Foto bij 823. - Lucien

After the absolute whirlwind that has been the last couple of weeks, we decide we need some time to decompress. The apartment has started to feel too crowded even with just the two of us living there, and in true Scotland-fashion, the weather has been cloudy more than it's been sunny. The sunny days that we have had, I had to spend in office. So, with a week of my internship left, we go spend the weekend in France - both to break routine, and to check Jardin Shakespeare again before making a final decision. Everything is packed and Emma is picking me up from the firm this afternoon, after having triple checked that Callum isn't going to be here today.
Since today is another rare sunny day, it seems to be dragging on even longer than usual. My mind keeps drifting away from the casework in front of me and by the time lunch rolls around, I've done maybe half the work I usually do in that timeframe.
"Are you going to be of any use to me today?" Noah quibs once lunch is over and I loudly complain about not wanting to go back inside.
"No." I say truthfully, and he laughs.

I can feel waterdrops running down my face, over my cheeks and towards my ear. Others run over the line of my jaw and end up getting lost in my beard. My clothes are sticking to my skin and my eyes are burning slightly from the chlorine in the water. The sun is burning down on me, keeping my warm despite being soaked to the bone. The grass tickles the skin of my arms and legs. If I close my eyes, it's easy to imagine I'm twelve years old again.
The illusion is broken by water dripping down on my face and a shadow moving over my eyes; I blink them open to see Emma standing over me, her wet hair framing her face. I smile at her.
"Our phones are having a lovely spa-day in their rice." She announces before coming to lay head to head with me. I turn my head to kiss her forehead, still cool from our dip into the pool. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"Mostly just feeling nostalgic, and that it's good to be here without the impending doom of telling my father of our upcoming marriage."
"He's not suddenly going to come home, right?"
"No." I chuckle. "He's in Japan for at least another week. For this glorious weekend, the manor is all ours."
"What about Eschieve?"
"Trip with the swimteam. Happy coincidence."
She smiles at me. "So it's really just us?"
"Mmhhmm... Just us, on three hectares of land, with the closest neighbours not being in earshot in any kind of way."
"Is that so?" Her eyes sparkle, and she rolls on her side to face me. Even upside down, she's the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. "How lucky we are with those conditions..."
"Lucky?" I ask innocently, and she grins.
"Very lucky."
Her lips find mine, and I am putty in her hands. It feels like something out of a movie or a fairytale, to kiss her under the French summer sun like this. I shiver when I feel her shift so that she now hovers over me, her wet hair hanging around our faces like a curtain. At the manor, so seperated from the world, it's easy to forget that time exists at all. And when Emma's hand sprawl out over my chest and glide downwards, time seems to stop moving all together.
      "I'm sorry we don't go here more often." When I look up, Emma is looking truely and honestly guilty. At my questioning look, she elaborates. "It's just... I know you love it. I know you miss it. And I can totally see why. This is a part of you just as much as Scotland is a part of me."
"I know you're going to say I've got nothing to be sorry for." She says before I can say exactly that. "But seeing how relaxed you are when we're here... I just feel bad."
We're on the sun terrace, enjoying the last golden rays of warmth with a glass of expensive wine and the remnants of a delicious tapas-like dinner still on the table. I watch her for a moment, leaving room for any other confessions, but none come. I hold my hand out for her, and she takes it - albeit with some hesitation.
"Okay, yes, I love France, and nothing will feel quite like home like the manor does. And maybe I would like to come here more often than we're doing right now. But," I pause, and her mouth closes with a snap. "that doesn't mean I'm not happy in Scotland."
"But you always say you ha-"
"I know." I cut in. "And a part of me does. There's always going to be a part of me that's going to loathe that rainy, cold country that seems to have entirely misunderstood the concept of 'decent weather' and that is full of people I'll never be able to understand. But don't you think I would've made a bigger point of regularly coming to France if I hadn't found something that made life in Scotland worthwhile?"
She doesn't look me in the eye, but her lips twists into somewhat of a sad smile.
"C'mhere." I tug her over to me, putting my wine glass down on the tiles. She joins me on the bed, laying over my chest, and I wrap my arms tightly around her. "You're not allowed to feel bad, you hear me? The second time around, I chose to move to Scotland. And there's a lot of things that I don't like about it, and there's even more things that I miss about Paris and France. But none of that compares to what you give me. I could live anywhere, as long as I had you and the rest of our family. You make it worthwhile always."

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