Foto bij 290 - Emma

I'm at the Griffin early, making sure I can help Charles with whatever he needs. Selene is there, too, and it doesn't seem like she just arrived, either. I decide not to ask any questions, I know Charlie will tell me about them whenever the time is right.
I lend a hand hanging up the decorations they've picked out, make sure the music is ready to be played and put all of the chairs in place.
Charles and Selene ask me all about France, and I answer all of their questions. Some of the things, like Madeleine's grave, I keep to myself, however. That's just between me and Lucien.
The bar really looks gorgeous. The walls that used to be a dirty off-white are now a gorgeous moss green, and chalk boards hang on one of the walls, detailing the specials.
My favourite thing of all, however, is the little table in the corner. It sticks out like a sore thumb next to all of the gorgeous new furniture, but it is beautiful.
Louis' table. It has a little golden plaque above it, letting people know this table has to be booked and can't just be sat at, as it's special.
Lou's face is on every coaster, making me a weird combination of sad and happy. He would have been so proud to see this.
"We're just going to go up and change," Selene pulls Charles up from the comfortable chair he's just sat down on in the middle of the room. "Wash the sweat off, make sure this one," she pats Charles on the head, "is presentable as the new owner of the best place in town."
"That's alright, I'll man the fort," I smile, my fingers playing with a coaster. It's two thirty by now, and the grand opening is at three. It's planned to last hours, only closing up after midnight, but this way they'll get all sorts of crowds in.
Charles will speech around three thirty, when he's sure all guests have arrived. After, there will be drinks, and around six, there'll be a buffet sampling all of the amazing new items on the menu.
"Don't you want to change?" Selene asks, a brow lifted in confusion, looking at me. "Not to sound disrespectful, but... black jeans and a top aren't that festive, especially when you're seen on Lucien du Castellon's arm all night."
"Speaking of which," Charles, who's already halfway behind the bar and ready to head up the stairs hidden behind the door, "where is boss boyfriend?"
I roll my eyes at the nickname. "Running late, I presume. And... I wasn't aware it was going to be a fancy event until I showed up. I didn't bring any back-up clothes."
Selene smiles. "Lucky for you, we're about the same size, and I've brought not one, but three dresses to pick from."
      Paul, the second bartender Charles has hired, mans the bar as we head upstairs. Selene shows me the two dresses she isn't going to wear, and has me pick one.
The woman obviously has a bigger chest than I do, so she has to adjust the straps not to expose half my bra, but it looks pretty decent after she does so.
The dress is a gorgeous green colour, not quite the same as downstairs' walls, but still very fitting, and is covered in little dots.
Selene even offers to do my make-up, an offer I happily take.
"Before I became an assistant for the firm, but after my studies," she tells me as she's putting a mixture of colour on my closed eyelids, "I went to cosmetology school. My parents laughed at me, but I wanted to learn something that didn't include sitting behind a desk all day, just to have something else that I liked doing. I don't use it much, but it's a nice degree to have."
"You surprise me every time I see you," I tell her as she hands me the little pallette that has a mirror in it, to see her handy work.
      As we get downstairs, it's very close to opening time. I've texted Lucien twice, asking if he was still sure he was going to make it, but I got no reply.
It worries me a little, knowing he went to therapy today and not knowing how he'll feel after, but I tell myself to suck it up and just accept that maybe he lost track of time.
"Looking gorgeous, ladies," Charles, who's already been downstairs for a while and is feverishly cleaning the bar for the fifth time today, exclaims. "People are going to be disappointed come tomorrow, when the bar is still open but you two won't walk about looking like that no more. You're going to make me lose customers."
Selene swats him on the arm. "Oh, shut it, Middleton."
The way they are together reminds me a lot of the way Lucien and I used to be in the beginning of our relationship, and how we really still are.
"Okay," Charles sighs, nerves visible on his face. "It's time."
      The bar is filled to the brim. There's old friends, people that have been coming by the bar for years, but also new people curious to see what all the fuss is about. Kenna is here, too, with Tom protecting her and the small yet visible bump from people bumping into them. Brie is at the bar, Matt closeby.
The only person missing is Lucien. Gabriel and Matthew hadn't heard from him, either, but they tried to reassure me that nothing was wrong.
I try and take their word for it, but it gets harder with every minute that goes by. I distract myself talking to Kenna, who's glowing.
Charles is about to start his speech, something I've helped him write because he might be very handy, he's not too good with words. Just before he does so, I see a familiar face enter the bar.
He looks gorgeous, of course he does, and he scans the crowd until he finds me.
"Hi, love," he smiles, pressing a kiss to my cheek and immediately putting one arm loosely around me. "You look gorgeous."
"I know," I tell him, slightly frustrated by his lateness and the lack of communication. "You're late."
"I know, and I'm so sorry," he wipes some hair out of his face. "My appointment ran longer than I wanted it to, then I had to go home to change and Winoc called out of the blue. The man can talk, so I lost track of time, and traffic was a total bitch."
"It's okay," I let him know, leaning against him a little more, "I just wished you would've texted or called. In my mind, you'd already driven off of a bridge seventy times."
He smiles at me once again, pressing a kiss to my temple. "I'm sorry, love. But I'm here now."
"You're here now," I repeat, "and that's what matters. Just in time for the speech."
"And-" Charles voice sounds throughout the entire room. "If my lovely little sister and her boyfriend - Lucien du Castellon, by the way - would shut up, I'd like to begin my speech now."

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