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Seeing how happy Lucien is makes my heart flutter every single time. Almost like a child, his present and the new addition to our family goes everywhere with him.
To both of our surprises, he gets along just fine with Frank, and after what feels like hours of playtime, the both of them fall asleep on the couch as the fireplace roars.
"I still can't believe you," Lucien chuckles, pulling me in closer. "A dog... after letting me know how much you hated the idea of us having a dog."
"It added to the element of surprise, didn't it?" I smile, nuzzling my face into his sweater. "Besides, I'd do anything to see you happy."
      I use us having a dog as an opportunity to force a long walk on Lucien, the cold January air making us chilly to the bone, but rosy nonetheless.
"How are you feeling, with classes around the corner?" I ask, wrapping the scarf a little tighter around myself.
"I was hoping I could go without thinking about that for a little longer," he sighs as our still nameless pup smells some frozen bushes. "I can't say I'm too excited."
"I'm sure it will be fine. You'll ace all of your assignments, and before you know it you'll have your degree," I smile, linking my arm with his free one.
"I know," he nods, the answer not fully convincing me.
"And I can always accuse Piper of plagiarism and have her kicked out," I add, trying to let him know that I can read his mind, even if he decides not to mention the whole Piper Kent thing.
He chuckles, though there's a hint of pain intertwined with the sound. "I'd rather just poison her coffee myself."
"As your girlfriend," I press a kiss to his cheek, "I can't let you do that. As a lawyer, I'd say... make sure you don't get caught."
      Getting up early for the first time in what feels like forever is a hard task for the both of us, but it gets made easier by not one, but two complaining animals that won't shut up until they get fed.
The return to normalcy seems to weigh heavier on Lucien than it does on me, which makes total sense seeing how last year ended.
"I can't promise you it's all going to be fine," I place my hand on his knee after we've parked, wasting time until we have to go our seperate ways. "But I know you can deal with it. You can always call me, or Eschieve, or Brie. If she ever so much as comes close to you, don't be afraid to just walk away.. Don't waste a second of your time on her, yes?"
His eyes miss the sparkle they've had for the past couple of weeks, weeks in which there was no stress, no Piper Kent lurking around the corner to remind him of worse times. Still, he smiles, and tries his hardest to at least pretend.

Days, no matter how stressful, seem to fly by. Unlike the way things were before all went wrong, we manage to make time for one another every day.
There's long walks with our dog, homecooked meals, episodes of Bake Off and weekends spent sleeping in and making up for so-called lost time.
Though it has been impossible for the both of us to totally avoid Piper, she seems to have gotten the memo and has laid low.
I'm too familiar with our way of life to just assume this is how it will always be, this peace and quiet way of living, but it's a nice change.
Yet, a month has gone by without anything terrible or weird happening, and it has given the both of us some room to breathe.
It's a quiet Wednesday night, and Lucien is on his way home after a late lecture. There's a stew bubbling on the stove, and I'm listening to some Shania Twain as I pour two glasses of red wine. Both of our pets are tuckered out in the living room, and I steal a sip out of my glass to celebrate this moment in time.
Though I try not to focus on it too much, it's nice to appreciate how normal everything seems. I know that focussing on it might ruin everything, so I snap out of it quickly, returning to stirring in my pan as the house fills with scents of red wine and garlic.
A bark and a meow signal Lucien's return, followed by the dangling of keys and the opening of our front door. "I'm home!"
"I figured," I call out in return, soon thereafter greeted by Lucien, following his nose into the kitchen, both of our pets following him as if he's the sole keeper of their food. He presses a soft kiss to my lips and takes a quick peek into the pan.
"Smells delicious," he smiles, grabbing one of the glasses. "What do I owe this pleasure to on a simple Wednesday night?"
"Nothing special," I chuckle, "I just love you and I wanted to treat you. That, and it's nearly Valentines day, and if I'm correct, it's our first one we actually get to celebrate together, so I've started celebrating early."
"Well, I love you, too," he pecks my cheek once more, "and I'd love to do the dishes after you're done, to treat you in return."
"I would love that," I smile. "You're the best."
He chuckles. "I know-"
Before he can finish his sentence, probably with something witty, my phone rings. It hardly does anymore, because most of my friends would rather text than call, so it surprises me. Especially when I see it's Eschieve calling me.
Lucien notices it, too, and gestures for me to pick it up.
"Hey, Eschieve, what's up?"
"So I was going to get a cab or like, a bus," her voice sounds a little hoarse, "But I can't figure it out, and it's getting way too cold. Can you come pick me up from the airport?"
"Airport?" I repeat, unsure of what is implied by her question. Lucien's eyebrows raise, too. "Did we.. Did I forget something? What airport are you at right now?"
"Edinburgh," she simply states. "I... I figured I'd surprise you, or something. So.. can you come pick me up?"

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