"Until I was about eight and he left, Brian was the only one who really played with me. He'd come home after he got done with school, and instead of running to hang out with his friends, he'd find me." Emily spoke softly as she laid in Matt's arms, in his bed, both fully clothed, but in the dark unable to sleep.
She'd cried herself to sleep in the hotel bathroom the night before, and he'd gently carried her to the more comfortable bed. They'd hadn't said much to each other the next morning or for much of the day. Matt was waiting for her to say something, and Emily wasn't ready to talk about their Thanksgiving yet. But, as they both laid awake, he'd rolled her over to face him, and asked her to tell him what she was thinking. She pressed her body flush against his, and let her head rest on his chest, biting her lip in her struggle. Then, to his surprise, she began to talk.
"He playfully refused to do anything with Barbies, but we'd play board games and card games. I played Monopoly and Sorry so many times as a kid…And, when I was really little, he'd join me in my tea parties; my stuff animals, Raggedy-Ann doll, and my brother would all get fake tea from my purple tea pot. When he left, that was it. I played with the other kids at school but I was shy, and I didn't invite them over often. I didn't want them to feel the same cold I did in my house, because I couldn't explain it to myself, let alone someone else. I just knew it was wrong.
"Homes were warm and noisy with life and laughter, when you walk into one, it feels safe, like a hug. My house felt like it was made of stone; it was always so quiet and barren. I tried not to make a sound, so I wouldn't disturb my mother, who always said she never had time for me. And, when he was actually home, my dad hid in his study with the door closed. I never knew what I did wrong, why they hardly ever looked at me and when they did, they seemed like they'd rather forget about me. I guess at least now I know." She grew quiet and Matt could feel a wet drop land on his shirt.
He kissed the top of her head, not sure what to say under the circumstances. "I hate that they made you think you did something wrong. What happened to Ally wasn't your fault, that you were conceived from that wasn't your fault. You're as much of a victim in this mess as Ally."
"Can you imagine forcing your daughter to carry her rapist's baby for nine months? I can't…why wouldn't they take her to get an abortion? She was eleven years-old, it wasn't safe, she could have died. But, they, they…" She trailed off as he tightened his grip around her, his body tensing at her words.
"Emily, I thank god they didn't let Ally get an abortion. It's selfish, but now that I have you, I need you."
"You wouldn't know what you were missing, if you never had me. You would have found someone else." She spoke so softly, so calmly about her own non-existence.
"I would have known, I would have known something was missing from my life."
She smiled at his persistence, but chose to move on. "They could have given me up for adoption. They obviously didn't want me, and it would have been better for Ally. Why not do that?"
"Because some people take blood ties very literally, and can't imagine anyone else raising their blood."
"But, did they stop and think for a minute what that would do to Ally? How seeing a reminder of her rape daily would affect her? A lot of grown women can't handle that, Matt, and Ally was just a child. God, no wonder she's so fucked-up now."
"Yes, and the blame for that lies with the man who raped her, and some with her parents, but not with you."
"Do you really believe that, or are you just saying it to humor me?"
"I know it, I just—I'm only here because a little girl was raped, it's hard not to feel guilty."
"Hey," he turned her head toward him then, and looked into hers eyes. "I love you no matter what, and I always will."
"Me too," she whispered back, as she pulled even more of her body against his, and stretched her head up to kiss him. "Thank you."
He kissed her head again, and they held each other quietly for a while.
"I have to see her, Matt." She sounded far away, like she was still lost in thought.
"Who?" He looked down at her.
"Ally. I need to see Ally soon." She didn't know if she'd ever be able to call Allison, 'mom'.
The following Monday found the two agents trying desperately not to yawn as Cheryl hosted one of the Bureau's bi-annual, day-long meeting. First, she would have to go over policy changes implemented by Washington, then by the LA office specifically, ones instituted by the US Attorney's office, policies shared by other federal agencies on working together, and others on working with the LAPD and District Attorney's office. The rest of the day would be changes in the CNU and with HRT, if they were actually awake by then. Of course it didn't help that Cheryl looked as bored as they all felt, except of course for Lia and Duff, who were enjoying the opportunity to sit together and play footsie.
Emily's phone rang for the tenth time during the day, and she once again, glanced at the caller's name, silenced it, and stowed it away again. It was four o'clock, and though Cheryl had a feeling the phone was keeping many of them awake, it was starting to concern her. Who wanted to talk to Emily so badly, and why wasn't she excusing herself to take care of it? Something had clearly happened that weekend, she could read it on her friends faces, but she hadn't had a chance to talk to them yet. Fortunately, it was almost five o'clock, and the god awful meeting was almost over. All in all, not a whole hell of a lot had changed policy wise over the last six months, so there wasn't much new to say. She was instead forced to rehash old policies that the Bureau thought they needed reminders of.
"Okay, I'm ending this meeting a little early. Thank you all for a very successful last six months, and lets make the next six even better. Good night." Everybody began to slowly maneuver out of seats and shuffle out the door of the massive conference room.
"Let's meet at Sloan's, I'm buying the first round." Frank had also noticed something he didn't like in his friends' expressions, and planned decided they needed to talk.
"Whoa, nice." Duff grinned, turning away from Lia for a minute.
"I'll meet you there, I have to finish a few things," Cheryl explained gathering the giant sheath of papers she'd been given that morning.
Matt looked at Emily, studying her eyes, as if asking if she was up for it.
"Great, let's go," she answered, feeling a drink would be a very good thing.
"Okay, don't work too long, Cheryl." Frank shouted over his shoulder as he led them out. She waved them off without looking up, determined to get something productive done before she left the office.
Twenty minutes later, she'd cleaned up her desk a bit, and got some emailing and phone calls done, as she finally walked into Sloan's. Frank, Duff, and Lia had been very good, not questioning Matt and Emily at all, but nearly bursting now.
"Oh thank god, I was going to die if I had to sit here any longer. So, how did your parents like Matt?" Lia demanded as soon as Cheryl sat down.
"I wouldn't know." Emily's hostile mumble was almost a whisper, but they all still heard it.
"Okay, I thought something happened, what's going on?" Cheryl looked between them nervously.
"I don't think we're really ready to talk about it," Matt explained awkwardly, trying to shield Emily.
"No, it's fine. Cheryl, at least will have to know anyway, since I have to get my birth certificate fixed now."
"What? Why?" Lia wasn't expecting to hear that.
"I'm still trying to process this, so don't ask too many questions after I finish explaining, I probably can't answer them anyway." She asked, pausing and study her fingers for awhile.
"Are you really okay with this?" Matt tilted his head toward her, still wanting to protect her.
She nodded, and went silent for a few more seconds, before launching into the story of their Thanksgiving.
Ten minutes later as they offered a look between shock and horror, she silenced her phone again, before finishing her explanation. "So my parents are actually my grandparents, and I never met my father."
"Have you talked to your par-uh grandparents since then?" Frank asked, trying to wrap his mind around what she was saying.
"No, but they keep calling me." She looked at her hands, momentarily wondering if she should have told them, feeling even more like a freak than she had before. "What problems can I expect from the Bureau, Cheryl?"
"Don't worry about it, just get your birth certificate fixed if you want to, and I'll deal with the upper-ups. They can't really blame you for this anyway." She'd heard a lot in her day, but this was one of those stories she couldn't imagine living, and thanked god it was somebody else's. But, now she looked at Emily, and knew the past year was beginning to wear on her, thank god she had Matt.
"You don't have to do that Cheryl, I can't ask you to cover for me twice." Emily would take whatever was coming to her with this mess.
"You didn't ask the first time, and you aren't asking now, so there's no problem."
"But--" Cheryl cut her off.
"I already said I'd take care of it, just do me a favor and take care of yourself."
Emily relented. "Thanks." Suddenly, she felt all eyes on her, and it made her skin crawl, so she excused herself to the restroom, needing to regroup and get their eyes off her.
"Uh oh." Lia's voice startled everyone out of their own thoughts.
"What?" Matt had an almost desperate tone in his voice, what else could they possibly handed to deal with?
"Emily was born in Canada."
"Matt, she isn't an American citizen. She can't work for the Bureau, she's illegal, and she can be deported." Lia's eyes were full of worry, and voice was on the edge of panic.
"She's right, you need to get a lawyer to make her legal," Duff suggested, rubbing Lia's back soothingly, trying to relax her.
"That's not a big deal, I can just marry her and get her a green card. The Bureau will suspend her until it's settled, but they have to take her back, right?" They'd both been so overwhelmed, neither had even considered that she was born in Canada, not the states.
"Matt, you realize you just said you'd marry her right?" Frank asked, taken aback by how easy it sounded to the negotiator.
"Yes, I know what I said," he turned toward Cheryl. "The Bureau would take her back right?"
"She's one of their best negotiators and agents, I would imagine they'd want to, but I honestly don't know. I don't think this problem has ever come up." For once Cheryl was at a complete loss, she just didn't know what to think.
"None of this is her fault, she shouldn't be punished," Matt insisted angrily.
"I agree with you, but I can't tell you the Bureau won't have an issue with this."
"With what?" Emily returned to the table, looking no less troubled and uncomfortable than she had when she left.
"You're not technically an American citizen, Em." Matt cringed as he said it, Emily didn't need more problems.
"What? But, I've—oh god, what the hell am I'm I supposed to do now?" She slouched, feeling completely defeated.
"We'll find a good immigration lawyer, there has to be some sort of exception they can make for you." He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, his fingers sliding up and down her arm in a comforting motion.
Emily's phone began screaming once again, and now angry, annoyed, and fed up, she answered it.
"I don't want to talk to you, stop calling me!" She snapped her phone shut, and tossed it on the table. Just when she thought she was getting a handle on it, another problem explodes in her face. She hadn't gone to see Allison yet, unable to bring herself to do it. What was she supposed to say to her? But, even with this new problem, that was still the biggest thing on Emily's mind. In fact, she wanted to see Ally even more now; if she focused on this problem, she wouldn't have to think about all the others.
"Well, that is an interesting story…uh, I've got drinking buddies on the bench and in immigration, I think I can get them to make an exception without all the usual brouhaha. But, just in case, you ever thought about Canada? I heard Alberta is beautiful." Max Logan, a successful LA immigration lawyer, gave Emily a half-grin, trying to reassure her and prepare her in the same sentence.
"You think I might actually get deported?" It took all the restraint she possessed not to shake her head in wonder at what she was saying.
"Immigration can be a bunch of hard-asses, so it's a possibility, but you aren't exactly the typical illegal immigrant, I think they'll show mercy."
"Um, do they still give green cards to non-citizens who marry citizens?" Matt asked tentatively, Emily's head flying around toward him, eyes staring into his.
"They do, yes." He looked at Matt skeptically. "How long have you two been involved?"
"Just over a year now." He answered quickly, sitting straighter, trying to sound less law-breaking.
"Oh well, then if it comes to that, it's a good option since you've been together so long." He seemed pleased by the answer; for once if he fails legally, his client won't get deported.
"Well, thank you for your time…I'll just write a check for the retainer?" Emily was finally able to pull her gaze from Matt, and back to the conversation, shock wearing off.
"Yep, four hundred to work the case, and another six if I'm successful."
"Great," Emily scribbled in her check book, thanking god she saved up over the years.
Once outside the office, Emily stopped Matt before he turned the key in the ignition with a hand on his arm. "Matt, you just told that lawyer you'd marry me to get me a green card."
"Yeah, so?" Only Matt Flannery could pull off the cocky, unconcerned shrug he offered her.
"Just like that, you'd marry me? The living together, saying vows, not being partners anymore thing?"
"If it keeps you in LA, there's no real debate." He avoided looking at her, not really ready to expose the feeling he knew she'd see in his eyes; he was crazy about her and terrified of losing her.
She leaned over and kissed him, letting him off easier than she would have any other time. She let him turn on the car and pick his way through LA's lunch break traffic to the Federal building. Cheryl had given them the morning to sort things out, and offered Emily whatever time she needed.
An hour and a half later, Emily was in her own car passing through the security checkpoint at San Joaquin Federal Penitentiary. She had to see Ally, and though she was confused and scared, she couldn't wait any longer. It was still very difficult to think of Allison as her mother, and the shrink in her knew it would take time before she could. That was if she was actually even able to think of the sister she barely knew, who hated her, was the woman gave birth to her.
The warden greeted her with a smile, and a handshake, having been alerted by the guard of Emily's arrival.
"Agent Lehman, this is a surprise. Did Allison pop up in another investigation?"
"Uh no, this is actually a personal visit." Why did she feel like scum for visiting a family member?
"Oh really? Well then I'll have someone bring her to the visiting room. Do you remember where it is?" She didn't hide her surprise; she assumed the FBI agent would want to distance herself as much as possible from her criminal sister.
"Yes, thank you," Emily answered awkwardly, uncomfortable under the woman's stare. She turned and hurried quickly down a hallway, dropping her weapon and extra clip into the guards bucket, signing, and picking up a visitor's pass, before making her way into familiar room.
The rows of stools were nearly filled with people, only a few empty ones remained. Had it been a men's prison, half the seats would have been filled with tearful women, wasting tears on the waste of air they married. Being a women's prison, there were none, and the people visiting were a mix of sexes, ages and races. None bothered looking at her as she came in, too involved in their visits to bother with some uncomfortable looking woman. Emily took the stool all the way at the end, hoping for just a bit of privacy. She desperately wanted to use her FBI credentials to get a private room, but knew if she did, she only be digging herself into a whole with no way out.
She played with her fingers until a guard led Ally in, removing her shackles and allowing her to find her visitor. She scanned the faces on the opposite side of the glass, before finally settling on Emily's with a look of surprise. Clearly, she hadn't expected to see her before she got paroled. Ally strolled down toward the last phone, and sat down, smug smile plastered on her face. Emily picked up her phone and after a minute, Ally did the same.
"To what do I owe this pleasure? I don't know anything about any missing kids."
"I'm not here about work, Ally." Emily swallowed nervously, phone growing sweaty in her hands.
"Then what are you here for?" She didn't ask kindly.
"I know Ally."
Ally became amused. "And what do you know exactly?"
"You aren't my sister." Emily's expression didn't change, but remained tired and dour. Ally became very tense, and then angry, but not at Emily.
"After all these years, they finally told you? Why the hell did they bother?"
"Brian told me, he said he was tired of lying…why didn't you ever tell me?" It would have been a great way to screw with Emily's head, why wouldn't Ally have told her before now.
"Because it's better left in the past." The spitfire in Ally seemed to die down, and with it her shield revealing a forty-six year-old woman disappointed in life, with haunted eyes that still relived her childhood attack.
"I understand why you hate me so much now." It was out of her mouth before Emily heard how pathetic it sounded.
"Emily, you will never understand how I feel about you. I still can't figure it out." Her tone wasn't nasty, but still held hostility.
Emily nodded absently. "Yeah…I'm sorry."
Ally sat back a little farther, something between confusion and surprise written on her face.
Emily saw this, and straightened herself, clearing her throat to try and appear more together than she was feeling. "I'm sorry your parents made you go through that. I'm sorry that he raped you, and I'm sorry that I never knew."
Allison Lehman regarded her daughter for several silent moments, contemplating what brought her there, and the deadened look in her hazel eyes. The strong smile she'd taken on faded as she realized it was guilt weighing down the younger woman's features. Her whole body sagged with it, and it worked to infest her eyes with confusion and fear. Emily was lucky that her taking on that guilt was less annoying to Ally, than if she'd taken on pity. Had she done that, Emily would have gotten several choice curses, and a felt a few angry kicks through the partition, at least as many as she could get off before the guards swarmed. Instead, Allison took pity on her daughter, and chose to be as maternal as she could muster. It wasn't easy, all the maternal feelings she'd had at Emily's birth were slowly smother by anger and hate, it was easier.
"A nightmare woke me up the night we brought you home to Albany. It was of that day…with him. But, I didn't really want to go back to sleep, so I went to the nursery, your room. I barely got to see you and hold you the week I was recovering in the convent school, or the trip back; my mother wouldn't let me, she didn't want me to get attached, since I would never be allowed to act as your mother." It was obvious by her tone that Ally still held resentment at having her daughter stolen away, but her voice softened as she continued on.
"You were already awake when I went in. Looking around with those big brown eyes you were born with, and kicking your legs and arms out. So, lowered the railing to the crib and picked you up into my arms, and I remember smoothing down your hair. You just had a little bit, but it was already a beautiful red, and so soft and delicate. I sat in the rocking chair dad put in the room, and just held you, drifting back and forth slowly. Your little hand grabbed my nightgown and held in tightly, and you stuck the thumb on your other hand in your mouth. Then, you just drifted off to sleep. You were so beautiful sleeping there, eyes closed, completely at peace. I don't know how long I watched you, but I fell asleep with you in my arms." Ally was smiling, almost serenely, by the end, lost in one of few sweet memories.
"What happened?" Emily asked, struggling against the tears threatening.
"What do you mean?" Ally returned abruptly back to the present.
"You loved me then, what happened to change that?" Emily was surprised by her own question. Was that why she'd come, to find out why her mother couldn't love her, to learn if she really didn't?
"You started crying later, and my mother found us, and gave me hell. If you ever have a baby Emily, you'll learn that it doesn't matter how many times people tell you she isn't yours, every cell in your body knows the truth and will never let you forget it. She told me to stay away from the nursery, to leave my sister alone, and watched me the next two days. Instead of laying you to sleep in your crib, she put you in her bed, so I wouldn't get up and find you in the middle of the night." Ally had drifted to the past again, her eyes unfocused as she told her story.
"The morning of the third day, she left you in your crib while she made breakfast. I hadn't seen you for two days and nights, so I snuck in, I just wanted to touch you, to see that you were alright. You were awake again, staring off into space with green eyes, really green eyes. The eyes of the man who raped me and fathered you, and I was immediately taken back there, saw it all happening again. I couldn't look at you, and I wasn't supposed to go near you anyway, so I didn't. You became his, not mine, and all I could do was hate you for it." Her eyes became focused again as she finished her story, staring into Emily's hazel ones.
"But, my eyes aren't green," Emily whispered, afraid to break the spell the past held over them.
Ally broke their eye contact, reverting back to the tough shell that covered her. "They changed again when you got older, not quite a year, but by then, it was too late, you weren't my baby anymore."
"Who is he Ally?" Her voice quivered as she asked, but she had to know.
Just barely had time to get this done over the holiday break. This will be a trilogy, but I can't make any promises when the other part will be up. Thanks for reading and please review!