This was originally meant to come after 'Saturday', but I decided I didn't like it, so I wrote 'Next Week' instead. Now, I'm cleaning my hard drive once again, and decided that I actually do like this one, finished it, and that explanation was no doubt longer than any of you needed. Enjoy!
Emily looked at herself in the full-length mirror, studying the slight bump that her abdomen had become. She was just over four months pregnant now, and she was starting to show. She was no longer feeling constantly nauseas, but the fatigue just as bad as it had been, and to add to that she was constipated, had terrible heartburn, and the occasional nosebleed. The first time her nose began leaking blood, Matt nearly had a panic attack, and called her doctor in record time, only to find out that it was completely normal.
But Emily didn't feel different, aside from the wonderful physical side effects. She didn't feel like a mother, and she didn't feel like her life was going to be forever changed in just five months. Really she was just annoyed that she couldn't be in the field; she was already missing it. Not to mention missing her partner. Obviously, she saw Matt every night and weekends, but she missed working with him. She couldn't help, but become irrationally jealous when she saw Matt with his new partner, Anthony, or rather Tony, Marcellis. Tony was a nice guy, and a very good negotiator, which just made her more jealous.
"Hey, you almost ready?" Matt asked coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her, while kissing her neck.
"To got to a party where neither of us know the names of 70 percent of the people? Sure," Emily commented dryly.
"I know you aren't thrilled with this reception idea, but we did promise your parents, and besides, we can just find Cheryl, Lia, Frank, and Duff, and hide with them the whole night. Anyway, I'd like to show you off to all those people." He said, looking deep into her eyes, her head now angled slightly toward him. He'd moved his warm hands to rest on her exposed belly, and she rested hers over his.
This was one of the few times she didn't mind being pregnant. There was something distinctly intimate about them resting their hands together on her abdomen, right over where their child, their little creation, laying growing inside her.
"Fine, but you stay glued to my side the whole night," she warned. "I just have to get into my dress."
"You want some help with that?" He asked seductively.
"If we do that, we'll be late," she chastised him.
"Then you better get dressed, because you aren't helping matters standing there in your underwear," he shot back, before capturing her lips.
Emily moaned into his mouth, before pulling back, and shaking her head, with a distinct smile on her face.
"Can't blame me for trying," he smiled back.
Forty-five minutes later, Emily guided the car into her parent's driveway. If she couldn't be in the field, you better believe she'd be the one driving. Of course, Matt didn't even bother arguing. After seeing her cry over on of those feed the children in Africa commercials, he'd been very careful about what he chose to challenge her on. And who was driving just wasn't worth it.
He unbuckled his seatbelt and was about to pull the door handle, when he noticed that Emily was just sitting in her seat, unmoving, staring out the windshield. He sat back and turned toward her, nudging her gently.
"Are you alright?"
"I don't want to go in there."
"Em, honey, it's just a party. It will be fine," he tried to convince her, a little worried now.
"Matt, my parents don't throw parties, they throw events, and have you seen the guest list?" She demanded.
"Except for the people you and I wrote down, no I haven't."
"Yeah, me neither. I grew up going to these things Matt, I hated them then, and I hate them now. God only knows who they've invited to this one."
"Alright, I told you we'd stay glued together through the night, give me your hand and I won't let go until we walk back through that door."
"I'm going to hold you to that," she told him, getting out of the car. He hopped out, shaking his head at her, and waited for her to come around the front of the car, before taking her hand. He gave it a little squeeze, before they walked up the path and knocked on the door.
"Oh their here Walter!" Bonnie Lehman called behind her.
"Hi mom," Emily and her mother exchanged cheek kisses, before Bonnie planted one on Matt as she gave him a hug.
"Fabulous, most of the guests are already here. Head on out there, everybody is very excited." He said, pushing them toward the patio toward.
"Look, look, the happy couple has arrived!" Bonnie squealed as she preceded Matt and Emily out the door, and announced them in a melodramatic fashion.
They were briefly deafened by a round of clapping, before being overwhelmed by a crowd of gushing and congratulatory well-wishers. Matt and Emily stood, completely overwhelmed, shaking a few hands and kissing a few cheek kisses with the large group before extracting themselves, desperate for a chance to breathe.
Matt caught sight of four amused people watching them. Frank was laughing at their obvious discomfort, Cheryl was offering a sympathetic look, Duff was amusedly whispering something to Lia, who smiled then gently smacked his arm.
Matt gently tugged Emily's hand, and led them both over, away from the crowd which quickly dispersed.
"You parents can really throw a party Emily," Frank commented, amused expression still gracing his face.
"Hey, come on," Matt said, "I barely got her out of the car."
"You really didn't want to come that much?" Cheryl asked surprised.
"Just wait until I start running into people I haven't seen in ten years, then you'll all understand why," Emily answered defensively.
"Well, you can't beat all the presents," Lia grinned, titling her head toward her left shoulder.
Matt and Emily followed her lead, getting a first glance at the pile of neatly wrapped silver, gold, and white boxes. Matt whistled, but Emily looked less than impressed.
"Matt, I promise you that is a pile of kitchen appliances, casserole and serving dishes, and a cast iron dog door stopper."
"Well, we have nothing so, that works," he shrugged at her.
"Yeah, we can eat waffles shaped like hearts and have our eggs in perfect circles," she commented sarcastically.
"That's beyond anal man," Duff laughed at her.
"Oh Emily!" A woman suddenly squealed as she came toward them.
"Carmen, how are you?" Emily asked grimacing slightly.
"Fabulous, but today's about you. And honey I just can't believe you ran off an got married and pregnant!"
"Yep, I guess I did," Emily answered, not sure what to say to her cousin's comment.
"Should have known it would be you, you were always the quietest. Never could tell what was going on in that smart little head of yours. Oh let me feel that belly!" She twittered, not waiting for a response before laying her hand on Emily's belly.
"Oh." Emily stumbled back into Matt, as Carmen's enthusiasm caught her off guard.
"This is so exciting!" Carmen squealed, "And I guess this fox here is Matt?"
"Yes," Emily answered as she and her four watching companions struggled not to laugh, as Matt colored slightly, "Uh, Matt Flannery my cousin, Carmen Gallantree."
"Nice to meet you Carmen," Matt said politely shaking her hand.
"Oh honey, forget that your family," she said before she planted a very wet kiss on his cheek, being sure to leave a bright pink lipstick mark. Matt blinked in surprise, completely caught off guard.
"Oh, Oh there's Sheila! Let me go get her!" Carmen ran off momentarily, rushing over quickly with her equally squealy cousin.
This was how Matt and Emily spent the next two hours, meeting and greeting. Not all of Emily cousins squealed out their greetings, and some were even pleasant. This didn't make it any less overwhelming for the couple, especially Emily, who seemed to have a different set of hands touching her stomach every time a new person came over to greet them.
Cheryl, Frank, Lia, and Duff alternately spoke amongst themselves, and watched the uncomfortable couple with slightly sadistic amusement. After the first hour they began to feel bad for the couple, as Matt's eyes glazed over at the umpteenth name, and Emily was gritting her teeth so hard she had to be chipping them. The foursome felt greatly out of place among the people at the party, but happy to be celebrating their friends' marriage nonetheless.
"Alright everybody clear out, I need to talk to my baby sister," Michelle Lehman demanded, with a smile as she sent the rest of the well wishers back out to the party.
"Ellie, oh thank god," Emily breathed, as she saw her sister.
"Hey honey, hi Matt," she greeted sharing a tight hug with her sister and a peck on the cheek, and then kissing Matt on his.
"Hey Ellie, how's Vegas?" Matt asked her, thankfully for somebody he recognized.
"Flashy and fun, still my kind of town."
"I didn't expect anything less. Oh, I think you met Cheryl and Lia, and this is Frank Rogers and Duff Gonzales."
"Always happy to meet some of Em's friends."
"What took you so long to get here?" Emily asked her.
"Work to finish, I had to get a whale settled before I left the casino, and he's a baby. But more importantly how's it been so far?"
"If one more person touches my stomach I'm going to be the next HT Matt has to talk down."
"You didn't come armed did you?" Her sister asked, slightly exasperated.
"Of course not, but there's two HRT guys here, I'm sure they have a gun somewhere."
"Oh come on Em, it can't be that bad."
"Carmen, Sheila, and Becky already decided if I have a girl she was going to be the first Lehman to win Little Miss L.A. Though I have to say, mom and dad have been rather scarce."
"That's never a good sign."
"Why isn't that a good sign?" Matt interjected nervously.
"Because that means their planning something, and we probably won't like it." Ellie answered first.
"They can plan more than this party?"
"You need to get to know my parents better Matt, then you won't have to ask that," Emily explained.
"Oh Em, have you heard from Maddy?" Ellie asked about their middle sister, Madeline.
"She's swamped with clients, and couldn't get away, but she promised to come when I have the baby."
"She needs to move back to the west coast, we never see her anymore."
"She's trying. Jack isn't so keen on the idea, he likes Manhattan."
"Yeah well, Maddy has connections out here, his parents are in Ohio, and he doesn't talk to them, he should just suck it up and move."
"Well-" Emily started to answer, but seeing a few familiar faces cut herself off, "oh god, tell me she didn't."
"What? What's wrong?" Matt jumped back into the conversation immediately alert.
"You're about to find out why I hate these things," she breathed, hostility radiating from her, even as she straightened herself and plastered a fake smile on her face. Ellie shot her a sympathetic smile, before making an exit.
"Emily Lehman," a woman greeted her with a hug, her male and female companion copying the gesture after her. "You know I didn't believe it when you first walked in, and I almost still don't, you've just changed so much."
"18 years will do that Christie. Mercedes, Barry, I didn't realize you all kept it touch," she struggled to be keep her tone even, residual hostility from high school snapping back like all those years hadn't passed.
"Of course Mercy is like a sister to me, and she married Barry. And speaking of married, you just have to be Matt," she gushed offering her hand.
"Uh yeah, and how do you three know Emily?" These weren't more cousins, were they?
"We all went to high school together and haven't seen her since, lord it's remarkable how much people can change in nearly two decades."
Emily just nodded uncomfortably, while Matt looked perplexed at her disbelief.
"Gosh Christie, you're right I just can't believe it. The Emily Lehman I remember was this skinny, little geek that never opened her mouth to anybody, and cried and hid in the library at least once a week," Mercedes commented, as stunned as her friend.
"Honestly, I don't really remember an Emily in our class at all," Barry shrugged.
Emily could feel the heat rising in her cheeks, and the blood start pumping faster in her veins, as she stared at the ground, her thoughts turning to embarrassment and shame. She could feel Matt's grip on her hand tighten, and his body move the slightest bit closer to hers.
"Oh come on Barry, you have to remember her. Remember that poor little red-head that Kyle Marcosi was always tormenting? And Becki Simpson loved to push around?" Mercedes demanded.
"Wait that girl that Kyle chased around the track during gym that one day, professing his undying love? The girl James threw ants on in sophomore bio class?" He asked suddenly making a connection.
"Yes, that poor thing that you boys weren't always tormenting. It's no wonder she was always crying in the library," Christie scolded.
"Really? I thought she was the one that went to the looney bin senior year?" He asked confused.
Emily buried her face in her hands; did it get any worse than this pathetic moment? Matt's jaw was clenched; he didn't like what he was hearing. In fact he was cataloguing these names for the list Emily never wrote up.
"No, sweetie that was Maggie Gershwin. You all tormented her too."
"Right, Maggie, she was the one Tom locked in her locker for three periods," Barry commented, fondly remembering his high school days, before bringing his attention back to Emily, studying her for a moment.
"Now I see what you two mean. Damn, the years were good to you Emily." He let his eyes travel up and down her body, stopping only briefly at the bump.
"Thanks," she said, her voice laced with revulsion and annoyance.
"Man, I have to tell Dave and Eddie what you look like now, they'll never believe it."
"Oh Barry, mind yourself, would you? Show some tact," his wife scolded him.
"She's right Barry, you were all so mean to her in high school it's time to drop it," Christie added.
Barry started arguing with them, but Emily had had enough by now.
"Okay, you all have to shut up now," she demanded, her forcefulness silencing them.
"Oh sorry sweetie, we should stop, we don't want to upset her when she's pregnant," Christie said sweetly. She reached a hand out to pat Emily's stomach, but Emily had had enough.
"Don't even think about it. I may not be allowed to carry my gun right now, but several of my friends undoubtedly have theirs; it won't take me long to find one, and I have very good aim. So, just don't even think about touching me," Emily's tone was beyond hostile, as she stomped off angrily, with Matt in tow, back toward their small group of friends, who were all looking at her with amused smiles.
Her three former schoolmates watched them walk away with dropped jaws, before leaving abruptly, clearly offended.
"Don't piss Lehman off," Frank teased.
"I don't doubt that the death glare Matt started shooting was pretty unnerving too," Cheryl commented.
"Did you hear what they were saying?" Matt demanded, still clearly pissed.
"Didn't have the pleasure, though I'm guessing it wasn't congratulations, when's the baby due?"
"That idiot Barry thought Emily went put into a mental hospital their senior year of high school!" Four pairs of eyebrows shot up as they looked at Emily, who bit her lip self-consciously.
"Matt, it's fine, really," she tried to placate him.
"No, it's not. Those people should be muzzled," he spit angrily, the hostility that had been building as he kept his mouth closed during the exchange, coming to a head.
"Listen, it's sweet that you're so defensive of me, but it was all a very long time ago. And I don't think I'll be seeing them, or anyone from high school again," she said giving him a kiss.
"Did people tease you in high school?" Duff suddenly asked Lia.
"I was a computer geek, but I also had breasts before most of the other girls, so I got left alone, except for pathetic pick-up attempts," she shrugged.
"Did you ever go for any of them?"
"Occasionally, why what were you in high school?"
"I played first base, and I was good with girls. Drove all my friends crazy." He said, grinning devilishly at her.
She raised an eyebrow at him, curiously, before turning, "What were you, Cheryl?"
"Are we really playing that game?" She asked hopelessly.
"Oh just answer the question," Frank told her.
"Fine, then it's your turn. I was Vice President of my class for three years, and I was the prom queen."
"Really, prom queen?" Duff asked, as the group, except for Matt, looked at her surprised.
"You should see the dress she wore," Matt commented, remembering the pictures he'd seen, as Cheryl gave him an annoyed look.
"Oh really? What did it look like?" Frank asked with an evil grin, suddenly curious.
"Practically skin tight with cleavage down to her navel."
"Oh it was not!" Cheryl chastised him, laughing. "It was low, but not quite that low."
"Damn, you're going to have to share that picture," Frank told her.
"In your dreams. You're turn now, I bet you played every sport the school had," she said with a smirk.
"Nope, not one. I liked English," he said smugly, as his five friends shared a look that agreed that he was lying.
"Seriously?" Lia asked.
"Yeah, of course I also played in an independent rugby league. Fewer rules," he explained with a grin.
"Figures." Matt commented, as the rest nodded their heads in agreement.
"Okay everybody, time for us all to gather for the cake!" They suddenly heard Emily's mother call.
"I think that's our cue to go up there so we can cut it," Emily looked at Matt.
"It's going to be three tiered isn't it?" He asked, with apprehension.
"No," she paused, "it will probably be four tiers."
Matt shook his head, "you're mother doesn't do anything small does she?"
"Welcome to my family."
Sure enough, once they were back atop the patio, a white, four-tiered cake was rolled out of the house toward them.
"I just like to say a few words, before we do the cake," Emily mother said, clinking a spoon against a glass to get everyone's attention.
"At first when Emily told me that she ran off to Fiji and got married, I was upset. It's my right as a mother to help my daughter get ready to walk down the aisle, and we had only met Matt once before then. But I see how happy she is, starting her own family, and I can't possibly be upset with her. It's just so hard to-" she paused to sniffle and dry some tears that had begun to fall, "Emily is my youngest, my little baby, and now- well she's having her own little baby, it's just so hard to let go. So sweetie, congratulations from your father and I, we're so happy for you."
Bonnie was now crying as she hugged her daughter tightly, and there were now even a few tears in Emily's eyes. She released her daughter, backing away, as Walter passed Matt a knife. Together, as tradition goes, Matt and Emily help the pearl handled knife, and cut out the first slice. Continuing with tradition, Matt picked the rather large slice of cake up, and held it up to Emily's mouth. She took a bite, miraculously, getting only a small dollop of frosting on her chin. However, when Matt went to hand her the slice, she didn't take it, instead stopping mid-chewing, and covering her hand with her mouth. Emily couldn't mask disgust from her face, and struggled to keep from spitting the cake out, trying to remain composed.
"Hey, are you okay?" Matt asked.
She shook her head violently, motioning him to get her a napkin. Once one of the linen napkins was in her hand, she brought it to her mouth, spitting out the offending cake.
"There is something very wrong with that cake," she managed to get out.
"What?" Bonnie asked, clearly upset by this.
"I think something is spoiled in that cake," she explained, her expression painful, as she had the awful taste in her mouth.
"But it was just delivered."
"I don't know what to tell you mom, but you really don't want to eat that cake."
Matt brought the cake up to his nose, and had barely sniffed it before he pulled it away, dropping it back on the plate. "She's right, something's off with the cake."
"Alright, sorry everybody, but there will be no cake today," Bonnie shrugged with with resignation.
As the crowd dispersed once again, their foursome of friends, and Emily's sister drawing closer to the couple, Matt turned toward Emily, who still looked pained.
"Are you alright Em?" He asked studying her.
"Egh, I need to, I don't know, brush my teeth or something," she said tearing into the house.
Matt shook his head in befuddled resignation, as the five people in front of him, broke out into hysterical laughter. He looked at them completely bewildered.
"Matt, with the luck the two of you have, you had know something like this had to be coming," Cheryl explained.
"So you are all laughing at our misfortune?"
"Yes." Cheryl, Frank, and Lia answered all at once.
"Besides, you've got to appreciate that look on Emily's face when she ate that cake," Frank laughed.
"Thanks Frank, I can still taste it by the way," Emily said, coming back out of the house.
"So, what will your parents have planned next?" Matt asked, wondering how they were going to make it through the rest of the party.
"If we're lucky, not a thing except mingling. But, we're not, so I have no idea."
"They can't really have anything else going on, right?"
"Think about who you're talking about."
"Right, are you going to be okay for a few more hours?" he asked, knowing she was already losing patience and upsetting her wasn't good in her condition.
"Do I have a choice?" Emily asked without humor.
"If you start to feel sick, or we run into more people like that trio, we'll leave. I don't want anything happening because you're getting stressed."
Emily gave him a grateful look, and a quick kiss, any longer and they would have had juvenile comments from Frank and Duff.
The small group settled into easy conversation that went uninterrupted by party-goers or Bonnie or Walter for nearly an hour. In fact they were all so relaxed that when Bonnie called loudly for attention again, several of them jumped slightly.
"Oh no," Emily mumbled, as they turned to hear Bonnie, and Matt rubbed circles in her back, trying to soothe her.
"In the tradition of a wedding, we've picked a song for the happy couples first dance," she announced.
"Yeah, first vertical dance maybe," Frank commented, receiving glares from Lia, Cheryl, and Ellie.
Matt and Emily chose to ignore his comment, as they found their way to the temporary platform, to dance to whatever song her parents picked out. Surprising them, the Lifehouse song, 'You and Me' came on, and the couple relaxed against each other easily. Lia and Cheryl had exchanged knowing smiling, rather than allowing her parents to pick out something awful, they suggested a few songs. The couple seemed happy dancing, even though they had a hundred people watching them.
The song had gotten about halfway through when the sky suddenly darkened, and less than a minute later, began dumping water on the party-goers. It was coming down in bucketfuls, as people raced around tearing inside, several trying to help bring presents, food and decorations in. Matt and Emily still stood on the platform, watching the rain come down on them. They were soaked to the bone in minutes, and Matt was surprised to find Emily suddenly laughing.
"We need to get inside, Em," he yelled over the rain and wind that had picked up.
"In a minute," she said between giggles.
He gave a her quizzical look, finding it harder and harder to ignore the rain pouring down on them.
"This rain has the worst and best timing," she offered, only confusing him further.
"We'll get to leave hear early, but I was actually enjoying the dance," she told him.
"Oh…I'll buy the CD so we can dance at home. Come on, I don't want you to get sick," he coaxed, pulling her gently with him to the house. They were the only one's left outside, even the DJ had packed up his equipment quickly and vacated.
"Oh, thank god, there you are!" Bonnie exclaimed when the couple dove inside.
"Everybody leaving then?" Emily asked, watching people dive out the door, likely running to cars.
"Yes, but you're welcome to stay a while longer," Walter offered, bringing them towels.
Emily looked toward Matt, clearing telling him with her eyes that she wanted to go home.
"I appreciate the offer, but I think we'll go home. It's been a long day, and staying in these wet clothes for long won't be good for Emily or the baby," Matt explained, not really wanting to hang around himself.
"Of course. You'll call me sometime?" Bonnie asked Emily.
"Sure mom, and it rain and cake aside, it really was a great party, and we both appreciate it."
"But you'd prefer if the baby shower were smaller?" She asked with a knowing smile, not entirely believing that her daughter had a good time.
Emily nodded her head, and hugged her mother goodbye, followed by her father. Matt bid his own goodbyes, and after quick goodbyes to their friends and Emily's sister, they ventured back into the rain. Emily went straight to the car, but Matt caught sight of the DJ, and ran over to him for a moment. Emily couldn't see what he was doing, but in only a few moments, he dived back into the car, and Emily pulled out.
"What was that about?" Emily asked, glancing form the road to him and back.
"Oh, nothing," he lied.
Emily looked at him skeptically, not entirely believing him, but shrugged, if he wanted her to know, tell her.
Once back at their apartment, they dove through the rain one more time, before finally being granted sanctuary, and quickly changed out of their clothes. Once dry and comfortable again, Matt led Emily out to the living room, where he fiddled with the stereo until a familiar tune drifted out.
"That's what you were doing before?" She asked, realizing that he must have gotten the CD from the DJ.
"Yep, I told you we'd dance at home," he answered pulling her into his arms, as they once again relaxed into each other, swaying gently to the music.