Welcome back to the next installment of the book I’m blogging! I hope you’ll enjoy this chapter. I’m writing a couple thousand words ahead so I know where the story is going, and I’m around 17K words and am nowhere near done…so I hope you’re up for a longer journey with Emma and co. 😀
I also have some non-Unraveled posts in the works, including a crochet pattern, so stay tuned!
Before we get to the story, I’d appreciate it if you could take a second to vote in this poll. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the length of the segments. They’re about 1,000 words each, so I won’t be making them any longer, but I was considering making them shorter if that’s what people would like. But here’s a way for you to let me know your preference!
And now for today’s installment…
Unraveled, Part 9
I followed Catherine until we were out of Rory’s sight. We needed to figure out what we were going to do, since Rory was obviously not fit to drive. Only I was feeling dizzy from our car ride, and I thought I might fall over. We made it behind the main Chevron building, sort of next to the restrooms, and I had to stop because the ground was spinning.
Catherine took one look at me and grabbed my arm. I don’t think she expected me to flop against her, but my legs were doing some weird thing and wouldn’t let me stand upright. So she wrapped her arm around my shoulders, forcing me to stand upright.
She walked me over to the building and propped me against the wall. I slid down to the ground and closed my eyes, until I realized she was talking to me.
I made an indistinguishable strangled noise. I heard her sit down next to me on the concrete, leaning back against the graffiti-covered wall.
“You look like you’re about to pass out.” I could hear the concern in her voice, and a little bit of fear too. Of course. One of her traveling companions was a reckless driver, and the other one was trying not to have a panic attack.
“I’m fine,” I said, except it came out quiet and slightly hoarse.
“No, you’re not,” said Catherine. “You’re really pale, and your hands are shaking.”
They were. I clasped my hands tightly together to try and hide it.
It was stupid, the way I was falling apart, but I couldn’t help it. Nothing made me as nervous as breaking the law, even if it was Rory who was doing it and not me. I was a law-abiding citizen; I couldn’t handle any more time in the car with Rory driving. “I screwed up,” I said.
“It’s okay,” said Catherine.
“No, I really did,” I said. “I messed up from the very first time I saw your grandma. I should have helped her, but I didn’t.” Catherine was quiet, just listening. “Then I picked up the stupid shawl, and now I’m on a road trip with a complete stranger. I don’t even know you that well.”
I stared at my bright blue Converse, white toes scuffed up, and kicked a pebble along with my toe.
“Yeah, but you’re still trying,” said Catherine. I looked at her. Her white shirt had dirt on one shoulder from leaning up against the gas station. “It would be really easy to just give up, you know? Pass the shawl off as crazy, just keep going through your day-to-day life. But you realized something’s wrong and you’re willing to go to great lengths to fix it.” She laughed. “Great lengths.”
I felt myself blushing. “That makes me sound far more…heroic…than I am.”
“I didn’t say you were heroic,” said Catherine. “I said you weren’t giving up.”
She let that comment sink in. I felt an uneven part of the wall pressing into my spine and shifted a little, then let out a sigh. She was right. I couldn’t give up now. If I was going to figure out what was happening with the shawl, I had to keep going, even if it terrified me.
Which it did.
I stood up, and Catherine followed suit. “Sorry I freaked out.”
“No worries,” said Catherine. “I know how you feel.” She gave me a wry smile. “Ready to go face Rory?”
I nodded. My stomach was still in knots, but I felt a great deal better than I had five minutes ago. She started back to the car, where Rory was probably still rocking out to her music. “Catherine?”
“Yeah?” She turned back to me, eyebrows slightly raised.
“Thank you.” I felt weird saying it, but not many people knew how to handle my panic attacks. It was amazing she was holding it together as well as she was. This shawl had killed Irene (although it sounded stupid when I thought it), and she was following a complete stranger to another state. And me, one of the last people to see her grandmother alive.
She had to be just as scared as me, but she was talking me down from the ledge. Shame weighed me down.
“Like I said, no worries,” she said. “I felt the same way right after my grandma died. Like everything was messed up and I’d never feel okay again.” She shrugged. “You just learn how to cope.”
“Yeah.” I didn’t know what else to say. It reminded me just how much I had to lose.
This is how our car ride went:
Rory drove. Erratically. Unpredictably. With no regard for anything other than her own driving. Red light? Speed right through it! Thirty-five miles per hour? How about sixty! Car ahead of us not driving fast enough on the freeway? Make a risky passing maneuver and keep going at breakneck speed! It seemed like she did everything with an exclamation point.
Catherine sat in the front seat like she did before, fiddling with the radio. About twenty minutes into the drive she pulled out a peanut butter energy bar, broke off half, and passed it back to me.
My stomach was tied in such tight knots I didn’t think I could choke it down, but I didn’t want to refuse. It turned out to be delicious, and it helped settle some of my anxiety. Some. The joints in my hands were aching, probably from too much crocheting, and I wished I had brought some pain medication. Maybe I could buy some ibuprofen when we made a pit stop.
I picked through the mess of yarn in Rory’s backseat, untangling and sorting it into piles. It looked like she did a lot of thread crochet, there were tons of fine threads and small hooks. That was odd, for a beginning crocheter. “Rory?” I asked.
She didn’t hear me over the rap music.
Catherine turned it down. “Stop that!” reprimanded Rory, smacking her hand away.
“Question,” I said.
“What’s up, Emma?”
“Are these all your supplies back here?” I gestured to the sprawling pile of fiber.
“Indeed they are,” said Rory. My stomach flipped as she cut another car off to merge into the fast lane. Just calm down. You need to do this to save your skin.
“Do you do a lot of thread crochet?”
“Lots,” said Rory. It was obvious she was distracted by the driver in front of her. “Why are you going twenty-five below the speed limit, granny?”
Catherine snickered. I was too nervous to find any humor in the situation, but I guess it was weird for Rory – grandmother-aged herself – to use ‘granny’ as an insult.
“I thought you were having trouble with the Briars and Roses Shawl,” I said, narrowing my eyes. “If you do thread crochet, you should have no problem. And you said you weren’t much of a crocheter.” After all, I could make the shawl and I never crocheted with thread. The problem was the pattern took so long and the hook wounded my fingers, but I could still do it.
“Oh,” said Rory. Her eyes widened. “Um, I have all that thread because I’m learning how to do thread crochet.”
I decided to drop it. After all, why would she lie about something like that?
I’d love to hear your predictions for where the story is going…it will give me a good idea if the plot is overly predictable, and I’m curious! As always, I’d love to have your feedback. 🙂
I hope you’re all having a wonderful Saturday, and I’ll talk to you later! ❤