834 - Emma
From the crimson red both of their cheeks turn, we know Beth is right, and I'm not sure exactly who to yell at first. Staring the both of them down I realise they both deserve it equally as much - yet only one of them is related to me by blood, so he will be the one to have the honour.
"Daniel James Cornelius Middleton," I gasp, "you have some explaining to do!"
"Why me?" he immediately spits back, reminiscent of all the times I took mum's side when he came home with bad grades or when we got complaints from the neighbours after their rose bushes had mysteriously been run over just after Danny got his new bike. "You're the big feminist of the family, it's not quite fair to pin this all on me now is it?"
He truly has a point, especially knowing Eschieve. She would have never done this, let alone show up to a brunch with all of us, if this wasn't one hundred percent consensual. She might have even initiated it, and that wouldn't surprise me. "Because I don't know Eschieve's full name, and you're the one I'm related to!"
"I plead the fifth," he just mumbles, going to pour himself a glass of water. I swat his hand away just before he can lift up the bottle, giving him my best death glare. The grin he then shoots me causes me to laugh slightly, reminding me of the times he helped me prepare for one of my exams back in university.
"Why do you never remember anything I tell you, unless it can be used against me?" I hiss, chucking a rolled up napkin at him. When I realise that this boy, though terribly stupid at times, is too smart to give in to my tactics, I turn to my sister in law. "Eschieve?"
"I have nothing to say," she says, buttering a roll.
"Saying nothing makes you look even more guilty," Beth tells her, raising an also butter-loaded knife. "And from the strawberry-colour your cheeks have gotten, we all know you did it. Just admit it, and we'll drop it."
"As if," Daniel laughs. "Even if it did happen, you would never let it go as soon as we admitted to it, which is why I plead the fifth."
"Fine," Eschieve shrugs, causing Daniel's jaw to drop. "We hooked up. Now can we continue brunch like we planned to?"
"Oh, no, no, no," Beth grumbles, her hands holding on to the table as if it's to fly away at any moment. "You two can't just show up here after doing god knows what and expect us not to ask questions!"
"You just said you'd drop it!" Daniel mutters in disbelief.
"That was before she actually admitted to it!" Beth fires back. "My best friend and my brother!"
Lucien, who has been awfully quiet through all of this, tightens the grip his hand has on my leg. When I go to look at him, his face tells me all I need to know.
"Dan is right. Let's just have breakfast and let this go, at least for now," I reach for the basket filled with fresh bread. "A croissant, anyone?"
"You can't just bribe our interest away with pastries, Emmeline!" Brie laughs. "This is the juiciest news we've gotten in a while, I want to hear more."
Kenna is about to add fuel to the fire, but when she sees my look I see her mouth close again, nodding ever so slightly to signal she has gotten the memo.
There's a silence around the table for a few seconds, looks exchanged, until Eschieve clears her throat. She must have caught Lucien's look, too, and known exactly what it came from.
"We're just friends. We got a little drunk and Daniel came back to my hotelroom, all consensual. Now can we just have brunch? I'm starving."
I'm making another round of coffee for whoever needs it, which turns out to be everyone, in the kitchen when Lucien joins me.
"Are you okay?" I ask him, moving a strand of hair from his face. From the bags under his eyes I can tell he's tired from the lack of sleep, but he still looks breathtakingly gorgeous to me.
"Just still getting used to the fact that my sister isn't a child anymore and that she's actually having sex," he breathes, laughter stuck to the end of his sentence. "At least we know Dan's a decent guy."
"He is...," I mumble, foaming up the milk for Kenna and Brie's cappucinos. "It's a little weird, that's all. But he's... well, he's my brother, so it'd be weird if I didn't think he was a good guy, but he's a sweetheart. Wouldn't hurt a fly."
Lucien smiles, wrapping both arms around me. "Is it nearly three yet?"
"So we can kick our friends out?" I laugh. "Nearly. Just an hour more and we can go back to bed."
He groans. "I can't wait to catch up on some sleep."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that," I smile, tracing my fingers over his back, knowing full well the traces from last night are left there.
"Oh, no, don't apologize. If I need to sacrifice sleep to experience things like last night, I'd be happy to."
I smile. "Good, because I think that was definitely worth repeating."
Before Lucien can give me an answer, and truly a smart and witty one at that from the look on his face, Brie interrupts, yelling out. "Hey, you lovebirds, hurry up with those coffees, will you?"
I gesture over at the tray filled with coffee cups I've put on the counter. "After you."
For all of our wellbeing, we've decided to give the whole Eschieve-Daniel thing a rest. Sure, they will be the butt of the joke the next few times we see them in a room together, but it seems like it's cooled down for now and there doesn't seem to be any tension between the two of them.
"Now," Kenna jumps up after her phone beeps. "I truly must go."
"Do you now?" Brie chuckles. "What was that, your ovulation alarm? Ready to have some more boring, vanilla sex for baby number three?"
Kenna slaps his arm, smiling. "No baby number three for us for a while, or at least until the two little ones are old enough to put their own clothes on. No, I just promised Tom I'd be home by three. And looking at all of you, you need a good nap, too. We can leave our two geriatric friends," she chuckles when I flip her off. "to their naps as well."
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