Epic X-Men #28: The Future of Mankind
*outside in the New York sky*
Warren soared near the rooftops in the sunny sky. With sharp turns, he picked up more speed with the more practice he got using his flight.
"Heading your way, Beast!", Warren said through his telepathic connection established by Jean.
"Got it, fly-boy!", Hank responded as he positioned himself in front of the street, ready to catch the fleeing mutant. And as planned, a frightened 15 year-old Korean girl runs down the street away from the flying man, not seeing Hank step straight in her path and block her.
"When will you people take a hint that I am in no mood to join you!", the young girl in a french accent.
"Please, miss, if you do not mind just listening-"
"I mind greatly, idiot. Stay out of my way or I will make you!", the young girl interrupted.
Before Hank could say anything further, the young girls eyes begin to glow a reddish pink color as a sort of halo effect surrounds her head. It was not long after that Angel sees Beasts features begin to stiffen, before relaxing in a way that was unnatural, as if his body had given up. From Beasts end though, he was unaware, as if someone were to press pause on a character in a movie without stopping the entire movie.
"I am not getting anything from Beast anymore. What happened?", Jean asked in Warren's head.
I don't know, Marvel Girl. The girl ran up to him and then her head began to glow all pink. Hank is still standing and everything, but he looks.....wrong, Warren thinks to Jean.
"She is more powerful than the Professor and I initially thought, I guess. We figured you telepathic resistance training would have been enough, but she isn't your average telepath. I should have installed telepathic shields in your heads ahead of time", Jean says frustratedly.
What can she do exactly?, Warren asks in his head.
"A form of telepathic mind-control, seemingly. The Professor and I aren't too certain how her powers work exactly, but given her abilities broke past Beast's trained mind, it would be wise for you to hang back", Jean says. It doesn't take long before she meets up with Angel.
"I am installing psychic barriers in your head before I approach her. Hopefully, things won't escalate further", Jean says as she puts her fingers to Warren's temple briefly before floating down to the street below. "Hello."
"More of you? I wish you all would just stay away, like your fake angel friend up there", she said with disgust.
"That is an interesting way of describing Warren.....You really thought he was an angel?", Jean asks sympathetically.
"Big shock, the devout Catholic girl foolishly thought she met up with an angel. Congratulations on ruining my faith and trust!", she said before Beast pounces at Jean viciously. Though her shield was up, what through her off was the absolute relentlessness of his blow untethered from his scruples, very unlike Hank or any of the X-Men to do. Yet, the more Jean scanned his head, the more resistance she came to find, with only but a hint left that signaled Hank was still in their, fighting at the very primal subconscious level.
"Sorry, Hank, but we can't have ya interfering", Warren said as he scoops Hank up by the armpits and takes flight.
"Now would be my chance", Jean said to herself before telepathically infiltrating the girl's mind. "Xi'an Coy Manh?"
"Get out of my head! Or I will make you!", Xi'an snarled as she took focus off of Beast for a moment, giving Hank's mind the opening needed to break free of Xi'an's control.
"Gah! What? Warren? How did I-"
"I will explain it to ya later", Warren says as he takes Hank to a nearby rooftop before going back to watching Jean at the street below.
"Xi'an, please, stop fighting. I am not gonna do anything to your mind now that you released my friend", Jean implored the girl as she felt the girl ram into the walls of Jean's mind, trying to psionic force her way in. Had Jean not been trained by Xavier, she would have succumbed. Had Jean been a rookie, even, she would have had a tougher fight on her hands. Thankfully, she was no rookie. And she had built up her will through vigorous training. Though it began to dawn on Jean that at this young age, this girl had achieved greater levels of willpower than Jean had at her age. What could she have faced to have toughened her mind up so to actually accomplish this kind discipline?
"No! Too much is at stake for me! I have people I love that need me! Siblings who can only depend on me to care for them! I won't let them be thrown into the foster system and separated from me! Or worse! I won't!", she said before exerting more power from seemingly nowhere. At least to the untrained eye. Jean had enough training to know that while powerful in her own right, this extra bit of strength is coming from a place of trauma and desperation, not typical for this girl. Such an act will quickly drain her if Jean would hold out a little longer. Whether Xi'an listened to Jean or not, Jean would inevitably win.
"Xi'an, we don't want to take you away from your siblings. Its not what we do", Jean explained gently.
"Don't lie to me! I have seen what you Brotherhood do on the news!", Xi'an responded.
"We aren't Brotherhood. We are the X-Men", Jean says finally, causing the girl to change expressions quickly from unbridled anger to horror.
"You- what? Oh my, please, forgive me! Your costumes are not at all like the ones I have seen before", Xi'an apologizes profusely.
"Its okay. You were scared and, to be fair to you, we did get a bit of a makeover prior to meeting you. You also are incredibly powerful for someone so young. It makes me curious about what you have been through, but it is telling enough to alert me that you are either naturally gifted, or you have been through too much for someone your age. Do you have parents?", Jean asked calmly.
"I did, once.....They are gone now.....", Xi'an says sadly.
"......I am sorry to ask this of you, but....do you mind if I hug you? The nature of my powers allow me to feel your pain without directly looking into your thoughts. The sad vibes are too much to ignore", Jean asks bashfully.
"....I.....I think I would like that......", the girl said as she and Jean embrace tightly. As tears streamed down Xi'an's cheeks, Jean could feel the stress begin to alleviate a bit. The problems were still there, but a stable friendship sometimes was all someone needed to cope with the cruelty of life's problems and have the strength to keep going. Add the confusing time of a teenagers life of learning who they are, without their parents guidance no less, anyone could empathize without the need of psychic powers.
"You doing alright, bud?", Warren turns to Hank after watching Jean and Xi'an for a small moment.
"Yeah. A little dizzy from the.....experience, but I will recover soon enough", Hank replies.
"Good. Let's give those two a little more time before we head out", Angel said.
*the X-Mansion later that day*
"So, how did you lot get along with that mutant?", Moira asked as the three X-Men filed into the living area.
"It was...............something else", Hank says with uncertainty.
"'Something else'? Such eloquent poetry comin' from our resident genius", Moira teases.
"Aw, give me a break", Hank said exasperatedly.
"The girl took over Hank's mind when we were chasing her", Warren briefly explains.
"It wasn't just that though! It was incredibly anomalous comparatively to the last time I had been brainwashed. I....I can't remember a thing that happened the entire confrontation that happened when she took me. It was as if I had missed a good few minutes of my life without knowing", Hank describes seriously.
"Well, Shadow King's mental control had to do with using your temptations and dark desires against you Hank. When Xi'an took your mind, it felt more like she replaced you with herself, dividing herself into two pieces and putting that one piece inside your head", Jean said as she recalled the incident earlier.
"That is quite intriguing, indeed", Moira said earnestly.
"You should have seen her, Moira. Despite her rash actions, it is quite obvious that such habits were built by someone who has had to survive for a long time in their lifetime. More than anyone should at her age", Jean said as she pictured the girl crying her arms.
"Ya mean like you?", Moira asked.
"My problems from the past were more my fault than it was life dealing things unfairly to me. This girl though had to have been rolling with the punches, no matter how much they hurt and knock her down", Jean said admiringly.
"Don't downplay your own struggles, lass. No one's trouble should ever be measured against one another. Each individual goes through something and we have every right to feel some sort of remorse for the loss that was brought by those experiences, so long as ya don' let them overtake ya to where ya can't live your life", Moira said with a hand on Jean's shoulder.
".....alright, Moira. You're right", Jean said with a smile.
"Of course I am! So, where is the child, now?", Moira asks.
"With the Professor. He should be done about now", Jean says as Xavier wheels in.
"How'd it go, Charles?", Moira asked the man.
"It went rather well. She was not entirely open to becoming a full-time student, but the offer of a job with benefits here and education on top of learning to use her powers was too good of an offer to pass up. She is unsure of the environment for her brother and sister, so she wants to go here on a trial basis before deciding on her overall living situation", Xavier explains.
"That's wonderful, Charles! I know she is gonna love it here! Once she sees the environment here is clean and safe, she will surely bring her children. Then Leech and Artie will have more friends their own age to play with!", Moira says excitedly.
"That is exactly my hope", Xavier says with a smile.
"Professor, it seems you, Warren, and I have been requested to be an audience to a meeting", Emma says as she walks in to hand the two men their letters.
"Why? My parents are the ones who handle the business aspect of the company", Warren asks confusingly as he looks over the letter.
"Perhaps, but from what I am reading here, this is a meeting regarding a new invention that will be revolutionary to mankind moving to the future. It requires all potential investors to arrive. As the heir to the company, Mr. Worthington, it makes sense that you would be invited as well", Charles explains.
"A new invention.....", Hank says contemplatively.
"Ugh, these things are always incredibly dull, with a side of pompous stiffs to join in on the fun", Warren says in an annoyed manner.
"I understand, Warren. Still, if this meeting is as important as the letter implies, it would be wise to attend", Xavier persuades calmly.
"Well, at least it says I am allowed to bring a plus one. I wonder if 'Ro would be up to being my plus one....", Warren says happily.
"And I think I would be obliged to taking you Henry", Emma says.
"Don't play coy, Henry. Your mind is just screaming in glee the millisecond I said your name", Emma said with a smirk.
"Well, Hank's last name is McCoy, Emma", Jean said with a evil smirk.
Aside from glaring at Jean, Emma mostly ignored the remark and continued.
"So, am I getting a yes or no, Henry?", Emma asks.
"Okay, so you read me like an open book. I will be there", Hank answered as he contained the excitement built inside.
"Would you do me the honor of accompanying me too, Moira?", Xavier asks.
"I'd love to, Charles. I may be as much of a leading researcher as you in genetics, but money speaks a different language than university level english. I would hardly have any chance to see these kind of events without ya", Moira says appreciatively.
"You can thank your enjoyable company for being one of my first choices", Xavier says with a smile.
It was then that Jean, who had been relatively quiet throughout the conversation, giggled quietly at the interaction between the two.
*the meeting; the next day*
"Fascinating", Hank uttered as they all gazed at a giant white sheet covering over the giant object.
"Really, Henry? I am thinking more of on the budget alone for something that big. It seems much more of an inconvenience to me", Emma said thoughtfully.
"That is the fascinating thing about it. Despite the sheer size of the object, the letter swore up and down that this would be an important milestone for humanity moving forward", Hank explains.
"If such was the case though, why not just have a media presentation, where they show off what they got on a screen? Or maybe a power point presentation?", Warren asks.
"Well, we won't be finding out standing this far from the party. Come now, let's find our table", Moira said as she pushed Xavier into the party.
"Emma Frost, Warren Worthington, and Charles Xavier! Fancy seeing you all here", Tony Stark said as he walked over with, surprising enough, T'Challa.
"Expecting only our parents, weren't ya?", Warren asked.
"Yup. That was why I figured the only riveting conversation I would get would be coming from T'Challa. As much as I would like to feel pure, unadulterated envy for a man with the rarest metal on the planet, I am glad to see you all came. Your plus one's as well. I figured Beast would have been on-board, but your appearance Storm is quite a surprise", Tony said.
"I do not blame you. These events are not something that interest me, but Warren wanted me to come for some reason. So I obliged", Orroro said as she looked around. Though this was not an ideal atmosphere with so much less nature, the elegance of some of the decoration did catch her eye.
"So, you both are here as friends, then?", T'Challa asks suddenly.
"Yeah, I would say so. She is gorgeous enough for any man to want, but this kind of thing is far from a place where I would take a girl out to a date", Warren told T'Challa.
"I see......", was all the man said.
"How is Shuri?", Orroro asks after a moment of uncomfortable silence.
"She is quite well. Her work never ceases to amaze me", T'Challa says with a smile at Orroro.
"I am glad. It has been too long since I visited my old homes in Africa. I must pay a visit at some point", Orror says wistfully, thinking about the clear skies and open plains of her mothers lands and the mish-mash of technology and nature of Wakanda, in contrast to the mostly paved roads and concrete side-walks and buildings.
"You are always welcome to Wakanda, Orroro. Our people have always been fond of you, seeing you as a part of our own society", T'Challa responds.
"Really? I have never really felt that I really belonged all those times when I went to Wakanda. I always felt like I was an outsider intruding on an already peaceful place and disrupting the flow of things", Orroro admitted.
"Well, I certainly hope you think differently from this moment forward about that because Wakanda is your home as much as it is mine. No matter your place of birth, you are Wakandan at heart to me. So long as you love the land the way you always have, you will never be an outsider to our people", T'Challa says fiercely.
".........Thank you, T'Challa", Orroro says with tear-filled eyes.
"No. Thank you, for speaking to me again with honesty as you always do when we speak", T'Challa says with a fond smile.
"I, uh, don't want to ruin the moment, but we need to find our seats, 'Ro. It looks like the Professor and the others already left for their seats", Warren said.
"Oh, I guess he is right. Meet back after the unveiling of....whatever that is?", Orroro asks T'Challa with a hopeful look.
"That would be splendid. Until then", T'Challa said with a smile before going to his seat.
"So, what's the story there?", Warren asked as the two went to their seats.
"Just two childhood best friends before I left for my mother's homeland", Orroro answered simply.
"A simple friendship is we got. That thing you have with him, ain't a simple friendship. He looked about ready to rip my head off when I greeted him", Warren laughed.
"No he wasn't. He looked rather stoic, if anything", Orroro said defensively.
"Stoic about what, exactly? Like I said, he looked ready to rip my head off. I know different types of stoicism from going to these things. Hell, I practiced it myself with the amount of boring events my father plans. But the kind of pain he seemed to bear had everything to do with you coming with me", Warren explained. Orroro then looked back to where T'Challa was and caught a glimpse of a hard expression before it changed to a soft smile as he looked to her. She then returned it with a smile of her own, feeling the butterflies flitter in her stomach at his sight.
"Hey, guys! What did we- oh no...", Warren said suddenly when he looks up and sees Emma in the distance.
"You know who that is?", Hank asked.
"He is Emma's father", Xavier says before taking a sip of his water.
"Oh my- I hope everything is going alright", Orroro says worriedly.
"You can bet an entire fortune and win on the fact of Winston Frost causing problems, especially for Emma", Warren glares.
"Should we go over?", Orroro asks.
"No, dear. As difficult as it is, we must let Emma handle her own problems, per her request. She is very strong-willed lass. We can have faith in her ability to defend herself and be there for her when she needs us after", Moira says.
You might be wondering what dear Emma could be willingly talk to her father about, rather than avoid hm. Turning our attention to the conversation, we get a look into what could be so important.......
"You are right, father. I am deeply sorry for doing the exact thing you had always taught me to do and get a good education and keep up good appearances, so as to not sully the good Frost family name", Emma said with an annoyed look.
"Oh, like you ever listened to me to begin with. I am almost positive you are out and about sleeping with every man you see and tearing down our good name like you always have. Honestly, Emma, if you had any decency, you would quit the whole act and actually come home with your family in this trying time", he told Emma.
"Act?! It has been over three years, you old buffoon! And you can go ahead and have a talk with Xavier over there and he would vouch foe my quality of work", Emma said angrily.
"Of course, he would", Winston grumbled.
That made Emma gasp. "This is the exact reason I don't come to see you, father. I don't need to take anymore of your crap now that I am a full-grown woman. So, you could kindly butt-out of my life decisions and I will go on proving to you that I can use my own abilities and the money given to me like I have been taught since I could learn to count!"
"Not even for your dear mother", he said in more statement than question.
"Contrary to your delusional mind, I keep closer relationships to mother after spending time at the school. She actually expressed to me how much she missed me", Emma argued back.
"What about lately", Winston said with his arms crossed.
"N-no. I have been busier than normal", Emma said with a guilty look on her face.
"Excuses, excuses. Contrary to what you think, I actually believed you could have accomplished the most out of all my children, dear Emma. But scornfully cutting off your mother when she needed you most....", he said with a sigh.
"What? What's that supposed to mean?", Emma asked confusingly.
"Attention, everyone. I would like to give a welcome to our chairman for today, Bolivar Trask", an announcer said.
"Looks like you will have to wait afterwards", Winston said with a shrug before going to his seat next to Adrienne, who was chatting up another person, possibly someone in dealings with Winston. Reluctantly, Emma took her own seat at her table, feeling a sudden dread that her father had rarely instilled in her in the later years. She hated secrets for good reason. It would seem Winston finally had invested money to block psychic intrusion in recent times, leaving Emma all the more stressed.
"Don't sweat it, 'Em. Whatever is going on, we're there for ya", Warren said as he took her hand supportively. She smiled gratefully to him as she managed to regain her composure.
"Thank you all for coming. I hope you are enjoying the food and company among each other this fine night. To get to the point, you all are here to witness the answer to a certain problem that has plagued mankind for quite some time. Mutants", Trask told the audience. "But Mr. Trask, these are super-powerful beings, capable of things that would give trouble to even our heroes who fight criminals like them for our sake. Criminals like Magneto, the Brotherhood, and more mutants who go running around the normal people, trying to blend in before they are ready to strike us."
"Can we go now? I have had enough of this guy the minute he opened his mouth", Warren whispered.
"Wait....something is off....", Xavier said with a strange look.
"Warren, I think there are dampeners around. I am having trouble summoning a slight breeze", Orroro said perplexedly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you all, the Sentinel!", Bolivar said before pulling the sheet off to reveal a giant humanoid robot with different shades of purple covering the metal plating of the body and a pinkish looking face to give it somewhat a human look. "With nothing but the highest quality in design, we devised a machine that could locate and capture any mutant with a large range. Observe as I turn it on."
With the press of a button, the machine whirs to life with red lights vaguely resembling eyes on the the face plate. The Sentinel turns its head as it began to scan the crowd as a part of its programming.
"As you can see, this machine has built in scanners to identify any mutants hidden among a simple crowd of people. I am sure none of you will have anything to worry, for it will not do anything unless it-"
"Six mutant signature identified. Engaging in protection of civilians and capture of mutants", the large robot said as he took a large step towards the crowd.
The move prompted panic for the people as they scrambled away from the giant foot getting ready to crush the table in its one-track mind of search and capture.
"No need to worry, folks! It may have a few kinks to work out, but even so, you all are in no real danger. It will stand to defend us normal people while it deals with the mutant threat", Bolivar said as he tried to turn the robot off on his little remote.
"Hey! I am pretty sure the owner is not gonna be happy about all this collateral damage", Iron Man said as he hovered above Trask.
"I am deeply sorry Iron Man. It is but a prototype, so it was bound to have some bugs in it", Trask said nervously.
"Two words. Beta testing. Keep trying to get that thing working. I will deal with saving civilians. Come on, your majesty!", Iron Man said.
"Following your lead, Iron Man", Black Panther said as he sprung to saving the civilians running around in panic.
"Emma, direct Black Panther and Iron Man to any hidden individuals. I will work on directing the crowd to safety", Xavier said as he began to focus his mind on the crowd.
"Charles, look out", Moira said as she began to shoot at the machine with a gun she had hidden in her purse.d
"Mutant entity detected. Beginning detaining procedure", the robot said before spraying a gas towards the small group.
"Worry not, Professor. I have this", Storm said as she conjured a whirlwind to to blow away the gas.
"This is a lot more difficult than usual....Hank, Warren! Find the dampeners while Orroro deals with the robot", Emma commands before going back to searching the party area for hidden innocents.
"You! White-haired freak! You ruined everything!", Trask said pointing to Storm.
"Oh, put a sock in it", Emma said as she put the man to sleep.
"Orroro, everyone has been filed out. Take down the Sentinel, now!", Xavier said.
Without anymore hesitation, Storm reaches out with her hand to unleash the streams of lightning from her fingertips to the robot. It was a struggle to get it to fall, but suddenly, Orroro felt the restrain on her powers fade away, allowing the lightning to obliterate the robot.
"It seems the boys had found the dampeners. S.H.I.E.L.D protocols, apparently", Emma said.
"S.H.I.E.L.D? Why is S.H.I.E.L.D involved?", Iron Man asked coming down.
"Because the man has connections in the government. In fact, rumor has it that he already has been given the go-ahead on beginning construction and this was mostly just to continue manufacturing more", Nick Fury said as he walked in.
"Wait, so....we can expect more of these idiot contraptions, soon?", Black Panther asked.
"Officially, no. Its all under-the-rug stuff that we are still looking into", Fury replied.
The X-Men walked out of the building as police began to surround the building and began talking to each of the X-Men and other civilians for statements about what happened.
"Its not gonna stick. Sleaze-balls like that Trask guy always get out of this with money and contacts", Warren says grumpily.
"Sad to say, Warren is right. I am gonna have to see to it that I help Fury look further into this", Xavier says thoughtfully. It was then that as everyone was discussing tonight's events that Emma spotted her father and sister getting into their limousine.
"STOP!", Emma psychically commanded the driver before he could drive away.
"What is the matter with you?! Haven't you ever driven a vehicle before?!", Winston yelled at the chauffeur.
"I am sorry, sir. I can't seem to control my faculties", the confused man said.
"What the hell does that mean?!", he asks angrily.
"It means to get your sorry but out of the car before I make you!", Emma say telepathically to her father.
Winston looked taken aback at first before seeing his daughter with her arms crossed outside his window. He then got out as instructed with a an exasperated expression.
"So, it is true. You do have psychic powers", Winston said.
"Oh, don't act like you had no idea. I am positive that my sister alerted you immediately after I showed her who held the real power in this family. Proven further by the fact that I am meeting resistance when reaching into your tiny brain, which implies obvious psi-shielding that are frankly inferior to my power, as I can readily demonstrate", Emma said menacingly. Winston only smiled at her apparent threat laced in her tone.
"What do you want, girl?", he simply asked.
"You are gonna tell me what happened to my mother. What did you men when you said she needed me? You better get to explaining before I find my way past those cheap shields you have, which should take me no more than ten more seconds. So, start talking", Emma says with contempt.
"You really don't know?! Have you not gotten any of the invites I clearly sent you? Or the e-mails that Adrienne had sent? Or texts? I would have sent her in person, but oddly, Adrienne is not allowed to step foot on your campus", Winston rambled.
"She attacked the staff! On your order!", Emma said angrily.
"More tall tales, what a surprise", he said sarcastically.
"Enough with your games!", she shouted before banging her fist on the top of the vehicle. "What happened to my mother?"
"Your mother's dead! Are you happy at poking at my freshly wounded heart?!", Winston yelled.
"............when? How long has she been dead?", Emma asked stoically.
"About a month. We already had her funeral. All the family were asking about you and you didn't show up to your own mother's funeral. For shame!", Winston rebuked her. For a good moment, Emma was silent. Just as Winston was about to get in the car, Emma spoke.
"I am coming home.....I want to see mother's grave....", Emma said emotionlessly.
".......Fine. Make the arrangements with Adrienne and we will have your room ready for you. Despite what you think, we never took down your stuff, by your mother's request. It is exactly as you has left it. Perhaps a little cleaner by way of our maids. Maybe this revelation will have you respect our family arrangement further. Until then, Emma", Winston bid farewell before getting back in his limousine. By then, Adrienne undid Emma's mental conditioning and freed the driver to drive them home.
*back at the mansion*
"I understand perfectly, Emma.I just hope you always remember that the mansion will always be your home......", Xavier said.
"Thank you, Charles.....I will always be eternally grateful to you for taking me in when I needed you the most. For giving me a home", Emma said as she hugged Xavier.
"Don't be a stranger, lass! You should know that ya don' need to be a student to ever visit or call. Anytime ya need me", Moira said as she hugged Emma.
"Thank you, Moira. For everything", Emma said.
Emma walked out of the study to head for her room for the night. She honestly shouldn't have been surprised to see Warren waiting for her.
"Alright, spill it. No snark. No telepathic manipulation. Jean is keeping barriers up at this very moment on my brain. No avoiding the issue", Warren said firmly as he blocked her way.
"I am real tired, Warren. Can't we just do this tomorrow?", Emma asked.
"So you can feign to have forgotten? Not for something this big", Warren said.
"Then take the hint and leave it!", Emma shouted.
"Whoa, hey! What's the issue?", Scott said as he was coming around the corner at Jean's behest.
"I don't know. You tell us, Emma", Warren said stubbornly.
"How's about I not do that and you deal with it while I find a nice hotel to sleep in", Emma said as she began to turn around.
"Hey, now! There is no need for that! Warren, if she is not ready to talk, then we gotta leave her be", Scott said calmly.
"Emma is a tough cookie to crack. Ya can't really leave her to herself. She will stew in silent torture when given the chance", Warren said, with worry starting to lace his tone.
"Then I will do that as my own person! The last thing I need is for someone else to tell me I am running my life the wrong way after dealing with it for so long!!!", Emma shouted. Warren flinched at the remark.
"Emma.......I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like-"
"Then. Get. Out. Of. My. Way", she said with a quiet menacing tone as she got close to his face. Warren warred with himself for a bit before sighing and storming off. Emma began to walk an open her door, but stopped in her tracks before entering.
"Thank you....I promise I will tell you guys what is going on tomorrow. I just....need a night to myself", Emma says softly.
"Whatever you need. We all will respect that", Scott reassured her.
Emma felt herself calm, enough to turn her head and give him a genuine smile in thank you before entering her room for the night................