Chapter 22 - A goodnight kiss
Emma slipped into the bathroom where she checked herself in the mirror. When she observed herself she noticed the huge grin on her face and even though she tried to make it faint, it just wasn’t possible. She was afraid that she would not be able to hide this for Louis, but she just felt so happy that it had to be worth it. „You took a long time,” Louis stated when she sat down at the table. There were already some empty cocktail glass on the table but Emma's Strawberry Daiquiri was fortunately still full. „Sutton rang, so we talked for a minute,” she simply replied and smiled to herself. She sipped her drink as she watched her friends - or actually it felt more her family. Louis was telling a story about something that had happened the last time they were clubbing and of course he once again caused the whole table to laugh. Audrey listened with interest since she had missed that night, and Esme tried to control her laughing fit. Zayn came back quickly, and as he passed by Emma on the way to his chair he discreetly brushed her shoulder. She noticed immediately how her skin burned by his touch, and this single movement made her cheeks dark red. Zayn winked at her and reached for his beer. Louis and the girls already seemed a little drunk so fortunately no one notice anything.
„He told me, I swear!” Zayn exclaimed and everyone cracked up laughing. Emma once again stopped herself from taking Zayn’s hand and interlace their fingers, since his hand was lying right in front of her on the table. The waiter had just arrived with another round of drinks, and the time flew by. Emma had never dared to hope for such a good birthday. She had enjoyed every second of it. Louis and Zayn had had a long discussion with the girls regarding who was going to pay the bill. Emma explained that since it was her birthday she was the one, who had invited them, and therefore she should pay - but the boys would not give up, and eventually Zayn and Louis got up and split the bill. Esme had already called her father, who was on his way to pick her and Audrey up, since they both were staying at Esme’s.
Without thinking about it Emma was observing Zayn. Louis had paid half and had gone to the bathroom, so Zayn was standing alone at the counter. Emma walked up to him, and when she was standing right behind him she sneaked her arms around him. „You really don’t have to pay for us,” she said and continued their previous discussions. Zayn put his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead. „I know babe, but I want to.” Emma smiled gratefully at him and went down to the table so Louis wouldn’t find them together when he came back. Esme frightened her as when she pulled her toward the exit. „Oh my god, you guys are so epic cute together. One cannot help but notice how happy you seem,” she squealed excitable. Emma shushed her. „Esme, please lower your voice - Louis doesn’t know and we would like to keep it that way. We are just taking it slowly,” Esme signaled that her mouth was closed and the key thrown away, and once again Emma could not control her huge smile.
As Esme’s father arrived to pick up his daughter and Audrey, he would not hear of Emma and the boys taking the underground home. Emma was grateful. It was late and cold and they were all a little drunk, so she was not even sure if taking the underground had been a sensible decision. Esme sat beside her father and even though their car was only for five people, the rest squeezed into the back seat. Since there were only three seats and Emma was standing outside as the last, she was unsure about what she should do. „Just get in and let's go home sis,” Louis slurred. Zayn was sitting closest to her, so he grabbed Emma by her waist and lifted her in, so she was sitting on top of him. „Now don’t get any ideas!” Louis said skeptically with lifted eyebrows. He quickly forgot that he was about to preach to his best friend and little sister when he apparently remembered something funny and chuckled to himself. Emma just shook her head and her heart fluttered as she felt Zayns the fingers drawing circles on her hand.
„Thank you so much for the ride,” Emma said and waved as the car drove out of their driveway. „Let's go to bed sis. I hope you had a wonderful birthday,” Louis said and gave Emma a warm hug after he had locked the door behind them. Zayn gave her a smile and then the boys disappeared into Louis's room. Emma went into the kitchen to pick up a bottle of water, and then she went up to her room. She thoroughly washed away all of the remaining make-up and put on her black nightgown. Just when Emma was about to lie down to sleep, it knocked on her door. She carefully opened the door and was overwhelmed with kisses. „I thought I’d better say a proper goodnight,” Zayn whispered and pecked her lips again. Emma closed the door behind him quietly as he entered her room. „And then I remembered that I completely forgot to give you your birthday present,” he continued. Only now Emma noticed that one of his hands was behind his back. Emma protested but Zayn quickly put a finger over her lips and shushed her.
She did not expect a gift from him and she felt quite badly about him spending money on her. He then pulled out the little gift box and handed it to Emma. „I was a little unsure about whether or not I should give this to you - but after tonight I have no doubt anymore,” he explained, while Emma pulled off the paper. It was a small jewelry box. „Zayn ...” she began, but he interrupted again. Emma opened the box and inside was a single pendant to her favorite bracelet in the form of a silver heart. Her eyes widened and she was speechless. Zayn cleared his throat awkwardly. „If you don’t like it, it can be exchanged for the money or something else,” he said when he still hadn’t gotten any response. „This is just so beautiful. Zayn, it is really too much,” she said softly and looked up at him. She got on her toes and kissed him on the lips. „Thank you. It is the best gift,” she said and pinned the heart pendent to her bracelet while looking admiringly at it. „Only the best for you,” Zayn whispered in her ear and put his arms around her. He kissed her lightly on the forehead, then on each cheek, and finally his lips found hers. „Sweet dreams beautiful,” Zayn said between the kisses. „You too,” she whispered as he left her room.