Chapter Eighteen: Family Feuds
The Quartermaine Grounds.
Emily and AJ walk away from the house in silence. Emily continually going through explanations in her head, none of which sound good to her. Once they get a safe distance from the house, AJ grabs her elbow and turns her to face him.
AJ: Ok. What was that? What was he doing here?
Em: I don't know. He was supposed to call me, but I guess something came up.
AJ: When exactly did you two get back together?
Em: After you left.
Em: AJ. I didn't mean to -- I thought I could do it. That I could just walk away from him, but I couldn't.
AJ: Do I have to remind you what Lucky Spencer did to me?
Em: What CARLY did to you.
AJ: With Lucky's help. Emily, you're the one who told me that!
Em: With your promise that you wouldn't tell Mom and Dad!
AJ: That was when I thought he was out of your life!
Em: There wasn't a contingency on that plan. I asked you not to tell, and you said you wouldn't. You didn't say anything about changing your mind if we got back together.
AJ: Because you swore you were done with him. Remember?
AJ: Look, I know you think you love him.
AJ: I thought I loved Carly. Hell, I even thought she loved me. But the Spencers don't love anyone but themselves. (Emily laughs ironically)
Em: You don't know what you're talking about. I love Lucky, and I know he loves me.
AJ: Emily, even if you want that more than anything, it doesn't make it true.
Em: Don't patronize me, AJ.
AJ: Do you remember how upset you were when you told me what Lucky had helped Carly do?
Em: I was upset. I was furious. And I was really hurt that he'd do something that he knew would hurt me to help out Carly. But I -- you don't know him like I do. I know, that's a terrible cliche, but I swear that it's true. I know how Lucky thinks. He never would have helped Carly set you up if he'd really thought that you'd go to jail. He was just trying to even the playing field.
AJ: Did he tell you that?
Em: As a matter of fact --
AJ: And you listened to him!
Em: AJ, stop it! Just listen to me. Carly, as much as you hate her, loves your child with everything in her. I know you feel the same way. You would have done anything to keep him, right?
AJ: I would never have done what she did.
Em: Because you had money! And you had a family behind you that could keep fighting for the baby until you called the dogs off! All they were trying to do was distract you from the custody battle. (She stops and takes a deep breath) I'm not condoning what they did...
AJ: I don't believe this. You're actually taking their side!
Em: Don't put words in my mouth!
AJ: They framed me for bombing at the docks! Ironically enough, something our illustrious brother was probably behind.
Em: There was no evidence.
AJ: Except for that tape that Lucky orchestrated that made me look like --
Em: AJ! Listen to me. Any good lawyer on the planet would have that tape examined to see if it had been tampered with. Which, it had. Lucky knew that. And the rest of the evidence was purely circumstantial. All they did was provide enough for an arrest --
AJ: ARE YOU LISTENING TO YOURSELF? Emily, let's say MY girlfriend framed you for something you didn't do. How understanding would you be? (Emily doesn't say anything) And EVEN if I could get past the bombing, there is still the final nail in my coffin.
Em: Lucky had nothing to do with that!
AJ: Oh, really?
Em: Well, first of all, if you want to get into thinking with things other than your head, how can you get angry at me for going back to Lucky when you slept with Carly after you KNEW she had you framed!
AJ: Emily, that's exactly my point. I wanted to believe that she loved me. I wanted to believe that she wanted me back.
Em: Even after everything she did? (She shakes her head) Of course, you did marry her, even though she drugged you and left you in an alley!
AJ: EMILY! This is what I'm trying to say. You might love Lucky, but that doesn't mean he's not going to hurt you!
Em: I know that! But Lucky doesn't hurt me the way Carly hurt you! He doesn't set out to maliciously --
AJ: WHAT? WHAT was he doing if he wasn't setting out to hurt you?
Em: He was helping his cousin. He was helping a person in his family who didn't feel like she had anyone, who felt like she didn't fit in with the people who brought her into this world. I know you can't understand why he'd make a choice like that -- but I do. He didn't think about the consequences. But he paid them when he didn't have to!
AJ: And if he was so shamed by what happened with the docks, then why did he help her set me up for marital rape.
Em: I TOLD you, Carly did that on her own. I thought he was involved at first, too --
AJ: And now you think he didn't?
Em: I KNOW he didn't.
AJ: How could you possibly know that?
Em: Because he told me, and Lucky doesn't lie to me.
AJ: How can you say that?
Em: He keeps secrets, yes. And I hate that. But he doesn't lie. If I ask him straight out, he tells me the truth.
AJ: Oh. Well that's admirable.
Em: AJ. I know you're angry, I know you feel like the whole world turned against you --
AJ: Emily! I had done everything right. I'd given my son a home, I'd found a way to deal with my family, and protect him from everything that the family was trying to force him into. I even went to work for ELQ! I did everything I could think of. And what did it get me? Blackmailed by my own wife. Given the choice between jail, and a life without my child. Well, at least here, I can provide for him. At least I can see how he is growing. And maybe, one day, I'll be able to be a part of his life again. But that doesn't mean that I'm EVER going to forgive anyone involved in taking him away from me. Not Carly, and not Lucky.
Em: You don't have to forgive him. Just don't try to get me to stop spending time with him. Because, AJ...
AJ: Emily! How can you ask me that?
Em: I'm asking because I'm your sister, and I love him.
AJ: Do you honestly think he's not going to break your heart again?
Em: (shakily) I don't care! I need him, AJ.
AJ: No, you don't!
Em: Don't tell me what I need! You've been in merry old England for four months! You don't know what's been going on around here. And you don't know what Lucky gives me. What he does for me. Don't ask me to walk away from that.
AJ: You are going to get hurt in the end, Emily. And whatever it is you think you get from Lucky, it's not going to be worth the heartache in the end! You're young Emily--
AJ: Listen to me. You're Seventeen.
Em: If one more person --
AJ: You don't know what he's really capable of! Look at his family! Lucky was raised to put nothing above the Spencers. And he never will. Not even you.
Em: You don't know him!
AJ: Neither do you! You can't, or you would never have gone back to him.
Em: You have spent, maybe, a total of fifteen minutes with Lucky. How can you possibly know anything about him? How can you be so superior to me that in five years, I wouldn't know him at least as well as you do?
AJ: When we think we're in love...
Em: Stop saying that! I don't think I'm in love, I know I am. There is no other word that can describe how I feel about Lucky.
AJ: Is he worth your family?
Em: What are you saying, AJ?
AJ: He'll make you choose. It will come down to him, or us. (Emily turns her back on AJ, shaking.) Or has he made you choose already?
Em: He's not making me choose anything!
AJ: Emily, what's going on?
Em: Don't push this, AJ. You're not going to like what you find.
AJ: Are you... My God. You've already made a choice, haven't you?
Em: The only thing I'm choosing is myself. And being with Lucky is good for me. Don't try to take that away from me, AJ.
AJ: If he hurts you...
Em: It will be my problem. Just promise me you're not going to get the rest of the family involved with this.
AJ: I can't promise that, Emily.
Em: You can! I went to you and told you what Carly was doing when I found out. Why can't you just keep Lucky's name out of what happened?
AJ: Because I think you're making a huge mistake!
Em: It's MY mistake to make!
AJ: I'll think about this, Emily. But I'm not making you any guarantees.
AJ: No. Your boyfriend took away the only thing I cared about in this world. He and his cousin destroyed my life. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. And I hope you never have to go through what I had to. If I can stop that, I will. (Emily stares at AJ in horror)
Em: What gives you the right to pass judgment on my decisions?
AJ: Emily, you've come to me, in dark moments, and convinced me not to listen to myself. When all I wanted to do was take a drink, and self-destruct, you've convinced me not to trust my inner voice. If I think you're trusting yours, and it's leading you astray, then yes, Emily. I'm going to tell Mom and Dad. (Emily looks down at the ground, and wills the tears coming to her eyes to disappear. When she looks up again, her fear has been replaced by a cold stare)
Em: Then you're the one forcing me to make a choice, AJ. Don't assume I'm going to choose you. (Emily turns and walks back to the house, leaving AJ to consider her words).
Hannah is staring out her window. Nikolas is sitting on the couch watching her. The room is in complete silence. The silence goes on and on. Hannah refuses to look at Nik, but slowly, as time goes on, finally steal a look at him. He catches her eye, and she turns and looks out the window again. After a few minutes she starts to laugh. Nikolas frowns, and watches, mildly concerned.
Hannah: (gasping) This is ridiculous! It's like being back in high school! (Nikolas frowns)
Nik: High school?
Hannah: Oh, you know. Stealing glances, getting caught.... The horror of it all.
Hannah: Right. You probably had tutors, right?
Nik: Except for three regrettable months, yes. I didn't go to high school.
Hannah: You didn't miss much. (She sighs and sits down in a chair across from him) High School was purgatory. (she laughs again) I thought it was hell, but I didn't know what I had ahead of me. (Nikolas smiles, slightly)
Nik: (quietly) There it is.
Hannah: There's what?
Nik: The transition.
Hannah: Oh, good. So you got what you came for.
Nik: (leaning forward) Not really.
Hannah: (sighing) I'm afraid to ask.
Nik: I want to tell you something.
Hannah: All right.
Nik: Lucky and I... We've never gotten along. I mean, we've had these brief little moments, but -- frankly, I find him hard to relate to.
Hannah: Yeah, I can see that.
Nik: It's always really easy to blame Lucky for the fact that we don't get along. I mean, he's never liked me. He resents the fact that I showed up out of nowhere and messed up his perfect family. And I've never really appreciated the fact that his "perfect family" were more important to his mother than I was. So, I can't really say it's all his fault. It's kind of hard to think you're one thing all your life and then find out you're not. (Nikolas stops, frowning bitterly) That's one thing Lucky and I have in common, at least. (Hannah watches him, not entirely following where this is going) What I'm saying is... I know what you mean, about feeling like you're not a very successful part of a family.
Hannah: But you try. You're still here.
Nik: Ask Lucky how much I try. Ask my Mother. I'm here, because of Lulu, my sister -- she's the only one left that will still give me a chance. (He looks up at her) She's four. And I only get to see her twice a month. Luke Spencer wouldn't even allow that much if I hadn't got shot in front of his club.
Hannah: (surprised) You were shot?
Nik: What, they don't tell you that at your employee orientation? Luke's and gunfire sort of go hand in hand.
Hannah: (smiling wryly) Perfect.
Nik: I was shot right in front of the club. After that... I guess you can say Lucky made an effort, in his way. I... For a while I tried to, but -- I let pride get in my way. I couldn't let go of everything. And Lucky didn't need much encouragement to stop trying.... Lucky and I... We talk now, but only when we have to. It's easy to fall into that pattern. I'm not a good brother to him. I'm not a good son to my Mother. But I could argue they aren't holding up their end of the bargain either.
Hannah: That won't get you anywhere in the long run.
Nik: I know. You've helped me see that very clearly.
Hannah: Well, nice to know someone is benefiting from my pain.
Nik: I don't mean that. You know I don't. My stories aren't your stories, but that doesn't mean there isn't something between us. (He stands up) I hope you feel better.
Hannah: I will. I'll be fine.
Nik: Good Night, Hannah. (He turns and goes to the door. Hannah sits and stares at the wall, as he leaves).