298 - Emma
All of this, it's... like a dream that I never want to wake up from. Some kind of fairytale that has made its way to real life.
"All of this....," I gesture around into the great wide open, "today... it's been enough of a gift, but I know you won't let me get away with that..." There's tears in my eyes and an audible tremble in my voice that I try to hide, knowing full well I'm failing.
He shakes his head, pressing another kiss to the back of my hand.
"Just... thank you. I feel so, so loved, and I just hope you know I feel the same way about you," I wipe away a stray tear with my free hand, then reaching out to the first gift Lucien has moved in my direction.
"I do. Now... open it."
The wrapping rips easily as I tear through it, finding two books hidden in the paper. One in French, one in English, the titles immediately ringing a bell. "Baby..."
"There's some notes in there," he smiles, "so you think of me as you read."
I want to thank him, flip through the pages as I take this gift in, but he immediately nudges another gift my way.
It feels a lot like my gift to Lucien before I take it out of the bag, but it's different as I finally lift it. The jar is filled with paper stars, in a wide array of colours.
"Open them when you miss me," he squeezes my knee softly, seeing me tear up again. "Or when you need to be reminded of how much I love you."
The thoughtfulness of these gifts won't make it much easier to stop shedding tears, and it doesn't get any easier when he hands me a velvet box, swearing up and down it's the last gift.
"What?" I smile through my tears, wiping them away, "you're not wearing sexy, yellow lacey lingerie under your clothes as a final gift?"
He laughs with me, shaking his head. "Unfortunately, my size was sold out. Maybe next birthday."
"I'll keep you to that," I tell him, my finger slowly sliding across the soft surface of the box.
As I finally open it, Lucien's eyes focussed on me, I feel blown away. It's small, and delicate, simple yet breathtakingly beautiful.
"Clara showed it to me when we were in Paris," he tells me, feeling how I've gone speechless. "It's nearly seventy years old, she got it from a friend when she just fell in love with Louis. The friend got it in the exact same way, and so did the friend before her... It's special."
"It's beautiful," I tell him, fingers touching the silver detailing. "All of this... it's perfect."
He slowly lifts the necklace out of the box, getting up and moving hair out of the way as he puts the fragile chain around my neck, closing the clasp.
I can feel his breath on my skin, his fingers just nearly grazing the cold nape of my neck.
"Are you going to kiss me, now?" I ask him as he's still behind me, not touching me but still very close.
"Would you like me to kiss you, now?" he answers my question with a question.
"I would," I say, almost breathlessly. "It's still my birthday for another... fourty-eight minutes, and you know you can't say no to me on my birthday."
I feel him laugh, the air he lets out warming up my skin that's gotten cold from the night's temperature.
After this, it all moves fast. We both move, almost simultanously, and I end up straddling him, our bodies feeling possibly closer than they've ever been.
We kiss, his lips tasting like all of the things we've had to snack tonight and some wine. His body feels warm against mine, forgetting about how we're outside on the water. He smells like a mixture of his perfume, laundry detergent and something I still can't quite place - just like Lucien, basically.
My hands find their way under his sweater, feeling his skin against my fingertips.
"We should go inside," he whispers against my lips as we come up for air. "You'll get cold."
"I've got you here to keep me warm," I purr back, hands moving to his back and nails raking against the skin they meet there. "This is romantic."
I can feel him smile against my lips as he goes back in to kiss me.
Right then and there, everything feels just right. Almost perfect, even. Just as we always wish for, it's just the two of us. No one else.
We eventually do move inside, but it's way past midnight and after we've both caught our breath.
I'm in just my underwear, covered by a flimsy robe. My birthday is officially over, but neither of us bring it up, still on some kind of high.
"If the water wasn't still freezing cold," I smile, sipping on my wine, watching Lucien try and figure out the music installation in the cabin. "I'd ask you to swim with me."
He looks back at me and smiles. "Would you now?"
I nod. "What better way to face your fears than with the love of your life by your side?"
"Love of my life?" he doesn't entertain the whole idea of swimming, in stead cherry picks what I just said. There's a smile on his face and a few seconds later he shoots me a look filled with triumph, music now playing.
"Is that too soon to say?" I trace my finger across the rim of my glass. "Maybe.. maybe it is. But... well, I feel confident in making that claim right here, right now. There's never been someone who's made me feel the way you have. Loved, happy.... free. So I'm not taking back what I've said."
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