Chapter One:
Limbo at Luke's

Luke's Club, Port Charles, New York.

The place is empty. It's just after the lunch rush, and, as always, things are dead until late afternoon. Lucky enters from the back, digs under the counter and grabs an old beat up cookie tin, which he dumps unceremoniously on the counter. He is wearing a grim expression, obviously annoyed with the world. He pries the lid off the container, and begins to paw through the contents -- receipts that no one has found a home for. He studies each receipt a moment, then tosses them aside, searching out the one illusive paper he needs to finish the books. He curses his father's sloppy business operations under his breath, along with himself for agreeing to do this in the first place. He fails to hear the door open, and continues fishing throw the crumpled papers, finally coming up empty handed. He slams his fist down on the counter.

Em: Something wrong?

Lucky: (looking up, his expression softens only slightly when he sees her). I can't believe my father has run this place this long in this condition.

Em: He hasn't. My brother has run this place this long in this condition.

Lucky: Yeah, well, anytime he wants the books back he can take them.

Em: I think he has other things on his mind (she leans across the bar and kisses him lightly on the lips). Hi.

Lucky (smiling ruefully) Hi. Sorry. What's up?

Em: I have something for you.

Lucky: (raising his eyebrows) Oh yeah?

Em: Yeah. (she reaches into her bag and dumps a heavy Manila folder on the bar, crushing the scattered receipts).

Lucky: Great. More paper. (Emily ignores the sarcasm.)

Em: Guess what this is. (Lucky eyes the stack of papers suspiciously. )

Lucky: If this has anything to do with that Writer's Craft course you're taking, I think you've really got to get some help. (Emily smiles wryly.)

Em: No, you don't even want to know about that. These are essays. Entrance essays. For college. (Lucky smiled in spite of himself at the reminder that there is a reason he's hanging around in this town.)

Lucky: Berkeley, huh?

Em: And the runners up. Could you -- if you have time, could you give them a once over? I need a second opinion, and I just don't want to get Monica and Alan involved.

Lucky: Gee, that's unique. Another secret from the parents?

Em: (shrugging) You know how they are.

Lucky: Oh, yeah (flips open the folder) Think they're long enough?

Em: Yes. No. I don't know. That's why you're going to read them and give me an honest opinion, right? I mean, you've been through this.

Lucky: PCU isn't exactly as discerning as these names. (Lucky beats down the tense feeling he always gets when he thinks about school. He's only there for something to occupy his days.) You're obsessed, you know that, right?

Em: (laughing) With getting out of here? Yes, absolutely. Especially if you're coming with me.

Lucky: (shrugging) Anywhere that isn't here is fine with me. Now, Berkeley, California is pretty specific.

Em: Whenever I run away without a destination, it gets messy.

Lucky: If you say so. (Emily smiles at him, coyly)

Em: Oh, come on... You're into this. I mean, have you listened to yourself lately? Those business courses at PCU are turning you into... to be blunt, an adult!

Lucky: (grabs his heart, wounded) Ouch. Point taken. (Emily drums her hands on the bar)

Em: I've got to get back to school. I'm just on lunch, and I thought I'd run over.

Lucky: (covering disappointment) You have to go straight back?

Em: I have a lot of stuff to do at the library. I'm going to be at the school to at least five tonight. (Lucky nods, his spirits sinking even lower. He's really getting sick of his life being so completely uninteresting). We are going out tonight, right?

Lucky: (a tinge of childishness) You don't have any essays to write? Applications to fill out?

Em: (ignoring his tone) It's Friday. I'm not a complete geek. (She kisses him slightly slower than before, but not much, then pulls away. Lucky grabs her and pulls her back into a long kiss. She melts into him, happily, allowing him to end the kiss when he's ready. He pulls back, finally and looks at her seriously. Emily cringes.) I know... I know. It'll get better.

Lucky: I'm not a housewife, Emily, please don't talk to me like one. (he pushes a strand of her hair out of her face) Just don't forget why we're doing this.

Em: How could I forget? (she smiles at him mischievously) I'll see you tonight, Ok? We have a lot of time to make up for. Will you be here?

Lucky: Are any of us ever really anywhere?

Em: (shaking her head) You have GOT to get out of that philosophy course. (She kisses him again, and messes up his hair with her hands. He self consciously repairs it as she leaps off the bar stool)

Lucky: Later.

Em: Bye! (She waves at him, and dashes out the door, almost bumping into a young woman entering the bar) OH! I'm sorry. (She barely stops, just gives the woman a cursory but apologetic glance and dashes out of the bar. The woman watches after the girl a moment, then takes a deep breath, and pushes her long brown hair out of her face in a long, sweeping gesture. She turns towards the bar and gives Lucky a weak smile, then looks around for someone else. Lucky watches her, frowning.)

Lucky: Can I help you?

Hannah: (sighing) yeah, I guess. I have an appointment.

Lucky: Here?

Hannah: This is Luke's?

Lucky: Yeah.

Hannah: Then yeah, I do.

Lucky: (still reeling from the formality of the term "appointment") With who?

Hannah: A Lucas Spencer.

Lucky (smirking): A Lucas Spencer?

Hannah: (walking over to the bar) Yes. At (she checks her watch) 2:30.

Lucky: Huh. (She studies Lucky carefully. She begins to wonder if she's entered an alternate universe. She's so nervous it's all she can do to keep herself from shaking. She decides to focus on the strange guy behind the counter instead of the butterflies in her stomach).

Hannah: (haltingly) You're not .... You're not Lucas Spencer, are you?

Lucky: (considers this) Yeah, I am.

Hannah (now thoroughly confused) Oh. I'm sorry. Right. Ok. (flipping through her brain for any information she had on the club's owner) Then you know we have an appointment.

Lucky: That would logically follow. (Hannah narrows her eyes at him. Who is this kid? He can't be a day over 18, and she's only assuming that much because he's in the bar in the first place.)

Hannah: It would. Does it?

Lucky: Does it what?

Hannah: (getting a headache) I have no idea. Can we try this again? Hi, I'm Hannah Hargreaves. I believe we have an appointment?

Lucky: Nope. But nice to meet you.

Hannah: (beyond help) Ok... You're going to have to walk me through this. I talked to a guy -- who, no offense -- sounded about a million years older than you. We made an appointment. His name was Luke Spencer. Your name is Luke Spencer?

Lucky: Yeah, it is.

Hannah: But we don't have an appointment.

Lucky: I'm really not good at being anywhere at a particular time.

Hannah: So you don't make appointments.

Lucky: Not if I can help it. (the door to the club opens)

Luke: Hey, Cowboy! How's the accounting coming?

Lucky: (looking at his father, annoyed) As well as you can possibly expect. Where is the receipt for the glasses you ordered?

Luke: It's.... It's in my humidor.

Lucky: (bitterly) I've spent almost an hour looking for it.

Luke: When did you get so damned uptight? (noticing Hannah) Well, hello there.

Hannah: (Feeling nauseous) Hi... (she looks back at Lucky) Look, if you could just give me a hint --

Luke: Are you Hannah?

Hannah (turning back to him, warily) Yes....

Luke: AH! Good to meet ya. (extending his hand) Luke Spencer.

Hannah (relieved) We spoke on the phone, right?

Luke: Yup. You've met my son, I see.

Hannah: (pieces falling into place) Son... Right.

Lucky: Lucas Spencer, Jr.

Luke: (clapping his hands together) So you're here to sing for me. Great. I'll get you set up. (he slides off to the stage, and begins to clear off the piano)

Hannah: (leaning across the bar) Lucas Spencer, Jr?

Lucky: Lucky, actually.

Hannah: You're kidding.

Lucky: Not anymore.

Hannah: You have too much time on your hands. (Lucky leans across the bar, so that they are squared off, across from each other)

Lucky: Believe me, I know. (Something in his voice gives Hannah the distinct impression that he is flirting with her. She pulls back, uncomfortably)

Hannah: How old are you?

Lucky: Eighteen. How old are you?

Hannah (Matching him): Twenty-eight. You got a problem with that?

Lucky (smiling): Not at all. (satisfied that he's messed with this woman's head long enough, he gathers up the receipts and dumps them back into the cookie tin. He picks up Emily's folder and tucks it under his arm, ready to make his exit.)

Luke: Ready when you are, Miss Hannah. Cowboy, you sticking around for this?

Lucky: I have a humidor to examine. (Luke looks at his son pointedly, and Lucky sighs, dropping his folder on the bar again.) Nothing that can't wait. (Luke and Lucky both look at Hannah expectantly. She takes a deep breath, and stands up, forcing herself to be confident. She strides across the bar, and sits down at the piano. Lucky and Luke wait patiently while she retrieves her music from her bag and sets it up on the piano. She stares at the keys, which momentarily blur in front of her. She can't believe she's gotten herself into this. She runs a scale with one hand, just to reassure herself that she does indeed know what to do. She hits a few random chords, then looks up and smiles at the two men, brilliantly)

Hannah: Ok... You guys know Elvis Costello? This is one of his. (She begins to play a very bluesy version of "Poisoned Rose")

This poisoned rose
That you gave to me
It left me half alive
And half in ecstasy.
But if half of your love
Is all I can win
Give me just a fraction but no more medicine.

(She has a husky contralto, very appropriate to this style of music. It makes almost every song she'll ever sing the blues. Luke is immediately taken with her, even thought she is singing a song by an English punk)

The poisoned rose
On a Valentine card
That you take straight to the heart
That you call my junkyard
But if all I can do
Is save pieces of you
The piece of your mind
The piece of your heart
didn't tear me apart
Like the poisoned rose
I received from you.

(As the song continues, her voice grows more confident, and she gets more and more emotionally connected to the words. She looses herself in the song, obviously someone for whom singing is a passion. Lucky finds himself smiling at the difference between this person and the formal, then blunt, woman who he was talking to. He has absolutely no idea who this person is, and he finds that somewhat unnerving.)

I don't know
How we came to grow
Into this very sad affair
Every time we do the decent thing
Somebody spikes the drink
And a single becomes a pair
The poisoned rose
That you wear at your best
That I keep pressed between the white sheets
Where you lie half undressed

I threw away my shirt and shoes
You looked and I dived in
It's just you and me now
Cos I threw away the gin
I threw away your alibis
and all your worn out clothes
I threw myself upon the floor
but I couldn't throw away
This poisoned rose

She finishes the song, letting the last notes hang in the air a moment, before removing her foot from the sustain peddle, and standing up.

Luke (to Lucky) Wow.

Lucky: Uh huh. What's the competition?

Luke: Compet-what?

Lucky (Grinning) I'll leave you to it. (Lucky picks up his folder again, and heads off to the back. Hannah walks away from the piano, adopting the persona she came in with: All business)

Hannah: Well, that's it. That's what I do.

Luke: Ok. Well, I've got the piano covered, you know that, right?

Hannah: (nodding) Yes, so you said.

Luke: Well, it's just a fill. Can't tell you when you'll play 'til the beginning of the week, but you'll be the house singer. The voice of Luke's. You interested?

Hannah: (suppressing an enormous wave of relief) Yes. I am.