Chapter Seventeen:

The Spencer House

Lucky pulls up in his car, and stares at the house from the bottom of the driveway. He has to get used to this. Somehow, he has to find a way to be able to go into that house without feeling like he's going to explode. He opens the car door, and walks purposely up the steps. He opens the door, and once again, finds no one in the living room. He walks into the room, and looks around at the place, the familiarity of it. There is some sort of memory attached to everything here. Not one tangible thing has changed since he moved out that summer. He sits down on the steps to the living room, and puts his head in his hands. The door to the kitchen opens, and Laura enters.

Laura: Lucky! (Lucky look up at her)

Lucky: (flatly) Hey.

Laura; What are you doing here?

Lucky: (tensing up) I just thought I'd stop by. Is that Ok?

Laura; Of course it's Ok... I just -- I didn't expect to see you.

Lucky: (shrugging) Yeah, well. (He looks at her pointedly) You had Dad lay one hell of a guilt trip on me.

Laura: I... What?

Lucky: Never mind.

Laura: No, Lucky. Please. Tell me what's wrong.

Lucky: (frustrated) What's always wrong? Look, if you're wondering how I am, or if I'm up to dealing with... (he gestures around the room) THIS, then you can come to me yourself. You don't have to sic Dad on me.

Laura: I never asked your father --

Lucky: No, of course not. You didn't ask, but he sure knows exactly how often we talk, doesn't he? And I have to stand there, listening to him telling me how disappointed he is in ME for the way I'm acting. Well, how am I supposed to act? Huh? What do you want me to do, pretend everything's all right? I can't do that anymore.

Laura: I know, Lucky, you told me you needed time away from here. I respect that.

Lucky: Then why play the Dad card? If you're so worried, then why don't you just call me and ask if I'm Ok?

Laura: Lucky, you're not exactly open to me right now.

Lucky: (angrily) It's better than having my father yell at me for being a negligent son! (Laura sinks into a chair)

Laura: (quietly) I can't take this.

Lucky: YOU can't take this!

Laura: (upset) NO! I can't. Could we talk, just for a moment, about what this is doing to me? (leaning forward) I know you're hurt, I know you're angry, Lucky, but you have shut me out of your life. (Lucky turns away and focuses on a window intently) And it is hard to pretend to your father that it doesn't hurt. I have a hole in my heart that no one can fill but you. And every time I see you, the pain feels deeper and harder, and I lose more and more hope that you'll ever forgive me. How am I supposed to look your father in the eye and pretend to him that I don't miss you with everything in me? You are my son. I raised you, from a baby, and you are as much a part of me as anything else in my life. And I'm willing to bear the pain, and carry the burden of loving a child who can't love me back right now. Because I am your mother. All I want to do is make that look in your eyes go away. And if I thought telling your father the truth would solve everything, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Lucky, if I thought that could help you find your way back to me, I would tell him everything.

Lucky: (bitterly) And destroy Nikolas?

Laura: (quietly) Maybe it wouldn't have to come to that.

Lucky: If you tell Dad, he will use it to take them down. Nikolas wouldn't be the heir to the fortune, and the title, and the Cassadines would fall into chaos. We both know that. (he looks back at her) We tell, Nikolas goes down.

Laura: And you don't want that?

Lucky: When I first found out, I didn't talk because I knew that you and Dad would be finished. Now --

Laura: Lucky. That's not necessarily --

Lucky: (frustrated) Look. Nikolas doesn't deserve to pay for the sins of his father. (Laura stares at him, in shock. Lucky looks back down at the ground, and mutters) I'll admit that much.

Laura: (deeply touched) You don't know what it means to hear you say that.

Lucky: Well, don't get too excited. He's not my worst enemy, that doesn't mean I like the guy. Laura: Thank you, Lucky. (Lucky is incredibly uncomfortable with this. He looks around at pretty much anything that will guarantee him not having to look his mother in the eye). Are you sure?

Lucky: If I asked you, would you honestly tell him?

Laura: If I thought it would repair the damage between us...

Lucky: It won't.

Laura: (a little teary) I didn't think it would. This goes too deep. (She sighs heavily) What do you want from me Lucky? Do you want me to call, or keep my distance?

Lucky: Look. When you really feel like you have to know how things are, then, yeah. You can call me.

Laura: All right.

Lucky: Ok. (They both fall into silence. Lucky clears his throat) Look, I have to go see Emily. She's on semester changeover, so...

Laura: Of course. Do you want to see Lulu before you leave?

Lucky: Yeah... Is she around?

Laura: (nodding) She's upstairs. (they stare at each other) I won't be here when you come back down.

Lucky: Ok. (Lucky turns and starts up the stairs. He gets about halfway up, stops, and exhales heavily. He turns and comes back down the stairs, crossing to his mother. She stands up, unsure of what he's doing. Lucky goes to her, and wraps his arms around her. Laura is shocked, but hugs him back tightly). This has never been about not loving you, Mom. (Laura presses her lips together, tears welling to her eyes.)

Laura: Ohhh.. I needed to hear that. (Lucky pulls back, and turns away from her, still looking at the floor).

Lucky: (tightly) Yeah. I'm... going to see Lulu. (Laura nods)

Laura: All right. I will see you...?

Lucky: You will. I don't know when, but you will.

Laura: That's all I ask. (Lucky heads back up the stairs. Laura watches him disappear, then turns and walks quickly back into the kitchen.)

* * * *

Hannah's apartment.

Hannah sits on her couch, staring into space. In her hand she hold the phone receiver in one hand, and a piece of paper in the other. She slowly begins to laugh, putting her head down on her knee.

Hannah: This is so perfect. Of course the woman gives me an emergency phone number that doesn't work! (She stops laughing and fires the phone across the room. It bounces off the wall, and falls to the ground, beeping wildly. Not satisfied, Hannah proceeds to tear up the paper, then attacks a folder sitting open on the coffee table, tearing it and it's contents to shreds. There is a knock at the door. She tosses it an irritated look) Oh, great! Right on time. (She goes to the door and flings it open. There stands, predictably, Nikolas Cassadine). Well, what took you so long? (Nikolas frowns) Come in. Join the party. (She turns and walks away from him) Can I get you something to drink? (She walks into the kitchen, which is just off the living room, still fully visible. She pulls open the fridge door.) Well. I've got OJ and .... Huh. Water. (Nikolas walks into the apartment, closing the door behind him. He observes the scattered papers, and the mark the phone left on the wall.)

Nik: I came by to see how you're doing...

Hannah: I'm smashing. OJ? (She gets down to glasses and begins to pour the juice. Nikolas walks over the counter that marks the end of the kitchen and the beginning of the living room.)

Nik: You're doing it again.

Hannah: Doing what?

Nik: Every time I see you, I can guarantee the next time we meet you'll be behaving in the exact opposite manner.

Hannah: (over-enunciating) Opposite.

Nik: You've gone from one extreme to the other.

Hannah: (as if to a two year old) I'm in a bad mood.

Nik: I see that. Why?

Hannah: (sputtering) Ho.. wh.. Why do you have to ask so many questions? I mean, haven't you clued in to the fact that I don't like them?

Nik: Precisely why I feel I have to ask them.

Hannah: Just dealing with some issues.

Nik: About Emily Quartermaine. (Hannah stops messing with the juice, and exhales heavily)

Hannah: What makes you think that?

Nik: The questions, the fact that you broke down on the docks.

Hannah: What on earth does that have to do with Emily Quartermaine! I just met the girl, why should I care about her? (She laughs bitterly) See, this is the part of the puzzle you're missing, Nikolas. I don't care about people. I never have. You don't even know me, so yeah, it's easy for you to invent a little fantasy for me, make me what you want me to be. But let me clear a few things up for you -- I am a selfish person, at heart. I always put myself and my concerns first. And I only feel compassion for complete strangers is, for some reason, it reminds me of myself, so... don't worry. The plight of Emily Quartermaine has nothing to do with my present mood.

Nik: All right. Then what's this mood about?

Hannah: The dead.

Nik: Anyone specific.

Hannah: Someone I haven't seen in a really long time. Ten years, now. So I can't say that I miss her. If anything, I'm really ticked off that she died, because it just makes MY life so much more complicated.

Nik: Can I ask who we're talking about (Hannah sighs heavily)

Hannah: My Mother, Ok? (She looks away from him, sick of herself, as well as the lying).

Nik: I'm sorry.

Hannah: Well, like I said, it wasn't recent. (She smiles sweetly, spooky sweetly) I'm a very bad daughter. In fact, where family is concerned, I'm a remarkably bad everything.

Nik: Well, sometimes it's easy to feel like we've let people down --

Hannah: OH, COME ON!! Will you knock it off! Stop trying to relate to me! You can't. My stories will never be your stories, Nikolas, no matter how hard you try.

Nik: Why are you acting like this?

Hannah: (screaming) WHY WON'T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE? You said that you wouldn't come here again!

Nik: That was before you came looking for me.

Hannah: (at a loss) Why... I... (she looks up at him) I don't care anymore, Nikolas. I just can't make myself care about anything. And I can't figure out for the life of me why YOU can care this much about anything that has to do with me.

Nik: Because. I do relate to you. I know I do, because of things YOU said to me. And because, for some reason, staying away from you, especially when I know you're in trouble, is something I just can't do. And as much as you say you don't want me around, I can't help but think that you're lying to me.

Hannah: Why would I do that?

Nik: I don't know. (Nikolas turns around, and surveys the apartment) I'd like to find that out.

Hannah: Even if I wanted to tell you, Nikolas... Even if I had a solid reason to tell you, I couldn't.

Nik: Hannah. You're on the edge in a town where you don't know anyone. I'm not expecting anything from you. I just want to know you're going to be all right.

Hannah: Well, I can't help you there. I haven't slept, I can't eat and my head is throbbing.

Nik: Well. Try taking care of one, and maybe the rest will take care of themselves.

Hannah: (coldly) Thanks.

Nik: Either way, I'm sticking around until you flip flop on me again. (Hannah stares at him, unsure of how she should feel about that) If only to see the transition myself.

* * * *

The Quartermaine Mansion.

Emily comes down the stairs, in a slightly more subdued mood than that morning. She can hear considerable excitement coming from the living room, and she's come, finally, to investigate. She sits down on the stairs, and listens, unable to really hear what's happening. She doesn't make it a habit, however, to enter a room in this house, before she has some idea of what is going on. Before the pieces have fallen into place, the door to the living room is flung open and Alan appears)

Alan: (Calling) EMILY! (He stops dead, seeing her) Oh! Here you are. We have a surprise for you.

Emily: (suspicious) A surprise.

Alan: Yes.

Emily: For me?

Alan: Yes.

Emily: PLEASE don't.

Alan: Why not?

Emily: Because, I get enough surprises in this house without someone PLANNING one for me.

Alan: You don't want to be surprised?

Em: If I am never ever surprised by anything again for the rest of my life, then I will be very happy.

AJ: (appearing from behind the door) That sounds like a dull way to live. (Emily's jaw drops. She looks from AJ to Alan and back again)

Em: AJ! What are you doing here?

AJ: (pretending to be hurt) What kind of way is that to greet your big brother after four months!

Em: (abashed) I'm sorry, I'm just (she looks at Alan pointedly) surprised.

AJ: Well, can I get a hug, at least? (Emily stands up, and forces a big smile, trying to get her heart out of her throat. She comes down the stairs and give him a big hug as Monica appears at the door) Oh, I missed you!

Em: I missed you, too. (She looks over at Monica) So am I the only one who didn't know about this?

Monica: It was AJ's idea. He wanted to make an entrance. (AJ pulls at Emily's hand, pulling her away from their parents)

AJ: How are you doing?

Em: I'm fine.

AJ: You look thin. (Emily rolls her eyes)

Em: Is this why they brought you home? So that they could have another ally? (AJ frowns. Emily shakes her head, laughing slightly) I'm sorry. You've just missed a lot of the action around here lately. I'm sure they've been filling you in, though.

Alan: We're just glad you're finally making an appearance.

Em: What?

Monica: I think he's referring to the fact that you skipped lunch. Again.

Em: (innocently) Lunch? I assumed you were eating at Luke's.

Monica: Emily.

Alan: What is she talking about?

Em: It's not important. (She looks up at AJ) We've got to get some time to talk.

AJ: I know. We've got a lot of catching up to do. (Emily smiles uncomfortably, thinking he doesn't know the half of it.)

Alan: Well, I thought we could start tonight by having dinner at the Port Charles Grill.

AJ: Dad, I just flew in from England. Maybe it's not the best time to--

Alan: (annoyed) I just can't win with you! If I didn't suggest a big dinner out you'd be hurt that we weren't excited enough about your return.

Em: (under her breath) Welcome home.

AJ: Ok, Dad. Port Charles Grill sounds great.

Alan: (To Emily) Can I assume you'll be joining us for once?

Em: I actually ... (she sighs, realizing that her day has been taken out of her hands) Yes. I have to see someone first, but I'll be there.

Alan: Who do you have to see?

Monica: You have to ask?

AJ: What's this? (Emily stands up, attempting to change the topic)

Em: Why are we talking about me? AJ just got back from England. I mean, I'm sure you've got lots of stories about... umm... Beefeaters and... Other English things.

AJ: Only country in the world with a family more dysfunctional than ours.

Em: (muttering) I don't know about that.

Monica: We have our moments, but I don't think you can really compare us to the royal family.

AJ: Of course not. They're actually richer. (The doorbell rings, and Emily tenses up, sensing who must be on the other side).

Alan: Where's Reginald?

Monica: Oh, for goodness sakes Alan, we're right here! (Emily runs across the foyer to the door, heading her parents off)

Em: I'll get it. You guys go sit in the living room.

Alan: Why? (He pushes past her) We're going to have to deal with whoever it is anyway. (He pulls the door open, revealing Lucky, leaning against the doorjamb, looking distraught. Emily pales at the sight of him, partially because of the expression on his face, but mostly because she was afraid it was him.) Hello, Lucky. Emily didn't mention you were coming by. Em: Dad, I'll.. Can you give us a minute? (It's too late. Lucky's noticed AJ, and AJ, of course, has noticed him) Please?

Alan: (sighing) We'll be in the living room.

Em: I'll be right in. (She looks over at AJ, pleadingly) Ok?

Alan: Come on, AJ. Fill us in on the rest of your trip.

AJ: (glaring at Lucky) Suddenly, I'm not in the mood.

Em: AJ... (Monica and Alan look from Emily to AJ quizzically)

Lucky: (clearing his throat) Uh, Em, look. I'm interrupting something -- (Emily touches Lucky's arm)

Em: Lucky....

Lucky: No, it's Ok. Just... Call me later.

Em: (somewhat in shock) Ok. If that what you want. (He nods at the rest of the party)

Lucky: Later. (He turns and walks away from the house. Emily watches after him, with concern. She finally takes a deep breath, and closes the door, turning back to the assembled party)

Monica: Will someone please tell me what's going on?

AJ: I was about to say the same thing.

Em: I .... I guess I never told you that Lucky and I got back together.

AJ: (evenly) No, I guess you didn't.

Em: (with forced levity) You know what? I feel like going for a walk. AJ?