Alexis chose Boston because it was as far as she could get from Stanford without actually leaving the country. She chose Boston because Harvard said yes, Yale said no, and when it was all said and done, she really hated the Yankees. It didn't hurt that Manhattan was just a four hour train ride away.
Emily chose Boston because it wasn't DC and it wasn't Chicago. She chose Boston because it was a place where she could hide, where she could lie, where she could be Emily Lightman: College Freshman instead of Emily Lightman: Daughter of the Human Lie Detector.
Alexis wondered what the odds were that, in a city of 600,000 people, her roommate would be a girl whose life so closely mirrored her own.
Emily knew what it was like to grow up without a mother, just the strong female figures your father worked with. Emily knew what it was like to raise a father who should have raised you, what it was like to end up raising yourself because your Dad was too busy solving crimes and chasing unavailable women to notice that you were lost when he was gone.
At least, Alexis thought, she had her Grams on the nights her dad stayed late at the precinct, pouring over the murder board with Beckett by his side. Alexis wondered if it was easier to share your father with the indigenous tribes of the Amazon than with the NYPD.
(If she had the courage to ask, Emily could have told her that it wasn't.)
Within a month, they were friends, sisters, confidantes.
Alexis asked Emily to teach her how to read faces. Emily asked Alexis to teach her how to write. They read the books their fathers wrote, side by side at the foot of Emily's bed, sharing her backrest pillow. They recited the passages they had learned by heart-stories of gritty police detectives and microexpressions.
Emily wanted to ask Alexis if her father actually slept with Nikki Heat. Alexis wanted to ask Emily if her father knew he was in love with the elusive Dr. Foster who appeared in his books. But the girls remained silent-afraid of crossing boundaries or telling lies or revealing the truth.
Alexis switched her major from Econ to Bio, from Bio to Pre-Law. Emily remained Undecided for six months before spontaneously landing on Art. Just... Art.
Emily sculpted masks like the ones her father hung on the walls of his office. She painted portraits and cut stained glass and drew naked women lounging next to bowls of fruit. On the phone (she refused to use Skype) she told her father that she was studying Linguistics.
He pretended not to notice the changed timbre in her voice; the slight tremor that betrayed the lie.
Alexis' father dropped by at least twice a month. He took Alexis and Emily on tours of the city-to the MFA, the Swan Boats, the Public Garden. Emily saw how easily Alexis lied to her father: "yes, I'm over Ash. Yes, I'm happy. No, I don't miss you." Emily saw his knowing smile and wondered if all parents could spot lies on their children, not just her father. She didn't know if that made her feel better or not.
Emily's father visited every so often. He studied Emily's paintings with the practiced air of someone who spends his life studying faces. Emily suddenly wished that she drew landscapes instead. He told her they were lovely, that he was proud of her, that she was the light of his life. Alexis didn't need to use the skills Emily taught her to know that Emily's father was telling the truth.
Alexis wanted to ask Emily how hard could it have been, really, to be raised by a man who adored you so wholeheartedly.
(Emily could have asked Alexis the same thing.)