A/N: Special thanks to TrappedinAb0x, PsYcHoJo, snoopysbestbud, xxmurdahhmamixx, WritingIsMyDream, be11011, Yelak & darkmonkey for your reviews of my last Degrassi fic, Don't You Want Me?
This story is just something random that came to mind…
"Emma, it's almost ten o'clock." Christine 'Spike' Nelson-Simpson called out to her daughter, from the top of the stairs that led down to Emma's basement bedroom.
"I know. I'm just waiting for Chris to get here." Emma replied.
"Are you sure that you don't want me to drive you two over to Stouffville?" Spike asked her daughter, "Snake has been feeling alot better since he finished his chemo. He's going to be spending the entire afternoon in the park with Jack, so, as he says it, they can have some 'man- time' together."
"Mom, everything's fine." Emma said, as she walked up the basement stairs and into the kitchen where her mother was feeding her baby brother Jack, "This is like the first Saturday in forever that you have some time for yourself, and I don't want to mess that up. Besides, Stouffville is only about an hour away, and it'll give Chris and me some time alone on the train to talk before we get there."
Once Emma made it to the top of the staircase, she stopped and leaned up against the wall near the basement entrance.
"I think he's really nervous about meeting Shane, even though I keep telling him there's nothing to worry about."
"And how about you, sweetheart? How do you feel about going to see Shane again?" Spike inquired.
"I want to see him, but I guess I'm feeling a little nervous too. I think it's just because I want everything to go perfect." Emma answered.
"When I spoke to Shane's primary caretaker at the hospital, she said that he's been doing a lot better. They said he's been making improvements in controlling his emotions over the last few months, and they think he's ready for visitors now." Spike revealed, as she finished feeding Jack and took him into the living room to lay him down in his basinet.
"I guess I'm just worried that I won't know what to say to him once we get there." Emma confessed, as she followed her mother.
"You knew just the right things to say to Shane when he showed up here." Spike told her.
"But that was different. I was just trying to calm him down and make sure that you were okay." Emma responded.
Just then, the doorbell at the Simpson residence rang on the fairly breezy Saturday morning.
"Sorry for being so late, Em. I had to pick up some new records for a party that I'm D.J.-ing tomorrow night." Chris Sharpe said as Emma answered the door. She then greeted him with a small kiss to the side of his face.
"Guess I should start showing up late more often?" Chris stated, following Emma's small show of affection.
"You'd better not." Emma smirked.
"Hello, Mrs. Simpson. How're you, and my pint-sized partner Jack, doin'?" Chris said to Emma's Mom, as he stepped into the living room.
"We're fine." Spike said, as she smiled at Chris' comment.
"So, are you ready to go? We don't have much time before the next train leaves." Chris told Emma.
"Yeah, just a minute." Emma replied, as she walked over to the hall closet to grab her coat and a small bag that was inside.
As soon as she got both items, Emma turned back to her mother.
"We shouldn't be back too late."
"Okay. Just remember to call if you run into any problems." Spike said from the living room sofa, as she watched the front door close behind Emma and Chris as they left. Spike wanted things on her daughter's visit to go well, just as much as Emma did.
After a brief bus ride to the train station, Chris and Emma soon boarded their train and they were off, heading towards Stouffville.
"Em, you really think your dad is going to like me?" Chris asked her, as he sat in a seat that was in between Emma and the train window.
"What is there not to like about you?" Emma answered, with a huge smile.
"I don't know, what if I say the wrong thing to him?" Chris replied.
Emma finally realized what had been bothering Chris for the last few weeks, ever since she had asked him to join her on her trip.
"You mean, because of his disability?" Emma asked Chris.
"It's just that I've never really spent much time around people like that. I don't want to ask or say something that's gonna hurt his feelings, or your's." Chris confessed.
"Chris, this whole thing is new to me too." Emma started, " I mean, it hasn't been that long since I even found out about him."
"Still, I just don't want him to think that his daughter is dating some insensitive jerk." Chris continued.
"Don't worry. He's going to love you, just like me." Emma said, as she held Chris' hand.
Emma and Chris continued their conversation for the rest of the train ride. They continued to talk about her biological father, but they also talked about other subjects. Such as the rave that Chris had D.J.-ed the night before and about Emma's latest petition. This time, she was asking the auto-industry and the Canadian government to increase the funding for research into building vehicles that were both environmentally-friendly and more fuel efficient.
The hour-long ride seemingly flew by to the two travelers, and before long, Chris and Emma were walking up to the front of the Barrington Manor care facility that Shane McKay resided at.
"This is it." Emma said to Chris, as she opened the door that led to large front area inside.
As the couple walked through the large building, they opened the door of an office with a sign that read, Facility Supervision and Coordination. Department Head, Ms. Jennifer Smith.
The pair then walked up to a large desk inside of the office where the assistant head of staff, Mrs. Lloyd, was sitting.
"Hello," Emma said, as she stood in front of the desk, "My name is Emma Nelson and I'm here to see my father, Shane McKay."
"Yes, we've been expecting you." Mrs. Lloyd said as she stood up, "I believe I spoke to your mother last week about setting up visitation arrangements. Please, follow me."
Mrs. Lloyd took Emma and Chris outside of the office and had them take a seat in a couple of chairs there.
"Shane is currently in a therapy session, but should be done any minute." Mrs. Lloyd said, as she turned and walked down the corridor in front of them before disappearing around a corner.
As the couple waited, a group of about four men ran by them in an extreme hurry. Emma and Chris saw them disappear around the corner at the end of the hallway, and then they could hear what sounded like screaming and fighting down there. After a few minutes, the four staff members came around the corner restraining a man that appeared to be in his early forties. Chris had seen a photograph of Emma's father and realized instantly that this patient being taken away wasn't him, but the event still managed to unnerve him a little bit.
"Um, Emma, maybe I should let you spend some time alone with your Dad first. I don't want him getting upset that I'm barging in on your visit." Chris told her, with uneasiness in his voice.
"Chris, trust me, you don't have anything to worry about." Emma quickly replied, "Plus, I'd feel way more relaxed with you there next to me.
"All right." Chris agreed, as he put whatever apprehension that he was feeling aside for Emma's sake.
After a few more minutes of waiting, the individual that Emma and Chris had come to see stood only a few feet from them.
"Hello Emma." Shane McKay said, as Mrs. Lloyd stood next to him.
"Hi, Shane." Emma said as she stood up from her chair to greet her father. She then turned to introduce the person next to her, "This is Chris, my boyfriend."
"Hello." Shane said, as he waved at Chris.
"You can visit with Shane in his room for a bit." Mrs. Lloyd said, as she led all three of them up to Shane's room on the third floor.
After showing them inside to the room, Mrs. Lloyd left and told Emma and Chris that she would be at the staff's workstation on that floor, if they needed her.
Shane sat on his bed and his two visitors each took a seat in the room. They sat for a few minutes in silence, as Shane looked intensely at a book that had been given to him by his therapist. The book was a collection of photographs of different locations around the world. Shane's therapist had given it to him as part of relaxation exercise she was teaching him, where he tried to imagine himself being in each one of the locations.
"Um, Shane, how have you been?" Emma asked him, as she broke the silence in the room.
"Okay." Shane said, as he looked up at her from the book, "They said if I was good, I would get to see you again, so I've been trying real hard."
"Here, I brought something for you." Emma said, as Chris handed her the bag that she had brought with her as she went to go sit next to Shane.
As Shane looked inside, Emma explained each of the gifts that she had brought for him.
"There are some cookies inside of that foil paper, Mom helped me bake them for you last night. And I also brought you some more knitting stuff, just in case you needed it."
"What's this?" Shane asked Emma, as one other thing in the bag instantly caught his attention, and he couldn't take his eyes off of it once he picked it up.
"It's a picture of you holding me when I was still a baby. Mom and Caitlin found it a few weeks ago, when they were going through some old boxes in the attic." Emma started, "They said someone took it one day when Mom had me at your school, she said it was right before my first Christmas. I went and had some copies made, and I brought one for you to keep."
"Wow, it's Emma. But not Big Emma. Little Emma." Shane said, as he stared at the framed photograph.
Emma and Shane talked for a while longer, about school and her grades, her environmental club, how big Jack was getting, and the different exercises that Shane had learned in his therapy sessions. Before long, Mrs. Lloyd had returned to the door.
"This is Shane's scheduled lunch time. You two are welcome to join him in the staff lounge." Mrs. Lloyd said, as Emma and Chris got up to join Shane downstairs.
As they were walking, Mrs. Lloyd explained that they didn't have much in the way of visitor accommodations because, as sad as it sounded, it was very rare that their patients got any visitors. And when they did, usually it was only for a few minutes.
"Just make yourselves comfortable." Mrs. Lloyd said as Emma and Chris each carried a tray alongside Mrs. Lloyd to a round table where Shane was sitting. After Mrs. Lloyd brought Shane his tray, the trio was once again left alone. As they started eating, Shane broke the silence at the table.
"I like French fries. French fries and macaroni & cheese." Shane announced.
Chris simply nodded his head in agreement, while Emma looked back down at her tray.
Then a few minutes later, without warning, Chris suddenly busted out laughing.
"What, exactly, is so funny?" Emma sharply asked Chris, as she shot him a look that said 'What the hell are you doing?'.
"Don't worry, it ain't nothin' bad, Emma." Chris told her, as he put his arm around her, "I just noticed your Dad picked Lime Jello with Bananas for dessert."
"So?" Emma questioned.
"There's only one person I know that loves that combination, I mean, like as in craves the stuff." Chris continued.
"Who's that?" Shane wanted to know.
"Me." Emma smiled, "At least now, I know where I get it from."
Following lunch, Emma, Shane, and Chris went to spend the rest of the afternoon together in the courtyard around Barrington Manor.
"It's nice out here." Emma said, as the group walked around outside.
"I like it out here too." Shane said in agreement.
Just then, a gust of wind came up and knocked Chris' trademark hat off of his head. Chris managed to run a few yards to retrieve the hat, before the breeze carried it away.
"At least you caught your hat before it blew away completely." Emma said, as Chris walked back to rejoin the group, "It'd be hard to imagine you without it."
"Actually, I've been thinking of changin' my style a bit." Chris replied.
"Just stay away from Fedoras." Shane, surprisingly, remarked.
With that comment, Emma couldn't help but laugh really hard at what Shane had said. But, she also couldn't help but be amazed at the fact that, despite all he had been through, Shane still had a sense of humor. It was something that her Mom had told her about, when she tried to describe to her daughter some of what Shane's personality was like before his accident. For a split-second, it was like she had a window into what that person was like.
"What's so funny?" Chris asked, as Shane and Emma were both still giggling together.
"It's an inside joke. I'll explain it later." Emma said, as she finally managed to stop herself.
Just then, Emma happened to look down at her watch and saw what time it was. She remembered her last trip to Stouffville, and how she and Craig had been stranded when they missed the last train home. She decided that she didn't want to make a repeat performance today.
"Chris, it's getting late. The last train home is going to be leaving after a while, so we better get going." Emma said to him.
"No, you can't go! Not yet." Shane protested.
"Shane, you know I'm coming back, just like I promised before." Emma told him, hoping that her words would calm him down.
"It's not that. I have to show you your present. Wait here." Shane said, as he hurriedly went back inside with a member of the staff.
"Emma, what is he talking about?" Chris asked her.
"I…I don't know." Emma replied, dumbfounded.
A few minutes passed before Shane came back outside, with his hands behind his back.
"Here it is. I wanted to wrap it. But I had trouble with the wrapping paper." Shane said, as he handed her a large light-blue gift bag.
Emma took a peak in the bag, and was surprised by what she saw.
"Shane, these are incredible. You must've been working on these since the last time I saw you." Emma said, as she pulled out two well-crafted sweaters that Shane had knitted over the last few months.
"One is for you. And one is for the new baby." Shane told her, "If he doesn't like it. I can make another one."
"Don't worry, Jack's going to like it just fine." Emma assured him.
After Emma put the sweaters that were so thoughtfully made back into the bag, she, Chris, and Shane made their way to the front of Barrington Manor. Now it really was time to say good-bye.
"It was nice meeting you, sir." Chris said, as he reached out to shake Shane's hand.
"You can call me Shane. Everybody calls me Shane. That's my name." Shane replied.
"Ah'ight then, Shane." Chris told him.
Then Shane turned towards Emma's direction, as she stood a few feet from him.
"Bye-bye, Emma." Shane said, as he gave her a small hand wave.
Instead of responding with a hand wave, Emma walked over close to Shane.
"Bye, Dad." Emma said, as she hugged her father tightly and kissed him on the side of his face, "I'll be back to visit again real soon."
"Okay." Shane replied, as Emma finally released their extended embrace.
With that, Emma and Chris headed down the street to make it to their train before it departed. Shane stood there in the front of Barrington Manor watching them, until the pair were completely out of his view.
"We made it, with a few minutes to spare." Emma said, as she and Chris sat down on a bench in the Stouffville train station.
"You know, I'm glad I came here with you. Shane's a really cool guy." Chris told her.
"Told you so." Emma smirked.
"You tell me a lot of things." Chris shot back.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Emma smiled, as she waited for Chris to put his foot in his mouth.
"All I'm sayin', is that it's a good thing that I'm a good listener." Chris said, as he teased her.
"Are you trying to say I talk too much?" Emma inquired, waiting for a response.
"Those words never left my mouth." Chris continued smiling, as he looked up in the air, non-chalantly.
"You think you are so funny, 'Hat-Man'." Emma giggled.
Emma then leaned over as they sat on the bench and gave Chris a kiss directly on the lips.
"How do you like my big mouth now?" Emma asked him.
"Just fine, 'Miss Emma Nelson'." Chris replied, as he gazed deep into her eyes while they sat and continued to wait.
Within a matter of minutes, Chris and Emma's train arrived. They soon boarded it, and the Last Train from Stouffville set off, shuttling the happy couple home.