Foto bij 401. - Lucien

Stella and Matthias have outdone themselves. We are somewhere in the countryside of France, where they booked up a giant mansion with enough room for the party and enough space outside for all the entertainment; an array of circus acts, food stands and other things befitting the theme of the 1950s. The whole area is lit with endless strings full of bulb lights and music from the era is constantly playing on the background, truly giving it the feeling of a carnaval crossed with a summer fair. In the middle of it all stands a vintage caroussel, available for rides. Stella tried pushing the ferriswheel home, but ultimately I decided that it was a little too much.
The inside is one area, as opposed to the many smaller ones of last year, and decorated entirely with the decade in mind; it holds the feeling of a diner from that time, with lots of checkers, soft pinks and blues and the entire ceiling covered in balloons. The speakers are disguised as jukeboxes, the walls are speckled with old records bought in from second hand stores. Besides the regular bar there's a milkshake bar as well, alongside a candy bar and a popcorn station. Matthias suggested a hotdog building station, but we feared that it might be too strong of a scent.
Finally, Stella and Matthias brought in two cars that guests can take pictures with: on one side, elevated on a platform, there is a pastel blue 1955 Thunderbird, and on the other side is an agressively red 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. Somehow my planners have made it the exact right amount of tacky, which makes the whole thing just marvelous.
They sent me off upstairs, because a hairdresser was waiting for me to give me a proper greaser, becauseno one trusted me to do it myself. Matthew, Gabriel and Eschieve are here too, all equally excited. With my hair almost done, Eschieve leans over my shoulders from behind, looking at me through the mirror.
"Emma is going to love this whole look on you." She grins. I roll my eyes, but don't try to fight it. All week she's been pestering me about it, arguing whenever I tried telling that Emma isn't into me like that and the moment Gabriel and Matthew came to France, they happily chimed in.
Truth is, I'm nervous to see Emma again. We haven't met up since that night out, because life kept us both busy and also kept me out of Scotland, but we've been texting and at some point, that morphed into calling at least three times a week. Today's been quiet, but then again I've been preoccupied with last minute party planning. Despite mild protests I flew them out to France on my costs, because I didn't want them to worry about any of that. For the night, they have a room together in the mansion. It's on the same floor as mine, but a few doors down. Matthias, in charge of room assignment, told me he tried to get them on a different floor but hadn't been able to. I was strangely relieved to find that out.
"Come on, Lucifer!" Matthew tosses me my leather jacket. "It's nearly time and we still need to take a group picture."
Gabriel is dressed in an outfit inspired by Elvis, while Matthew went for something a little more simple. Both of them look insanely good. Eschieve has donned a replica of Audrey Hepburn's iconic outfit from Breakfast at Tiffany's, which has me feeling all kinds of things about my little sister, and then mostly anger when I think of all the men that will definitely stare at her all night. And finally I am dressed as Danny Zuko, against complaints from Eschieve and Brie until I told them what happened at the bar with Emma. I've chosen the iconic, all-black outfit from You're The One That I Want, but instead of the letterman-jacket I opted for a leather one, because it looks a thousand times better.
"Come on!" Eschieve urges when I take too long checking myself in the mirror; she grabs my arm to pull me into the group picture. We snap quite a few, but eventually I get a text from Stella that we really should be getting down here.
Guests have already started streaming in with the shuttle service we've provided from the nearest city, and I'm gratulated and greeted left and right. The music is already blasting - a mix of several era's, but nothing past the eighties - and it's not long before the party is in full swing. Every few seconds I'm pulled in a different direction, but never by the one I want to see most of all. I'm constantly scanning the crowds, trying to find her, but I see neither her nor her sister. Suddenly I'm worried that they didn't come after all.
"God, you're terrible at being subtle."
I whip around to find Eschieve behind me. She hooks her arm through mine and pulls me along, a darling smile on her lips. "Seriously, if Emma doesn't realise you're still madly in love with her I'm going to question her sanity."
"Es -"
"Oh, don't even try. You turned around the entire damn theme of this party for her, you dressed as the person that sang the song you nearly kissed her to and now you can't keep eye contact for longer than half a second, because then you're off looking for her."
I let out a heavy sigh, giving in. Fighting Eschieve is useless anyway, because she's more stubborn than me and Emma combined. "Well it's not like it mattered, right? She's not here."
Eschieve glares at me like I'm the dumbest person alive. "It's a party with nearly sevenhundred people attending. It's not going to be easy to find her. Lucky for you, you have a brilliant sister who's already spotted her!" She's still subtly leading me and we end up outside, which is even more crowded than inside because it's a soft evening and all the bulb lights give off a certain warmth that makes it comfortable to be outside. Eschieve seems to know exactly where we're going, but I have no clue at all. No matter where I look, I don't see Emma.
"Lucien?"
"Hmm?"
"You love me, right?"
"What?" I look down on her, confused, but she isn't looking at me. "Of course I do!"
"Good. Remember that." She smiles apologetically, confusing me only more, and then suddenly gives me a rough shove against the back while also placing a foot in front of mine, tripping me and causing me to tumble down in the grass. The air is knocked out of me, but even in my shock I see Eschieve darting forward and tapping someone ahead of me on the shoulder, before quickly disappearing.
"Lucien?"
I only see the heels and the black leggings, but I know exactly who that voice belongs to, and I quietly vow to murder Eschieve because she had me, quite literally, fall for Emma.

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