781. - Lucien
"Oh, my love..." I smile, gently pulling the zipper down. My fingers brush over the skin that gets revealed, causing Emma to shiver. There's a gentle buzz in my head - I'm drunk, but not that drunk. The kind of drunk that makes everything a little brighter, a bit funnier.
"I'm convinced that one day you'll be a blinding vision in white, and I'll be waiting..." I continue as I slip the straps off her shoulders, heart fluttering - and then absolutely plummeting as I realise what I just said. The words, led by alcohol, fly in the air with no way of taking them back.
But by a stroke of incredible luck, or maybe also just enough alcohol, Emma just rolls her eyes and then laughs, giving me a gentle shove against my chest. "Me being wrapped in sheets the morning after doesn't count."
"The morning after what?" I tease, taking my escape and absolutely running away with it. With perfect timing, her dress drops to the floor, revealing one of my favourite sets of lingerie. I grin while she just rolls her eyes again. "Come on now, Em... This morning you were up and running before I even got my chance to stare."
"You..." Emma teases, standing on her toes to kiss me. As she does, her skin presses against my bare chest, which I'm convinced is one of my favourite feelings in the entire world. "Are far too predictable."
"I'm an old man now." I chuckle lightly. "I'm set in my ways."
Check-out is at twelve, meaning that we're at breakfast at ten-thirty. None of us look too hangover, which is an upgrade from the last several years and also a painful reminder that we're getting older. Chris, now no longer protected by the excitement of a party, seems a little more nervous than she did yesterday, but I'm happy to see that everyone is putting in the effort to make her feel welcome. I'm a little too distracted to really join in, the ring burning my skin even though it's hidden in my wallet in my back pocket now that it's just hours ticking away.
Matt catches my eye a couple of times, but never long enough to make it suspicious. He knows. I'm pretty sure Gabriel knows, too. Eschieve probably does too, but she's better at hiding it. Or maybe I'm just too self-involved right now and is she genuinely enjoying breakfast with her best friend and the others.
"You okay, babe?" Emma asks me. She's got her hand on my leg, gently squeezing it.
"Just processing the last twenty-four hours." I smile as I lean in to kiss her cheek. "More than happy that my birthday fell on the Thursday before spring break, because that means we can take our sweet time to recover."
"You have exams to study for." Eschieve says helpfully. "And an internship."
"Yes." I groan. "Thank you, darling sister."
She laughs as I toss a miniature croissant at her head. Her reply is slathering it in butter and then biting into it with vigor. But her comment does break my nerves a little bit, for which I'm thankful. She winks at me when Emma isn't looking, and I smile.
After breakfast and checkout, everyone goes their separate ways. Kenna and Tom make the drive to Tom's parents to pick up the kids, and Gabriel and Matthew each go home to their own place. Emma and I drop off the Tiny's at Beth's, because as far as Emma and Beth know, Eschieve is staying another day or two because other flights were booked.
"Appelle moi demain." She whispers in my ear as we hug our goodbyes. "Je t'aime."
As we drive to our own apartment, I hold Emma's hand in mine. We drive in silence, which is unusual for us. No music, no talking, just us driving through the city that's slowly becoming engulfed in spring. It's an extremely nice day considering, which is perfect.
"You look happy." Emma suddenly says. I glance sideways, and she's looking at me with a curiosity that I love. A curiosity behind which love goes hidden. I smile at her.
"I am happy. Amazing party, amazing birthday, and I got to spend it all with the people I love most." I shrug, and she squeezes my hand. "I just... The year's been good so far. And I feel that we deserve that."
"We do." She agrees with a gentle smile, the spring sun pouring down on her through the window. It illuminates her, encases her, almost like an angel. I wink at her, and then the moment is broken by an idiot driver running a red light and nearly hitting us in the process.
The pets are delighted to have us back, because of course they are. They snuggle up to us as Emma and I lay entangled on the couch, both too tired and too lazy to do much else than watching the two episodes of Bake-Off we had waiting for us on the recording.
"What do you want to do for dinner tonight?" Emma asks, half asleep with Frank on her chest.
"We can order in." I suggest. "Chinese? We can shop groceries tomorrow."
"Mhmmm, that sounds very good." She snuggles closer to me, clearly preparing for a nap. "But I do want to get outside today in some way..."
I can't help but smile. Where Emma accused me of being predictable just last night, she's just the same. She can't stay inside an entire day, and I figured I'd use that to my example.
"We can go take a walk after dinner. The weather's supposed to stay clear, it's light for much longer... It's been a while since we saw the city after hours."
She snorts. "Between 7 and 10 pm isn't 'after hours', Lucien."
With a chuckle, I kiss the top of her head. "I'm thirty now. Of course it's after hours."
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