Foto bij 119. - Lucien

I stay quiet, because what do you say when someone declares their love for you in the way that Emma just did? I am overcome with happiness, with gratefulness, and with love. For Emma and everything that she is. I just hold her close to me, trying to think of something sensible to say.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Emma asks after a while, but I shake my head.
"Nothing." I whisper. "Nothing other than loving you."
She brushes a finger over my cheek. "I don't think I've ever seen you with not a single thought in your head." I breathe out a laugh, shrugging.
"You have no idea of the effect you have on me, miss Middleton."
Seeing her smile in this moment, will all the fairy lights reflecting in her eyes and my living room being the epitome of cozy, is the definition of happiness. I pull her a little closer to me and she shifts so that her back is against my chest and she's sitting between my legs. I rest my head upon her shoulder, inhaling her sweet scent. There's so many things I want to say, but I don't know how to. Telling Emma I love her was throwing down a massive wall, and it seems that my brain respons my throwing up another one, right on the edge where this old one was. Emma seems to notice as well how I'm getting stuck in this moment, because she picks the controller back up and pushes it into my hands. "I still need your help."
"Oh, like hell you." I chuckle, kissing her neck. "You're not telling that you can't play Zelda, after how you beat me in Mario Kart."
"I played Zelda! Just never this one! I haven't touched a console in years."
I'm honestly not sure if I should believe her, but even if it's a lie I'm appreciative of it. With my arms wrapped around her body I play through the game, with Emma occassionally feeding me one of the squid rings. I don't know how long we play, but it must be well into the night, because Emma ends up falling asleep in my arms. Despite my lack of sleep last night I'm not feeling very tired, which is not unusual for me after a day like this, but I manage to scoop Emma up in my arms and put her to bed. The alarm clock tells me it's nearing two thirty in the morning, but luckily tomorrow is Saturday; with the wedding being on a Thursday I'd deemed it useless to go to work for a single day before the weekend. And also with the wedding in mind I'd cleared my schedule for the day, meaning I'll have the entire day to spend with just Emma. Something we haven't been able to do since Eschieve suddenly stood on my doorstep, which was nearly a month ago.
After tucking Emma in I return to the living room to continue my game, well aware that sleep isn't in the cards for me tonight. I don't know what time it is when Emma suddenly stands in the doorframe, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"You have to come to bed at some time, Lucien." She says, though she's not scorning me. It looks like she wants to say something else but if that's the case, she changes her mind. Instead, when I don't immediately have a response at the ready, she just sighs and comes to sit next to me.
"Emma, you look dead tired -" I start, but she shushes me. She shifts, laying down with her head on my tigh and pulling a blanket over herself.
"I can't force you to go to sleep, but I'm not letting you sit here alone."
"You're nuts, you know that?" I say with a smile, brushing my fingers through her tangled hair.
"It's why you love me." She answers with a yawn. I'm pretty sure she's already asleep when I say:
"Yeah. It is."

I think I've slept maybe two, maybe three hours when we leave the house. Emma didn't say a thing about it, but doesn't give me the silent treatment either, like Liliana sometimes would when I did something she didn't agree with. Emma just goes about the day like it is any other, trying to pull out of me what I have planned.
"I'm not going to another party yet." She warns me as she gets into the car with me. "I'm still recovering from the wedding."
"No parties." I promise with a laugh, driving off. We're in Gabriel's Range Rover, because my own car is in the garage and I don't have the storage for a second car... yet. I find myself really liking the Rover, though, so I might have to invest in that sometime soon. "Hardly any interaction, even. With humans, anyway."
She tips her head in question, narrowing her eyes. "That is a suspicious specification, du C."
"Just be patient!" I squeeze her thigh, still laughing. "I'm sure you'll love it."
She keeps pestering me with questions that I'm not answering, until finally she sees the big entrance sign; she turns to me with wide eyes. "The zoo?"
"The zoo." I confirm, lips curling. "I used to love the zoo as a child and it's been years since I've been... And it was the least stress-inducing thing I could think of." I park the car, the wet mud splattering up against the white car and I add a trip to the car wash on the list of today's location. "Then I thought: just watching the animals might get kind of boring, and God forbid we'll have to talk to one another."
Her head snaps back to me and the wonder in her eyes has made place for suspicion yet again. "What did you do?"
"I figured I've gone long enough without spending money on you." I say, stepping out of the car. Emma does the same, still looking wary. "And after what you did for me last night, I wanted to do something special."
"Calm down, calm down." I chuckle, pulling her in my arms and kissing her temple, because even though the parking lot is already full there's no one around. Though the sun is shining, the air is bitter cold and her skin is warm against my lips. "It's not that big a deal - it's actual available for all visitors should they want to. I arranged for us to feed some of the animals, that's all. You're going to be very popular with the penguins and the meerkats today, though I've heard the lemurs can be a bit moody - so prepare for that."

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