Foto bij 107. - Lucien

In the elevator ride up, the nerves finally hit me; I'm shifting my weight from one leg to the other and can't stop fidgeting with the ends of my sleeves. Emma catches my hand. "Are you sure you want to do this?" She asks. "We could still play it off like we're friends. We'll call Gabriel and Matthew to come over later, say that they had an errand to run."
"No, no." I shake my head. "I'm done hiding around. My apartment was one of two places where we didn't have to do that. I didn't pay for the damn place for it to become yet another location where I have to hide who I am." I gently squeeze her fingers. "But maybe not right away. I'm not sure what happened, but she didn't sound too happy on the phone."
Emma nods, letting go of my hand when the elevator slides open and I miss the touch immediately. When Eschieve isn't in the entrance hall, I contemplate dragging Emma to the bedroom and not coming out until at least midnight. Apparently my expression slipped for a second, because Emma kicks me in the shin. "Behave yourself, du C." She warns. "If you can't keep up the pretence, then neither can I."
"Remind me to use that against you when we're finally alone." I wink at her, heading for the kitchen. Before I can even call out to my sister, she storms into the kitchen with a face like a thunderstorm and wet cheeks.
"Tu as parlé à père?!" She half-yells at me.
"Quelle? Non, je ne lui ai pas parlé depuis ce premier appel." I shake my head, taking two glasses out of the cupboard.
"Nous avions un accord! Et puis il m'appelle, me disant que vous l'avez convaincu du contraire!"
"J'ai été avec mes amis toute la journée, Eschieve! Je n'ai aucune idée de ce que votre accord impliquait même." I snap back, glaring at her. "Demandez à Emma si vous le devez. Mais je ne lui ai pas parlé et même si je le faisais, je ne m'en mêlerais pas."
Eschieve's eyes flick to Emma, who's awkwardly sipping the glass of water she poured herself after I got pulled into this awfully fun conversation. Eschieve's eyes narrow, like she's only now realising Emma is here.
"Qu'est ce qu'elle fait ici?" The question is asked with so much venom that all the sympathy for my sister disappears in a split second. I glance at Emma, who gives a slight nod. Alright, here goes the bandaid.
"Emma is here because she and I are dating." I study Eschieve's face, but it doesn't turn any angrier or shocked. I detect no change at all, which is even scarier.
"I'm just gonna go into the living room..." Emma mutters, quietly exiting.
"Dating? Does Liliana know?" Eschieve demands.
"Liliana?" Hearing her name catches me off guard and I shake my head. "No. Only four people know and I don't see why I would tell Liliana."
Eschieve's mouth drops open. "She's your girlfriend! I know you two have an open relationship and whatever, but I'm pretty sure dating other people wasn't part of the deal!"
For a moment I fall silent, realising how out of touch we are with each other. "Liliana and I broke up months ago."
She visibly recoils. "Excuse me? When was this? And why didn't you tell me?!"
"Eschieve, we talked a grant total of one time since I left and that was November 28th! I'm sorry that I didn't exactly feel like giving you a life update!"
"You could have called me! I'm your fucking sister, Lucien!"
"You didn't call me either, did you now?" My voice is rising. "Why don't you tell me something what's been going on? What stupid stunt did you pull that father wants to ship you off to Canada?"
"Don't change the subject!" New tears are falling down her cheeks. "Don't you fucking dare! We're talking about you right now! You didn't cheat on Liliana with her, right?" Again, 'her' comes out with a sharp amount of disgust, acompanied by an angry gesture towards the living room.
"Of course not! Liliana broke up with me and at the time, Emma wanted nothing to do with me. Not that it's any of your fucking business."
"Oh, so you slept with the girl that hated you?! How classy of you, Lucien! I can't believe you'd fuck some bimbo from work! That's disgusting, even for you!" She's shaking her head, wiping away the tears that are immediately replaced by new ones. "You are her boss!"
"Emma is not a bimbo!" I yell. "You're a fucking child, Eschieve, don't talk about my life as if you're playing any part in it! You don't talk to me just as much as I don't talk to you. Oh, just shut up!" I spit when she opens her mouth to protest. I toss my hands up in defeat. "I'm done. Do whatever the fuck you want, I'm leaving."
"You do that." Her voice has gone down to normal volume, which makes it even worse. "You've done nothing but leave ever since mama went away."
The words hit home with painful force. For a few seconds we stare at each other, before I toss my hands up once again and turn on my heels. I need a drink. I need a cigarette. I need air. I need... A door slams, no doubt from the guestroom Eschieve's occupying. I close my eyes, forcing a deep breath on myself that does exactly nothing. A hand on mine startles me; I jump a step backwards, eyes flying open to see Emma looking alarmed by my response. For a moment I'm unable to move, not entirely trusting myself with this much emotion so close under my skin. Emma takes charge, working herself into my arms and pressing her face into my chest. She has no trouble trusting me, it seems. "That seemed like a fun conversation."
With a wave of horror I remember that this girl speaks French. A miserable groan escapes me and I hide my face in my hands, with Emma's arms still wrapped around me. "How much of that did you catch?"
"Enough to know it wasn't pleasant." She says simply, reaching up to peel my hands away from my face. "Let's go to my place, hm? We'll walk, it'll be good for you."
I wrinkle my nose. "That's easily forty minutes."
"Exactly. Enough time for you to smoke a full pack and cool off in this frigid winter air and when we're home I'm getting you a drink. And getting myself two."
That makes me chuckle, the fight slowly seeping out of me, but the frustration still papable in my blood. I leave a note for Eschieve, simply stating that I won't be home for the night, and follow Emma to the elevator.

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