Lizzie attempted to read her watch with only the occasional flash of the lights to help her see. It was after ten already. Lucky had been gone for at least fifteen minutes. She was beginning to get concerned. She scanned the room and saw her sister leaning up against the wall alone. Well, well, she thought. What have we here? She strolled over to her sister’s resting place.
“Are we having fun yet?”
Sarah looked up, surprised.
“Uh, hi,” she murmured.
“Where’s your prince?”
“You are spending waaaay too much time with Lucky,” Sarah said, shaking her head. Lizzie smirked into the darkness.
“Very possibly. Speaking of which, you haven’t seen him, have you?”
“Nope,” Sarah pursed her lips. “Actually I haven’t seen Emily in awhile. Maybe they went for a walk or something.”
Lizzie felt very cold. She shook her head, firmly.
“Doubtful. Lucky’s not very big on taking walks. And he and Emily aren’t speaking, in case you haven’t noticed.”
Sarah turned to her, mouth open.
“What are you talking about?”
Lizzie rolled her eyes.
“Yeah, I can see you guys are real close. Emily and Lucky aren’t friends anymore.”
“How did that happen?” Sarah’s brow knit into a look of concern.
Lizzie gave her sister a disapproving look.
“Lucky doesn’t want to talk about it. And I’m not in the habit of sticking my nose where it isn’t wanted.”
Sarah looked at her sister blankly.
Nikolas appeared out of the dark, and put his hands around his girlfriend’s waist. Sarah looked surprised, then got a decidedly sappy look on her face. She turned her head towards him, smiling.
Lizzie suppressed an urge to gag. Nikolas was whispering something into her sister’s ear. God, he was annoying, she thought to herself. Sarah had a dreamy look on her face.
“Lizzie, we’re taking off. See you at home?”
“Undoubtedly,” Lizzie muttered. Sarah and Nikolas walked away, hand in hand. Lizzie scanned the floor again. Lucky was nowhere to be seen. She couldn’t help but worry about what Sarah had said about Emily disappearing. She shook her head. There was no way he was with her. Even not knowing the details, Lizzie had managed to glean the fact that Lucky’s pride had been pretty seriously hurt. Whatever had happened it was more serious than anything she could have orchestrated. And Lucky was obviously getting a little annoyed with her ubiquitousness. She strained to see her watch again. That proved to be useless. She was going to wait another ten minutes and then, if he still hadn’t appeared, she’d go look for him. Patience is a virtue, she thought. At least that’s what Gram said. She just hoped Lucky agreed.
* * * *
Emily’s name had come out of Lucky’s mouth before he even had a chance to think about it. She turned towards, him startled. They starred at each other, neither one moving a muscle. Emily didn’t know what was wrong with her. She felt caught in a suspended instant, unable to break the moment. The can of apple juice slipped out of her hand, and fell to the ground, ending the moment with a sharp clang. She swore under her breath, and leapt away from the juice as it hit the pavement and splattered everywhere. There was a long silence. Emily looked back at him.
“Lucky,” she stated his name like it was an answer to a question in math class. Immediately Lucky felt unwelcome. He couldn’t believe he’d even said anything. He hated feeling like this, and it happened every time Emily entered his realm of consciousness. He couldn’t stand the fact that she had this much of an effect on him when he obviously had no effect on her.
“Nice talking to you,” he said, turning around. He didn't attempt to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
Let him go, Emily chanted to herself as she watched him walk away from her in anger again. She knew that he wasn’t going to look back. He never did.
“Lucky!” her voice sounded panicked. She found herself running towards him, without even making a conscious decision to do anything. Lucky stopped, but didn’t turn around. Emily stood ten feet behind him, unsure of how to proceed. What was she doing? This was insane. The silence was getting to her, though. She cleared her throat. “I didn’t mean....” she shifted her weight uncomfortably. “I’ll leave, if you want me to.”
Lucky turned to face her.
“I was never the one who wanted you to leave,” he said flatly. Emily realized this wasn’t going to go anywhere good. She shook her head.
“Fine, Lucky.” Emily turned her back on him and walked back to her apple-juice-soaked place on the wall.
Lucky stood alone in the center of the parking lot. He considered screaming. Why did he let this girl get to him like this? He wanted to get angry, but watching her huddled against the wall, he just couldn’t find it in him. He knew that Emily only behaved this way when something was wrong. And her previous outburst seemed to prove that she was feeling something towards him. On the other hand, she’d never said that she didn’t care about him. She just didn’t care enough to try to be friends anymore. Lucky felt a sharp pain in his gut. It was a familiar pain. He felt it every time he allowed himself to think too much about the people in his life who told him they cared about him, and then disappeared from his life.
Emily was in agony. She knew Lucky was still there. She didn’t want to turn around. She didn’t want to fight with him anymore. She hoped he would just go away. She never should have run after him. What was she thinking? Why couldn’t she ever be rational in Lucky’s presence? She was fighting some adverse presence inside of her which wanted to turn to him, tell him to forget everything. She wondered who it had more to do with: him or Lizzie. The image of Lizzie wrapped in Lucky’s arms floated in front of her. She wondered why it made her feel so ill. Lizzie’s own words rang in her ears “You want Lucky for yourself”.
Emily felt panicked. She turned back to Lucky, her eyes wide. He was standing where she’d left him, still looking at her. Emily felt herself begin to tremor. None of her reasoning made sense anymore. Was being friends with Lucky really going to be worse than not being friends with him? That was hard to imagine.
“Lucky...” Emily’s voice shook. Lucky started to walk towards her.
Emily recognized the look in his eyes. She’d seen it there the day she’d told him to get out of her life. She really wanted to be able to make it go away.
“Don’t,” she said, suddenly. Lucky stopped in his tracks.
Emily searched for something to say. She’d really told him everything he needed to know. Except maybe that she missed him. And that she felt incredibly jealous of Lizzie, and she never wanted to see him with her again. Lucky was looking at her like she’d just killed his dog. She had to say something.
“Is there any way....” She looked down at the ground, desperately trying to remember why it was she wasn’t speaking to him anymore. She hated this. She found herself wishing that there was some simple way to solve everything. She tried to image what Lucky would have to say to make her feel safe with him again. Maybe she should at least give him the chance. “Could ... I mean....”
“What are you trying to say, Emily?” Lucky’s voice cracked. She realized he looked really nervous. She tried to think clearly. This was the most time she’d spent with Lucky since she’d told him to get lost.
“We don’t have to ....” she couldn’t look at him “avoid each other. I mean, it’s not like we hate each other.”
“No,” he said quietly. “It’s not.”
“I just think it’s dumb to ... not go some place because one of us might be there, or leave some place because we see each other. I mean, we can be friendly, right?”
Lucky’s face twisted bitterly.
“Friendly, but not friends.”
Emily wanted to shoot herself. That had come out really badly. She shouldn’t have said anything at all.
“Lucky...” she found herself moaning. “This isn’t exactly easy for me.”
Lucky raised his eyebrows.
“Oh, well that’s good to know,” He crossed his arms defensively across his chest. “You looked like you were really in pain back there.” He gestured towards the school with his head. Emily’s stomach tightened.
“You weren’t exactly writhing with agony either,” she spit back at him.
“I’m sorry, I forgot my black arm band at home.”
“Don’t,” Emily muttered.
“I’m not going to pretend that I’m miserable just so you can have an ego boost.”
Suddenly Emily recalled why she’d cut Lucky out of her life in the first place. No one made her feel like this.
“Why don’t you go back to Lizzie. I’m sure she’d sent out search parties by now.”
“Well, you know Lizzie. She’s cares.”
Emily laughed bitterly.
“Yeah. About herself.”
Lucky’s voice raised in volume.
“I don’t have time for this, Emily,” he shot at her angrily. “You either want me around or you don’t. And you’ve made your position very clear.”
“Then why don’t you listen to her?”
Lucky and Emily both turned to see Nikolas and Sarah standing by the school door. She looked down at the ground again. She knew what she was going to hear next.
Oh, yes. There it was. She was now right in the middle of the war zone. Emily looked back and forth between Nikolas and Lucky. They were squared off, glaring at each other. Her eye caught Sarah’s, who gestured for her to come stand with her. Emily couldn’t do it. Standing over with Sarah seemed to put her on Nikolas’s side. She opted to stay where she was, even if it was too close to the line of fire.
“She doesn’t want you around, Lucky,” Nikolas’s voice was steady and demanding. She could predict it’s effect on Lucky without even looking at him.
“Nikolas,” she said, her voice low. “It’s alright.”
Nikolas didn’t take his eyes off Lucky. Emily began to get a sense that Nikolas had a separate personality for Lucky, just like his brother did for him. They were looking at each other with pure hatred. It was remarkable, and frightening. Emily barely recognized either of them.
“Back off,” Lucky quietly told his brother.
“With pleasure,” Nikolas smirked at him. “Are you coming?” He was obviously addressing Emily, though his eyes never left Lucky’s face. Emily didn’t know what to say. This problem quickly solved itself when Lucky answered for her.
“She can take care of herself.”
“She’s here with us. I’m offering her a ride home.”
“I’ll be right there, “ Emily said, putting a hand on Nikolas’s arm. This was far too intense for her. Especially after her run in with Lucky. “Just give me a minute.”
Nikolas tore his gaze from Lucky.
“Are you sure?” he asked her. Emily wondered what either of them expected would happen. She nodded. Sarah approached and held out her hand to Nikolas.
“Here, let’s go back inside,” she sounded nervous. Emily could blame her. The tension in the air was palpable. Nikolas looked at Lucky severely. “Be careful, “ he warned, obviously implying that he didn't trust Lucky with Emily for a second. Lucky sneered.
“What do you think I’m going to do to her, Nikky? Kidnap her? Shoot her in cold blood? Or maybe I’ll just strand in some foreign country miles away from the rest of her family.”
Nikolas turned back, and spit out his words rapidly.
“What are you implying?”
“Think about it.”
“Nikolas,” Sarah pleaded. For the first time, Nikolas ignored her.
“Are you suggesting that my family has something to do with our mother’s prolonged absence?”
“I’m not suggesting anything.”
Nikolas held his arms open, and gave Lucky a look of complete bewilderment.
“Well, I’m sorry. I don't know what you’re talking about.”
“Think about it,” Lucky repeated, darkly.
Nikolas spoke very clearly and slowly.
“Laura can come home any time she wishes. Grandmother needs the treatment.”
Lucky mouth tightened. Emily could feel him burning up inside. She couldn’t watch this.
“Have you seen “Grandmother” lately?” He hissed. “Have you talked to her? She’s probably the healthiest person in this family.”
Nikolas shrugged, lightly.
“I don’t doubt it. But that hardly suggests she’s ready to come home.”
“Did your uncle tell you that?” Lucky’s voice was taunting. Emily felt sick. She wished she could make this stop, but she couldn’t think of anything, short of fainting, that would sway them from their present course.
“It’s common knowledge, Spencer.”
“Well, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Hop another plane to Switzerland. Make up your own mind, for once.”
“You’re accusing me of not thinking for myself.”
Lucky shook his head, slowly.
“She’s not coming home because she’s scared of something. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what.”
Nikolas didn’t say anything for a moment, almost as if he was actually giving what Lucky said real thought. Then he chuckled again, and took a step back, stretching his arms heavenward.
“Unbelievable!” he cried, throwing his head back. He looked back at at glowering Lucky. “So did you father come up with this little plot, or did your over-active imagination cook it up all by itself?”
Emily cringed. That sounded terribly patronizing to her ears. She was beginning to see why Lucky was so psychotic about Nikolas. The Nikolas she knew seemed to have taken a short walk.
“My father,” Lucky’s voice sounded breathy, “doesn’t get it.”
Nikolas looked amazed.
“Well, congratulations Lucky. You’ve officially earned the title of “Most Delusional Spencer”. You must be proud.”
Emily eyed Lucky carefully. His jaw was so tight she was worried it might snap. His eyes were on fire, and his breathing was very heavy. She’d never seen him like this, and she knew he was absolutely capable of doing something extremely stupid. She looked at Sarah helplessly. Sarah’s eyes very fixed on her beloved, however. Emily began to see why Lucky felt so alone in the world. No one ever took his side. Ever.
“I don’t need you to believe me, Nikolas,” Lucky’s voice was remarkably calm. It wasn’t fooling her, however. “But nothing else makes sense.” He leaned towards Nikolas and wrinkled his nose. “I smell a Cassadine.”
“You’re not serious.”
“Ask your Uncle. Not that he ever tells you anything. Sort of the mushroom theory of parenting. Keeps you in the dark and shovels in --”
“Lucky!” Emily couldn’t stand it anymore. Nikolas’s face was now a deep red. She wanted this to end now. She looked at Nikolas attempting to appeal to him. “Nikolas... come on. This isn’t getting anyone anywhere.”
Nikolas burned with rage. Lucky had obviously touched a nerve.
“This is just like a Spencer,” Nikolas said heatedly. “Come up with some big elaborate conspiracy because you don’t want to face the truth. Maybe Laura doesn’t want to come home, Lucky. Maybe she decided to give Lulu some stability in her life. Maybe your father got a little too extreme, even for her. Is that so hard to believe? We both know she’s capable of leaving one child behind for the sake of the other.”
There was a terrible silence as Nikolas’ words sunk in. Emily looked at Lucky with concern. She wondered if Nikolas had any idea of how much his theory must have hurt him.
If he hadn’t previously, he soon found out when Lucky lunged at him. Nikolas reacted quickly, throwing an arm up in defense. His fist clipped Lucky’s jaw, and he was sent flying. Emily let out an unintentional scream, and clapped a hand over her mouth, in horror. Lucky knelt on the pavement, and put a hand to the corner of his mouth, where Nikolas’s blow had connected. He tasted the blood before he saw it on his hand.
“Lucky...” Emily stumbled between him and Nikolas, her eyes filled with concern. Lucky stood up, and faced them.
“Feel better?” He asked Nikolas coolly. Nik shook his head slowly.
“It was self defense.”
Lucky nodded. He turned his glare to Emily. She swallowed hard.
“Have a nice night,” he shot at her. He turned and walked back into the school. Emily turned to Nikolas and Sarah.
“I have to go,” she said shakily, and began to walk on unstable legs towards the door. Nikolas grabbed her arm, gently.
“Emily, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him.”
“I know...” she said, feeling an angry edge creep into her voice. She turned to face him. “You shouldn’t have said that about his mother.”
Nikolas didn’t say anything.
“Lucky was just as mean to him,” Sarah spoke up defensively. Emily didn’t want to hear it. She wasn’t angry at Nikolas. She knew why he’d said what he had. But Sarah was another matter. She couldn’t believe she was completely taking Nikolas’s side. Emily understood where he was coming from, yes, but she also knew why Lucky had said the things he had. She knew he believed them. And she knew that Lucky was in a lot of pain over his mother’s failure to return to Port Charles. She couldn’t believe Sarah didn’t see any of that.
“I have to go,” she said hoarsely. She pulled her arm away from Nikolas and stumbled towards the school.
* * * *
To get her mind off Lucky’s disappearance, Lizzie had agreed to dance with Tim. Big mistake. He’d hummed along to the music the whole way through the song, and she was feeling more than a little violent about it. The DJ announced last song right after, and Lizzie had decided enough was enough. She headed out of the gym in search of Lucky. She wandered down the hall to the foyer where she immediately spotted her sister and Nikolas huddled in deep discussion. She walked up to them, boldly.
“Hey. You guys find Emily, or has she fallen down a hole some place?” Lizzie asked, as if nothing was going on. Sarah and Nikolas just stared at her. “Uh, hello! Speak English?”
“Emily’s left,” Sarah said, her voice hushed.
“Good for her. Seen Lucky?”
Another dead stare. Sarah cleared her throat.
“He’s left too.”
Lizzie felt like she’d been punched in the stomach.
“What?” she said, as casually as she could, being unable to breath.
“He and Nikolas had a.... disagreement.”
Lizzie looked at Nikolas viciously.
“What did you do to him?” she said, sounding slightly hysterical. “Why can’t you leave him alone?”
Nikolas raised his eyebrows, unable to decide how to even begin to answer a question so completely devoid of factual information. Sarah stepped in for him.
“He didn't do anything. Lucky was completely out of control.”
Lizzie glared at her sister.
“Yeah, whatever. I’m sure you’re the most objective person to judge that, too.” She looked at Nikolas disapprovingly. “Did you at least see where he went?”
Nikolas shook his head.
“I don’t know, but Emily went after him, so he’s not in any danger, if that’s what you’re worried about. Emily on the other hand....”
“Emily went after him?” Lizzie shrieked. “What for? He doesn’t want anything to do with her!” Lizzie felt herself beginning to loose all self control.
“It didn’t look that way to me, Liz,” Nikolas said coolly. “Now, if you’ll excuse us.” He took Sarah by the arm, and they both moved to the front door. Lizzie was still too stunned to move. So much for the hands off approach. She felt herself beginning to panic. If Lucky and Emily got together tonight, she was certain she’d be sunk. She couldn’t let this happen! She had to find him first.
Lizzie ran towards the front door, cutting past her sister and her boyfriend. Dashing down the stairs, she felt possessed. She’d never felt this way about a boy. When Lucky wasn’t in one of his moods, which she admitted was a rare occasion, he was absolutely wonderful. He was smart, he was funny, and he was exciting. They didn’t have guys like that back in Colorado. She doubted there was anyone anywhere like Lucky.
She got to the street, and stopped. She had no idea where to go. She looked up and down the street. She couldn’t see anyone. She tried to think of where Lucky may have gone. The docks, she decided. She dashed across the street, and headed down towards the water.
* * * *
Lucky had been nowhere to be seen by the time Emily had reached the hallway. She’d walked, almost like an automaton down the hall, and out the front door of the school. Again, nothing. Without even thinking about it, she’d headed towards the park, realizing when her mind stopped spinning, that this was mostly because the park is where she went whenever she’d had a problem with a kid at school, or her family was driving her nuts. Her shoes, challenging on pavement, were not made for the rain-soaked earth she was now attempting to navigate. She didn’t stop, however. She walked through the park carefully, looking around at every step. She was sure he was here, though she didn’t know why.
She felt rain begin to fall again. It was light, barely noticeable. A thin layer of moisture coated her. She shivered. In her haste she’d neglected to return to her locker and get her coat. She tried to concentrate on walking, instead. The park was very quiet, no one to be seen. It was silly of her to think he’d be here. It wasn’t based on anything she knew of him, but rather what she knew of herself. She considered leaving, and heading back to the school, but she couldn’t make herself stop moving forward. Finally, Emily decided just to head to Lucky’s house. He’d have to show up there at some point, and Luke was the kind of parent who wouldn’t ask to many questions if she appeared on his doorstep looking like a drowned rat, and requesting to see his son. It seemed a crazy thing to do, especially since Lucky was supposed to be out of her life, but Emily felt responsible for what had happened to him tonight, and she just wanted to tell him she understood why he’d done it.
To get back to the road from this part of the park, she had to walk along the ravine. There was a gravel path, and a bridge-like structure over the gap. She stopped in her tracks. She’d been here with Matt the night of her overdose. She remembered looking over the barrier, and telling him that she could fly. She’d passed it just a few weeks ago, but she’d had Nikolas to distract her then. Another gust of wind blew in, and Emily felt ice cold, chilled to the bone. When the wind faded, she was left feeling almost haunted. The path looked darker, and more forbidding. She could hear her own voice ringing in her ears.
Closing her eyes, Emily tried to tell herself to forget it. She wasn't going to focus on this right now. She slowly inched her way along the path, trying to make no noise at all. She didn’t know what she was afraid of disturbing. She just wanted to make it through this part of the park in one piece. She wrapped her arms around her, partially in defense from the memories this place held, but also because she felt so cold. She’d never been in the park when it was so quiet. She began to feel like she was the only person left on earth. From here she couldn’t see any of the city lights, or even hear the sounds of traffic. Everything was far too still for her liking.
She stopped dead in the middle of the path, suddenly convinced that there was someone behind her. She held her breath and listened. Nothing but wind. Still, she couldn’t shake the idea that someone was watching her. She spun on her heel, suddenly. That was a mistake, she thought, as she slipped on the gravel and collapsed to the ground. The heel on one of the demon shoes had broken off, and her ankle had been twisted in the fall. She felt like crying. This evening was getting progressively worse. She should never have come. She kicked both of her shoes off, and stumbled to her feet. How was she going to get to Lucky’s now, without benefit of footwear?
“I’m never wearing heels again,” she muttered to herself. Conspiracy shoes, she thought. Designed to make sure the wearers were completely incapable of doing anything for themselves. She picked up the remains of the shoes from the path and looked around. Her fall had distracted her from the feeling of being watched, so she was startled when she noticed Lucky sitting against a tree on the far side of the ravine, observing her.
Emily returned his stare, unsure of what to say. Lucky stood up and began to walk along the edge of the ravine, away from her, leaving her shoeless, wet and cold in the deserted wilderness.
Emily’s shock immediately dissolved into anger as she watched Lucky retreating further into the trees at the edge of the ravine. She had trekked in HEELS all the way from the school in search of him, just so that he wouldn’t think he was completely alone in the world, and now he was taking off on her.
“Hey!” she found herself yelling at his back. “Lucky!”
He didn’t turn around. Cursing him under her breath, Emily slipped her dismembered shoe back onto her feet, and climbed over the barrier.
Emily realized that there was simply no comparing walking in heels to walking in one heel. Make that walking in one heel in slick mud on an incline. She was going to throttle him when and if she ever got close enough. She grabbed onto rock tips and thin trees to keep herself from sliding to the bottom of the crevice. The one part of her brain not focused on her continued survival began to tell her that she shouldn’t be doing this. This was Lucky, the boy who she had been ducking around corners and spending lunch hours in the library to avoid for the past two weeks. Now here she was, pulling some Indiana Jones style stunt in order to tell him what? Why was she doing this?
The rain was beginning to fall harder. She tried to blink the decidedly larger drops out of her eyes, as both of her hands were occupied ensuring that she didn’t fall off the slope. She couldn’t see Lucky in front of her now. She began to feel panicked. He couldn’t have slipped down the slope, she told herself, she would have heard. On the other hand, where else could he have gone? There was a large boulder about twenty yards ahead of her. It was possible that he was on the other side of that. She began to crawl towards it, ripping her nylons on a sharp stick protruding from a slick leaf cover.
A book she’d read when she was younger, Bridge to Terrabithia, suddenly popped into her mind. It was the story of a boy and girl who were best friends and would escape from their mundane lives by going to a special place they’d discovered in the woods that they called “Terrabithia”. It was a romantic, heart-warming story, and Emily had really enjoyed it. That is, she remembered grimly, until the girl fell to her death in the rain. Emily shook her head violently. That was probably not a good thing to consider right now.
The boulder jutted out, blocking the quasi-path Emily had been moving along. She grabbed onto it. The earth took on such a steep incline under the bolder that it could almost be called a straight drop. Emily took a deep breath, and inched along the edge of the boulder’s face. She slowly made it across the fringe of the detritus, and managed to make it back onto more solid ground on the other side of the rock, panting with relief.
Lucky wasn’t there. What a surprise.
Emily leaned against the rock face, glad to have something sturdy to rest against. She looked down. There was Lucky, sitting at the edge of the stream that ran at the bottom of the gorge. Emily looked heavenward, silently asking “why me?”. She patted the boulder with her hand, in thanks, and began to make her way down the sheer slope.
There was little to grab onto here, so Emily opted for prayer. She put both of her hands out on either side of her, hoping this would somehow increase her ability to balance, and half walked, half slid towards Lucky. She was almost halfway there, when momentum proved to be too much for her, and she took on more speed than she had intended. The falling gravel and mud had alerted Lucky to her presence and he stood up, looking up at her in horror as she slid, completely out of control down the hill. She let out an involuntary scream as she lost her balance and fell the last bit of the way, landing in a crumpled heap on the ground.