673. - Lucien
"I swear I'm going to kill that bitch from Evidence." Piper smacks down her tray, the orange making a desperate attempt to escape now that it's aided by the momentum given. I catch it before it rolls off the edge of the table.
"Good afternoon to you, too." I say cooly, smiling. "Sounds like you had a fun class."
"Sorry." She groans, sitting down. "Hi."
"Hi." I reply, feeling apprehensive. All day long I've been getting stares and a handful of people even approached me, but I'm not sure what Piper does and doesn't know. She must know something. Is she going to hate me?
"Can you believe it? The material provided in the guide is thirteen bloody chapters, and she won't narrow it down for us! Woman, I have other exams to study for, I can't afford to lose a week of study time on yours!" She violently rips the ends of her sandwich, discarding them. I consider taking them, then notice there's avocado on them, and decide against it. "She just kept saying that we need to know it all once we get into the field, so we better start knowing it all right away." She makes a mocking face as she says this, and any other day I might have laughed. She doesn't seem to notice; she's silently munching on the first bite of her sandwich, glaring off into space. My heart is hammering in my chest. Then, when she swallows it, she straightens up and her entire body does some kind of shimmy - something I've learned to recognise as her literally shaking something off. "Anyway," She says, a smile curling her lips now. "How were your morning classes?"
"Chaotic." I say, which is the truth, because everyone was very aware of a famous person being in their midst. The professor powered on, but I couldn't focus with all the stares being thrown my way and the whispers tickling the back of my neck. I'm seriously considering calling in sick for Emma's lecture, no matter how suspicious that might seem. "But I survived. Can't wait for the weekend, though."
"Right!?" She lets out a sound that's between a laugh and a sigh. "Anything planned for Halloween?"
Her eyes find mine, bright and full of honest curiosity, while I can only gape at her as I wonder if this is a well-performed act or her honestly not knowing anything. When I can't find my voice to answer, she lets out a heavy sigh.
"Awe man, I didn't think we'd have to make a big deal out of this." My brows raise as she puts down her sandwich, and extends a hand over the table. "Hi, my name's Piper. You are Lucien, right?"
I don't take her hand, my heart hammering faster. "So you did hear."
She shrugs. "I'm pretty sure everyone heard. No wonder you're flirting with the teach, if you're living with her."
My eyes narrow. "You're... not mad?"
"Mad?" She laughs, but when her eyes flick back to my face and notice the seriousness there, her expression softens. She shakes her head. "Of course not. Why would I be?"
"Because I've been lying to you for weeks on end about who I am?"
"Remí - Lucien." She smiles a warm smile. "I've suspected since week three, and have known since Max put a picture of the great Jacques du Castellon at the start of his presentation - with whom you share a striking resemblance, by the way."
"I..." I blink, trying to process what she's just said. That is easily three weeks ago. "You knew? Why didn't you say anything?"
She shrugs, focusing on slaughtering her orange now. The poor piece of fruit doesn't stand a chance against her tightly manicured acrylic nails. "I figured you had a reason to want to keep it a secret. A quick google search revealed to me your love life, and I guessed that was reason one. Then I realised that you've lived most of your adult life in the spotlight, and that this was the first time in a while the spotlight wasn't on you." Her smile is almost a little shy now. "I get that longing for normalcy better than you might expect. I didn't want to ruin it for you."
"Thank you." I say quietly, admittedly quite surprise by her spot-on guess work. "But I suppose that's all over with, now."
"Nah." She shakes her head. "Give it a week, and then everyone is too engulfed with exams to care much. Though I must say - I don't think half the people realise that the fact that Emmeline is dating a student and the fact that you're here are connected. Only the people who know you or her know that, and the rest things it's two entirely seperate things. For now, anyway."
"Possibly." I chuckle, swirling the last two sips of my coffee around in its cup. "I don't see a reason to correct them, honestly."
"Noted. But it won't take long for them to catch on, considering how quick this rumour spread." She grins. Then a glance at the clock. "Ready to be lectured by your lover?"
I roll my eyes. "I might regret being relieved that you weren't mad at me."
Piper does an excellent job of retaining normalcy, despite every eye being on me wherever I set foot. I take my usual spot in the auditorium, trying my best to ignore the stares. There's a low hum of chatter going around, but it quickly quiets down when Emma enters. I'm scared to look at her, for both the same reason of fearing I'll give us away, as for the entirely different reason of being called out on it now. Instead, I focus on my laptop and the notes I have opened on there. I don't need them, the class an easy pass, but they provide a nice crutch now.
There's a slight tremor to Emma's voice when she first starts the class, but it quickly disappears. Immediately though, several hands shoot up. I dare studying her, but her face betrays nothing.
"For this particular class," She says, and her eyes fleetingly find mine. "Please save your questions until the end of the lecture."
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