718 - Emma
Things aren't entirely back to normal, and they're still far from perfect, but they're just the way I want them to be.
With Lucien's cheeks slowly regaining their blushy colour and his migraines fading away, the weeks leading up to Christmas are peaceful.
Piper seems to have learned from our little encounter, and I haven't seen her around campus anymore. Saying goodbye to my students and wishing them happy holidays is a massive feeling of relief, of finally getting time to myself, of trying to go back to our old lives, even if it's just a little.
I come home to Lucien when it's already pitch black outside, the tree in our livingroom lighting up the house beautifully. The house smells amazing from another batch of pastries and dinner bubbling away on the stove,
"Damn," I grin, seeing Lucien pour me a glass of red wine as soon as I step into the kitchen. He's wearing an apron, covering up his white shirt - one of my favourite looks of his - and his hair looks a little wild, like he kept on pushing it out of his face. "Someone went all out."
He smiles, handing me the glass of wine after happily accepting the kiss I plant on his lips. "It's our last night alone together for a while, so I thought we should probably make the best of it."
"You say that as if we're moving back in with my parents," I chuckle, sipping the wine that seems to come out of a very expensive bottle, "it's just your sister staying with us for a few nights, baby."
"I know, but still... I'm not used to having anyone over for more than just a night, especially not my sister."
"Well, she's going to have to accept whatever she sees," I press another kiss to his cheek, "or hear. She knew that when she asked to stay with us."
After dinner, of which we both have way too much, we lay on the couch. The tree fills my heart with glee, Frank still in his favourite spot somewhere between the branches. The presents, all wrapped, are slowly piling up underneath the tree. The ones for my family are there, as are those for our friends, and some for either of us. Lucien seems to have added some things ever since the last time we went shopping, which is a good sign.
"Any hints as to what you bought me this year?" he follows my gaze, moving a strand of hair out of my face before gently kissing the spot just below my ear, knowing full well that makes me weak.
"That's a secret," I smile, my legs already putty from his touch. "If I told you, I'd ruin any form of surprise."
"Not even a small hint?" he kisses again, a little lower this time.
"Fine," I say under my breath. "The biggest gift isn't under the tree, and you won't get until after New Years."
His body weight shifts, and soon he's sitting up straight, looking at me intensely. "What kind of hint is that? Why won't I get it until the new year?"
"Because it's not ready yet. It needs time," as I almost hear his brain mull over everything, I smile. "Don't worry, you'll find out soon enough."
He frowns. "I hate this anticipation."
I shrug, a mean smile on my face. "Shouldn't have been so nosy, then. If you wouldn't have asked, I wouldn't have told."
Edinburgh is covered in a fresh layer of snow when we wake up and open the curtains. Frank is purring loudly, and though this isn't his first Christmas with us, still seems just as entertained by the white stuff all over our balcony as he was the first time he saw snow.
After breakfast, we do one last clean of the house, making sure it's ready for our guest of honour. Frank has already covered part of the bed in his black and white hair as a little welcome present for Eschieve, and Lucien has made sure to make some of her favourite pastries as another one.
"Remind me again of the plans?" Lucien mumbles, his mouth full of tooth paste.
"Today. Pick up your sister, let her get used to being here, maybe watch a movie or whatever she wants. Tomorrow. We have Emilia's birthday, and we celebrate Christmas with Tom, Kens and the girls. Small. Brie will be there, Matt would try to be there. Eschieve spends the day with Beth. Beth stays the night as well. Day after that, the four of us drive up to my parents. We chill all day. Day after, mum cooks dinner, we celebrate Christmas. We're spending the night, mum insisted, and so is everyone else. It'll be a tight fit, but it's going to be lovely. Do you need more, or is that enough for now?"
He smiles, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "That's enough to take in for now, thank you."
Christmas music is playing in the livingroom, as per my request, and the house smells like cinnamon and the candles I've been burning, making it the most festive it possibly could be. It fills me with so much happiness, combined with getting to see more of our family and having some time together, that I can hardly contain it, and I feel like a young child.
"One request," I spray some perfume on before wrapping my scarf around my neck.
Lucien looks at me with one eyebrow raised, patting his pockets down for his keys. "Shoot."
"On the way back from the airport, can we stop for hot chocolate and mulled wine from that one place on the corner?"
He chuckles. "Of course we can, my love. Anything for you."
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