Chapter Ten: Comes Around
Lucky's Room above Luke's.
The room is dark, the only light being emitted from the neon sign outside the window. Hannah's set can be heard from downstairs. Lucky sits in a chair across the room from Emily, who is still sleeping on his bed. He has tried, repeatedly, to go do something else with his evening, but he can't stand leaving the room for more than ten minutes at a time. He has the not-entirely-irrational notion that Emily isn't really asleep. He keeps thinking she'll slip into some other state of unconsciousness. Although he's aware it's unlikely, he still feels like something's going to go wrong if he stops watching her. She is sleeping soundly, though in the last half hour, she's seemed to be dreaming. He watches her, unsure of how he should feel. He's trying really hard not to get angry, but it's a startlingly tempting emotion to give into right now. Not just because of Emily, but also because he had to deal with Nikolas and his attitude, which always makes him tense. He keeps thinking of what to say when she wakes up, but nothing seems right. So instead, he just sits here, and watches, feeling like everything is slowly crumbling around him.
The problem with sitting in the dark for long periods of time is that it leads to introspection. Lucky's found himself going over the last years events with a fine-toothed comb, and he keeps arriving at the same conclusion: This is his fault. He can trace it all back to one night. One night that should have been the most incredible night of his life, but instead proved to be the night he destroyed the best thing that had ever happened to him.
The Boathouse Dock, about seven months previous.
It's the night of Lucky's graduation. He and Emily have finally succeeded in ditching the parents, and now sit together, in the remains of formal wear. Lucky is lying on the dock, propped up on his elbow, while Emily sits cross-legged, facing him.
Em: So that's it. A high school graduate. What do you do now?
Lucky: I swear, if one more person asks me that question....
Em: You'll what? Answer it? (She stops teasing and becomes momentarily serious) This is the beginning... Everything changes now.
Lucky: Don't be too dramatic.
Em: Well, Lizzie's leaving tomorrow, Sarah's already gone. And you... Won't tell me anything.
Lucky: I'm not going anywhere.
Em: Right now. (She smiles wryly, but Lucky can tell she's covering a fear of him taking off on her.)
Lucky: I'm not going to leave you here to face a rabid pack of Quartermaines on your own. You're talking like I've already got one foot out the door.
Em: Well.. Don't you?
Lucky: No. I'm not going anywhere. (Emily studies his face, still concerned)
Em: You've just been... kind of distant lately. (Lucky's face clouds, and he looks at the water. He didn't think she'd noticed, but he realizes he should have known better. Emily sees right through him. He clears his throat)
Lucky: I've had some stuff on my mind. (He continues to stare at the water. Emily exhales heavily)
Em: You know what? I hate this topic. (She stands up) It doesn't matter where we're going to be in a year. We're together now. (Lucky looks up at her. She is being back lit by the moon, in her long summer dress that she wore to the graduation. He's momentarily speechless. She looks like some ethereal spirit.)
Lucky: Where are you going?
Em: I have something to show you. Come on. (She walks up the dock. After a moment, Lucky pulls himself to his feet and follows her)
Lucky: What's going on?
Em: (coyly) Oh, you'll see. (She reaches the boat house, and turns towards him, leaning against the door). I meant what I said about tonight being the beginning of something. Things are changing for us. (Lucky realizes were this is going and his mouth goes dry).
Lucky: Emily... (Emily smiles at him, and opens the door. It's the same boathouse room they've spent a million afternoons in, hiding from her family, but Emily has fixed it up somewhat. The small bed in the corner now has blankets that don't smell like moth balls, and it is lit by an old fashioned oil lamp. The whole room seems to glow. Emily takes Lucky's hand and leads him into the room)
Em: I kept trying to think of what I could give you that would let you know how important you are to me. How much I love you, how proud I am of you... And this was all I could think of. (She puts her arms around his neck and kisses him deeply. Lucky's still somewhat in shock, but gets over it. He takes her face in his hands and returns her kiss with equal passion. She's right. They've done this a million times, in this very place, in fact, but something about tonight is different).
Lucky: (between kisses) God, I love you, Em. (She murmurs something in return, and begins to run small kisses down his neck. A look of pain crosses Lucky's face) Emily, are you sure about this?
Em: (against his neck) Yes. (She pulls back) I know this is right. What we have, Lucky, deserves to be celebrated. I know I want to be as close to you as I can. (She starts kissing him again, slowly, starting with his lips and moving down his throat) I want to lose myself in you.
Lucky: (somewhat dazed) Ok... (She pulls back from him slightly, and begins to undo the buttons of his dress shirt. Lucky notices her fingers are trembling) Are you nervous?
Em: (emitting a short, heightened laugh) Yes. (she looks up at him, straight into his eyes) But I know it's going to be all right. I trust you, Lucky. With all my heart. (Well. That's it. The magic words. Lucky looks at the love and belief and faith in her eyes, and can't quite believe what he's going to do. He takes her hands in his, and steps back from her)
Lucky: Emily..... There's something I have to tell you.....
Lucky's brought back to the present when Emily stirs on the bed. It proves to be a false alarm, though. She doesn't open her eyes. Lucky sits back in the chair, to engage in some serious self-loathing. He's known Emily since they were both kids, and he's seen her change a lot. But none of those changes were quite as sudden and violent as the way she's changed since that night. She was happy then, despite everything. She was open, and free and trusting, and she had loved him in a way that he could feel every time he was with her. He can't help but blame himself for what's happened to her. He still has trouble understanding why he teamed up with Carly. Basically, it was a misguided last-ditch attempt to hold onto his family. He was acting on old instincts, protecting his own. The Spencers weren't quite as skilled at that as they used to be. He used to feel like being a Spencer was like being part of a special forces unit. They acted as one, always. Well, not anymore. Now, it was pretty much every man for himself. In the end, it was the fact that he was lied to over and over again that made Lucky incapable of keeping Carly's secret from Emily. He couldn't deal with the hypocrisy of repeating his parent's mistakes.
Lucky's feeling pretty bitter when Emily moves again. She opens her eyes, and stares at the wall, groggily. Lucky sits forward in his chair. After a moment, she rolls over onto her back, and sees Lucky. She blinks.
Lucky: Hey. (Emily sits bolt upright)
Em: What time is it?
Em: (horrified) Oh my God.
Em: I have work to do.
Em: (panicking) I have to get home!
Emily: What? (Lucky takes a deep breath, forcing himself to remain calm.)
Lucky: Let it go.
Em: (staring at him, incredulous) You don't understand! I have two essays due tomorrow, I have a ... (She puts a hand to her head, which she realizes is absolutely throbbing) I have a... I can't even remember what else I have to do.
Lucky: (voice dead) I'm sure it will come to you.
Em: (falling back against the bed) I can't believe this.... (Lucky steels his resolve not to surrender to the plethora of negative emotions he's been stewing in. He stands up and walks over to a tiny dorm fridge in the corner of the apartment, and gets out a carton of orange juice and an apple. He pours it into a mug that happens to be handy, and walks over to her. He hands her the juice. She takes it, and swallows a substantial gulp of it. Lucky opens the bedside table and grabs a Swiss army knife. He drops down onto the foot of the bed, and regards Emily, curled up at the other end)
Lucky: Do you remember what happened?
Em: (Somewhat insulted) Of course... I ... (she falters, and realizes the whole day is basically a big blur)... I was at the hospital, and I felt... really awful. So I left.
Lucky: You felt awful so you left the hospital. (Emily ignores this flaw in her logic)
Em: I wanted to be somewhere... else. (She frowns) Nikolas brought me here.
Lucky: Yeah, he did. (Emily leans back against the headboard.)
Em: He must think I'm a total loser.
Lucky: (beginning to cut off slices of the apple with his knife) He was just worried. (He hands her a slice of apple. She stares at it)
Em: Since when do you have fruit?
Lucky: I'm full of surprises. (Emily examines the apple, then takes a bite of it. She's somewhat surprised to find that it doesn't taste like dust to her, like pretty much everything else has in the past month)
Em: Did you talk to Nikolas? (Lucky nods, concentrating on the apple.) Was it... How did it go?
Lucky: Pretty much how it always goes. (He hands her another slice.) Here.
Em: (nervously) I was supposed to meet my mother for diner.
Lucky: That's handled. I called Lila and told her you were stuck at school tonight, and I'd be driving you home.
Em: At 11:30?
Lucky: You didn't give me much to work with.
Em: (remembering that she has school tomorrow) How am I going to get everything done tonight?
Lucky: (statement of fact) You're not.
Lucky: Look, I'm just being realistic here. It's 11:30. You have officially used up all your over-extension coupons. Ok? You're sick.
Em: I'm NOT sick.
Lucky: I'm not going to get into semantics with you (he cringes again, at his use of another "school" word. He sighs heavily, trying to bring his blood pressure down a notch). Ok. What do you have to do?
Em: I have to proofread two essays.
Em: And ... What courses am I taking again?
Lucky: Bio, Math, English and Writer's Craft.
Em: Math. I have a review for the exam in math.
Lucky: So basically, extra credit.
Lucky: Ok. So when I drop you off, get me the disk, I'll proofread for you and hand the stuff in tomorrow morning on my way to PCU.
Em: I'm NOT staying home tomorrow.
Lucky: (Heavily) I'd fight with you about that, Em, but I honestly think it's out of your hands. (He looks up at her) How much sleep did you get last night? (Emily closes her eyes, and shakes her head)
Em: (in a hollow whisper) I don't know.
Lucky: (very quietly) Why are you doing this, Emily?
Em: I'm not trying to -- (her voice catches. Her whole throat closes up, making it painful to even breath. She closes her eyes)
Lucky: Forget it. We'll talk about it later. (Emily nods her head gratefully. She just doesn't have it in her to get into this now). The thing is, all you have to do is hand in to essays. That's it. You don't have to go to school, so don't. Stay home and sleep. Eat something.
Em: You sound like Grandfather. (Lucky responses by handing her another piece of apple. He notices Emily's shaking when she takes it from him.) He accused me of using again last night. (She looks up at him) You know I'm not using, right? (Lucky nods. Emily closes her eyes again, pressing her lips together) Why am I always so stupid?
Lucky: It's going to be all right. (Emily nods, the suddenly bows her head, her hair falling down to obscure her face)
Em: I'm sorry, Lucky. (Lucky doesn't say anything. After a moment he reaches up and brushes her hair aside, slipping his hand around the back of her neck, caressing the base of her neck gently. She looks up at him, and meets his eyes for the first time. Even in the dark, she realizes that he's holding back a lot of fear and frustration. She leans forward and kisses him, gently, feeling like her love for him is the only positive thing in her life right now. She doesn't know how else to tell him. He kisses her back, in a way that makes her feel like he's worried she's going to disappear. When she pulls back she catches the tears in his eyes for just a second before he turns away.)
Lucky: (Getting up) Come on. We'd better get you home.