600 - Emma
"I'm scared," I admit. I take one of the pennies out, turning it around in between my fingers. Just from shooting a quick glance at him, I know that this isn't enough. "That this is what I am like now, that this is how we will be. Because I know you love me," I swallow hard, placing the cold penny down on the table. "And I'm afraid that might drive you to resent me. I can't promise that it'll all go back to normal any time soon. I can't even promise that it ever will. I'm willing to give it my all to try and work through this, because I don't want to be this person. I want to let you hold me, I want to hear you call me 'love' again, I want to make love to you when the time is right.
I... when I went to go visit my parents, I was reminded of how my mother was when Louis died. She lost her child, a child that she loved for almost thirty years. And she never showed how much it affected her. She got out of bed every morning, she'd get dressed, feed her children, made sure they were okay. Not once did she break, her facade never cracked. And I blamed myself for not being able to do that. For myself, but for you, too."
I take a deep breath, my fingers finding the penny again. The smell of herbal tea adds to whatever kind of atmosphere is hanging around the room right now, and I finally bring myself to actually look at Lucien.
It would hurt me too much to try and figure out what the look on his face tries to tell me, knowing I wouldn't get it right either way. Still, I look at him. He's not looking back at me, which gives me time to take him in.
Though tired and obviously hurt one way or the other, he looks beautiful. He's still, after all this time and after all that happened, the man I fell in love with, and the one I want to grow old with. The one I, at one point, when the grief has settled and we're both ready to try again, want to father my children.
"I talked to mum about it one night. She told me that... she was severely depressed, too. She was just heavily medicated, and dad would take Phoebe out once a week so mum could go to therapy. She couldn't look at Daniel without wanting to cry, seeing Louis in him every time. She just never told us about it, because she was too proud. It wasn't a thing we ever spoke about, we just pretended grief wasn't there. And it made me realise that I've been blaming myself for this... this grief, this sadness, when I shouldn't. There's no one to blame, I can only blame myself for the way I've been handling things. And that I do, because everyone deals with grief in their own way, but I completely disregarded you and lost myself in this sadness over the role of a mother that I lost, when I should've realised that there was other roles that I still should fulfill, that I want to fulfill. I should have realised that you lost a role too, one that you'd just gotten settled into. We should have grieved together, we still should. We should talk, open up to each other. But I also know..."
I tip the penny on its side, rolling it back and forth, trying not to lay it flat on its side. The sound adds another sound to the room, besides my talking and Frank's purring. He's on the chair next to me, seemingly happy I have returned home.
I'm not sure how Lucien feels about me being back. I don't want to think about it too much, because it would be the perfect reason for me to go back to the angry, isolated Emma he knew before I left. And like I told him, in all honesty, I don't want to be her anymore. It's up to him whether or not he wants to believe that, but most of the pressure is on me. I have to work, to try hard, not to be her. I have to continue seeing my therapist, doing the homework she's given me, I have to grieve.
I twist my rings around, no longer tight around my swollen finger, letting the dim light catch the stones whenever they face up. They remind me of happier times. Of a time when things still were far from simple, but when we were sure we were going to be okay. Now, the future seems like a scary subject again.
Though I am sure I want my future to be with Lucien and Lucien alone, I can't tell anything from his face, and the way he exploded only days ago makes me feel like his feelings for me may have been clouded.
I hate to see him like this, trying to hide the hurt that is pestering him, pretending to be okay for my sake, for everyone's sake but his own. I no longer feel the heavy rocks of guilt in the bottom of my stomach, weighing me down, but it still does hurt.
"I realise that you also have to want that. I can't pressure you into anything, because it wouldn't be good for either of us, and I don't want to make you feel like I did ever again. Like... like whatever you do isn't good enough. Because it is. There's no one that I love as much as I love you, and I mean that. There's nothing I wouldn't do to fix this, because I don't think I could stand to lose you."
I roll the penny over to him, watching it cross the distance between us. "That was the amount of thoughts a penny buys you," I smile weakly. "Maybe you could tell me yours."
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