I haven’t been kissed by many men, but our first kiss, in the ocean, was when I really lost myself to him. At that moment, a new chapter in my life began—one where I stopped lusting after Cash Mitchell and began falling in love with him. And I’ve always had this ridiculous notion that I’m not like other people but honestly—unless everyone is like this—at the moment of that kiss, I shed any romantic future that didn’t involve him.
Maybe that’s crazy. Or maybe everyone feels that way when they’re in love but he was always it for me, and at that moment, I believed that he might feel that way too, like there was a potential scenario where Cash Mitchell and Emma Ripplestine could be together, and my soul abandoned any other scenario.
I’m not explaining myself well. What I’m trying to say is that in that kiss, I surrendered to him for the rest of my life. Whether we were together or not. I was going to be his or single. Part of a pair or alone. A crazy cat lady or Casma. Not that I was in love with that moniker.
This kiss, in the middle of his living room, tears on my cheeks, his hand in my hair… was different. In this kiss, I think he gave himself to me. There was something raw and unprotected in the way he looked at me. The crush of his lips when he claimed my mouth. The need in his eyes when he scooped me up in his arms and carried me to his bedroom.
He placed me on the mattress so tenderly that I smiled. He crawled over me and kissed my shoulder, my collarbone, my neck, and my forehead. He laid beside me and pulled me on top of him and ran his fingers through my hair, and it was terrifying how vulnerable I was.
He could crush me. This could crush me. It was one thing to never know love, but it’s another to taste it and then lose it. I rested my head on his heart and hoped desperately it was mine.
“When I came back in the kitchen, my manicotti was bubbling and lightly browned, and the living room was empty. I pulled it out and let it cool, then sprinkled some basil on top and jetted. Her car was in the driveway when I pulled out, and when I showed up the next morning, it was still there. I fixed them benedicts and kept my mouth shut, but I was watching and listening.
You know, I’ve heard a lot of stuff about her. Crazy stuff. And maybe it’s all true, but what I can go off is what I see and experience. And she was really sweet, but with these sharp moments of humor which kept me on my toes. And Cash was happy. I’d never seen him like that. Constantly reaching over and touching her, like he was reassuring himself that she was there.
It was…umm. I don’t know. It was cool to see. I was happy for him. And from that morning on, Emma was there. She likes her eggs over easy, with hot sauce on them.”
Paul Ricardo, Personal Chef
As soon as the first episode aired, we got the call about the reunion. Michelle predicted it, then crowed like a rooster with ten hens when her phone rang mid-Ceaser salad.
Five months had passed since the final episode wrapped, and a reunion was a bit ridiculous since the six of us had communicated with each other on a weekly basis since moving out of the mansion. Even Marissa. I swear to God, through IMs I might grow to actually like Marissa.
Yes. I was also shocked. You couldn’t tell, because I had enough botox injected in this forehead to freeze a penis in place, but I was positively aghast at the idea.
The network didn’t seem to hold any grudges over the lawsuits that Cash and I had both filed, suits that had eventually given us final cut approval—a staggering accomplishment that Michelle was still bragging about. We weren’t able to nix the ‘Emma had a sleepover’ comment but we did film a new confessional with Wesley and Cash where Wesley explained it.
Dana, bless her demonic little heart, was rumored to be in love, and I was curious to see if she had filed down her fangs or planned to gut us on screen. Johno put up ten grand that one of us would cry, and no one would take the bet.
The mansion now housed a L.A. Lakers’ player with multiple wives, so the reunion was happening at a sound stage in Burbank. I rode with Cash and waved to a trio of teenage girls who jogged beside his car, their phones out and recording.
In the backseat, Edwin filmed the exchange, then posted it. “Done,” he announced.