Chapter Two:
The Family Factor

Luke's Club, early evening.

Lucky is waiting at a table for Emily, pouring over her essays, to the point that the words are swimming in front of him. As far as he can tell, they are fine, but he knows from previous experience that he has to have some concrete feedback before she arrives. He doesn't notice that when someone approaches him, until she's pulled out a chair and flopped down across from him.

Carly: Hey!

Lucky: (looking up, warily, at the sound of her voice) What are you doing here?

Carly: Don't suppose your father's around?

Lucky: (long-suffering) What do you want now?

Carly: Why do I have to want something?

Lucky: Because you always do. And no, he's out. With my mother. I'd save it for tomorrow if it can wait.

Carly: Don't sweat it. It's not important. What about you? How are things with school?

Lucky: (shrugging -- this is his least favorite topic) Fine.

Carly: Bored out of your mind, huh?

Lucky: (smiling in spite of himself) You have no idea.

Carly: (groans) I was in nursing school, remember? And I was bad at it. Really bad at it.

Lucky: If I was bad at it, I might be able to muster some interest. At least in the fact that I couldn't do it.

Carly: Well, we can't all be as brilliant as you.

Lucky: (narrowing his eyes) WHAT do you want?

Carly: Nothing! I'm just talking to my cousin, what's wrong with that?

Lucky: The last time we "just talked", my girlfriend didn't speak to me for a month.

Carly: Don't worry, I'm fine.

Lucky: How's the kid?

Carly: (beaming) Beautiful, wonderful, incredible.

Lucky: And in your care.

Carly: (laughing) Well, that's the important part. Away from those Quartermaines... Man! And I thought I had a dysfunctional childhood. Why didn't anyone tell me? The idea of marrying a Quartermaine to give your child a stable home life is a complete oxymoron.

Lucky: Big word. And we weren't speaking to you at the time, if you recall.

Carly: (smiling) You were. You were even at the wedding.

Lucky: (with forced coolness) I was there with Emily.

Carly: Aw, come on. I know you like me. (Lucky doesn't answer) You do, don't you?

Lucky: Carly! Do you think I'd get myself into this much trouble for just anyone?

Carly (touched): You're such a sweet kid.

Lucky: (embarrassed) Yeah, yeah. And I'll be paying for it for the rest of my life.

Carly: Oh, come on. Emily took you back.

Lucky (incredulous) Took me BACK! I had to jump through hoops just to get her to speak to me again. You're really lucky we did work things out, or you'd be down one more conspirator.

Carly: Well, she's over it now.

Lucky: I don't know about..... (Seeing Emily enter) .... That. (Carly turns to see Emily, who eyes her coolly, then smiles at Lucky and walks across the room)

Emily: (breathless) Hey. Sorry I'm late.

Lucky: Not a problem. (To Carly) Caroline.

Carly: (rolling her eyes) Yeah, yeah. I'm out of here. Tell your Dad I stopped by. And, say what you will, you were never bored this summer.

Lucky: Whatever. (Carly gets up and gives Emily an incredibly fake smile)

Carly: Good-bye. (Emily watches Carly leave, attempting not to let the woman get to her. She takes a cleansing breath, and sits down across from Lucky)

Emily: (pulling off her coat, gloves, she doesn't meet his gaze.) I'm sorry, I got caught by my English teacher on the way out of the school, and ... Well, never mind. Do you want to get out of here, or should we get something to eat? I skipped lunch, and I'm starved.

Lucky: Nothing's going on, Em. She just stopped by to see my Dad.

Emily: (she sags, and leans against the table) I know. I just... She makes me tense. Doesn't it bother you that she absolutely hates me?

Lucky: She doesn't hate you.

Emily: She's just.... She creates havoc wherever she goes. I mean, she succeeded in breaking us up, and she wasn't even trying!

Lucky: She means well.

Emily: She took my brother's baby away from him. Twice.

Lucky: And he tried to do the same to her. We're supposed to have a cease-fire on this topic, remember.

Emily: (looking at the table top) I know. I'm just still so angry at her. I mean... (sighs heavily) Oh, forget it.

Lucky: No, what?

Emily: It's so insane! I mean, do you know how completely blissful we'd be if it wasn't for our families? Every single problem we ever had can be directly linked to one of our family member's loosing their heads.

Lucky: Well, we've solved that problem, remember?

Emily: Not yet. I still have to get accepted somewhere. (biting her lip) Did you read my essays.

Lucky: The Berkeley ones. They're great.

Emily: Really? This isn't the sort of thing where you can afford to sugarcoat anything, remember. The important part is that we get out of this place. And by my calculations, Berkeley's about as far as we can go and still be in the country. (Lucky leans across the table and takes her hand)

Lucky: This has been the focus of your life ever since you got those SATís back. Your score was great, your marks are unbelievable, your extracurricular activities suggest amphetamine use, and the essays are brilliant. Besides that -- you're a Quartermaine. You're in. Stop obsessing.

Emily (shakily): I can't. You don't... I mean, you know better than anyone, Lucky, what it's like at the mansion. Ever since Ned left, it's been horrible. I can't do it anymore.

Lucky: (gently) Emily.... It doesn't matter. If the worst happens, and you don't get in anywhere, we'll just take off. No destination, just go. See what happens.

Emily: (wryly) You'd love that, wouldn't you?

Lucky: I've gotta get out of here just as much as you do.

Emily: I know. Believe me. You'd be out of here now if it wasn't for me. (softly) Thank you.

Lucky: It's Ok.

Emily: No, you keep saying that. But I know you, Lucky. You go crazy when you have to stay still. Next year, everything will be different. I've been thinking about Berkeley....

Lucky: Big surprise.

Emily: No, listen. I know, you don't really know what you want to do yet. I mean, that's kind of the problem with school, right? No excitement, nothing really looks like something you want to devote your life to... So next year, don't feel like you have to stick around for me all the time. I mean, I know school's going to be insane, but getting out of Port Charles is about getting free. Don't think you have to be tied to me.

Lucky: I don't. I never have. I'm not with you out of duty, Em. I can guarantee that I will be just as irresponsible and irritating on the West coast as I am here.

Emily: You better be. (she smiles at him warmly) I love you so much.

Lucky: I know.

Emily: Good. Let's get out of here.

* * * *

Bannister's Wharf.

Hannah walks along the boardwalk, and stops at the edge of the dock. It's cold, and windy out, and the sun has just set. She gathers her coat around her and stares out at the lake. She can see a light, off in the distance. She squints at it, trying to make out the shadowed house that emits the light. It doesn't work. She shivers involuntarily. Hannah: (whispering) Wyndemere. (She hears a noise behind her, and turns to see a young, well-dressed man coming down the stairs. She stares at him, aware that he is somehow familiar to her, but unable to pinpoint why. He stops at the bottom of the stairs and notices her. She looks away from him, and continues to try to make out the house. He watches her, confused a moment.)

Nikolas: Can I help you?

Hannah: (turning back, a bit surprised that he's speaking to her) No, I'm just ... looking.

Nikolas: Spoon Island.

Hannah: (distantly) What?

Nikolas: The island you're looking at.

Hannah: Oh... I didn't know the name. (Realizing she may be able to use this) There's a light.

Nikolas: Yes. There's a house there. Is that what you're really trying to see?

Hannah: (aware that his tone has become somewhat threatening) No... (lying through her teeth) I was just taking a walk, and I noticed the light. It's kind of spooky. Like a ghost ship, or something.

Nikolas: A ghost ship.

Hannah: I lived by water a long time. There are always lots of ghost stories about lights on the water. I just stopped to look.

Nikolas: (realizing, he's probably overreacted again. He's so used to being a curiosity in this town) You're not from around here.

Hannah: New in town today. (she shakes her head. Why is she talking to this stranger in such a secluded place, after dark? She's been out of the states too long, she decides) It's a nice view. Enjoy it. (She turns and walks away. Nikolas watches after her, feeling slightly intrigued. He shakes it off, and waits for the launch in silence).