296 - Emma
I was confused at first, not knowing where Brie was taking me, and the mysterious glances he shot me every now and then didn't make it any better.
When we pull up to the Botanical Garden, a place I've been once or twice when I was a kid, I'm even more confused. Brie just shrugs, a big smile on his face, pushing me out the door. "Happy birthday, Emma," he tips his head, "I'll see you two later."
Lucien is out front, flicking the cigarette to the floor as he sees me coming.
"What is this?" my eyes are wide, still confused as to what we're doing here and what's about to come.
"Follow me," he smiles, taking my hand and pressing a kiss to my lips before he guides me inside.
Then, when we get to the greenhouse, I can feel my jaw drop. "Lucien...," all around me, it's beautiful and so well thought out. It's magical, yet so simple. No five star restaurant, no fancy atmosphere. Just the two of us, together, in this beautiful surrounding. "It's..."
"Too much?" I can't quite figure out what his facial expression means, but I immediately feel alert.
"No, it's... perfect." He takes me in his arms. "I'm...wow."
"The great Emmeline Middleton is speechless," he presses a kiss to my temple, "it must really be great, then."
I can't put to words how special this feels. I don't know what I expected, but it sure as hell wasn't this, and the thoughtfulness almost brings me to tears.
"Come, sit," he guides me to the table, and like the gentleman he is moves my chair for me so I can sit down. "I'm glad you like it."
I'm still taking in all of our surroundings, eyes wide and trying very hard not to keep my mouth open in awe. "Like it?" I stare at him as he sits down, too. "Baby, I love it. It's... it's so special, and just right."
"My first surprise of the night has worked out well, then," he smiles, a smile that only gets wider when he sees my face change.
"You only said I couldn't spend too much money on you, you said nothing about energy. Just you wait..."
I shake my head, so taken aback by all of this.
Dinner is nothing short of amazing. He really has put a lot of effort into this, and I can't believe how lucky I am. Every one of my favourite foods ends up on the table, just enough of every single dish to feel full but not too full.
There's wine, the same exact kind we drank in France. There's even dessert, and we talk all throughout dinner.
I tell Lucien all about my birthday parties when I was a kid. With a summer birthday, my parents usually planned something outdoors, but more often than not the Scottish weather would disappoint and we'd either be forced to move it inside, or just get totally wet. I think back to my eleventh birthday, about to hit puberty, when my pool party ended up even wetter than we'd expected because just as we were about to turn on the barbecue, it started pouring and a wind came up so heavy all of our towels blew away.
I tell him about how my tradition with Kenna and the girls started. When I was fourteen, Kenna started taking me out to lunch for my birthday. Later, we'd invite Elizabeth and Isabella. Later, I added Bree to the group, who in her turn brought Pearl. My birthday was always a perfect reason to come together, halfway through the year. We'd also try to celebrate New Year's, but with people getting boyfriends or girlfriends, it started getting harder making it just the six of us.
After we're done scraping the last bit of dessert off of our plates, Lucien flashes me that mischievous smile once more.
"Is this the moment you give me gifts, then?" I tease, expecting that to be his second and final surprise.
"Not yet," he says, keeping a tone of mystery in his voice. "There's more in store for tonight, Emma."
"I would protest, telling you that this is too much," I tell him, twisting the ring around my finger. "But I love you too much to do that."
He smiles that beautiful smile, taking my hand in his across the table. "Good, because there's no going back now. Are you ready to go?"
"Go? You mean there's other places to go?"
He nods, giving my hand a gentle squeeze. "I'm pretty sure you're going to love what I have planned next."
And I do. When Gabriel drops us of at the movie theater, I don't think much of it. I can't think of a single movie I'd like to see that's in theaters now, but come to think of it, Luce and I have never gone to the movies together and it's a nice, simple thing to do.
The fact that Lucien doesn't buy a ticket doesn't surprise me, he's probably already got those. On the screen showing us which movies are playing, I can't find one that Lucien would take me to. Too violent, too scary, or just too... nothing.
The room he takes me to has a sign on the door, claiming it's not open to the public, yet Lucien walks right in.
"No you didn't..." I immediately recognise the image on the big screen,
"Oh but I did..." He guides me to the place especially put there for us, and I'm actually fighting back tears.
"Lucien...." he looks at me with the same loving look I can imagine I must have on my face right now. "This is.... I can't believe this."
He leans in to kiss me, pulling me close to him as I tangle my fingers in his hair.
We've sat down, all that's left is for the movie to start playing. Lucien has told me to get comfortable, so my head in is in his lap, legs dangling over the loveseat's edge.
So far, this has been the best birthday I've had in years, and just the thought of that makes me emotional. I can't believe I got this lucky, found someone who's willing to go to these lengths for me.
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