Loki had dropped down onto one knee in front of Emily, a warm smile on his face. "Emily, I love you more than anything, and I want to be with you forever. If you'll have me." He said, presenting the ring.
Tears slid down Emily's cheeks as she looked down at the diamond ring in Loki's hand. "Yes... Loki, yes!"
Loki quickly stood and pulled Emily into a loving kiss. When it ended, he pulled away just enough to take the ring from the box. Taking her left hand in his, he slid the ring onto her ring finger. "You have made me the happiest man in the realms."
Thor sat on the floor with overly wide eyes. He glanced at his mother, then at the equally wide-eyed Steve and Mary as he grinned wide. "Loki... I'm astonished."
"I have been thinking about this for some time now, but I wanted to make it perfect." Loki said softly to Emily, as she was his sole focus at that time.
Emily cupped Loki's face in her hands, then pulled him down to kiss him before she pulled away to look at the ring. "I... I'm lost for words."
"You already said the most important word when you said yes." Loki said sweetly. He kissed Emily again, not noticing when Mary stopped the recording.
"Congratulations!" Mary said happily to Loki and Emily.
"I'm happy for you," Steve added as he sat back on the couch, his new sweater in his lap.
Emily turned towards Mary and Steve, her face a bright pink. "Thank you. Did... did you know?" she asked.
"I suspected, but didn't know for sure. Loki asked me if I would take a video of when he gave his gift. He didn't tell me anything more than that, but I suspected that might be it." Mary told Emily.
Emily turned back to Loki and wrapped her arms around his neck tightly to give him a hug. "I wasn't expecting this at all."
Frigga chuckled from her place on the end of the couch. "I am so happy for the both of you. The both of you make an amazing couple."
Loki returned Emily's embrace. "I love you so much and want to be with you forever."
"You will be," Emily replied, then kissed Loki's cheek. As long as I'm alive, I'm yours.
"I don't know when we might be able to actually be wed, but at least I am yours now." Loki said proudly.
"We can plan whenever you'd like to," Emily said softly.
"I will speak with your father when I return. I will see if you can wed here on Midgard if you wish to do so," Frigga said.
Loki turned to face his mother. "If possible, I would rather wed on Asgard. I know I will be lucky to only face banishment, so I would like for Emily to have her day as a princess."
"I will speak with your father, Loki. Just as I will speak with you later about if you return home," she replied.
Loki nodded. "Thank you mother."
"You're welcome dear."
Thor stood and patted Loki on the back. "I'm happy for you brother."
Loki released Emily and turned to hug his brother. "Thank you brother."
"You're welcome Loki," Thor replied as he welcomed the embrace.
Frigga did her best to hold back a sniffle at watching them. "I thought I'd never get to see that again."
"I want you there as my best man, regardless of which realm hosts the ceremony." Loki told Thor.
Thor nodded and patted Loki's back. "It would be an honor."
"Thank you brother. I know we have had our differences, but I am trying to better myself now." Loki said proudly.
"Your effort is outstanding. I'm proud of you," Thor stated happily.
"I have missed you brother." Loki said with a soft sigh. "You and mother both. It means a lot that you looked in on me during my recovery."
"You're my brother. No matter how mad you make me, I will always be here," Thor said honestly.
Emily smiled and stepped away from the boys to let them have their moment, then sat in between Mary and Frigga. "This has been one amazing Christmas and it's not even over yet."
"Yes it has been. I don't think Christmas was ever full of so much love." Mary said approvingly. "I wish every holiday could be just like this!"
"You never know, it could be," Emily replied as she looked down at the emerald ring on her finger.
"It won't be once you leave for Asgard." Mary said sadly.
"I'm not sure we would stay in Asgard if we got in Mary. I would have to talk to loki."
"If you did, do you think you would still come back and visit?" Mary asked softly.
"Always Mary. You're my family and I wouldn't jeopardize that," she assured as she wrapped her arm around Mary's shoulders.
Mary gave Emily a little smile and shook the sadness from her mind. "We should play some Christmas music!"
"Jarvis?" Emily called, "Music please?"
"Of course Emily," the AI stated before Christmas music filled the condo at a low volume.
"Does anyone know if Tony is doing something for Christmas Day?" Emily asked. "If he isn't, I need to start cooking for everyone."
"He mentioned something, but I don't know for sure." Steve answered.
"Should one of us text him and ask?" Mary asked Emily.
"I think that would be wise. That way I know if we need to start cooking," Emily answered. I can only imagine his response when he sees my ring.
"Do you want to do the honors?" Mary asked Emily.
"Sure, I don't mind. I just have to get my phone off the charger in the bedroom," she answered. She stood and quickly walked into her bedroom before she returned with her phone in hand.
Emily: Are you planning a Christmas get together today? I need to know if I need to start cooking.
Loki got his phone set up while Emily sent the text to Tony. Once it was ready, he started playing with the camera and taking pictures of everything and everyone.
Tony: Yes, we are meeting around two for Christmas dinner. Same buffet style meal.
Emily: How many people? If it's not a whole lot, maybe I could cook? Unless you've already ordered food.
Tony: I don't know how many, but it's open to all employees. Most will likely be home with their families though, I think.
Emily: I would think so too. Could you see how many are coming? If it's not a lot, Mary and I can cook dinner. It wouldn't be a big deal.
Tony: That would still be a lot of food to cook as it's a big meal.
Emily: Well, could you at least pick a traditional Christmas dinner to be catered and not something weird?
Tony: Nothing weird. Prime rib, and the usual side dishes.
Emily: I think brisket would be better, what do you think?
Tony: Why am I being sent pictures of fish?
Emily: 😂 It's Loki. He's proud of his pets.
Tony: I can see that. I have never met someone who named fish before.
Emily: He loves them, even if they're fish.
Tony: No one can be that attached to a fish.
Emily: He's pretty attached. I don't think he's ever had small pets before.
Tony: Please explain to him that he can't turn the indoor pool into a giant "fish box". He won't listen to me.
Emily: I will tell him. I like using that pool.
She looked over at Loki and smiled. "Honey, we use the pool to swim and exercise. If you put fish in it, they'll die."
Loki looked up at Emily, then down at his phone, confused. "What are you talking about?"
Emily chuckled. "Tony told me about you wanting to make the pool a fish tank. It wouldn't work."
"Oh, that makes sense." Loki said with a sigh of relief. "If we clean it and put the right water into it, it would work."
"Loki, everyone uses the pool. We're not changing it into a fish tank. If you want to see something like that, I'll take you to an aquarium sometime," Emily replied.
"What's an aquarium?" Loki asked curiously.
"It's a place that houses a bunch of unique fish and other animals to educate others. You'd like it."
"Is there one nearby we can go to soon?" Loki asked, wanting to visit.
"I will have to see. It might have to wait until we all go on the trip, if we're still going to do that," Emily answered. "But Tony is supplying Christmas dinner, so I do not have to cook. We can all relax and stuff until around one."
"If there isn't one close by, can we make sure there is one where we are going?" Loki asked.
"Yes, I promise we will visit one," Emily assured him.
"Thank you. I am excited to see it." Loki said happily.
Emily grinned, then leaned back on the couch and looked down at the ring that sat on her left hand. I can't believe he proposed. I still have butterflies.
Loki made his way back to Emily and started taking pictures of her. "Smile darling." He encouraged.
"Loki!" Emily laughed as she hid her face from the flash of the camera on Loki's phone.
"I need pictures of you darling. Come on!" Loki chuckled.
"What if we take one together instead?" she compromised.
"Can you show me how? I like that idea." Loki agreed.
Emily nodded and scooted over to make a space for him. "Sit beside me and I'll show you how." She smiled when Loki sat next to her and handed over his phone.
"You press this button here when you have the camera on the screen. Then the camera faces you instead," Emily explained and grinned when she could see their faces on Loki's phone.
Loki looked at the camera curiously, then took the phone. When he lined up the picture, he pressed the button and took a selfie of him and Emily. "I like this a lot."
Emily gently took Loki's phone then took a picture while she kissed his cheek. "I like it too."
"Can I take a picture of the ring and send it to Stark?" Loki asked, feeling a bit mischievous.
"I want him to see it on my hand. I think actually witnessing his reaction will be better," Emily replied.
Loki nodded. "That's a good idea. Maybe we can record that as well." He chuckled.
"It depends on his reaction," Emily said. "I'm not sure what he will do."
"I have considered that as well. What if he gets pissed and makes me leave?" Loki asked, worried.
"He can't make you leave Loki. If you go, I go. Then he would lose Mary too, which would make Steve upset," she explained.
"If he tried that simply because of an engagement, I would leave as well." Steve said truthfully. "He has no business interfering in people's relationships."
Emily grinned at Steve. "That's sweet of you Steve. I think we will be thankful for your ideals if Tony's reaction goes sideways."
"You can count on me as a friend. It is obvious that despite anything else, Loki treats you very well and truly loves you." Steve said truthfully.
"Thank you Steve. That means a lot to both of us," Emily replied. She smirked at Mary and nodded to her. "I would keep that one if I were you," she teased playfully.
Mary blushed bright red and looked at Steve with a small smile. "He definitely is a keeper." She admitted.
Steve smiled back at Mary, then leaned forward and stole a small kiss. "I think I lucked out more than she did."
"Oh no, I'm definitely the lucky one." Mary insisted.
Emily chuckled. "You two are perfect for each other."
"I've never seen Steve so relaxed and happy," Thor agreed.
"He is so sweet and kind." Mary said sweetly.
Thor chuckled and nodded. "I agree with you."
Emily stood and took everyone's empty plates to the kitchen. "Does anyone need a refill of coffee?" she called.
"Yes please, but I will help you." Frigga said as she stood. She collected the cups to be refilled and carried them into to the kitchen.
"Thank you Frigga," Emily said sweetly as she started a new pot of coffee, then leaned against the counter. "I think I'm dreaming," she breathed as she looked down at her ring.
Frigga smiled and walked over, setting the mugs down. "You are not dreaming dear."
"I wasn't expecting a proposal at all, but I don't think I could ever live without him. Now I don't have to."
"I didn't know until this morning. It's so obvious how much he loves you." Frigga said approvingly.
Emily blushed and swayed side to side, feeling giddy. "I love him too."
"Which is equally as obvious." Frigga said happily. "I'm proud to have you as a daughter."
"Awe... that means a lot, Frigga. I look forward to building a life with Loki."
"I look forward to all of us building a wonderful family together. I couldn't ask for a better woman for my son."
"Frigga, you're going to make me a tomato," Emily giggled as she put her hands over her burning cheeks, knowing she was bright red.
"Let's get the coffee refilled then." Frigga chuckled.
Emily looked over at the coffee maker just as it beeped, signaling it was done brewing. "Finished just in time."
"Do you know how everyone likes their coffee? I have not memorised them yet." Frigga admitted.
"Not everyone, no. I don't know how Thor or Steve likes there's," Emily answered. "Everyone else's, I can make."
"I know how Thor enjoys his coffee, but his is the only one I know." Frigga told Emily. "He likes his with nothing added. I think he said it is called a black coffee?"
Emily nodded as she began pouring coffee into mugs. "That's simple. I think I'll add a touch of milk to Steve's, but no sugar."
"Should we ask Lady Mary?" Frigga suggested.
"We can, unless she's slipped away for some alone time with Steve. I know she's been wanting some time with him," Emily answered.
"Do you think she would sneak off during our little party?" Frigga asked curiously.
Emily shrugged and looked out towards the living room. "I'm not sure."
"Would you like for me to go find out?" Frigga offered.
"You can if you'd like, or I can just give him some sugar and creamer on the side." Emily put the coffee pot back on its stand then got the milk out of the fridge.
"If that is an appropriate alternative to serve it, that will be fine." Frigga agreed.
"It is. It's done in a lot of restaurants so people can make it how they like to drink it." She quickly made up all of the mugs of coffee then put them on a tray along with the sugar and creamer for Steve to choose from. "Everything is ready."
"Here, let me take that dear." Frigga said, then she carefully took the tray. "You can hand them out to everyone."
"Thank you Frigga," Emily praised, then led her back out into the living room. "Coffee is ready everyone!" She called.
"Oh good!" Thor said happily, reaching for his mug.
Emily handed Thor his, then handed out everyone else's. "Enjoy! Jarvis, please put on a Christmas film," she said as she took her place on the couch again.
"Do we have any popcorn for the movie?" Loki asked Emily as the animated version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas started.
"I can make a couple bowls full," Emily said, then turned and went back into the kitchen.
"Thank you darling." Loki called happily.
Emily grinned as she quickly got out bags of popcorn and put one in the microwave. "You're welcome!"
Loki opened his phone's camera again and quickly took a funny face selfie and sent it to Emily.
When Emily heard her phone ding, she pulled it from her pocket to see the message then laughed. "Such a goofball."
Emily: goofy boy. I love you
Loki: I love you too.
Emily: I'm excited to be yours...
Loki: I've been yours all along.
Emily: I know, but now I get to have your last name.
At the sound of the microwave's ding, Emily got out the first bag of popcorn and emptied it into a bowl. Then she opened up another bag and placed it in the microwave to cook.
Mary walked into the kitchen as Emily started the microwave. "Do you want me to carry the bowl out?" She asked as she opened the fridge to get the orange juice.
"Sure, if you want to," Emily answered. "How have you been this morning?"
"I'm great. This is the first real Christmas I've had and definitely the best." Mary said truthfully.
"It has been the best, I agree. I don't remember being this happy during Christmas since I was a kid."
"The Christmas proposal was really sweet." Mary said with a smile.
Emily felt her grin widen as butterflies filled her stomach. "I wasn't expecting it at all. I'm amazed how well he hid what he was planning to do."
Mary poured the orange juice into her glass, then returned it to the fridge. "Me too. He acts a little aloof and scatter brained, but I'm starting to wonder if that's just a cover." She chuckled.
"I am too. I think he's a natural genius but likes to play naive." When the microwave beeped again, she got out the other bag of popcorn and emptied it into another bowl. "Do you and Steve have any plans this evening for yourselves?"
"I don't think so. I think we are just going to the Christmas dinner." Mary answered.
"I was just curious," Emily commented. "I didn't know if Steve wanted to spend some alone time with you or not."
"I don't know either, we haven't talked about it. I try not to push much with how he's so old fashioned." Mary admitted.
Emily shrugged. "It doesn't hurt to ask though. He might have old fashion values, but he's adapting quite well."
"I know he is, but I'm also not very well practiced at dating. I feel like everything I say and do is so awkward at times." Mary sighed.
"He doesn't see it that way, Mary. If you'd like some alone time, you can tell him that," she assured her. "Steve is very sweet on you. It's easy to see it."
"I just don't know what is too much. Like, I want to show affection at times. Nothing dirty, just like cuddling during a movie, holding hands when walking, stuff like that. I just don't want to seem desperate." Mary explained.
Emily sighed as she took a handful of popcorn and popped it in her mouth. "Do I have to sit you and Steve down so you can talk to each other? I know you won't talk to him about this."
Mary felt her face flush. "Em... I really like him and I just don't want to mess up. You know this is the longest, most serious relationship I've ever had."
"I know hon, that's why I'm offering," Emily said. "He really likes you too."
"I guess it's not such a bad idea." Mary finally agreed.
Emily smiled and put one hand on Mary's shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Just let me know when."
"I think I want to try on my own first, just because I need to be able to talk about these things with him. If it doesn't work, I will tell you." Mary told Emily. "Thank you, I'm glad I know I have your support."
"You'll always have my support Mary," Emily assured her. She lifted both bowls of popcorn and smirked. "Ready?"
Mary took one of the bowls to carry. "I'm ready." She said, then led the way out to the sitting room.
Emily walked in the sitting room behind Mary and smiled at seeing everyone glued to the large tv, watching Christmas movies. She handed Loki her bowl, then sat beside him and snuggled against his side.
Loki set the bowl of popcorn on his lap, then wrapped one arm around Emily. "This movie is quite intriguing."
"What do you like about it?" Emily asked. "It's a classic really."
"I can kind of relate to The Grinch. He isn't very welcome either and so that turned him spiteful." Loki explained.
Emily nodded. "It is very relatable. He isn't liked in the beginning because of how different he is, but The Grinch also learns things too."
"Just because someone is different doesn't make them bad. Different can be a good thing." Loki said with a little shrug. With his free hand, he grabbed some popcorn to eat.
"I agree wholeheartedly," Emily said softly.
"Does he ever get a happy ending?" Loki asked Emily curiously.
Emily smirked and leaned her head against his shoulder. "You'll have to watch the whole movie to find out."
Loki teasingly rolled his eyes. "I guess so." He chuckled, then grabbed more popcorn.
The movie had ended and Thor picked out another to watch. Emily stretched her arms above her head and looked at the clock, seeing it was close to noon. "What did you think of the ending?"
"It was interesting. I am glad that he was finally accepted and finally got to have Christmas." Loki answered.
"Both The Grinch and the townsfolk learned a lot about each other. It's a good story to watch every year."
"I have enjoyed it." Loki said truthfully. "Can we watch another movie tonight?"
"Yes we can. There's a lot of Christmas movies to choose from. We'll have to get ready to go to the common area soon though," Emily said.
"That's why I asked about later. A movie to wind down to before bed."
"We can pick one out, I don't mind," Emily replied.
"Can it be another Christmas movie?" Loki asked with a cute grin.
Emily chuckled. "Yes it can sweetheart."
"Are there any that have fish in them?" Loki asked curiously.
"Umm Rudolph has a scene with a fish in it I think."
"That is an odd name... Rudolph..." Loki said, finding it difficult for him to say.
Emily grinned. "I think you'll like it."
"I'm happy to give it a try." Loki said truthfully.
"Do you want to start getting ready for dinner?" She asked.
"Is it time already?" Loki asked, using his phone to check the time. "How do we need to dress?"
"It's getting close to one and dinner starts at two. I'm going to shower, so it'll take me longer to get ready," Emily explained. "But we dress nice, but not as fancy as last night."
"Alright. Do you mind if I visit with mother while you shower?" Loki asked as he would normally join her in the shower.
"Of course not. She's your mom," she assured.
"I normally shower with you, so I just wanted to make sure." Loki explained.
"It's okay. You don't get to see her often. You should visit."
"Thank you darling." Loki said, then he leaned over to steal a quick kiss.
"You're welcome... fiancé," she replied against his lips.
Loki gave a big grin. "I do like the sound of that."
Emily grinned proudly and quickly stole a kiss of her own before she stood from the couch. "I do too."
"I will see you after your shower." Loki said happily as he watched her grin, then walk into their bedroom.
"She's a wonderful woman," Frigga praised.
"Yes she is." Loki said proudly. "She is perfect in every way."
"Have you thought of what you would like to do for the ceremony at all?" She asked curiously. "Your father might argue to give her the apple... like she will need."
Loki shook his head. "I haven't and I haven't talked with her about it yet. To be honest, I wasn't even sure she would accept." He admitted.
"Son, it's something that needs to be discussed," Frigga said softly. "If she does not take the Apple, her life will be much shorter than yours. What if you have children?"
"I know we need to discuss it and we are going to. I just wanted to propose first. I didn't see any point to the rest if she rejected me." Loki explained. "Those are matters that will require a lot of attention. I want us all to enjoy the holiday, we will figure out the rest after." He promised his mother.
Frigga nodded and patted Loki's knee. He needs to know of the prophecy, but when should I tell him? "Would you like me to speak with your father about it when I return?"
Loki shook his head. "Not yet. I want to know what Emily wishes to do first. I have already told her that if she should choose to stay here in Midgard, I will stay here with her."
"If she chooses that, we respect your decision," Frigga assured him. "But the apple should still be spoken of even if she chooses to stay here."
"If we stay here, I can take a mortal life." Loki said softly.
Frigga's eyes widened measurably and Thor turned his head at Loki's words. "You... would do that for her?" Frigga asked quietly.
"Brother?" Thor added in question.
"I would. I love her more than anything." Loki told his mother and brother. "We will fully discuss all options before making a decision though." He assured them.
"I never would have thought you would have felt like this towards someone," Frigga said as a tear ran down her cheek.
"Why are you crying?" Emily asked, startling Frigga and making her jump.
Frigga quickly wiped her tears. "They're happy ones darling, it's okay."
"Mother is just happy I have finally found someone to settle down with." Loki said truthfully. He stood and walked over to Emily, wrapped his arms around her waist.
Emily returned Loki's embrace and snuggled against his neck, not caring that her hair was still damp. "I'm happy to have found someone too."
Loki brushed his hand over Emily's hair, instantly drying it for her. "I am happy as well. I never dreamt of finding someone as amazing as you."
Thor smirked from the couch, having moved to sit beside Frigga. "Get a room you two," he teased.
"Oh brother, a room would not spare you. I am told we can be heard from quite a distance." Loki laughed, not seeing how his comment made Mary blush as well.
Emily turned a bright red while Frigga put a scolding look on her face. "Loki, Thor, that's enough," Frigga stated.
"Come on mother, at least we are teasing each other instead of trying to kill each other." Loki chuckled happily.
Frigga sighed. "Yes, but at the behest of the women in the room," she chuckled.
"I think I would be more concerned about Rogers. I feel like he is the only one in this room that wouldn't expect this type of talk." Loki chuckled.
"I'm not dumb you two. I know what you're speaking about," Steve answered.
Loki turned to look at Steve. "That's not what I meant. I meant that mother and Mary have heard us speak so boldly before and would not be surprised to hear us talk about those things so openly. You have not been around me much, so I only meant that you might be more shocked to hear the way we talk." Loki clarified.
Steve shrugged. "I spend time with Tony Stark. I don't think it could shock me anymore."
"I wouldn't be so sure, but I'm glad it's not a complete shock." Loki chuckled, then he turned to his mother. "Sorry mother. I will try to watch what I say."
Frigga nodded in acknowledgment. "I'm surprised you weren't blunter. I've heard you boys talk about things before."
"That was me being respectful of the ladies in the room." Loki grinned.
Thor rolled his eyes, making Steve chuckle. "Boys," Emily giggled.
Loki turned to Thor with a smirk. "I think Steve is just jealous that he doesn't have his own stories to share."
Steve raised an eyebrow at Loki. "Now how am I supposed to respond to that?"
"Please forgive my sons and their rude prying. This is their way of asking if you are a virgin. You are under no pressure to respond to them." Frigga told Steve, while shooting both Loki and Thor, a stern look.
Steve quickly cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. "That answer is complicated."
"It doesn't matter what you have or haven't done. Trying to get you to share is their way of saying you are 'one of the guys'." Frigga explained.
"Well... that's something I'm okay with," Steve answered with a smile.
"They do mean well, they are also rowdy boys at times." Frigga said, giving a smile of her own.
Emily laughed and hugged Loki tightly. "They can be, I agree."
"We are guys after all." Loki in a jokingly defensive tone.
"I know you are." Emily leaned up and kissed Loki's cheek then turned and checked the time. "We need to be going soon."
"I will go get ready." Loki stole a quick kiss, then released Emily from his embrace and walked away to the bedroom.
"We will as well, and meet you back here," Thor said. He stood and waited for his mother to join him before they both left the condo.
Emily smiled and looked at Steve. "You don't have to get ready?"
Steve shook his head. "I'm already dressed."
"I better go get ready real quick as well." Mary said softly. She got up and went into her room to get dressed.
"I guess it's just us." Steve chuckled, not wanting an awkward silence.
Emily sat beside Steve with a laugh. "I guess it is. What were your gifts? I never got to see what you opened?"
"I have new music from my list, and I'm a little confused by the Asgardian gifts. I'm not sure if it would be rude to ask them though." Steve said truthfully.
"I might be able to help you there. It's always okay to ask Loki or Thor if you're confused," Emily told him.
"They wouldn't be offended?" Steve asked Emily.
"No, they wouldn't. I've asked a lot of questions myself about things," she replied.
"That's what I was worried about. I will ask them later." Steve said, feeling relieved. "Is Mary alright? She seems distant at times and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong."
Emily sighed softly. "She's frightened," she said softly. "She's terrified of doing something wrong."
"What? She hasn't done anything wrong." Steve said, shocked by Emily's answer.
"She's worried that she will say or do something that you don't like," Emily explained. "She told she wants to do some things but doesn't know if you'll be okay with it."
"What things?" Steve asked curiously, though there was a hint of nervousness to his voice.
"Nothing outlandish Steve, don't worry," Emily assured him.
"It's not that. Modern day standards have changed quite a bit. I wasn't raised to just jump into bed with someone right away. I don't want her to take that wrong though. If we get to that point, I just want it to actually mean something." Steve explained, thinking that was where the conversation was going.
"Honey, Mary knows that. She's not ready for that herself. She's just wanting to do... regular girlfriend things," Emily tried to explain.
"What does that mean to her? What does she consider normal girlfriend things?" Steve asked curiously, feeling relieved.
"It really isn't my place to tell you Steve. But it's nothing overly forward."
"It is nothing that you feel would go against me being a gentleman and respecting her?" Steve asked, hoping Emily could at least give him that assurance.
"Nothing of the sort. Only things that will make you feel fuzzy warm feelings," Emily assured.
"I don't know why she would be so scared then." Steve sighed. "I want to grow closer to her, but she goes distant without warning."
"Talk to her, Steve. It's what both of you need," Emily replied."Talk to her Steve. It's what both of you need."
Steve nodded. "I will. She means a lot to me and I don't want to lose her."
Emily smiled. "So smitten already."
Steve blushed softly. "She is a very special woman."
"Yes she is," Emily agreed.
"Who is what?" Loki asked, walking out from the bedroom. He had on black jeans and a dark green turtleneck.
Emily looked over at Loki with a smile. "Mary is special."
"Indeed she is." Loki agreed. "Is everyone ready to go?"
"We're still waiting on Mary. I'm not sure if Thor and your mom are meeting us here or in the common area," Emily answered.
"She's still not ready?" Loki asked. "I thought I would be the last one."
Emily shrugged. "Maybe she wants to look special."
"It sounds more like she's upset." Loki told Emily.
"Why would she be upset?" Emily looked towards Mary's bedroom door with a furrowed brow.
"Should I talk to her?" Steve asked.
"I feel like someone should, but I have no idea what she is upset about." Loki answered.
Steve stood and straightened his shirt. "I'll talk to her." He walked across the living room and gently knocked on Mary's door. "Mary?"
"Come in." Mary called out, barely loud enough to hear, but her tone made it clear she was crying.
Steve opened Mary's door and walked inside, shutting the door gently behind them. When he saw her tears he went to her and sat on the bed to pull her into his arms. "Mary, what is it?" He murmured.
Mary curled up to Steve and handed him her phone to show him the document she had open. "My father just sent me this. It's a petition to have my medical license revoked."
"We will never let that happen," Steve assured her softly. He rubbed her back and gently kissed her temple. "Tony won't let it happen."
"He said that's my Christmas gift from him." She said sourly. "It just hurts to have him so against me being happy."
Steve took Mary's phone from her and turned it off before he tossed it further onto the bed. Then he cupped her face in his hands. "Let's not dwell on it today. Today let's be happy and enjoy the holiday as much as we can. I'll talk to Tony when we go to dinner and brief him, but we can worry about it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?"
Mary nodded and finally managed a little smile. "Thank you. That's tomorrow's problem." She agreed.
"Let's enjoy today and enjoy us," he said softly.
Mary met Steve's eyes and gave a real smile. "That's what we will do."
Steve smiled and leaned forward to peck her lips. "Are you ready to join the others?"
Mary returned his kiss, then nodded and dried her eyes. "Yes, I am."
"Good," Steve said softly, then stood and held out his hand for her to take. When she did, he led her out into the living room.
Emily could tell Mary had been crying, but seemed a lot less upset. "Are you ready to go?"
Mary nodded. "Yes, we are." She smiled. "Sorry for holding everyone up."
"It's alright," Emily assured as she stood. "It doesn't hurt to be a bit late now and then."
"Thank you." Mary said sincerely as Loki also stood. "Are we meeting in the common area?"
"Yes we are. Tony has it all decorated still from last night," Emily answered.
"I hope the food will be presented differently." Loki muttered, then took Emily's hand and led them to the door. He opened it and led them all out.
"I told Tony that he should do it differently, but if not, I will fix your plate," Emily said as they reached the elevator.
"Thank you darling. I guess we will just have to see." Loki shrugged. He pressed the button to call the elevator. When it arrived and they had all stepped in, he pressed the button for the floor they needed.
"Today is just us, Avengers, and family," Emily said, "So it will be a lot less people."