087. - Lucien
The question settles on me like ice. Not because I don't know the answer to it - surprisingly I know exactly what I want to call us, despite all the signs that we shouldn't do it.
I worry what Emma's answer is.
I'm conscious of the fact that, in a way, I'm just like Callum - a rich white guy with a life in law. Her relationship with Callum was everything but ideal. Not to mention that the main difference between Callum and I is the fact that I'm not technically a lawyer and that I have very large, very active social media pressence. Considering Emma doesn't use social media and she explicitly said that upon meeting me, that was the biggest reason she disliked me it doesn't bode well for me.
Not to mention my inability to access my feelings, as Gabriel so politely put it. It's a real possibility that I fucked up so bad that she doesn't realise how deep my feelings for her run, or that - on the opposite side of the spectrum - I overcompensated and scared her away.
All these things shoot through my head when the question leaves Emma's lips and I tell myself off for not just continuing to kiss her. No use in that now, though, because the word is out and she is expecting an answer. I shift back to my original corner, praying that I don't look as stressed as I feel.
"I don't know." I say honestly, because I don't. "Is there anything you want to call it?"
She shakes her head, the smile on her lips somewhere between amusement and compassion. "Don't deflect the question, Lucien. I asked you."
I should have known she'd catch that. Stalling, I grab the remote to mute the tv and pick up my glass, swirling the last sip of wine that's in there. "I don't know." I say again, scared to look at her. I feel vulnerable and lost. For some reason, Matthew's voice rings in my ears, telling me I should flat out say how I feel about her.
I want to. I just can't. I close my eyes, brow furrowing as I try to find the right words. "I don't... want," I catch myself, shaking my head. "I mean, I don't think -" Better. "we should make any of this official."
"Official?" I'm still not looking at her, but I think there's something of merriment to her voice.
I set my glass down again, not having taken that last sip, and run my hands over my face.
Why? Why is this making me panic so much? "I'm not good with this." I admit, catching myself off guard, because I was raised with the sentiment of never admitting your flaws, no matter how small. My father would smack me around the head if he heard this. I finally go looking for her gaze, expecting it to be all kinds of disapproving, because that's how I'm always looked at when talking about emotions. Instead, she's looking at me with a soft smile on her lips and expectancy in her eyes. "That's okay." She says simply. "We don't have to give it a name. Or we'll give it the name 'not official'." She shrugs, which releases some of the tension in my body. "We'll see where it ends? Enjoying it while it's fun?"
How is she so casual about this? I feel my shoulders slump down, if only a little, and I offer her a crooked smile.
"That sounds excellent. And, just to remind you, I'm enjoying myself immensly."
With her grin, the last of the tension leaves me, and she grabs the remote to unmute it. "That makes two of us, then."
When commercials come on, we clean the take-out mess together before collapsing back on the couch, snuggling up to each other as we watch Criminal Minds. I forget about my freak-out, simply enjoying my time with Emma in my arms and being able to speak and kiss and touch as I please.
"I told you, Luce. I told you you need to see a therapist and this only confirms it." Matthew is leaning against the ktichen counter, arms crossed over his chest as he watches me mash the avocados.
"I don't need to see a therapist." I bite back, shaking my head. "I told you that the last time, too."
"And I already told you -"
"That you think I'm wrong. I get it." I toss my fork on the counter, bits of avocado spraying around. I regret telling Matthew about my conversation with Emma when he asked what was going on between us. If anything, it reinforces why I don't talk about feelings. It only brings irritation and trouble. "You think I should go to a therapist, and I'm not going to. Are we done?"
I turn around to meet his eyes. His brow is creased and he stares back. "Why are you so defensive about this? It's nothing to be ashamed about."
I snort, going back to making lunch for us. "We just don't do that."
"'We'?" He echoes. I grit my teeth, cursing inwardly for how I set myself up.
"French people." I lie.
For a few seconds he is silent, and I dare feel relieved that this conversation is finally over.
I should be so lucky.
"Your father fucked you right up, Lucien."
I don't offer him a reply. Instead I finish lunch in silence while he sets up the plates at the bar. When I serve the toast, both of us are pretending like that conversation didn't happen. Matthew does that because he knows he's not going to get anything out of me. I do that because... that's just what I do.
"So," He says halfway through lunch, finally breaking the silence - and with it the tension. He looks at me with a boyish grin. "How excited are you for Jane's New Year's party?"
I smirk. "It's always the best party of the entire year. I've been looking forward to it since Halloween."
"I heard she was able to convince Elton John."
"I highly doubt that." I crinkle my nose, laughing. "Though that would somehow elevate that party even higher."
"A man can dream, Lucifer. A man can dream."
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