669. - Lucien
He's lucky he's nowhere near my seat. My hands itch and it's hard not to show an external reaction. The moment my father's picture showed up on screen, I shrunk back into my seat and tried to become invisible. It's one thing to come into a law school as not only someone with a large online following, but also the son of one of Europe's biggest lawyers, and then a second thing to have a picture as tall as a man of said lawyer projected on the screen that I very closely resemble.
My heart is pounding in my chest, partly for me but mostly for Emma. This cunt knew exactly what he was doing and honestly thought he was getting away with it. My blood is boiling, and in the silence that follows after Emma's statement I'm convinced people can hear my teeth grind. No one dares raising a hand, a weird tension having fallen over the auditorium.
"What a dick." Piper mutters. I don't give a reply, because I don't trust myself to not give myself away. It gets me a bit of a worried look, but it seems that she is too preoccupied to give it much thought. On her laptop I see her pull up her own case, unfamiliar to me, and then her hand shoots up. I make sure to look down when Emma addresses her, unsure how recontact is going to work for either of us in this situation.
"Kent." Piper announces. "Piper Kent. I picked a high profile divorce case."
"Excellent choice!" I can hear some of a smile in Emma's voice, which calms my heart rate a little bit. "Let's go over it."
Most of the class goes past me. Aside from the fact that I have very little issue understanding what's important for a case and what isn't, I'm still pissed off about the little stunt Maximillian pulled.
"Hey man," Piper smacks my thigh just when Emma announces to discuss our picked cases with the person sitting next to us. "What's up with you today? You're a special kind of broody today."
"Sorry, sorry." I mutter, making some vague gesture with my hand. "Long weekend, short night, early morning. You know how it is."
"Mhm." She looks skeptical. "Have you even done the assignment?"
"I have not." I stretch out, the muscles of my back feeling stiff. "I'm useless today."
I can feel her studying me. It's both been liberating and restricting to be Remí with her. Liberating because I know she's not trying to be my friend for the online fans and the riches, but because she seems to genuinely like me. Restricting, because so much of myself goes hidden when I'm with her. Even in the library yesterday, when it was just us, I was constantly making sure I didn't say something or open something on my laptop that would give me away. I've been toying with the idea of telling her, because the longer I wait, the more awkward it's going to get, but the whole knowing for sure that she likes me for me is keeping me from that. I have a feeling she suspects something is off about me, but I wouldn't know to what extend. And if she somehow connected the dots after the life-size picture of my father, she isn't showing it.
"I'll never understand why people like that Douglas-kid have such a need to make life difficult for others." She suddenly says, changing the subject entirely. "Seriously, what's the win in that? Why would you do that?"
When I don't immediately have an answer ready, she throws me a look. "Have you read the case?"
I shake my head. It's not technically a lie: why would I read the file if I've lived through every second of it?
"I came across it when I googled her start of the semester. Can't imagine how traumatising it must have been for her. All the shit that guy did to her?" She shakes her head, frowning to herself. "I'm glad she ended up winning." At another silence from me, she turns to me again, this time with her brows raised. "You're really out of it today, aren't you?"
I offer her a half-assed grin, which ends up perfectly selling my play of just being tired. "Sorry. I promise to be chippy again tomorrow."
"Do you want to move our study date to tomorrow, too? We can go over the finishing touches together."
I glance at Emma, who's talking to a student who probably had a question. She seems okay. Maybe she is. It wouldn't be the first time I didn't give her enough credit in how well she handles these things. But still, I need to be sure. "I'll get back to you about that, okay?"
She smiles at me, nodding. No doubt she noticed my look, but maybe she'll just disregard it as staring into the distance. "I'll buy you coffee when you do decide to come."
I chuckle, closing my laptop to put it away, because just as I do, Emma announces to the class that the lecture is over. "Make that three and maybe then I'll be able to stay awake. See you at lunch?"
"Sure thing. Regular spot?"
"I'm not eating if we have a different spot."
She has class right away, which is why she jumps into the growing crowd that tries to get out of the door as quickly as possible. I linger, having a free period, but also because I want to be the last person here. I pretend to search for something in my bag when the last student with a question leaves Emma behind as well, even though no one is really paying attention to me. When the last student leaves the room, I approach her - back to the door so no one coming in can see the worry on my face, so that we can keep pretending that I'm just asking a question about an upcoming assignment.
"Hey," I say quietly, having to surpress every urge to take her into a protective embrace even though she still looks fine. I just need to be sure. I need to know if I have to be a high-school bully and wait for Maximillian Douglas after class to beat him up. "You okay?"
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