Foto bij 561. - Lucien

Half my brain is screaming at me to suck it up, while the other half is screaming just as loud that I should leave. It doesn't care that it's five minutes to midnight. It doesn't care that Gabriel is off-his-rocker drunk. It just wants to leave this damn party and take Emma with me, so he can no longer lay his eyes on her. The anger boils in my veins, just below the skin, but I force it down the second it comes up. This is not the place, nor the time.
It all takes but a few seconds. Matteo is still here with us, now looking a little awkward without his arm candy; he gets saved by Gabriel's voice over the speakers.
"Alright alright alriiight! Time to find your other halves, my friends, because the end of year is near! Ça touche enfin à sa fin! There's three minutes left to it! If you don't half your other half yet, just grab the nearest person who's looking lonesome. No strings attached! Just for a minute or so to start the year in a proper way! Everybody's got one? No? Oi, Jakey-boy, there’s still someone near the, um.. the… le.. le -? God fucking dammit, what's the word?! Le coin! That's the one - there's still someone in the corner, Jakey." He doesn't notice that Jake and the lonesome girl have already found each other, both laughing, the question if they should actually do this etched onto their faces. "Well, that sure filled the time left, didn't it? It's tough not being a native sometimes, y'all. Now, are we all ready?" A pause. "Eleven..! Ten..! Nine..!" By then, pretty much everyone attending has joined in with the countdown - me and Emma included. Gabriel has abandoned his mic, now joined by Matteo, and in the short time span I'm unable to find Matthew.
My attention is drawn to Emma, who is grinning wide with her arms already over my shoulders. The countdown gets to two, and then one, and then on the count of zero the sprinklers Gabriel mentioned go off, as well as confetti canons, and everybody yells their delight. So do Emma and I, before my lips find hers to start the new year in the best way I could imagine.
"Happy New Year." She breathes, her forehead pressed against mine.
"Bonne année, love." I grin. "To the best one yet."
"I'm fully counting on it." Her arms snake around my neck so she can pull me close for another kiss.
"I see you two are getting right on with the baby making for the new year." A familiar voice says. I immediately want to punch the grin off of his face, without even having seen it yet. "Personally I'd wait a while - Gwen won't shut up about having her birthday in the summer, it's apparently a nightmare when you're in school."
"Thank you for your feedback, Matt." I say, exasperated. Emma is laughing quietly, and I join as we detach. Matthew is alone, with that shit-eating grin I'd predicted. "Was there a bet on who could make the first baby comment of the year?"
"Would you believe me if I said no?" His grin widens. "Happy New Year, mate." He hugs me tightly, giving me the standard two pats on the back, and then does the same with Emma - only the pats get replaced by kisses on the cheeks. Quickly after we move on to wish other people a happy new year, getting separated in the process. Despite Brie's loft not being gigantic, there's still enough people for me to completely lose sight of Emma. How exactly is a mystery to me, but she seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth.
In my search for her, I run into Brie again - sort of. His face is attached to Matteo's. The only way I'm able to recognise him is by the glitter on his cheeks, because Matteo is all over him. He's got my best friend pressed up against the wall, one of Brie's legs around his waist.
I get swept up in conversation at a point where the two are still in my field of view. In a subconscious need to be protective, I keep an eye on them while also trying to keep the conversation going. There comes a point where Matteo's head dips to Brie's neck. I'm about to leave them to it and continue the search for Emma when I notice Brie's expression: his head has fallen back against the wall, Matteo still working on his neck, and his eyes are closed. There's a wrinkle between his brows, his lips are pressed to a thin line, but it all disappears in a split second when Matteo comes back up and asks him something. The smile Gabriel offers is a fake one and it falters immediately when Matteo resumes his place as a neck-warmer.
I mutter some excuse to whoever I'm conversing with before I head over to them, tapping Matteo on the shoulder. Gabriel gives me a wide grin, whereas Matteo looks at me like he wants to tear me limb from limb.
"Lucien! Êtes-vous venu nous rejoindre?" Brie slurs. His leg slips away from Matteo's hip, who's still making sure that the man stays trapped between him and the wall. "You gotta ask Matteo though, I'm not sure if he's into that!" What he says next almost makes me reconsider my plan of saving him; he perks up, eyes suddenly bright. "You could even ask Emma to join!"
"Yeah, I don't think so." I say darkly, focusing on Matteo. "You. Scram."
He raises an eyebrow at me. "And who are you to tell me so?"
"Someone who's gonna speak on Brie's behalf, because he's clearly too drunk to consent to anything you're doing. Get the fuck out of here."
Lucky for me, Matteo is clever enough to do so. The moment Gabriel is free from his grasp, I get punched in the chest: even in his intoxicated state, the man is able to pack a lot of power. "What'd you do that for?!"
"You'll thank me in the morning." I look him up and down. "If you'll even remember it."
"What is your problem?" He snaps. "I'll thank you for nothing, all you did was ruin a perfectly fun night!"
"Oh, piss off! You weren't into that in the slightest!"
"Of course I wasn't! But it beats watching you and Emma get it on!" He glares at me. "Should've known you'd feel the need to play the fucking hero. Just leave me alone, why don't you? Because if I don't see you, I don't see Emma either, and that seems to be exactly what you want."

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