High Expectations

by angellwings

Emma's opinions on the men who shaped her dating philosophy.

Mr. Woodhouse

People always seemed surprised to hear Emma say she planned to be single. She didn't quite understand why. Sure, she was a catch. She knew that, but she refused to let just anyone "catch" her. She had very high standards and so far she'd found that no romantic prospect had actually met them. So, what was the point? She could waste her time trying to find an eligible bachelor who met all her requirements or she could spend her time on something more worthwhile. Like improving other people's lives with her own exceptional taste and wisdom. It was one of those "If you can't do, teach" situations. So, her perfect match wasn't going to work out. That shouldn't stop her from helping other people find theirs.

Besides, it's not like she came to this decision lightly. There were many events that influenced her throughout her entire life. Starting, of course, with her own father. She adored her father. He had always been there for her. He very clearly loved her and protected her, but even she could admit (never outloud and to no one but herself) that her dear old dad came with certain…baggage. She was certainly no shut in but he'd kept her in on more than a few nights. He enjoyed the comfort of his home and since he was influential enough now to have his money and business come to him he was rarely forced to leave.

Their vacation to Italy had been the first one they'd taken in years, and even that had been hard fought and sorely gained. If Alex hadn't put his talents for "boring stuff" to good use and persuaded her father to go for practical business reasons the trip never would have happened. But he swooped in with spreadsheets and budgets from her father's international investments and scheduled meetings for her father while they were there. Sure the rest of her trip hadn't worked out, but without Alex she wouldn't have gotten her father as far away from home as she did.

She loved her father and she'd do anything to keep him happy but taking care of him consumed a lot of her time (and her heart.) Could she really afford to care about another man just as much? She was afraid a romantic partner would tie her down as much as her father already did. She took care of him happily. Really, she did, but sometimes the weight of his dependence on her felt suffocating. She didn't know if she could bear feeling that way about anyone else.

"Emma," her father called from his recliner. "What are you reading that has you so engrossed?"

She glanced down at the book she was pretending to read and then smiled at her father. "Pride and Prejudice."

Her father grunted before he looked over at Alex, who sat in the arm chair next to him. "Those poor parents. I worry enough with two daughters. I can't imagine worrying over five of them."

Alex smirked at Emma before turning back to her father. "I think we all worry about one of your daughters in particular, Mr. Woodhouse."

Emma glared playfully at Alex. "I can take care of myself, Mr. Knightley. Thank you."

"Is that why you haven't done anything about how drafty your office is?" Mr. Woodhouse asked teasingly. "You're going to catch a cold one day, Emma." The second half was not teasing. He was sincerely worried about her chilly office causing her to come down with a cold.

"Dad, our offices are not drafty—"

"Not anymore they're not," Alex assured Mr. Woodhouse. "I took care of that weeks ago."

Emma's brow furrowed in confusion. "You did?"

Alex smiled kindly at her and nodded. "I did."

"It was the windows wasn't it?" Mr. Woodhouse asked. He then continued with a grumble. "I knew those windows were going to be a problem when Emma had them installed."

"I did have those checked like you suggested. However, it turned out to be our thermostat. It was broken. I had a repairman come to the office while the two of you were off having adventures in Italy," Knightley said with a wide grin.

"Thank you, Alex, I feel better knowing Emma has you in that office with her. You two always seem to take good care of eachother," Mr. Woodhouse exclaimed before he dropped the subject and went back to reviewing the first quarter earnings that Alex had brought him.

Alex met Emma's eyes and smiled affectionately at her.

"Yeah, I guess we do, dad," Emma said as she smiled gratefully at Alex and then silently mouthed the words "thank you" to him. He shrugged as if to tell her it was no big deal. And maybe it wasn't to him, but it was to her. She mentally added "anticipates my needs" to her list of high expectations. If she were to ever settle down she would need someone with the ability to make her and her father's lives easier.