063. - Lucien
Tokyo was exhausting. Any sensible human would allow themselves a day or two off, to gather themselves from all the long days and the time difference. It has once again been proven that I am, in fact, not a sensible human, because I'm back in the office the next day: dead tired, with no sense of time and one hell of a jetlag.
Why? I'm not even sure.
I'm staring blankly at my computer. About half an hour ago, I started reading through Emma's case. In the time that I was gone, she won in it. Rather spectacularly, one might add. I have a vague idea of how she did it, but I want to know the details because that lets me determine what to do for her career. Thing is, none of the words are actually landing. I'm not processing anything. I should just go home and sleep it off.
The buzzer of my intercom goes off, followed by Selene's voice: "Miss Middleton for you, sir."
My mood picks up immediately. In Tokyo, I didn't have a lot of time to think about her. I was dragged from one location to the next, my attention constantly needed. By the third night, she was gone from my dreams. I hoped that maybe the time away would have cured me of this crush. The fact that my entire day just got better by the mere mention of her name proves otherwise.
She looks exactly the same. I don't know why I expected different: it's been ten days, but because I made eightteen hour days, it feels like a life time.
"I take it Tokyo no longer needs their superhero?" She asks, leisurely leaning against the doorframe. It may be my exhaustion, but my body and mind don't go into overdrive over her as they used to. I'll take that as a good sign.
I offer her grin, leaning back in my chair. "I told you, I was just a temp. They have found someone far better qualified." I gesture for her to come in and sit down, which she does. "Congratulations on winning your case."
She wrinkles her nose. "You know, that is exactly what I was trying to get away from."
"Miss Middleton, you're not telling me you don't like being the centre of attention?" I pour us both a glass of water, because nine in the morning might be a little early for whiskey.
"You know, I was almost going to admit I may have missed your presence but you're making me change my mind." She teases.
"It's a talent."
Her smile is warm and kind and does all kinds of things to my insides. "How was Tokyo?"
"Exhausting." I say. "But wonderful. I had good meetings, saw amazing things and got to partake in amazing events. It was almost a shame to get back to Edinburgh."
"When did you get back?"
I can't surpress my yawn, making Emma chuckle. "Last night."
"Last night?! What are you even doing here?"
"I wanted to harass you with congratulations about winning the case." I say, sipping my water to push back another yawn. "Honestly, this might do wonderful things for your career, Emma."
She smiles, though she's also visibly feeling a little awkward. It's a breath of fresh air with so many people like Callum in the office. On the other hand...
"You should be proud yourself, Emma. You should be boasting about this, relish in the congratulations. You did this and no one else. Don't let anyone take that away from you."
She opens her mouth to answer, but is rudely interrupted by my phone. I check the number, frowning.
"I'm sorry, I have to take this." I glance at her. "Let me take you out for lunch, to celebrate. After that I'll shut up about it. Twelve thirty, okay?"
She nods, looking a little uneasy, but then gives me a smile before disappearing from the office. Before the door closes, I pick up my phone.
"Lucien du Castellon, Rutherfeld and Havemeyer law firm."
"Hello, old friend." says Callum's voice on the other end of the line, setting the hairs on my arms on end. I clench my jaw.
"To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I just wanted to let you know I have gotten a new job. No wonder of course, with my track record. I'm already one of their top lawyers and I've been here less than two weeks!"
I pinch the bridge of my nose. In no way, shape or form am I up for this today, but here we are. I check my screen to be absolutely certain I saw it right. 'CCE Law Firm' it says. "Do tell, why didn't you just call me with your own phone, instead of having the company put you through?" I know exactly why, I just want to hear him say it. With some luck, he doesn't do it. But Callum doesn't have any pride left, so he rubs it in my face.
"Because I wanted to be absolutely sure you know I work with one of your rival companies now and that I plan on taking any case that will set me against you."
What gods have I angered to deserve this? "Wonderful. I'll be looking forward to it."
"Honestly, Castellon, I'd be careful where you step. If I find any shred of evidence against you, I will put you to the ground. And if that doesn't work, I still have your little secret to expose."
That should frighten me. It doesn't. "I'll remind you that both extortion and threatening is illegal, Mr. Pritchard. Not to mention that neither of us can defend ourselves if I take you to court and we both know who has the better lawyer."
I hang up, letting my head fall on my desk. Yeah, I definitely should have taken the day off.
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