"Mr. Winner," Pelle says, and Quatre turns to look at the screen, curious. He sets down his oatmeal as he does so. "Ms. Ziane’s called for you."
"Oh, send her through in 30," Quatre says, before moving the oatmeal bowl out of sight and fixing his hair slightly. He’ll just have to hope there’s nothing in his teeth.
As her screen flicks on, Quatre leans back slightly with a smile. Her hair’s up in a loose clip, and she’s wearing a brilliant blue scarf tucked around her neck, with a casual three-quarter length sleeve white button-up shirt. On her wrist is a bracelet of turquoise and orange jasper that she’s had since she was twelve.
She’s in her L4 apartment, which is something of a surprise. He thought she was still at university.
"Marhaban," he replies, grinning. "When did you get in?"
"Oh, last night," she says, uncapping a water bottle. "That’s actually what I’m calling you about— it’s related, at least."
He raises his eyebrows slightly.
"There’s an opening gala at the new Georgian exhibit in the Lit, on the seventeenth. 6 to 9, probably," she says, taking a sip of water. "Dad can’t make it, and I really don’t want to have to drag one of my cousins along."
Quatre nods, pulling out his planner. "I’m pretty sure—yes, I’m full up on meetings until 9 on the seventeenth. Do you want to grab dessert afterward?"
"Even you are not be having 9pm meetings on a Saturday," Olivie says, raising her eyebrows right back at him.
"The seventeenth’s a Friday, Ziane," Quatre says, mouth quirking up.
Her eyes move as she checks out another screen, hair falling slightly out of her clip; she tucks it back up quickly. "Of course, the eighteenth." The eye roll is more implied, but it’s pretty clear if you know her. (Quatre dated her for three years. He's fairly certain he knows her.)
"That, I should be able to do," he grins at her. "Colors?"
"I was thinking of wearing my amethyst gown," she says.
He narrows his brow slightly. "The halter-neck?" his tone is doubtful.
"No, of course not; the off-the shoulder with the horizontal pintuck," Olivie laces her fingers through each other, and stretches her hands.
"The one you wore to Ildri’s wedding," he confirms. "I still have the waistcoat."
Olivie smiles, suddenly, and leans on her still interlaced hands.
"It sounds good. I’ll see you on Saturday, Winner."
"You still haven’t read them?"
"Ah!" Quatre says, holding his hands up defensively, "I’ve decided to read them with someone, and she won’t read it until she’s done writing something of her own." It seems rude to read the books before Ms. Austen has written them. Also, it gives him a good excuse to avoid the time it would take.
He takes a sip of the juice, and Olivie kindly waits for him to swallow before asking "Are you and this someone dating?"
Quatre still winces, slightly. "No, and I have no reason to believe she has any interest in me."
"Ah," Olivie smirks, glancing away. "She has a boyfriend."
"No," Quatre says, studiedly calm, "not that I know of, but I do."
Olivie’s surprised glance in his peripheral vision makes him grin. "So there is a someone. Very sneaky of you, Mr. Winner."
"I try my hardest, Ms. Ziane," Quatre replies, humbly.
"Do I know him?" she asks, setting her empty drink on a server’s tray. Quatre’s isn’t quite empty, but he sets his down as well, offering her his arm as they make their way towards the main space. "Is he Duvernay, again?"
"You’ve met," he replies, honestly, and Olivie smiles. "And no, you know he’s not."
"Secrets, secrets," she says, cheerful and unsurprised. "Well, you know if it doesn’t work out you can always find out if Miss Someone has any interest in you."
Quatre glances down at her with a sudden, honest smile. "I really don’t think it’s going to come to that," he says, "or at least I hope not. Would you like to dance?"
She lets go of his arm enough to turn and face him, standing a little on her tiptoes to look him in the eyes. "Secrets," she whispers, emphatically, and then smiles, settles back onto her heels and nods graciously.
It’s more than Quatre can do to avoid laughing quietly before they begin.