755. - Lucien
The weather has worsened by the time we make it out of the clinic; rain is slamming down on the pavement and the car, making it almost impossible to see and entirely impossible to drive any faster than maybe ten miles an hour. It's frustrating to say the least. I steal glances at my sister every so often, which I don't think she takes notice of: she's wrapped in one of my hoodies that swallows her whole and the same large sunglasses from earlier obscure most of her face. She hasn't spoken much since she woke up, but if that's because she's still groggy or because of what she's just gone through I couldn't be sure.
When I finally get to take the turn leading to our apartment complex, she shifts. When I look her way I see her mouth open in a question that doesn't come. Instead she snaps it shut again, and sinks back into the chair.
"What's up?" I prompt carefully. She shakes her head, but doesn't say anything.
"I just..." She lets out a long sigh. "Can we... not go home yet? I don't think I'm quite ready to face Emma yet."
My grip on the wheel tightens. Eschieve notices, and backtracks.
"Never mind. You want to go back. That's okay."
She's not wrong. No matter how much Emma's been keeping up the farce, the whole ordeal has been tearing her apart. It's brought up a whole lot of emotions and behaviours that both of us had carefully locked away after it nearly became the end of us last year.
This time around, however, it's not just Emma I want to take care of. Eschieve is right up there with her, only on the other side of the spectrum. In this scenario there is no way to support both, which makes it all the more frustrating and exhausting. I'm running on empty from being pulled in two directions, barely able to think for myself. Both girls probably realise this, because they know me better than anyone.
And they both know where that landed me last year.
I'm just going to have to deal with it, though, because I can't really stop supporting one or the other. It's just standard procedure, just like it has been for the last thirty years.
Matthew is going to kill me.
Against better judgement and instead of driving home, I take another turn and head towards the haven. I feel Eschieve’s eyes pierce into me as she probably makes the same calculations I just did, but she doesn't protest. With current weather it takes us annoyingly long to finally get to the port, but when we do get there the rain finally starts clearing up. By the time I've found a parking spot, it has actually entirely stopped.
"Do you want to go out?"
She considers that. Since we've parked on the marina lot, we're right by the water - if she just wants to watch, we don't have to get out.
"Fresh air might be good." She mutters eventually.
We've walked down the length of the pier, which is deserted after the terrible bolt of rain, and she's sat down at the end of it with her legs dangling over the edge. After quickly texting Emma that we might be a little later, I sit down next to her. The wood is wet and the wind is sharp, splashing salty water high enough to soak my jeans.
"Do you think she hates me?" She's finally taken the sunglasses off, and her eyes are red and puffy.
I want to pretend I don't know what she's talking about. I can't. "No."
"But she's upset with me."
"Not... with you." I'm not even sure if that's a lie or not. Eschieve snorts and shakes her head.
"She's barely even looked at me for days. I've heard her cry in the bathroom more often than I cried myself - which is saying something - and I'm pretty sure she's been trying to avoid talking to me altogether." She lets out a hollow laugh. "And the stupid thing is that I can't even blame her. I'd hate me, too."
"She doesn't -"
"Don't." She cuts in sharply. "I see the look on her face, Luce. I see it on yours, too. Don't try to deny that there is a part of you that hates me for burdening you with this."
"I..." The words are lost on me, the simple reason being that I can't deny it. Seconds tick by of just ocean sounds and me and my sister getting lost in feelings of despair and self-hate.
"I can't." I say quietly. "You're right. There is a part of me that wants to hate you, to be mad at you. To yell in your face about how you would dare to willingly take away what was taken from me. I'm jealous that you get to make that choice. I'm furious that Emma and I had to go through something that made this whole situation that much harder. I'm pissed that I have to relive it."
"I knew it." She mutters bitterly. "I'll call Beth if I can stay with her until my flight home."
"I'm not done, Eschieve." I sound sterner than I intended - or maybe not, because I'm so familiar with the way she's chastising herself. "Yes, I've thought all of those things. But I'm also relieved that you came to us, that we've given you the feeling that - despite everything - you could trust us with it. I'm so incredibly proud that you were able to make this decision. I'm glad that you got the choice, instead of being forced to throw your life around in ways you didn't want to. I'm overwhelmed with a want to protect you from all of this, just because I love you so much that I don't want anything bad to happen to you. Those things overpower all those negative things. I'd much rather go through this again and again if that meant being able to be there for you, than having you shut me out because you don't want to trouble me. And I know Emma feels the same way. Yes, this whole thing has been a fucking nightmare. Of course I'd rather have avoided the whole thing. But that wasn't an option, so in that case I'd much rather have you share the burden of such a nightmare with me and Emma, than try and shoulder it on your own. In the end, that would've made it worse for all of us."
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