I can feel it slipping through my fingers. Emma, the future that we were supposed to have - I can feel it being taken away from me with every step she takes towards the door. If she leaves now, she isn't coming back. I know that. If this had gone differently, I might have done what she said out of pure spite. Her words make me angry, because she still refuses to that Pip34 was never that for me, but they also rip through me like poison blades. She had been right all along. 
Maybe I deserve it. For what I put her through. For being so stupid. For refusing to see what she had figured out so long ago. It serves me right, honestly, for believing that I could have a friendship like that. There are some things in life that just aren't meant for me, and this is one of them. Maybe Emma wasn't meant for me either. Maybe this is all just a cruel reminder of faith that happiness isn't in the cards that were dealt to my name. Let me give you a taste, but don't get attached. We know what happens when you get attached. I could swear I hear the voice mocking me. Or perhaps I'm just going mad. 
I didn't expect her to come back. She did. Another taunt? Another taste? I'm scared to find out. The sight of her leaving pushed anger out of the way, making way for desperation and sorrow. I feel that I might crumble any second now - and should she leave, I fear I'll shatter in so many pieces there's no chance of me ever being whole again.
"Please." I whisper. My voice trembles. "I… I can't lose you, too." 
I flinch away from her cool fingers against my cheek; I hadn't expected them. I'm still expecting her to walk through the door without returning. Emma's hand freezes mid-air after my reaction, an expression of hurt crossing her face amidst all the fury that was on there just a minute ago. I squeeze my eyes shut, unable to think straight with her face so close to mine. Not that I could have a comprehensive thought anyway - countless strings of thoughts have been entangled with each other, a storm of emotions fighting each other to take the lead in whatever it is I'm feeling right now. Rage, sadness, desperation, betrayal, the list goes on and they all follow each other in such rapid succession there's barely space to breathe. 
I have to tell her. Emma has to know what happened, how right she was, but the thought and the pain that comes with it are so overwhelming I don't even know where to begin. But I know I have to. I have used every last bit of Emma's patience and no matter how broken I might look, if I don't offer anything she is still going to step through that door and leave me on my own. 
Maybe she should. The voice whispers. God knows you don't deserve forgiveness after what you've done. She deserves so much better.
I don't know how to shut it up. It just talks louder and louder. My breathing quickens, my heart hammers in my chest and my head starts spinning. A panic attack waiting to strike. I can't let it. Not yet. 
I blink my eyes open and Emma is still there. Not much more than a few seconds must have passed. On her face, most of the anger has now made place for concern - concern for me, for the tears on my cheeks, the obvious state of panic that I'm in. There's still no comprehensive words in my mind, still overcome with that whirlwind of emotions. The wall that went up when I was still at her place has long been knocked down, and I wish it would come back. It's a side of me that Emma hates, but at least I'd be able to explain. 
A wave of annoyance comes over me. What the fuck am I even doing? I can't permit to be falling apart. All of this is my own damn fault, isn't it? I shouldn't have gotten attached to Piper, should have known better from the start. Should have listened to Emma, should have seen all the signs myself. How dare I feel sorry for myself, if all of this is just the result of my own stupidity? 
The laugh, cold and bitter, bubbles up before I can even stop it. The irritation clears my mind just enough, pushes down all the other things because I don't deserve to be sad over something that's all my own doing. The laugh startles Emma - I can see it flash in her eyes, but it disappears just as quickly. "It was all a game." I whisper, my voice rasp. "A ruse, a plan." 
"What are you talking about?" Emma's brow furrows, and in half a second the fury has come back to her. "I swear to God, if this is some stupid fucking plan to distract me from some kind of surprise -"
"It's not." I interrupt with another, even colder laugh. "Or maybe it is. You ought to ask Callum."
"Callum?!" Her eyes flash rage once more. "This is not the time to be fucking with me, Lucien!" 
I shake my head, immediately recognising my mistake but my thoughts to blurry to find a way to correct it. "No! No, I'm sorry. Just… Piper, and Callum, and Jesse… They bribed her, and she… she…" 
The offer he made me was so tempting.
I didn't see how else I was going to make it.

Pain crashes over me again, washing any comprehensive thought away from me. My knees nearly buckle underneath me, that panic attack still looming in the corner of my eye. In the distance, my phone dings. It lays on the floor, screen cracked after I threw it to the ground, but apparently it still works. The sound feels like a lightbulb.
"Don't go." I breathe to Emma before half-sprinting to the living room to retrieve my phone. When I return, already looking for the recording, Emma is looking at me with a mix of emotions written all across her face. I barely dare looking at it. 
Hearing Piper's voice on the recording when I start it proves to be very nearly my undoing. I yank one of the chairs of the dining table backwards and sink down, head falling into my hands, and the phone clatters loudly on the wood. Emma stares at the thing, now clearly confused.
There's Piper, stating details. There's me. You tear my heart out, I scare you a little bit.
"What's.. what's this?" Emma whispers when recording-Lucien mentions Callum for the first time, eyes glued to the phone.
There are no words left in me, but there's no need for them. The recording, with me asking questions and Piper telling the story, says all. 
It feels like getting my heart ripped out all over again.

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