I do not own the main characters (Lu, Marc, Lana, Peter, Andy, Nick and Robert) in this story, they belong to Lifetime. I also sometimes mix the original storyline with my own.
Chapter 6: Double Surprise
Marc opened the door for Mickey. The tall latino entered and looked around. For some reason he always did that. He knew the apartment from the inside, he knew what it looked like and what was where. But he could never resist to quickly skim across the room, just seeing what it looked like and what was where again. Whether it had any purpose.. even Mickey didn't know.
"So, how are you doin', kid?" he asked Marc.
Always the first question to be asked, so it seems. "Fine," he answered. He couldn't help but notice that almost everyone says something positive in response to that question. Even when in reality it's not, when 'fine' simply is a little automatic lie hiding true feelings within from others. There's not much meaning left for the question itself. Though nobody ceases to ask. "You?"
"Well.." Mickey started as he sat down on the couch, "I, personally, am sick and tired of waiting for your mom all the time!" he joked, and turned to Marc. "Can't believe you still put up with that."
"As long as she doesn't insist on cooking for me by the time she gets home."
Their laughter was interrupted by a knock on the door. Marc went to open it.
"Hey, what's all the laughing for?" The sarcastic tone in the female voice was clearly present.
"Nothing special," Marc responded to his girlfriend. He noticed a short but awkward silence and realized that Nat and Mickey never met before. "Nat.. this is Miguel, a.k.a. Mickey. Mickey, Natalie."
Mickey stood up. "Nice to meet you."
Natalie smiled and shook his hand. She knew she appeared shy, especially when meeting someone who is a friend of the person she's with, but a stranger to her. Which, obviously, was the case here. A smile was the only way for her in attempt to cover that.
"Anyone fancy a drink?" Marc asked.
"I'd like some coke." Mickey said.
"Seems like I'm the only person who absolutely doesn't like that stuff." Natalie mentioned. "I'll have some water. Need help?"
Marc grinned. "Sure," he said. He didn't really mean it, but to him there was no reason not to be near her when possible. He walked towards the kitchen, closely followed by Natalie. Meanwhile, they heard a key open the door and Lu coming in.
"Mickey? What are you doing here?"
"What, you don't like it?" he teased.
Lu rolled her eyes. "I mean, hey, what a pleasant surprise," she teased back. And not the only one, Mickey thought. Lu took her coat off and sat down next to him.
"Want something to drink mom?" Marc's voice sounded from the kitchen.
"No thanks honey, just had a soda," she replied to her son.
"Right." Marc returned from the kitchen with two cokes. He handed one to Mickey and sat down. Natalie followed with a glass of water and sat down on a chair next to Marc.
"Nat?" Lu reacted surprised to seeing her. After all, she expected seeing neither Mickey nor Natalie. She expected to just catch a 10 o'clock with her son.
"Hi Lu." Natalie said. She didn't know what exactly was going on either.
"Marc?" Lu waited for an explanation.
Mickey saw the confusion rising. "Shall we just spill the beans then, Marc?" he suggested.
"Yeah, why not? They'd find out sooner or later." Marc said to Mickey, almost as if Lu and Nat weren't there. "I mean, the woman with the biggest mouth in the neighborhood combined with the smartest girl in class.. can't keep secrets from them too long, can we?"
Lu and Nat looked at each other. Nat poked Marc in his side.
"Hey, okay, okay, I'll quit it," he quickly responded. "Let's just say.. we're not exactly going to the movies."
"That I figured out by now," Lu said with a hint of irony in her voice.
"We're taking you out on a date." Mickey said in addition. "Marc and Nat, you and I.. same place we went to on our double date with Anna and.. Joey." He shrugged as he remembered when Lu told him that his best friend didn't make it. Mickey did him a favor the night it happened, he traded with him because Joey hated being chauffeur. But when Joey went in with the guys, the building collapsed.
At the same time Lu remembered seeing all the firemen in the ER, seeing Anna coming in, seeing Joey dead.. not seeing Mickey until more than a day later, being worried to death. Then she had to give him that bad news.. a chill went down her spine. She quickly tucked the memory away in the back of her mind as she felt Mickey's hands taking hers.
"Can we go now, before we die of starvation?" Marc joked to break the silence.
"I moved in with my parents," Vanessa mentioned, pulling her shirt down after an ultrasound.
"And Zach?" Lu wondered.
"I.. I haven't seen him since.." Vanessa turned her head away as she felt emotions rising. "You know. It's been a month."
Lu nodded. "Did you report him to the police, Vanessa?"
Lu stood up. She knew she couldn't force Vanessa to press charges. She knew how hard it was to be expecting a child alone as young as she was. This must have been more than Vanessa could handle.
She tried to satisfy her thoughts with the fact that she would at least be safer in her parents house. Without Zach. Thinking that should be good enough for now didn't take away the worries - neither for Lu, nor for Vanessa. Lu realized she heard a soft cry starting. She put her hands on Vanessa's shoulders to try and comfort her. Vanessa turned her head back to Lu, her eyes drowning in tears.
"I'm scared, Lu."
"I know." Lu sighed as images from her past floated through her mind. "I know."
Lu took another bite of her food and tried to stop thinking of what happened at work that day.
"This stuff is good!" Marc said with his mouth full.
"I know!" Mickey responded.
"Doesn't look half as good in your open mouth, Marc." Lu teased. She could spend years trying to teach him some table manners – she did, actually – but nothing seemed to do the trick.
"Told you the Mexican food here is delicious," Mickey reminded him.
"You don't have to tell me that, I'll take Mexican anywhere." Marc replied.
"Besides at home." Mickey added, to which Lu reacted with a combination of a deeply offended and an I'm-about-to-burst-out-laughing face. They could never stop teasing her about her cooking skills. Which, according to Marc, were nonexistent.
"This burrito is nice too. At home we eat them too sometimes. We'll have a table full different kinds of beans, meat, salad, sauces and stuff like that, and we fill them with whatever we like." Natalie explained. "I like it. It's really like a family party every time we do that."
"Sounds like something worth trying," Lu said. "At least everyone would be responsible for their own food."
"Yeah, so we won't be at risk for food poisoning." Marc joked.
Just as Lu was preparing to outsmart him, a beep sounded from her bag. "Why does that always happen when I'm on a date in here?" she said out of frustration as she grabbed her pager. At the double date with Anna and Joey she got paged also. "A patient of mine is on her way to the ER, I have to go," she stated as she stood up and grabbed her coat. "Don't expect me back here.. it won't be worth it, I'll just go home when I'm done there. I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It's okay." Mickey assured her. He gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Have fun for me, okay?" Lu said to him. Mickey nodded with a smile and watched her leave.
Not long after that, Lu arrived at Rittenhouse ER. She skimmed across the beds in attempt to find out who needed her. "Who paged me?" she yelled to make her presence known.
Lu recognized Nick's voice and hurried towards him. To her surprise she found Vanessa on the gurney. "What's going on?"
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