176 - Emma
I'm genuinely very confused about Lucien's 180, suddenly trying to befriend my siblings as if he's super comfortable around them, but I don't question it.
Those two seem very excited to be riding in Lucien's car, and all I want is for them to like him, so I watch them drive off as I pick daisies out of the grass with Phoebe.
Mum's in the kitchen, Charles helping her out as he washes everything she no longer needs, and dad is in his familiar chair, pretending to read a book.
I can't say I feel fully relaxed about Lucien being away, but no one else seems to mind, so I try and pretend I'm not stressed.
As long as Daniel doesn't get up to anything stupid and Beth keeps her mouth shut about things she doesn't need to talk about, they'll be fine. Lucien loves that car, so he'll have plenty to talk about until they return.
Phoebe has moved on to braiding daisies into a necklace, which isn't working out great so I have to help her with every move.
"Emmeline!" my mum calls my name from the kitchen, and I excuse myself from Phoebe's embrace, taking her with me into the house.
Mum immediately sends Charles back out again with Phoebe, making it very obvious she wants some time alone with me.
She doesn't want to ask me how I am, obviously, because we don't really do that in this household, so she just smiles at me. "Do you think he likes us?"
"I think he's getting used to the dynamic," I answer, quoting what has been said before, "but I do think he likes our family. He's just not used to it."
"What's his family like?" she doesn't ask to be nosy, she just wants to know. "Have you met them?"
I dry off a cutting board and stand next to her at the counter. "There's just him, his younger sister and his dad. His mum died, so did his older brother."
"Oh, boy," she's stirring the pan, trying not to show that just the mere mention of death has made her slightly emotional, "what happened?"
"I'm not sure," I answer honestly, putting the board away. "We don't really talk about that. I haven't told him too much about Lou either."
Mum sighs, letting go of the spatula. "There'll be a right place and time for that. It's not too easy, bringing stuff like that up. You were right when you told me he reminds you of Louis. He's got the same... air about him. I can't quite put my finger on it."
"I know," I put a hand on my mum's back, close to her shoulder blades, and lean my head against hers for a short moment. It's more close than we usually get, but it feels nice. "I think they would really have gotten along."
Dead silence in the kitchen, until she clears her throat and goes back to cooking, no more mentioning of Louis.
"Are you sure you two don't want to stay the night?" she asks after a while, "I've made your bed. It's not too big, and your dad told me to put a matress on the floor, but I've ensured him that there's no way for us to pretend you two aren't having sex, so that wouldn't be..."
"Mum.." if there's something I don't want to talk about with my mum, it's my sex life. I'd honestly rather have Bethany sexually harass us for an hour than talk about my sex life with my mother. "Don't."
"Well, I'm just saying I know you're a smart young lady who makes her own choices. As long as you're safe, because even if we're okay with it, your grandparents would have a heart attack if they found out you were having premarital sex. No babies, okay?"
If our relationship was any different, I could tell her that that isn't something to worry about. That I've made it very clear that there won't be any children any time soon, but when faced with the decision I did start to get doubts. That we aren't having any sex right now, because Lucien is bruised like a peach and it makes me feel like he's Bella Swan.
She wouldn't get that reference, though, and it would make me severely awkward to tell her that, so I just roll my eyes.
"Got the message. Thanks."
Mum has had Charles set the outside table with her nicest outside table cloth, poured some nice wine for the women and beers for the men, and dinner is almost ready.
She's even made my favourite dessert, which she doesn't even do for me when I visit, so she's really showing off because Lucien is here.
Dad has lit the little lanterns around the yard, and Phoebe has helped turn on the fairy lights across the porch. After dinner and dessert, we'll make a fire and roast some marshmallows, because that's what mum promised Phoebe, who can't stop raving about it.
Charles has plugged in his phone onto the wireless speaker and is playing some tunes, clicking next until my dad agrees with the choice of music.
We hear a car nearing the house, doors slamming shut and then footsteps nearing the house. I recognise Beth and Daniel's voices, sounding excited and happy. If I knew it was this easy to turn them from grumpy young adults into excitable people, I would have gifted them a ride in a fancy car way sooner.
Hopefully, the drive has cheered Lucien up a little bit, and he will be less tense during dinner. I'll try and steer the conversation away from topics I know he's uncomfortable about, and I've seated him next to me so I can be close to him.
The front door opens first, then closes soon after. It doesn't take long for the sliding doors to open and all three of them to come out into the yard.
"That was so fucking cool!" Beth exclaims, looking at me. "You really have the coolest boyfriend in the world, Emmie."
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