155. - Lucien
"You got lucky, Lucien. Extremely lucky." Winoc doesn't sound too pleased with me, and I can't blame him. "But it doesn't seem like there's any footage and if there is, it isn't being linked to you or your friends. Yet."
"I already told you there was no one around."
"No one you saw." I can almost hear him pinch the bridge of his nose. "Doesn't matter. You keep me updated on how you're healing, but you had two photoshoots planned this month that I'll just go ahead and cancel."
"You could ask if they still want me with my busted face." I cross my legs, gritting my teeth as my stiff muscles protest.
"I doubt that." Winoc answers in a dead-pan kind of way. "But I'll ask. On to my next question though: when are you going back online? People are asking questions."
"I... I have to talk to Emma about that. We'll have to officially come clean as a couple and she isn't used to the digital word." Tapping the ashes of my cigarette, I try to picture how it would go. I can't, really. "But I'll have a decision for you by the end of the weekend."
A door opens and I hear Emma calling out for me. I wave at her through the glass door, pointing at the phone at my ear, and she nods at me with a smile.
"Does Emma have any socials?" Winoc asks.
"I think so, but they're all secret. Listen, I gotta go. I'll talk to you soon." I hang up, pushing my cigarette in the ash tray and get inside. Emma is putting a lovely bouquet of flowers in a vase and overall, she's looking far more relaxed than she did last night.
"Hey you." She says, leaning into me as I kiss her cheek. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I've been on a rollercoaster without the harness on." I lean against the counter, watching her rearrange the flowers. "You?"
"Better." is the simple answer. She doesn't eleborate, leaving me a little confused. I'm glad to see her smile again, though, so I decide not to question it. I start to make us both coffee, moving about slowly to not put too much strain on my body. I hate how it's not my lip or my eye, or any of the other injuries, that hurt the most. No, it's the damn muscle soreness.
"What are the flowers for?" I ask when Emma puts the arrangement on the dining table. She shrugs.
"I just felt like bringing some colour into the house." She takes a cup of coffee from me and heads towards the balcony, where we sit together in the morning sun.
"So, are you going to tell me about your secret mission?" I ask after a while, goosebumps forming on my arms because mornings definitely aren't as warm here as they are back in France.
"Wouldn't be much of a secret mission if I did, would it?" She replies with a laugh. "It's nothing for you to worry about, I promise."
I watch her for a moment. Am I the right person to say if this sudden shift in emotion is strange? Probably not. But it still bugs me, because I'm not sure if I should worry about her or not. I want to ask, but refrain. If it's genuine, I might ruin it and God knows we can use all the happiness we've got after the week we've had.
"Alright, take care. We'll come by soon." I hang up, turning to Emma. We're laying in the grass, somewhere in an excluded park, simply enjoying the sunlight and the sounds of spring around us.
"Matthew has just been discharged. He's going to be staying with Brie for a while."
"Was that his idea, or Gabriel's?" She asks with a smile. I chuckle, intertwining my fingers with hers.
"Whose do you think?"
"You really are fiercely protective over one another, aren't you?" She runs a finger over the bruise below my eye. It doesn't really hurt all that much, just doesn't look very pretty.
"We are. Gabriel especially, but we all try to protect the others in our own way."
"It's good." Her expression has become a little more serious now. "It's good to see you have each other's back."
"They've got yours too, you know."
She lets out a soft laugh. "Yeah, I noticed. I still don't quite understand why Matthew, of all persons, started the fight."
"I don't doubt he's willing to tell you if you ask." I close my eyes as she keeps drawing patterns on the skin of my face.
"Yeah. But it's not my story to tell. It runs deeper than you might think. Although..." I blink my eyes open again. "I have absolutely no doubt he still would've done it without that story. They like you, Emma. You're not just 'Lucien's girlfriend' to them. You're part of the group now."
Her fingers splay out over my cheek, her palm resting on my jaw. "And to you?"
I smile, leaning into the touch. "To me, you're part of the group as well. But at the same time you are only mine. I don't have the same bond with you as I do with them. It's... just as intense, just in a wildly different way."
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