Emmett stopped attempting to police Rory’s behaviour upon the realization that it really wasn’t bothering the woman - Millicent - all that much. The majority of the time people were happy to coo over his daughter for a few solitary moments before quickly growing tired of doing so, but from the way Millicent was behaving he was happy to assume she was genuinely fond of children. If he hadn’t already decided he liked her, that would have been the deciding moment. People who were genuine in their like for children always left a favourable impression on Emmett, especially since he had begun to foster one himself. It hadn’t occurred to him upon adopting Rory - admittedly on a whim - that the city wasn’t kind to those raising children, and Emmett honestly praised those who planned to do it long term. He rarely rode the subway with the young girl, as plenty of people were unwilling to give up their seat, and in restaurants he didn’t miss the disdainful looks people gave him when Rory began to shriek and interrupt their meal. It was a breath of fresh air to meet someone like Millicent.
Her happy nod when he repeated her name back to her also made Emmett more comfortable, happy in the knowledge he hadn’t offended her by mispronouncing it. She seemed genuinely pleased with his compliment, although Emmett was sure if his cheeks hadn’t already been ruddy with the cold, that he’d be blushing harder than her. He was terrible at giving compliments, usually tripping over his words before he could finish giving it. He was slightly pleased with himself for managing to get through this one.
"Millie’s good too." he said, nodding along with her. He looked down at the little girl in his arms, holding out his finger to her so that she could curl a tiny, chubby hand around it. He laughed gently at the way she could barely fit her entire hand around his one finger, as she gave it a quick shake before letting go. "I think Rory would agree that… nicknames are good."
Emmett watched, slightly transfixed as her curls moved with the shaking of her head. He didn’t have to remind himself to listen when she spoke, always happily engaged with whoever he ran into. Despite the fact Emmett spent a lot of time caught up in his own thoughts, he always made a point to listen to the other person when they spoke. It was only polite.
"Oh, oh. I see." he repeated, a smile appearing at the corner of his lips when she laughed. Her laugh was nice, quiet. The kind of laugh that didn’t make a big deal of itself because it didn’t have to. He decided he liked that too.
"The rain should stop within the hour. At least I hope so." he insisted in an attempt to be helpful. He desperately searched for a part of her sentence he could hang onto in order to continue the conversation. Emmett was an awkward conversationalist at best. "Your roommate… she’s getting off work late. What does she uh, do…?"
Millicent often found herself growing fond of someone on a first meeting and Emmett and Rory were no exception. Already, from the short time she had known them, she had decided that she liked them both. She knew that she’d end up going home and telling Tessa all about the nice man that had held the door open for her when it was raining and she knew her best friend would have something to say about that—probably a teasing comment about if he was hot or not, but honestly that wasn’t on Millicent’s mind.
Of course, that wasn’t to say that the man standing next to her wasn’t good looking because she noted that he was, what with his kind smile and laughter lines. He was certainly handsome but she wasn’t necessarily looking at that. She was a woman who went for personalities over looks even if aesthetics didn’t hurt sometimes.
However, it wasn’t appropriate to think of Emmett in that way when she had just met him and may not actually see him again after the rain went off. She supposed the thought saddened her a little as it was rare to find someone so nice in the city but that was New York life and she had gotten used to it over the years.
"Nicknames are very good. I tend to get called Millificent from time to time. You know, like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty? I like to think I’m not evil like her though,” she informed Emmett, nodding seriously before informing herself that this was unnecessary information. She had a habit of involuntarily providing details that people hadn’t asked for and it was something she had yet to grow out of, despite it probably being an annoyance.
She looked back out the window, hoping he was right about the weather, not that she wasn’t enjoying their conversation, but she didn’t want Tessa to worry if she was home late, especially now that her phone battery had died so she had no way of contacting her.
"Oh, she’s a baker!" she grinned, enthusiastically. "Which means she always brings home leftover cakes, it’s brilliant!"
At the woman asking Rory whether she preferred being called Rory or Lorelai, she turned her head as though she recognized she was being addressed. Although having been addressed by both in the past, Emmett had always felt the young infant had always been more receptive to the nickname of Rory, and had continued to call her so ever since. Or maybe it was just her affection for her that coloured his judgement, leading to him calling her by the affectionate nickname. The woman who continually visited from child protective services always referred to her under the name ‘Lorelai Johnson’, something that always made Emmett oddly uncomfortable, although he couldn’t put his finger on why. He had no legal claim to Rory, at the end of the day. She had been, and still was, the Johnson’s daughter. He was merely her foster Father until they could find somewhere more permanent for her to belong.
Emmett watched with a soft smile as Rory reached for the woman in front of her, stretching out her pudgy little arms as far as they could go and clenching and unclenching her fists, letting out little noises of exertion as she failed to reach the pretty British woman she’d only recently become acquainted with. He was unsure what she’d do once she got ahold of her after all, so he simply held her back, shushing her and attempting to calm her whilst she gave little high pitched, unhappy squeaks.
"Millicent?" he questioned, over the sound of Rory’s little noises. It wasn’t a name he’d ever heard before, which he supposed was odd in his line of work. Sure he’d meant plenty of Millie’s and Melissa’s, but never a Millicent. He decided immediately that he liked it. “That’s unusual… it’s uh, pretty.”
He cleared his throat, immediately embarrassed for having voiced the thought aloud. It wasn’t as thought he’d called her pretty, right? Just her name. She’d said the same thing about Rory’s. But Rory was an infant. He was thankful when she dropped his hand and turned her attention toward the weather, allowing Emmett to breathe again despite his slip up.
"I suppose it doesn’t." he mused, quietly. Rain was good fun when you were stuck inside, but not much fun when you were trapped out in it. "I only wish I could… uh, offer you an… umbrella or something."
Millicent giggled when Rory reached forward, as if trying to reach out to her. In the five or so minutes that she ha known the child she had became completely endeared by her and her quirky little mannerisms. She was the epitome of adorable with her tiny tufts of ginger hair sticking out from under her hat and her tiny smile. She tiled her head to the side fondly as she watched her, unable to help but laugh again when Emmett attempted to console her.
She wasn’t offended that he was pulling Rory away from her as she could tell from the look of embarrassment on his face that he thought that perhaps Rory’s need for her attention was bothering her. On the contrary, it just pleased Millicent to no end and she reached forward so Rory could grab onto her hand, gently swinging both of theirs together in the hopes of appeasing the little girl.
She nodded happily when Emmett echoed her name. She had been told before that it was a mouthful and she supposed that her full name of Millicent Ellis Forrester was something that could leave people both tongue-tied and breathless and her father had always somehow managed to trip over it when he had called on her sternly whenever she was in trouble. She had always been pretty fond of her name though and so she couldn’t help but blush when Emmett told her it was pretty, obviously pleased with the compliment.
"Thank you," she told him, sincerely, nodding her thanks as extra gratitude. "I know it can be a bit of a pain to say sometimes though so just feel free to call me Millie. A lot of other people do."
At his apology, she immediately shook her head, her slowly drying curls bouncing as she did so and she immediately wanted to reassure him that it was unnecessary, despite being chivalrous.
"Oh, no, no, you don’t want to do that," she warned him before explaining. "I did have an umbrella when I left work but it broke. As have all my other umbrellas. I have really bad luck with umbrellas.”
She let out a quiet laugh and shrugged her shoulders.
"Besides, I’m not in too much of a hurry. My roommate doesn’t get off work for another hour so I need to wait until she’s home before I can eat so it’s not like there’s takeout waiting for me or anything," she babbled.
Emmett could feel himself growing redder and more embarrassed in the presence of the woman. Not because of anything she’d done to cause him a discomfort, simply because Emmett was probably the most awkward human being alive. He thrived in the presence of patients and children, and not anyone else in particular. He supposed growing up on the road and having a road crew as your extended family should’ve prepared him better for interacting with the rest of the world in general, but if anything it had made him more isolated and prone to embarrassment. He wasn’t sure how that worked, considering his sisters had thrived just fine. He forced himself to tear his thoughts away from the two of them, knowing he would grow sad if he began to miss them.
However, she seemed perfectly polite and if anything, that calmed Emmett’s nerves. In the bustle of the city, it was hard to find someone who was genuinely polite. Most people would elbow past you in the street or push and shove, rarely relenting even when they noticed Emmett was cradling a young infant. The woman was kind though, arguing back to insist on his kindness without being pushy. He noted the strong accent that alerted Emmett to the fact that she wasn’t a native New Yorker. Certainly British. His first thought that maybe she was a tourist, although the way she’d navigated New York begged to differ. Only someone who’d lived here as long as Emmett had could move as fast and efficiently as the woman had. Or someone who’d been caught in the rain a lot…
Emmett ducked his head into the fabric of Rory’s hat, gently kissing her forehead as though to soothe her. He’d begun to do these things so casually now, kissing her and cuddling her and falling asleep curled up next to her on the couch. Of course, a baby like Rory needed attention, but Emmett feared constantly he was growing too attached to her. It would be so hard when she was inevitably placed with a family. A real family. A Mom and a Dad like she deserved, not a foster parent with exceptionally busy work hours. And as much as Emmett was exceptionally thankful for Aeryn’s help, he was sure Rory’s birth parents had dreamed of a bigger family for her than a single Father and an overly affectionate nanny.
A smile crossed his face as she made reference to Gilmore Girls, and he managed to let out a soft titter of laughter. She hadn’t been the first person to reference the television show in reference to Rory’s name.
"She’s a Lorelai, actually." he insisted, somewhat familiar with the television show. Enough to know that the character of Rory was named after her Mother, who had been a Lorelai. Shifting the young girl in his arms, he shyly extended a hand to the woman in front of him.
"I’m uh, Emmett… it occurred to me I didn’t really introduce myself." he stuttered through his sentence, smiling shyly.
Millicent hoped that she was coming across as being friendly enough. She had been told a few times that she could often be quite intimidating to other people what with her height when in heels, her accent and the fact that she cared very much about the state of her eyebrows, but she knew herself that she was relatively easy to get along with. She may not be as effortlessly adorable as Ben was but she liked to think that people found her easy to talk to. After all, it was an important quality to have in her line of work.
She wasn’t a pushover though and she did have an awful habit of scrutinising people on a first meeting. In her opinions, manners were something to be valued, a smile never hurt anyone and someone who was rude right off the bat wasn’t someone she was terribly interested in talking to, although she would always make an effort if they did. The man in front of her though seemed to have none of those flaws and he had already passed the test upon holding the door open for her.
She watched as he leaned forward to kiss the little girl’s head and tried to ignore that same melancholy feeling that built up in her once more, trying desperately to push it away. It was only a simple affectionate gesture but Millicent’s heart constricted almost painfully in her chest when she watched it and she felt the need to look away for a moment, but that would be rude and going against one of her own rules would make her a hypocrite.
"Well, what would you prefer, gorgeous?" she asked the little girl not expecting much in means of an answer but hoping to make the little girl smile again. There was never a great amount of children that came into her work but she had to admit she did love getting to interact with them. Of course, it never failed to make her sad at the end of the day but she usually always pushed on through it. She supposed her emotions were a lot stronger right now due to the time of year, but she wasn’t going to let it get in the way of talking to such a nice man and his daughter.
"Oh, I’m Millicent!" she said excitedly, taking his hand immediately, glad that they were getting onto names. Introductions always had a lot of potential in her eyes and she was glad that all three of them were reasonably acquainted now.
"It doesn’t look like it’s going to go off anytime soon," she said, wistfully after she had let go of his hand and turned to look out of the door to the rain outside.
Emmett was all too prepared to apologize to the woman for the fact Rory was currently loudly dismissing her. He could see from the look on her face that she’d failed to understand that Rory was, in actuality, saying hello to her, and he didn’t blame her. Rory had learned her hello’s and goodbyes backwards, a thing Emmett only partially blamed himself for and was sure he could course-correct at some point or another. However, just as he opened his mouth to apologise, she began to smile.
As a smile appeared on her face, Emmett quickly began to relax and allowed a smile of his own to be directed at the young woman. This was all despite the fact Emmett currently felt like he was kind of going to die (and no, he wasn’t being dramatic) when he realized the woman in front of him was exceedingly pretty. Attractive women in a strictly non-professional sense had always been kind of… intimidating to Emmett. And the woman really was very pretty. It didn’t help in the slightest when she stepped forward to begin entertaining Rory, calling her ‘gorgeous’.
"It’s really - it’s no - I mean, what kind of jerk would I be to… not… hold the door?" he started, somewhat awkwardly. He felt his cheeks grow red and looked down at Rory, who had taken time out from grasping at the woman’s finger to glare at Emmett, as though to reaffirm he was the stupidest man in the world.
"I mean, that’s alright?" he said, it sounding more like a question than a statement. He glanced down at Rory, who had turned back and begun to softly headbutt the woman’s hand.
"Rory! Rory, sweetheart, don’t do that." Emmett insisted with a stern voice, only for the young girl to look back up at Emmett again in annoyance. He laughed, gently smoothing a hand over the girl’s head.
"Sorry about her." he said, directing that particular phrase toward the woman. "She’s excitable."
Millicent couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips at the little girls’ excitable behaviour and the way she was grasping onto her finger. Although she always seemed to be filled with that same feeling of guilt and sadness when seeing a baby, it was often pushed out by amusement or fondness and the familiar warming of her heart. Already, she was completely endeared by the child in front of her, finding her downright adorable, from the bright blue colour of her eyes to to the small tufts of red hair sticking out from under her hat to the way she was comically staring at her father in what seemed to be, if Millicent didn’t know any better, judgment.
She turned to the man with a soft smile on her face as he stuttered his way through a reassurance that there was no need to thank him but for Millicent, who had been brought up on manners and had been told that it wasn’t wrong for her to expect chivalry from a man, she couldn’t help but shake her head although not in an unkind manner.
"No really," she argued gently. "This is New York, it’s not like people here are known for their manners. With some exceptions of course, you being one of them so thank you. It was getting heavy out there anyway."
She glance out at the street where the sidewalk was now slick with rainwater that she had just barely missed and she brushed her damp hair bangs out of her eyes with a free hand so she could smile properly at the father and daughter. She did notice the little girl looking at her a little quizzically, probably because of her accent that she refused to lose since moving to New York with Victor but she seemed to forget about it soon enough and began butting Millicent’s hand with her head.
A delighted laugh exited Millicent’s mouth and she raised a hand to cover her mouth when the man gently scolded the little girl. She didn’t want to step in the way of his parenting after all, even if she honestly didn’t mind the little girl’s behaviour.
"It’s perfectly alright," she reassured him before reminding herself to tone typically ‘lofty’ expressions. She’d been told before that it made her seem a little airy and uppity, especially paired with her accent, and that was the last thing she wanted to come across as so she was eager to change the subject.
"Rory’s a lovely name," she commented. "It reminds me of Gilmore Girls. I used to make my cousins watch that with me all the time and now I’m pretty sure they hate it.” She chased her words with a small laugh.
If I sometimes accidentally represent the homeless community of New York, I think I should put it to use by showing up to Tiffanys every now and again.
It’s like you’re trying to give my boss a heart attack!
I try my hardest, honestly.
Oh, I know you do. It’s both funny and mean.
When I pick Millie up from work, sometimes I just hover by the jewellery counters for as long as I can whilst she’s getting ready to leave to make the other employees really nervous and shifty. And then I piggyback her outta there.
You reeeaaaaally scare them.