Emily was grateful that the walk to Kelly’s provided her with a chance to cool down after yet another face-off with her family. She was not, however, particularly thrilled about the weather. There was a biting wind coming off the lake, and she hoped, whatever Lucky was thinking of for tonight, they were not going to have to go outside.
Outside, however, was preferable to her family’s house. Grandfather had not gotten over what he’d witnessed on the road almost a month ago, and every time he repeated the story it got more extreme and scandalous. Emily continually had to leave the room to avoid completely cracking up in front of him. Grandfather, however, was harmless. He didn’t hold any real power over what she did with her time, so when her parents had begun to voice concerns over the amount of time she was spending with Lucky, it had been a decidedly more serious threat.
Her parent’s interference annoyed her no end. First of all, she didn’t see that much of Lucky. At least, that was how it felt to her. They walked to school together, ate lunch together, and, on the days he wasn’t working at his new job at Kelly’s, they’d walk home together too. They’d quickly made the discovery that they were completely incapable of studying together. Aside from the fact that they favored entirely different subjects, they provided each other with two many distraction, and Emily had decided early on that she wasn’t going to leave that “grade-slipping” loophole open for her family.
The complaint right now was primarily that she was too young to have a serious boyfriend. Her argument was that there was really nothing she could do about that. They hadn’t minded when she and Lucky had just been friends, and they were pretty much spending the same amount of time together now than that they had been before the arrival of the Cassadines. And she wasn’t planning on doing anything stupid. However, doing something stupid apparently was a family trait, so everyone was feeling a little high-strung about the whole thing. She supposed that she could understand where they were coming from, but she had finally pointed out to them that this kind of tension and antagonism at home was the sort of thing that had driven her to do almost every stupid thing she’d ever done in her life.
She reached Kelly’s just as a harsh gust of wind came up. Lowering her head she pushed against it, opened the door to the restaurant and leapt inside.
Kelly’s, which always had a homey warmth about it, was particularly inviting today. Ruby looked up as Emily shut the door firmly behind her, and smiled at her widely.
“Emily, how are you today?”
Emily wrapped her arms around her and shuffled over to the bar, her teeth chattering.
“I am very very cold,” she shivered. “How are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine. How about I get you some hot chocolate?”
Emily nodded gratefully and slid onto the a stool at the bar.
“That would be great,” she said, looking at her watch. It was a quarter to eight, Lucky wouldn’t get off for fifteen minutes. Ruby smiled at her warmly, and bustled off to the kitchen. Emily turned sideways on the stool, and painfully pulled off her gloves. Her hands ached with cold and she rubbed them together, blowing on them to produce some heat. She heard a sudden crash and looked up to see Elizabeth standing at the entrance to the kitchen, having just spilled half a tray of silverware on the floor. Swearing under her breath, Lizzie dropped to her knees and began to scoop the fallen utensils back into the washing tray. Emily watched her, feeling pretty much the same way she always did whenever she’d seen Lizzie since the big confrontation. She didn’t have any anger towards her, just a slight wariness and a sense of some sort of vague connection. She barely knew the girl, and they were far from being friends, but they did share some knowledge of each other, and that made their dealings with each other a little strange.
Lizzie pulled herself up to her feet, and saw Emily watching her. She froze, then smiled weakly.
“Hi,” she said, uncomfortably.
“Hi,” Emily said, looking down at her hands again. “Uh, how are you doing?”
Lizzie shrugged, and put her tray down on the counter heavily.
“I’m, uh....” she took a deep breath. “Fine. And you?”
Emily blew on her hands again.
Lizzie nodded. There was an awkward silence.
“I have a table to clear,” Lizzie muttered finally, and picked up another clearing tray. Emily slipped off the stool, and walked to the window. It was starting to snow. She looked out at the courtyard, and willed Lucky to appear. Behind her she heard more clinking of dishes as Lizzie cleared table with typical caution. She turned back to look at the diner, and saw Lizzie looking at her again, balancing the clearing tray on her hip.
“Lucky’s on a delivery,” she said simply.
“I figured,” Emily sighed, “I don't know how he manages to delivery so much food with no means of transport.”
Lizzie laughed and Emily looked up at her in surprised.
“I know, he’s got to be the only pedestrian delivery boy in history.”
Emily walked over towards her.
“Is there some kind of delivery limit? Like only in a five block radius?”
Lizzie shook her head.
“I don’t know, I’ve never asked.”
The bell on the door jingled, and both girls turned to see Lucky come in out of the cold. He smiled widely at Emily, then darkened slightly when saw she was talking to. Em returned his smile, letting him know that everything was alright. Nevertheless, Lucky walked over to her and took her hand protectively.
“Hey,” he murmured, kissing her quickly. Emily pulled back from her laughing.
“Your hands are freezing. Have you ever heard of gloves?”
“Well, I’m not known for thinking ahead,” Lucky said, shrugging. “Besides, I have you to warm them up.”
Lizzie rolled her eyes.
“I have dishes to wash,” she called, then disappeared into the kitchen, passing Ruby on her way out carrying two steaming hot mugs.
“You made it back!” she said to her nephew, grinning widely. Lucky had noticed that Ruby was generally very happy when Emily was around. Actually, his entire family kept giving him knowing smiles whenever her name came up, or if she called or something. He really hoped they’d get over it. Ruby reached them, and handed each their drinks. “You two warm up before you go back out in that weather!” she commanded.
“We will, Aunt Ruby,” he promised, leading Emily to a table near the door. Emily sat down and took Lucky’s hand in both of her’s, in an attempt to warm them.
“So...” she inquired, “What are we doing?”
“I thought we’d go see a movie or something,” Lucky said, taking a sip of his drink.
“Sure, whatever. As long as it’s warm.”
Lucky leaned across the table and put his other hand over her’s, looking over at his shoulder, to insure Lizzie wasn't going to be making any unexpected appearances.
“Look, before we go, I have to talk to you about something.”
Emily pulled one of her hands away, and took a big swallow of her hot chocolate.
“Yeah. it’s kind of important.”
“Alright,” Emily said slowly. “Should I be worried?”
“No,” Lucky said, his voice a bit nervous. “Well... I don’t think so. It’s about my Mom.”
Emily’s eyes lit up.
“Is she coming home?”
“No,” Lucky sighed. “She’s not. She’s still sticking it out. I’ve decided... I’m going to Switzerland.”
They looked at each other as the words sunk in.
“When?” Emily asked.
“In about two weeks. Just before the holidays. I’ll be back after New Years.”
“Wow,” Emily breathed. “That’s good. I’m glad you’re doing that.”
“I feel like I have to,” Lucky said, leaning back. “I need to see my sister, and who knows? Maybe I can convince her we still need her here.”
Emily squeezed his hand.
“I’ll miss you.”
“Yeah... me too. Miss you I mean.”
Emily laughed softly, looking down at the table top.
“I know what you mean.”
Lucky lowered his head, trying to make eye contact with her.
“Are you going to be ok?”
Emily looked up and smiled at him.
“Of course! Christmas with the Quartermaines. I’ve done it before. Besides, without you as a distraction, I’ll be able to concentrate on the train set.”
“What train set?”
Emily rolled her eyes.
“Family tradition. That and the brawl before dinner. I’ll be fine. They'll probably be thrilled not to have you for competition.”
Lucky looked at her seriously.
“I will call you.”
“You’d better,” she chided. Lucky continued to look at her gravely. It made her immediately nervous. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, just.... The same thing that always bothers me. Why is she still in Switzerland?”
“I guess you just have to accept that you’ll find out when she’s ready to tell you.”
“So you actually believe that she’s keeping something from us?”
“I don’t know,” Emily sighed. “But you're right. It does make sense. One way or another, you’ll find out what’s going on. If it is just your Grandmother, then you’ll be able to tell when you’re there over Christmas.”
Lucky looked thoughtful.
“Yeah, I guess. I just... I’m not sure I want to know. I mean, last time my Mother dropped a bomb on me, it turned out to be Nikolas.”
Emily smiled wryly. They had an agreement about Nikolas. They could both talk about him, they just couldn’t fight about him. He was never going to convince her his brother was evil, and she was never going to convince him that he wasn’t. They had been pretty successful at just accepting each other’s feeling on the subject and leaving it at that.
“Well, it can’t be worse than that,” she said, looking at him hopefully.
“No matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.”
“Which rule is that?”
“That is the unwritten rule of Port Charles.”
Emily laughed. From her experience, that was true.
“Well, how much worse could it get than finding out that your Mom had a son by some dead enemy of your father’s?”
“Have a son by some undead enemy of my father’s?” he shivered involuntarily. “I probably shouldn’t even think about that.”
“Well, that’s not very likely, is it?”
“No, it’s not,” Lucky admitted. “Let’s not dwell on this, ok?”
“How’re the ‘zany people’?” Lucky asked, amused.
“They’re crazy.... and they’re quickly driving me there as well.”
Lucky raised his eyebrows.
“Besides the fact that they hover over me all the time, and constantly give me unrequested advice? I don't know. They’re being really strange. Especially Alan.”
“Alan? He always struck me as the normal one.”
“Hey!” Emily protested. “My Mom’s not that strange either!”
“Ok,” Lucky conceded. “What’s with wrong with Alan?”
Emily drained her hot chocolate, and set it on the table firmly.
“It’s not worth talking about.”
“It is if you’re worried about it.”
“I’m not. Not really. He’s just being moody, and stuff. It’s probably nothing.” She looked up at him, taking a deep breath. “Let’s get out of here, ok?”
“Fine with me,” Lucky said, standing up. “Where to?”
Emily stood up and walked with him to the door.
“Ummmm.... I don't know, a movie sounds good. Let’s just get there fast, alright?”
Lucky opened the door for Emily, and she walked out into the swirling snow.
“Oh wow,” she breathed looking up at the night sky. “It’s so beautiful!”
“I thought you didn’t want to go outside!” Lucky laughed. He wrapped his arms around her, and she leaned back against him.
“Cold is alright when it serves a purpose,” she smiled happily. “And it’s never as bad when you’re around. Nothing is.”
Lucky held her tighter.
“I guess even if things do get worse, they won’t be as bad as they could be. I mean, at least we have each other again.”
Emily turned around to face him, putting her arms around his neck.
“I love you,” she whispered to him. Lucky smiled at her and kissed her forehead.
“I love you too.”
Emily raise her face to his, and kissed him as the snow fell around them. She had no idea what was in store for them, and she didn’t care. She had no worries, and for once, great expectations.