Okay, now I decided I had to do a Valentine's fic, but I of course, couldn't do the traditional type. That being said...please don't hate me, just finish reading it. Thanks for reading and please review!
Emily fidgeted anxiously, straightening her little lacey lingerie top again. She went into work a little early this morning, so she could get out early and work on her Valentine's plans for Matt. Cheryl had rolled her eyes at Emily's dopey grin, but nodded her consent, before jokingly reminding her to use condoms. Everything was almost ready, thank god Matt was a late getting home. She was dressed in a black teddy with pale pink trim, that fell just barely to her butt, and a matching thong. It was really just a bra with sheer curtaining attached, that was open in the front, and fluttered as she walked. Her favorite perfume was dabbed is the important spots. She stowed plenty of provisions in the bedroom, Champaign and candles included (this was their second Valentines, and after the last couple years, they damned well deserved it), and Matt's gift sat on the dining room table. It was an elaborate collection of all the classic zombie movies, most from the master, George Romero, plus a few of the best new ones. Perhaps an odd gift to any one else, but Matt loved his zombie movies.
Finally, there was a soft knock on the door, and Emily rushed to dim the lights. They shared the apartment, but she told him to knock tonight, so she could be sure she was ready for him. He'd wiggled his eye grows suggestively, and shown that smiled she loved. She called to him to come in, and parked herself on the sofa, in a suggestive pose. He'd see her as soon as he opened the door. But, it wasn't Matt coming in, it was Frank, looking confused at the darkened apartment.
" Emily?" He looked around and spotted her on the couch in lingerie, and grimaced.
" Frank?!" Emily rushed to pull a throw around herself, and rushed to the door. "What are you doing here, don't you have a date?"
"Yeah, had to cancel, uh..." He was hesitant, and she could see something she didn't like in his eyes.
" Frank, what's going on? Did we get called in?" Cheryl would have just called her for that, right?
"No...Em, there's been a car accident." God, he didn't want to deliver this news, not today, not to one of his closest friends. Emily's heart was in her throat, her pulse beginning to beat faster.
"Is he alright?" Matt had to be involved, there was no doubt in her mind, not after hearing his apprehensive tone.
"No, he isn't," Frank swallowed, trying to keep his voice steady. Emily's face hadn't changed, but he could tell she stopped breathing, probably didn't even realize it.
"Matt's car was completely crushed, they pried him out with the Jaws of Life, but...They've got him on life support, Cheryl's still listed as his next of kin, she's waiting to take him off until you say goodbye. His father and brother are on the way now." He had to get the rest out all at once, or he wouldn't be able to.
Emily's face drained of color, her mouth opened and closed twice without any sound, and then her shaking legs gave out beneath her, the throw falling to the ground. Frank reached out and grabbed her around the waist before she hit the ground, easing her to the ground as he went down with her. Emily sat on the floor, her legs bent underneath her, for several minutes without tears. Then, she began to shake her head back an forth, slow at first, then increasingly faster, as inevitable tears began to stream down her face.
Frank pulled her close, letting her sob against his chest, hoping to offer her some small measure of comfort. Her sobs were very quiet, muffled by Frank's shirt, and Emily being to grief-stricken for hysteria or anger. He was dead, or would be soon, and nothing she could do would change that. She just sat there tears rushing like a torrent from her eyes, as if she were trying to cry her bruised, broken heart out of her body. Frank allowed her to sit and cry for what had to be at least half an hour, and then he nudged her gently.
"Emily, we have to go to the hospital, so you can say goodbye." His voice cracked, though it was barely a whisper--this was hard for him too.
She finally looked up at him, tears still swimming in her red, swollen eyes, and shook her head. "I can't do it, Frank. I can't...I can't say...that."
She couldn't even say the word then, how could she be expected to while she was looking at his face?
"You have to Emily, you need the closure, or at least you will need it." He raised himself off the floor, gently pulling her up with him. She nodded sullenly, and moved toward the door, until Frank stopped her.
"Uh, you might want to change," he nodded awkwardly to her lack of clothing. Emily made no comment, simply turned and walked back to the bedroom, returning barely minutes later in jeans and a sweat shirt.
Frank flipped his lights and sirens on, and sped through most of the traffic, figuring it was better to get this over with and get Emily home as quickly as possible. He badged them through, guiding Emily to the elevators, to the ICU, where they'd put Matt. Cheryl was pacing anxiously outside, while Duff sat nearby, expression resembling that of someone hit by a truck, Lia crying quietly on his shoulder. They all snapped to attention when they saw Frank and Emily, and surprising them all, Cheryl was the first to run over and hug her. Emily did her best not to break down again, miraculously standing through two more hugs, before they all stood facing Matt's room. Cheryl knocked and led Emily in; the rest of them had already said their goodbyes, Frank included.
" Josh, Mr. Flannery, excuse me, but this is Emily Lehman, Matt's girlfriend." She placed an arm around Emily, afraid after a whisper from Frank, that she might not stay upright, and introduced her.
Emily for her part, didn't move, she couldn't move, she was staring at Matt, pain settling in her abdomen like a stone. He was covered in casts and bandages, wires and tubes running here and there, deep purple bruises coloring the swelling that disfigured his face. She wanted to vomit, she wanted to run.
Josh and Graham Flannery observed this woman, who they were told Matt loved so much, and who, judging by her red eyes, and the look on her face, loved him just as much. Both father and son were struck with sudden disappointment; they'd never met her. This pretty redhead with pain in her eyes was very important to Matt, and they'd never met her. Hell, Josh had spoken to Matt in years, estranged as they were, and Graham talked to him in months, hadn't seen him in a year.
Graham took her hand first. "It's nice to meet you Emily, wish I'd done it sooner."
His voice cracked, and Emily could only nod. Josh simply gave her hand a squeeze, and looked in her eyes, all his regret reflected in his, which looked so much like Matt's.
"We'll give you some time with him," Cheryl finally spoke, asking Josh and Graham silently to give Emily the time alone with Matt. They left without argument, clearly she'd been closer to Matt, than they had in recent time; they had no right to deny her.
Emily collapsed in the chair beside the bed, staring uncomprehending at what used to be the man she loved. Used to be. The bruised, swollen face didn't look like Matt anymore, his beautiful brown eyes couldn't be seen beneath his eye lids, one was swollen shut. There was no cocky grin on his face, no part of him shining through the medical nightmare before her. Matt was already gone, already dead. Except his heartbeat. That steady, beautiful rhythm was still there, if not naturally, so Emily rested her hand on over the one piece of him she could still find. Needing to be closer, she lay her head on his chest, her ear over his heart, listening to it beat.
A serious looking doctor in a white lab coat knocked twenty minutes later, Matt's father, brother and four closest friends following behind. Emily leaned up, and took Matt's hand in both of hers. She kissed the back and the palm, and held it to her chest, while everyone else congregated around the bed. The doctor looked to Cheryl, who turned to Emily and asked softly.
"Are you ready?" It should really be Emily's decision, but then again, it might be better she'd didn't have to make it. She probably couldn't have.
"Never," Emily whispered back. Cheryl squeezed her shoulder and nodded to the doctor.
Matt suddenly felt like someone tugged him back violently, agony racing through him as he was pulled from his body, and thrust into that distance star known as heaven. He looked around wide-eyed, panting, and confused, what the hell just happen? Where the hell was he? It looked eerily like the street he grew up on, in fact almost exactly like it, down to the seventies and eighties model cars parked in the driveways. Was he dreaming? He turned in circles until he was met with a face he never thought he'd see again.
"Mom?" He gaped in disbelief. He must be dreaming.
"Matty," she cooed as she had when he was a child, and embraced him. She had his eyes, long dark hair, and that excited smile she put on whenever her little boys were around. Angie Flannery looked the same age as the day she died.
"I missed you, you died and Dad was a wreck, and Josh and I...we, we needed you..." Matt started spouted everything he'd felt for years about missing his mother.
"I know, I wish I could have seen my little boys grow up, but you did fine, Matty. I'm proud of you. Except of what happened between you and your brother, that hurt to watch, but there will be time for that later. There's something else we need to talk about now..." She trailed off, a look of pure love on her face, but also a sadness.
"What's going on, Mom? I swear I was just on my way home...oh god, Emily, Valentine's Day, shit. Did I fall asleep at work?" Emily was waiting at home, dressed in god knows what seductive little thing, and he was passed out at work? He really wanted to wake up.
"No Matt, you did leave to go home, and there was a truck, an accident." Her smile faded, she didn't want to tell him this, but someone had to, and he chose her.
"What are you talking about? I don't remember that." Matt looked at her alarmed, what was she saying?
"Of course you don't, it wouldn't be humane if we could remember our own deaths. Your dead sweetie, I'm so sorry." She rested a hand on his face, but he pulled away, terrified eyes searching around.
"I don't...I can't be dead. I have to go home, Emily's waiting for me." He turned around in frantic circles, he knew what she was saying was true, but didn't want to believe it.
"Come here, let me show you something," she coaxed him over to a puddle.
"Look down, and think about Emily, hard as you can." At that moment it didn't even strike him as odd that she seemed to know who Emily was. Matt did as she instructed, and was surprised when the puddle changed before his eyes, into a hospital room.
His brother, his father, Cheryl, Frank, Duff, Lia, all stood around a bed, watching the still figure in it, all crying or at least with tears in their eyes. The monitors were all flat-lined, and as he looked closer he could see the figure in the bed was him. Sitting in a chair beside his head was Emily, tears streaming out of her already puffy, red eyes, hands clutching one of his to her chest. Her tears were silent and anguished.
As he started harder at the group, he began to hear their voices, though their lips weren't moving. They were saying things about him: they loved him, they'd miss him, now he and Duff would only have each other's asses to kick (that was Frank), asking why he had to die, wishing he hadn't, and so many others. As he began to listen, the voices got louder, and were going all at once, it was too much, their collective pain was too much. He shook his head, and refocused on Emily, something that could always calm him, just watching her. But, then for the first time, her thoughts began breaking through, and they were much harder to hear than the rest.
I miss you already, Matt. Just knowing that you won't be there tonight, you won't wake up with me tomorrow, I feel sick. I don't know if I can do this, I don't know if I can get through losing you. You were my one and only, never have I loved someone like I loved you, and I don't believe I ever will again. I love you, I need you so much, I just want to curl up there next to you and die too...It's not fair, we didn't even have two years together. I love you. I can't say goodbye to you, Matt. I know they expect me to, but I can't, I can't let you go. I don't know how to, and I don't want to, I want you with me forever...
As her thoughts continued floating up to him, Matt focused in on her harder, until a wave of pain like he'd never experience before washed over him. He stumbled backward, loosing focus on the puddle, suddenly brought back to his old neighborhood, and his mother.
"What the hell was that?" He breathed, staring at her.
"What do you mean?" She was confused, she didn't see what he saw when he looked in that puddle, at least not like he saw it.
"I was...the puddle, they were there in the hospital room with, with, with my you know, and I was watching Emily, I could hear what she was thinking, and then all of the sudden, it was like a fire washed over me." Matt struggled to explain what it had been like, it was simply like nothing else he'd ever experienced.
"Oh...it hurt?" Regardless of the bad description, that seemed to clarify things for her.
"Yes, it was horrible." A chill swept through him at the thought.
"You were feeling what she's feeling now, and I gather she's in a lot of pain." Feeling emotional pain on Earth was much different than feeling the manifestation of it in Heaven. It even it was as if that pain was concentrated, because Heaven has no pain, fear, etc. At least, after you've gotten past the shock of your death. Those who don't, they're ghosts.
"Well, can't we do something? Can't I help her?" That it was Emily's pain only made it worse.
"Matty, you're dead, you can't do anything, you can't interfere down there. Emily will start to hurt less as she accepts that you're gone, you can just hope that comes soon." She squeezed his arm comfortingly. Matt looked clearly pained at the thought, but turned to her.
"So, what do I do now?" He never really thought about what you're supposed to do in Heaven after you die, it just never occurred to him.
"You enjoy eternity. You can have whatever you want here, Mathew. You get to see people you loved that died, you can look down and watch those still alive, you can eat chocolate cake everyday for breakfast and never have to brush your teeth." When Matt was a boy, he always wanted chocolate cake for every meal, though he never got it.
"Oh." Angie suddenly turned her head, her face turned serious, and she looked back at him.
"I have to go now, Matthew. Emily will be here soon."
"What?" He was completely confused, Emily wasn't dead.
"You need to be here for her, she chose you."
"What, I don't...Wait, you don't mean she...?" Matt watched his mother nod, as understanding dawned on him.
"No! No, no, no! Why? She'd should be...It's not her time!" He pled desperately.
"I'm afraid it is, Matty. I'm sorry." Angie's face held empathy, she'd felt the same way when they'd told her, her little boy was coming. He was too young to die, it wasn't fair.
" Emily can still be happy, still have a life! She deserves that!"
"Matt, after you and Emily, you're something special. After you met, you were never supposed to be separated...Do you remember when you were a rookie, nineteen, you tried to stop a robbery at a convenience store, the robber shot you, and you almost died?" Matt nodded, how could he forget that, it hurt like hell.
"You were supposed to die that day, and so was Emily. It had snowed and iced terribly by Princeton, Emily's friend Sasha was driving, their car slid, and went rolling down a hill. You were both on your way up here, at the same minute actually. But, something stopped them from bringing you both up, some feeling that it wasn't time, wasn't right yet." Angie had seen it, waiting for her son, she felt it, felt them touch, just bump into each other on the way up, before they were sent back down.
"So why not save us today then too? We just found each other." He didn't understand.
"I don't know, I guess it was just time."
"But, she's still alive, she can still find someone else, still be happy." Angie shook her head, sometimes it didn't work like that, sometimes, there really was just one person. Matt's head fell to the ground, and when he picked it back up, his mother was gone. He moved back to the puddle and gazed in.
Cheryl and Frank were delicately prying Emily from the chair beside Matt. She hadn't moved since the removed the life support and called his time of death. Neither had she given any indication that she planned to leave, just sat watching his body grow cold. Josh and Graham were still outside his room, along with Duff and Lia...no one seemed to know what to do.
" Emily, if you feel up to it, we'd like you help with funeral arrangements in a few days," Graham asked her quietly. Emily nodded silently, still not far from tears.
The father and son left quietly, after making arrangements with Cheryl, who'd gladly handed over control of Matt's funeral arrangements.
"Excuse, Ms. Carrera. The EMTs gave this to us earlier with his clothing, said it was in a pocket, they found it when they were working on it." The head nurse approached her, sympathy in her eyes, and handed her a small jewelry box.
Cheryl took the box, no doubt Matt's Valentine's Day present to Emily, and handed it off to her friend, who took it with shaking hands. Opening the box sent a fresh wave of tears coursing down her face, she held it out for her friends to see, and all their bodies seemed to sag.
Emily walked quickly back into Matt's room, stopping the orderlies from trying to get him ready for the morgue. She leaned her face against the side of his, and whispered softly to him.
"I would have said yes." She slipped the diamond ring on her left ring finger, kissed him one last time, and walked back out to her friends. She turned to Frank.
"I'm ready to go home." Frank nodded, and turned to Duff, who nodded at him; he and Lia would be driving right behind them. Lia, and maybe Cheryl would stay with her tonight, no way were they going to let her stay alone.
Frank shot Emily concerned glances as they got in the car and buckled up. She seemed so calm, so quiet, so barely alive, it freaked him out. Emily was a tough, sassy crisis negotiator, who'd proved herself in an all-boys club, but she seemed nothing like that now. She stared out the window, caressing the diamond on her finger, seemingly lost in thought. He turned toward the windshield and pulled out of the parking lot, Duff trailing behind him.
They'd gotten nearly half-way to her apartment when a light hit red, just before they got there. Frank waited patiently, and when it turned green, pushed the gas, and began driving through the light. Duff and Lia were watching from their car, not far behind. They saw the Chevy Silverado before Frank did, driving erratically, cruising through the red light.
Frank tried to turn away, but it was too late. Emily's eyes widened with fear for two split seconds, before her world went black. The front end of the Silverado smashed into Frank's passenger-side at 45 MPH.
Lia screamed. Duff stared in horror, and may have cursed. Frank screamed Emily's name. But, Emily didn't hear any of it.
911 was called and came, dragging an only minorly wounded Frank out and into an ambulance. The drunk was also dragged off of hood of the SVU, thoroughly dead. He neglected his seatbelt, and his airbag never opened. The LAFD arrived, and began work only getting Emily out of the smash up.
" Cheryl? Cheryl?" Lia's frantic voice spoke into her cell phone.
"Lia? What's wrong?" Cheryl breathed in deeply on the other end of line, what else could have gone wrong today?
"There--there was an accident, they're trying to get her out, but I don't--I don't..." Lia's voice shook and she whimpered, trying not to cry until she finished talking to Cheryl.
"Her? As in who? Emily?" Even as she said it, Cheryl felt her blood run cold.
"Yeah, the truck, it went ride into passenger's side of Frank's SUV. She--she--she couldn't have survived that...oh god, there so much blood!" Lia felt sick as she watch them pull her bloodied, broken friend from the twisted metal hole.
"Lia? Is she...? Frank, is he alright?" Cheryl couldn't begin to contemplate loosing two friends in one day.
"Fr-frank is okay, they took him to the hospital. Emily-Em-she di-di-did--" Lia couldn't get it, so Duff took the phone from her hand.
"They just gave up. Got a pulse, lost it and couldn't get it back. She didn't make it, Cheryl." then he let Lia practically dissolve into him.
Emily felt white-hot pain radiating through her body as she erupted from her skin, and went soaring into the next plain of existence. She landed with every inch of her body shaking and trembling, head aching worse than any migraine she could imagine. She finally uncovered her head, and straightened her body, looking confusedly around the scene before her.
She was in their apartment...seriously, that was Heaven--their apartment? She was confused further. Unlike Matt, she knew she was dead, but that's where her knowledge stopped. She had no idea why she was where she happened to be, or what she should do now that she was there. So, she walked through the apartment, noting that everything seemed to be exactly the same as it had been on Earth.
Maybe...was it possible...could she simply have dreamed both their deaths? Maybe she wasn't dead, but just woke up from a nap? Was it even Valentine's Day?
Really, if this was Heaven, shouldn't Matt be here? And her grandfather, who she adored as a child? She saw neither, and became troubled. Not everybody goes to Heaven...did she maybe not? She hadn't done anything she'd dream worthy of eternal damnation, but then again she didn't know how this worked. Or, maybe Matt didn't and that's why he wasn't here? That was an awful thought, she shook her head of it.
Wrapping her arms around herself, Emily sat down on the couch. It suddenly felt cold in the apartment, and she felt very alone. She sat there for a while, feeling more and more uneasy and upset, convinced Heaven must be far away. She turned her head abruptly when the door opened, and there stood Matt.
"Sorry, got lost." He shot her a sheepish half-grin; moving about in Heaven was not as easy as one would think.
Her lips trembled and eyes watered, then she ran up to him, and leapt into his arms. They stood there wrapped together for several minutes, Emily with her head against his neck, listing to his heart beat. Matt hated himself for it, but he was thrilled to have her there with him, to be able to hold her again.
She pulled back from him, and began to study his face. Those beautiful brown eyes were shining out at her; she brought her hands up to his face, feeling along the familiar lines. They may be dead, and that was very disappointing for a variety of reasons, but they were together again. Matt's eyes caught something sparkling on Emily's hand. He pulled it down so he could see, she was wearing the ring he bought her, the ring he'd been planning to propose with that night.
"So, I guess it would have been a yes, huh?" A cocky grin lit up his face.
"No, it is a yes. If I could marry you I will, so technically it is a yes." He was about to argue, but thought better of it, and instead pressed his lips to hers. It began to grow a little steamy, when all of the sudden, Emily put a hand up.
"Uh, are we allowed to do this here?" It was heaven after all, pure white, goodness and all that.
"Sure, why not?"
"Well, because it's Heaven, you know everybody's angels, pure an holy?"
"I don't know about you, but there damn well better be sex in my heaven, it no heaven without it." Matt leaned in and kissed her neck.
"Well, it that case...close your eyes a second." She pried herself away from him. He arched an eyebrow, but did as she asked.
Emily took off her sweatshirt and jeans. "Okay, you can open them."
Matt's eyes widened in surprise, and then his cocky grin return. "Oh yeah, that's heaven."
"Mmmm, actually that's your Valentine's present," she muttered as he went back to work on her neck. She was wearing the black and dusty pink lingerie she'd put on earlier that evening, still alive.
"Damn good present." His words were nearly lost against her collarbone.