She knows he tried to kiss her when she took him shopping. She's been ignoring it, because she's still in love with Warner. Strange how she has to keep reminding herself of that. Emmett isn't Warner. Emmett isn't tall. Emmett isn't rich. Emmett isn't a model. Emmett is deadly serious. Emmett would never stay up late drinking the night before a big test. Emmett doesn't drink, if you don't count stealing Elle's Red Bull so he can stay up late to study. Emmett's hands aren't soft like Warner's, since he refuses to use the emollient cream Elle bought him because he says it makes his hands greasy, but they are gentle. Emmett's nicknames for her don't revolve around her hair colour. He still calls her "Woods comma Elle" and occasionally "Miss Delta Nu". She called him "Forrest comma Emmett" once, and he laughed until he wheezed. She still calls him Em and Butthead, and he doesn't seem to mind. Emmett is funny, and sassy, and thinks she's smart. Emmett tutored her. Emmett told Callahan how well she was doing, got her to write a resume, knowing he'd ask for it. Emmett helped her with Paulette, knowing how much the woman already meant to her. Emmett sees her brain. Emmett barely looked twice at her figure (well, she saw him gawping on her first day, but that was to be expected). Emmett looks damn good in a suit. And that's the crux of the issue. She knows Emmett Forrest is in love with her and she thinks the feeling might be mutual.
Which has led them here, to her sitting cross-legged on her bed, him fast asleep beside her in his usual garb of jeans and faded t-shirt, having kicked off his boots at the door. He had a habit of falling asleep during study sessions these days, since she got him off the Red Bull and into a good sleep pattern, so she had moved the study sessions to her dorm permanently, because if he was going to fall asleep, he was going to do it on a comfortable bed. His hair was getting long again, she'd have to take him to Paulette. When his hair got long, it got curlier, which she liked, but was certain Callahan didn't. She has to fight the urge to play with his hair. He had worried that he was taking up space on her bed, but she had told him it was big enough for both of them. Technically true, but if they fall asleep together, they usually end up cuddling, her wrapped around him like a jetpack. He's been teased by his classmates for smelling of her perfume. She thinks she loves him. Damn.
And then Callahan happens. And all the self-esteem she's built with Emmett as her foundation crumbles. She remembers Warner's mocking voice, telling her that she was only chosen for her looks. Viv chastised him, she can remember that in retrospect. She'd thought Viv didn't like her, but maybe she has an ally there. And then there was Emmett. The rage on his face, in his voice. She knows he's about to confess his love, when he says "Elle, you should know" so she cuts him off. He wants to kill Callahan, she can tell. Always protecting her virtue. He wants to fight, to keep her. Emmett isn't Warner. Emmett will protect her.
Viv and Enid had convinced her to stay, Brooke had sacked Callahan, Emmett had vouched for her. They had busted Chutney. Warner had proposed. And she had found herself refusing.
"Em, Warner proposed."
"I guessed. I suppose, Miss Woods comma Elle, I'll have to get used to calling you Mrs Huntington comma Elle, now."
"Emmett." She held her hand up in front of his face. "Look at my hand."
"You're not wearing a ring."
"You turned him down?"
"I guess I'm not into him any more. And he was using me as a rebound. Viv dumped him. For Enid Hoopes, can you imagine?"
"I like Enid."
"Oh, so do I, it's just funny that Warner's so narked about it. He asked her out because she's bi, you know. Had fantasies, I think. He spent half of our relationship trying to get me to have a threesome with one of my sorority girls."
"Stop it. I can see the wheels turning in there."
"So you're single now?"
"Yes, but hopefully not for long."
"Oh, are you going out partying?"
"No, I think I might stay in and study with the guy I like."
"Oh, is he studious?"
"Are you being purposely thick, Emmett?"
"Oh, for Christ's sake." She leaned in and kissed him.
"Are we... together?"
"If you want to be."
"Is that even up for debate? Yes, Elle, yes."
He kissed her, tangling a hand in her hair. She attempted to follow suit, but was hindered by the gel in his hair.
"You need to wash this out. I hate when you gel it."
"I don't think my mop looks professional in court."
"You've just exonerated Brooke Wyndham. Who cares what your hair looks like?"
"You exonerated Brooke, Elle, and not everyone is as unbiased as you. A lawyer who looks and dresses like I do naturally is not taken seriously. You told me that, remember, before you took me shopping."
"How do you do that? Stop turning my words against me, Forrest."
"C'mon, Elle. Brooke's doing a press conference about her innocence, and I want us there to do a bit of talking."
"Oh, you want us there?"
"Usually I'd say Callahan wants us there, but he is out of our lives. I've reported him to Harvard, he's likely to be sacked. You might have to speak at the hearing, I need you to know that. Are you ok with testifying?"
"Telling them that he kissed me? Isn't that tame? They wouldn't throw him out on that."
"They will when there's a queue of women testifying he's kissed them, felt them up, stuck his hand up their skirt, et cetera. You're the first one to have walloped him, though, so kudos for that. You're the first one who's told anybody, you're the reason he doesn't get to do this to anyone else."
He tilted her chin up to look him in the eyes.
"I'm proud of you, Woods. Are you going to be alright to do the conference?"
"I think so. Brooke's nice and she won't set me off."
"Then let's go. We have some publicity to do."
He held out his hand to her, and she took it, smiling. Yep, Elle Woods was definitely in love with Emmett Forrest and she wasn't ashamed of it.