Her parents brought her to the club to 'socialize', but they're the ones doing all the socializing. And now they've met some business friends of her dad's, and there's some secrecy clause about an upcoming deal, or something? So her mother's at the bar getting a drink with the guys' wives, but Emma's only twenty. So here she is, wandering around on the golf course, enjoying the sunset and trying to kill time until she can go back inside. And really, honestly missing school, where she doesn't have to go through this nonsense.
Finally she decides she's had enough of being outside- however much her mother protests that really, Connecticut is lovely in the fall, it's also chilly- and she starts to make her way back to the clubhouse. She's walking up the golf cart trail through the trees to get across the last hole when suddenly she realizes-
-the clubhouse isn't there any more. There's just more forest.
...what just happened?
"What about air, or water? That seems probably more urgent for survival than clothes."
Emma giggles. "Sorry, I didn't mean- air is free. Water- mostly? Sometimes it comes with the place you live, or most restaurants will let you have it free, or if you find it outside and it's clean usually no one would care. You could collect rainwater, or whatever. Mostly you get it from your house, whether it's free or not."
"Okay, that makes more sense."
"Clothes and houses are pretty important for survival if it's cold enough, though."
"Do you live in a cold place?"
"Well, it's cold sometimes. During the winter. You... you don't really have days, here, I guess you don't have seasons, either? The weather changes, at home- a cycle is twelve months, it's usually cold for about four of them. And really hot for one or two. But I mean- you're not mortal, right? Does temperature hurt you?"
"It's usually fall here. Sometimes it's summer for a while. If it got very cold or hot I'd be uncomfortable, but fairies don't tend to start in places that are the wrong temperature for everyday."
"Okay, so you won't literally die, or... or... wilt, or something, in bad weather, but appropriate clothes would still be good."
"I can't die. I can become extremely uncomfortable, though. Wilting isn't impossible, although I'd get better eventually."
"Please don't wilt," she says meekly. "I will get you weather-friendly clothes, I promise."
"Thank you. It is sometimes a nice temperature where you live, though, isn't it?"
Emma laughs. "It's usually a nice temperature! At least half the year. Spring and fall are both nice. And pretty. Flowers and leaves turning colors and everything."
"So if I visit I'll try to arrange to have warm clothes or show up during a pleasant season."
"Well, you should probably aim for a pleasant season regardless."
"I don't even know what season it is at home," Emma realizes with a sigh. "Late winter? Early spring? It was the fall when I stumbled in here, at least."
"Well, you'll find out when you get back, and you'll be close to your house so you shouldn't have to spend too long out in the cold."
"I'm not as worried about the temperature, actually. Like you said, the gate's not far. I just- it's been so long, and weird things make me remember that."
"Is it going to cause a lot of problems?"
"I don't think so. My parents will be thrilled to have me back, obviously. I don't know- how to explain this, though."
"They won't believe you?"
"I don't know! I hope they do, they should, but I haven't ever shown up after being missing for months with nothing to say for it but 'I was kidnapped in another world by a member of a species you think is mythical.' No one knows about fairies, there's so much they have to believe. With no way for me to prove it."
"I can come be winged at them if you need me to."
"Awww, that's nice of you. But you've already been so helpful. I don't want to drag you to my world on top of that, just in case my parents are being difficult. But thank you."
"Okay. I can also leave the gate open in case you want to come back, although obviously being here has its hazards."