598 - Emma
"Don't say that," my lip trembles and my voice cracks. I'm still standing up straight, something I'm surprised about, because my legs feel like they're about to cave in from how much they shake.
"Oh, now you're also telling me what I can and can't say? I really can't do anything right, now can I? I get mad at you like you want me to and even that isn't good enough for you?" Every inch of his body looks tense, and from the way he's clenching his hands I can tell he's doing his very best to not act out and throw something at a wall.
"I...," tears stream down my face by now, and somewhere in the back of my head, even that makes me feel guilty. I'm reminded of Callum, telling me that crying in an argument just showed him how manipulative I am. "You know I don't want that."
"Do I?" He's stopped pacing, hands leaned on one of our chairs. "How am I supposed to know that? I don't know what it is you want anymore, Emma!"
"Because..." my breathing is shallow, and I can almost feel my heart beat out of my chest. "Because I love you, Lucien. Because I can't lose you, too."
There was no use in fighting, because there really isn't much to fight about. We're both exhausted, and all I'm doing is taking all of my pent up frustration out on Lucien. The best thing to do for the both of us is to take our distance, for however long we need. Not because we can't stand to be around each other anymore, but because we'd like to enjoy each others' company again.
I've packed up my stuff and went to visit my parents.
Mum understands, because she understands everything. My assumptions were proven right when I find a book on her coffee table on dealing with grief, the same book she tried to read when Louis died.
She makes me tea and has me sit down on the couch, trying her very best not to look at me with pity in her eyes.
Dad even comes in from his smoke break and pats my head, mumbling something encouraging in his thick accent. Phoebe draws me a picture of a cat, then draws another cat and another one, so many I end up covered in paper with cats on them.
Beth cuddles up to me when she comes home from uni, and tells me all about her day and how her studies are going.
"It's all fairly normal," mum assures me. "This sort of grief would put a strain on every relationship. I think it's very wise you two are taking some time apart."
"I think it's a bit of a dick move," Daniel tells us as he walks into the livingroom, still dropping by the house almost daily to do his washing or to raid the fridge. Mum immediately glares at him, gesturing at Phoebe, who's drawing what looks like another cat at the table. "What? I'm right. She's really sad and he just lets her go?"
"She," I mumble, "is right here. And he didn't just let me go, I was the one who came up with the idea, and it's what's best for the both of us. We just need some space. It's not his fault I'm sad, he shouldn't have to solve it."
Four days go by. I spend every day and night with my parents, only driving into the city once for a therapy session. It's mostly me rambling, crying, complaining. About how unfair this is, that I can't believe this has happened, and that I hate how it has changed me.
My therapist tells me, just like everyone tries to tell me, that this is normal. That it's normal for couples to need time to grieve, and that Lucien is also grieving in his own way. That by taking care of me, he's working through his own feelings, and that I shouldn't pressure him into doing it my way. That talking is important, and that we should be more honest to one another.
She recommends certain ways to start conversation in a casual way, to make it seem like less of an intervention and more of a heart to heart. I disregard all of them, already very sure of how I should do this.
It feels weird, going back to our appartment after almost a week. I'm not sure if Lucien is going to be home, as I haven't told him when I'd come back.
We both agreed that we shouldn't pressure ourselves into setting a certain amount of days, but when I look for my keys in my bag, I start doubting my decision.
I know I am ready to see him again. There hasn't been a night he wasn't in my dreams, and though still very present, my feelings of guilt now seem a little easier to deal with.
I'm just not sure if he's ready, because we haven't talked. I haven't asked him how he's doing, or if he can deal with seeing me again.
There's only one way to find out, which is why I take a deep breath before unlocking the door.
I immediately hear the pitter patter of cat feet, running into the hallway in full speed, circling around my legs before I even fully step inside. I place my bags on the floor, one of them with Phoebe's drawings sticking out. The other bag jingles a little when I put it down, reminding me of what I'm supposed to do.
Talk to Lucien, share how we're feeling, what's going on in our heads. I take the little jar that my mum used for her home-made jar out of the bag, a good twenty pennies in it.
Following Frank comes Lucien. He's in one of my favourite outfits - a pair of black jeans and a white button-up shirt with the two top buttons undone, his hair a little wild just like his beard is.
"Hey," I smile, a little awkwardly, feeling like a guest in my own home. "I'm home."
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