There is lots of crying, from both women. There's hugs and kisses and more crying, and I don't entirely get out unscathed - it takes both Emma's and Reginald's continious warnings that she is choking me before Nancy lets me go.
Reginald mostly sits back and watches, but I can see his eyes sparkle in the same way they did last Christmas. Just as Nancy seems to have recomposed herself, a new wave of happy tears crashes over her when Emma reveals that it's been months in the making. It's in that moment that Reginald catches my eye.
"Couldn't have given me a little heads-up, huh?" He grunts. It doesn't sound malicious, and I grin.
"Sorry. Didn't entirely want to spoil the surprise."
"Entirely?!" Nancy's head snaps round. "What do you mean entirely? Reg, did you have a hand in this?!"
Reginald looks like he's just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and clears his throat. "Lucien and I... may have had a little... conversation." A brief pause. "At Christmas."
"At Christmas?! You've known for months and you never - no, no." She calms herself down with a deep breath. "I would hate to have missed this moment. Oh, Linie!" She looks like she's about to start crying again. "This is such wonderful news! After everything's that happened... I'm just so happy for you! Gosh, I must have cried more than you by now..."
Emma, still wiping her own, laughs and hugs her mother one last time. "I wouldn't be too sure about that, mum..."
      In true Nancy Middleton fashion, she soon retreats to the kitchen because the best way to gather your feelings is by cooking. She does lay on us for not warning her beforehand, because now 'dinner isn't nearly celebratory enough'. We assure her that any dinner she's made for us will be delicious enough to celebrate with. When we offer to help, we're shooed away and told that it's nearly finished anyway. Reginald gets assigned the task of setting the table, which he begrudgingly gets to. It gives me and Emma a moment to ground ourselves while smoking a cigarette outside; Emma has taken place in one of the lawn chairs that has no business being out yet, because the weather really hasn't been nice enough to sit outside on a porch for hours, and I'm leaning against the balustrade.
"You know, if I'd known your mother would be this ecstatic I might have proposed sooner." I tease, getting myself kicked at even though there's no way she can reach me.
"You're supposed to want to get married because of me, not my mother!"
"I'm just saying, I think she'll kill for me as long as I'll still marry you. That could be useful."
"We are not involving my mother in any crimes, thank you." She laughs, pushing out her cigarette in the ash tray. In a fluid motion she gets up from her chair and finds her way into my arm, running a finger down my chest. "Besides... Doesn't being a murderous couple sound much more romantic?"
"I suppose it does." I smile down on her. "As long as we go down together."
"I have no plans on going down. Either we don't go down, or I still make a fabulous getaway after murdering my husband."
"Oh?" I reach past her to stub out my cigarette. "Maybe I should reconsider this marriage."
With a laugh she smacks me against my chest. "If you do that, you'll end up dead anyway."
"Is that a threat?"
"With you, it always is."
Just when I'm about to kiss her, the door swings open and Nancy emerges to announce dinner is ready; she disappears again as quickly as she can, looking flustered as if she interrupted something, which maybe she did.
"Remember where that was going." I say under my breath. Emma just rolls her eyes at me and pulls me inside.

As we drive home several hours later, Emma's phone won't stop dinging. After the eleventh one, she lets out an irritated groan, tightly squeezing the wheel. "I told her not to do this!"
"Told who not to do what?"
"My mum. I'd put money on all of those texts being from her, each containing something for the wedding that 'would just look amazing'." Despite the frustration, she still laughs. "I honestly think she might be more excited about this wedding than I am."
"Can you blame her? Her eldest son robbed her from one wedding and she damn near missed out on a second because of a stubborn son-in-law." I chuckle, digging into Emma's purse to silence her phone. Lo and behold, the string of texts all comes from Nancy Middleton. "Now that I've finally cracked she's not going to let it get away from her."
Emma laughs, unable to do anything but agree. Then, of course, comes the question that I'd been expecting ever since deciding I wanted to propose. "Did.. Did you have anything in mind for telling Jacques?"
"I did not." I shake my head, leaning back in my seat. "I do think it's good if we do it with him in France, though."
Emma glances at me from behind the wheel, smiling. "We can plan a trip. I know you've been dying to go anyway."
"I'll give his assistant a call to see when he's there." I reply, managing a half smile. It's not a conversation I'm excited for, even though I should be. There are just so many ways the man could react, and I'm not ready for any of them. "But I think we should properly celebrate within the country first... Eschieveís been bugging me for an update all day, and she's worried Beth is getting suspicious."
Emma's eyes widen, then narrow. "Wait - did Eschieve stay for the proposal? Wasn't because of the flights?" At my guilty silence, her mouth drops open. "How much planning went into this?! Is there anything else I should know?"
"There wouldn't have been much of a surprise without planning!" I laugh. "But I promise... that's it."

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