Foto bij 489. - Lucien

Going over the video as I edit it, every sentence coming out of my mouth feels wrong - even if it felt perfectly right when saying it. It feels preachy, and self-righteous, and even degrading in some way. More than once I have my cursor hovering over the 'delete all' button, only to back out at the last moment and get back to editing. Muse is blasting through my headphones in a feeble attempt to shut out the outside world. Emma is keeping herself busy with household chores, leaving me to it. Frank is nestled up besides me, purring so loud I can feel it vibrating against my leg. It almost seems like he knows something is up, by the way he's refusing to leave despite not getting a sliver of attention.
I have my phone on 'do not disturb' but every now and again, a ringtone comes piercing through. Gabriel's, Eschieve's, Matthew's, and even Beth's. I don't pick up. Until finally, at ten o'clock sharp, Eailyn calls. In the same second, I pause my music, shove aside my laptop and Emma turns off the vacuum cleaner. 'Guest room', I mouth to her and as she nods I pick up.
"Tell me, Lucien, were you planning on giving me a day off soon?" She greets me. It doesn't sound malicious, but she does sound tired.
"I had exactly nothing to do with this." I reply, closing the door behind me and then going straight to open the window. "I know it's messy."
"Well, it's nothing we can't fix. Good on you for not posting anything yet, we need to go about it carefully." On the background, I can hear her fingers ticking away on her keyboard.
"Emma and I recorded a video this morning, explaining the whole thing. I've been editing it, but I don't think I'm the right person to judge if it's any good. So far I hate it."
"Lucien, it's ten in the morning. How have you already recorded a video and started editing it?"
"It's been a rough night. I'll send it to you first when I've finished, okay? I already planned on having Gabriel check it."
"Yes, please do so. I might suggest holding off on the video for a while and posting something on Instagram first, because getting a video out so soon might make it look like a PR-stunt even more." She rambles on for a while with more suggestions and solutions, ways we'll handle this, but soon enough she picks up on the fact that I've mostly stopped listening. "Alright, Lucien, listen. The fact that you two filmed is amazing. Send the files to me and I'll get them to an editor, because it doesn't sound you nor Emma is in the right place to do it. I'll send it back to you once it's done, so you and others can run it over if it's to your liking. See if you can post a story on Instagram today, debunking the story briefly and saying that you are working on a more thorough explanation. Go about your normal life otherwise, but don't respond to any press or fans if you're approached."
"Okay. I can do that."
"I'm sure Emma has already told you this, going on what I've heard about her so far, but this isn't a big a problem as it seems. You've always had people disliking you, and they're the ones who're gonna jump on this. The excitement will wear off, especially if we approach this in a mature way. You'll be just fine."
      Emma is still vacuuming when I get out of the guestroom, though she turns it off when she sees me approach. "How'd it go?"
"Mhm." She lets me wrap my arms around her and rest my chin on top of her head. "Same thing you said, really. 'It's not as big a thing as it seems, we'll work it out...' And like you were, she is right."
"You've got clever women in your life." She teases, making me roll my eyes with a smile.
"I do. But I want to spend the day with my favourite one, so after I send Eailyn the video files I want to -" My sentence gets interrupted by the doorbell. I look down on Emma, but she shrugs. Frank, who loves visitors but hates the doorbell, zips past out legs into the guest room, where he's probably hiding underneath the bed until he realises there's more people in the apartment.
My phone announces another call from Eschieve as I head towards the door, reminding me that if I'm going to call anyone today it's her. I stop halfway the hallway to text her I'll call her back in a moment when I hear a faint voice through the door.
"Lucien, tu ferais mieux de t'ouvrir! Nous savons que vous êtes chez vous!" It's unmistakably Gabriel, and when I open the door I see Matthew has tagged along. They barely give me a second to process it, barrelling in past me.
"I cannot believe they would say such vile things about you!" Brie fumes, heading straight towards the kitchen. "Really, if I ever get my hands on that Ezio-man, I'm gonna... Well, actually I don't know what I'm going to do, but it's not going to be pretty!"
Matthew, calmer, watches his boyfriend with a grin. "We couldn't get a hold of you, so we decided we'd just swing by. Figured you'd welcome the distraction."
"We brought snacks!" Brie calls from the kitchen. "And alcohol!"
"It's eleven in the morning!" Emma calls from somewhere, and the tight feeling in my chest lifts a little bit. Matthew pats me on the back, reading my mind.
"We're on your side, man. Don't worry."
Together with Brie I craft a message to post on Instagram, containing everything Eailyn suggested. He goes over the raw footage of the video we filmed, saying that it has a wonderful message and that it's great as a first response - I tell him most credit goes to Emma, because my brain hasn't worked right since I first saw the teaspill-video. He does suggest to make another video a few days down the road with my side of the story, but only if I'm comfortable with it. Then he announces it's time for happier things, meaning him spoiling the hell out of Frank. Emma wraps her arms around my waist as we watch it go down.
"How are you feeling?"
"Better." I say honestly, smiling. "Even if this whole thing was to destroy me and my reputation, I would be just fine. I've got you. I've got them. I've got Eschieve and Kenna." I kiss her temple. "I've got my family and that's all I need."

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