Though we call possibly more than we would speak to each other on the regular, the feeling of missing Lucien never really goes away, especially because my time gets so taken up by two jobs, a household and renovations at Charlie and Selene’s that I don’t make it out to Paris for the first few weeks.
I show him my office through video call, and he hears all about my first few cases back at the firm and my first lectures at the university.
A beautiful bouquet of roses stands on my desk, similar to the one recently delivered to the appartment, their notes a continuing sentence, signed by Lucien.
We say our goodbyes when he heads into another online lecture, and I go back to taking notes on a nasty divorce case. Wilde didn’t lie when he said their case load had more than doubled since I left - with three cases going on in my first week back I feel like I can barely catch a break, but I’m loving the rush.
A knock on my door just as I correct a misspelling of the phrase ”irresponsible asshole”, a direct quote from the opposing party, draws my attention.
“Come on in,” I answer, taking a sip from my long cold tea.
A friendly, unfamiliar man stands in the doorway, only coming in when I gesture for him to do so. “I thought I’d introduce myself, and bring you,” he holds up a mug with steam coming off of it. “I asked Sasha what you liked, since we were all wondering if you were still alive.. No one has seen you since you came in this morning. I’m Ian Martin, family law, my office is next door.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ian,” I smile. “And thank you for the tea. I’ve just been…” I gesture at my desk, folders and notes sprawled about. “Busy.”
“Tell me about it,” he chuckles, sitting down on the chair across from my desk, a nice green velour just like the one I wanted for the living room but never bought. “Though I hope they’re not working you to the bone.”
“If anyone’s working me to the bone, it’s me,” I assure him. “I’m trying to cram the workload of five days into three, all whilst teaching and assembling children’s furniture in the other two days..” I move the stray hairs that got out of my bun out of my face. “But I’ll manage.”
He eyes me nearly up and down, as far as he can whilst I’m sitting down. “Baby on the way?”
“Oh, no, no,” I smile. “Well, no. My brother and his wife, they’re adopting and they can use all the help they can get. No babies for me, yet…” I bite back the rest of that sentence.
“No, me neither,” he laughs, stirring his tea. “Not for a while. I’d have to find someone to have them with, first… Can’t really do that whilst married to the job.”
“Unless you find them on the job,” I smile. “That’s how I did it.”
“Did you now?” he asks, curiously. “Teach me your ways.”
“It was pure luck, really. I still have no idea as to what I did to land him, but I did,” I gently hold up my hand, the diamond ring sparkling. I make sure not to draw too much attention to it, nor do I wear it out, but I like to have it on around the office, or when I’m alone. As a reminder of our love.
“Do I know him?” Ian informs, scanning my office for pictures that I have yet to put up, because it keeps slipping my mind.
“Not personally, I don’t think,” I shrug, “but he’s Lucien du Castellon.”
“As in Jacques du Castellon’s son?” he nearly gasps, causing me to chuckle - he must truly be the last person to find this out, because the news of me coming back to the firm has spread like a wildfire, people gossiping I only got the spot because of my so-called close relationship with du Castellon senior.
“That’s the one,” I smile. “I’m surprised you hadn’t heard, everyone’s been whispering about how I slept my way up to this job.”
He shakes his head, the laughter nearly shaking the tea out of his mug. “Everyone talks shite in these halls, I’ve learned not to listen anymore.”
“Wise words,” I laugh. “I should take that advice from you.”
      As it turns out, Ian lives only a few streets from our appartement and is just as much of a workaholic as I am. We’re in at the exact same time the next morning with a coffee from the same place, and on the way down around six we meet each other too.
He has been working here since just after I left, I find out on our lift ride, and graduated just a year before I did. We share stories about our professors, and he laughs at the recent news I share about some of the old farts still working for the faculty.
I’m not sure how we get there, but before we’re both in our cars, we make the deal to carpool the next morning, and so we do after he picks me up at my favourite coffee place on the corner, two coffees in hand. I know I see a camera flash from the corner of my eye just as I get in, but I ignore it for his sake and mine. The rumours are still flying, and will do so until Lucien or I stop them, but we decide to wait until we’re together again - which is this weekend, four nights together before I fly back on Sunday, just in time to go back to work again on Monday.
Charlie sends me an update on Alfie, who has had his first night at their place and is taking time settling in, and I text Lucien my flight details for tonight.
After work, I have exactly one hour to get home, grab my luggage and head to the airport, so I’ll be in Paris before midnight. My phone has an app counting down the hours, my heart racing when I realise it will only be a little over twelve until I see him again.
“You look happy to be at work,” Ian chuckles, parking his car in one swift move.
“I’d be even happier to be off,” I smile. “I’m flying to France tonight.”
“Ah, to the fiancé,” he smiles. “He’s a lucky man.”
“Believe me, Ian, I’m the lucky one.”

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