361. - Lucien
As expected, Gabriel sleeps through most of the day. Matthew helps me prepare dinner, but we keep it relatively simple. By the time everything is on the table Brie seems to have come back to the land of the living and he's even tried to dress up a little.
"Jam tarts." He moans in delight when he sees the platter full of them. "My favourite Christmas present."
Other than that, we don't exchange presents. We never really do, because none of us ever knows what to ask for and instead have a habit of just buying what we want when we realise we want it. But I love seeing Brie's expression when he tries the jam tarts.
"These are honestly reason enough to beg you to stay here." He says after the fourth one.
I chuckle. "I'll ship you some, how's that?"
"Ah, but then they won't be fresh!" He argues. "Come on, Luce! I know things didn't go exactly as planned, but I don't see why you can't stay a little longer. Eschieve doesn’t come home until after New Year's, right? So why not stay with us?"
If the events of yesterday had played out differently, I might have taken him up on this offer, because it's tempting. It's been a while since we've spend a good chunk of time together, but… "I really don't think I should stay in Edinburgh for longer than I have to."
I'm reminded of the text Emma sent me this afternoon. I haven't replied yet, because I'm not sure what to say yet. What does that mean, can we talk? Do I even want to find out?
"Just because Emma is here doesn't mean the entire city is off limits for you, Luce." Matthew says, a light frown on his forehead. "In the end, she has to move on, too. If you had stayed, she would have had to deal with it, too."
"Besides, she has moved o- ouch!" The kick Matthew delivered to Brie was hard enough to be heard and Brie's cheeks turn pink.
"What was that?"
"Nothing." Matthew quickly says. "The point is, it's not fair to ban yourself from the city just because you don't want to run into Emma, afraid it might hurt her. You have as much a right to here, especially because we are still here."
"It's not just that." I reply, but it doesn't sound convincing.
"I know it's Christmas, but I'm just going to be blunt here." Brie starts, his brow creasing in an uncharacteristic frown. "You two are going to have to learn to live with one another, because your lives are intertwined through me and Kenna. I'm not going to keep adapting just because you two can't stand to look at each other."
I don’t have anything to say to that. Not long after I excuse myself for a bathroom break, during which I finally send a reply.
My flight back is at 4 pm on the 27th. Free until then. Let me know when and where. L.
Emma isn't brought up again after dinner, which I'm more than happy for. I haven't told either of them of the appointment I have with Emma, set for tomorrow at 3 pm. They're just going to advice against it anyway, or worry about me to an unnecessary extend. Both of them are going to see family tomorrow: Brie is going to his parents, while Matthew is having his folks over. Gwen was supposed to come, but her flight got cancelled and now she's stuck in Australia. He wouldn’t admit it, but it's obvious Matthew is upset over it, and even if she had been able to come I wouldn't have said anything. There isn't anything to say anyway - I'm just meeting Emma.
Brie, still tired, falls asleep on the couch and by doing so announces bedtime. Matthew helps him to bed, leaving me in the living room by myself. I call Eschieve to wish her Merry Christmas, and I almost do tell her, but then I hear her friends on the background and I change my mind last minute.
I go to bed not much later and luckily, no dreams come to haunt me that night. The next morning I'm pretty sure both Gabriel and Matthew know something is up, so much so that Gabriel offers to take me to his parent's, but I decline, promising that I'm okay and that it's just weird to be back here after everything that's happened. They seem to buy that. Around eleven they both leave, but only after I promise Brie to call him if I need company. I tell him, once again, that I'm not made of paper and that I'm doing just fine.
I kill the time by playing some more video games, though it's hard to focus. This time last year, Emma and I just had our first kiss and were trying to figure out where we stood with one another. She brought me a pink elephant as a present, which lays buried in a box somewhere, destined to never be unpacked. Around 2.30, I dress myself against the depressingly grey and cold weather and head out, to a little coffee shop near Princess Street. I don’t think I've ever been before, surely not with Emma, but even the walk up to it brings back enough memories. I pass the Swarovski store where she told me not to buy her anything and I still did; the necklace still hangs around my neck, hidden beneath my scarf and the collar of my shirt. I took it off for a few weeks when I was in South-Africa, but it didn't feel right not to have it. So now it's back, a constant reminder of who I used to be and who I'm hoping to become again, and it lays heavy on my chest as I stand at the entrance of the shop, waiting for Emma to arrive
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