chair with a grunt and her arms crossed in front of her chest. "I'm not going," she said. "Not until you admit you like her."

  Mads laughed again. "I'm not falling into that trap again. If I admit to that, you'll never go." He kneeled in front of her and took her hand. He kissed it. "So that's it?" he asked. "I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't?"

  Signe still didn't say anything. It was true that she had flirted with Jacob. He was right about that. But that was only to make him jealous. She was terrified of the married life awaiting them. Now Mads knew for sure that she loved him. He knew where he had her. She belonged to him. Now he no longer needed to chase after her. It was over and it could only go downhill from now on. So she had decided to make sure he knew that he still had to fight for her. That she was still desirable to many men.

  It had worked.

  Mads came closer. He kissed her neck and whispered in her ear. "I was so angry seeing you with that guy. You wouldn't believe it. If it hadn't been my wedding, I swear to God, I would have…"

  Signe stopped his kisses and looked at his face. "Would have what?" she asked.

  "Killed him," Mads said. "If he had touched you in any way, I would have killed him right there on the spot."

  Signe leaned back in the chair with a deep smile. She let him take her in the chair and enjoyed every grunt of desire coming from him.

  "That's what I like to hear," she whispered. "That's exactly what I wanted to hear."


  April 2014

  WE LEFT THE POLICE station feeling frustrated. I had hardly slept in days and felt exhausted. In Morten's car, I called my ex-husband Michael.

  "They found her phone," I said, when he picked up.

  Michael was quiet for a long while. I hoped he was feeling horrible for all that had happened and was blaming himself. I didn't tell him, but I was secretly blaming him. Maya had been in his care and under his supervision when all this happened. I couldn't understand how things could have gotten this far out of hand without him noticing it. Maya was the type who told you if something was wrong. She didn't just run off without a reason. But Michael had no idea what the reason was, he kept telling me. Either that or he wouldn't tell me. I was still indecisive on that subject.

  "So what does that mean?" he asked.

  "I have no idea. They still think she ran off after hitting the guy with the car. Officer Hansen seems to think she threw the phone away in order for them not to be able to trace her. I just don't think Maya is that cunning. I don't think she would ever think about doing that, do you?"

  "I…I don't know, Emma. I haven't been with her much the past few years. I have to admit, I'm not sure I know her that well anymore. She did steal a car. My car. I don't know what else she is capable of."

  I felt anger rise in me as Morten drove down the road. "What is that supposed to mean? You think she did this, don't you?"

  Michael was quiet again. I didn't like his silence. It felt uncomfortable. How could he say these things about our daughter?

  "What happened to you?" I asked. "You used to be such a nice guy and now this? What the hell happened to you?"

  "I guess I’ve grown up," he said. "And so has Maya. Maybe it is time you realize she’s no longer your little innocent daughter. She’s almost a full grown woman with a will of her own, who makes her own choices. And right now she has made a really bad one. One that will cost her dearly. There really isn't much we can do about it."

  Morten sensed I was agitated and put his hand in my lap. I snorted at Michael. "You've got to be kidding me, right?"

  "Listen, I have to go…

  "No. Michael. I'm not letting you go this easily. She’s your daughter too. She needs you. Something happened to her after I spoke with her on the phone. I just know it. She needs the both of us right now. You need to be here for her."

  I felt desperate. I couldn't stand him abandoning his daughter like this. I sensed he was pulling away more and more and I couldn't live with that.

  "Emma. I’m married now. I have a wife and a child. I have a new family. I have a career. I simply don't have the time…"

  "No. No. No. You don't. You don't pull out of this. You help me find her, do you hear me? You are going to help me."

  "I can't…I have obligations. Victoria is…Maya isn't even…I mean she's not even my daughter, is she?"

  "You're the only dad she has ever known."

  "I really can't…"

  So you're backing out. Is that it, huh? Is that how you want it to be?"

  I looked at Morten who gave me an appalled look. He snorted loudly and mumbled something to himself. I was almost about to cry in anger and frustration when Michael suddenly hung up with a short statement:

  "Keep me posted if there’s any news."

  I stared at the phone, trying to hold back tears and anger. Meanwhile, Morten drove the car into the parking lot in front of the hospital. He parked it and turned off the engine. Then he looked at me.

  "Can you believe this guy?" I asked.

  Morten shook his head. Then he leaned over and kissed me gently. It felt nice and made my worries diminish for just a split second. I sighed deeply.

  "We don't need him," he whispered.

  "We don't," I said. "But Maya does. She needs her father."


  April 2014

  MADS WAS SCARED. No, it was worse than that. He was terrified. What had happened to him had, by far, surpassed his most horrifying nightmare. He couldn't believe this was happening. He couldn't believe it wasn't a dream. He kept yelli
ng and screaming inside of his darkness, but none of it ever reached the people in the room with him.

  Everything remained inside his head. There were times when he wondered if this was hell. If he had really died and this was his punishment for all the bad things he had done in his life.

  But then he heard voices from the outside breaking through his darkness and filling him with hope.

  No. No. This is real. They are real. I'm real. I'm alive. I can think. I can hear. I even believe I could see if only I could open my eyelids. I can see the light, can't I? I can see shadows outside and light coming through my eyelids, can't I? Or am I imagining it? No, it's real. Everything is real. My nightmare is real.

  He could hear his sister's voice next to him. She was speaking to him, telling him how much she loved him and how she knew their dad would tell him the same if he had been there, if he hadn't been stuck in Dubai on that business trip. Now she was grabbing his hand and holding it in hers. He could feel her. He could feel the warmth of her hand. She was crying.

  "You always were a spoiled brat," she said with a half-choked chuckle. "My God, how we could fight over things, Mads. But I still loved you. I always did. I even miss fighting with you already."

  And I love you, sis. But I'm not dead. It doesn't have to end here. We can still fight. I would love to fight with you again. Let's do it right now. Right here and right now. I can come up with something to annoy you with. I know I can. Please don't give up on me, please don't.

  Mads felt his sister touch his face. He heard her sob. "I can't believe he’s really gone, Mom. It's so unfair. My baby brother shouldn't go before me. At least not now. Not this early. We just started our grown-up lives. We were supposed to have children at the same time. Our children should have grown up together."

  "I know, darling. But I'm afraid we have to face that he’s gone," Mads heard his mother say. "There is nothing we can do. At least his organs will end up helping others go on with their lives. Some other family will have their son and brother back."

  "It's not fair," his sister said, sobbing.

  "I know."

  "Shouldn't we at least wait for dad?" his sister asked.

  Mads' mother sighed. "I don't think that's very fair to the families waiting for the organs."

  "But…?" Mads' sister said.

  "Let it rest, Thilde," his mother hissed. "Your brother is dead. Nothing is going to change that."

  But I'm not dead. Can't you see that? Mads was yelling inside of his mind. He was screaming in panic. I'm alive. I'm right here! Oh, my God. What do I do? How can I let them know that I'm here before it's too late? My hand. Yes, my hand. I have to give them a sign somehow. Squeeze her hand. Just squeeze it! It can't be that hard, can it?

  Mads focused all of his strength on squeezing his sister's hand, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't. Nothing happened. His hand simply refused to obey.

  Try something else. Do something simpler. Move a finger. Just one finger.

  Mads focused once again and this time it felt like something was different. It felt like he was moving it.

  I'm doing it. I'm moving the tip of my pinky. Did you see that?

  Mads waited with great anticipation to hear his sister say something.

  Come on. Tell me you saw it. Tell me you saw me move my pinky?

  Mads listened when his mother suddenly spoke up. "I think we should just do it. There is no reason to drag it out any longer. Someone needs new organs. You heard the doctor. Mads is never going to wake up again."

  Noooo! I'm here. I was moving the tip of my finger. Didn't you see it? Couldn't you see me moving? Please, just look at my finger. Just look at it!

  "I'm not ready yet," his sister said. "I can't do it. I’m still waiting for him to open those eyes and say something annoying. God, I wish I’d been nicer to him."

  "Don't beat yourself up like that," his mother said.

  "I know. It's stupid. It doesn't change anything. It's just hard not to, you know? I know I have to let him go. Let them run the tests, then."

  "I think that’s the right thing to do. Somewhere, someone is waiting to get new organs and we owe it to them not to delay it further. We owe it to Mads. He was, after all, the one who signed up to be an organ donor."

  No. No. I didn't. I didn't mean it. I take it back. I regret it. I don't want them to take my organs. Pleeease don't let them cut me open while I am still alive. Oh my God. Am I going to feel it? Am I going to feel everything when they cut me open? Am I going to feel the fire eating through my body while they cremate me? Oh God!

  Another voice filled the room and made him stop screaming. It was a voice Mads had never heard before. It was the voice of a woman.

  "Hello, my name is Rebekka Franck. Journalist at Zeeland Times. This is Sune Johansen, my photographer."


  April 2014

  I HAD BEEN TO the hospital in Naestved every day to see how the guy Maya hit was doing. Every day, I was hoping for improvement, but there had been none so far. He had been in a coma ever since they brought him in and every day that passed, the family slowly lost more hope. I was devastated knowing my daughter had caused this and had talked a lot with the sister and mother who had stayed at the hospital waiting for their son and brother to wake up. Today, I brought Mads fresh flowers that the mother took with a labored smile when I entered the room and handed them to her.

  "Thank you," she said politely, but emotionless, before she found a vase and poured in water.

  I hated the way the mother and sister looked at me. They tried hard not to show it, but they resented me for what had happened to Mads Schou. I couldn't blame them. Maya wasn't here, so who else could they blame? I was, after all, Maya's mother. I had raised her and, even if they didn't say it out loud, I could tell by their looks that they didn't think I had done a very good job.

  Someone else was in the hospital room with them today, someone I had never seen before. She was with a tall guy wearing a camera around his neck. He had a Mohawk and wore all black clothes and big boots. The woman was speaking with the sister, Thilde Rahbek. Thilde looked upset as she spoke. The woman was writing on her notepad, taking notes of what Thilde was telling her.

  "What's going on here?" I asked the mother.

  "It's a journalist from Zeeland Times. Thilde is just telling her the story of what happened. They're doing a story on the hit-and-run for tomorrow's paper," Mrs. Schou said.

  I felt a pinch in my heart, knowing Maya's name would end up in the paper. It didn't feel good. Everyone would think she was a criminal.

  "Any news about Mads?" I asked.

  Mrs. Schou sniffled. "No. The doctor told us today that he probably won't wake up. He's an organ donor. They need to run some tests to see who he will be a fit for. I…It's all really just a little too…"

  "I'm so sorry," I said, seeing the old woman's eyes tear up. She tried to hide it. "I really am."

  She looked at me like she didn't really believe me. I knew she was secretly blaming me. It was brutal. The following silence was painful.

  "So the girl who was driving the car ran off immediately afterwards?" I heard the journalist-woman say.

  "Yes," Thilde answered. "Apparently, she had stolen the car from her parents. I don't know why they didn't know or at least know what was going on with her. But, as far as I know, the girl ran off from home, stole her parent's car and ran into my brother as he was crossing the road."

  "So, you blame the parents?" The journalist woman asked.

  She was starting to annoy me. It wasn't her job to make that kind of assumption.

  "Of course I do. She was driving without a driver's license. She is fifteen. There’s no reason she should be able to get ahold of car keys and take off. If her parents had kept a decent eye on her, this would never have happened. But apparently, the parents weren't even at the house when she took the car."

  "Excuse me," I said.

  Thilde and the journalist-woman both turned to look at me. "Yes?" the wom
an said.

  "This is the girl's mother," Thilde said. "Emma Frost, this is Rebekka Franck. She's a journalist doing a story on the accident."

  "Emma Frost? The author?" Rebekka Franck asked. "I love your books."

  "Well yes, thank you, but there’s no need to put my name in your little paper," I said.

  Rebekka Franck put a hand in the air. "No, no. Of course not. I won't. This is Sune. He is my photographer."

  The tall guy lifted a long arm and waved at me. "He will take some pictures of Mads, if that is alright with the family," Rebekka said.

  "It is," Thilde said.

  Rebekka Franck turned to look at me. "So you're the parent of Maya Frost. What do you say to the accusations from Thilde Rahbek just now?"

  "Well, first of all, Maya was supposed to be with her father," I said. "We're divorced and I was on vacation in Italy when all this happened. Her dad was at his office across town. There was one adult in the house, her stepmother, but she didn't see Maya take the keys, since she was taking care of her newborn baby. Maya has had a hard time lately and recently moved to Copenhagen to live with her father. I’ve said this over and over again to the relatives, but I don't mind repeating it. I do not, for one second, believe my daughter would do anything like this. She called me right after it happened and she told me the man jumped out in front of her car. We agreed that she would call for an ambulance right away. She would never run away from her actions like this."

  "But she never did," Rebekka Franck said curiously. "She never called for an ambulance. According to the police, it was a man passing with his dog later on who called for help. He later told the police that the car was fleeing the scene just as he arrived. He managed to see the license plate before it disappeared. But you still claim that your daughter would never flee? How do you explain it then?"

  I could have killed the skinny little girl in front of me. Who did she think she was, coming here asking questions like that? The truth was that it had been my first thought when I received the call. That she had run away from it. But I didn't think that anymore. At least I didn't want to.