Hi! So if you've been reading Their High School Lives, you know that this story was coming. If you aren't a member of that awesome group of people... WELCOME! Nice to meetcha I'm CC22 and this is another one of my NaLu stories! I'm sure you noticed the M rating. That's for some suggestive themes later on in the story and for the possible violence. So onward! Enjoy the inaugural chapter!

First Meeting

"Mommy promised!" A small voice rang out as little feet ran through the apartment. "I know Emi. We will go to the park just let me get my tablet." Lucy said, smiling at her little daughter. Emily Rae Heartfilia was the light of her miserable life. Product of a horrible marriage, Emily was the only bright spot in Lucy Heartfilia's life. Emily had soft brown hair, the only resemblance she bore to her biological father. Her eyes were the chocolate brown of her mother's and she had the exact same smile as her mother. That is, when she smiled. It had taken Lucy four months to coax a smile back onto her daughter's face and this fact caused Lucy a lot of grief. She felt so guilty about the condition of her daughter. If only she'd gotten out of that horrible marriage faster!

Grabbing her tablet and her bag full of Emi's supplies, Lucy met her excited daughter at the door. Her three year old climbed into the stroller all by herself and clapped as she was wheeled down the hall to the elevator. "Emi push buttons!" she cried. Lucy smiled softly and said, "Push the 1 Emi. Do you know which one that is?" Emi reached for the 5 button and Lucy guided her daughter's finger towards the right button. The walk to the park would be good for her. She'd had a rough day at the office. Lucy worked as a journalist for the best paper in Magnolia. However, lately, there hadn't been any big news and her boss wanted her to find a nice story for the paper. Lucy was drawing a complete blank. Maybe the fresh air would do her good. Once she arrived at the park, she let Emily out to run towards the sand box and play. Luckily, there weren't many people at the park that evening so there was only a small chance of one of Emi's outbursts.

Once Lucy was sure that her daughter was happily playing in the sand, she got out her tablet. Whenever she was stuck on a story, Lucy would look through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to see what people were talking about. Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Lucy fell into her work keeping one ear trained on her daughter's happy giggles. She was beginning to get frustrated and a frown marred her features. All people could talk about was the upcoming football season but someone else in the office was covering that and besides, Lucy didn't work for the sports page. Suddenly, she felt another presence sit down on the bench beside her. Looking up, she saw none other than Natsu Dragneel, quarterback of Magnolia's star football team. He flashed her a flirty grin and she had to suppress the urge to roll her eyes. Checking to see if her daughter was looking she said, "Can I help you?" Natsu seemed surprised by her cold tone. "I just wanted to talk to a pretty girl but it seems like something is bothering you. Want to talk about it?" he asked.

"Why should I tell you anything? I don't even know you." Lucy said, turning back to her tablet. "That's exactly why you should tell me. You may never see me again." He pointed out. Lucy sighed. "Look I know you're Natsu Dragneel and I know you enjoy picking up girls and doing what you like with them. I refuse to be involved with you or any other men for that matter." She snapped. Natsu looked startled at her reply. "Hey not everything you hear is the truth! You obviously have a problem with men but not all of us are bad. Come on, tell me what is bothering you! Maybe I can fix it." He pleaded. He was pouting and Lucy made the mistake of looking at his face again. The pout made her feel guilty about snapping at him. She heaved a big sigh and said, "I can't find anything to write about. My boss wants me to find new material for the paper but I can't find anything interesting to write about. If I don't have a new idea by tomorrow I will be fired and that absolutely can't happen."

Natsu considered this for a moment. When he'd seen her as he was on his evening jog, he'd immediately been intrigued by her. She looked lonely and tired sitting there on the bench all alone. For some reason, something in him just told him to go over to her and talk. I mean, hey, maybe he could make her smile! When he discovered that something was bothering this beautiful woman, that same something in him told him he needed to at least try and fix it. Suddenly, inspiration struck. "Hey why not do an insider scoop on the life of a famous athlete?" he suggested. He watched as the woman's eyes slowly widened. "That actually could work!" she said. "Hey!" Natsu cried, "Don't sound so surprised!" Lucy ignored him and began thinking. "Who would I do the scoop on…?" she muttered. Natsu waved his hand in front of her face. "Hello? Star athlete sitting right here? Do the scoop on me!" he said.

Lucy's head began an internal war. Natsu would be the perfect candidate. Everyone in Magnolia loved him and some even considered him a hero. Magnolia was a smaller town but ever since Natsu led the football team to three consecutive championships, two of which they won, the city was put on the map. Tourists came by the thousands for the games and local businesses flourished. However, Natsu was a pretty private man, in fact, most of the team was too. At the same time, he was a man and that would be hard for her emotionally to deal with. She had never had luck with men and she didn't want to put her daughter through any more traumatic experiences.

Natsu noticed the conflicted look on her face and was incredibly confused. He was the perfect candidate! There had to be something else going on. Maybe she didn't like football? Before he could ask about it, screaming erupted from the sandbox. "MOMMY! MOMMY!" A little girl with brown hair was screaming and pointing at him. He was amazed when the woman beside him stood and rushed over to the little girl. "Shhh. It's ok honey. It's alright. Mommy's safe. The man wasn't trying to hurt me. He's a nice man Emi, a nice man." She cooed at the little girl. No way… is that her kid? Natsu wondered. The little girl, Emi, slowly calmed down. "Nice man?" she asked hesitantly. Lucy nodded. "He's trying to help Mommy with work." She said. "Do you want to meet him? Mommy will be with you the whole time." She asked. Emi nodded hesitantly. Lucy stood and held out her hand for her daughter. Walking over to Natsu again, she realized that she hadn't introduced herself. "I realized I haven't told you who I am. I am Lucy Heartfilia and this is my daughter Emily." She said.

Natsu took a moment to digest this. Lucy had a kid. He didn't notice a ring though so she must be a single mother. And since she seemed to have an adversity to men, the relationship must have ended badly. Also, it appeared that her daughter was afraid of men which disturbed him. A new idea struck him. He would prove to both of these girls that men were not all bad. Kneeling down, he said, "Hi Emily. I'm Natsu." He said kindly. Lucy appreciated his kindness towards her child but she didn't expect what her daughter did next. "Mommy and nice man play?" she asked. "I can play with you Emi but Natsu probably has other things to do." Lucy replied. Natsu shook his head, "No I can play with you." Lucy looked momentarily shocked but led her daughter back to the sandbox.

Emi had made a little town but wanted to make a castle with the toys her mother had brought. As it turned out, Lucy was not good enough to help her daughter with the castle while Natsu seemed to know exactly what her daughter was thinking. The two of them were very absorbed in working on the castle with Natsu making the little girl giggle by discretely poking her tummy when she wasn't prepared. As Lucy watched, it became apparent why her little daughter trusted Natsu. He was like a little kid himself. He worked on the castle like it was the most important thing he had to do all day. Natsu also seemed to enjoy making the little girl laugh because after a while, the castle was abandoned to a tickle fest. Emi shrieked with laughter as she fell on her back outside the sandbox waving her legs in the air while her hands tried to push Natsu away. Natsu stopped when the girl's face began to turn a darker shade of red and let her get her breath back.

Natsu turned back to Lucy who was watching her daughter with a soft smile on her face. "So what do you say about doing that story on me?" he asked her. Lucy sighed. "Ok. I'll do it on you but on one condition." She said. Natsu raised his eyebrows in question. "I can't leave Emi with a babysitter unless it's my mother. My mother is out of town this week so I have to take her everywhere with me. You have to make sure the team knows about her… dislike… of men and prepare them." She explained. Now she was sure that she'd effectively scared him off. He'd survived her daughter and her own attitude but there was no way he- "I'll do it." Oh. Dammit. Natsu chuckled at her defeated expression and watched as her daughter crawled into her lap. Lucy began absently stroking Emi's hair.

"So tell me about yourself." Lucy said. This rather surprised Natsu but Lucy explained herself by saying, "I start my jobs as soon as I can. Now start talking." Natsu lay back on the grass, his head by her knees. He began telling her about football and playing with his team. He described his other team members to her and told her funny stories that had her giggling uncontrollably. A lamp in the park above them lent them light as the night fell over the park. Lucy found herself opening up to Natsu about her life too though she didn't mention her marriage and Natsu didn't bring it up. A silence fell over the trio but for the first time in a very long time it was a comfortable silence. A glance down at her watch drew a gasp from Lucy. "Oh my gosh it's late!" she cried. It was about 10:30pm and little Emi had fallen fast asleep in her lap. Natsu stood while Lucy carefully lifted her baby up into her arms. Natsu reached down and helped her up. Lucy placed Emily into the stroller and strapped her in, covering her with a small blanket.

"I'll walk you back." Natsu said. Lucy shook her head, startled. "You don't need to do that. It isn't very far. I'll be fine." She protested. Natsu shook his head. "No way. Whatever your suspicions about men are, I'm not like that. I was raised right Lucy. So I'm walking you home, no buts about it." He said seriously. Lucy stared at him for a minute before nodding slowly. They walked mostly in silence before reaching her apartment complex. "This is it." Lucy said, stopping outside the doors. The doors were opened wide and a man with messy brown hair came running out. "Lucy! Where have you been?! I was worried." The man said. Lucy silenced him with a look and pointed to her child. Turning back to Natsu she said, "Natsu this is Loke Celeste. He's the one I was telling you about, the one that grew up with me." Looking back at Loke who was staring at Natsu with a strange look on his face, Lucy said, "Sorry Loke. I wasn't paying attention to time. But I'm fine and I really need to get Emi to bed." Loke nodded while Lucy lifted her daughter out of the stroller. Lucy handed her daughter into Loke's capable hands and Loke disappeared inside the lobby. The funny thing about Emily and Loke was… Emily didn't consider Loke a man. She always said he was a kitty which was probably because of his hair. He was the only man that Lucy trusted with her child.

Natsu was rather confused at this whole display. "Thanks for walking me back Natsu. I will meet you outside the stadium tomorrow at nine." She said. Her voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he nodded. He felt like he should say something but he couldn't think of anything to say. Lucy pushed the stroller into the lobby but turned around to face him again. There was a strange look on her face that he couldn't read. "Natsu?" she said, though it sounded more like a question. "Yeah?" he asked. She paused for a moment before saying softly, "Thanks. For tonight I mean. I haven't had anyone to talk to like that for a while." Natsu grinned a big, toothy grin at her statement. "I'm gonna show you Lucy Heartfilia. I'm gonna prove that all men aren't bad!" he said, a glint of excitement in his eyes. Again, he had surprised Lucy. She smiled softly at him. "You know what? I almost hope you do." She said. Then she turned and walked towards Loke in the lobby, the door closing behind her.

Natsu turned and walked to the curb. Hailing a cab, he headed back to his home. Once he reached his home, he sent out a message to his team telling them of an early meeting the next morning in the locker rooms of the stadium. He jumped into his bed and crossed his arms behind his head. He thought over the past few hours and couldn't help the smile that crept across his features. Lucy was bright and full of life. And little Emily was just like her mother. Natsu had always said he would never get involved with a woman who had a kid but… There was something about Lucy that told him to hold on. She had been hurt deeply by someone and that fact made Natsu angry. She needed to be held, and comforted and loved but it seemed that there wasn't a man in her life that was strong enough to break down the sizable barriers around her heart. Natsu never had backed down from a challenge in his entire life and he wasn't about to start now! He rolled over and turned off his bedside lamp. As he grinned into the darkness, a promise slipped though his mind. Just you wait Lucy Heartfilia! I'll show you how a real man loves a woman! I'm all fired up!

Alrighty! One down, more to come! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please review and let me know what you thought of this chapter. I personally loved writing Emi's character. She's adorable! Which one do you like best so far? Was there anything about this chapter you didn't like? Let me know!

Until next time!

CC22