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Ghosting

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"Let me just check with the rest of the group and then we can go." Elodie intoned in the doorway to her room. Luc rose an eyebrow at her and then waved her off,

"Of the two of us I'm the one ready."

With a nod she briefly touched her side, still bandaged from the gunshot wound, and then made her way down the hall. He paced, impatiently, examining the pictures he'd seen a thousand times on her walls. He had to admit it was getting harder and harder to mask his indifference to his Family obligations. A gallery opening was so blase now that he'd been traipsing around the Mediterranean finding clues for the past few weeks. What would have always been a welcomed break from the monotony of his life now seemed like a waste of time.

Luc picked up his phone. Maybe if he bugged him enough he could finally convince Stellan to come as well. The three of them together was always a good time.

Where are you?

                           Out.

What are you doing?

                           Things.

What kinds of things?

                           Important things.

Luc pulled up the tracking app on his phone and clicked on Stellan's number. It only took a second for it to reveal he was in his room.

Liar. You know that tracking app works both ways.

                           What do you want?

Come out with us tonight!

                           No.

What is wrong with you?
You've been acting strange since Cannes.

                           Nothing. I'm fine.

You know I could make you come.
I should have my Keeper with me in these dangerous times.

                           If you're going to threaten me then threaten me.

Jesus. Sorry. Forget I asked.

                           I'm sorry. I just…

What is it? What happened in Cannes?
It was something big because everyone is  acting weird.

Luc watched as the little three-dot bubble came up and then went away, over and over again. As if he was writing something and then deleting it again. Or he was writing a novel - which was stupid. If it was that long just call. Luc finally couldn't take it any longer.

Did the worst occur?
Did you walk in on 
Jack and Avery?

The three-dot bubble disappeared and didn't come back. He was getting close. It wasn't usually this hard to get information out of Stellan, it must have been very scaring. Which meant the only way to pry it out of him was to infuriate him. Luc rubbed his hands together for a minute, excited for the task.

Was it horribly awkward? Can you not unsee it?
Do 
I need to find you some eyewash?
Are you still too fragile to talk about it?

The bubble popped back up and Luc grinned with glee. Down the hall, he could hear Elodie chatting with Leo and Emma, and tapped his phone, impatient. All three of them let out a laugh and he poked his head around the corner but he couldn't see them. His phone buzzed in his hands and he looked down.

                           I almost slept with Avery.

"What?!' He yelled at his phone and dropped it from his hands, it clattered to Elodie's desk and he took a few steps away - shocked. It buzzed again and he dove for it checking the message.

                           I could hear you all the way down here.

WHAT?! Wait…

                           What?

A lot of things are coming together for me  right now.
Did you say 'almost'?

                           Yes.

You don't 'almost' sleep with anyone.
Couldn't finish the job?

                           We were drunk.

Why was she drunk Stellan?
You know better than that.

                           That's why I said almost.

Avery? Really? Jack's Avery?

                            She's not Jack's Avery anymore.

So she's finally YOUR Avery?

                            I don't know. Maybe?

MAYBE?! That's not like you either!
You must really like her.

                            Too much. It's dangerous.

You know the only way to solve this, right?

Elodie appeared in the doorway and glanced around for a moment, looking cautious before asking.

"What was that shout about?"

He looked up from his phone, knowing his eyes must be wide with shock, and then it dawned on him and he frowned at her,

"You bitch, you knew all this time and you didn't tell me?"

"Can you elaborate a little before you call me a bitch again?" Elodie crossed her arms over her chest and gave him a challenging stare.

"Stellan almost slept with Avery?!" He lowly hissed at her, flashing the conversation on his phone to her before letting the phone smack down at his side.

"Oh that," she rolled her eyes. "I walked in on them."

"WHAT?!" He shouted again and felt the phone buzz in his hand but didn't look down. "How could you not tell me?"

"I was trying to erase it from my brain, and then I almost died in a fire, and then I got shot." She deadpanned. "It was a long night."

"El, I love you," he leaned forward and squeezed her crossed arms, "but if you ever keep gossip that juicy from me again I'll have you transferred."

"So are you going to this gallery opening?" Elodie continued as if they hadn't been talking about the best gossip in months and stepped into the hallway letting his hand drop.

"Of course not, I need to be with Stellan." He quickly replied and she scrunched her nose in disgust,

"You two have the strangest relationship ever."

She turned and started walking down the hall and he called after her,

"But you love us!"

She gave him a little wave without looking back and he raced down the hall toward Stellan's room. He threw the door open to see him sitting on his bed, still in his clothes, hair a mess, glaring at his phone.

"Put the phone down!" He crossed the room and slapped it out of his hands. It fell to the bed with a thump and Luc grabbed it before sitting next to him and looked down. It was opened to his texts with Avery and he glanced over them briefly - all business. But then the little three circle bubble popped up on the bottom only to disappear again. He felt Stellan lean closer to him to watch the bubble pop up again on the phone.

"It's been like that every night since we all had to split up." Stellan sighed and then leaned back against the wall, but Luc smiled and turned to face him,

"Then what are you waiting for?"

"We are all supposed to be pretending we didn't fulfill the mandate. There isn't a reason for me to see her." Stellan said and then leaned forward and grabbed his phone back. They both watched as the text bubble popped up and then disappeared again. The gears started spinning in his head and the solution crystallized instantly.

"Then let me create a reason." He opened his phone and flipped through his list to Colette.

Invite Avery to Fashion Week.

                            Okay. But why?

Stellan needs to see her.

                            He can't just text her?
                            I was thinking of not going.

This has to be done in person.

                            Oh...so it's about what happened at the villa.

"You are a horrible friend," Luc grumbled as he read the text. Stellan deflated next to him sliding down the wall a little.

So you know too?

                            I think they are good together.
                            I hope it can work out.
                            They are stuck with each other now.

See you tomorrow then?

                            Yes.

"You are welcome," Luc said as he closed his phone and turned to him. "We are going to Fashion Week, and so is Avery."

Stellan paled a little next to him and then he took a big breath and nodded. "Good."

The phone buzzed in Stellan's hands and they both looked down - Avery.

Are you and Luc going to Fashion Week tomorrow?

"I'll leave you to it." Luc smiled and rose from the bed. Right as he hit the door Stellan looked up from his texting,

"You're a good friend."

"I am your best friend. There is a difference." Luc countered and Stellan smiled and nodded. He closed the door and started to make his way back to his own wing of the compound. His phone buzzed again and he looked down - Colette.

                            She said yes. I invited her mother and Jack as well.

Luc stopped in front of the library entryway and tapped his phone for a moment, debating if he was crossing a line or not. But he couldn't help himself. He added Elodie to the text with Colette,

Tell me every single detail.

Three little dots appeared in the text bubble below.