Status: Completed

Chasing the Missing Paths

The Ninth Encounter

The ninth encounter was the first random run in between Alex and Emma in ages. It was spring 2015 and the pair hadn’t spoken since 2013 after they had parted ways at the airport. Emma often still liked Alex’s tweets, but her like just drowned in the sea of thousands of other people. Alex liked Emma’s a little less often. She didn’t get as many likes, not even close to it, so his likes were a lot more noticed. He did it whenever something actually did make him laugh or when he felt he needed to to be polite. But he didn’t dare do it too often and seem like he was actually stalking her. It was a complicated thing.

What was way less complicated, though, was the act of grocery shopping, or at least it should have been that way. Alex was just out getting some snacks for himself while out in New York for some business including writing a song. He still had a few beers back at the place he was staying at, but needed something to eat. Or at least, he needed some junk food to stuff his mouth with while pulling all-nighters.

Emma was just out buying stuff for dinner. Her dinner was nothing like Alex’s, which consisted of Cheetos, nachos, and beer. Hers actually had real cooked food and vegetables. It really showed where there were in life. Alex was living the single life of not giving a fuck, while Emma was living the couple’s life of caring for two people and a dog. She was still trying to cook as much as she could before her Broadway shows where she was a leading support character started. She loved cooking, but her boyfriend was going to have to do the job now.

Alex and Emma bumped into each other in the cookie aisle. This time, they didn’t literally bump into each other, they just happened to look in each other’s directions. Emma was looking at something to make a dessert with, while Alex was looking for something that was just chocolate-galore. When they made eye contact, they both decided they couldn’t just walk away and approached each other instead.

“Hey, I didn’t expect to find you in a grocery store in New York,” Emma pointed out, going for her usual hug, which Alex returned.

“Yeah, you know,” he shrugged and gestured to his basket, “just buying necessities.”

Emma saw the heap on junk food and asked, “oh, are you having a party?”

“You can say that.” He gave a slow nod before deciding he couldn’t lie about this. He wasn’t going to seem like the party animal he most definitely wasn’t right then. “If you call me sitting in my underwear stuffing my mouth a party, then yes.”

“That sounds like the best party anybody can have,” she giggled and shook her head at his silliness. She then pointed at her own cart. “I’m having a dinner party.”

“Oooh, fancy.” Alex wiggled his eyebrows, sensing how different their lives really were.

“Eh, we’ll see how fancy.”

“I’ll take a dinner party over eating Cheetos in my underwear any day.”

“Really?” Emma questioned, not sure how honest he was being. “Cause if so, would you like to trade lives? I feel like stuffing myself with Cheetos in my underwear.”

“Nothing’s stopping you from doing so!” Alex encouraged.

“A dinner party is,” she sighed back. In all honesty, she wasn’t not looking forward to it. She loved cooking and all, but there was a little more behind it all.

“Hey, babe…” The same guy who had been with her in her bed when Jack called, turned into the aisle where Emma said she was going to be, holding two packets in his hands, looking at them before looking up at his girlfriend. “Which one will your mom like more?”

“It’s rice, James,” she laughed back, holding back the urge to roll her eyes, “I don’t think it matters.”

“Actually…” Alex butted in and pointed at the pack that had purple on it. “It might be cheaper, but I prefer that over any other rice I’ve tried.”

“Well, then that’s a decision made.” Emma took the one Alex chose from James’ hand and put it in the cart. “Thanks, Alex.”

“Okay, I’m going to go put this back and get the dog food,” James announced and disappeared again.

It all made sense to Alex. The dinner party wasn’t just with friends, it was with her parents and boyfriend. It was even bigger than he had originally thought. Not bigger in size, but bigger in importance. Even if it just had been her and her parents, it would have been quite important. Emma liked everything being perfect when her family came over.

“Meeting the parents, huh?” He showed that he had put one and one together.

“Oh, no, actually,” Emma dismissed. “We’ve been together for almost two years now and actually live together. Plus, he used to be my best friend in high school and when we were kids. So, they know him.”

“Oh, wow.” Alex didn’t realize the relationship had been going on for that long and was that serious. Emma never really did post about it on Twitter. “Star-crossed lovers.”

“I wouldn’t say that. I never once developed a crush on him when we were kids. We just really hit it off when he moved back out here.”

“Well, I’m still waiting to find that person for myself. It’s taking a while, but I’m patient.”

“What about Megan?” Emma wondered, remembering the whole on-again-off-again thing they had.

“No.” Alex shook his head with furrowed eyebrows. “We’re not together anymore.”

“That’s been awhile…” she whispered to herself. It had almost been a year since Jack had called.


“Oh, nothing. I just remember you told me you often broke up and got back together.” Emma clarified trying to say it without being rude.

“Megan and I are officially over,” Alex explained with a shake of the head. “You were right, it gets frustrating.”

Before Emma could ask any further questions, James came back with the dog food. At least he did know exactly what to get for that. It was a more frequent buy for him than rice. Emma would often ask him to drop by a store after work after they ran out, but she usually did the groceries herself. But since he was going to have to take over the cooking, Emma was showing him the ropes again, the ropes he had lost after college.

“Hey, if you guys want, we’re going to play a show here sometime next week,” Alex piped up with a sudden idea, “you should come. I’ll add you to the guest list.”

“This will be the first time I get to see you live!” Emma grinned excitedly.

“Hey, you’ve seen me perform live before and it was the best time of your life.” Alex winked, causing James to frown. He had no clue who this guy was talking to his girlfriend. All he knew was that he had overheard the rice conversation, not something else.

“Karaoke guy,” Emma mumbled to James to make clear who Alex was.

“Oh, right!” James nodded, obviously knowing the story, making Alex feel a little neglected since he was known as just the ‘karaoke guy’--he always told everybody else many more stories about Emma, she wasn’t just ‘karaoke girl’ to him. “If you want to.”

“We’ll be there!” Emma stated enthusiastically.
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Anybody have more ideas? I'm trying to piece together something, but I can't figure it out. It just doesn't seem like a good closing chapter. It can be as far into the future as you want (eg. they can have been together for ten years already or something). Also, I said no engagement or wedding scenes, but that only applies to their wedding or their engagement. If they don't end up together, then it's possible, or it can be somebody else's wedding/engagement.

There's one more chapter before that final one I still need to plan out.