Chapter Fifteen:
The Morning After

Luke's Club.

Sunday morning, early. Jason enters the club, alone. He immediately spots Lucky, stretched out on the bar, his arm over his eyes. Jason regards this, and approaches him.

Jason: Lucky. (Lucky wakes up with a start, and sits up quickly. He looks over at Jason blearily.)

Lucky: What time is it?

Jason: 8:30.

Lucky: You're late.

Jason: Did you sleep here?

Lucky: (sliding off the bar) No. (He ducks under the counter, and retrieves a computer disk, which he slides across to Jason) Here.

Jason: This everything?

Lucky: I checked it again before I came down. That's it.

Jason: Ok. (He tucks the disk into his pocket, and removes another envelope.) Here. (He tosses it on the bar. Lucky opens in and checks the contents. He looks up at Jason, then removes a piece of paper from the envelope, putting the rest of it's contents in his back pocket. He opens the paper, and reads it.)

Lucky: Interesting. (he folds the paper again and slides it across the counter to Jason) I can't.

Jason: You can't.

Lucky: (sighing) Look. I told Emily about this.

Jason: (considering this) What did you tell her?

Lucky: Just that I'd done a few favors for you. Paying favors, yeah... But -- She really doesn't like the idea.

Jason: No. She wouldn't.

Lucky: And ... She's dealing with some stuff right now.

Jason: Is she Ok?

Lucky: (a slow smile spreading across his face) Yeah... Right now she is. (He clears his throat and forces himself to be serious again) But I think she'd be a lot better if I cut this out for now.

Jason: For now?

Lucky: She knows better than to ask me to just stop doing stuff like this. But I said I'd lay off at least until she graduates. (Jason absorbs this, and nods)

Jason: If this is what you want. (Lucky groans and rests his head against the bar. He straightens up again)

Lucky: Yeah, it's what I want. (He pushes the paper closer to Jason, ruefully) Just get it away from me. (Jason looks at him oddly, and picks up the paper)

Jason: Sure. (He puts it back in his pocket, still looking at Lucky like he's completely unfathomable).

Lucky: What?

Jason: (shrugging) You're saying you don't want this, but you do. You're not even pretending you don't.

Lucky: I don't like to feel like I'm just marking time. That's all.

Jason: And this is something you can do that other people can't. (Lucky stares at Jason, surprised)

Lucky: Something like that.

Jason: So why stop doing it?

Lucky: Jason. (He leans across the bar, looking him straight in the eye) If Robin had asked you to stop working for Sonny back when you could have just walked away, wouldn't you have done that?

Jason: She didn't. (Lucky straightens up, rubbing the back of the neck. Occasionally he forgets never to use the word "if" around Jason.)

Lucky: Well, Emily asked me not to get myself into too much trouble. And ... this is a good way to start. (He looks at Jason seriously) She's really getting sick of home, you know? Your family is driving her crazy, and she just doesn't need me to be doing anything even remotely dangerous right now. (He shrugs) I said until graduation, I'd take the high road. It's only a few months. After that, I'll just try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Jason: She's lucky to have you.

Lucky: (quietly) I don't know about that. (He looks back at Jason) Just do me a favor and keep me away from the temptation, Ok?

Jason: (with a rare smile) I'll leave it up to you. You need anything, you know where to find me.

Lucky: Yeah. Thanks, man. (Jason stops and turns back)

Jason: You do good work. (Lucky shakes his head)

Lucky: I had a good teacher. (Who'd kill me if he found out about this, Lucky thinks. The phone rings. Jason turns and leaves, as Lucky picks up the phone) Luke's.

Emily: What are you doing up so early? (Lucky smiles, and leans against the bar)

Lucky: I could ask you the same thing. (Emily, lying fully dressed on her already made bed, stretches her free arm up over her head, grinning happily.)

Emily: Would you believe I couldn't sleep?

Lucky: (groaning) Great. I can't win with you.

Em: (Laughing) It's your fault. I have an emotional hangover.

Lucky: A what?

Em: Living here, I know all about hangovers, believe me. Emotional hangover is when you wake up still feeling the way you did when you went to bed. And for a minute you just lie there going "why do I feel this way?". And then you remember, and you either feel worse, or better.

Lucky: So this is a good thing.

Em: Not usually. But it is today. I had a really good time last night. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun. (She giggles) I actually called your place, knowing I'd wake you up to tell you that. And then you weren't there!

Lucky: Well, your brother beat you to it.

Em: Jason?

Lucky: We had a meeting. He knows I'm done. (Emily digests this)

Em: Ok. I still have twelve hours left on my angst moratorium, so I'm not going to worry about that now.

Lucky: There's nothing to worry about. (Emily flat out doesn't by that, but shakes it off)

Em: Can I see you later on?

Lucky: Absolutely.

Em: Ok. I have to go deal with my family, but I'll call you when I'm finished with them.

Lucky: Something up?

Em: You've never had breakfast at my house, have you? Nothing has to be up, it's just the trials for the rest of the day's events. BUT, I do intend to talk to my mother about her little visit to the club yesterday.

Lucky: She's just worried.

Em: That's always their excuse. I'm not dealing with it today, though. I'll save it for later.

Lucky: Ok. Look, I've got some stuff to take care of for my Dad, but we can hook up later.

Em: Give me a call when you're done.

Lucky: Count on it. And Em?

Em: Yeah?

Lucky: Keep smiling. (Emily laughs)

Em: Like I could stop. Talk to you later. (She hangs up the phone and stretches out on her bed. She's in a great state of mind right now, and she just wants to savor it for a few more moments before dealing with her family. She looks at the clock, then leans over and opens her beside table. She reaches into the very back and pulls out her birth control pills. She dials up the day, and takes the pill with the glass of water on her beside table. Just as she's swallowing, the phone rings again. Emily smiles and picks it up on the second ring). What now?

Lizzie: How'd you know it was me? (Emily sits bolt upright)

Em: Lizzie? What's going on? Why are you using land lines?

Lizzie: I moved again. I wanted to give you my new address and number. (Emily groans)

Em: Again? You were only in Atlanta for two months

Lizzie: Six weeks, but who's counting.

Em: I won't even ask. Where are you now?

Lizzie: California. With a guy. (Emily rolls her eyes)

Em: Does he walk upright this time?

Lizzie: Well, well... Feeling feisty today, are we?

Em: Oh, you betcha. (She laughs and falls back on the bed). So, what's his name?

Lizzie: Oh, who knows? He had a car, and I was sick of Georgia.

Em: After six weeks?

Lizzie: Not my scene. (Emily shakes her head. Lizzie can always be counted on to make her feel even worse about being stuck in Port Charles)

Em: (forced disapproval) You are going to get yourself in such big trouble, someday. Lizzie: Que sera sera. So, how are things at the house of doom?

Em: I don't know. I was out last night, anything could have happened.

Lizzie: Ohhh... I see. Where were you? (Emily feels that uncontrollable grin spreading across her face)

Em: With Lucky.

Lizzie: (sighing) After two years, you'd think you'd be able to at least say his name without sounding completely nauseating.

Em: Sorry. It's an illness.

Lizzie: Yeah, I know. I had it once, remember? (Emily frowns. She never knows what to make of Lizzie's comments about her and Lucky, as they were initially rivals for his attentions). So spill, what happened?

Em: Nothing....

Lizzie: Oh, come on. I can practically hear you glowing. (She lets out a sudden gasp) Wait, you guys are finally --

Em: NO! No, we just went out. That's it.

Lizzie: (with an exaggerated sigh) I just do not get you. Personally, I don't understand how you keep your hands off him.

Em: (ruefully) It kind of helps that he keeps his hands off of me.

Lizzie: Uh oh. Trouble in Paradise?

Em: No. It's just.... I think he still kind of feels guilty about what happened this summer. Actually, I know he still feels guilty about it.

Lizzie: So why don't you just tell him to get over it?

Em: Well... The last few months have been a little crazy.

Lizzie: Excuses, excuses. Are you still taking the pill?

Em: Yeah...

Lizzie: So let me get this straight. You've got a gorgeous boyfriend who loves you, you've been on the pill for a year --

Em: Nine months

Lizzie: AND you're still a virgin? How exactly does that happen, Em?

Em: (moaning) Don't even ask. We just have incredibly bad timing.

Lizzie: Whatever. So, if that's not what you're so happy about, then what the heck happened?

Em: We just... Ok. Things have been so crazy, and it's like every time I see him, something's happened, or is about to happen... And last night just... was! It was so incredible.

Lizzie: Oh man. Emily, it was a DATE.

Em: (heavily) Lizzie, it was not just a date. It was like we were finally together, and there was nothing wrong between us. I mean, there's still static, but it's not with us. It's all the stuff around us. I hadn't felt that good about us since we broke up. It's like we're finally back on track.

Lizzie: Except for one thing.

Em: Elizabeth. The really important thing is that we're finally having fun again. And for the first time in ages, there aren't any disasters looming on the horizon. I don't feel like someone's lying in wait with an emotional ambush.

Lizzie: Em. That's why it's called an ambush.

Em: Don't remind me.

* * * *

Luke's bar.

Lucky is, yet again, counting the till for the opening. He hears the door open and looks up to see Hannah. He completely looses count, surprised at her appearance. She hasn't slept, and her eyes are really red. Lucky manages to close his mouth, and looks back down at the counter.

Lucky: Hey.

Hannah: (hoarsely) Hi.

Lucky: You're here early.

Hannah: I... I forgot something. (She walks slowly towards the stage, then stops and turns back). That was a good crowd last night. (Lucky looks back at her)

Lucky: Yeah.

Hannah: (forcing happiness) I'm glad I finally met Emily. Umm... Nice to have a face to go with the name.

Lucky: Really? You didn't stick around long after that.

Hannah: My contacts were bugging me. I had to get them out.

Lucky: (thinking that is a bit extreme) Ok...

Hannah: So, did Emily like the show?

Lucky: Yeah. She had a really good time.

Hannah: And she's Ok? (Lucky looks up again, confused)

Lucky: (slowly) Yeah...

Hannah: I mean, the other day --

Lucky: She's fine. (He resumes counting. Hannah stays in the middle of the room, feeling completely helpless. She takes another shot at it)

Hannah: Quartermaine is ... An interesting name. (Lucky drops the change and looks up at her again. He has no idea what to make of this. )

Lucky: Yeah. (Hannah looks at him blankly.) You do know who the Q's are, right?

Hannah: (nervously) Not really.

Lucky: ELQ? The corporation? (Hannah takes a moment to breath that down.)

Hannah: (quietly) I'm not well versed in the world of high finance.

Lucky: Well -- In this town? They own everything.

Hannah: And she's their daughter?

Lucky: No, she just uses the name. (Hannah looks confused) Of course she's their daughter! What's up with all the questions?

Hannah: Nothing. I just... She was nice. I wish I could have talked to her a little longer.

Lucky: Ah. Well, you'll be seeing her again.

Hannah: Yeah. (She looks suddenly ill) I guess I will. (Hannah starts to walk to the door.)

Lucky: Hey! Didn't you forget something?

Hannah: It's not here. (She leaves. Lucky watches after her, feeling like he's in an alternate reality. He shakes his head, and resumes counting.)