529. - Lucien
I convinced him. I don't know why. I wish I could take it back. Wish we could've just gone inside and joined the rest. I would've helped Emma with dinner, or maybe played a game of cards with Tom and Eschieve. But I insisted.
It doesn't mean anything. He said, to start of with. That should have been my second clue. Still I insisted.
"I think it's just my brain trying to cope." He said in French, having gone from looking grim to looking sickly. "I swear, Luce, it doesn't mean a thing."
"What doesn't mean a thing?" I was on edge by now, no longer trusting a word out of his mouth. Immediately my mind had gone to Beth or Eschieve, that he'd kissed one of them or made a move on them. My brain decided to add fuel to the fire by reminding me of Eschieve's blowjob story, only she now sat on her knees for my best friend.
"Promise you won't get mad." He whispered, but I couldn't promise anything like that. Not when he'd asked me not to, not with that image on the back of my eyes - be it true or not. He now looked positively desperate, realising that he'd crossed the point of no return. He had to return me, no matter how much he didn't want to.
The words ring clear in my head still, entangled in a confusing web of emotions that I don't think I'll ever be able to make sense of. The conversation at the dining table goes right past me, with Gabriel making animated small talk that I suspect only Kenna might notice is faked, as if he didn't just throw a wrench in our years-long friendship.
"I know this is going to sound way bigger than it is." He'd pleaded, before he had even said anything at all. The image of him and my sister grew clearer and clearer, setting my blood aflame before I'd even heard him speak the words. "And I'm not -"
"Just tell me, Gabriel!" I snapped, my temper slipping. He was looking pale now, and I should feel guilty, but in that moment I couldn't bring it up.
"I'm... I think I might..." He swallowed hard, shaking his head like he couldn't believe himself what he was going to say. "I think I might be falling for Emma."
Does Matthew know? How long has this been going on? While he throws me glances every now and then, like he wants to tell me something, I don't think he's aware of his ex-boyfriend's feelings regarding my girlfriend. I'm not sure if I want him to know or not. Emma doesn't know yet. It wasn't really a 'tell you in the last seconds before six others come into the room' kind of thing, but I know she knows something is off. The others, besides Gabriel, are blissfully unaware, it's only Emma that has come to know my face well enough to pick up on the anger still lingering just below my skin.
"I told you, it doesn't mean anything! There's just... a couple of things that happened, and I think my mind is just trying to make up for the fact Matthew is no longer my boyfriend!" His voice was so urgent, like he was trying to make this to truth for both me and himself.
I said nothing, overwhelmed. In a way, the feeling reminded me of when I heard the news of my brother dying. Reasonable parts of me feeling one way - knowing I should be sad that Aleran died, knowing that this just Gabriel's way of dealing with the grief. Then other parts feeling a different way - relief that Aleran was finally out of my life and anger that I never got to tell him how I felt; anger regarding Gabriel that he dares falling in love with the love of my life, that he dare even think about it.
"I would never act on it. Even if by some godforsaken faith you two would break up - I know you won't!" He interjected himself, as a response to the death glare I was giving him. "I just would never, Lucien, I swear to God. It's going to pass, I know it will! I just - I just figured you had to know."
A bold faced lie. If I hadn't pressured him, he would never have told me. Every time I blinked, I now saw him and Emma together. The two of them in our apartment in Edinburgh, carefully crafted to fit us both perfectly. Him teaching her the piano. Sleeping in our bed, tangled together with the letterboard at Emma's nightstand announcing the days unwed.
He does an expert job of avoiding my eye during dinner. When we finish, he volunteers to do the dishes, for which Beth joins him.
"I need some air." I whisper. "I'm not feeling the best." Five pairs of worried eyes gaze at me, and for the first time I feel that Eschieve might be picking up on more as well, though she doesn't ask. I quickly shake my head. "Happens sometimes when I settle after travelling a lot, I'll be fine."
"I'll join you." Emma offers with a bright smile, playing her part of 'nothing being wrong' perfectly. She needs to know. But how am I going to tell her?
"Please say something." He begged, the silence having dragged out. What was I supposed to say? It's okay? I don't want to see you anymore? I need some time even though we sleep in the same house?
My chest felt tight, my throat constricted. "You can't." I finally said, and Brie shook his head feverishly.
"I know, I know! I told you, I'm not -"
"No, I mean you can't!" I interrupt, his mouth closing with a snap. "I can't... How am I supposed to deal with you being in love with the love of my life?! With the woman I'm going to marry?!" I'm shouting now, Gabriel cowering away. I shouldn't shout, he's not doing it on purpose. But I can't help myself. "It's not just fuzzy feelings and smiles, Gabriel, you know that! How am I supposed to live knowing what unholy thoughts might cross your mind, unintentional or not?! How am I even supposed to look at you?!"
Emma tries holding my hand, but gives up when I don't reciprocate. Now that we're out of the house, it's harder to hide that tangle of emotions. She tries not to, but I can feel Emma's worried eyes on me still. I'm not sure how far away from the house we are when she finally stops me, grabbing my forearm.
"Lucien." She urges, and the concern in her tone is a dagger through my heart. "What's wrong?"
My laugh is cold and harsh as I shake my head. "Turns out I'm not the only one in love with you. Apparently, Gabriel is too."
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