426 - Emma
I try not to worry about Lucien, realising very well where he currently must be as I read the note he carefully left for me. I found it as I woke up, stretching my arms and reaching for Lucien to hold, and was quite disappointed when I only felt a piece of paper where his curly locks were supposed to be.
I try not to think about the conversation they must be having, one that can't possibly be pleasant. Seeing all of the built up anger, rage maybe even, in Lucien's system - it has to come out at one point, and yesterday's altercation must have been the last straw.
A knock on the door brings me back into reality as I'm staring into the mirror, the mascara wand up in the air yet not touching its target. "Yes?"
As the door opens, I'm greeted by Eschieve. "Morning..." In her hands she holds two glasses, filled to the brim with a light brown concoction. "Coffee?"
From the sound the glasses make as she walks, I raise an eyebrow. "Iced?"
She nods, smiling. "Thought that'd be nice."
"You know the way to my heart," I take one of the glasses from her and gesture for her to sit down just like I've done.
"I don't know how long they'll be," it seems as if she's read my mind, my thoughts already wandering as I use the metal straw to stir the ice cubes around in my glass. "Knowing father, it could either be a few minutes, or hours."
She must be able to tell I worry, because she shoots me a smile. "Want me to curl your hair?"
The sudden offer makes me chuckle, but I nod. "Sure, why not?"
"Give me a minute," she smiles, "let me get my stuff."
She's carefully twisting locks of my hair around the iron, her tongue nearly sticking out of her mouth by how focussed she is.
"You know," she finally speaks after looking at a dangly curl released from the iron, "I've always wanted a sister. Big, little, I didn't mind."
"Yet all you had were brothers," I watch her expression as she nods.
"I just dreamt of a sister to do... well, things like these with, you know? Talk about boys," she curls another strand of hair, "do each other's hair and nails, borrow clothes out of her closet."
I realise it must not have been easy for Eschieve, growing up in a male-dominated household. With her mother slowly disappearing from her life, she was always surrounded by men.
"What's your relationship with your siblings like?" she asks me. "You have quite a few, right?"
"Five. Well," I backtrack on my statement, then shake my head. "Yes, five. One of whom is Louis, who's unfortunately passed away."
"I remember Lucien mentioning something like that," she mumbles. "He was older, yes?"
"The oldest out of all of us," I smile, picking up my phone and pulling up a picture. It's me, Charles and Louis, the picture taken at the beach in Bamburgh, Charlie and I in our full emo phases. "He's the one on the right. On the left is Charles. Then..." I scroll through my photos until I find one of me and Daniel, taken around Christmas time last year. "This is Daniel, my younger brother. He's just turned twenty-two, total sweetheart. And then," more scrolling. "Beth and Phoebe. Beth you know, and Phoebe is the baby of the family. She's.. mum hates when I use the word 'disabled', but she had some complications during birth, so she's seventeen but functions and acts like a four year old, probably."
"And your parents?"
More scrolling, until I find a picture of me and my mother, taken only weeks ago. "Nancy, my mum. She's lovely. Great cook, always caring about those around her. She's a mum full time, especially with Phoebe still at home."
I realise the subject of a mother might be a sensitive subject, but when I look at Eschieve, she just smiles.
"And my dad.. Reginald. I don't think I have pictures of him on here, he's not really the photo type. But he's... well, he's always taken care of us. Works hard, doesn't talk much."
Eschieve's still touching up my hair. "It sounds lovely... having a family like that."
"It's... well, yes, it's lovely. But, hey," I reach my hand out to hers, squeezing it softly. "You have a family like that. They might not all be related by blood, but you have an entire support system behind you, remember? Luce, Brie, Matthew, me... And I'm sure my mum would love another girl around the house, so next time you're in Scotland, I'm taking you to have dinner with my parents, okay?"
She smiles and I see a sparkle of tears in her eyes as she nods.
"Speaking of which," I chuckle. "I definitely have to call my brother. He... well, he must've heard about me being in France from Beth by now, and if I don't call him soon, he might fly out to beat my ass."
Eschieve raises an eyebrow.
"He loved Lucien, but when we broke up... well, he took it worse than I did, maybe. So knowing I'm back here might have raised some questions, and I can no longer ignore that."
She nods, picking up both of our glasses. "I'll leave you to that, then."
"So the rumours are true?" He's picked up the phone, and I see him leaned onto the bar on his elbows. Selene is in the background, organising bottles. "Are you two back together?"
"Are you going to yell at me if I tell you we are?" I ask him, trying to figure out what headspace he's in.
"Would that have any effect on you?" he fires back, his voice not quite angry but also not too excited.
"Probably not," I shrug. "But I'd hate for you to be mad."
"I'm not mad, Emmie, I'm not... It's just..." He rubs his eyes. "After what he did to you, I thought you'd think twice about just running back into his arms like this."
"Believe me, I did think twice, and there was no running back into any arms. It was just... well, we love each other."
He scratches his neck, looking back at Selene for a second before turning to me. "I'm happy for you, Em, I really am. I just worry for you, because.. well, we now know what he's capable of. You broke up over a life decision you guys couldn't agree on - you know that's all the future will hold, right? Big life decisions? Are you just going to fly back and forth between Scotland and France forever, or are you giving up everything to move there? Because he sure as hell isn't coming back, we both know that. And now that sounds fine, but what about five years from now? When you want to settle down, get married, have kids.. What then?"
"You seem awfully sure we won't be able to work that out, Charlie," I sigh. "Who says we're even having kids? Who says we won't find a perfect compromise? I can't sit around and be pessimistic, because that isn't going to make things any better. I might not know what the future will bring, but I know I want to spend it with Lucien, and I know we're both going to try our best to make that work."
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