I watch as Uncle Niall makes us both sandwiches, avoiding his face and simply looking at his hands. I know he is just waiting to talk to me, but the right moment hasn't come yet. I had been avoiding it for the past two hours to be honest.
When we got home I managed to simply walk through the door and straight to the shower. I needed some time to sort things out. You see, after running after my Uncle Niall something just clicked. I wasn't sure what it was, but it clicked. And now when I look at him, I feel...weird.
I lift my hand up to my head and realize that my hair is still dripping wet. I sigh, but don't really do anything about it. I knew I was probably dripping water onto the nicely polished hardwood floor, but I really couldn't be bothered.
Something had changed...but what was it?
"Ems, come on." Uncle Niall walks over with my plate, noticing the drops of water around the floor. He puts the plate down and stares at the small pools of water. I shrug. "Princess, I know you're down but you can't be doing this to the bloody floors." He walks over to the pantry, grabbing the mop and drying the floor.
When he finishes he walks over to the table, plate in hand and smiles at me, "I made your favorite."
"So?" I say picking up a half of my sandwich and biting into it.
"Are we going to talk about this Emma?"
"Do I have a choice?"
He sits back and crosses his arms, "Yes, you can either have this conversation with me, like the young lady I think you are. Or you can listen to me talk at you, and prove that you're the baby your dad thinks you are."
I look up at him angrily, and he's pleased that he hit a nerve.
"Look, your mum is sick. It's not anybody's fault it just happens sometimes."
"But if she hadn't gotten pregn—"
"Nope, stop right there. Emma, she's pregnant. She's carrying your baby brother. You need to accept that and move on."
"Uncle Niall." I say with a furrowed brow, he had never talked to me that way.
"Look, I know you had been looking forward to having your mum and dad to yourself, but princess things don't always work out the way you plan them." He takes a breath and continues, "Your mum is sick, yes. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I'm sorry your dad didn't either. But Emma, it's something really hard for us too, you know?"
"She has this thing called...bloody hell...what was it?" Uncle Niall sits there with a really confused look on his face until he finally remembers, "Pre-eclampsia. Which basically means that if your mum isn't careful then a lot of things could go wrong. That's why she's always so tired and always laying down, okay? I know you've missed seeing Edie run around the house, and staying up late with you, but there's a reason she hasn't been around Emma. And it isn't anyone's fault, these things happen, you know?"
"Yeah." I'd remember to look up exactly what it was mum had later, Uncle Niall was really terrible at explaining things like that.
"Well, when we took your mum to the hospital her symptoms had gotten really bad. You know how your mum wouldn't wake up?"
"Well when I went to check up on her, she was awake. But, princess, I only got to see her for a split second because they rushed me out of the room."
His face pales and I'm almost afraid to ask..."Why?"
"She had a seizure princess, and with the condition she had it was really serious."
"But because she had it in the hospital, she was able to get the help she needed right away. That's why nothing incredibly bad happened to her. We were lucky..."
"We were." I mutter, trying not to cry, "But what about you and dad, why did you fight?" I had to ask, I had to know now that he was trying to be honest.
"Ems, I don't—"
"Don't what? Don't want to tell me? I thought the purpose of this was that we would have an open conversation."
"Emma." He says, as if warning me.
"I heard you that night. The night you two got drunk."
"You both told things weren't going to change, at least not this much. But you even told dad that they were. They are aren't they? I mean, look and you dad have already fought twice! I've never seen the two of you fight."
"Emma, of course things are going to change. And..." He takes a breath and rolls his eyes, "Even though Harry is a proper twat sometimes, I love him. You all are my family."
"Swear jar." I say, it's an automatic reflex.
"Damn it, not now. I'm in the middle of something important." he clears his throat and continues, "Now, I know you're mighty pissed at your dad, and you should be. I understand. But I was wrong about a lot of things too. I shouldn't have gotten mad at him."
"Because I get it, Harry was just scared of things changing. He was trying to protect you..." He buries his face in his palms and shakes his head, "I need to get my head out of my arse. Damn it. Emma, I know Harry goes about it in the most infuriating way, but that man loves you Emma. You are loved. You are so lucky. I know you're mad that your dad won't tell you things, and that he's afraid you won't understand. But he's just trying to protect you from the things that will break your heart, that will make you cry, that could break you. His intentions are good, but he goes about it like a bloody idiot. Damn it, Harry."
He was right. Dad had a real bad way of doing it, but he tried his best. He really did. I just...I just wish that...
"Why didn't dad come after me?" I say avoiding Uncle Niall's eyes. "I mean, if he really loved me, if he really cared, then why is it only you that comes running after me when I try to run away?"
"You don't know, do you?"
"No, I don't."
I sit back and look at him, "Then can you at least tell me why you run after me? Why are you always there for me?"
He shrugs, "Because I love you Emma."
Why this I love you sounded different from all the rest, I wasn't sure. But it had my heart racing.
"So does dad, why doesn't he?" I respond trying to calm myself.
"I don't know Emma, but..."
"I promise that I will never stop chasing after you. I will always be there when you need me, princess."
Something has definitely changed.
Because for the first time, I feel like I have to hold him to that promise.
Everyone has made promises to me before, and I haven't really held them to it. Promises, I know, are meant to be broken. I've learned that the hard way.
But this promise, this meant something. This had to mean something. It couldn't be that easily broken, could it?
"Finish eating, okay? We need to go check up on your mum and dad."
I nod, hesitantly as he digs into his food.
"Yeah?" He says, a piece of lettuce sticking out of the corner of his mouth.
"You know how you said that I trusted you that night to dad?"He swallows roughly and nods, "Well, I do. And I hope you don't break that promise."
He smiles, "Never, Emma. Never."
His blue eyes met mine and I immediately looked away. I couldn't even look him in the eye.
"Hello?" I look up to see Uncle Niall on the phone. "Yeah, I'll bring you some take out. Does Edie have to eat that gross hospital food? Oh that sucks. Okay, we'll be in later."
"Dad?" I say as Uncle Niall hangs up the phone.
"Yes, he wants take out."
"We should get going then, he's had a long day."
Truth was, I just wanted to see him. I wanted to say I was sorry for running out, but most importantly...I wanted him to talk to me.
Not like those talks we had before, but a real talk...like the one I just had with Uncle Niall.
I hope dad could try to do that for me.