543. - Lucien
"He grabbed her,and then said what?" Eschieve's got her arms crossed over her chest as she stands at the edge of the pool, wrapped in one of our large towels monogrammed with golden thread. "Where does this punk live?"
I haul myself out of the water, the liquid splashing over the tiles and my sister's toes as I do so. "Glasgow, apparently."
"Please tell me you're paying him a visit." Eschieve's blue eyes are full of rage. I take the towel she's holding out for me and use it to protect myself from the piercing November-winds. The terrace heaters are on, which makes it just bearable enough. When I shake my head, her eyes spark even brighter. "You can't just let this happen!"
"Believe me, I'd love nothing more than kneeing him in the nuts." I mutter after shaking out my curls. "But Emma is just trying to remove him out of her life as much as is possible with them working for the same university. Besides, we really don't need the strain of another lawsuit."
"Like he'd dare suing you after you're done with him." She gives a frustrated shake of her head.
"You really see me as a lot more aggressive than I actually am, you know that?" I chuckle. A gush of icy wind rips past my legs, making me long for a nice hot shower.
"You beat up Callum, didn't you?"
"Callum went much farther than Jesse ever did, and I only joined in because Matthew lost his temper." I shake my head. "Now, while I think it's adorable that you're this protective of my girlfriend, can we head inside? Em and I planned a video call later this night and I'd really prefer my lips not to be blue."
"I bet Beth would tag along." She mutters, honouring my request of going inside. "She'd jump on the opportunity. Oh, if she knew!"
I don't fight it, even though maybe I should. I feel the same way my sister does, my hands itching at the thought of running into him, but I get where Emma is coming from. She doesn't want this to be more trouble than needed; we've been through that with Callum and it was not worth repeating. It helps being an ocean away from him, because I'm not quite sure what would have happened if he was at driving distance from me by the time that Emma told me about him.
"Hey, when you call her later, will you tell her that I totally beat you in our little race?" Eschieve grins, grabbing her phone from where it's charging on the dining table. "Because I did."
"You're the one with semi-professional training." I point out, but she just shrugs.
"Still beat you. Breakfast tomorrow?"
"No, got a meeting over breakfast. I'll be home for dinner, though?"
"I'll try not to stay too late, but we're in the end stretches of that group project. I'll text you." After a quick peck on my cheek, she darts into the hall, no doubt just as eager for a shower as I am.
"Babe, you should really just go to bed." I suggest when Emma unsuccessfully hides a yawn for the fourth time. "You're half-asleep as is."
"But I already get to talk to you so little." She pouts, rubbing her eyes. "I'll be fine, tomorrow's my day off anyway."
"Are you really going to fight me on this?" She sounds awful threatening, even through the phone, and I laugh.
"I guess not. What d'you have planned for your day off?"
"I'm taking Kenna shopping. Tom's also got the day off, so I'm stealing my best friend for some quality time. We're thinking about asking the rest of the girls over for dinner. They haven't seen the apartment yet, which is preposterous."
"Sounds like a lovely day." I stretch out, checking the time. It's just past midnight, and while Emma might have the day off, I certainly do not. Emma picks up on the movement of my eyes.
"Time for you to go to sleep, then?" She doesn't even try hiding her disappointment.
"I'm sorry, love. I have a breakfast meeting with Eschieve and some hotshot from a clothing brand that might want to cut a deal with me, and then a radio show right after. All before noon." I let out a sigh. While the heavy travel days are yet to come - early December, mostly, and midway through January for a long stretch due to guest starring in another show -, it's been twenty days since Emma and I last saw each other face to face. I was supposed to fly back over the weekend, but all flights got cancelled due to a storm. If I had driven, I would have spent more time in the car than I would have spent with her.
"I know." Emma says sympathetically. "I miss you, too."
"Guess we're gonna have to be looking into moving you here soon, huh?" I say, only half-joking. Her smile is rather sad, and makes me feel guilty.
"Tell Eschieve good luck on her exams, will you? Seeing my students go through the stress is bad enough, can't imagine what it's like for her if she has to combine it with swim club."
"She's doing remarkably well, actually." I smile. "She asked me to tell you that she beat me in our race tonight."
"Well, that seems an unfair fight anyway." Emma laughs.
"That's what I said! Not that she wanted to hear it. Oh, she also threatened Jesse. Might want to keep an eye out for her and Beth on campus."
She groans, her head falling backwards. "So that's why Beth called me three times during my nap. Thank you for that."
"Hey, I didn't think Eschieve would go all vigilante on his ass." I chuckle. "I'm just warning you."
"If she ends up sued, I'm not defending her."
"We both know you will, Em. She just cares about you."
Her smile warms my heart, and at the same time makes it ache. I miss her so much. "I know. Now off to bed with you, du Castellon. You're far past your bedtime."
We say our goodbyes, stretching another five minutes easily, and just when I'm about to hang up I remember. "Oh, one more thing. The anniversary of Aleran's death is coming up, as well as his birthday. I... wasn't around last year, which would've been his thirtieht, so Eschieve wants to make it a bit of a thing this year to make up for it. She'd really appreciate if you'd come over and be there for it... And so would I, honestly."
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