047. - Lucien
I have to admit I'm a little worried for both Emma and Callum, because I have no idea how this is going to unpack. Though I also find myself feeling a little relieved: Callum might think I did end up tampering with the results to get him involved. I don't like it, but anything to get that man to be civil again is a win in my book. Soon after the announcement that it will be Emma and Callum the case they're working on is sent through. Callum is the plaintiff, Emma the defendant. I get the file as well, because as CEO I'm expected to be the judge. Truth be told, I've had the file for a while because they want me to be prepared for any route this trial might take. Now, with these two involved, I can't predict how it will play out.
I don't have much time to think about it, because half my day gets eaten away by doing a podcast over the phone. It takes an awful long time, but since the guy only knows the basics of my job and is more interested in the social media part of my life anyway, it's an easy conversation that doesn't invoke any wild emotions in me. That is until he mentions Liliana, even though I have explicitly told him not to do so. For myself, but mostly for Liliana. Ever since announcing our break-up, she's been getting hell from everyone online. Though no one outside our direct friend group know the true reasons of the break-up, there is stories going around that come awfully close to the truth. The man on the other side of the phone is inquiring about that. About the why.
"I told you I don't wish to discuss that." I say shortly, making no secret of the annoyance in my voice.
"Oh, come on, Lucien!" He laughs. "This is the change to debunk all those stories! By avoiding it people might think you've cheated on her."
I know what he's doing, but baiting me like that won't work. "Either change the subject, or this conversation is over."
He listens reluctantly and for a moment it seems that the conversation goes on like before, until he circles back to the subject of Liliana. I don't give him a second chance: I simply hang up, fuming in my office. I'll never understand the public's obsession with someone else's relationship, or how obnoxious they can be when you say you don't want to talk about it. Feeling myself spiral to a place I don't want to go, I tell Selene to clear my schedule for the next hour to head out for a walk.
The moment I step outside, that turns out to be a bad idea: it's pouring rain. Refusing to go back into the stuffy office, I pick up an umbrella from the entrance desk and go out anyway. Despite having been here for nearly five months now, I still haven't really explored the city. In the time I've given myself I can't really go out far, but I quickly learn the beauty of Edinburgh. I'm tempted to call Gabriel to plan a day where we just wander the city, but then I remember he knows this city way better and it won't be half as fun that way. I need someone who is just as unfamiliar.
My phone rings. Picking it out of my pocket it displays a name I haven't seen in weeks.
"Eschieve?" I say worriedly. My sister is quiet for a brief moment and then says:
We haven't spoken in forever. Our relationship has always been strained: we haven't exactly grown up in a warm environment, especially her. "Hey. How are you?"
"I'm okay." She sounds tired. What day is it? Wednesday. Shouldn't she be at school? "Just... it's always a weird day."
It takes a second for her comment to click, but when it does it feels like ice growing over my heart. Fuck. I take too long to respond, because I hear Eschieve's voice on the other side of the line. "You forgot, didn't you?"
"I..." I consider lying, but my sister is too clever for that. "Yes. I did. I'm sorry."
"It's okay. I figured you would. You and him..." She lets out a sad laugh. "The two of you were worse than we've ever been. But I know you... You would beat yourself up if you found out too late. Figured I would give you a call."
"Thank you." I sink down on a bench, even though it's soaking wet. I don't care. "Are you... visiting, today?"
It's been three years, both of us should be able to speak the words but neither of us wants to. "Yeah. I'm driving over now." Then, after a short silence: "If you had remembered, would you have come home?"
I feel some slight relief when I can answer honesetly. "Yes, I would have. I would've gone with you."
"For me, though, huh? Not for him."
"No, it's okay. I appreciate it. I miss you, Lucien."
"You can come visit any time, you know that."
She laughs; a soft, sad sound. "As if father would ever let me. He'd see me as a distraction for you."
"You're seventeen, I'd say you can make decisions for yourself." I argue.
"I suppose. But as a lawyer, you should know the law doesn't think that way. Neither do airlines."
"Guess you're right. When you're eightteen then."
"When I'm eightteen." She agrees, and I think I hear a smile in her voice. Again, there's a few moments of silence. I don't know what to say and she doesn't either. My voice is hoarse when I speak again.
"Will you say a prayer for me?"
"Of course. Want me to light a candle as well?"
"We're here. Goodbye, Lucien."
I am left feeling evern worse than before and I'm not sure how to make it better. I don't want to go back to work. When I look at my phone, I see an e-mail from Emma.
Mr du Castellon,
It seems you have disappeared on me and have told no one where you are. Are you alright?
I hesitate to answer, but do so anyway, if only after calling Selene to cancel all my appointments for the remainder of the day as well. When I do reply to Emma, it's the turmoil in my head that causes me to be honest with her.
I cannot say I'm doing alright. It is, however, something that I must work through to myself and I'll be okay soon enough. I won't be returning to the office today, but I'm excited to see you for the trial tomorrow - best of luck.
I send the email and get back up, with the rain still pouring down on me. It's fitting, really. With the help of the internet I find a church nearby that's open for the public. I am not religious, but this is something that stuck with me, just because my mother always did it. In my head, I say a soft prayer in French as I light the candle, just like my sister is doing in France. The only difference is that I'm doing it here and she is doing it at my brother's grave.
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