019. - Lucien
The first thing I do the next day is calling Callum into my office. I know I should be devoting the entirety of my office hours to the Pye-disaster, but this is bothering me. When I called Gabriel last night about Emma, he pointed out how weird it was that Callum neglected to tell me that Emma was coming to work for us. It's not like I haven't spoken to him since coming back from Rome. Quite the contrary: since we're working in the same building, we regularly join up for lunch or coffee. We might not be best friends, but there had been plenty of opportunity to tell me about Emma.
"Lucien?" He comes in looking a little confused. "You called for me? Selene let me through."
I gesture for him to close the door. "I just wanted to ask you something?"
He takes the chair opposite of me, making himself comfortable. I guess he has the advantage of being friends with me, I highly doubt any of the other employees would act so casual, much less call me by my frist name. "This is about Emma, isn't it? Listen man, I would've told you. I just... forgot."
I raise a brow at him. "You... forgot that your girlfriend was coming to work for the same firm as you. That I also work at."
"I didn't think it would matter! Look, she was pissed just the same. Wasn't pleased to begin with to find out your daddy owns the company, much less so when she found out you're the CEO." He sighs. "I honestly don't see the big deal. It's not like you two have to be friends. Just friendly."
I'm not sure if I would call our exchange from the day before as 'friendly', but at least it wasn't as hostile as our conversations in Rome. "I suppose it doesn't really matter. It just would have been nice to know to expect her, seeing our... track record." To give myself something to do, I pour us both a glass of water. "Does HR know? I won't make a problem out of it, but it's good to keep it on record. Company policy, no partnering the two of you, et cetera."
"I have an appointment in a half hour." He sips his water, eyeing me warily. "This won't effect her career here, will it? Me dating her, or you hating her?"
"Of course not!" I say, perhaps a little more defensive than necessary. "I'm nothing if not professional. Whatever issues Emma and I have with each other won't cloud my judgement of her as a lawyer, I promise you. But," I let the word hang in the air. He looks a little suspicous. "I won't be doing her any favours in the name of doing you a favour. You and I might be friends, but I don't play favourites. Emma is going to have to work her way up the ladder like everybody else. I also won't tolerate you giving her any of your cases as a way to prove herself." I sip my water. "She will be treated like any other employee by the both of us. Understood?"
"Damn, Lucien." Callum grins, but there's a glance of something vicious in his eyes. "You're a tough boss. But no worries, every word is understood. Can I go now?"
I gesture that yes, he can go. "Oh, one thing." I say, just as he's about to leave. He looks back curiously. "I know corporate law isn't necessarily you're forte, but it still being the summer our top bunch is still out. How's your availability this afternoon? I might need you to back me up."
"The Pye-case?" He guesses.
At the mention of the name, I feel my face drop. "The one and only. We're telling him we're breaking up the collaboration today. Can't imagine he'll be too pleased."
"I'll keep my phone at the ready. Just call me in if you need someone to burn him to the ground." He smirks and I can't help but grin. Say what you want, Callum is exceptional at what he does and it's nice to know he's got my back.
The call ends up dragging far into the evening. As suspected, Felix Pye is none too pleased about us disbanding our partnership and he keeps bringing up reasons why what we're doing is not legal. Callum soon ends up joining me in my office to back me up, together with three other lawyers. Felix might be bringing up solid points, my boys have even more solid counterpoints and Felix isn't getting through. At the end, he's grasping at straws and by that time it's full and well dark outside. We'll be lucky if we're out of the building before midnight.
"This is not the last you hear of us, Lucien Castellon!" I shudder at the butchering of my name.
In a particularly snide comment Callum says: "That sounds an awful lot like a threat, Mr. Pye. May I remind you that this phonecall is being recorded?"
To that he has no answer: he just gracefully hangs up. To be absolutely sure the call has ended I also push the button myself, before letting out a sigh that comes from my toes. The three lawyers join me in it.
"Well, that was a trainwreck." I say. "Thank you for your help, it is very much appreciated. Please, feel free to take tomorrow off. I will make sure these hours are included in your overtime."
Two of them excuse themselves immediately, clearly happy to finally be free of this. Only Callum stays behind. "I never knew corporate law could be this much fun." he says with a chuckle.
I offer him a tired grin and get up to get my decanter. It's far past office hours, so I'm allowing us the drink. I pour us both a glass and we toast. "You take a little too much joy in defeating your enemies, friend." I tell him. "I worry what may happen if I ever get on your bad side."
"You'll lose everything you ever loved." He answers with a chuckle. "I will annihilate you, Lucien du Castellon."
I wrinkle my nose. "Are you sure? You're not even able to pronounce my name right, despite me trying to teach you endlessly."
"That is just to annoy you." He tips his glass towards me. "I know how to say it." He proceeds to show off, speaking with a perfectly French accent. "It's just more fun to piss you off."
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