"I didn't know this dinner would come with a free speech." Matthew quips, and I'm pretty sure I hear Gabriel kicking him underneath the table. I'm certain it happens, because the whole table shakes.
"It's not so much a speech as an announcement." I chuckle. "Though I can't imagine it'll come to a shock to any of you. After all, it's been a couple of months."
"Oh, for God's sake, Lucien! Just spit it out!" Kenna exclaims before giving Emma an exasperated look. "I forgot how slow he can be sometimes."
If there was any nerves left, the laughter that follows lifts it entirely. "I much prefer to call it building suspense." I say with a wink. "But because you asked so nicely, I'll get to the point. I'm very delighted to tell you that, since April sixteenth, Emma and I have officially gotten back together."
I almost feel like I have to seek shelter with the eruption that happens; everybody starts shouting at once, the table shaking so much wine is about to spill over the rims of glasses.
"Since April?! We're well into June!"
"I knew it! I bloody knew it!"
"I can't believe you would keep that a secret from me!"
"It's that damn ring! I should've guessed it right then and there!"
I'm still standing, watching the ruckus play out in front of me with held back laughter. I have a hand on Emma's shoulder, who's also watching it go down while hiding her laugh in her glass of wine. Out of nowhere it's Gabriel who starts shushing us all in an aggressive manner.
"Yes!" Kenna agrees. "Tell us the whole story! You owe it to us after hiding it for two months!"
"No man, shut up!" Brie snaps, waving an impatient hand. Kenna looks offended, and I just raise my brows at him in question. "There's more. I can see it in those damned brown eyes of him. He's still keeping something from us."
Immediately, all eyes are back on me and Emma, but now they are filled with raging suspicion.
"Is there?" Tom asks.
"There might be." I smile. "Why don't you join me for this one, Emma?" Emma, for some reason blushing now, stands and I lay a loose arm around her waist.
"They're getting married." Kenna whispers. "I knew it. You owe me money, Brie."
"You weren't even in on the bet!"
"I was now that I'm winning. We'll discuss rates later."
"Guys!" Emma laughs, "Calm down, please. We are not getting married."
There's a look between Matthew and Tom, of all people, and then they chime in unison: "Pregnant."
Emma's pale blush becomes a fiery red as she exclaims a loud: "Oh God no!"
"Excuse me, if that's your stance on kids I don't think I'll let you near mine anymore." Kenna huffs. If you didn't know any better, you'd think this entire group had a bottle of wine each instead of a few sips.
"We're not pregnant." Emma ensures them. "And we're not getting married either."
"Well, then what? Kenna was right about Lucien, Em, but his slowness seems to be rubbing off on you." Brie sips his wine with a look that I know he calls his 'that's the tea'-look.
Emma looks up at me, and I shrug, again unable to hide my laugh. "Might as well just spit it out, right? We might find out how much money is riding on it."
"I'm honestly not sure if they deserve it anymore."
Like before, everybody starts talking at once, but this time it's protests of us even suggesting that we're going to keep this news from them. We patiently wait for it to die down.
"Are you all going to let me finish this time?" I ask. "Because we have a full dinner to serve and if you give me reason, I'm not saying a thing until you've lapped up the crumbs of dessert."
"You wouldn't." Kenna's eyes narrow.
"He would." Brie and Matthew both say.
"Emma wouldn't!"
"I would. Now shut up, Kenna, or I'm shutting you outside and tell everybody else but you."
Kenna's mouth falls open in mock offence, but she shuts up. In a weird moment of distraction I glance at the mini quiches on the table, long cold now. There's no room for them in the oven, because the salmon is cooking away in there, but maybe we can put them underneath. My attention snaps back to the table. "Anyway! Now that we've gotten it out of the way that we're not getting married, nor pregnant..." Emma, still with my arm around her, has placed her hand on my shoulder in a way that perfectly showcases her ring. "We're doing the only sensible thing with me constantly crossing all the big oceans: we're moving in together. I'm not done!" I say before everything goes to hell again. Emma takes over from me, beaming. "We've already found an apartment. More so, renovations are nearly finished and furniture will be starting to come in next week. It's far bigger, with a guest room so any of you are always welcome to come and stay over, and we'll host dinner parties far more often because we don't have to cram like this anymore." When she finishes, there's silence. It lasts for a few seconds, and my heart drops. They think it's a terrible idea.
"Are... are you done?" Matthew asks apprehensively. "Or is there more?"
"No." Emma replies a little confused. "That's all."
And just like that we fall back into the theme of everybody yelling over each other, while Emma and I just enjoy the spectacle.
"That's amazing!"
"I can't believe you would keep this a secret from me as well, but congratulations!"
"We need to go there as soon as possible! You can't move in unless I've approved it!"
"You?! You mean all of us!"
"Can you believe that Eschieve is the only one who guessed it?"
Eventually it all dies down, and Emma and I are still standing there with warm hearts because they all seem to be supporting it. Not a word is spoken about it being too soon, or it being a stupid idea, everybody looks genuinely excited for us. I pull Emma close, kissing her temple. After a few seconds, it's Tom who raises his glass in a toast.
"To Emma and Lucien."
Everybody chimes in, and Emma stands on her toes to press a kiss to my lips. "To us." She whispers.

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