493. - Lucien
She doesn't push when I don't offer an immediate answer. Instead she draws figures on my bare chest with her pastel blue-lacquered nails, patiently waiting until my head stops spinning. Even though the phone call was just with me, Ezio jumped the both of us. We went from the promise of tea and a lighthearted movie to a heavy call with the man that outed me for all the world to see.
After she's covered my chest nearly twice, I let a long sigh as my head falls back against her shoulder. She still says nothing, simply threads her fingers through my hair and gently massages my scalp.
"It was a lot of rambling." I say eventually, my mouth barely a centimetre above the water line. "He sounded drunk."
"What did he say?" Emma's voice is kind, which is a welcome change after listening to Ezio's frantic one for an hour and a half.
"He talked about New Zealand a lot. About what it had meant to him. Then he went on how he never felt about someone like he did about me, but that he wasn't sure that it was because I was the first, or because I was really that special. But eventually, it all boiled down to the fact that he was jealous."
"Jealous?" Emma sounds as surprised as I felt, and I let out a low chuckle.
"Jealous. Of my seemingly perfect life, of my relationship with you. Apparently when he came out to his parents, it didn't go over well. Strict Catholic Italian family... He was shunned. He lost everything; his family, his money, basically his entire future. With the help of friends he got back to his feet, but never quite to the level he used to be."
"Forgive me for asking, but was 'what he used to be' rich like your family?"
Another chuckle escapes me, and I relax a little more into her. I'm running my fingers up and down her calves, the oils she put in the water making her skin even softer than usual. "Not quite as rich as the Du Castellon-family, but they had plenty to go around, yes. Which is why it was all the more shock to lose everything at once. Apparently, through the years, he kept tabs on me. Never contacted me, but with my life becoming more and more public it wasn't hard to follow what I was doing. Instead of feeling happy for me, he felt... resentment. That I still had everything he used to, and more so." Lifting one hand out of the water, I rub my eyes. "It was all very vague and repetitive, but he just didn't think it was fair. He started blaming me for it all, because if I had never confessed my feelings to him he wouldn't be in this mess. So he wanted payback."
Even with my back to her, I can almost hear Emma wrinkle her nose in disapproval. "That is ridiculous!"
"You don't have to tell me! I did tell him the same thing, and apparently he knows, too. Him telling everything to the teaspill-channel was just 'a moment of weakness'." Emma snorts her objection to that, making me laugh. Despite the hot water I feel her muscles tensing up as she starts getting agitated. "I know, I know, also ridiculous. Told him that, too. Said he regretted telling the channel the moment he hung up the phone, but they wouldn't listen when he tried retracting the story. I don't believe that for a second, but alas."
"So, let me get this straight." As she speaks, I let my head fall back far enough so I can look at her. She doesn't look back, instead glaring at the far bathroom wall like Ezio is standing right there. "He blamed you for him developing homosexual feelings, and then blamed you for having a somewhat healthy life - which we both know isn't even true - and his way of dealing with that is exposing you in the hopes the same faith would befall you? And he's trying to cover it all up under 'a moment of weakness'?"
"That's the gist of it, yes."
"I'm going to kill him! What an absolute wanker, to think that this... that you... I can't believe it! Why are you laughing?"
"Because you're adorable when you get worked up on my behalf. And I love it when you do that." Despite her cheeks already being rosy from the hot water we're in, I'm pretty sure they turn a deeper shade when I say that. Still chuckling I lean up just far enough to kiss her jaw, my hands finding hers in the water.
"What did you say to him?" She asks.
"Well... I told him he's a dick. That he's wrong. And that even if he had been right and I was the reason he lost it all, he still had no right to out me like he did. Which he agreed to, but he showed little regret. Like I said... I'm pretty sure he was drunk. And that that was the only reason he called me at all. But it's not like an apology from him was going to change anything. We've both seen the posts, half the world is still convinced I'm gay and that you are just a cover-up."
"Ah yes, the infamous 'beard'-phenomenon." Emma smirks, but I only groan.
"I loathe that term. But yes, that. There's so much rumours going around, I get bombarded with questions in all the comment sections available. Brie and Matthew are getting the same, and people get mad when we don't give the response they want. It's not the end of the world, but it's just so unnecessarily messy."
"Oh, that's right! Did you know that Gabriel is a part of our relationship? Apparently we're poly-amorous now. I know he's your best friend and all, but that goes a little far too me."
I let out a snort, thankful for her attempt to lighten the mood again. I turn around in the bath, water sloshing over the edges; Emma looks down on me with a grin while simultaneously biting down on her bottom lip, which might be one of my favourite expressions from her. "Miss Middleton, I can assure you that I've never done a thing with Gabriel Sauvageau, and I sure as hell hope that you haven't either."
She laughs, tipping my chin up with a single finger. Her lips are soft and wet when she kisses me. "You are the only one for me, Mr du Castellon. Because even if I'm just a cover-up, you're doing a thorough job to make it convincing."
I catch her bottom lip between my teeth when she kisses me again, eliciting a soft moan from her. "Oh, I'm very convincing indeed..."
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