"No, we shouldn't," I answer immediately. Lucien chuckles just as fast as I've answered, yet his face goes back to his serious expression soon thereafter.
"Em..." he starts, and I shake my head as he does so.
"I'm fine."
Another shake of his head as he places a hand on my leg, squeezing it lightly.
"No judgement, just...," he clears his throat. "Well..."
He's right, and I know it. It's not hard to notice the total turn I've taken since last night, the tears seemingly having disappeared.
It would be easy for me to be mad, to tell him I'm fine and that there's nothing to worry about, but Lucien knows me. He would see through me in no time, and he would know I was lying. So in stead, I sigh.
"I don't want to talk about it."
Frank and Lance have both gathered around us, having sniffed out the scent of treats, and are both eyeing us like we've been neglecting them for years.
"Valid," he smiles, pulling me into him and pressing a kiss to the top of my head. "Just know..."
"That I can. I know, Luce, and I will. I just really don't want to."

Eschieve spends one singular night at Beth's, returning in the late afternoon. Spending some time with my sister seems to have done her some good, or maybe I'm just imaging things.
She's more quiet than I know her to be, which isn't weird considering the fact she's preparing for a pretty intense procedure. A procedure I try not to think about whatsoever, because just the thought causes me too much pain.
I try and distract myself with anything else. The house gets a deep clean, for starters, and I clean Frank's litter box until it looks as good as new.
Lucien notices, but he's smart enough not to comment on it.
We don't make love. It's not strange for us to go without it whenever our family is around, but it's almost as if my body totally rejects the idea. With his pregnant little sister around I can feel the lower half of my body tensing up whenever Lucien touches me for more than a few seconds, and I am too busy pushing the tears back into my skull.
At night, we watch Disney movies until either one of us falls asleep. It's usally me, though Eschieve is tired enough to drift off to sleep every one in a while as well.
During Tangled, the night before Eschieve's second appointment, we all try our best to stay awake.
My mind is racing like it has been for days, and I hardly notice anything going on around me. I don't sing along to When Does My Life Begin, which is one of the first signs for Lucien to realise something is up, and when I don't make a sound during the big lantern scene, he softly presses a kiss to my temple to see if I'm even still concious.
Even though I technically am, I don't feel like it. I'm exhausted, almost as if I haven't slept in days, and with my racing mind I can't even get myself to smile.
"More wine?" Eschieve offers, holding up the bottle of red wine that we carefully placed on the floor. She, too, has been drinking, which feels totally weird and out of place, but not like something we can forbid. She's killing the baby growing inside of her anyway, so it's not like it has any value to her.
The thought kills me, and I hate myself for thinking it, but I can't help it. Every time I look at her, I feel empty, void of any emotion but total sadness.
"I think I should go to bed," I mumble, softly moving Lucien's arm away from me. "I'm tired, and we have an early morning tomorrow."
      I don't sleep until way after Lucien comes into bed with me, over an hour after I've crawled underneath the blankets.
Even then I just stare up at the ceiling, trying to forgive myself for the horrible things I've been thinking, the disgust I've feeling towards myself for the jealousy that's been racing through my brain.
My sister in law, barely an adult, pregnant, the father barely caring enough about her to talk to her.
And still, I'm jealous. Of the ease, of the simplicity of her decision.
And with that jealousy, I fall asleep.

I wake up from weight shifting in our bed, followed by the creaking of floor boards.
"Luce?"
He takes in a heavy breath, almost as if he feels caught, when I open my eyes.
"I'm just going to have breakfast with Eschieve," he smiles lightly as I watch him put on a shirt. "You can go back to sleep."
"No," I mumble, moving the sheets away from me. "I should..."
He smiles as he watches me experience a full-body shiver when the cold hits me, the radiator not yet having been turned on.
"I should come. Eschieve needs the both of us, I can't just stay in bed."
I see the conflict in Lucien's eyes as the silence washes over us.
"What?" I mumble as I put on a pair of pants.
"I just...," he takes a deep breath in, as if what he's about to say is going to take a lot of courage. Turns out, it is. "I don't think that's a good idea, Em."
"Well, it's not up to you to decide whether or not that's a good idea, Lucien. I want to be there for Eschieve, which is why I'm going with you."
He gives me the bra I'm signaling for him to hand me, his brow furrowed.
"I know you feel like you should, but..."
"But?" I sigh. "No but. I'm fine, Luce. Believe me."

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