546 - Emma
As Eschieve barges in through the door, her energy is different than it is most days. Lucien was right when he told me today is a special, yet emotional day for her, and it's visible in her every move.
Her hair is still a little wet, and she's wearing a big jumper and sweatpants. "God, it's freezing out," she complains, throwing her bag on the floor. Eschieve is never really one to complain, so this stands out even more, and if I didn't know about what today means to her, I'd worry.
"How was practice?" Lucien asks, probably just seeing exactly what mood she's in.
"Horrible," she groans, "our usual coach called in sick, so this other pute was there, and she just... got under my skin. I need to take a shower."
The Eschieve I see here is the same one I met when she ran away from home, and suddenly her behaviour way back when makes way more sense.
She wanders off, leaving Lucien and I behind. It makes way for Lucien to return to his work, and for me to grade even more essays. We sit there in silence, the only sound being the music he quickly turns on.
"Eschieve?" I'm still in my casual outfit, knocking on her bedroom door. I haven't been in here much, maybe once or twice, and always for just a few seconds to ask her something.
"Come in," her voice sounds soft, and almost hestitant, but I still open the door. She's sat at her desk which doubles as a vanity, staring at herself in the mirror, not turning around to face me. Her eyes look red, and her hair is damp, the towel used to dry it now around her shoulders.
"I came to see if you needed anything," I stand still in the doorway, not sure if 'come in' actually meant 'come in' or just 'open the door'.
"It's just a weird day," she mumbles, as if she's trying to reassure me. She still doesn't turn around, seemingly uncomfortable facing me like this.
"Oh, it is," I smile, closing the door behind me and leaning against it. "We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but we can if that's something you'd like."
"We don't really," I watch her movements in the mirror as she wipes some tears away from her face. "Talk about these things."
"Yeah, your family doesn't seem to be big on emotions," I try and lighten the mood a little, and I'd swear I see her smile lightly. "Luckily, I'm here. I'm all ears."
She turns around, her eyes puffy and watery. "I just really miss him, you know?"
"Oh, I know," I make my way over to her, sitting down on the edge of her bed, only a few steps away from the little stool she's on. "Days like these are the hardest, because you can't forget. Other days, you can avoid the subject, or at least you can try to. But it's almost as if on days like these, everything hits you just a little harder."
She sniffles, her hand moving up to her face again, wiping a tear away. "I remember people saying how much we look alike," she says, "and now I can't look in the mirror without seeing him, too."
"I'm sure he'd be proud of you, Eschieve," I reach for her hand, and she reaches back for mine. "You're such a badass young woman. Smart, athletic, funny, kind.. I know I never met him, but if he's anything like you or Lucien, I'm sure he's looking down right now and smiling."
She squeezes her lips together, possibly to stop herself from crying, and our eyes meet. "You think so?"
"Oh, I'm one hundred percent sure," I tell her, giving her hand a tight squeeze. "I know I don't say it often, but I'm very proud of you. I know life hasn't been too kind on you, but you keep on taking everything it throws at you and turning it into something positive."
She cries again, quiet but physical sobs. It's almost as if her body has been trained not to show she's sad, holding back every possible sound she could make.
"Can I hug you?" she asks quietly, making me smile.
"Oh, my love, of course you can," I pull her onto my lap like I've done with Beth so many times before.
After our emotional conversation, Eschieve dries her eyes. "Oh, boy," she smiles, looking at the clock on the wall, "I should get ready."
I look at the clock too, seeing it's only four thirty. Reservations aren't until seven, so it surprises me a little.
"It's my brother's birthday," she answers my confused face, "besides, the restaurant is a fourty-five minute drive, so we should actually hurry. What do you think, should I wear my hair up or down?" It's almost as if she wasn't just crying, and I smile at how efficiently she walks over to her wardrobe.
"I'm thinking about wearing this," she holds out a beautiful dress, "so I was thinking down, but with a braid incorporated into it in some way. I'll just watch a tutorial or something, because I'm shit at braiding."
"Show me what you want," I smile, "I can braid. I have two younger sisters, I've braided more hair than I'm willing to admit."
She smiles widely. "God, I'm so glad I finally have a sister now. Or well, a sister in law, but it's the same thing, really. Lucien can't braid for shit, and he always refuses to do facemasks with me."
"I'm glad to have you as my sister, too," I tell her. "Now, dress first or hair first?"
"Hair first," she chuckles, "in case you mess it up. Can't fix that last minute. What?" she yelps when I give her an angry look, ruining it by smiling. "We're sisters now, I'm supposed to be a little mean to you from time to time, right?"
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