041. - Lucien
The texts start nice enough, but they quickly turn more hostile. The newest messages are him basically threatening her. It sparks an anger in me, pisses me off a level that I wasn't familiar with yet. The fact that he's coming back to work after the weekend is maddening, but this isn't grounds to fire him over. If he keeps up his work, I have no reason to get rid of him. Not to mention that he would totally sue me and would probably win. Which reminds me...
I screenshot all the messages and then open up the internet, all still on Emma's phone. She looks at me curiously. I compile all the images in several emails and send them to an adress I have specifically for things that might be proof one day. Checking on my phone to make sure they've arrived, I delete the screenshots but not the messages, in case Emma doesn't want that. I want to reply something. I want to lay in on him and rip him to shreds. Instead, I keep it nice and civil.
Do not contact this number again.
A few seconds later, the phone starts ringing. Emma looks a little stricken, but I just put it on silence and let it ring. He keeps trying and then suddenly my phone goes off. I grin, knowing exactly who it is. I put a finger to my lips to make sure Emma stays quiet and then put it on speaker phone.
"Hey, mate. How's life?"
"Do you know where Emma is?! I can't reach her." Callum asks. Is that a hint of worry I detect in his voice?
"Why the fuck would I know where Emma is? I thought I've been pretty clear that we don't talk." From the other side of the couch, Emma shoots me a look of feigned hurt.
"Don't fucking lie to me, Lucien. I know you suspended her, too, and she can't really go anywhere! If you know, you better tell me!" It's a wonderous thing to see someone do a complete 180 like Callum. Forty-eight hours ago I might have believed he was worried about her, but I know better now.
"That sounds an awful lot like threatening a superior, Callum." I say calmly. "She's probably at Kelly's, or whatever her friend's name was."
Emma punches me in the knee, eyes sparkling with amusement.
"I've already been to Kenna's three times now!" Callum shouts. "She's not there and if that bitch knows where she is, she isn't saying!"
I feel the joy falling from my voice and Emma's smile dies down, too. "Callum, are you harassing a civilian?"
"What? No, of course not, I just -"
"Callum, listen to me very closely. You are under a magnifying glass. I'll remind you that I record all my phone calls and that they will be viable evidence in court. You already fucked up once thisi week. Leave Kenna alone or I'll make sure she presses charges and there's no way I'm letting you walk away from them."
"What the fuck, Lucien?! I thought you'd be on my side on this!" He's clearly mad and I'm glad that I briefed the security this morning to no longer let him in.
"I'm not picking sides. I can't pick sides if nothing happened, right? You told me you two were fine. To me it sounds like you have fight with your girlfriend and you're taking it out on a bystander. I will contact Kenna to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Callum doesn't answer, just hangs up the phone, leaving up with the beeping of the dial tone. Emma looks a little pale and grabs her phone, no doubt to text Kenna. I had planned to go to bed now, but that seems out of the question now. I get up to get us something else to drink.
"Why are you picking my side?" Emma asks when I come back with the bottle of port. "You hate me."
I sit down next to her with a deep sigh. "I never... Okay, maybe I did. But this goes beyond that. You didn't deserve this, no one does. I believed you immediately when you named the things that Callum did, because I know he does that shit. You needed help and it seemed like you had no one else to offer it to you."
Emma nods slowly, mulling over my words.
"Why don't you like me?" I ask her. "From the first second we met, you despised me. Why?"
"I dunno." She sips her drink. "Just... your ego. This vibe you were giving off, like you owned everybody in the room. You had to be arrogant, you had to be a dick. I just went with that first instinct, because it's usually right." Then, when I don't immediately have an answer ready: "Do you not like me because I don't like you?"
I let out a short burst of laughter and shake my head. "Emma, I am nearing fifty million followers on Instagram. That is not a brag, just a fact. It also means you're not the first to dislike me. I get hate messages daily. Threats, discrimination, just anything foul you can toss at a human being I get every single day. I don't really care, so I didn't care that you didn't like me either. It was never about that."
I purse my lips, trying to choose my words carefully. "It's like you said: you went with your first instinct. You never gave me so much as a chance to prove you wrong. You see, the difference between all those people online and you is that they don't know anything beyond my online persona. They have nothing else to go off. You, however, were seeing me regularly. You had a chance to get to know me beyond all that. And yet you never did. You decided I was a dick and stuck with it." I frown. "I don't care if you don't like me. I really, really don't, because you're not the first and you certainly won't be the last. But I just hate it when people judge me on a single thing. Most of the time, it's my name. To a lot of people, I'm nothing more than "Jacques du Castellon's son". To you.. I was nothing more than a conceited, rich instagram model. You never looked past that. I don't.... didn't like you because you didn't give me a chance."
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