Emma Davis is completing her final two years at University while Francis O`Hanlon is just starting his four year venture.
Emma smiled, greeting Francis as he walked in. She knew him, but they were never very close. The most she knew about him came from her friend, Rosa Anderson, who had dated him in high school. He certainly grew up well. He looked almost exactly like his father, only blond and with dark, foreign eyes.
“So, it’s just us. Hope that’s okay.”
“That’s fine,” Francis said, looking around. “This place shaped up nicely.”
“Yeah, it turned out great.”
When she had initially found out that she would be spending her last two years with Francis, Emma hadn’t thought anything of it. Unfortunately, she had underestimated the tension that can grow when two attractive people are stuck in a house together. She didn’t like him like that, that’s impossible. He was like his father, a womanizer. Emma wasn’t one of those girls. She didn’t go for guys like that.
She liked to be the one in control.
Emma was surprised when her adoptive grandfather, Gordon, stopped by one night for a visit. She let him in, feeling suddenly nervous. This wasn’t a pleasure call, she could tell by the way he was standing. He was tense. He had come to yell at her. She tried to let on as if she were clueless.
“Hey, I didn’t know you were coming over.”
“Hello, Emma. I hear you’re falling behind with your scholarship.”
“My parents sent you, didn’t they? Why can’t everyone just leave me alone, it isn’t like I’ve done anything wrong…”
“Messing with people’s lives is wrong, Emma. You can’t just hurt someone because they’re ‘in the way’, especially when the person you’re after… doesn’t feel the same.”
Emma rolled her eyes, “Lydia has no business! She’s not like us.”
At this, Gordon’s eyebrows quirked upward, “What is this us you speak of, Emma?”
“What? You’re going to deny me now? I’m not your biological granddaughter, whatever… but I might as well be!”
“I wasn’t saying that at all,” Gordon snapped back, angered. “I’m simply wondering where you get off considering yourself of higher worth than anyone else. You’re not a special snowflake, Emma. You’re with the rest of us.”
Her brows furrowed, “I am not on the same level as Lydia Anderson! She’s trash! She comes from some kind of weird… experiment. I mean, her great grandparents were lesbians!“
What happened next shocked Emma to her core. Gordon’s hand shot out and struck her, right on the cheek. She recoiled, the pain stinging. She tried not to cry, but it was fruitless. Tears formed in her eyes and fell down her cheeks unchecked.
“You are out of control!” Gordon roared, drawing his hand back. He didn’t usually resort to violence, but Emma was beyond talking. “You’re in for a very hard lesson in life. If you keep this up, you’ll find yourself in more trouble than you are now. Remember who you’re talking to, Emma Davis. I am not your parents and I will not tolerate your belligerent attitude!”
“Be silent! I suppose this is my fault, you were spoiled… and look what it’s done to you. You were such a sweet girl, but money has turned you sour. I can fix that real quick.”
“W-what are you saying?” She sniffed.
“I am cutting you off, Emma. I’ve given you every chance I could think of and still, you act this way. Your money is going to be locked down and I swear, if you so much as even try to touch it, I will take it… all of it.”
“You can’t!” She wailed, hands on her hips. The tears streaming from her eyes and the defeat written all over her face did little to help her stance. “You can’t do that! How will I finish college?”
“I suppose it’d be wise to keep up with your scholarship, wouldn’t it? And don’t go to your parents, they have no control over my assets.”
“You can’t do this…”
“It’s done, Emma,” Gordon said, turning and heading out the door. “I’ve given you enough chances.”
She fell silent, watching him walk away. What else could she say? There was nothing to do. It was his, it had always been his. Her mother and father had good jobs, true, but it was Gordon’s kindness and money that kept them comfortable. She couldn’t run to them for help.
“And stay away from Gregory and Lydia. If I find out you so much as look at either one, I’ll be back.”
Emma sat in her room, trying to swallow down her sorrow. She’d brought this all on herself, but she certainly hadn’t expected this kind of reaction. Her fingers tensed on the bed and she sucked in a big breath. Everytime she assumed there were no more tears to cry, more came.
Suddenly, her door opened. She didn’t bother looking, she didn’t care. Francis stepped in, regarding her with curiosity.
“You cry really loud, you know, for a girl.”
“Leave me alone, Francis.”
He sat down next to her as she explained a little bit about what had happened. He listened quietly, absorbing all the details. He had heard some of it from Rosa, especially the bit about catching Gregory and Emma in a supposed romantic situation, which turned out to have been staged by Emma.
“So, let me get this straight, you thought this guy was perfect because you’re both rich?”
She sniffed, “well, yeah, and we’ve known one another since we were little. Plus, our families kind of hate each other.”
“Because that makes total sense.”
“Shut up,” Emma bristled, lips pursing. “Don’t make fun of me.”