Jenny closed her eyes for a moment as she listened to the radio, willingly turning off all other input apart from the rich sound of Emma's vocal talents from the Sister Act performance.
'My girlfriend,' at that thought, Jenny bent her head in a very real impression of a benediction as the joy of Emma being her girlfriend broke free and unleashed itself in a blinding smile.
"Jenny, Jenny, Jenny," she whispered to herself in mock sternness but she was unable to remove the smile from her face.
Never, simply never in a million years would she have thought that one person could possibly make her so happy. But, then again, never in a million years would she have thought that someone who was such an amazing fit would find their way into her life.
It had been such an earth shattering shock, almost instantly realizing that there was a pull she couldn't resist between herself and the blonde. Unfortunately for them both, within Jenny it had felt like the war of all wars. It was if the intense desire she had to get to know Emma better and the fear that the other woman would be like everyone else and tear yet another hole in her heart constantly battled against each other.
It had led them both to make mistakes, to hurt each other and yet ... 'My girlfriend," Jenny thought again, the smile appearing once more to light up the room.
Forcibly, she turned her full attention back to the music and simply tried to absorb the wonder of both the music and the feeling that just thinking about Emma instilled in her very soul.
"Say, Jenny, have you seen a small green memory stick? I thought I had it out there," Stefan Bergmann asked, oblivious to Jenny's current Emma-rapture.
At hearing Stefan speak, Jenny refused to let her attention be drawn away from the music. "Shh, Emma's singing!" Trusting that this knowledge would explain everything to him, she continued to listen.
Barely registering that Stefan had left, Jenny waited in anticipation as the DJ began speaking, assuming that the interview would be next. The anticipation instantly morphed into a stomach flip of a different kind when the DJ admitted that there wasn't to be an interview and he didn't know why the group hadn't arrived.
Concern sent Jenny straight to her cell phone, her mind racing as she dialed Emma's number.
The call was answered, "Hello?"
Actually hearing someone answer on the other end of the phone call let loose such a flood of relief that Jenny didn't even notice it wasn't Emma's voice. "Emma, how come you're not at the radio station? What's going on?"
"This isn't Emma, this ... this is Luzi."
"Luzi, can you put Emma on please?"
"I can't right now. She - she can't talk."
"Can't talk? But... "
Luzi interrupted, stress now evident in her voice, "Jenny, we've been in an accident. Someone hit us."
'An accident?' Jenny's shock at Luzi's statement sent a spear laden with fear right through Jenny's heart. "God, how is everyone? Is Emma all right?"
"Emma's fine, I think. She just can't talk. I have to go take care of Timo," Luzi answered before disconnecting the call.
With Luzi's additional admission that Emma couldn't speak, it didn't matter that Luzi said Emma was all right, until Jenny saw for herself there would be no peace. Fully intending to bicycle her way to the hospital and make sure Emma was okay for herself, she searched for her bicycle key as she gathered her things.
After having no luck with the key, Jenny's frustration reached a peak and she started toward the stairs as she tried to figure out some other way to the hospital. As she approached the stairs her concentration was so complete that the collision with Stefan shocked her enough to make her move back several steps.
"Jenny, what's the rush?" Stefan asked, surprise evident in his voice.
"I - I can't find my bicycle key. Emma had an accident, I have to go to the hospital," Jenny answered, her stomach roiling at the fact that she still wasn't on her way.
"Unfortunately, I don't know exactly. Sorry, I have to go."
Stefan spoke up instantly, "Here, you can take my car."
Jenny felt somewhat light headed with relief at the offer and took the keys quickly, "Thanks!"
After what felt like the longest car ride she'd ever been on, Jenny arrived at the hospital and made a mental note to thank Stefan again later for the loan of his car. Even though she knew the hospital wasn't that far away, it would have been a trek with her bicycle - especially at night.
Glad that most hospitals were set up similarly, Jenny ran through the emergency doors and quickly found Ms. Vogel, Mr. Heisig and Luzi. Only to be frustratingly stymied by the fact that although they thought Emma had been seen by a doctor and was okay, they had no idea where she was.
Not wanting to waste the time being angry that they had apparently lost Emma, Jenny decided to take matters into her own hands and find her girlfriend herself.
"Emma, where are you?" Jenny said to herself as she searched yet another corridor, futilely asking a nurse where Emma might be and then moving further along when she had no success.
"Emma?" she finally let loose the frustration Jenny had been holding in since she'd started searching the corridors in a call for her girlfriend and was almost instantly rewarded with a sense of ... something that made her pause.
Following the pull, she turned her head and took a surprised breath as she spotted Emma curled up against one of the hospital carts.
"Emma," Jenny sighed in relief as she dropped to her knees. "Hey, what are you doing here?"
Hardly pausing, Jenny continued, "I've been looking for you everywhere, I was worried about you."
Concern ratcheted again when Emma didn't respond. "Emma? Emma, can you hear me?"
The vacant look in Emma's eyes was starting to really worry Jenny. "Hey, Emma, is everything okay?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I'll be all right," Emma finally answered.
Letting out a deep breath as she released some of her fear, Jenny nodded and relaxed slightly as her mind kept repeating, 'She's here, Jenny. She's okay.'
And then Emma turned her head more and Jenny's heart pounded in shock as she blinked at the cuts and bruises to the blonde's face. "Emma, have you seen the doctor? Are you all right?"
Somewhat dazedly, Emma replied, "I'm all right. I just needed quiet for a while."
"You haven't seen the doctor?" Jenny queried, eyebrows raised, astonished that nobody had verified that Emma had been seen.
Emma shook her head. "No. I'm all right, really."
"Emma, you have to see the doctor, you could be hurt more than you think," Jenny insisted.
When Emma didn't respond, Jenny finally released the innate desire her hands always had to be touching Emma and rubbed one hand up and down her arm, letting the other's fingertips barely graze the blonde's face. "Please. Please let me take you to a doctor."
Emma didn't reply and Jenny took it for all she could, even as she was aware that she meant every word. "Please. I couldn't bear it if something happened to you."
Looking up into Jenny's eyes, Emma blinked slowly as if not truly understanding and then nodded.
"Thank you." Unfolding herself from the ground, Jenny held out a hand to help Emma to her feet, watching to be sure that the other woman wasn't shaky in any way as she stood.
As soon as Emma was on her feet, Jenny pulled her into a gentle hug and then continued the contact by stroking the other woman's cheek with the back of her fingers and moving her hand to the blonde's shoulder. "You okay?"
A nurse walked by before Emma could respond, Jenny turned quickly and grabbed the opportunity. "My friend was in an accident and needs to be checked out, where do we go?"
The nurse instantly stepped in front of Emma and seemed to quickly evaluate the damage as Jenny looked on. Relieved that she'd asked the right person, Jenny nodded as the nurse pointed out the desk that they had to go to and mentioned the doctor they should ask for.
Filling out the forms the nurse had left with them was considerably easier than Jenny had thought since Emma just handed her wallet over as soon as Jenny asked the first question she didn't know how to answer.
The previous injuries and allergies were a little trickier but Jenny plucked a page from Emma's book and chattered incessantly to try and determine the correct answers. She had decent luck with listing injuries, mostly because there was just one, but after not receiving anything useful from Emma regarding allergies, she tried a different tack.
"Did you know that I'm deathly allergic to strawberries?" Jenny mentioned and then continued, "Are you allergic to anything?"
"No," Emma replied in almost a whisper.
Slightly encouraged that Emma was responding occasionally, Jenny smiled to herself at the success in getting an answer. Then she tried a question that had been bothering her, more than willing to hurry up the doctor if the blonde had responded affirmatively, "Are you in a lot of pain?"
Emma simply shook her head and they sat quietly for a few minutes, listening to the hustle and bustle of the hospital go on around them.
Interrupting the silence between them, Jenny finally asked, "Can I get you something to drink or eat?"
Emma just stared in the direction of a very good rendition of the inside of a heart, the only signs of life an occasional blink.
Still very concerned, Jenny brought the other woman's hand to her lips and softly kissed it. "You had me so scared, you know?" she whispered.
The words seemed to break Emma out of her spell for a few moments. "I'm sorry."
A smile briefly touched Jenny's lips as she shook her head. "You're all right and you're with me, that's all that matters."
Emma squeezed the hand holding hers and let out a sigh that seemed to indicate tacit agreement with that statement before settling back against the pillows on the bed.
'Finally,' Jenny thought when the doctor arrived with a nurse in tow and then immediately bristled when the doctor asked her to step out so that he could examine Emma in private. Only Emma insisting that Jenny stay and not letting go of the brunette's hand persuaded the doctor to continue with the examination with Jenny in the room.
It was over fairly quickly and Jenny could almost feel the relief seeping out of her pores as she digested the fact that Emma would be sore for a few days and might have a headache for at least that long, but in general was fine. Emma was given drugs to help with her pain and Jenny put them in her bag.
"Okay, do you want to go check on your friends before we leave?" Jenny asked as she helped Emma put her jacket back on.
Emma nodded and they found their way back through the labyrinth of corridors and doors to where the others had been previously to find only Ms. Vogel and Mr. Heisig there.
After checking in with the two teachers and deciding to completely ignore Ms. Vogel's confused state about why Jenny was so concerned and taking such care of Emma, Jenny answered the questions that Emma couldn't and then led her away and out to the car.
The radio played softly in the background as Jenny drove with extra care, almost painfully aware of the precious cargo sitting next to her. Sparing a second to glance over at her passenger, she winced as the glare of an oncoming car's headlights made the damage to Emma's face stand out in stark relief.
As her eyes traced over the injuries, Jenny felt her heart jump for the hundredth time since she'd listened to the radio and realized that the STAG had not made it to the interview. The thought that she could've lost Emma tonight hadn't been far from her mind since she had found out about the accident and she inhaled deeply in an attempt to calm herself and then released the breath slowly.
She almost wished she hadn't overheard the two nurses talking about the two people who died in the accident, two people she knew were gone - just like that. It was so hard to not dwell about how close it had been for Emma but the blonde needed Jenny to be strong for her and thinking about how Ms. Lohmann and Mr. Götting died in the accident wasn't the way to keep herself calm.
To get her mind off the track it had been spiraling down and yet knowing she wasn't likely to get a reply, Jenny said, "Let me know if you need me to stop somewhere else on the way."
At Emma's continued lack of interest in almost everything, only the fact that the doctor had imparted to Jenny that this type of reaction wasn't that unusual kept Jenny from turning the car around and heading back to the hospital. Still, even with that information from the doctor, it was impossible not to worry when Emma was usually such a chatterbox.
Jenny took a quick moment to realize that of all the times she had thought about Emma, and there were so many she couldn't count, there hadn't been a time when she'd actually been in the other woman's presence and had so much quiet to work with.
As she thought about that and how lucky Emma had been to not be hurt worse, Jenny caught the opening bars of a song she knew well.
o/ It's a good thing tears never show in the pouring rain
As if a good thing ever could make up for all the pain
There'll be no last chance, I promise to never mess it up again o/
Jenny sighed softly, it hadn't been that long ago when she had been singing the song now playing to herself, sure that Emma was beyond her forever.
Another quick glance showed the blonde sitting placidly in her seat, her mind obviously still a million miles away.
It had, more recently, been the same song that took them to a point where Jenny's heart had been cracked open and broken to a degree that she never wanted to experience again. She and Emma had been moving forward but when Timo came into the auditorium, Emma pushing her away had been the single worst experience of her life.
'And isn't that something to say?' Jenny thought to herself. After all of the awful things she'd been through, that this tiny blonde from Cologne had the ability to make her feel the best and the worst she had ever felt in her life... 'Amazing,' Jenny admitted to herself with a slight shake of her head and yet another peek at the aforementioned tiny blonde.
o/ Just a sweet pain of watching your back as you walk away.
As I'm watching you walk away
And now you're gone it's like an echo in my head
And I remember every word you said o/
And remembering every word Emma had said was something Jenny did indeed do, to a painful degree sometimes. Every hurt, every balm, every sad, wonderful, astonishingly honest, naive and inexplicable thing that was Emma.
They had hurt each other so much and Jenny was ashamed at herself still for the times she had done it deliberately, assuming that Emma was like everyone else she'd met.
Not daring to believe that the breathtaking wonder of Emma was that she was nothing like anyone Jenny had ever met before.
o/ There's a moment to seize every time that we meet
But you have always keep passing me by
No, you never were, and you never will be mine o/
The hint of a warm smile touched Jenny's lips when she thought of the moment when Emma had proved the lyrics wrong and had finally seized that moment. Doing something so intrinsically "Emma" that it would forever bring a spark of awe to a heart so damaged both by others and her own actions.
At the memory, she could still feel the warmth from the blaze of healing glory that had swept over her when Emma had so earnestly admitted her love in the train station. Only Emma could have thrown herself so whole heartedly and unabashedly into making sure Jenny knew that she loved her. Not caring who would overhear, not caring who would see what was happening - just making sure that Jenny wouldn't leave her.
'Well, until Emma realized that my parents were standing there,' Jenny recalled silently to herself with another tiny grin.
With the thought of parents in her mind, Jenny sobered slightly and looked over at Emma once more, remembering that Luzi had answered Emma's phone earlier. "Emma, did Luzi give you your phone back?"
With no reply, Jenny tried again, "Emma? Where's your phone?"
Blinking, Emma looked over at Jenny obviously quite perplexed. "Phone?" she asked.
"Did Luzi give it back to you after the accident?" As she asked the first question, realization dawned on Jenny and so she asked another, "And did the hospital call your parents?"
Shaking her head, Emma replied, "I don't know," before returning her gaze to stare out of the windshield.
Jenny hadn't thought before about why Emma's parents weren't at the hospital but it was suddenly very clear to her that they almost certainly had not been called or, from what Emma had told her about her relationship with them, they would definitely had been there.
As she mentally chastised herself for not making sure the doctor had talked to Emma's parents, Jenny realized she likely hadn't given him a chance. She had rushed in and, since Emma had been mostly unresponsive, had made sure all the forms had been filled out and the necessary questions asked and answered.
"Why don't you use my phone to call your parents, so they're not scared to death when you walk in looking so hurt?"
With no response from Emma, Jenny nervously twitched her head to flick her hair out of her eyes. Realization had dawned that someone was going to have to warn Emma's family before they arrived at their house and that someone was looking very likely to be herself.
When they stopped at a stop light, Jenny dug through her bag to find her phone and tried one more time to rouse Emma from her persistent daze. "Emma? Do you want to use my phone to call your parents before we get there?"
Catching a slight movement, which she interpreted as a shake of Emma's head, Jenny sighed once more as she scrolled down to find Emma's home number.
The stop light changed and Jenny accelerated even as she dialed the number she had only used once before when Emma had misplaced her phone for a few hours. "I'm going to call and warn them before we get there, if you don't want to?"
Glad that the phone was set up to connect hands free to the car's speakers so she wouldn't get in trouble, trepidation ran through her as she wondered how to warn them without making it sound worse than it was. Then the phone was answered leaving Jenny with no time to work it out.
"Mrs. Müller?" Jenny asked as a deeper, fuller version of Emma's voice answered the phone.
"Hi... I mean Hello, this is Jenny. Jenny Hartmann. I am ... I'm a friend of Emma's."
"Jenny!" Mrs. Müller exclaimed. "Yes, we have heard so much about you from Emma and why haven't we met you yet? Soon, yes? Ah, but Emma isn't here right now."
A little overwhelmed by Mrs. Müller's enthusiasm in the face of why she was calling, Jenny replied, "Yes, I know. I mean... she's with me but ..."
"But?" Emma's mother asked, instantly picking up on Jenny's tone. "Is something wrong?"
"Yes, but it's all right really." Jenny could have cursed at herself for not thinking the phone call through and for most definitely saying the wrong things.
Her tone now obviously concerned Mrs. Müller replied, "Is Emma all right? Where is she?"
"I'm fine, mom," Emma suddenly interjected, surprising Jenny with her sudden moment of clarity.
"Emma? Emma, what's happened?" Mrs. Müller demanded.
"There was an... an accident and some people were hurt. I ... I..."
Jenny intervened at the silence, somewhat frustrated that the clarity had ended so quickly and she couldn't do a thing about it. "Their bus was in an accident on the way to the radio interview but the doctor said she's fine and so I'm bringing her home to you."
"The doctor?" Mrs. Müller breathed. "Where is she? I'll come to get her right now."
"We're just a few minutes away but I wanted to let you know because she does have some cuts and bruises. I didn't want you to be shocked when we came in but she's fine."
"Are you sure? Emma, what did the doctor say?"
Emma roused herself again. "I ... I - I don't know."
Now absolutely sure she should've just let Emma walk in the door and not attempted the call, Jenny picked up the conversation up again, "I'm sorry, I should've made sure they called you but I wasn't thinking. The doctor said she'll be fine but she's still in a bit of shock because of the accident. So, she's not very talkative."
"Shock? Why didn't they call me? Where are you?" was Mrs. Müller's rapid fire response.
"We're almost there, one street away," Jenny replied and then continued, "Emma is fine, really. I'll explain when we get there, I promise."
Jenny turned onto Emma's street. "We just turned onto your street, I'll hang up now. Okay?"
"Yes, okay," Mrs. Müller answered and then hung up.
As Jenny closed in on Emma's home, she saw an older, rounder version of Emma step outside and anxiously look at the approaching car.
As soon as Jenny stopped the car, Mrs. Müller was opening Emma's door and instantly back into rapid fire mode even as she ran her hands up and down Emma's arms. "Emma! Emma, are you all right? What happened? Why didn't you call?"
When Emma turned her head, Jenny heard the gasp from the older woman as she saw the cuts and bruises on Emma's face. "Emma!"
Jenny quickly moved out of the car and to the other side next to Emma's mother. "The doctor said she'll be fine in a few days. He gave her some pills to take and said she should rest soon."
"Pills?" Mrs. Müller queried.
Digging around in her bag, Jenny pulled them out to show to Emma's mother as she heard a commotion behind her.
At the sudden cacophony of loud voices, Emma visibly flinched and began to look somewhat panicked.
Jenny laid a hand on Emma's shoulder and turned to the blonde's presumed three siblings. "Emma is okay, but she was in an accident and has a bad headache - so it hurts her when people talk loud. I'm her friend, by the way - Jenny."
"Ohhhh, THIS is Jenny," said a young man who appeared to be about fourteen or fifteen.
A girl about seven or eight spoke up, "You're very pretty. She said you were pretty. I'm Sara."
Jenny smiled, ridiculously pleased at the compliment and that Emma had spoken about her to her family.
"What did you do to Emma?" came an accusing voice from behind Jenny.
Jenny spun around to face a girl who appeared to be a little bit older than Emma. "Wh... What? I - I ... she was in an accident. I didn't... ."
"Anna, stop that!" ordered Mrs. Müller as she started to lead Emma into the house. "All of you inside and up to your rooms now."
"No arguments! Homework, now! I'll tell you when to come back down."
"Mom, if you've forgotten, I don't have homework anymore. I want to know what happened to Emma," Anna insisted.
"Anna, just give me a few minutes with your sister and her friend, okay?" Mrs. Müller answered, even as she steered Emma through the doorway.
Jenny watched as Anna frowned and then shook her head as she turned to go.
Not at all liking the idea that Emma was being taken away from her but unsure what to do, she shifted from one foot to another until Mrs. Müller turned back to look at her and said, "Jenny, please come inside."
Relieved that she hadn't been sent away, Jenny quickly followed the two inside the home noting with amazement that all three of Emma's siblings were indeed heading up the stairs and, presumably, to their rooms.
Jenny looked around the home as Emma's mother settled the blonde on a very comfortable looking couch. It was warm, inviting and, just like the couch, very comfortable - she almost chuckled at the thought that it was actually very much like Emma's personality and wondered if a home could inject itself into a person or vice versa.
As she looked around she suddenly knew without a doubt that Emma's mother was watching her and tried not to squirm as she turned her head to see Mrs. Müller looking at her with steel in her eyes.
"Please sit," Mrs. Müller kindly but firmly commanded, taking in the beautiful girl who was obviously trying to decide how to be close to Emma and yet trying so very hard to not be obvious that she was failing completely in her desire. She noted, with little surprise, that Jenny chose a spot that was as close to Emma as she could get without actually sitting on the couch with the two of them.
As Jenny settled herself, Mrs. Müller kept running her hand in circles on Emma's back trying to sooth herself and her oldest daughter. "Emma, what happened?"
"An accident, mom. There was an accident," in barely a whisper, Emma replied.
"Why didn't you call us?" Mentally cursing herself for asking a question that was likely the least of their worries, yet still bothering her, Lena Müller sighed in irritation at herself and turned her daughter's head so that she could once again look over the cuts and bruises.
"I - I... "
Jenny couldn't stand the lost look in Emma's eyes and spoke up as she mentally ordered her hands to not reach over to touch Emma, "Luzi said she was in shock right away..."
"Luzi?" Mrs. Müller interrupted. "Oh, the STAG." Shaking her head she looked at Jenny, knowing that the brunette was her best source of information. "I'm sorry, what did the doctor say about Emma?"
Jenny readily answered, "The doctor told me that it's perfectly normal for her to still be in shock, and she'll probably have a headache for a few days, but she'll be okay. Oh, and she's to take the pills we picked up and rest. Quiet is best for a while."
Jenny dug around in her bag for the pills again, brandishing them with a cautious smile when she finally found them.
Lena took the pills and looked over the label, concentrating on the fact that her daughter was next to her and whilst not in the best of shape, was in one piece. "She's not good with some pain medication, but she can take these," she finally admitted, placing the container on the end table next to her. Then she speared Jenny with another look. "What happened and why am I just finding out about this?"
"I don't know the details, just that their bus was hit by a car and - and... " Stealing a glance at Emma, Jenny sat back slightly and tried to order her thoughts, not at all sure about how to bring up the news about the teachers who had died, nor how Emma would react to mentioning it.
Lena followed Jenny's gaze and looked at her daughter, still dressed in her jacket and looking very small and scared. It broke her resolve and she simply gathered Emma to her, thankful beyond belief that she was home and in her arms. Tears manifested themselves and silently slid down her cheeks as the stress of the last few minutes finally let itself loose. She whispered words of relief and love into Emma's ear and was rewarded with a tight hug from her daughter.
Jenny looked down at her shoes, her hands rubbing against each other as she tried not to intrude on the private moment between mother and daughter. Her soleful contemplation was interrupted when Mrs. Müller addressed her again and Jenny looked up to see Emma's mother wiping her eyes and face.
"Jenny, how did you know about this?"
Averting her eyes again in an attempt to let Emma's mother collect herself, Jenny focused on some pictures on the wall close to her and answered, "Uhm, well, the radio DJ said they hadn't gotten to the interview and so I called Emma to find out why."
Mrs. Müller watched as Jenny's mouth almost certainly unconsciously twitched into a slight smile. Looking over at the pictures that the young woman was looking at, she knew by heart that several of them were of an adorably younger Emma.
Mulling that over for a moment, she kept one arm firmly around Emma and used her other hand to continuously brush her thumb over Emma's still cool fingers. "And Emma told you about this accident?"
The words brought Jenny out of her adorable Emma reverie and she shook her head. "No, it was Luzi. She had Emma's phone and said there had been an accident but Emma couldn't talk. So, I ... well I ... "
"Decided you had to go to the hospital to see for yourself?"
Her head bopping back and forth at the simple but true statement, Jenny blew out a breath and nodded. "Well, yes."
"And nobody thought to call her family," Lena sighed.
Jenny hung her head. "I... I'm sorry, I just assumed that Emma or the hospital had called. I - I didn't even think about it until we were coming here and I..."
"Jenny," Mrs. Müller said kindly, "You seem to have done a remarkable job of taking care of my daughter in my absence. Judging by what little I got out of her outside and in here and from what you've said, she's had a very rough night and it sounds like she needed someone to do exactly what you did since her father and I weren't able to."
"Well, she... " Jenny stopped and looked away, wanting to be careful about what she said to Emma's mother.
With eyes that seemed to be the exact same color as Emma's, Jenny looked at Mrs. Müller and felt herself skewered very neatly to the chair by the look that the other woman gave her when she completed Jenny's sentence. "Means a lot to you?"
Shifting her gaze to Emma once more, Jenny swallowed as she tried to decide the safest path through the apparent minefield she'd found herself in. Not willing to hurt the woman she loved by answering what was in her heart, which was simply - that Emma meant everything to her - Jenny looked back at Emma's mother and sat up in the chair before taking a deep breath.
'Careful, Jenny,' Jenny's mind admonished, as she moved her gaze to the table in front of her and shook her head, trying to find the right words. "Emma's... she's not like anyone else I've ever met. She's amazing, really amazing."
Lena's heart dropped to her toes as she finally realized there was little doubt that her recent suspicions about something going on in Emma's life had been more than confirmed. It wasn't that it seemed Emma had fallen for Jenny, but it definitely was obvious from finally meeting Jenny and what her daughter had told her that Jenny understood so much more of life than her largely inexperienced and most definitely unworldly daughter.
How they would find a level field to have a relationship on was beyond Lena, and the knowledge that Emma was going to be hurt - if not by Jenny, then definitely by intolerance was almost more than she could bear.
Looking up again at Emma's mother, Jenny felt the other woman's eyes almost bore into her own and the continuing silence was very unsettling. Nervously feeling the need to expand on her statement, Jenny said, "She's..." She stumbled slightly and then quietly admitted, "Yes, she means a lot to me."
Taking a few seconds to pick the right words, Mrs. Müller turned her attention to Emma who was still curled in the crook of her arm. Lifting Emma's chin, she smiled at her daughter and was relieved when Emma smiled back and leaned in to hug her again. Still holding her daughter close, she looked pointedly at Jenny and said, "My Emma - she loves with her whole heart. There is no subterfuge and there are no games when she loves, it's a rare and beautiful thing."
'Utoh,' Jenny's mind cautioned, not needing a Müller version of the dictionary to understand the point being driven sharply at her. She once more looked at Emma and, as a soft smile blossomed on her face, wondered how to respond to that before simply allowing her heart to speak for her, "Everything about your daughter is a rare and beautiful thing, Mrs. Müller."
Lena couldn't stop her own smile brought about by the young woman's obviously candid response and the radiant smile she bestowed on her daughter, which was returned by Emma in unconscious reflection.
"It seems my daughter's taste in ... friends continues to be as good as it always has been. Even when I wasn't sure what she was thinking, she's always loved with her heart first and never let others sway her opinion, no matter how damning the evidence to the contrary."
"Mom," Emma admonished, a little life finally appearing.
Tilting her head to the side, Lena looked at Emma and queried, "Do you remember when you were what.. fourteen? And how I was sure Niklas was up to no good?"
Emma nodded before replying softly, "You thought he was going to steal the silver."
"Mm, and you defended him. Told me that he was your friend and if he wasn't coming to Sunday dinner then you weren't either."
Mrs. Müller looked again at Jenny and explained quietly, "He saved Anna's life that summer. Her friends left her swimming at the river alone, but Emma had asked him to check on them on his way home and she would have drowned if he hadn't been there to see she was in trouble."
A creak on the stairs interrupted any thoughts of a continuation of the story and Mrs. Müller sighed deeply before calling out, "Come in, you lot."
Jenny almost jumped out of her chair when three bodies suddenly appeared in the doorway, all babbling at the same time.
Feeling Emma shrink back at the noise, Mrs. Müller was on her feet almost instantly. "Quiet!"
Without realizing it, Jenny had found herself on her feet as well - one glance at Emma had her moving to put her body in-between her girlfriend and the invading horde. However, Mrs. Müller's command not only quieted Emma's siblings but stopped Jenny from taking the final step to put her in front of Emma, which left her standing next to Mrs. Müller.
Noting what the brunette was obviously about to do, Lena nodded at Jenny in approval and murmured, "It seems my daughter has acquired a defender of her own."
Jenny felt the instant heat of the blush on her cheeks but kept her eyes on Emma.
"Mom, what's going on?" Erik asked.
"Yeah, what happened?" Anna added.
Sara simply knelt at Emma's feet, looking up into her sister's face as she placed a small hand on her knee.
Emma reached out and covered her youngest sister's hand with her own and bestowed a quiet smile on Sara. "I'm okay."
"Your sister's singing group was in an accident, but the doctor said she's going to be just fine and Jenny kindly brought her home. She needs some quiet and rest, though." Mrs. Müller took all of her offspring in with one look. "So, you all need to keep it down and let her rest, got it?"
"But what happened, Em?" Anna asked, turning her attention back on her sister.
Erik leaned over and asked, "Yeah, sis, did anyone else get hurt?"
As tears instantly pooled in Emma's eyes and spilled over to begin slowly rolling down the blonde's face, Jenny thought her heart might implode when hazel eyes met hers in a plea that she wasn't sure she understood. Still, finding the need to do something, she began talking, "I... I can help her to her room so she can rest?"
"I'll take her," Sara offered.
With a stern look in Jenny's direction, Anna countered instantly, "No, I will."
"Geez, come on, I can probably almost carry her up there," Erik commented.
Lena waved her hands to move her three children away from her sister as she closed in and sat next to Emma again. "Give your sister some air here! She needs quiet, not this din."
Suddenly, Jenny knew exactly what Emma needed and was perhaps looking for. "It's very quiet at the Bergmann's," she said, looking into Emma's eyes and feeling herself calm a little at the relief she saw there. "I can take her there and make sure she rests as long as she needs."
The noise level from the siblings ratcheted dramatically at the statement and Emma shrank deeply into the oversized cushions at her back.
About to argue, Lena felt her heart break at the lost look on her daughter's face, and then watched as Jenny ignored the tumult and knelt in front of Emma, mirroring Sara's earlier move by placing a hand on her daughter's knee.
"Is that what you need?" Jenny asked very quietly, yet managing to get Emma's entire attention.
Lena watched in fascination as the rest of the world obviously faded for the two young women, their gazes locked on each other as if nothing else existed. 'Oh, sweetheart,' her mind supplied as her daughter nodded.
Jenny blinked, her awareness that others were watching them kicking in. Noticing the confusion on the faces of Emma's siblings, she began, "I..."
"It's all right, Jenny," Lena interrupted kindly. Not liking the idea of what she was about to ask at all, because it meant that her obviously upset and injured daughter would almost certainly be out of her care, she nonetheless got Emma's attention by placing a hand on her arm and then asked, "Is that what you really want, honey?"
Emma finally looked away from Jenny and nodded at her mother.
Stilling the arguments from the rest of her family with a single raised hand and a look at the three of them, Lena stated, "Quiet is what your sister needs right now and she's obviously not going to get it here." Before they could start up again, she continued, "Anna and Sara, go to your sister's room and pack her a change of clothes please."
"Bu..." Anna tried to reply.
"Now, please," came the command from Mrs. Müller, followed by another, "Erik, the garbage in the kitchen needs to be emptied,"
Not even bothering to argue, Erik sighed and walked into the kitchen.
"I don't like you leaving, Emma, I don't like it even one tiny bit. But it's quite obvious that you aren't going to get any rest here. Still, are you sure?"
Emma dipped her head yet again to signal her positive response to the question.
Sighing, Lena turned to Jenny. "You'll make sure she takes her medication and call me if anything comes up, anything at all?"
"Yes, I'll give you my cell number so you can call any time since Luzi still has her phone and I'll have her call you in the morning too," Jenny instantly replied, relieved beyond belief that she might not be separated from Emma after all.
Nervously tapping her finger on her knee, Lena took a leap of faith as she suddenly stood and helped Emma to her feet, allowing Jenny to help on the other side. As soon as they were set, she caught Jenny's attention and said, "I'm trusting you to take very good care of my daughter, Jenny."
"There's nothing more important to me, Mrs. Müller."
"I really hope so," Lena replied, the multiple meanings in her statement not the slightest bit hidden. "Why don't you get Emma settled in the car and I'll go get the bag from the girls."
Jenny hovered as Emma got situated in the car. "Buckle in, okay? I'll be right back," she said and then she headed back inside to get the overnight bag.
"So, Jenny, tell me what you didn't want to say about the accident in front of Emma," Mrs. Müller asked as she met Jenny in the doorway.
Almost literally caught off balance by both the appearance of Emma's mother and a question she definitely hadn't seen coming, Jenny took a halting step forward before stopping and taking a breath in order to explain. "Emma's having such a hard time with what happened, sh... she's hardly spoken to me and I didn't want to make it even worse by reminding her but two of our teachers died in the crash."
Not expecting that answer, Lena inhaled sharply in surprise, "Oh, no... no. No wonder she's so traumatized. That's awful."
Jenny nodded her head quickly in agreement. "Yes, it was Ms. Lohmann and Mr. Götting. Timo was hurt too but I think he's going to be okay."
"And you said you spoke with Luzi, she was okay?"
"Yes, she hurt her arm but I think she's fine."
"Well, it's just terrible about the teachers but I'm so glad that the others are going to be all right. Luzi has been a good friend to Emma and her mother is very special, I'll have to call tomorrow and make sure all is well."
Taking the bag from Mrs. Müller, Jenny smiled and said, "Thank you, should I wait for everyone to say goodbye?"
"I told them all to stay inside. They're not happy, neither am I, honestly, but I think she needs ... " Lena trailed off, not willing to admit publicly that it was obvious Emma needed or, at least, wanted Jenny's company more than her family's.
"Quiet?" Jenny supplied and then found herself caught in Mrs. Müller's stare.
"Quiet," Lena pondered for a moment. "Yes, that'll do as good as any word."
Confused at the cryptic reply, Jenny decided to simply let it go and handed Emma's mother a piece of paper. "Here's my cell number and the Bergmann's number too, in case you don't have it."
"Thank you. I'll have to let her father know and he'll probably want to talk to her."
Jenny nodded and watched as Mrs. Müller walked over to the passenger side of the car.
The rest of what was about to be said was lost as Emma reached a hand out of the window to squeeze her mother's hand before saying, "Thanks, mom."
The car wobbled ever so slightly as Jenny got in, threw the bag in the back seat and closed her door.
Still holding her daughter's hand, Lena leaned in through the window and got Jenny's attention. "Sunday, dinner. Three o'clock. Both of you make sure you're there."
Jenny's mouth moved in an attempt to say something but finding neither breath, nor function to do so, she then tried to swallow the lump of coal in her throat.
Turning to Emma, Mrs. Müller said, "And you, young lady, home tomorrow night. No matter what."
Emma nodded and smiled as her mother gave her as much of a hug as she could through the rolled down window.
"I love you, Emma," Lena gently kissed her daughter and gently held her face in her hands, her thumb running over the uninjured side of her face. "If you want to come home, just call me. And make sure you talk to your father when he calls, all right?"
"Okay. Love you too, mom."
"Remember, Sunday - no excuses."
Jenny carefully pulled away, cognizant of Mrs. Müller watching every move she made and then let out a deep sigh of relief as they put the Müller household behind them. Though Jenny was quite sure that Emma's mother was likely still standing out there watching them with some extra -sensory mother powers.
"So, um" Jenny finally said, "Sunday dinner?"
"Be Mine" borrowed for a few seconds from the artist Robyn for this piece.
There is some great music in this show as well. I encourage you to seek it out and you don't have to speak German. However if you do and don't mind some story spoilers or if you want to just get an idea of what I'm talking about - you can go to Sat1's website and find Jemma's very own corner. In fact, Googling Sat1 and Jemma should get you the link since this site doesn't like links.
Again... this is posted purely for entertainment - I wish these two (and Luzi!) belonged to me but they sure don't! Hasn't been beta'd - sorry!