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Emily

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Rachel burns her thumb as she is trying to light the candles for a romantic dinner with Adam. She's getting really sick of getting burned. Of course lately her burns haven't been of the physical variety.

The problem with dating a celebrity is the fans.

The problem with dating a celebrity who is slightly more popular than you is that fans think he is above you, which makes Rachel think that's true.
The problem with dating Adam Brody is that it means lots of people hate her. Which sucks in general, but especially when Rachel is so... not happy.
The problem with dating Adam is that he's just so fucking oblivious sometimes.

"Hey Rach. Why do you have your thumb in a glass of wine?" Adam walks in using the key he's had for... awhile now.

Oblivious. Like now for example.

The situation is embarassing, even with Adam. Especially with Adam.

"You're early," Rachel attempts to avoid explaining that the wine was the first cold thing she'd seen after she burned her thumb.

"They let me out early."

"We work on the same set," Rachel tilts her head sadly at her boyfriend.

"I know."

"They never let us out early. Just, don't lie to me, okay?" Rachel is suddenly too exhausted to be angry.

"Okay. Josh and I were supposed to sit down and-"

"Adam? Let's just eat."

But dinner isn't the romantic event Rachel has envisioned. Mostly it just seems sad. Two tired people in a caricature of what life should have been.

So after, Rachel picks up the kitchen a little and goes to take a shower while Adam settles in front of the T.V. He didn't even offer to join her in the shower. They were like an old married couple without any of the perks.

I Love the '90's had been on while Rachel had been getting ready for dinner, and she had sort-of half listened to it.

She misses the Rachel she had been when she had interviewed for that, the Rachel who joked about how painful having Edward Scissorhands as a boyfriend would be. It's been so long since Adam had touched her as Rachel that the joke isn't very funny anymore.
Her twenty-four year old boyfriend isn't interested in her, and Rachel wonders if maybe she has a bigger problem than just unhappiness.
Rachel towels off and slips into a terry-cloth bathrobe.

Adam's zoned out on Real TV and Rachel curls up next to him. She's sort of surprised he lets her, and even more surprised when he strokes her wet hair and lets her lay in his lap.

"Are you okay?" Adam asks during a commercial break and Rachel feels like it should be enough that he asked.

"I guess. Why?"

"You seem quiet lately," Rachel's inexplicably grateful Adam's finally noticed something, until he ruins it by adding, "You're not pregnant or anything? Right?"

"No," Rachel sighs. She's been sighing a lot lately.

Now Real TV's back and Adam's attention is back on the television.

"Sometimes I wish you were Seth," Rachel whispers and Adam wasn't supposed to hear it.

"Did you just wish I was Seth?"

"No. Because if you were Seth then I'd have to be Summer and we both know how much I oh-so don't want to be her for long periods of time," Rachel lamely attempted to deflect Adam's attention, and to her disappointment it worked.

"She's been better lately."

Rachel rolls her eyes and then remembers Adam couldn't see them. "I guess."

Once again Adam turns his attention to the television and Rachel wishes he would try to understand her. For the very first time she really understands Summer, can relate even, because for all of her posing Summer's just trying to find the right person to open up to, and he keeps being a jackass.

"If you want me to be Seth," Adam says suddenly, turning off the t.v., "I'll try."

He's being totally sincere and Rachel realizes Seth isn't what she wants at all.

"No! I just want this to be..." Rachel sits up. Tears are stinging the back of her eyes. "What happened to us?"

"We..." Adam starts something that was probably intended to be sarcastic or dead-panned, but he stops when he sees that Rachel's nearly crying. "I don't know."

"I hate this! I hate this... fake... thing we've been doing."

"I do too," Adam admits.

"Then why are we doing it?"

"I don't want us to be... This is starting to feel a lot like..." Adam hesitates, but Rachel knows exactly what he's trying to say.

"Emily."

She pulls Adam into her arms. Holds him close. Rachel knows that being with Emily, losing Emily, broke Adam's heart. Emily hurt him beyond repair, and nearly a year later Rachel's still picking up the pieces. She won't be responsible for breaking Adam further.

"I won't do that to you," Rachel swears softly into her boyfriend's ear. "Don't let me do that to you."

Adam shifts in Rachel's arms until she realizes he's holding ger as much as she's holding him.

"You won't. I never thought you would. I just, I'm afraid I'm your Emily," Adam's admission stuns Rachel and touches her.

"You aren't."

"You're sad and I'm clueless. There's a pattern there Rachel," he sounds angry, but Rachel's pretty sure he's mad at himself, or maybe at Emily, and not at her.

"I'm less sad Adam," Rachel tells him quietly and is surprised to find it is true.

"Really? Talk to me Rach, tell me what's going on."

"I miss you," Rachel states, and then out-of-nowhere, "Why don't you touch me?"

"You're in my arms right now."

"But not when we go out. Not at work, not unless it's scripted. Not even just now during dinner."

"Baby," Adam's head is in her still-damp hair and his words are muffled, "I never even noticed."

Which in some ways reassures Rachel, and in other ways, "That could be a problem too."

"It isn't like you've come to me either," Adam points out gently.

He's right Rachel realizes. She hasn't approached him any more than he's gone to her.

"I just assumed..."

"Never assume. You know what they say-"

"Don't Adam, please," Rachel tilts her head up to look at her boyfriend.

She isn't sure how it's possible to forget how hot Adam is, but she does. She doesn't appreciate him enough.

Rachel sort of tugs the back of Adam's neck and he gets the hint. He bends towards her and she angles her couth so that their lips conect solidly.

It had been so long, and this was so comfortable, and suddenly being with Adam was so easy, so right. And they were seperate from Seth and Summer, and seperate from celebrity. They were just two people in a relationship, a functioning relationship that had to be worked on, talked about.

Adam broke the kiss. He stood and tugged Rachel to her feet, pulling her gently towards her bedroom.

"You aren't Emily," Adam assured her.

"Neither are you."