467. - Lucien
I call them both at the first opportunity I have. Emma tells me how she's told Jacques the entire story of her and Callum, gave him the evidence we've been collecting and how he was his usual stoic self all throughout their meeting. Jacques tells me very little, just that he's taking on the case but that he can't disclose any more than that. I don't push, because as expected he's not doing this as a favour. Not entirely, anyway; while I know he wouldn't have taken a case like this if I hadn't asked him, he made sure to tell both me and Emma that he's going to treat it as any other and that Emma shouldn't expect any special treatment. I'm pretty sure that if our phone call had been face to face it would have ended in another screaming match from my side.
I don't have a lot of time to think about it; the agency made sure to keep me busy during my time here in LA and especially now with both the Luciemma-article out and the Callum-fiasco, there's plenty of people who love to have a chat with me. We are now also on lawyer's orders not to disclose anything about the last one, so I don't, but there's plenty of material about me and Emma. I tell the same stories over and over again, which get published again and again in slightly different wording. I have fans coming up to me left and right, outright asking me why Emma is not with me and if we've broken up again. I do another guest role on a tv-show, which takes me three long days on set despite only being in front of the camera for maybe an hour.
In the meantime the distance is taking its toll on me and Emma. We talk for maybe fifteen, twenty minutes a day because the time difference and our busy schedules are just impossible to work with. Texts go unanswered for hours on end, causing conversations to be strained and difficult. I miss her and she misses me, but with everything going on there's also a lot of frustrations between us. I've finally gotten to another day off; I'm up at five am, so I can have breakfast while Emma has lunch. It's not ideal, but it's more of a date than we've head since I left home three weeks ago.
We try to talk about anything but Callum, because we both need something different, so we talk about Emma's lessons and my projects here. She tells me she's been hanging out with Gabriel and Matthew who have proven to be amazing friends to her. I try not to show how deep that statement stings, or how jealous it makes me, though I don't doubt Emma picks up on it. She doesn't bring it up; there's enough other things between us right now and this isn't something we can fix.
I'm trying to stay awake, but I've only had a couple of hours of sleep. When I yawn for what must be the twentieth time in our hour-long video call, Emma smiles at me.
"I wouldn't mind watching you sleep, you know." She says. She's on campus somewhere, the weather outside lovely and showing off the blue sky behind her. The fact that I'm in my hotel room only makes me feel more lonely.
"That sounds insanely creepy even coming from my girlfriend." I chuckle, stretching out in the hopes that makes me feel a little more awake. It helps a little. "I wish you could just be sleeping here with me."
"Me too, love." She replies. "How long until you're back?"
"Twenty on the dot today." I say immediately, because I happen to have a very cheesy countdown app on my home screen. "We've passed the halfway mark."
"Has it really just been three weeks, then? Feels much longer."
"I miss you. The apartment isn't quite home without you."
I let out a hollow chuckle. "Well, I didn't really get to spend a lot of time there to make it home anyway, did I?" It comes out more bitter than I intended, and I see her face contort.
"Sorry, sorry." I sigh. "It's just been... tough. Not being there through this nightmare. Being away from you is hard enough without having to deal with all this. I have to go everyday and pretend like it's not happening, because people aren't into a sulky French-man who misses his girlfriend."
"I know, babe. It's been hard on me, too. Every time I -" A pleasant ringing of bells cuts her sentence short. My heart drops, because I know exactly what that means. Emma's face falls. "I... I have to go. My lecture..."
"I know. It's okay, love. Call me when you're done, okay? I love you."
"I love you, too."
After having caught a few more hours of sleep I spend my day catching up with some old friends in the city. The hours tick by quickly, but I keep my phone close in case Emma calls. She doesn't though; instead I get a text saying that Kenna swooped her away after work for a much needed girl's night. I tell her to have fun and that we'll call again sometime tomorrow, despite me being busy all day with more charity work. I'm happy for the distraction Kenna is offering; this weekend, another appointment with Jacques is coming up and this time I'll be joining per video conference. It's been nearly a month and the whole Callum-case is endlessly on our minds. Maybe that's why I get a little too drunk, or get back to my hotel a little too late; a desperate attempt to not constantly think about it, like I used to do after the break-up. I should know better, but I realise that too late. It causes me to run late the next morning; I have to skip breakfast to get to the cab quickly enough, and there's lucky stars to thank that the meeting point isn't in the city centre so traffic isn't a problem. I text Emma the usual good morning and good luck for the day, usually quickly answered, but not this time. I can't be too bothered by it, swooped up by people the moment I arrive. I pocket my phone, knowing I won't be able to check it for hours. First there's the charity event, and then a dinner with all kinds of officials of the same charity. There's no time to worry about Callum, or even to miss Emma, all my attention entirely taken up.
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