Illusions: happily ever after


Nicole Schroeder

Illusions is a novella written by Nicole Schroeder and Ashley Tanner, about a girl named Gemma who has the ability to see people’s true character at a single glance. Each post in the following blog series is one chapter of Illusions.[vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_custom_heading text=”Gemma.” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]A week later, Gemma Abbott and Irene Wharton stood side by side in front of their shared dresser, nitpicking their makeup and hair in between fits of giggles. To be perfectly honest, Gemma didn’t even know what they were laughing at anymore. She was fairly certain it had started out with an old picture they had found of their high school journalism staff during their senior year, but now it was too difficult to even catch their breath to try and share the stories they had thought of after seeing the photo.
“Do you remember,” Irene started, “that time when ….” But she was laughing too hard at that point to get an answer out, almost squeaking as she tried to speak.
“I can honestly say I don’t remember that time,” Gemma laughed, fixing the pin in her hair for the third time after bumping it out of place with her hand with the previous two attempts. She handed a still giggling Irene her purse, and sighed happily, picking up her own wallet from the bed behind her.
Just in time, a knock sounded at the door — one that was all too familiar to the two girls. The two smiled at each other and a knowing look passed between them before Gemma went to open the door. Elijah and James stood outside, the dim light in the hall making their suits look even more sharp alongside the girl’s evening dresses.
“Aren’t you two giggly tonight,” James remarked, taking note of their flushed cheeks and breathless grins. “What’s so funny?”
“The spatula!” Irene finally blurted out, referencing the random cooking utensil that had held a place in the journalism room for an entire year during their time in high school. Gemma shook her head and laughed, watching Elijah close his eyes for a moment.
“Oh, I remember the spatula. Dear Jonathan,” he said, bowing his head as if in remembrance. The girls grinned, and James chuckled.
“Well, nostalgic kitchenware aside, you guys ready to go?” James glanced around the room and they nodded, grabbing their keys and following the guys out to their car. Gemma lagged a little behind, but more out of realization than anything. For the first time in a long time, she had friends and a place to call home. She didn’t have secrets, but she didn’t need to anymore. She loved someone, and he loved her back.
For the first time in a long time, she felt happy.
story by Nicole Schroeder[vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Elijah.” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]”After you,” Elijah said with a nod as he held open the door for Gemma.
The young, pretty brown-haired maitre’d took them to their seats at Pacifica. They sat in silence for a while, looking over the menu. After Elijah had decided to get the salmon, he set down his menu, and looked around at his friends. They had survived so much in the past few months. Gemma had somehow found a way to forgive him, James’ recovery was coming along and Irene was beginning to trust him again.
Wolfgang had been arrested, as well as everyone who worked  at SAINTs. A follow up was never released, Elijah assumed because the police probably didn’t believe nor understand their findings.
James and Elijah both found new jobs, the reason for their celebration tonight. Life was getting back to normal.
Elijah flagged down their waiter and requested a bottle of champagne.
A few minutes later, their waiter had come back with the champagne and four flutes. The waiter popped the cork, and cheers were heard all around. He began to pour the remaining champagne when Elijah stopped him.
“I got it, thank you for bringing it out.” The waiter nodded.
“I will be back in a few minutes to take your orders,” and he left.
“Against all odds, we are sitting here, together,” he continued as he poured. “We have been given the opportunity to start over with our lives, to have a new beginning. We survived.” He raised his glass, and clinks were heard all around.
Elijah looked over at Gemma, who was already looking at him. Their eyes met, and he had flashbacks to the first time he had ever seen her, all those years ago in high school. She looked younger, but still beautiful. Her hair shielded her face, but every so often when she would look up you could catch the light in her eyes.  She may have been quiet and reserved, but there was no doubt about her passion for journalism. She sat in the corner of the room, by herself, wrapped up in her own thoughts on their first day of newspaper. He couldn’t take his eyes off her then, and he certainty couldn’t now. Gemma blushed and looked down, her hair once again shielding her face.
Even though his job had been to follow her and gain her trust, he knew from the second it started that this case would be different. He had known that he was going to fall for her, because it had already happened eight years ago. Now, he wouldn’t change it for the world.
story by Ashley Tanner[vc_empty_space]End of Illusions.
What did you think of the novella series, Illusions? Leave a comment below, and thank you for your readership.[vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”10″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1461949614074-f0f03289-8eeb-1″ taxonomies=”12779″]