After the trial Elle and Emmett had hugged and he had almost thought she wanted to kiss him. He was so sure of it, he actually started leaning in when he had spotted Warner looking impatient. He quickly withdrew and to allow them to talk. Outside in the air he had time to clear his head from the immense glee of the winning the case.
Elle probably didn’t feel the same as him. No, she was probably just ecstatic that they had won the case. Nothing else. At all. Nevertheless, he couldn’t stop the small sliver of hope in his heart from growing when she came back her left hand bare of a ring. With a huge grin she slipped her arm into his and had begun walking them both back to her dorm. He, of course, had known she had grown far too much to not tell Warner no. But could he really be blamed from feeling a little scare, she never had made much sense when it came to Warner
Emmett thought back to how he at that moment had looked down at her and thought himself the luckiest guy in the world. To be allowed to hold this wonderfully incredible woman and call her his best friend. He knew not to expect any more than friendship, even if he had had a small lapse earlier. No, better to keep what he could for now. Though it was hard at times not to want more. Like right now when she took a step closer and fixed his collar on the light pink shirt he was trying on.
"Elle do I really need more new clothes? You already bought me a suit before the trial?" He tried clearing up the pink fog in his brain.
"Emmett, Emmett, Emmett. One can never have too much to wear, and you know I just thought it could be fun to match at Paulette’s and Kyle's engagement party.." She smiled that coy little smile at him, which really wasn't helping his brain think rationally. Paulette and Kyle had gotten engaged soon after the trial. Love really couldn’t wait he had been told by Elle as she gushed over her friend’s ring. If anyone had asked him he would have said it seemed very rushed and quite the stupid decision but hey no one did ask so he didn’t offer his opinion.
Emmett thought about what Elle had said. Matching at their engagement party. Was that romantic? No it couldn’t be, he didn’t know anything about fashion and its rules so it probably was quite normal for friends to match. So he just muttered: "If you say so."
"I do, in fact, say so,” she poked his chest at every word. “Now try these pants with the shirt." She thrust some black pants into his arms and sent him straight back into the changing room. He really didn't get why she was so excited about him getting clothes, but he sure wasn't going to pass up a chance to spend time with her. He remembered quite vividly the last time they had done this and he had almost kissed her. God, what had he been thinking. He really had a problem with Elle doing miracles and him wanting to kiss her. To be fair, he wasn't thinking when both times happened too caught up in the phenomenon that was Elle herself. And speaking of, he looked in the mirror having just taken of his pants when a blond head came through the curtain.
"Are you-," she started saying but Emmett shrieked so loudly and shoved her out before she got to finish. Outside the changing room he could hear her laughing.
"What are you doing? I thought we went over this. Don't. Watch. Me. Change," his voice a bit too shrill to sound casual like he was going for.
"You were just taking ages in there, thought you had gotten lost in how handsome you looked," he could feel his cheeks reddening at her words. "Gotta share all that hotness with the rest of us," and that was that he was dead. How did he ever think he could survive this trip again? When she just said things like that.
When he finally emerged she helped in the matching jacket and her hands flew all over him making sure everything fit perfectly. He just hoped she couldn't feel how fast his heart was beating. She took a step back and admired her work, nodded thoughtfully and sent him a brilliant smile.
"That's the one!" she exclaimed hands flying up to his collar fixing it again. "Oh my god, you look so hot right now," his face was instantly aflame and she patted his cheek smiling. "You're so adorable. Well change and I will go pay."
When he tried protesting she wouldn't hear any of it saying it was a gift. Emmett was really getting in deep if that was how she thought friends should gift one another. He couldn’t afford anything like this but she knew this so maybe it would be fine for him to just give her less expensive things? He wouldn’t want to lose her friendship just because he was too poor in comparison.
When they finally had finished and his new suit was in a bag in his sweaty hand. Elle dragged him onwards to other shops. She didn't buy anything but kept tapping his arm and pointing out things in the windows she thought was cute or "seriously disturbing" as she had called an orange poncho.
"Ahh yes, however could they even dream of doing something like that," he commented dryly. "Truly a fashion crime"
Elle rolled her eyes at him but he could feel her laughter as she leaned against his arm.
"Well butthead, how about we get something to eat," she laughed and dragged him by the arm towards the food court not giving him a chance to answer.
He couldn't help but smile fondly as she squinted up at the posters with the food selection, her hand still on his arm.
"So what does miss Wood comma Elle fancy today?" He tried not to move his arm as he spoke in fear she would move her hand.
"Hmm it's a hard one" she squeezed his arm lightly but didn’t otherwise move it. She looked back up on the boards lips pursed. Not that Emmett was looking at her lips. No definitely not.
They sat down in the crowded cafeteria and each dug into the food. He loved these times where it was just the two of them talking about everything and nothing. It didn't matter to any of them right now that it wasn't some fancy restaurant with waiters and cloth napkins. Like those places she usually would have gone with Warner. He really would miss this when she eventually moved on from him. No matter, he would just have to save his sorrows for a latter day where he could delve into work until the world became a blurry background.
Something, though, must have shown on his face because Elle looked concerned at him: "Everything alright?"
"Oh yeah, just thinking is all."
"Just what I'm going to do about work," he lied.
"Oh right, I am really sorry about that, Emmett," she looked down forlorn. Oh god no, this was not the point. He just wanted to distract her from his actual dilemma.
"Elle," he laid his hand on her shoulder making her look at him. "I wouldn't change it for anything. I would never have been able to continue working there after what happened. What little do you think of me?" He couldn’t deny he was a little hurt she didn't think he had enough morals to quit.
"Oh I suppose you’re right… Again. I'm still sorry though."
"Elle, it's not your fault," he squeezed her shoulder and let his hand fall to the table but not before she caught it with her own and held it tightly.
"Promise you will say if you ever feel like it is," she looked at him with big eyes, and it was only the look in them that stopped his brain from circuiting completely.
"Of course Elle, I wouldn't lie to you," she smiled softly in response to the words and let his hand go.
The engagement party it self was held at the hair salon and Emmett had promised Elle to pick her up before they would walk down there together. Emmett suspected it might also be because she didn’t trust him to wear the new suit correctly. He shook his head sighing. What he wouldn’t do for Elle.
He had barely touched the door to knock when it was thrown open and whirlwind of pink clothes and blonde hair pulled him inside. It all went so fast he completely lost all balance and had to brace him self against Elle who held on to his chest and arm. He finally got a look at her and then couldn’t do anything but just stare at her like she was all that was keeping him alive.
“What?” She asked still a hand on his chest his frozen brain finally catching up to the present.
“Uhm, nothing, just..” his voice failed him and he shook his head smiling down at her. “We do match.” He chuckled as he noticed that she was wearing the same colour dress as his shirt.
“Isn’t it nice!” Her hands started fiddling with his tie. “I think you should lose the tie though.”
“It’s more of a casual/fancy party.”
“Elle, I don’t even know what that entails but whatever you say,” he looked up at the ceiling sighing, but couldn’t keep the amusement out of his voice.
“Thank you, Emmett, for trusting me,” she suddenly sounded very small as she started loosening his tie.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Her hands stopped momentarily before they continued on. “Of course, I trust you.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m just being stupid,” his tie slid off his shirt and when she turned around to lay it on her desk he felt cold where her fingers had touched him.
“Elle you could never be stupid. What’s going on?”
“Just kept thinking about how I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for you,” she finally turned back around as she said the last words. “I spoke with Vivienne earlier and she said you called her when I wouldn’t open the door. You didn’t have to so thank you.”
“Elle,” he lifted her chin up so he could look into her eyes. “Elle, I told you I wouldn’t let you leave, you have too much potential. You’re too special. I couldn’t just let some jerk ruin that.”
She bit her lip and looked gratefully at him: “Thanks Emmett you’re the best!” Her joyful tone back in her voice and she quickly unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt. While his brain went into overdrive, she patted him on the chest and said something. He blinked a couple of times and unintelligently said: “What?” She just shook her head at him and repeated that they should go.
He mockingly offered her his arm as they stood outside her dorm room. She took it with an amused look and they made their way toward the Hair Affair.
Emmett didn’t know how it had come to this but he was significantly drunker than he had anticipated becoming. Those pink drinks people kept handing him must have stronger than they tasted. He had just enough common sense left to decide on heading home. This meant having to find find Elle and say goodnight. However, that proved to be harder than he first thought. Everything was so pink, she blended right in. He tried to spot the blonde hair but unlike Harvard, where it had stood out, it too blended in with the many delta nu girls. Oh no, what if he never found her. He couldn’t just leave that was too mean she would hate him forever and ever. A woman accidentally bumped into him and when he turned around to see who it was, he saw that it was Elle!
“Elle!” He hugged her tight.
“Emmett!” She responded just as cheerfully.
“I thought you were lost forever and ever. Never to be found again. There is too much pink here.” Her eyes widened at this and she looked like she was going to cry. “No, Elle, don’t cry we are here now.” He held her face in his hands and stared into her eyes. She nodded solemnly, and like only a truly drunk person her face split into a huge smile.
“Hey. Hey, Emmett, do you.. do you like wanna go get milkshakes?”
“Oh my god, yes Elle, that’s the best idea ever”
“Weeeeeeee!” She screamed and tossed her whole body into his in a big hug and just as quick pulled away. “We have to find Paulette and say goodbye. You can never leave a party without saying goodbye.”
“O-Okay,” He looked at her earnestly and grabbed her hand. “Now we won’t lose each other.” Elle looked at him like he was a genius, and pulled him towards a group.
It had taken longer to get out of the hair salon than he thought, but it didn’t matter as long as Elle was there holding his hand. They had both forgotten all about their mission to get milkshakes.
“Emmett, I forgot my keys,” Elle whispered to him with a quiver in her voice.
“Uhh, don’t worry, Elle, I’m sure we can figure something out tomorrow,” he really didn’t want her to start crying. “Maybe you should just stay with someone else tonight?”
“That’s so smart!” Elle’s face lit up. “Let’s go!”
“To your apartment, butthead”
“Because I to sleep somewhere and you live in your apartment and this way we can stay together and there is less walking. My feet hurt. So really if you think about it really, really hard, it actually saves time.”
“Wow Elle, you’re like the smartest person I know.”
“Thank you! That’s so nice of you to say!”
Emmett swung his arms and noticed his left hand was tangled up with Elle’s so he lifted them both and said: “Wow, these are our hands. Can you believe that?”
“Yes Emmett, you’re so silly.”
“I’m not silly. I’m very serious and hardworking.” Elle squeezed his hand and let go. “Why did you do that for?”
“I will only hold hands with people who are silly,” she nodded multiple times to underline that she meant it very seriously.
“Oh, then I’m very silly. The silliest person I know.” She giggled and wound her arm around his middle and leaned in on his body, so naturally he had to put his arm around her shoulders. That was simply how things worked.
They stumbled their way through the streets until they finally arrived at his apartment. He opened the door. It wasn’t a very big apartment, in fact it wasn’t all that much bigger than Elle’s dorm room, and his apartment barely even had heat on in the wintertime. Elle ventured further into the room, which was what it really was – just a room with a bed, desk and a small kitchen with two kitchen tops.
“It’s so cute! But way to brown, Emmett, you need more colour.” He shook his head and proceeded to fall straight onto the bed. A shriek made him sit up again. “Emmett, no! Your suit! You have to hang it up first!” His head fell back down but after Elle continuously tugged on his arm and made frustrated sounds he groaned and stood up. Elle cheered and hung his jacket in the closet.
“Ellleeeeee,” he whined impatiently. “I wanna sleep.”
“You have to hang the suit up first,” she whined back at him and since he never, drunk nor sober, had managed to say no to her, he started unbuttoning the shirt while Elle was rummaging his closet.
“Elle, what are you doing?” He just realised as hung the pink shirt up that maybe this wasn’t a very good idea. Would Elle sleep in his bed? Where would he sleep then? His brain couldn’t keep up and the room started tilting.
“I’m looking for something to sleep in, silly-brain”
“Oh, that’s alright then I guess,” what had he just been thinking about? He couldn’t remember, but he sure would like to sleep, so he stomped out of the pants and threw on some pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt and just kinda fell into bed.
“Emmett,” something tugged on his arm. “Emmett move you’re taking up all the space.” His sleep addled brain could just about understand the request. So he lifted himself from the bed long enough for Elle to lift the covers and slip under and then he thumped back down on his back this time.
Emmett stared at himself in the mirror. It was just a casual picnic with a friend nothing to get so wound up about, certainly nothing to change outfit three times for he tried telling himself. But it wasn’t just any friend, it was with Elle. Elle who ever since that one morning after the engagement party had been acting rather strange. If Emmett had known better he would be positively sure she was flirting with him. But alas he had seen her flirt with Warner and this was nothing like it, no, but still some very strange behaviour was going on.
Like that one time he had brought her coffee after she had had a late night with the delta nu girls and she had kissed his cheek as thanks. He didn’t think his face had ever been as red and what had she done? Just laughed at him and pulled him down beside him on the bed resting her head on his shoulder. Truly peculiar behaviour.
Or that time when they had fallen asleep during a film and had woken up to the credits. Elle hadn’t even considered letting him go home after that. She had simply handed one of his old t-shirts. How had it even ended up in her room? Eventually, they had ended up sleeping cuddled up in her bed so close he could feel every small curve of her body. While he wasn’t one to complain about whatever closeness he could get, he was also starting to get a little concerned just how heartbroken he would become when it stopped. A problem though for later times.
She looked as stunning as always standing in a pink summer dress in between the trees and the flowers. Looking back over her shoulder she smiled at him: “Why are you just standing there?”
“Just, you know, admiring the view… the nature here is so pretty,” yes that was definitely a good save. She wouldn’t think he had just been staring at her.
“Emmett, you can look at the nature later, get in here help me set it all up!” she rolled her eyes with a small smirk when she said nature. Maybe she wasn’t as convinced as he had first thought.
Getting everything out on the pink and white chequered blanket took longer than he anticipated.
“Wow, Elle. That’s a lot of food. Are you sure we can eat it all?”
“We can try!” said Elle always the optimist.
And try they sure did but at last Emmett had to let him self lie down on the blanket so stuffed he couldn’t move. Elle looked down at him softly and moved the rest of the food to the side. He closed his eyes and sighed in contentment. Feeling a weight on his chest he opened one eye a sliver and saw Elle lying with her head using his chest as a pillow.
“Happy two week anniversary, Emmett,” she smiled up at him.
“Mmm,” he mumbled the sun and his full stomach addling his thoughts. “Wait, what?” He sat up. “What do you mean anniversary? It’s been a lot longer since you won the Brooke Windham case?”
“I knew you had forgotten,” she too sat up facing him and hit his shoulder. “No silly, we have been dating for two weeks now.”
“What do you mean we have been dating for two weeks?” Emmet shrieked his eyes growing bigger by the second.
“What do you mean?” Elle’s amused expression begun dropping. She furrowed her eyebrows. “We have been dating for the last two weeks. Haven’t we? Why else would you let me sleep in your bed? I just thought you were very conservative and that’s why you hadn’t kissed me yet. Oh no, have I just been imagining that there was something between us. I’m so stupid, stupid, stupid. Why can’t I never do anything right! Please don’t hate me Emmett, we can still be friends right? Don’t tell me you never want to see me again.” She started to get up. Emmett’s brain was so caught up on the euphoria that was Elle actually liking him back he had completely forgotten to answer Elle.
“Elle wait! No I love you, I just thought you were, you know, being friendly?” His heart was practically bursting with hope and love.
“Oh, Emmett,” Elle sank down again taking his hand in hers. “For someone so smart, you really can be quite dumb at times.”
“Well, Elle, at least I don’t go dating people without actually telling them!” He laughed and realised: “Wait, does this mean I can actually kiss you? Like for real?”
A cheeky smile was all he had time to see before he had a face full of blonde hair and then they were kissing. It was everything he had ever wanted. Woods, Elle, his girlfriend. Wow.