085. - Lucien
The two hours between my encounter with Emma and the time of our meeting takes forever. Selene had warned me for the Christmas back-up, but even with that warning I severely underestimated it. I'm replying to emails, calling customers and partners and try to make logic of all the pending cases so I can distribute them. I don't even realise how dark it is until someone flips the light on; my head snaps up and Selene is standing in the doorway, a soft smile on her lips.
"It's a quarter to six." She says, her hand still on the lightswitch. "I'm going home."
She doesn't usually tell me when she's going home, so I wait for her to elaborate, saying nothing.
"I was hoping you would be too busy." She says.Her brow is creased with nerves. "But I suppose I can't really back out now. You have a minute?"
I gesture for her to come in and close the door. The closer she gets to my desk, the more nervous she seems to become.
"Are you going to tell me you're quitting or are you asking for a raise?" I ask with a light smile. "Because I want you to know I'd do a lot to get you to stay."
That makes her laugh, shoulders slumping. "No, no, I'm not quitting. Though I wouldn't say no to a raise." She quickly gathers herself back up in the Selene that I've come to know. "I saw your email exchange with Emmeline Middleton."
"Ah." I lean back in my chair, not wanting to fill in any blanks my assistant might have. "What about it?"
Then, because it's Selene and I always forget how bold she is, she crosses all kinds of professional borders. "Cut the crap, Lucien. You don't even ask me to pick up papers from the copy-room, because you're not that stuck up." She raises a single brow at me. "Are you two dating?"
Her expression tells me that lying won't work here. She knows, she just wants me to say it. I muse over my reply for a second, choosing my words carefully. "I'm... not sure if I'd call it dating."
I hold up a hand to shut her up. "It's new. We are both very aware that we shouldn't be doing... any of the things we've done. But it doesn't have a name."
Selene glares at me through narrowed eyes, but then lets out a sigh. "As long as you're careful."
"Of course!" My stomach twists, because I realise this breaks the agreement Emma and I have of not telling anyone. "No one can know, Selene. Emma's best friend doesn't even know. The only reason Gabriel knows is because the man doesn't understand privacy."
The smile that plays on her lips is kind and genuine, more true than most smiles I've ever gotten directed at me. "I'll cover for you, Lucien."
A knock that jerks both of us out of the moment. It's six, so of course that's Emma. Selene winks at me, getting up just as the door opens. "I'll see you tomorrow then, Lucien! Thank you for letting me come on at eleven! Hello, Emma." She's out the door before I can respond, leaving both Emma and me a little flustered. Emma blinks and then shakes her head before her eyes finally meet mine. All the stress of the day melts away and I want to pull her into my arms, kiss her until we're both out of breath. But even though the office is almost empty and the blinds could be drawn, I worry that someone might come in or that closing those blinds will raise suspicion. Emma seems to realise the same thing, because she sits down without a touch. My heart yearns. I pray hers feels the pull of mine.
"Sorry for making you work late." I say, offering her a glass of water. "I promise it won't take long and we'll get dinner afterwards."
She tips her head to the side with a smile. "What, there's actually a case you wanted to discuss? That wasn't part of the scheme?"
"It was not." I say with a chuckle, pulling the file out of my drawer. "Though it may have influenced my decision of the time." I hand her the file, watching her hazel eyes scan over it as she flicks through it. It's not a complicated case - a financial disagreement between a company and someone that did a collaboration with them. Emma's eyes meet mine again, full of question.
"Are you giving me this case?"
"In a way." From across the desk I flick back to the page that introduces the parties of the case; a make-up company and one Olivia Araya. I tap the picture of the young women. "Olivia and I are... acquaintances through social media. We've spoken a few times at events and tend to seek out each other's company when we don't know anyone else. Wouldn't go as far to say we're friends, but she approached me with this case."
"A high profile lawyer for what seems to be an easy case." Emma raises her brows, reading through the summary. "And I still don't understand what you're trying to say."
"Well, you just said it - I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not technically allowed to work this. I want you to do it." Her eyes meet mine again and my stomach flutters. "That is to say: I want us to do it together. Check the last page." I give her a minute to read through it, seeing how her forehead creases together. "Olivia has suspicions that this case might be bigger than it looks, that she's not the only victim. She has several statements from different witnesses that support that suspicion, but we need to look into it further. But because it's not the main point of the case, it has to be on the down-low. If we're not careful, the company might sue Olivia and us for slander. Olivia insists that I'm involved and I want to be, but I need help. And seeing how you handled that divorce..." I smile at her. "You seemed like the perfect candidate."
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