Carly was sitting on the sofa watching her future husband wear path in the carpet from the couch to the door. “Where could they be? Nikolas called nearly two hours ago.” Carly sighed, she knew the threat from Dominic Franco was real and should be taken seriously, but she also knew that Emily had difficult news to give to Nikolas. The fact that he had called well before her return led her to believe it went as bad as Emily had been predicting. She knew that if Emily was with Renaldo she was safe.
“Jason, please come and sit down. I’m sure they are fine. Things probably didn’t go well with Nikolas and Emily needed some space.” When Jason sat next to her she reached up and started massaging his shoulders. She smiled as she felt him begin to relax slightly.
“I’m sure you’re right, I just couldn’t stand it if anything happened to her. Renaldo promised to have her back after dinner, since dinner is obviously over and she is not back I don’t know what to think. I’m definitely going to have to remind Renaldo about the importance of following orders.”
Carly felt Jason’s muscles tensing again under her fingertips. “Relax Jase, you know how Emily is. Renaldo probably had no choice in the matter.” Carly moved her hands off his shoulders and moved closer to him. She wrapped her arms and legs around him from behind and began caressing his chest. “Besides, I can think of more constructive things we could be doing.” She began to trail kisses down his neck.
Jason moaned. He never could resist her touch. In one fluid movement he brought her around so that she was straddling his lap. He brought his lips down on hers and kissed her passionately. He picked her up and carried her up the stairs. Emily and Renaldo were all but forgotten.
Emily awoke slowly with a small smile on her lips. She opened her eyes and quickly snapped them shut again against the bright rays of sunshine hitting her pillow. She turned her head and opened her eyes again to take in the time. 8:15 a.m. She closed her eyes again, then suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. She was supposed to meet Carly for breakfast at 9:00 at the PC Grille. They had decided not to go together because Carly had an early dress fitting that Emily had opted to sleep through.
She jumped out of bed and ran across her room and into the adjoining bathroom. She took the fastest shower in history, then spent five minutes throwing on her favorite Saturday outfit: a pair of jeans and a black fitted shirt. She sat at the dressing table Jason had put in the room for her, and began to apply her make-up and fix her hair. It was then that the events of the night before came rushing back to her in a wave of memories so vivid she could smell the cigarette smoke again. She could feel Renaldo’s arms around her waist and she remembered how she had anticipated his lips on hers.
Emily quickly shook herself out of her reverie. She told herself that she was being silly. Renaldo worked for Jason. He didn’t have feelings for her. He was just being nice because he felt sorry for her after what happened with Nikolas. Emily met her eyes in her mirror and shrugged to herself. Snap out of it girl, the last thing you need is another relationship right now anyway, you’re leaving in a few weeks, remember? With that small lecture to herself Emily quickly tied her hair in a pony tail and headed out of her room and down the stairs.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs, Jason looked up at her from his paperwork. He stood and approached her. “Well, if it isn’t sleeping beauty. Carly called to make sure you were awake. I heard your shower running at 8:20 and told her you would probably be a few minutes late.” Jason paused and took in every detail of Emily’s appearance. When he was satisfied he said, “how did it go with Nikolas last night? He called here about an hour after you left looking for you.” Jason watched Emily’s face watching for any sign of hurt, fear or tension - what he saw was only amusement.
So Nikolas had called looking for her? Jason must have been climbing the walls after that. She made a mental note to thank Carly for not letting him send out the guards. “I needed some time to myself. It was so ugly, Jase. Nikolas made me feel like nothing more than a dime store floozy. Frankly he made me feel pretty worthless. I needed to prove to myself that wasn’t true.” She had purposely left out the details of exactly where she went or with whom, hoping it would be enough for Jason. “Thanks for worrying though.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek.
Jason noticed the lapses in Emily’s description of the evening, but he did decide to let it go as Carly had suggested he do. “I’m just glad you are alright. I’ll have to remember to remind Renaldo about following orders though. I told him to have you home after dinner, he didn’t.”
Emily felt her stomach lurch. She knew Renaldo had taken a risk last night, she didn’t want to see him pay for helping her. “Jason, please. It wasn’t Renaldo’s fault. I wasn’t ready to come home and he didn’t have a choice. His first order of business was to protect me. He did that. Please just let it go.” Emily met his eyes and held her breath waiting for his response.
Jason was puzzled by Emily’s defense of Renaldo. He knew that Emily was fond of him though and reasoned that she didn’t want to see him chastised. “Alright Em. I’ll drop it on one condition. You stop treating this threat as though it’s a joke. It isn’t and I will not see you hurt.”
Emily looked at her watch in order to hide her sigh of relief. “I promise Jase. I have to go or I’ll be even later.” Emily adjusted the strap of her purse and headed to the door.
“Renaldo isn’t on duty yet. Peter will be going with you.” Jason watched with a smile as the only member of his other family that he cared about walked out the door. He would do anything to protect Emily. He made a mental note to quiz Renaldo about the previous evening though.
Renaldo was on his fourth cup of coffee. He wasn’t due at the penthouse for another few hours giving him plenty of time to be alone with his thoughts. He couldn’t get Emily off of his mind. The feel of her body pressed against his, and the smell of her hair as he had held her, were still with him. He had to get her out of his mind. He was loyal to Jason and would never do anything to jeopardize his trust. Still, memories of the night before lingered in his mind. She had looked so beautiful and seemed to fit perfectly in his arms.
Renaldo slammed his coffee mug on the table then cursed when the tan milk-laced liquid spilled over the edge of the cup onto the table. He was acting like a schoolboy. He may as well be back in high school in Fernwood, Connecticut the way he was acting. He remembered how Susie Greene had stolen his heart in the middle of his junior year. He had befriended her shortly after her break-up with the school football star, Jake Workman. His feelings grew with each moment he had spent with Susie. They had gone to the local burger joint on a couple of occasions after the Friday night game and she had flirted shamelessly with him. He remembered how special he felt. Then Susie got back together with Jake. Apparently she had been using Renaldo to make him jealous. It worked. Susie and Jake remained a couple throughout the rest of school. Shortly after their senior year Susie and Jake married. Renaldo had heard rumors of a shotgun wedding, but was no longer around to see for himself. Right after graduation he made his way to New York and met Sonny Corinthos. Renaldo never let himself fall that hard again. He made it a point to keep a tight reign on his emotions where women were concerned - they just weren’t worth the pain he had experienced after the Susie incident.
He stood and made his way to the window in his apartment. It overlooked the docks and was his favorite spot in the small apartment. He saw an ELQ tanker pull in to the harbor and lost himself in his thoughts once more. Emily had been hurt last night. She had turned to him out of desperation and because he was the only one there. He had been the convenient choice for her, just like he had been for Susie. Renaldo gave a short dry laugh that held very little humor. He had almost let himself get sucked in, not this time though - this time he was going to keep his distance. He liked Emily tremendously, but he wasn’t going to let himself get hurt again.
He turned away from the window when he felt his pager go off. The picked it up knowing who was trying to reach him before he looked. He picked up his phone and dialed the familiar number. “Hi boss, what can I do for you?” Renaldo was now business as usual, his personal thoughts pushed aside to make room for the day ahead.
<Port Charles Grille>
Emily and Carly had just finished their meal and were sipping on their mimosas when Carly finally brought up the previous evening. “So Em, I am assuming that things didn’t go well with Nikolas last night. Did you want to talk about it? If you don’t that’s fine, I just want you to know that I am here for you.”
Emily had been expecting this, waiting for it even, and was mildly surprised Carly had held out this long. Emily wanted to tell Carly everything, but knew she would have to edit some of the details. She told Carly all about the dinner with Nikolas and the outcome. They were no longer a couple and soon Nikolas would find an appropriate woman and they would live happily ever after. “I just wasn’t ready to come back after that and sit in the Penthouse all night. I needed to get out and burn off some steam. I guess I have you to thank for stopping Jason from going into all-out panic mode. How did you do it?”
Carly laughed as she remembered just how she had distracted her fiancée. “Let’s just say that I have my ways. So where exactly did you go to burn off steam?”
“Poor Renaldo, I dragged him into some seedy bar just outside of town. It was the perfect place. No one recognized me and I didn’t have to answer any questions. I only hope Jason doesn’t give Renaldo a hard time for not bringing me home right away. I talked to him about it this morning, but I have a feeling he will say something to make his feelings known, even if it’s in and indirect way.”
Carly had been watching Emily and couldn’t shake the feeling that she was leaving something out. When she downed the rest of her mimosa in one gulp, Carly’s suspicions were confirmed, she decided to let it go for now though. She reached across the table to sign the bill when she noticed something unusual. She moved the bill aside to reveal a small type-written note that read:
I am always watching. Remember no take over bid
on the South territory. Emily you look so beautiful in your jeans,
the way they hug your hips. I would hate to see that gorgeous body
of yours broken in two. Or will it be you Carly that I will choose
first? Jason will never know. Tell him he has one month to
clear his interests out of my territory or I choose which one of you to
Emily had pushed her chair away from the table expecting Carly to follow. When she didn’t Emily rose and moved to her friend’s side, reading the letter over Carly’s shoulder. “Oh my God!” Come on Carly, we need to get out of here right now.” Emily grabbed the note and took her friend’s hand and led her out of the restaurant.
Jason slammed his fist down on the table. When Carly and Emily had returned, he had called an emergency staff meeting. He was not about to have his family threatened. His interests in the South territory were growing and Franco had no other tact to take so he was resorting to threats. There was no way it was going to work. “Our interests in Franco’s territory will be stepped up. I want full control in six months instead of nine. Security on Carly and Emily will be tripled. They will be accompanied at all times by an armed man and followed by three in a separate car. I want Michael and Lila watched as well. Whenever Michael leaves this penthouse, I want him to have his own guard.”
Jason’s staff all listened and carefully noted the orders. There was one man who was paying extra attention, he knew he would be giving a detailed report to Franco later that day. He carefully patted the small tape recorder in his breast pocket. Soon he thought everything would come together and he and his second cousin Dominic would rule all of the South territory and Jason’s territory to the north together.
Jason never missed a thing, today was the exception. He was so preoccupied with the safety of his family that he had missed Donald’s unusual behavior. If he had been as watchful as normal, he would have noted the faraway look in his eye and the tell tale glances at his coat. Instead it all slipped by. Jason was too busy worrying about how to protect his family, especially since Emily would be leaving town. He was seriously contemplating asking Emily to stay at PCU. Jason mentally berated himself. How could he ask Emily to give up her dreams? Isn’t that what Nikolas had done just the previous evening? No he would definitely have to think of something else.
<Penthouse Living Room>
Emily nervously paced the living room. How had she let herself get talked into this one? She knew all hell was going to break loose when her mother, father, grandfather and Ned arrived for their little meeting. She had wanted to go to the mansion, but Jason had been adamant about her and Carly staying in the penthouse for the rest of the day.
“Thanks for doing this Emily. You know how much it meant to Jason that you agreed to meeting with your parents here.” Carly was still shaken from the morning, but by outward appearances one would never know.
Emily smiled. “Well, going home accompanied by three armed bodyguards wasn’t much of an alternative. I just hope that Jason doesn’t expect to keep us locked up here forever.” Emily thought back to the time Robin was almost killed by Marino and how Jason had kept her in the penthouse for weeks. That was when Jason had actually left the organization briefly. He later admitted that he had done it for Robin’s sake, and that he hated life outside and eventually, after her death three years ago, he had returned to the business. He had made a promise that no one close to him would be harmed. So far he had kept it.
Carly sighed. She knew that Emily was thinking about Robin. She accepted the fact that Emily and Robin had been close. She even admired how Em had been able to be friends with both of them when Carly returned. She had watched as both Jason and Emily stood by Robin in her last months and admired them both for their loyalty. She knew that Robin would always hold a special place in Jason’s heart and she would always understand that. “He won’t, Em. Don’t worry, he knows we want to lead as normal a life as we can. He won’t jeopardize that.”
Emily recognized that Carly was referring to her transferring to Penn State for her last two semesters. She was about to confide that she had been afraid Jason would try to keep her here when the door opened and Cooper announced the arrival of the Quartermaines. All hell broke loose and the conversation was forgotten.
Carly gave Emily a sympathetic hug and quickly made herself scarce. The last thing she needed was to be harassed by Edward Quartermaine.
Emily cringed when she heard her grandfather’s unmistakable bellow. “Why are we here again? We are a respected family and we are voluntarily entering a known mobsters home?”
“Edward, that mobster happens to be your grandson. Besides we are here for Emily.” Exasperated, Monica entered the room first and quickly enveloped Emily in a motherly hug. Alan and Edward came in next followed by Ned. Emily was relieved that Ned had been able to come. He had always been rational and she knew he would be happy for her and calm Edward into acceptance.
After several minutes of Quartermaine banter, Edward finally turned to his granddaughter. “Now, Emily, why is it that you have dragged us here and why couldn’t we discuss this in our own living room? I just don’t understand. If this is family business, it should be discussed in the family home, not in the lair of a known criminal.” Ever since Lila had passed away a year ago, Edward had been even more difficult to deal with.
“Grandfather, please. As I explained on the phone I was unable to come to the house. This is important though, and I didn’t want to wait any longer to bring it up.” Here we go, Emily thought. There was no turning back now.
Alan, who had been in and out of rehab for the last five years, seemed to be having a fairly lucid moment. “Emily, what is it? You know we will do anything to help you.”
Emily saw that it was true. Despite her family’s quirks, they always had banded together in times of need, even if their methods sometimes left something to be desired. She sighed, “well, as some of you know,” she looked to Ned, “I have been somewhat dissatisfied with the education I have been receiving at PCU. I felt that they didn’t have everything I wanted in a school, so I decided to transfer.” Emily held her breath waiting for the tirade. It didn’t come.
Monica approached and wrapped one arm around her shoulder. “Oh, honey. If you were unhappy why didn’t you come to me?” Emily smiled, she wouldn’t have considered going to her mother, she was always too busy at one conference or another or with one of Alan’s crises. She was glad she had Ned, Jason and Carly though. “Mother, I didn’t tell anyone of my decision, I didn’t want anyone to try and change my mind. I am an adult.” They didn’t need to know that Jason and Carly had been her trusted confidantes in this.
Emily saw the hurt expression in her mother’s eyes, and she had been about to apologize again when Edward interjected. “Transfer, what about Nikolas?” Edward had been looking forward to Nikolas becoming part of the family. Sure he had never liked the Cassadines as a family, but they did have money. He had seen dollar signs ever since Emily had first announced her relationship with Nikolas. “Surely he will want you close by, you are after all meant to be together.”
Emily was seething. Her grandfather was no better than Nikolas! “Grandfather, not that it is any of your concern, but Nikolas and I are no longer involved.” Gasps went around the room and Emily involuntarily thought of the previous evening and her time with Renaldo. A small smile played around her lips which was quickly wiped away by her grandfather’s next words.
“What do you mean ‘no longer involved?’ The two of you were meant to be. Two perfect familys merging to create one great lot!” Edward turned to Alan. “Would you explain to your child that a union like this only comes around once in a lifetime. How could she throw this away?”
“Edward, calm down. Emily is an adult. If she and Nikolas were unhappy, then they didn’t belong together.” Monica shot a glare in her father-in-law’s direction then turned her attention back to Emily. “I’m sorry honey. This must have been very difficult for you. If you need to talk, I always have an ear for you. Tell us dear, where were you thinking of transferring, perhaps we have connections there.”
Emily sighed. She knew her mother meant well. “Thanks mom. Actually I have already applied and been accepted to the school I want to go to. Penn State.” Emily waited for the inevitable explosion from her grandfather and was not disappointed.
“Penn State! That’s hardly suitable for a Quartermaine. I would think Harvard or Yale would be more your speed. I will call today and speak to the presidents. Both of them will accept you for the fall. We were all at Oxford together.” Edward already headed toward the phone on Jason’s desk.
“Grandfather no! I chose Penn State because that is where I want to go. I don’t want to go to Harvard or Yale and I won’t. I leave in three weeks. I will be home to start packing next week.”
Three hours later Emily was sitting alone in the kitchen. Finally her family had left. Monica and Alan had been less than thrilled with Emily’s decision but had eventually supported her. Edward left still trying to convince her of the virtues of Harvard and Yale. She had to love them, but they often made it difficult even for her to tolerate their antics. She briefly wished her grandmother was still alive. She always had a way with Edward.
She idly stirred her coffee when she heard the door swing open behind her. She turned and came face to face with the man who had been on the fringes of her thoughts all day.
Renaldo contemplated turning around, but he couldn’t bring his feet to move. “Ms. Quartermaine,” he said simply.
Emily was surprised and a little hurt by his formality. She had hoped that the previous evening had occupied his thoughts as it had hers. She supposed she had been right about his motivations, he only comforted her out of loyalty to her brother. To mask her hurt, she stood and moved towards the sink. She placed her coffee mug in the sink and turned around. “Hello Renaldo. I was just finishing up. Have a nice evening.” Emily brushed past him and quickly exited the room. Once outside the door, she brushed the tear that had escaped unchecked from her cheek.
Renaldo was left with only the scent of her. He
kicked himself for chasing her away. She had been on his mind all
day and his heart had nearly leapt out of his chest at the sight of her.
Having lost his appetite, he turned and returned to work, his break forgotten.