647. - Lucien
"Babe, not so quick. I can barely feel my feet - Lucien!" She pulls my wrist, forcing me to a halt. When I turn to her, she's got one leg hoisted up on the other, massaging the sides of it to relieve some of the pain. Earlier I already suggested she'd take them off, but three steps into that plan she nearly stepped in glass, so that was quickly abandoned. I'd haul us a cab, but we're in the car-less part of the city.
"How much further?" She asks. I check my smart watch, which is displaying our Google Maps route.
She groan miserably. "Nope. That's it. This is where I'm sleeping. I'm just going to find the most comfortable bit of cobble stone road, and that's where I'm going to lay down." She sinks down on the curb, pulling off her shoes. "And then tomorrow, I'm tossing these in the Trevi fountain."
I watch her with a bemused smile. She'd absolutely toss one of the heels at my head if I said it out loud, but the whole thing is adorable to me. I give it a few seconds, letting her pull her hair out of the tight bun. Her hair castcades over her shoulders, full of weird kinks and twists from where it got strangled by elastics and bobby pins.
"Would you get up?" I ask after a while, arms crossed over my chest. "We have a lovely bed waiting for us."
She glares at me from down on the curb. "I'm not walking, Luce. No way in hell."
"I know." I hold out an arm, beckoning her. "But you're not sleeping here either."
With a skeptical frown she takes my hand and allows me to pull her up. "Then what is your solution, Mr Genius?"
"Something I'm definitely going to regret." I take the shoes from her, and then turn my back to her, crouching down. "Get on up."
Nothing happens. I can't see it, but I'd imagine she's looking at me like I'm stupid. "Babe, that's ten minutes of walking."
"If I get tired, I'll just drop you."
"That's very reassuring."
"Come on now, love." I laugh, peeking at her over my shoulder. "Your other option is sleeping on the cobble stone."
Another unofficial staring contest ensues, but she is quick to give in; she grabs my shoulders, giving me a stern look. "You have to tell me when it's getting too much!"
"Of course I will. I promise."
"Luce - no! Luce!" She laughs, ducking down with her forehead against my shoulder when I shamelessly walk through some lowhanging branches. We're nearly at the hotel, and my arms feel like they're about to give out. Those months of hanging around the house and avoiding the gym are really catching up on me now.
"Sorry, didn't see those." I grin, heading straight towards the next overhanging tree. Emma yelps, laughing again. Her grip on me tightens, none to my complaint.
"You are such a child!" She says when it's finally safe for her to keep her head up again.
"You took me into a bar where the only right thing to drink was beer. Beer makes me childish." is my defense. I can almost hear her roll her eyes.
"Sure, blame me."
"Of course! That's the most fun of all - hey!" I try to avoid a second poke to my sides, but with her tangled around me like this that's nearly impossible. Our laughs carry over the near-empty streets of Rome, no doubt waking and annoying the locals. We stumble the last few streets to the hotel, where I gladly drop her back down to the ground.
"Last time." I state, rubbing my forearms. "Next time I'm carrying you is if we ever move again."
"I told you to tell me if it got too much!" She laughs, rolling her eyes. "You don't get to complain if you were too stubborn to admit you couldn't take it."
"I'm a man, of course I get to complain."
When we head inside, we're greeted by the poor bloke who's working the nightmare shift at the desk. He gets a half-hearted wave from us before we head straight towards the elevator, both tired after the endless day we've had. In the elevator, Emma wraps her arms around my waist and rest her chin against my chest so that she's looking up at me.
"Can you believe we were still in Switzerland this morning?" She smiles. "That seems days ago."
"Doesn't it?" I brush some strands of hair out of her face, smiling back at her. "We've got all the time in the world here, babe... Anything you want, we'll make it happen."
With a quick bounce to her toes she pecks me on the lips, just before the door roll open to let us onto our floor. It could be the alcohol, or the exhaustion, or just the fact that I'm finally back in Rome, but I'm feeling giddy. There's butterflies in my stomach, everything is funny and all is beautiful. Most of all Emma, in the terracotta dress and her soft make-up and her hair that is slowly straightening itself out. If you would have me pick between saving any famous building in Rome from being destroyed, or making sure no harm came to Emmeline Middleton, I would save Emma before my heart could even beat twice.
"You're staring." Emma smiles as she swipes our keycard. My brows shoot skywards.
"You weren't even looking."
"No, but I could feel it." She laughs, offering me her hand again as she heads inside. The moment the door closes, I pull her into me; catching her face in my hands and pressing my lips down on hers. I feel her melt against me, a soft sigh escaping her. When I finally pull away, she looks a little dazed.
"Where did that come from?" She asks breathlessly. I grin.
"I just love you. So much. I'm so happy we're here. Together, just you and me."
Her smile is somewhere between amused and full of love. "You are a weirdo when you're drunk on beer. But I love you, too."
"You betcha you do." I grin, wrapping my arms around her tiny frame, suddenly asking myself the question if she's ever even seen this side of me. It doesn't get out very often. But she doesn't allow me much time to dwell on it, because she kisses me again. It's loaded different this time, and the giddiness melts away to make place for something way different.
"Oh, that's right." I say softly when she pulls away for air. "I believe I made some promises earlier in the restaurant..."
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