Summary: Futuristic. Talia and Emily were a couple briefly but broke up when Paige returned. Talia left town. 'Paily' didn't end up working out anyway and so flash-forward several years, and Talia walks into the restaurant Emily owns on a snowy night in Philadelphia.
A/N: I am writing this because I already ship "Emilia" hardcore. So if you don't like them, please don't read. Thanks.
On A Snowy Night
"Brrrrr," waitress Isis McGru said as she scuttled through the restaurant kitchen, zipping past Emily Fields. Emily was busy stirring a big pot of mushroom and rice risotto. Mushroom and rice risotto, it seemed, that no one would ever eat. At least not tonight – not when half of the roads were closed and the Channel 7 meteorologist (cough, weather girl, cough) was predicting a snowstorm to end all snowstorms. People were holed up in their houses for the duration of the storm - as if Armageddon was coming. Emily couldn't bring herself to care about the weather. All she cared about was that there were pounds and pounds of food before her and no one to eat it.
Isis, a tiny pixie blonde, and Emily's best - if a little flighty waitress - ran to the radiator and cranked up the heat once again. This time to a blistering 100-something degrees. Emily raised an eyebrow. "It's not that cold."
"Oh yes it is! I'm turning into a snowman – or is that a snowwoman?" Isis returned. She bundled up tighter in her black bomber jacket. "Every sane person is home in their beds," she muttered under her breath. Emily just shook her head.
"Someone is going to come in here tonight, Isis," Emily said as she put down the stirrer. "Someone has to."
"Okay…" Isis said. Emily could tell that she was doubtful. Isis peeked over the counter, into the dining room, searching the empty space with her wide, perceptive green eyes. "Well, at least I hope someone does... Do I still get paid though if no one shows up?"
Emily just rolled her eyes as the clock ticked on, seemingly too noisily, as she returned to furiously stirring. Every minute that went by, the pasta shells became more sticky. They were already beginning to cling to the sides of the massive pot.
Isis kept dancing around on the heels of the five-inch stilettos she insisted on wearing, moaning "brrr" and chattering her teeth loudly and obnoxiously. She was giving Emily a headache but still, Emily tried to ignore her. However, when the clock chimed nine p.m. she too knew that it was hopeless.
She looked at Isis burrowed up in her big jacket. "You can go home."
"What'd you say?"
"I said, you can go home. No one's coming out in this weather; I think we both know that." She sighed loudly. She hated to see all this good food go to waste. Her restaurant was a start-up which meant they didn't have a lot of money to waste. Still, she might as well clean up and head out herself before the roads got too bad and she was marooned in her car for the night, praying that the cheap heater didn't give out.
"Yeah," Isis said, trying to sound regretful, but failing. She was actually grinning like the village idiot. "Thanks, Boss. I'll help you clean up and then-"
"There's not much to clean up," Emily said. "I'll close up myself. Just do me a favor and take some of this risotto with you. I don't want it all to go to waste."
"Okay, yummy," Isis said. She pulled a Styrofoam container out from under the counter and started to fill it up as Emily stepped aside.
"Yes. As much as you can carry," Emily said. "I'll freeze the rest and hope it keeps awhile."
"Have you ever tried freezing risotto?" Isis asked doubtfully.
"No, but with this weather we could probably leave it on the counter and it'd turn to ice. Not that I'm going to do that," Emily said. "The Health Inspector would never forgive me. I wouldn't forgive me."
As she scooped food into a second container, Isis looked at Emily sideways, almost as if she thought Emily was crazy. And just maybe Emily was, actually thinking that she could open a restaurant called Fields of Glory two blocks from 6th and Market Street - where the Liberty Bell hung in all its cracked wonder - and expect enough people to actually dine here when there were a hundred much more upscale eateries in the area. Crazy to think she would make enough money here to stay out of the red…
Her biggest fear – okay, one of them – was that she was going to lose this place. Then what would she do with herself? Scurry back to Rosewood with her tail between her legs?
Emily waved at Isis impatiently. "Just go," she said testily. She would regret her attitude in the morning but for now all she wanted was to be alone, which was easily accomplished considering there were no customers.
"Okay, Boss," Isis said. She snuck a look at Emily. "See you tomorrow?"
"If the roads are all clear, yes. If not… Well, I'll call you either way, if the phone lines aren't down." Emily hated to lose a day of business but what could she do? People just weren't in the fine dining mood.
"Alright! Night!" Isis said. She bagged her cartons of food and hurried out.
Emily looked around. "What a waste," she murmured. The restaurant was open till eleven every night and here they were packing it in two whole hours before closing time. It was such a shame. She felt like all of her dreams were going up in smoke.
She started pouring the rice and mushrooms into a freezer container when the phone on the wall rang. She looked at it almost warily and then moved to it, pulling it free from the base.
"Fields of Glory. This is Chef Emily speaking," she said.
"Em, hi! It's your mom," Pam Fields's familiar, soft voice greeted her. "I am so glad I caught you."
"Is something wrong?"
"Well, I was just watching the news. Philadelphia is apparently up to its eyeballs in snow."
"So I noticed," Emily said, looking out the window as snow flurries zipped by.
"I just wanted to check on you, make sure you're alright."
I'm not alright, Emily thought. Not at all. Aloud, she simply said, "I'm fine."
"Tell me you're not going to drive in that weather."
"Well I need to get home somehow."
"Just try to wait out the storm," Pam said. "Just for a bit anyway. You've got food and drink, a working heater too, I assume. That little sofa in the entryway would make a nice bed..."
Emily smiled in spite of herself. Look at her Mom. Taking care of her even from miles away. "I'll be fine," she said again.
"Are you sure? If your Dad and I could get up there-"
"Don't bother. You're right, the storm is bad and the roads are too slick. Just stay put and I'll do the same."
"Good, my girl," Pam said. "I'll let you go for the night. Call me though if you need anything at all. You have my phone number," she said with a chuckle.
"Night, honey, I love you."
"I love you too, Mom," Emily said. "Bye." She then hung up, returning the cordless phone to its base. She was about to return to storing the food when she heard the front door whoosh open with a clatter.
"Hello?" She called out. Did she actually have a customer – a paying customer who could help her off-load all of this food?
She hurried into the dining area, forcing a wide smile to her face. "Hello. Welcome to Fields of –" She broke off as she saw who was standing there, looking perfectly put together in spite of the fierce weather outside.
"Talia?" She said, after she could find her voice. "What are you-"
"Hello, Emily," Talia Sandoval greeted her. "Longtime, no see, right?"
Emily nodded. "What brings you by? Cause we're actually closed." She bounced anxiously on the balls of her feet.
Talia looked at the sign in the window. "It says you're open until eleven P.M. If I'm not mistaken, it's not even nine-thirty yet."
"Well we closed the kitchen early because of the storm." Emily felt so lame. She couldn't figure out why she was so desperate to make Talia leave. She had dreamt of seeing her again, looking just as beautiful as she remembered. But here Talia was and Emily was freaking out.
She decided it was her guilt at work - her guilt eating away at her like an insidious virus. She had tossed Talia aside four years ago for a pipedream and – And dammit, why did Talia still have to look so damn good?
"So you want me to go," Talia said.
"I – I don't …No," Emily blurted out. "No don't go. I cooked a big pot of risotto and I need some help eating it all," she said, feeling even more lame than before. "So stay … I guess."
Talia nodded and slipped off her thick burgundy coat with seemingly little hesitation. Her black hair fell in perfect waves down her back. She smiled. "Don't mind if I do."
TO BE CONTINUED.