825. - Lucien
"And you're sure she's not going to come by?"
"Very sure." I nod, rubbing my eyes. "We've agreed she's not allowed to come around and distract me like she tends to do alone."
Selene grins, while Charles's expression sours. I do my best to hide how that pleases me. "Perfect, we'll get to set up everything in advance. Have you told Nancy yet?"
"No, just that she needs to keep the date free for her and the family. Daniel and Beth know, and they'll come to the party, but not the lunch."
"Probably the lunch, but I'll make sure to ask Nancy." I yawn again, the warm room making me drowsy. Charles raises a suspicious eyebrow at me.
"Late night?" It's clear that he's insinuating that I went out partying or something, but I bite back a snarcky remark that he literally owns a pub made for that kind of thing.
"Finals season." I say simply, shrugging. "I've taken up some last minute extra work in hopes I won't have to take the classes next year to get myself a little more free time for work and, you know, wedding planning."
"I'm sure you'll do great." Selene smiles. "You perform best under pressure."
"Tell that to my severe lack of sleep."
She laughs. "Well, this place is just a couple of minutes away from the Griffin... I can come bring you coffee every now and again."
"The whole idea of me studying here was to not be distracted."
"I know, but I'm not Emma. That, by default, makes me less distracting."
Charles looks all kinds of displeased with the direction the conversation has taken, and I smirk. "You're welcome any time, you know that."
"I didn't even know you had this place." As she says that, she walks up to the large store-front window and peers outside to the crowded street. "A birthday present?"
"Yeah, Emma went a little nuts for my thirtieth." I chuckle. "We're... I'm not sure what to do with it yet, but it's good to have a place away from the apartment."
"You could make it a coffee shop."
"Yeah!" She flicks around to meet me and Charles with bright eyes. "Just like in the movies or the books! A small place where people get good coffee for fair prices, and self-baked goods, with places for people to sit with their laptops or their books. Maybe even a cat or two."
I'm a little stunned, and next to me, Charles chuckles. "Babe..."
Selene blushes, and bites her lip. "I might have watched a few too many romantic comedy's lately."
"Possibly." I smile. "But that's the fun of these kinds of things, imagining all the things it could be."
Her smile softens, and she nods. "Is that how you deal with not knowing what the future might bring?"
"I... suppose?" I purse my lips. "I dunno, I've never really thought about it that way."
"That's okay. It's just... You always pride yourself in not planning ahead. I'd go insane, but you just always seem to go with the flow."
"Then maybe this is indeed how I cope." I decide to hide the fact that I've come to be that way after my fair share of trauma, both because I don't want to ruin the mood and because I suspect that Selene is secretly aware of that.
"Anyway!" Selene says as she claps her hands together, also sensing that we're treading into dangerous territory - both to me, but also to them. Last news is that the harrowing process of adopting isn't going as quick or smooth as either of them would like, and Emma's told me it's taking a toll of them. I make a note to invite Selene for coffee soon, even with all my school work looming. "Just so that I have a mental note of the day - morning for the two of you together, then lunch at 1 pm with Nancy, Reginald and possibly Phoebs, then spending the afternoon in the park with Kenna and the kids... And then I lost track."
"Kenna's take her home for some spa treatment." Charles, to my surprise, continues. "Lucien's gonna come over to the Griffin with Gabriel," He says the name hesitantly, because he somehow also gets Brie and Matt confused, but I nod. "to help us cook and set up. Kenna will make sure Emma gets here by six to have dinner, and then beforehand I'll have made sure that someone Emma would want at the party knows how to get into The Griffin, so they're all there once we get there as well."
"Yeah, pretty much." I say, a little stunned. Charles grins.
"I pay attention."
"Wonderful. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a 6000-word essay waiting for me with a deadline that comes far sooner than I would've liked." I gently coax them towards the exit, and right before they both get on Charles's bike, Selene gives me a tight hug. I hold her until she lets go, somehow sensing that she needs it more than I do.
"I'll make good on that coffee promise."
"I sure hope you do."
She wraps her arms around me from behind, chin coming to rest on my shoulders. There's a hiccup in my playing, but I know the song well enough to continue. "We should get a piano at the wedding."
I snort. "While not opposed to that idea... Did you forget how much I spent on this one?"
"I very much did not, and I'd like not to be reminded in risk of getting a heart attack." She laughs. "We don't need to buy one. Maybe the venue has one, or we can rent one."
"I'm sure something can be arranged. Any other wishes?"
"A place for Louis, and Madeleine. Claire. Your brother, if you want to. Something to honour them."
I smile, nodding as my song comes to an end. "Sounds wonderful."
"Forget-me-nots, somewhere. Maybe the bouquet, or the decorations, just... somewhere. For my mother. And you, in a white dress so breath-taking that every girl at that wedding is going to weep because they'll never be able to top you."
She laughs, shaking her head. "No pressure."
"Of course not."
She rolls her eyes, and releases me. "Now scooch. I want to show you I've been practicing."
I let her sit next to me and watch her play The Godfather's Theme with a glass of whiskey dangling between my fingers, wishing I could freeze time.
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