A/N: I'm Ba-ack! I finally got around to updating this story with a new chapter. Here is where the action starts. This chapter is a little longer than the rest, but well worth it (in my mind). There is also a major shift in this from the original style. I had one thing planned for this chapter, but Emma has a mind of her own. Enjoy!
"Nick! Its DINNER!" This was the third time that evening Susan had yelled up the stairs in hopes that Nick would hear.
"Does he ever listen? Really, I think the only time he's come down on time is when Michael said something about girls going sledding and nick being nick heard girls going to bed; needless to say he came running down the stairs." Abi responded having clearly remembered the event as it had happened only a few weeks ago.
"Oh god, its two Abi's. I'm not hungry Susan." Ben said as he walked into the kitchen and promptly back out again.
"No! No! I am not going to listen to two slightly different versions of Abi talking at the same time…I refuse."
"What Susan, What is it now?" he asked as he stood in the doorway.
"Chinese-Takeaway!" Susan said gleefully as she pushed some chopsticks into his hands.
Ben happily walked over to the table and was saved the inconvenience of having to answer as just at that moment Nick walked in.
"Oh look who's finally joined us for dinner!" Susan announced as she picked up the plate that Ben was grasping for and handed it to Nick.
"I couldn't really get away at the moment, I was busy when you called"
"Trying to get out without breaking anything in the way of my door." Nick replied with his trademark grin.
"If you were cleaner Nick, this would never have been a problem. Michael was alw-"
"Mother, how many times must I explain this to you, Michael never got along with the ladies. Because you see, hot babes all want the same thing, they wa-"
"Someone that washes their clothes on a regular basis?" Susan asked with a quizzical expression.
"No, babes want a man, a real man, someone that's rugged and strong."
"And you fit these how?" Emma interjected.
"Because I, can sweep you off your feet with my sheer masculine force."
"Yes, with the forceful odor of your socks." Ben said as he continued to stuff his face with food. Everyone laughed at this comment while Nick was silent and looked at his father. After dinner was done the family all drifted off to their separate parts of the house. Emma followed Abi to her room, Nick went to his room and Ben sat downstairs reading while Susan cleaned up from dinner.
Abi and Emma spent the night chatting about what they aspired to do, relationships and the oddities of the Harper family. They finally decided to retire after they realized that it was 3 AM and they were still talking. The next morning both girls woke up almost at the same time. They made their way downstairs to see what Susan had decided to make or attempt for breakfast.
They had just pushed open the kitchen door when they were greeted by the smell of baked goods.
"What's cooking Susan?" Abi asked as she sniffed the pleasant aroma that filled the kitchen.
"Well, I decided to make muffins!"
"Yumm! Muffins are my favorite!" Emma exclaimed.
"Wonderful! They'll be done in just a few minutes." Susan replied.
Knowing that food would be on its way momentarily, Abi and Emma went to sit at the table. Just as they were getting seated, Nick burst through the door. He was practically bouncing around to the music that was streaming from the cell phone in his hand.
"Nick, What on EARTH are you doing?" Susan asked, ever the questioning mother.
"Nothing Mum, just groovin' to this cool beat."
"Nick I think that you should give Emma back her phone."
Nick however was not listening to anyone as he continued to groove about the kitchen. Emma had now stood up and was looking slightly annoyed.
"Pssssh-pssssh…This is Earth to Nick coming in with an important message-" Emma said, sounding like an astronaut communications person.
"I need my phone." Emma demanded as she looked up at Nick who was contentedly holding the still ringing cell phone.
"You're never going to get anything like that." He remarked noting the forcibly crossed arms of Emma.
"Magic word and I'll give it back." Nick grinned as he held her phone just out of reach.
"Now." Emma said as she took a step closer to Nick.
"Ohh, wrong one. Play again next time!" he said as he moved towards the door.
"Nick! Give Emma the phone NOW or you won't have a place to live in five minutes." Susan stated, getting irritated with her joking son.
"Aw, Mum why do you have to be such a – Hey! Don't I even get a thanks?" He asked as Emma had just gotten a hold of her phone.
Emma sighed as she looked at Nick and flipped open her phone to receive the call.
"Hello? Yes this is she. Wait what? May I ask the reason for such short notice? Uh huh. Term change eh? Well that's bloody fantastic. I'll tell you where you can stick your eviction notice- uh huh. Yeah sure you can. Goodbye to you too."
Emma briskly shut the phone with a loud snap. She looked livid and was literally shaking. Everyone was watching her to see what was happening.
"I think. That I just got kicked out of my flat." Emma stated as she started to pale and looked unsteady. One thirty second phone call and she had no house. In a matter of seconds everything had changed. The room had started spinning and she felt like she was going to fall.
Nick hadn't known Emma that long, but from what he saw, she did not look good. "Emma? Are you-" Just as he started to approach her, she began to wobble. He rushed forward just in time to keep her from falling. No. She was not alright. Though he wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box, Nick at least knew that people did not fall over when they were feeling fine. He supported her with ease as she remained slumped in his arms. He could stand here for as long as he was needed, which he sensed was going to be a while.
She could hear Nick saying something, but she couldn't make out the words. It was like everything had become foggy and uncertain. Things were moving, the ground had turned into a slope and she could no longer stand. She pitched unsteadily as two arms wrapped around her and kept her from falling. She held on to those arms, as they were the only steady thing in her topsy-turvy world. Emma stared blankly at the floor waiting for everything to stop. What was she going to do? Its not like she had anywhere else to go, all of her relatives were scattered through Europe and had their own lives. Her bank account wasn't exactly bursting at the seams either.
Emma was still shaking within Nick's arms. He held her even tighter, hoping that she would break out of whatever trance she was in. Even though it had only been a few minutes, Emma had barely moved. She was rooted to the spot. She had grabbed Nick's arms and held them as tightly as she could. She looked utterly defeated as most of her weight was supported by Nick. Her eyes never left the floor.
Susan had been closely watching this encounter between Nick and Emma. First she was concerned for Emma. The poor girl had been kicked out of her flat, with very little notice. Following the phone call, Emma had nearly fallen over in shock. The minute Nick had grabbed Emma, Susan had snapped back to mother mode. The image had played out like a dramatic dream to Susan. Down goes the girl, and in comes the handsome man to save her from the jaws of destruction. What had thrown Susan for a loop was the fact that it was Nick who was the savior. She had long ago given up on the idea of Nick ever making anything of himself. Yet here he was. That one little motion of his had set off a chain reaction in Susan's mind. Yes, she supposed, there was room for one more in the Harper Household. And if she wasn't mistaken, that addition would be greatly welcomed by Nick.
A/N: All reviews appreciated! And yes, I now belong to the evil cliffhanger club (this was the mild version, and more like a hill than a cliff). Now GO REVIEW!