Emma sat in shocked silence, waiting for Sean to correct himself. There was no way he had actually just said that.
When she didn't say anything, Sean snapped out of the trance like state he was in. He took in Emma's stunned expression and knew instantly that he had just made a huge mistake. "I'm sorry, Em," he told her hastily, "I have no idea what came over me."
"You mean you didn't intend to propose?" she asked, half relieved, half disappointed.
"It's only … I just …" he stammered. Sean licked his lips anxiously. Yeah, he wanted to marry Emma someday. But he'd never meant to just blurt it out like that.
He took a deep breath. "I didn't mean to just…say it like that."
Emma smiled at him, her hand finding its way to his cheek. "It's okay."
"You're not mad?" he asked. He had been certain that Emma would be freaking out, not just because he had asked her, but that he hadn't even been planning to do it. Her reaction was more than a little surprising.
"Why would I be mad? You want to marry me." She leaned in closer and kissed him softly. "That's amazing."
Sean blushed. "Of course I do," he mumbled.
Emma giggled at his embarrassment. He may not think so, but to her it was adorable. She scooted closer to him, wrapping her arms around his neck, burying her face against his cheek. She was feeling really sappy in the way only Sean could make her feel; usually when he wasn't even trying.
Sean continued to blush a little, but wrapped an arm around her waist. "So, can we pretend that didn't happen?"
Emma shook her head emphatically. "No way. I love that you love me that much. I'm never gonna forget that you asked me."
Sean squirmed a bit. "But it was…"
"It was sweet," she interjected. "And it came from your heart. That's all that matters."
Sean was clearly uncomfortable still talking about this. He just wanted to pretend that it never happened. "Okay, then let's just change the subject. What about tomorrow? Are you really sure you want to do this?"
Emma sighed, disgruntled at the startling loss of tenderness in the moment. "Sean, I wouldn't have agreed if I didn't."
"You agreed to help me, not because you're dying to do this," he said.
Emma pulled away from him a bit and glanced up at the remaining pink streaks in the sky. "Honestly," she said, "it isn't something I'm particularly thrilled about, but you asked me and it's important to you, so I'm going to do it."
Sean tangled his hand in her hair, pushing it away from her face so he could see her expression, and causing her to look over at him. He gave her a small smile. "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"
She lost the battle to keep her face neutral and returned his smile. "I think so."
Sean peeped around the corner the next day at school. "Okay. Here comes Peter. Ready?"
"As I'll ever be," she said.
Emma took a deep breath and went around the corner, setting her face in an expression of anger. "I can't believe you, Sean."
Sean's face was a mirror of her own forced outrage as she yelled at him. "Me? I'm not the cheater," he retorted.
The entirety of the Degrassi hallway had stopped to watch the spectacle at Emma's first words, but Sean's comments sent the crowd into a fury of whispers.
Emma felt a real flush creep up her face just from being the center of attention. "For the last time, I did not cheat. He kissed me."
"And you stopped him? I saw you, Emma. You were just as into it as he was."
Emma was at her locker and slammed it open, turning her face away from her boyfriend. "I'm not doing this here, Sean."
"Why not?" he demanded, catching sight of Peter inching his way to the front of the crowd. "If you really do have nothing to hide, why not declare it in front of everybody?" Sean spread his arms out to indicate the crowd gathered around them.
She whirled, her entire face red with anger and embarrassment. "Because I'm not interested in the whole school knowing my business."
By this time, all the classes had been dismissed and the flow of students passing through that particular hallway on the way to their next classes got caught up in the crowd. Manny and JT were coming from English and noticed the large gathering, and Sean and Emma at the center of it. They forced their way through the throng to their friends.
"Em, what's going on?" Manny asked, coming up to and placing a hand on Emma's arm.
"Go ahead, Emma. Tell them," Sean prodded, crossing his arms over his chest.
JT reached Emma's other side and glared at Sean, thinking back to the time when he really couldn't stand him because of what he always did to Emma. Looking at him right then, he could have been the exact same guy who had broken her heart before with his callous actions.
"There's nothing to tell," Emma replied.
"Really? What about you making out with Jay?" Sean demanded.
Manny's mouth dropped open and she looked over at Emma. Her best friend was glaring daggers at Sean, her eyes full of tears and something else. Something that looked a lot like guilt.
"He kissed me," Emma whispered.
Sean walked closer to her, noting the way Manny and JT tensed at his approach. "And you stopped him, right?"
"Sean, I love you. Jay doesn't mean anything to me," she told him, her voice louder now but still quavering.
Sean snorted. "He meant enough for you to get into that van."
There was a collective intake of breath from the crowd. Emma and Jay weren't a secret, but nobody ever mentioned it to Emma's face.
Sean had come up with the idea for Emma to punch him, like she had with Peter, but Emma had refused from the start. Sean had never once reproached her for what had happened between her and Jay. But now that he had actually thrown it back in her face in their mock fight, she let herself get so carried away that she lost control and before she even realize it was happening, her hand flew up and struck him as hard as she could across his cheek.
Sean's eyes stung from the contact with Emma's hand. He glanced at her, her chest heaving with the ragged breathing from her mock rage. "Go to hell, Sean," she spat and stormed off down the hall.
She stopped outside the atrium, waiting for Peter. Emma knew him well enough to know he'd be there in three…two…one…
"Emma!" Peter yelled down the hallway.
"Not now, Peter," she pleaded, making her voice sound as pitiful as possible.
"What was all that about?" he asked, ignoring her plea.
Emma took a deep breath. This was it. "Sean and I were hanging out at his place last night when Jay came over. Sean went out to get a pizza, and Jay kissed me right as Sean was walking back inside. He accused me of cheating," She looked up at Peter, surprised to see him looking sympathetic instead of gloating. "Go ahead; I'm sure you're dying to rub it in. Turnabout's fair play, right?"
"I would never say that, Emma. Honest. I'm just sorry he hurt you again." Peter replied. His voice actually sounded honest for a change. It took everything she had not to call him out on it.
"You know," he began, "I'm here if you ever want to talk." He placed a hand on her arm and she resisted the urge to smack it away.
She smiled weakly. "Thanks. I better get to class."
Peter nodded and she walked off, fighting the urge to shudder as she headed toward the MI lab. She knew Manny and JT would have told Snake everything by now and that he would be waiting for her.
Out of nowhere a strong arm reached out and ensnared her by the waist, pulling her into the janitor's closet just outside the lab.
Sean removed his hand from Emma's mouth and grinned at her devilishly. He hadn't wanted her to scream, but hoped she wouldn't be angry about it.
"That wasn't very nice," She pushed her lips out in pout and gave him the big puppy eyes she knew he couldn't resist. It pretty much guaranteed her anything she wanted out of him.
Sean knew what she was trying to do, but gave in anyway. "Anything I can do to make it up to you?" he asked, skimming his hands up her bare arms.
Emma smirked, leaning in to kiss him. "Maybe," she said and twisted her fingers in his long curls. She noticed that Sean's cheek was red and appeared to have finger like marks on his skin. She kissed the place where her hand had landed gingerly. "I'm sorry."
Sean shook his head. "Don't be. It worked, and I had it coming from way back."
"No, you didn't," Emma protested. She didn't want to get into their complicated past right now. It wouldn't help anything.
Emma looked around the dark space skeptically. "I had no idea that it was so big in here."
Sean followed her gaze. "Yeah, no wonder I had to wait ten minutes to get in here," He smirked at the recollection of the looks on the faces of the grade nines when they saw him upon their exit.
"You locked the door, right?" Emma asked.
Emma slid her hands down Sean's back and up under his shirt. "Good. Because until this thing is over, we're stuck in here if we want to be alone."
Sean let his hands take place on Emma's hips, pulling her closer to him. "Hmm, sneaking around to make out with my girlfriend on school ground. Tough job, but somebody's gotta do it."
She shook her head, chuckling. "You're a bit of a perv. You know that, don't you?"
"That's why you love me," Sean quipped, kissing her deeply and cutting off her reply. Emma let her comment go, figuring it could wait for later.