Emily stared out her window. She was wondering if she would ever feel tired again. She’d attempted to go to bed twice more now, and it was no use. She’d never felt more wired in her life. She had a compulsive need to talk to Lucky, even for a minute. She had to make sure he knew that she was willing to talk it out. The phone, however, was no longer an option. It was far too late for that. There was only one other thing Emily could think of to do.
Carrying her shoes in her hand, Emily snuck at a painfully slow pace down the hall. She thanked God that her bedroom was closer to the stairs than everyone else’s so that she didn’t have to risk sneaking passed their doors. She’d decided the safest way out was through the servant’s door off the kitchen. The only problem was that Raoul slept off the kitchen. She briefly considered taking him with her, but realized that she wouldn’t be able to keep him quiet.
By this point, Emily felt like an old hand at this sneaking out stuff. She had never done it this late, however. She’d always depended on her relatives to hold each other in some battle so that she was not the center of attention. It was pretty easy. Sneaking out while everyone was asleep made her infinitely more nervous. Once on the bottom floor she felt much safer. She slid down the hall, and streaked across the kitchen, silently unlocking the door, then pulling it shut behind her. Outside in the pitch black night, she finally allowed herself to breath. She slipped her shoes on, quickly, and took off like a shot across the lawn. She cut along the side grounds, away from the gate house, where she noticed Ned still had the lights on. Lucky’s house was a good twenty minute hike up the road, and Emily planned to make it as quickly as possible. She silently thanked Raoul for pulling her on what had become a daily run rather than walk, and began jogging up the street.
It only took five minutes to get away from grand estates that marked her neighbourhood, if you could call it that. The Quartermaines didn’t have a whole lot of neighbors. Soon she was on the darkened rural streets at the edge of town. The trees began to close in on the road, and Emily couldn’t help but feel nervous. She’d never walked this road at night without Lucky for company. Slowing down, to keep an ear open for cars, and thanked God for the three-quarter moon providing some amount of light.
She’d been walking along for ten minutes in silence, listening only to the sound of the gravel crunching under her feet when she heard a rustle in the bushes ahead. Emily froze. She squinted into the darkness, straining to make out the figure. She heard gravel spill across the road, as if it was being thrown. Looking back over her shoulder, Emily could not make out anything more concrete than the dark void in front of her. She didn’t know what to do. She cursed herself for not having brought anything with her to use as protection. Slowly, Emily lowered herself down to the ground, gathering a handful of gravel in her hand. The rustling in the bushing in front of her stopped. Emily stood up. She took a half step up the road, her heart in her throat. The other person moved slightly. She stopped. She held her hand up, ready to throw the gravel into the face of her adversary.
“Who’s there?” a female voice demanded. Emily’s knees nearly buckled in relief. She let her hand fall to her side. “I’m serious, I’m armed and dangerous!”
“Lizzie?” Em called out. There was a long pause.
Lizzie appeared from behind the bushes, and walked to the middle of the road, her hand on her hips, head cocked to the side.
“Well, well. If it isn’t Little Red Riding hood,”
Yeah, thought Emily. And I just met the big bad Wolf.
* * * *
Lucky let the screen door slam behind him, almost taking off the tail of a dejected Foster, and started up to his room. Amusement crept across Luke’s face as he bent over a computer manual.
Lucky stopped halfway up the stairs, and hung his head, This had to be one of the longest, most depressing days of his life.
“I’m fine,” he told his father tersely.
“Hmmm. How was... what’s her name? Miss Webber?”
Lucky started up the stairs again. He didn’t even want to know what his father had seen. Luke chuckled to himself, then recalled the phone call.
"Oh, while you were out there sulking, Emily Quartermaine called."
Lucky descended the stairs at a remarkable speed.
Luke looked back at his son in surprise.
“When you were talking to your friend.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Lucky demanded. Luke raised his eyebrows. “Oh,” Lucky shifted his weight, uncomfortably. “Did she say anything.”
“Yes. She told me to tell you she was sorry.”
Lucky considered this.
Luke searched his son’s face for a clue, finally deciding that whatever this was, he had no hope of catching up at this late date.
“Not a thing.”
Lucky looked thoughtful.
“Cool. Ok,” he said in a low voice. “Night, man.”
Luke nodded, as Lucky mounted the stairs again.
“Three months in Switzerland,” he muttered. “Suddenly I don’t know what’s going on.”
* * * *
Emily let her handful of gravel fall to the ground. As tempting as it was, she decided it wasn’t necessary. Lizzie was looking her up and down.
“What are you doing out this late?"
“I needed to see someone.” Emily said, an edge to her voice. This girl had been intimidating her since the moment they’d met, and Em decided it was going to stop right here and now.
“Who, Lucky? Why didn’t you have your chauffeur drive you?”
Emily scowled at her. Money jokes were among her least favorite things about being a Quartermaine. Emily walked almost everywhere she went!
“Excuse me, “ she said, attempting to walk past Lizzie. Elizabeth stepped into her path. Emily move to the right, but Lizzie followed. Emily sighed, and took a step left. Again, Lizzie blocked the way. “Lizzie, come on.”
“It’s awfully late for you to be out here alone.”
Emily put a hand to her head, like she’d suddenly contracted a head ache.
“What’d you do, sneak out?”
“Get out of my way,” Emily said, attempting to push past her, again.
“Whoa, hey!” Lizzie laughed. “Look who suddenly got a backbone!”
Emily narrowed her eyes at her rival.
“Just leave me alone.”
Lizzie crossed her arms, and met Emily’s glare.
“Why don’t you run home now, little girl.”
Again, Emily couldn’t believe what was happening. She couldn’t believe this whole week had happened. She wished her life came with a warning label.
“You’ve got to be kidding.” Emily said flatly. “I mean, what do you think this is, some old western?” Lizzie didn’t move. Emily sighed heavily, and decided to try another tactic. “Lizzie, you don’t know me at all, ok? And you know nothing about me and Lucky. I don’t know what you think is going on, but believe me, whatever it is, it’s none of your business.”
“Are you getting at something?”
“There was no reason for you to tell Lucky anything about me and Nik.”
“I didn’t want him to be in the dark.”
“No. You don’t like to see anyone but yourself spending time with him. You hate that he’s friends with me.”
“If Lucky wants to spend all his time with a little prima donna princess like you, he’s welcome to it.”
Emily’s face burned. She felt her anger bubbling up from her gut, and exploding out of her.
“I don’t even know you! How can you hate me this much?” Emily asked. Lizzie rolled her eyes. Emily felt something inside her harden. She stood firmly in her place, anchoring herself to the ground. “You know what? I think the problem is, I know you too well. You think you’re so smooth, but I live with some of the most manipulative people on earth, and believe me, you are a rank amateur.”
“Oh, please, Miss Quartermaine. Explain to me the error of my ways.” Lizzie’s voice went up into a high falsetto. Emily gritted her teeth.
“The only reason you’ve ever been nice to me is to dig up dirt, because it kills you that Lucky won’t tell you anything about our relationship. But I will. We’re friends. It’s a tricky concept, I know.”
“Do you seriously expect me to believe that?” Lizzie scoffed. “I mean, not that I care....”
“You are such a bad liar.” Emily gave her a bored look. A part of her, cowering off in some remote part of her brain told her to stop this. She was going to get herself in trouble. But Emily was sick of being victim to girls like Lizzie. People who built themselves up by tearing other people down. She wasn’t going to back off. “You are so crazy about Lucky! You’re just l.... fortunate that he’s too terminally blind to see it himself. “ Emily cringed inwardly. Sometime’s Lucky’s name could be really annoying.
“Don’t change the subject.”
Lizzie’s jaw tightened.
“Well, don’t sweat it, angel. I’m not his type.”
Emily felt her anger fade a little. The look on Lizzie’s face was perhaps the most honest moment she’d ever shared with the girl.
“How do you know that? He doesn’t even know you.”
Lizzie looked at her a long moment.
“You’re always trying... You’re always trying so hard to be someone you think people will like, or something. I mean, every time I see you, you’re acting like somebody else. Either you’re completely schizophrenic, or...”
“How old are you,” Lizzie exploded, sounding thoroughly frustrated. “I mean, give me a break! What are you, some kind of kiddie shrink?”
Emily sighed. She knew that she had a tendency to think too much, but quite often she wasn’t aware of how strange things sounded until they came out of her mouth.
“I’m just saying.... Lucky... I don’t know what his type is, ok? But you could probably start by being more real with him.”
“What are you doing?” Lizzie yelled at her, in amazement. “Suddenly you’re giving me tips about how to get Lucky? What, is this some bizarre plot to completely sabotage me?”
Emily looked at her startled.
“What are you talking about?” Emily muttered, turning away. The fact was, she’d been wondering what had possessed her to say that, the second the words had come out of her mouth.
“Like you don’t want Lucky for yourself.”
The words rang in Emily’s ears. She’d been refusing to think about what it was she wanted from Lucky. Suddenly she felt very cold.
“We’re just friends, “ she told Lizzie again. It was beginning to sound like a mantra. She had to admit that it wasn’t true. Maybe she could have believed it up until that afternoon, but when he’d kissed her, she’d known, even if she didn’t want to admit it, that she did want something more from Lucky, though she couldn’t begin to figure out why.
“I don’t think.... Lizzie?” Emily suddenly felt completely exposed. Lizzie was looking at her, her face twisted into a bitter smirk. Behind that look however, in her eyes, Emily saw something more. Lizzie was really hurting, and for some reason Emily was the person she was going to take it out on.
“Don’t play dumb with me. Ever since I met you, every situation you’ve been in, you’ve managed to end up on top. And this wide-eyed innocent thing you’ve got going with your dog, and ‘Oh, Lucky! I’m so shy, I couldn’t possibly eat lunch with you and your friends.’ You’re more manipulative than I could ever be in my wildest dreams.”
Emily covered her face with her hands. How had she gotten here? She was almost a mile from her house, in the dark, with a girl who hated her, and nobody else knew where she was. This was not good planning.
“I’m not playing games with you, Lizzie. I’m just trying to talk to you.”
“I don’t know.”
Suddenly all Emily wanted to do was go home. Instead, she sank into the gravel at the edge of the road, her mind reeling. She didn’t want Lucky, she told herself. Maybe she just felt this way because he was being so nice, and caring and paying attention to her. She was rather starved for that kind of attention at times. That didn’t matter, she told herself. She knew that Lucky couldn’t be counted on. He’d proven that to her too many times. She couldn't stand the idea of it happening again.
Lizzie stood and stared at Emily, sitting on the ground, with her knees tucked under her chin. She looked small and fragile, and Lizzie wondered if Lucky had ever seen her like this. Probably. This seemed to be the answer to the immortal question: What was Lucky’s type? Lizzie told herself that she didn’t care about the answer anymore because she knew that whatever it was, it wasn’t her. But the fact was she was burning with hatred for Emily, along with Sarah and every other girl that Lucky wouldn’t push into a bush to get away from.
“Oh, get up.” she spit at Emily. Em didn’t look at her. Her brow was knit into a frown. She looked like she was going to be sick. “What’s wrong with you? Am I too much for your delicate temperament?”
Emily shot her a withering glare.
“I thought of something else. You might try to be a little less mean.”
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop giving me advice.” Lizzie hissed at her. “I’ve already got a sister and a grandmother who are more than willing to tell me what to do.”
Emily shook her head.
“I don’t care about what you do, Ok? If you want to go chasing after Lucky, be my guest.”
Lizzie eyed her carefully.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Emily stood up and dusted herself off. She didn’t want to do this anymore. She was sick of all the drama, she got enough of that at home. Lucky Spencer had brought her life nothing but agony in the last year. It was naive of her to ever think he could be something else. She wasn’t going to put herself through this again.
“All I’m saying, Lizzie, is you don’t have to worry about me, anymore.”
With that, Emily turned back in the direction she’d come from, leaving a surprised Lizzie standing alone on the dark road.
* * * *
Outside Gram’s house, Sarah sat looking at the stars. It was incredibly cold, and she gathered the folds of her sweater around her, attempting to bring some warm to her body. It was no use. Summer was over, and now, she noted, she could see her breath. She’d been warned about Port Charles winters by Lucky, who had made some strange reference to someone trying to freeze the world. Lucky, Sarah thought, had been behaving especially oddly lately. He hadn’t been himself at lunch that day, and she wondered what his mood could have been about. It was occurring to her that there was more to Lucky Spencer than animal escapades and video games.
“What are you doing, more mooning over Nikolas?”
Sarah’s repose was interrupted by the tiresome sound of her sister’s voice.
“Don’t you ever get tired of picking on me?”
“Yeah, but it’s you or Kathie Lee Gifford, and frankly, I can’t stand that show.”
Sarah ignored that somewhat incomprehensible remark and looked at her watch. She suspected that Lizzie spent time trying to come up with insults that she could simply pepper her speech with these random taunts.
“You’re home late. You must have gotten off work two hours ago!”
Lizzie leaned against the railing of the porch, and dug in her purse for a cigarette.
“Yeah, well....” She eyed her sister carefully. What a freak. “I had things to do, people to see.”
Sarah silently resumed her examination of the night sky.
Lizzie wondered sometimes what it was about Sarah that irked her so much. She’d decided finally that it was mostly the fact that things always went her way, and she never seemed to appreciate it. She was in exactly the same mood if it rained or shined. She reminded Lizzie of farm animals she’d seen as a child, gazing off into the distance with a glassy-eyed stare. Lizzie suspected that Sarah was actually a stepford child. At some point her parents had traded in the brat they’d spawned and received this robotic prototype of the perfect daughter. It must have been costly because by the time they’d gotten to Lizzie, they’d decided just to work with what they had.
The fact that her cardboard cut-out sister had captured the attention of Lucky was the one thing she’d found unattractive about him. Well, until she’d discovered the whole Emily Quartermaine angle. When she’d left Lucky’s that evening she’d pretty much felt like the whole world had come crashing down on her. She’d played this from every side possible, and she still had lost. She hadn’t just lost, she’d been rejected as completely as she’d ever been in her life. Walking along the road Lizzie, who prided herself on never tearing up, had choked back sobs of absolute fury. She had told herself repeatedly that any boy that dense wasn’t worth it, that she’d obviously misjudged him. Nevertheless, when she’d seen Emily on the road, her gut reaction had been to tear her apart. Somehow, by the end of the encounter, she’d felt that she’d made more headway in her quest for Lucky in one conversation than she had in the past three months. The thing was, as far as she could tell, she’d done absolutely nothing. The only question that remained in her mind was whether or not Lucky was really worth all this energy. Her gut reaction was still yes.
Sarah stood up, wrapping her arms around her.
“I’m going in. You coming?”
Lizzie smiled to herself, and lit a cigarette.
“No. I think I’m just going to stay out here and consider the possibilities.”
Sarah gave Lizzie a suspicious look, and walked back into the house.
* * * *
Lucky couldn’t make up his mind. If it had been a school day, things would have taken care of themselves. Ok, to a degree. The point was he could have run into Emily in the hall. He wouldn’t have had to decide whether or not to make any overt moves. Instead he found himself sitting across from his father, who was basking in the glory of having successfully made cold cereal -- with sliced banana, no less. Lucky missed his mother. Without her his father tended to get a little extreme, even by his standards. Lucky had found himself reflecting on what would have happened to his Dad if his mother had stayed with her first husband. Nothing good, he decided.
This morning, Luke was still obsessing about the fact that his partner, Sonny Cornithos, had up and left town with no forwarding address. While Lucky sympathized with his father, he’d heard plenty about this in the weeks before Luke’s return from Switzerland. Lucky made another side-long glance at the telephone.
That had become the big question. Did he call, or wait for her to call back. Officially, he guessed, the ball was in his court. She had said she was sorry, and while that was a vague statement, delivered to his father, of all people, it seemed to be a pretty clear signal. The problem was, Lucky wasn’t sure what it was he had to say.
He hadn’t thought his last visit out before hand. It had gotten completely out of control. Lucky knew he had a tendency to act rashly, but that had been pretty stupid. He’d noticed that he’d been doing a lot of pretty stupid things where Emily was concerned these days. He was continually surprised by how emotional he got in her company. When she’d come back to town he’d been reminded how easy she was to be with. And they’d always had fun together. But there was something new happening between them this time, and while it all seemed clear while he was with her, the minute he got some distance, things stopped making sense.
He did know, at least partially, why he’d been so upset the day before. Emily seemed to be the one thing in his life he could count on. As soon as that was threatened, he lost his cool. Man, he’d kissed her! Even he hadn’t seen that one coming. While it was happening, it made sense. It felt right. It put the whole Sarah Webber thing to bed forever. And then he’d seen the look in her eyes. Hurt, anger and fear. Not the most romantic emotions in the world. Suddenly Lucky’s parent’s marriage appeared all the more miraculous. What was he doing? This could be a horrible mistake. On the other hand, he was beginning to feel like it was out of his hands. Was this the sort of thing he was going to say to Emily on the phone?
Lucky’s father was starring at him expectantly. Lucky realized that he’d probably been asked a question.
“I’m sorry, what?”
Luke shook his head. His son was having serious brain freeze, and he was sure if was female associated. He wondered again which girl was inspiring it, and how long he was going to have to put up with it. And what the hell had happened to Sarah Webber, anyway?
“I said, I’m going to call your mother tomorrow night. Will you be home?”
Lucky shrugged and immediately regretted it. That had been a rhetorical question. Luke was getting suspicious of Lucky’s lack of enthusiasm about his mother.
“Yeah, sure.” He muttered. I have to get out of here, he thought. He did not want to call Emily with his father in earshot. he was beginning to feel unsure about the amount of time that had elapsed since her phone call. Maybe he should just go to the mansion. That was probably better. He could use the air to get the cobwebs out of his head.
* * * *
Emily sat on the grass on the front of the estate ground, behind the gate house. She tried to concentrate on the warmth of the sun, but it was difficult with the wind coming in off the lake. Still, she liked fall. The leaves had just begun to change. She listened to the rushing noise they made as the wind whipped them around.
“Hey, kiddo.” AJ accosted Emily from behind. She ducked her head, as he tousled her hair.
“Hey,” she looked up and gave him the biggest smile she was capable of. “How’s it going?”
AJ flopped down in the grass beside her.
“Let’s not go there.”
Emily gave him an exasperated look. AJ was being incredibly secretive these days. They had made a deal the day she came back: she wouldn’t ask him any questions, and he wouldn’t tell her any lies. It seemed fair to her, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but worry.
“Ok,” she said, reluctantly dropping the topic. “Let’s get out of here”
“Not that I don’t understand your rush to get out of here, but don’t you want to let Mom and Dad know we’re going.”
Emily shook her head.
“As far as they’re concerned, I left for Gillian’s house twenty minutes ago.”
AJ surveyed her suspiciously.
“Ok. What happened?”
Emily made a feeble attempt to laugh that comment off.
“Nothing. I just don’t feel like spending a sunny Saturday in the house of doom.” She pulled herself up to her feet. “Come on. Let’s go!”
AJ shook his head in amusement.
“Man. I had days like that,” he laughed, and stood up. “Alright. What direction? Down to the docks, or off to the park?”
“Let’s go someplace else, ok? Do you think we could go someplace.... I don’t know... just. I don’t feel like being some place I’ve been before.”
AJ grabbed Emily’s arm, and gently turned her to face him.
“Emily. What is going on?”
“Emily?” a voice called from down the drive. Emily had been worried this might happen. AJ looked up and smile widely.
“Hey, Lucky. Long time no see!”
Emily didn’t want to turn around. She didn’t want to have to look at him. She’d been up all night thinking about what she’d do the next time she saw him, and already she knew none of the scenarios she’d come up with in her head were going to happen.
AJ spun Emily around with his hand, and she saw Lucky standing about fifteen feet away. He was wearing jeans and a jacket. He looked nervous. She felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. She was going to do something she’d regret.
“Hi,” she said flatly. Don’t be stupid, don’t be stupid, don’t be stupid... she chanted to herself in her head. Lucky smiled at her. This was going to be so much harder than she’d thought.
“Hi... I was going to call you, but I thought... you know, it’s a nice day, I’d just walk down...” his voice trailed off. He looked at AJ uncomfortably.
“I’ll go say hi to Grandmother.” AJ said, on cue.
“AJ!” Emily ‘s voice sounded shrill even to her. She cleared her throat, and touched her brother’s arm. “I thought we were just about to leave.”
This time AJ was not so quick on the draw
“No, that’s ok. I should say hello, anyway. Don’t worry, I won’t get into anything.”
Like he had a choice, Emily thought, annoyed. AJ strolled off towards the house, shooting her a mischievous smile over his shoulder. Emily wondered what he thought he was doing.
“I’m sorry,” Lucky said, coming towards her. “I should have called, but my Dad was around, and I ... you know. Thought we should talk privately.”
Emily bit her lip.
“I’m going out with my brother.”
Lucky frowned, but quickly rebounded.
“Hey, that’s great. Cool. But maybe when you get home, or tomorrow..... We could take the dogs for a walk, or something,” Pretty lame, Spencer. Lucky thought to himself. The old dog standby.
“I have a lot of catching up to do for school.”
Emily met his eyes with hers. She tried to look as unemotional as possible. There was no way she’d get through a big deep conversation with Lucky and remain emotionally intact.
“I’m just talking about twenty minutes...”
“I’m busy, Lucky.”
Emily caught the disturbed look in Lucky’s eyes before she managed to turn away. She crossed her arms protectively across her chest. She was going to get through this. She just had to let him know that she didn’t need him. He didn’t need to take care of her.
Lucky starred at her. He didn’t know what to say. It was obvious she wasn’t interested in talking to him at all.
“My Dad says you called me last night.”
“Emily, come on.”
“What?” Emily looked back at him again. “I called to say I was sorry. I shouldn’t have said that stuff to you. That’s it.”
“That’s not it.” Lucky looked upset. Emily knew this look. Things were about to get intense. “You know that’s not it, Emily --” He stopped short, and took a deep breath. “What is it? I know, I should have called. I just... Look, I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine, Lucky. Don’t worry about it.”
Lucky couldn’t figure out what was going on. He’d never seen Emily act like this. His mind was spinning.
“Fine. Ok. It’s not a good time.” He said slowly. “Will you give me a call when it is a good time?”
“I’ll try.” Emily said, looking off into the distance. There was a long silence. Lucky waited for the other shoe to drop. Emily didn’t say a word. He tried to read her expression, but it was blank. His breath quickened, and he knew if he stuck around another millisecond, he’d completely loose it with her.
“Fine, Emily. Do what you want.” He looked at her bitterly, backing away. “See you around.”
With that, Lucky turned and walked back towards his house.