157. - Lucien
With Brie and Emma slaving away in the kitchen, I'm sprawled out on the second couch and I've joined Matthew in watching Friends. I know it's his favourite show, though I never quite understood the appeal. Matthew always tells me that it's because the jokes gets lost in translation, but considering I spent my life at several international schools I doubt that.
"Has she asked yet?" He asks after a little while, just as Rachel and Ross are yelling at each other once again. He doesn't look at me, but I know exactly what he's talking about.
"This afternoon. I didn't tell her, just that you probably would tell her if she asks. And that you would have done it regardless."
"What, fight?" I see his lip curl in a smirk. "Of course. Callum had it coming either way."
I chuckle, wholeheartedly agreeing. I shift, hissing as I move my hand wrong and there's too much tension on one of the scabs on my hand. "Just a side note: Emma isn't the kind of person who'll actually ask. She might not."
"What, did you tell her it was some kind of heartbreaking life story that shaped every part of my existence?" It's a dark joke, but I can't help but snort at it. Luckily, he does the same.
"I did not. I told her there's more to the story than she might think. But she just isn't like that, prying to get you to tell you her secrets. She didn't find out about my mum until last week and only because my father made a comment."
"Well, after comparing me to my dead brother, he told me 'avec la façon dont vous avez agi ce soir, vous pourriez aussi bien avoir craché sur la tombe de votre mère', which was just delightful to hear."
"I don't speak French that well, my dude." Matthew comments with a gesture of his hand, which obviously causes him pain considering he flinches.
"He said that with the behaviour of that night, I might as well have spit on my mother's grave."
Matthew sucks in a breath between his teeth and he tips his head back to give me a pained look. "Lowest of low blows, even. What did Emma say?"
"She was... understanding. Didn't ask me to talk about it, just made sure to tell me it was okay." My eyes become unfocused as I think back to that night, which feels so much longer than a week ago.
"Did you tell her anything?"
I shake my head. "Just her name."
We continue watching in silence for a while, letting our secrets simmer. Then, when we move on to the next episode, Matthew tips his head back once more to look at more.
"Don't you think it's a little too dark of a story to tell her?"
I snort, raising my brows a little. "Are you kidding? It's dark as hell, but it's Emma. She'll be able to take it. Besides, you don't have to tell everything. Just the essentials."
He mulls it over for a while, clearly hesitant. I don't blame him. While Matthew is far more in touch with his emotions than I am, it's not exactly a fun story to tell. More so, it sounds like it was lifted straight from a movie and I've seen it happen that people don't believe him. People who were supposed to help him, that got paid to do so, but instead they told him that he had no reason to take it as hard as he did. The mere thought of that is enough to make my blood boil. If the professionals don't believe him, who says the 'regular' people will? Though I have absolutely not a slither of doubt that Emma will believe him, I understand that it makes him reluctant. Not to mention that the story is really, really dark. I know Matthew is worried he'll traumatise Emma in some sort of way, or that it'll change her perception of him.
Matthew wakes me from my thoughts with another question. "Are you going to sue Pritchard?"
"Are you kidding? There's no way this case would hold up in court." I shake my head, which makes it hurt. Matthew clearly wants to argue, but we're interrupted by Emma and Gabriel cheerfully announcing dinner is ready. To make sure Matthew and I don't have to more around too much, we eat in the living room; a delicious meal of pulled pork wraps with fried vegetables. I know Emma wants me to cook more often, but I don't see why I would if she makes such a damn fine meal.
"We figured it might be nice for the both of you to have something easy to chew." Gabriel says as he clears our plates. "Well, Emma did, because she shopped, but still. The hospital was worried Mattie would've had to go on liquid diet for a while."
"I would have rioted." Matthew groans, glaring at Gabriel as if the liquid diet would have been his fault. Gabriel grins a boyish grin that makes him look far younger than he is.
"If you hadn't fought it the first place there would have been no reason for a riot."
"Yeah well, then that coeliwr shouldn't have called Emma a whore." Matthew snaps, causing everybody to stare at him. His eyes meet mine and I realise he might have done it on purpose, to give himself an opening without making Emma ask about it. He lets out a deep sigh, face contorting in pain, and he sits up a little straighter. Emma looks between me and Matthew, frowning.
"Lucien told me you asked." He mutters.
"You don't -" Emma immediately starts, but Matthew waves her protest away.
"No, no. I want to tell you. I'm... mostly okay with it, after extensive years of intense therapy." He manages a small but truthful smile. "Truth is, I'm not sure if I would have hit Callum if he'd called you anything else. This one hit... particularly close to home." He fiddles with the hem of his shirt, not looking at any of us. It's rare to see him this vulnerable, and I admire him for it. "I have sister, two years older than me. Might as well have been twins, though, so close as we are. Her name's Anna. When Anna was sixteen, we found that she had fallen victim to a lover boy." He lets the words hang for a while, but no one says anything. I look at Gabriel, at his concerned face, and suddenly I wonder if he even knows this story. "From the age of thirteen, this drewgi siffilitig had been grooming her, convincing her to have sex - first with him, but soon also his friends. Because she was so pretty and sweet. Anna didn't know better, just wanted to make him happy. He threatened to leave her if she didn't do it." His jaw clenches. "No one in the family realised there was anything amiss, because she became very good at lying. It lasted three years. For three fucking years, that man had his claws in her. In the court room, he said the best thing about it was being able to sell her. Like a whore."
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