The break-up with Maddy is messy. I'm glad I did it at home, and not somewhere public, because that would have been a whole scene. It still is.
"How dare you!" She sobs, after having started to cry for the sixth time in two hours. She's finally at the doorstep though,which is progress considering she was just about glued to the kitchen floor twenty minutes ago. "I told you how hard this was for me! And then you just..." She's overcome with another sob. By this point, I've become quite insensitive to the whole ordeal. After that call in the restaurant with Emma, something snapped in me, though I couldn't tell you why. I just knew that I couldn't do this - so I flew back to make sure to end it as soon as possible. Finally, when I say nothing, she straightens herself and wipes the tears from her cheeks.
"It's all that girl's fault. Emma's." She spits out the name like it's poison. I clench my jaw, daring her to continue with my gaze. She doesn't seem fazed. "The way you looked at her in that photo? Disgusting. I can't believe you're throwing me away over that."
"Alright, that's quite enough." I glare at her. "This has nothing to do with Emma, and everything to do with the fact that we've kissed exactly once and you're acting like I'm breaking up a five year relationship."
"Bullshit!" She snaps. "You don't know what you're missing out on, Lucien. And you're going to regret the day that you chose her over me."
"Again, we've been dating for a month and we agreed to keep it non-discript." I pinch the bridge of my nose. "I can't believe I'm saying this yet another time, but here goes: Maddy, one way or another - you and I would not have worked out. I'm sure that underneath...." I make a vague gesture towards her. "all this is a lovely person, but I don't think you're quite ready for the dating world yet. Now, please just leave on your own accords because I feel little for calling the police."
"No, no, Lucien, please..." In a second, all the anger is gone and she lunges at me, clinging to my arm as new tears stream down her cheeks. "Please. I can do better. I think we'd make a great couple, I truly do, just give me a chance..."
It takes another fifteen minutes of persuasion before she's finally behind the gate. Still crying, still begging, but when I check the cameras when I'm back inside, I notice that it's all over the moment I'm out of sight. I groan, closing the laptop and letting my forehead rest on the table in front of me.
"Damn, you really picked a nutjob this time, didn't you?" Eschieve's voice says. I grunt something in agreement, not quite yet having the strength to face her. "Honest question that I'm sure Gabriel or Matthew has already asked you: why did you keep going back to her? She was clearly just out for..."
"Expensive dates and money, I know, I know." I sit up, rubbing the spot on my forehead. "I don't know, honestly. I was just... trying too hard, I think. Wanted it to work."
"Why?"
"I don't know, Es!" I snap, which I immediately regret.
"Oh, but you do. You've just been denying it for months." She walks to the fridge to pull out a cherry coke. I follow her, waiting for more to come, but she stays silent. So I make an exaggarated hand gesture, swooping my arm in front of me.
"Do enlighten me."
"You can figure it out on your own." She shrugs, the can hissing when she pulls the tab. "It's really not that hard of a riddle."
"Fine. Be like that." I rub my temples, a migraine luring at the surface. I'm flying back again tomorrow morning, because I have places to be at night, and since I flew in at four am I'm not running on a whole lot of energy. I need a drink, but since it's barely six pm, I tell myself no and settle for sprite. Eschieve disappears to... somewhere, leaving me alone with my thoughts, which make a rash decision. Digging up my phone, I press the little icon that sends a voice chat.
"Hey Em, I wanted to apologise for the weird end we had the other night. I'll tell you all about it when we meet up again. As of today it's quite the story and it paints me as an absolute idiot, so I bet you'll love to hear it. Anyway, I've got the weekend off so how about we get a drink somewhere on Saturday? Maybe that bar you once took me too, the one where I stood on a bar singing. We'll celebrate the single life, how about that? Let me know."
Eschieve, who apparently popped back in again, raises a neatly drawn eyebrow at me. "'Celebrating the single life'? Did she tell you about the engagement?"
"It slipped out." I mutter, pressing my still closed can of Sprite against my neck while my free hand rummages through a drawer full of medications, but I can't find the one I'm looking for. "She didn't tell me anything except that he was a dick and that she broke it off."
Eschieve, catching on, pushes my hand aside and easily finds what I need, popping two pills out of the packaging and handing them to me. "Is that why the first thing you did after what just happened was asking her out? Because now you don't have to worry about Maddy and you can shoot your shot?"
"What? No. We're friend." I take the glass of water she's filled for me, my vision starting to blur. I need to get to bed, or this migraine is going to incapacitate me for days.
"Oh, come on, Luce. This is me you're talking to. Just admit that you're not over her. That you are still in love with her." There's worry on her face as she watches me take the pills. "I mean, I get it. You were perfect for each other."
I can't find the strength to argue, because I fear that she might be right. The fact that my first thought after hearing about the cancellation of the engagement was maybe now I have a a shot, however brief, or how my heart nearly knocked itself out in delight that night in the kitchen. All the butterflies, the dreams, the memories...
"It doesn't matter, Es." I shake my head. "Even if I was, she's not in love with me. Admitting it, even to you, isn't going to do me any good."
"Oh my God, you are so stupid! Do you really not see it?!" She's yelling, which I realise maybe a second to late, but my brain seems to be lagging. "God, this must be how Gabriel felt the first time you two fell in love!"
"What are you talking about?" My voice is croaky now, and the worry in Eschieve's eyes has made place for desparation.
"She didn't call off the engagement just because Jesse is a dick! I mean, he is, but for fuck's sake! You wanna know what happened? What drove her over the edge? It was you, Lucien! Jesse gave her the choice to pick him or you, and with barely giving it a second thought she chose you!"
I can't formulate a response, my brain having thoroughly given up on me, so I just stupidly blink at her. Eschieve groans and grabs my hand to bring me to my bedroom. I'm not sure if it's the migraine or if I actually hear her muttering, but I could swear she mutters: "You two better realise something is up or I swear to God I'm just going to smush your faces together until you kiss."

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