I manage to keep myself upright, though I haven't got a clue how. It's almost as if I'm on auto pilot, my mind having been shut down to try and keep the damages as small as I possibly can.
However little I do allow myself to feel will haunt me, and I can't let it do that right now.
I can't imagine what Lucien must be feeling right now, and I know I might never find out. This might turn into us spiraling again, as if the universe refuses to let us be happy for too long.
When our eyes meet, there's that same hollow look to them that I saw after Piper's betrayal, the look I wished to never have to see again.
"I want an abortion," Eschieve mumbles. "I just can't do it alone."
The words make my stomach turn, reminding myself of how human I am once more. No matter how hard I try to turn all of my emotions off, I simply know I can't, and that this will scar me.
Not as much as it will scar Eschieve, however, which is why I still try to remain as neutral as I can, not letting my own feelings lead me in this necessary conversation.
"How...," I breathe in, the spoon in my cup of tea shaking against the porcelain from how much my hands are trembling. "How far along are you?"
"Seven to eight weeks," she shrugs, staring at her cup as if it's about to come to life in her hands.
The same amount of weeks I was when I found out I was pregnant, in an entirely different phase of my life, with an entirely different reaction. Still, I was thouroughly freaked out, and the only thing getting me through it was knowing I'd get to talk to Lucien about it, and we'd figure it out together.
I don't even want to imagine how it must have been for Eschieve.
"Excuse me for a second," I breathe, though I don't think I truly realise it's me saying it. All I know is that my stomach is turning and I can't sit here anymore, I need some fresh air.
That air hits me in all of the worst possible ways when I step onto the balcony, my lungs aching as I let my tears go once again. I didn't cry in front of Lucien, wouldn't let her see what her confession did to me, in no way wanting her to feel bad or guilty.
I smoke a cigarette, the pack left outside by Lucien, and then another one. I'd drown myself in liquor right now if I could, try and forget all about this.
Claire has been in every single one of my thoughts ever since Eschieve dropped this bomb on me. I don't want to compare our situations, because they are far from similiar, but I can't help it. I can't help but think of how Claire could have grown out to be a small little girl, how she could have been in our arms right now, and how I would have done anything for that to happen.
I know Eschieve is in no place to have a child, but I can't help but feel a weird sense of jealousy or betrayal.
Feeling numb not only from the inside out but now also from the outside, my skin cold to the touch, I step back into the house.
It's quiet, the conversation either having stopped immediately when I went out for a smoke, or having died down just now.
"I'm sorry," I tell both Lucien and Eschieve, unsure who I feel more guilty towards at this moment in time. "I..."
To my surprise, it's not Lucien stepping in to reassure me, but Eschieve.
"I understand, Em," she smiles, though faint. "I'm the one who should be sorry."
"No," I tell her sternly, my voice shaking. "I'm happy you came to me, to us. I wish I could be a better guide in this, I truly do, but I can't."
Lucien's facial expression softens as I sit down next to him, laying my hand on his.
"I want to support you, but I can't do it in the way you need me to," I continue. "Not because I am against your decision, I hope you know that."
"I know," Frank has found a spot on Eschieve's lap in the time I was away, and I immediately wonder if he knows. He used to get close to me when I was pregnant, maybe he senses something in Eschieve as well.
"Lucien and I talked about...," she lets out a big sigh. "The logistics. I need to make an appointment, one for just a conversation, and then they'll force me to take some time to think, as if I'm going to change my mind. I... I would like to stay with you for that time, but only if that's okay with you."
Though it will be hard, and those days will take a toll on all of us, I know I can't say no. Eschieve is family, and family supports each other, no matter how hard times get. "Of course. Whatever you need."
Lucien's hand squeezes mine softly, as if to tell me that we're in this together. The feeling of defeat lessens, though it's still present in the back of my mind. Faint grief has settled there as well, as if to bully me by reminding me of all I've lost, all that we've been through.
"I'm sorry," she breathes again, her apology ringing through the entirely silent room. "For all of this. I know it's a lot, and I would have tried to..."
"Like Emma said," Lucien's voice sounds for the first time in a while, and it soothes me. "It's good you came to us. It is a lot, but we'll figure it out together. That's what family is for."

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