"So Mike, are you gonna go through with it?" asked Micky the next morning. The guys and Emily were awake and eating breakfast, and it was the very day that Mike had said he'd kick Emily out of the pad. Mike and Micky were standing off to the side in the corner of the kitchen, having already eaten.
"Yeah," said Mike as he watched Emily wolf down a stack of pancakes mouthful by mouthful. "It'll be hard, but I'm gonna have to. We can't house her forever."
"You're right," said Micky. "But something tells me she's gonna be very hard to get rid of."
"You've got that right," said Mike. "I'll wait a bit though; I don't wanna kick her our first thing in the morning."
"What's that?" asked Emily, looking up from her plate with her mouth stuffed full of food.
"Uh…oh, n—nothing Emily," said Mike. "How—how's your breakfast?"
"Oh, delicious!" Emily exclaimed. "I've never tasted anything better, who made this?"
"That'd be me, sweetheart," said Davy.
"Oh, Davy, you have a gift, a divine gift!" said Emily. She grabbed him close and kissed him, hard, and then ran over to the living room to mess around with one of the acoustic guitars.
"Geez Davy, why does that always happen to you?" asked Peter, taken aback.
"I dunno mate," said Davy, frowning. "But that one didn't seem too right…"
"What do you mean?" asked Micky.
"She's nuttier than a bad of trail mix, is that it Davy?" asked Mike.
"Yeah, that's just it," said Davy. "I know I like all kinds of chicks, but…I dunno, crazy doesn't do it for me. Wow…I really think this is a first."
"Yeah Davy, you never refuse a girl," said Peter.
"I'd usually say if you don't want her, I'll take her," said Micky. "But…I—I think I'll pass on this one."
"What are you all talking about?" called Emily from the living room.
"Oh—uh—nothing Emily, we were just on our way out there!" said Mike, dragging Peter, Micky, and Davy out to the living room with him. "What are you up to?"
"Fiddling around," said Emily, showing the guitar. "I mean, I had the itch of music, and after that scare I gave poor Micky with that flute yesterday, I figured it was best not to play that with all of you around."
"Yes, thank you for your consideration," said Micky. "That was…what in the hell was that again?"
"My enchanted flute silly, I told you!" said Emily.
"I think what he means is, can you explain it," said Mike.
"If ya can," snickered Davy.
"Hey Davy, that was mean!" scolded Peter. "I thought it was funny, go ahead Emily, tell!"
Emily chuckled into her hand, her eyes twinkling, and began to speak. "Well, I'm not exactly sure how old it is, but it must be pretty ancient," she said. "I can't really remember who had it first…may have been my great-great grandfather or something along the lines of that. It's been passed down from generation to generation all through the family, something of an heirloom. I don't know much about it, to be honest."
"Could everyone who had it make things float like that?" asked Micky.
"Why yes!" said Emily. "The flute's magic, not me!"
"Is that all it does?" asked Mike.
Emily furrowed her brow and played with her hair. "I—I'm not quite sure," she said.
"What do you mean?" asked Davy, looking a little frightened.
"Well, I haven't tried, you see," said Emily. "But whatever, you know! If I don't know how to do it, it won't happen, right?"
"For your sake, I hope so," said Mike.
"Oh, come on Mike, what's that supposed to mean?" asked Peter, offended. Emily was obviously, and not particularly surprisingly, growing on him already.
"Well, I'm just saying," said Mike. "People do things by accident, and it's just…what if Emily here plays something she hasn't before, and blows up the city?"
Emily guffawed and swatted her hand. "Don't be so paranoid Mike, that'll never happen in a million years!"
"I'll be counting," said Mike.
Emily rolled her eyes. "Don't be such a worrywart!" she scolded. "So, what are we doing today?"
"I—uh, we didn't have anything planed…" said Mike.
"Oh, Mike, Mike, let's do something, please Mike, please!" exclaimed Peter, jumping up and down.
"Okay, okay, don't lose your head Pete," snapped Mike. "What do you wanna do?"
"I dunno," said Peter.
"Sounds fun, where is that?" asked Micky sarcastically.
"I think what he's saying is that he doesn't know what he wants to do yet," said Emily.
"Oh, really?" asked Micky, still brimming with sarcasm. "Cause I thought there was a place out there called 'I Dunno' and we could go there, isn't that dumb?"
"Not really," said Emily. "It was an easy mistake, anyone could have made it."
"Emily, are you sure you're not Peter's long-lost sister or something?" asked Davy.
"Wow, wouldn't that be cool!" exclaimed Peter.
"Groovy!" yelled Emily.
"So…I take it we're fine entertaining ourselves here then?" asked Mike, hopeful.
"No!" said Peter and Emily in unison.
"Terrific," said Mike, rolling his eyes. "Well, we can't go somewhere until you tell me where you want to go."
"And there's the problem," said Davy.
"Look, who don't we just have a nice day inside," said Mike. "It's hot out, and I really don't want to g anywhere."
"It doesn't mean the rest of us have to sit inside bored," said Peter, pulling a face.
"Oh, fine!" said Mike. "If you and Emily want to go out somewhere, be my guest, go for it."
"Yes!" shouted Peter and Emily.
"Where should we go?" exploded Peter.
"Come on, we can take a walk down the street, it'll be fun!" said Emily. Peter and Emily jumped up and ran to the door. "We'll be back in a little bit! Sorry if we annoyed you Mike, really."
"Oh, no, not at all!" said Mike as sarcastically as Micky had spoken before. "Just have fun you two, it'll be so sad not having you around!"
"I'm sorry you feel that way Mike," said Peter. "But we'll be back before you know it!"
"Bye!" said Emily before they walked out of the pad and closed the door behind them.
"And good riddance…for now anyway," said Mike.
"You know Mike, if I didn't know any better, I'd be saying you're jealous," said Davy, raising his eyebrows.
"What?" asked Mike. "Jealous of what?"
"Oh please Mike," said Davy. "If I don't know what a guy who's into a chick looks like, then I don't even think I know my own mother!"
"What's that supposed to mean?" asked Mike.
"Means you've got a little crush on Emily, and you're upset that Peter's gonna hang out with her," said Micky. "Right Davy?"
"Exactly," said Davy. "You'd think I'd be the jealous one after she kissed me like that just there, but…no…no, I have to say I'm not…and I don't say that often, so it's a big deal mate!"
"Man, what do you—you all are crazy!" said Mike. "I don't wanna have anything to do with Emily after this! The only reason she stayed here was because she latched onto me like a toddler. I'm beginning to regret paying for that stupid loaf of bread to tell you the truth here."
"Mike, I'm telling you the truth here," said Micky. "I can read you like a book."
"That's it man, I'm going to my room," said Mike, flustered, standing up. "And don't you try to follow me up there man, I'm serious." He walked off, not wanting to hear another word. Getting to his room, he slammed the door, took off his hat, and flung himself onto the bed. He swore he'd get that crazy girl Emily out of his life as soon as possible if he could help it. She had only been with them for one night and she was already a pain in his backside. Someone as crazy and wayward as her probably had all kinda of friends in communes or whatever hippies lived in that she could stay at once he kicked her out of the pad anyway.
How could he be jealous of Peter and Emily, those two children? Oh well; he sought consolation in the fact that all of this crap would be over soon.
Somewhere down the road:
"Gee Emily, this was just what I needed," said Peter walking next to Emily on the crowded sidewalk.
"The very same," said Emily. "You have a groovy place you live at."
"Thanks," said Peter. "We've lived there together for two or three years now."
"That's nice," said Emily, who was now moving at a little skip. "I like your roommates too, they're really something else! Especially Mike."
"What do you mean?" asked Peter.
"Well, he was just so great to take me in," said Emily. "And I can tell he fathers the three of you in there, and through his grumpy, stiff shell, I can see a loose, free spirit, just waiting to pop out!"
"I know Mike can be a little stern, but through and through, he's a great guy," said Peter.
"Oh, I could see that from the beginning!" said Emily. Peter smiled and nodded. He knew what Mike was planning on doing later; kicking Emily out like that. He knew that he should probably tell her, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. He liked Emily too much already, and to hurt that carefree, happy girl would break his heart. But either way she'd get hurt. Peter wondered if Mike even had the heart to tell Emily to take a hike. He sincerely hoped he didn't.
"So where are you from?" asked Peter, trying to get that ugly subject out of his head.
Emily shrugged. "Around," she said. "I think I was born in New York…hard to remember really…I left home to come here when I was fourteen. So far it's been one big adventure!"
"That's good to know," said Peter. "Do you—do you have other places to stay?"
"I beg to houses a lot," said Emily. "Usually I'm just all over the streets. I have friends, but they're like me—free, ya know?"
"So…right now our pad is the only place you've got?" asked Peter.
"As of right now, yes, it is," said Emily.
"And…how long does it usually take for you to find a new place after you leave one?" asked Peter nervously awaiting the answer.
Emily shrugged. "Anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months," she said. "It really depends."
"Ah…" said Peter, getting more and more worried by the second. Boy was he glad that Emily wasn't asking why he was asking anything. "Well…I just wanna say you have nothing to worry about with us! Nope, not at all, no one's gonna kick you out of our place!"
"Nice to know," said Emily with just the sweetest smile. Oh boy…what had Peter done now?
Back at The Pad:
Mike had come back downstairs and was enjoying some time with Micky and Davy when there was a jingle of keys behind the door and Peter and Emily came bounding right back inside.
"Oh, look, the crazies are home," said Micky nonchalantly, grinning crookedly. Surprisingly, Peter didn't say anything back, but went straight for Mike.
"Mike man, I need to speak to you," said Peter. "In private. Please."
"What's this about?" asked Mike as the two walked up the stairs and into Peter's room.
"It's about Emily," said Peter. "Look, we were talking while we were out, and she has nowhere to go other than here, and if she does find somewhere, it could take her months! We can't kick her out to live on the streets again man, I don't care how much she bugs you!"
"Pete, I gotta do this, you know that," said Mike. "Now, I don't wanna sound like a heartless guy, but if Emily can live that way for as long as she has, she'll be okay."
"Come on Mike, you're better than this," said Peter. "Just look how thin she is!"
"Just look how thin I am!" said Mike. "Look how thin all of us are, and we have plenty of food and a roof over our heads. Thinness isn't the issue here."
"Food and a roof is the issue!" said Peter. "Come on Mike, for once, just listen to me! Let Emily stay!"
Mike just shook his head and walked off. Peter knew that once Mike had his mind made up, it was always made up. There was nothing he could do to change it, but it was worth a shot. He just hoped that on seeing poor little Emily that he would have a change of heart and let her stay.
Mike was more than a little miffed as he walked back downstairs. Peter was way too sentimental when it came to things like this. Emily had obviously lived on the streets for years before coming to the pad, so what was the big worry? He came back down and saw Emily casually chatting with Micky and Davy.
"—And then Mike swooped in and saved me by paying!" Emily was saying. She turned around and saw Mike himself. "Oh, hello there Mike!"
"This chick worships you man, it's great!" laughed Davy.
"She told us the heroic tale of the great Michael Nesmith!" said Micky dramatically.
"Save it guys," said Mike. "Hey, Emily, can I talk to you upstairs please?"
"Sure," said Emily, getting up. "Anything wrong?"
"We'll talk," said Mike. On their way up, Peter passed them with an all-knowing stare. Mike knew exactly what was going on, but thank God Emily had no clue. Then again, Mike thought she had no clue about a lot of things. Maybe kicking her out would be easier than he had initially thought. He brought her into his room and closed the door.
"Mike, are you all right?" asked Emily. "You seem tense."
"Nah, I'm fine," said Mike. He drew a quick breath and started up again. "Listen, Emily…it's been—great having you here, but…"
"But what?" asked Emily, looking at Mike with the inquisitiveness of a five-year-old.
Mike sighed again. This was harder than he thought it would be. Oh well, he may as well just go and say it. "Emily, I'm sorry to say you can't stay here anymore," he said as he exhaled.
Emily's blue eyes turned to confusion. "But…" she started. "Peter said I'd have nothing to worry about. Are you sure?"
"Remind me to smack Peter before you go," grumbled Mike. "Emily, it's not that I don't like you or anything…it's just that…well…we already don't have a lot of money or space here, and yeah, sure, we put our place up to house some people sometimes, but only for one night per person. That's all we can do, really, and, well, your night is up."
"But…I don't understand," said Emily. "I thought I lived here now, that you took me in."
"I'm sorry you had the wrong idea," said Mike.
"Mike, you can't do this to me, I have nowhere else to go," said Emily. "It takes me so long to find somewhere else that's safe, you have to let me stay. If you don't want me to stay forever, at least give me a week, please."
"Man Emily, don't make this harder than it is already," said Mike. "We can't afford for you to stay. Look, you've been on the streets for a long time, haven't you? I'm sure you know how to live."
"I do, but it doesn't mean I like it!" said Emily, starting to get very upset. "It can get pretty damn scary sometimes when I'm alone, especially at night!"
"Look man, I don't know what else to tell you," said Mike, getting desperate. "You'll find somewhere else, I know you will. Get a job, make some money."
"Do you know how hard it is for someone like me to get a job?" asked Emily. "Oh, forget it…Mike, if I'm that much of a bother to you, then I'll leave."
"Aw, Emily, you ain't—" started Mike, but she had already started walking down the stairs. Mike followed as she slowly processed to the living room where Micky, Davy, and Peter were and walked right out the door with her head hung low without even a goodbye. She closed the door softly, and following that was a deafening silence with the other three staring Mike down.
"Ya know, I wasn't her biggest fan either, but you could have at least let her stay a little longer and not hurt her like that," said Micky.
"Yeah man, you're better than that," said Davy.
"I told you Mike, I told you not to!" said Peter, obviously the most bothered.
"Oh, come on guys," said Mike. "She'll be fine out there, just you see." When there was no reply by Micky, Davy, or Peter, Mike sighed loudly and went up to his room again. Sitting down on his bed, he wondered why, if he wanted Emily out so much, he felt so horribly about what he had done.