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15: Steel/Taylor – ‘Grand Theft Autumn’

Emma Steel (Young Adult), Skip Taylor (Young Adult), Amy Steel (Baby)

Dominic Cosaro spent a lot of time over at Emma’s apartment. He was babysitting his first grandchild, Amy. Of course, ‘babysitting’ a tiny infant mostly entailed him playing computer games while she napped quietly in her nursery. Emma and Skip did all the heavy lifting, which was just as well. Dominic had never been terribly skilled with babies.

Amy was an unexpected arrival. A slip-up in the midst of Emma’s last bits of college. Thankfully, the father was Skip and so that made things a little less drama-filled than they could have been. Emma also breathed a heavy sigh of relief that it wasn’t Jack’s. They were good friends and all, but that was pretty much it. She didn’t need that complication added to their friendship.

Skip was also the best candidate, being that he was thrilled and not horrified and completely okay with Emma’s thoughts on “we’ll see how this goes” as far as them being together with a baby. Also, unlike her roster of flings, Skip was the only one with an actual, real job and ambitions for career.

It was a relatively easy setup. Emma liked Skip, a lot. They got on well, they shared common interests, and they were both in demanding careers, so they understood not having time for the usual ‘couple stuff.’ Amy being added into the equation hadn’t really caused any waves.

Emma was also delighted that Skip was so laid-back with her job. She was fast becoming a well-known sports agent and as such, was required to follow her athletes to a lot of parties. Most men would have been horrified at the thought of their already desired girlfriend going out and about on the town all hours of the night, but Skip just shrugged it off. Emma was Emma, you couldn’t really put a leash on someone like her. It just didn’t work that way.

Emma often ran into her friends when she was out, which was nice. She got tired of being surrounded by jocks all of the time. Jack was the one she saw most often. Lately, though, he’d begun to act a little odd. She assumed it was because of Natalia, but she didn’t bring it up. She never told him about the creepy witch trying to have a showdown with her, either. It just wasn’t worth mentioning.

On this particular evening, Jack had an ulterior motive. She noticed only when he slunk off with some lame excuse and a familiar figure approached her.

“Rhys?”

“You remember my name? I’m surprised.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “I’ve been busy, you know. I have one of those things called a ‘job’…”

“Ouch. Is that a spoiled rich kid dig, Emma? I expected better from you, especially since you’re a mother now and all.”

“Already with the judgement! I don’t need your approval, Rhys.”

Rhys had the mind to look slightly put upon. “I didn’t mean anything rude by it. I just wish you would have told me instead of someone random. We used to be close.”

“Used to be, Rhys,” Emma shot back, shaking her head. “Whatever, it doesn’t matter. You should get back to Bettina, huh? We both know she hates me and thinks I’m going to eat your heart or something.”

Rhys chuckled slightly. “I wish you were wrong, but I’m beginning to assume the same. She’s not here. I came here specifically to track you down.”

“That figures. You like Skip about as much as Bettina likes me, so I figure you knew he wouldn’t be here. Well, you’ve found me. Congratulations. I’ve gotta get back to work now.”

Emma’s interaction with Rhys left a sour taste in her mouth. She was still mad at him for brushing aside her issues with her mother and step-father. There was no way she’d tell him about her dad. Dominic had come forward and told her about his sickness a week ago. Emma knew it wasn’t a ‘coincidence’–her mother was involved.

“Emma, just let it go. It’s not important.”

“She’s killed you, dad! It IS important!”

“I caught the curse on my own,” Dominic began firmly, “your mother had nothing to do with my bad luck. You’ve got to stop finding reasons to demonize her, Emma. You don’t understand what we’ve been through, what she’s been through.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Stop sticking up for her! She left you for a criminal!”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Emma. You don’t know anything about our history, don’t pretend to or lecture me on it.” Dominic’s voice was hard and authoritative. She hadn’t heard that tone in a long time.

“Ugh, you’re so frustrating. How can you not be angry?!” She stormed off, her emotions getting the better of her. She’d visit him later and everything would be fine. It was just how she dealt with the grief of it all.

Emma was more determined than ever to find her mother. She found people on the ‘wrong side’ of the law to question. Stefan Novak had done work for her step-father, so he was a good place to start.

“Wow, you got big. And hot.” Stefan smirked when Emma approached him.

“Ugh, that’s so creepy. Just tell me if you know where my mother is.”

At this, he laughed. “If I did, I’d be rich, you know? Because I’d be working for her. Sorry, kid.”

“You can’t be serious. There’s no way she’s still operating in this much secrecy!”

“Truth sucks,” Stefan remarked with a small shrug. “If you find her, let me know. You’re not the only one looking for her, you know.”

Emma sighed. “Do you at least know if she’s been pulling in anything?”

“Not really. All I know is that some artifacts have been moving around, big ones. Expensive ones. No name attached, real hush-hush. Anyone involved is either dead, dying, or just gone.”

“Yeah, including my dad,” Emma snapped, stomping off.

While Emma spent a lot of time out, she didn’t neglect Amy. In her mind, she was just a baby and she probably wouldn’t remember any of this, anyway. Emma didn’t remember anything about being a baby. She certainly never remembered a time when her parents were together.

Amy would be fine. Emma would be around plenty once she tracked down her deceitful mother.

It was hard for Emma to go anywhere without getting hit on. It was the ‘Steel’ curse, everyone joked. She was just as desirable as her mother had been when she’d been in the spotlight. Emma took it all in stride. Sometimes, she even flirted back. It was just the way she was, there was no deeper meaning behind it.

Emma had much bigger things on her mind lately than romance.

When the inevitable happened and Dominic passed away, Emma felt her reserves crumbling. She did her best to maintain her composure during the reception after his funeral. Her friends did their best to try and comfort her, but it all felt so hopelessly hollow. Her father was gone and it was all her mother’s fault. There were no soothing words for that deep ache.

Julian arrived late and remained eerily quiet the entire evening. Emma found him hiding at the back of the kitchen, just staring at the walls. When she tried to engage him in conversation, his eyes were distant.

“Dad’s gone.”

“Yeah,” she responded sadly.

“He’s not coming back.”

“No, he’s not,” she said, taking his hands into her own. He looked at her finally, her own hurt mirrored for the first time since this had all began.

“It’s just us now…”

“Just us.”

Emma pulled him into a hug which he returned heartily. It was surprising. Julian wasn’t the type to show a bevy of emotion, but this was different. This was deeper and more resounding than any silly scientific theorem or equation. There was no understanding this or avoiding it. They were both wholly and completely helpless.

Emma stole away from the reception shortly after her interaction with Julian. It was all just too much. She’d been holding it together since Dominic had told her he was going to die. She hadn’t cried once, not even a little. Upon seeing his stone surrounded by so many flowers from all the people he’d touched in his life, Emma lost it. She cried so loud her voice cracked and her tears streamed down her cheeks. Even the light rain couldn’t dissuade her breakdown.

Her tears didn’t cease until she realized she wasn’t alone.

“Are you a stalker now?” Emma snapped angrily, wiping her face. She stalked towards him, angry. “What are you even doing here?”

“I figured you’d be here,” Rhys said simply. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because I figured it ‘wasn’t a big deal’.” Her voice was filled with hate, but her face couldn’t muster the same. It was caught somewhere between mortification at being caught breaking down and a deep, resounding sadness.

“Emma,” Rhys began softly, “don’t forget that my mom’s here, too. I know this is a big deal. Of all the things I’ve been an idiot about, this is probably the worst. Because when this was me, you were there. I wasn’t. I am now.”

“I hate you,” Emma sniffed, her voice breaking slightly. “I don’t want you to be here.”

“I don’t care. You need me to be here.”

She hit him in the shoulder, but it wasn’t backed by any actual strength. She was too lost in her sobs, which now broke through the stony exterior she’d been trying desperately to adopt. Rhys did his best to avoid getting a lackluster beating as Emma’s body slumped forward. He caught her and she cried, resting her head finally on his shoulder. She shook with the weight of it, finally able to be completely at one with the grief that she felt.

He knew she was coming back when he heard her chuckling between sobs. It was an odd sort of sound, sort of like a choking gasp and a different sort of shake of her shoulders. She pulled back slightly, her face caught between grief and embarrassed amusement.

“You’re not going to suggest that I egg someone’s house now, are you? Because, in retrospect, that was a kind of a bad idea.”

“I got grounded for that,” Rhys replied, shaking his head. “Dad wouldn’t let you come over for months.”

Emma smirked and stepped back, putting some distance between them. They stared at the ground awkwardly. Emma eventually broke the silence.

“Thank you. For finding me. For pulling your head out of your ass, even if only for five seconds.”

Rhys chuckled in spite of himself. “A backhanded thank you from Emma Steel? I seriously must have gone back in time.”

“And there it is again, firmly up your ass. Did you forget how to breathe oxygen?”

“Only for a minute!”

Emma shook her head, trying to repress the urge to laugh. This night was just weird and getting weirder. “I need to get back. I’m soaked. And I feel like I need to go pass out… or get drunk and then pass out.”

“I recommend passing out sans drunkenness.”

“Of course you would, stick-in-the-mud.” She gave a little shrug and looked away from him. “This never happened, by the way.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“That’s right,” Emma said, giving him a look. It wasn’t serious, more playfully taunting than anything else. She pointed at him for good measure as she walked backwards, “Never happened.”

Rhys put his hands up in the air and shrugged as if he didn’t have any idea what she was talking about. Convinced, she turned and left.

Emma ran into Skip on the way up to the apartment. He’d been called in for an emergency during the reception. He looked about as tired and wrung out as Emma did.

“Are you okay?” He asked and she avoided his face.

“Yeah, I’m good. Everything went okay.”

“You’re soaked.”

Emma shrugged and walked into the elevator, “it’s raining out.”

———————————————————–

This was a beast. I had a corruption error that nearly tanked my entire world, which required more time than I had to fix. Thankfully, all is well again. We’ll see how long that lasts, sigh. I swear… why would they make a game about generations that can’t even handle the load OF said generations? I want to slap the entirety of EA Games. What the ever-loving fuck, guys?!

Emma got the flirt ROS. She flirted like a boss, but that’s just Emma’s way. It’s what she does. So no harm, no foul. Also, you see Amy. She’s born already because technically, she should have popped up awhile ago since we’ve already seen Rhys and Bettina in the last round after Uni. Time is all screwed up.

Dominic is dead. :( So sad. The fallout is going to be fun, though. Family dramas ahoy!

Emma and Rhys have sort of distanced since the whole thing with her family when Rhys failed to be a good friend and instead had his head up Bettina’s ass. Suddenly, Rhys pops up everywhere Emma is and she wants to talk to him, so I took it as a sign. I honestly don’t even know about those two anymore.

I’m also sad because Amy is almost a complete clone of Skip. She doesn’t seem to have anything from Emma. SO SAD. Can I also just say that I had to replay the first part of this five times thanks to corruption? Urgh.

Emma has a generic marriage wish locked. Waiting to see what will happen with that one, as it spun up after Amy’s birth.

8 comments to 15: Steel/Taylor – ‘Grand Theft Autumn’

  • Hey, that’s my kind of babysitting! The actual children can really put a dampener on time spent watching TV and raiding the fridge. ;)

    But yay, Amy! She exists! Finally! Emma will obviously have to have another child, seeing Amy is a Skip clone though. There is clearly no other option here. ;)

    This whole Emma and Rhys thing is insane! I’m feeling a little bad for Skip (and Bettina) too, because I feel like something is going to happen and neither of them have any idea.

    Dominic. :( I’m glad he got to meet his granddaughter at least but I’m still so sad!

    • Mao

      I know, right?! I could get behind that sort of babysitting, lol.

      I agree. Let’s hope she agrees, too, or it happens accidentally again. I’m game for either or, honestly. ;)

      Ugh, it makes me so nervous. This could go so many places. I’m hoping they’re just really good friends, but I’ve never been able to really figure them out. It’s so weird. It’s a mystery even to me!

  • Oh, Dominic. I knew he was going, but still so tragic. I’m glad the kids came together in their time of grief.

    Too bad. We needs more babies that look like Steels. Get on it Emma!

    …..Ok, I’d be happy if Rhys and Emma became friends again. Some people are blindsided by love and come back around again. But I have this funny feeling it’s going to morph into something else and there’s going to be broken hearts and awkwardness all around. That I do not want, but I’m keeping a close eye on these two.

    • Mao

      So sad to see Dominic go! :( I am so disappointed, lol. I really wanted her to have at least ONE of Emma’s physical traits! Hopefully she has another…

      I honestly don’t even know what’s going on with them. I’m hoping it’s friendship, but they’ve danced that line forever now. I can just never guess. x_x

  • Soooo devastated that Dominic passed, I got a little misty over it, I’ve loved him for so long, one of my favorites. Poor Emma and Julian, I was very sad when they were hugging, poor kids. She’s right that Amy won’t remember her baby years, and I’m glad that she’s happy with Skip. I wonder how they will work in the long run.

    I’m glad that Rhys was there for Emma, I hope they don’t cross the line… but then again, I don’t really care… Cause really, Emma and Rhys are the rockstars here, and as much as I like Betina, I love Emma more, and Skip is rather beige. Not bad, very marriable, but still beige.

    • Mao

      Dominic will be missed. :( Emma and Julian are going to be out for blood now.

      I have no idea what those two are even doing anymore. I think I’m just along for the ride, haha!

  • Josh

    I’m so sad about Dominic. It’s so sad when founders die, and he’s been around for so long! truly tragic.
    Emma is gorgeous and I love her can do attitude about finding her mother. We’ll see if she does! Do you want her to be with Skip? He’s cute, but he’s bland. And I DO NOT approve of whatever that was with Rhys!

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