Classes are… tedious. Boring professors that don't understand the concept of short and quick, and an introductory class for an internship in the last quarter -  followed by a visit to the dean because I don't feel much for doing an internship when I've basically run a law firm, but he couldn't give me a conclusive answer. To top it all off, I ran into Piper, who was kindly introduced to me by a friend of hers that clearly didn't know of our history, and I had to pretend I didn't want to grab the dagger she stabbed me with and return the favour. I'm more than ready to go back home. When I call Emma to give her a heads-up of my return, she doesn't pick up. Eschieve doesn't either. Maybe they're out walking Lancelot, or any other kind of activity that fits into the 'girl's day' Emma was talking about.
      I'm greeted by two pets as I step inside, calling out for the girls. No answer comes. Figuring they're not home, I head directly into the kitchen to make myself tea. My ears, much like Lancelot's, perk up when I hear a stumble from the guest room and then a door slam, and my heart just about jumps out of my chest when I suddenly hear Emma's voice next to me. 
"Didn't hear you coming home." 
Still clutching my chest to ensure my heart doesn't actually escape, I stare at her in the doorway. She doesn't look back at me, instead gazes at the door of the guest room. Guess they're both home. 
"Just a minute ago." I say apprehensively, noticing her wet lashes and her even-paler-than-usual complexion. "Is everything okay?"
She tries not to. I can see it in the way she clenches her jaw, how she balls her fists and how her eyes focus on something in the distance. She gives a small shake of her head, using all of her strength not to burst out in tears. She still does when I frantically pull her into me, pressing her against my chest while my heart rate shoots up again. I just hold her, and gently rock her on the spot. 
"You have to talk to her." She whispers. "I… I couldn't… can't… But we need to ask…" 
"Hey, sshh, it's okay." I soothe. "I've got you. What's going on?" 
"I made her promise she'd tell you herself." She tries to wipe away her tears, but new ones come right away. "She's scared…" 
"Of what?"
"Of your response. You have to ask questions, Luce! How, and when, and…" She bursts out crying again, burying herself in my shirt. 
With my heart hammering in my chest, I manage to get her sitting down at the kitchen table and head for the guest room. After a knock I enter, just as Eschieve comes out of the connected bathroom. She looks worse than yesterday, swaying on her feet as she walks to the bed. I can only stare as she sits on the bed without looking me in the eye.
"There's something on your shirt." She says weakly, her voice rasp.
"Yeah… Emma kind of burst out crying on me." I reply. 
"Oh."
"You want to tell me why that was?" 
"Not really."
"Emma said you'd promised." 
With a shaking hand, she grabs her pillow and clutches it to her chest. She's still not looking at me. "Will you get mad?"
"No."
"Except you will."
"Eschieve, I -" 
"Je suis enceinte."
And just like that, the world tumbles away from below my feet. Emotions wash over me with such force, I worry if I'll be able to stay upright. But Eschieve isn't done.
"Et je ne veux pas le garder."
Emma's breakdown makes more sense now. The questions she wanted me to ask make more sense. It just doesn't fully land yet.
"Bon." It comes out as a whisper. 
"Vous devriez vous asseoir." Eschieve suggests.
"Je suis bien debout.
"Es-tu?"
"Eschieve!" I snap. She looks hurt, and I feel guilty. "I'm not… mad."
"You look mad."
"Well, I can't exactly say I'm delighted either." I retort. "How…" I sigh. "How?"
Employing a familiar form of self-defence, she raises a cocky eyebrow at me. "Don't tell me I've got to…" At my blazing look, she trails off and looks down shamefully. "I was on antibiotics for an UTI, and the condom must've broken…" 
I shudder, finally giving in and sitting down on one of the large armchairs in the room. There's nothing more that I'd rather do than make Emma have this conversation, but I know that's impossible. Events of not even a year back have been flooding my mind ever since the word 'pregnant' dropped. The whole situation is a twisted mess, and one emotion tumbles over another. Anger, worry, sadness, and - in a fucked up way that I immediately reject - even a sliver of jealousy that she would dare to have it taken away by choice, when it was so crudely stolen from us.
Under some strain, I manage to get out of her that it was fully consensual, and that the almost-boyfriend knows what's going on. Asking that, however, visibly causes Eschieve to shut down even more, which sets alarms ringing and anger flaring. 
"Eschieve, please be honest with me." I say sternly. "Did he… Fuck, did he do anything to you?" 
"No!" She half-shouts immediately. "He's not like that."
"But?" 
Tears fill her eyes for the first time since I walked in. "He bailed."
The corners of my vision flicker red. Even in this fucked-up setting, it's not hard to detect that she cared about this guy. Clenching and relaxing my fists repeatedly to relieve some tension, I draw a line. 
"I need a smoke."
Eschieve doesn't protest as I head out, straight to the balcony. My hands shake so severely I barely manage to light the cigarette. My emotions have become an entangled mess that I can no longer make sense off, so I don't even try to. I stare up at the sky. There's too much light-pollution to make out any stars, and I'm pretty sure Claire's is on the other hemisphere anyway. It feels unreal, to have my sister ask for our help with an abortion after what we went through. I want to shake her and make her aware of the gift she's given, how badly I would want it. 
When I go back in, my hands are blue and I can't feel any part of my body. To my surprise, I find both girls in the living room with a cup of tea. There's a third one for me. I don't trust my hands enough not to drop it. 
I look at my sister, who's still looking scared of what might come out of me. 
"Are you sure?"
She gives a single nod. 
I clench my jaw. "Alright. What can we do?"

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