Foto bij 746 - Emma

I take the day off, cancelling all of the office hours I had, to calm both me and Lucien down a little now that Eschieve has showed up out of the blue.
It's not that I don't trust her when she tells us, multiple times, that she's really just here to surprise Lucien, but it will ease my mind knowing she's okay and looked after.
Of course, I don't tell her I've taken the day off, just pretend I had the day off to begin with, something she seems to buy - or at least, she pretends to.
We're up way before she is, with Lucien leaving for another day of classes and me taking Lance for a walk. No matter how hard we try not to talk about Eschieve's sudden appearance, every conversation we have in the hour between waking and Lucien's departure eventually leads to her.
"She probably just needs some attention and pampering," I assure Lucien as I nearly push him out of the door, the dog barking loudly as I do so. "Don't worry, we'll just have a girls day and whatever it is that's bothering her will be long forgotten upon your return. Now, go, or I'll get a reprimanding from my entire faculty when you show up late."
      When I come home, hands nearly frozen off from a long walk, about an hour has passed. I try to be as quiet as I can, letting Eschieve sleep in if that's what she needs. However, I quickly start noticing sounds that alert me to her presence, and sounds that worry me immediately.
From the bathroom, though faint, I swear I can hear the sound of puking. It's drowned out by the pitter pattering of water, but having grown up with plenty of siblings, you learn to notice the smallest of details.
With a small knock on the door I signal my return. "Eschieve, everything alright in there?"
Silence, then the flushing of a toilet. "Fine, fine. Give me a minute."
I take that minute to unleash Lance, and make myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen.
When Eschieve wanders in, dressed in jeans and a shirt, I can't help but scan her up and down. I already felt like she was hiding something from me yesterday, ever since we picked her up, and now that feeling only grows.
"Coffee?" I offer, gesturing over to the machine.
I swear I can almost visibly see her gag as a response, hidden by her shaking her head. "No, thank you."
"Eschieve, are you sure you're okay?" A question never to be asked any member of the du Castellon family, because it will possibly start a shit storm, but one I ask nonetheless.
"Why wouldn't I be?" she answers almost immediately.
"Because," I take a deep breath in as I stir some sugar into my coffee. "I heard you being sick just now."
"Just something I ate yesterday, I guess," she shrugs, "airplane food sucks, even in first class."
"You know you can tell me anything, right?" I try, seeing the girl in front of me roll her eyes as an answer. "Eschieve.."
"There's nothing to tell, Emma," she doesn't look at me as she says it, signaling to me that there definitely is something to tell me.
"I'm just worried about you, Eschieve. You show up out of the blue, looking tired and... something is off, and now you're throwing up. Are you... do you want to see someone about this? Has this been going on a while?"
In her own dark humor, she laughs. "Do you really think I have an eating disorder?"
"I...," I sigh. "Is that such a weird thing to think? I love you, Eschieve, and you're not you right now."
From the start of that sentence, I could swear I see her lip tremble for just a second, stopped by her going to bite it softly.
"You have to promise not to tell Lucien."
That simple sentence makes every single alarm bell ring, and my head buzzes immediately.
"That sounds like a conversation we should sit down for," I manage to say, letting my legs lead me to the couch. She sits opposite of me, her eyes avoiding mine at all cost. "Please, Eschieve, tell me."
"Promise me first."
"You know I can't, Eschieve," I feel desperate, almost. "But I can promise you that I can try to."
"I guess that's good enough," she sighs, folding her hands in her lap in multiple ways, all whilst staring down at them. "I'm pregnant."
Sitting down turns out to have been a great plan, because if I were standing right now, I'm sure I would have fainted.
A dark twist of fate brought me to this moment, and I wish this were a nightmare I could wake up from.
"You're pregnant," my voice sounds robotic when I finally manage to make it heard. "And I can't tell Lucien."
When I look up at her, she's crying. There's no sound, just the shivering of her entire body and tears on her cheeks.
"Because you want it gone," I conclude, my heart feeling like it's beating out of my chest. Thousands of thoughts, hundreds of feelings, they're all racing, but I can't comprehend a single one besides the hollow feeling deep down around my stomach.
"I can't have a baby, I just need you to help me..," she sounds just as desperate as I am right now. There's so many questions I should ask right now, so many things to say, but none come out.
I have to comfort her, tell her it's going to be okay, that I'll be by her side if she needs me to be. Ask her if she's sure, if she's okay, if she was pressured into this, into... A feeling of nausea takes over, mixed with pure and utter desperation and a hint of anger.
"I can't..." I manage to breathe, my vision cloudy.
"Please, Emma, I know it's a lot to ask, but I..."
"No, Eschieve, you don't know. I can't keep this from Lucien, and I can't do this on my own, I can't do this without him. I support you whatever decision it is you make, but I can't help you and keep this a secret from Lucien when only a year ago, I was pregnant myself," my sentence is just a stream of conciousness, a puddle of words that seems to have no ending. "and we lost our baby. I can't... I love you, but I can't."

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