We've stalled it all out on the kitchen table. Countless sweets and confections, from all over the world, placed in semi-neat rows to showcase the absolute insane amount we bought. The moment I walked in there I was twelve again, with not a care in the world except how far my coins were going to get me. Despite the changing times, the store still only accepted cash, meaning I was still limited in how much I was able to get. All for the better, probably, because what I had on me still carried me a long way. I hand Emma one of the brigadeiros, a Brazilian truffle made of condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. 
"These were my father's favourite." I tell her as I peel the wrapper off my own. "He'd often sneak me an extra five euros just for those. They'd be gone the next morning." 
Emma shoots me a bemused look before trying, her eyes fluttering close. "Oh my God."
"Right?" I grin. "Very heavy, but so good." 
"You know, I think that picturing your father as a family man is an even weirder concept to me than you as a child." She suddenly notes, wiping a stray chocolate sprinkle from the corner of her mouth. "In my mind he's just the kind of guy that doesn't age. He just came into existence like this." 
I chuckle lightly at the mental image that creates. "I'm not sure if I'd call him a family man. He was always occupied with work, even on vacation. Like I told you, I did more father-son things with Row than with Jacques. But he was a little more present when we were away. Everything he did was educational in some way. He loved teaching us, even though it annoyed us because, you know. We were on vacation. But I still know how to work longitude and latitude, so it must have left some kind of impression." 
Emma watches me like she's been watching me a lot since our trip started. I still don't mind it; I'm much too happy that she's finally looking at me again. I've stopped asking what goes on in her head, because usually she'll tell me if I hold her gaze long enough. This time is no different. 
"I like this." She says softly, closing the distance between us and putting her hands on my chest. "Learning about you. I know that sharing isn't really something you do, but when you do… I really enjoy it. It makes you more human."
I look down on her, arms loosely wrapped around her. Even though it's only been a day, there's some new freckles on her nose that only come out when they get enough sunlight. "What was I before that, then?" 
Something shifts in her eyes. Something I can't entirely place, between sorrow and gratefulness, and she smiles a wistful smile. "A dream. And sometimes, I'm still not convinced you're real."

We get burned out of the bedroom the next morning. The night was still cold, so we didn't turn on the AC, but Emma's statement of it being the hottest day proves itself right even in the early hours of the morning. But it's so good just laying there, with the view of the city and the sky behind it through the panorama windows, the stark white sheets only half covering us, that I get up to turn in the cooler so that we can lay a little bit longer. I'm laying on my back, while Emma's on her side with her head propped up. She's drawing figures on my bare arms, occasionally making me shiver, which causes her to pause so she can check if I'm okay. I always am. 
"So, beach today?" I suggest after a while, following the pattern she's making. "I feel we did plenty yesterday to earn the day of doing nothing." 
"We did." Emma agrees with a smile. "The beach sounds lovely. Maybe a quick trip to the store so we don't have to leave our spot once we've found it?" 
"An excellent idea. Once we get settled, I plan to only leave for a swim in the ocean." I let out a lazy yawn. We've both had plenty of sleep, but I suspect Emma feels the same kind of exhaustion I do, the traumatic kind that settles deep in your bones and isn't fixed with a night of sleep. "Talking of swimming… Will you wear your new bathing suit?" She tried it on last night when we got back, and it was an image that followed me to my dreams. But when I mention it, her face falls. 
"Lucien…"
"I know, I know." I cut in, letting my fingers brush over the arm that keeps crossing my body. "You don't want to. You're insecure, you worry about what others may think." I'm not looking at her, because I'm not sure if I'll be able to hold back if I do. Had things been normal, this would be the point where I'd crawl over her, trapping her beneath my body, and bury my face in her neck to kiss that spot I know makes her knees buckle. I'd keep kissing it until she'd fit perfectly against me, my hands traveling down her sides to find every piece of exposed skin. I would kiss every spot that I love about her, which is all of her, and then I'd kiss her lips until they'd softly moan my name. There are some things that words cannot convey, and how sexy she is to me is one of them. But we're not there yet. For now, I have nothing but my words and a light touch of a fingertip dancing over her soft skin. "You looked so radiating in it. Like you were ready to take on the entire world, and like you'd win it, too. You looked powerful. And, as not to forget that I'm a man, you just looked smoking hot. The kind of hot that makes me want to hide you in one of my shirts, because I don't want men to think the things I know they will, but also the kind of hot that makes me want to show you off." I give her a lopsided grin. "If you don't want to, that's a choice I'll respect and I'll shut up about it. But there's absolutely no need to convince me."

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