"Now tell me what was so urgent that we needed to get here as soon as possible," is Beth's form of greeting when she steps into our hallway, a smiling Eschieve just steps behind her. "And please tell me there's wine, because I've been stuck with this one all day, so I need it."
Eschieve lets out an insulted gasp, her eyes flicking from Lucien to me, back to Lucien, then to me, her grin only getting bigger and bigger. With Beth in front of her, she does not need to hide her gaze going to my ring, nodding in agreement with Lucien's pick.
"I'll get you some wine," Lucien chuckles. "Eschieve, too? Red, white, rosé?"
"Rosé," both girls chant in unison, "this weather screams rosé."
"I didn't know you two had suddenly become experts," he mumbles, turning on his heels to the kitchen. "Two glasses of rosé coming up. You, Em?"
"I'll have a glass of that sparkling wine," I smile, "we should have it out on the balcony. It's a little chilly, but we can get the blankets out and that little heater we got."
      The girls are huddled up on one of the seats, Lucien and I on the one opposite them. After a few content sips of her rosé, plastic ice cubes dancing in her glass, Beth lets out a happy sigh. "Now, what's the occassion?"
Eschieve, next to her, is almost bursting from excitement, and I'm genuinely surprised she hasn't spoiled the surprise by jumping into my arms as soon as she saw me.
I gently brush some hair out of my face, the ring facing my little sister. "Does there always have to be a reason to invite our sisters over for drinks?"
"No, but there usually is. Now spit it out." She mutters, blind to the subtle yet obvious hint I'm throwing.
"You're right, there is a reason.." I tut. "Quite a big one." I place my hand on my chest, the diamond sparkling in the dim balcony light.
"Well, tell me!" Beth was never one for hints, even when the answer was screaming her right in the face she'd overlook it, so I shouldn't be surprised at this.
"I'm telling you," I grin, now actually holding up my hand in the air, letting it catch the light, no avoiding what I'm telling her.
"You got a new ring, that's cool. Now, is that why you invited us over? Lucien gets you jewellery all the time."
Lucien lets out a laugh, almost sounding astounded by how easy it is for Beth to overlook the true reason for a ring like this one.
"It's not just jewellery, Beth," I hint.
"No, it's a diamond ring. It was your anniversary the other day, that's a nice gift," she goes to pick up her glass, swirling it around. "I never thought you'd be the bragging type."
"God, and you told me I was the one who is blind!" I can't hold back my laughter anymore. "You nearly yelled at me for not seeing I was in love with Lucien, but you can't tell an engagement ring from any other form of jewellery?"
Beth's head tilts, her eyes narrow, then she exhales. "You're fucking kidding."
"I really am not," I grin. "I can't believe it took you this long."
"You're kidding!" she just repeats. "What the fuck happened to being against marriage, Lucien? This is a joke, right?"
"We're really engaged, Beth, as of yesterday," Lucien confirms, the air being knocked out of the last bit of the sentence when Beth throws herself off of the couch she was sitting on and into Lucien's arms.
"You cunt!" she breathes, her breathing visibly heavy. "Oh my god, I'm so happy for you two!"I'm the next recipient of a hug, my little sister squeezing me tightly. "So happy! Do I get to be bridesmaid?"
"Of course you do," I kiss the top of her head. "You two will be guests of honour."
It seems as only then, she remembers that Eschieve is there too. "Hey! Why aren't you super surprised like I am? Did you know?"
"Lucien... kind of told me, when the whole shit show went down. I needed some cheering up, but I had to keep it a secret," she almost sounds apologetic. "But now that the word is out, let me hug you, too!"

      Armed with everything for brunch, I am happily greeted by my two godchildren. Emilia is waddling through the yard on bare feet, Felix is on a blanket out on the grass.
As to not raise any suspicion with Kenna, I told her I wanted her input on the design for Lucien's new office space - with her degree in interior design, she's the perfect person for the job, and it will make the surprise only bigger when I tell her.
The table is already set and Tom watch over the little ones when Kenna pours the both of us some of the champagne that I brought over to make mimosas with.
"This is a fancy brunch, Emmeline! You must really want me to do this design perfectly," Kenna chuckles when she places some salmon onto a bagel. "I'm just insulted you think you'd need to bribe me with salmon and champagne to do so. I'm a simple girl, a beer and some fish and chips would've sufficed."
I smile, gazing over at the kids in the grass. The life I see here is one I want, with kids roaming around, an amazing husband, wonderful friends.
"I do, but that's not really the job I'm here to bribe you into," I smile, placing my knife and fork down.
"Oh god, that sounds like I also need to paint this place myself," she shakes her head, chuckling. "That would cost you more than brunch, Em."
"Oh, no, we'd hire people for that," I inhale deeply once, suddenly feeling nervous. "No, the job I'm talking about is much more special. I know how big the responsibility is, but I'm hoping it's something you wouldn't say no to."
She raises an eyebrow. "You're making me way too curious now."
"I was just wondering," I smile. "If you'd be my maid of honour."
Her jaw drops almost instantly, and from the corner of my eye I can even see Tom frown as if he's checking if he's heard me correctly.
"No way," she gasps. "Emma, you're not!"
I smile, holding out my hand for my best friend to grab it to inspect my new jewellery. "So, will you?"
She nearly flies into my arms. "Of course I will, you idiot!"

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