574 - Emma
"God, I'm stiff as a board," I groan after we've closed the door. My shoulders were tense the entire time I was in the same room as Jacques du Castellon, and by now, my whole body feels like I've been through some kind of stress.
It's always like that around my father in law, but telling him I am pregnant with his first grandchild definitely didn't make the atmosphere any lighter.
Lucien is clearing the table intensely, almost as if he's trying to clear his mind at the same time.
He grumbles something that sounds like agreeance, though it could be something else entirely.
"Well, at least that's over and done with now," I try and lighten the mood, coming up behind Lucien and leaning my face into his back as he bends over slightly. "One grand-père down, one more to go."
After telling Jacques, telling my own father feels like less of a mountain to climb. Still quite a mountain, or a hill maybe, but definitely less scary. Especially with my mother in the know, to save us if something goes terribly wrong, I'm genuinely quite curious as to how the night will go.
Mum insisted on hosting the dinner, which is why we're down in my childhood home for the second time in a short time span.
My father sits on the backporch as we come in to the house, smoking a cigarette, looking out over his yard. Mum presses a kiss to my cheek, her hand quickly and sweetly resting on my stomach before turning to Lucien and embracing him, too. Phoebe is on the couch, watching a cartoon, and hardly even looks up when I go in to give her a kiss, her eyes looking tired.
It's probably good, that way we can tell my dad without her catching on immediately and blabbering to everyone else.
"Reginald, your daughter is here!" Mum is heard shouting from the kitchen window. I see my father get up after pressing his cigarette into the ashtray, then coming into the house.
"Emmeline," he presses the old familiar kiss on my cheek. "It's good to see you. Your mother mentioned you swung by the other day."
"We were in the neighbourhood," I lie immediately, as if he isn't going to find out exactly why we were here in just a little bit of time.
"Dinner's ready," mum wanders in with a tray in her hands, the smell of roast vegetables following swiftly. "Take a seat, you all."
I almost tell him five times. First when he asks me how I'm doing, then when he offers me a glass of wine, when he mentions how the neighbours just became grandparents, then when he goes out for a smoke after dinner, and lastly when we sit down for dessert and he disappointedly asks why my mother didn't put any liquor into it.
Sixth time is the charm, I hope, and I get ready to tell him after dessert, when the backdoor swings open.
"Sorry," Daniel barges in, his hair wild from the rain that's been falling outside. "Just here to pick up dad's drill."
"Dan," I breathe, "why don't you sit down for a second?"
"God, who died?" he chuckles, then hig face turns serious as he sits down. "Did someone die?"
"No one died," Lucien fills in for me, squeezing my hand under the table. Phoebe has been excused from the table, and is now watching more cartoons in the living room, her attention drawn away from the adults.
"Just some family time," I lie, still postponing actually telling my father, who's grown suspicious.
"Linie," my mother looks at me with a stern look, though she smiles. She doesn't speak the words, but her look tells me I shouldn't wait much longer.
"Actually," I clear my throat, my heart almost pounding out of my chest. "Quite the opposite, actually. I...," one last squeeze of Lucien's hand, and I've gathered the courage. "we're having a baby."
Dead silence that feels like it lasts for hours, though it can't be more than a few seconds. I stare at my father, his reply being the most important to me right now.
"Goodness," he mumbles, and I'm terrified of finding any anger in his voice. What I find in stead is more of a surprise to me as I watch his right hand raise up to his face, wiping away a tear I hadn't even spotted yet. "That's wonderful news, Linie."
Seeing my father tear up makes me tear up, too, and his left hand reaches for mine across the table.
"Really wonderful news," he repeats himself, hiding a voice crack with some kind of cough.
"Isn't it?" mum pitches in, and from the corner of my eye I can see her nudge Daniel, who's remained silent all this time.
"Congrats, Em," Daniel says, not sure if it is because he's actually happy for me or because he feels forced to say so, but at least he says it. "So cool."
"Well, Lucien," my father turns to Lucien, who's now got his hand on my leg. "I guess that means you're officially part of the family now, huh?" It sounds a little sarcastic, exactly the way I know my father.
"I guess so," Lucien nods, our eyes meeting for a second as he tries to figure out if this is good or bad. I just smile and shoot him a small nod.
When saying goodbye, my father hugs me tighter than I feel like he's ever done before, and he even hugs Lucien, though a little more distant than he did me. When I listen closely, I can even hear dad call him 'son' in an endearing way, causing my heart to flutter and tears to race to my eyes.
"Well," I sigh when we drive off, mum still waving from the window. "That was much less bad than I'd figured it would go."
Lucien is silent, but I can tell that in some way, this night was good for him, too.
"Now all there's left to do is tell the others. All we have to do is tell Tom first," Lucien raises an eyebrow. "Promised him that when he told me about their bet. He's managed to snake his way into the damn thing, and we're sharing the price money."
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