289. - Lucien
By a stroke of luck, Emma and I have a row of three seats to ourselves, which means we can snuggle up nicely for a nap. We'd gotten up early for a trip to my house, returning the car, and it was an early flight to begin with. Just before landing we hit bad weather, as if Scotland is taunting me, and we have to circle in quite heavy turbulence. At some point the plane starts shaking and in a reflex, I grab Emma's hand, who gives me a questioning look.
"Don't do turbulence well." I mutter. "Hate that whole tingly feeling in my guts. Don't do roller coasters either."
For a second it looks like she might make fun of me, but then she just takes my other hand as well and draws letters on the back to distract me, having me guess what she's saying.
Just when I've guessed 'croissant' the wheels touch the ground.
Outside it's pouring rain, though we've been promised sun later on the day. Emma laughs at my grumpy face, reminding me that gloomy days like this are perfect to just snuggle up with tea and other things to keep each other warm.
I ask if she want to go to her own apartment, alone, at least three times before I believe that she doesn't, but she does tell me she might like to sleep there so she has access to all her things for the opening party of the 'The Griffin'.
"Then why don't we just go straight to your apartment?"
"Because you need fresh clothes and your shower is better suited for two persons. As is your couch."
The shower together becomes a bath together, because we both don't want to stand any longer than we have to. It was only a two hour flight, but travelling always exhausts me. Emma seems to share the same sentiment, nearly falling asleep as we soak in the hot water.
Despite the rain it's not cold out and it hasn't been for a few days, meaning the apartment is hot and clammy. I run the AC to get the air breathable again, but on accident I run it a little too high, meaning it's far colder than intended. Emma makes use of that situation by making sure we're both dressed in warm and cosy clothes, snuggled up on the couch with that cup of tea she promised. We watch The Great British Bake-Off, despite Emma saying that it is the perfect day for Pretty Woman. I remind her of her promise that we'd watch this first, which she accepts with a pout.
We order from Emma's favourite restaurant, only leaving the couch for necessities.
"If you'd ever be a judge on something, I bet you'd be like Paul Hollywood." Emma says, licking her fingers clean. At my offended look, she just grins. "See! That's exactly what I mean. You act all tough but the moment good food touches your tongue, you're putty."
"I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not."
"Would you rather be compared to that lady from Nailed It?"
I wrinkle my nose. "God, no. But I'd like to think I'm more like Sue."
"She's not a judge!" Then, after a brief pause. "Though you do have the humour for it. Fine, fine! You'd be Sue, Brie would be Mel and Matthew'd be Paul."
"And you?" I smirk. "Mary Berry?"
"Duh. Frail old blonde lady, I'm checking all the boxes."
Around ten that night we drive to Emma's apartment. I must admit that after all the luxury of the hotel, it's kind of nice to come home in Emma's cosy apartment. Both knackered we make our way straight to bed, where we cuddled underneath the sheets. Emma's apartment doesn't have AC, so instead we tossed out the duvets.
"Are you going to give anything away about your plans for my birthday?" Emma asks. In an uncommon but very welcome change my head is on her stomach, and she's playing with my hair. I close my eyes, feeling the goosebumps on my skin.
"Of course not. You should know by now that I'm very good at keeping secrets."
"I know." She chuckles. "But this one involves me."
"Do you not trust me when I say I'm not going overboard?" I tease. "I'm not arranging a concerto composed for you, if that's what your worried about."
"Okay, see - that's so specific! Now I am worried you're doing that!"
I laugh and then tip my head back so I can look at her upside down. "How many times do I have to promise that I'm honouring your wishes of not going too far? Because I would swear on all the cars owned by the my family that I'm not."
"Do I want to know the value of that?"
We laugh together, and Emma goes back to playing with my hair. It feels like she's making little braids. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be a pain about it. I just... I know you like to make grand gestures, and I love that, but also you don't need to do that for me."
"Okay, tell you what." With a swift kick of my leg, I roll onto my stomach and prop myself up on my elbows so I can actually look her straight in the eye without getting dizzy. "What if I told you how much I've spend on you for your birthday? I've already paid for everything I need to, so the number won't go up. Maybe like a tenner, but that's it. Would that ease your mind a little bit?"
Her eyes narrow and she's right to distrust me, because it would absolutely be up my ally to straight up lie about this. But I don't plan to. She nods.
I do some quick maths in my head, making sure I've got the numbers right. "I spend a grand total of forty-six British pounds on you. That's all, includes everything that I've planned."
For a moment she still looks sceptical, but then her expression softens as she finally seems to believe me. "Okay. I can deal with that. That money certainly doesn't rent out an entire restaurant."
I chuckle, and we shift to lay down. The dynamic shifts again, where Emma is snuggled up to me instead of the other way around, but I don't mind. "Bold of you to assume I'd have to pay for that. A name drop would be enough."
"Lucien, I swear to God -"
"Kidding!" I laugh, kissing the top of her head. "I have not rented out a restaurant. What do I have to do to make you believe me? Ask Dr Carlisle tomorrow to give you a call and tell you that I'm not lying, because he knows me so well that he'd see right through me if I did?"
"What time is your appointment again?"
"Ten thirty. But this was a joke, Emma."
She laughs, kicking my shin. "I know! I was just curious. Will you be in time for the opening?"
"Of course I will! Will leave halfway through the session if I have to. Wouldn't miss it for the world."
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