Musichetta arrives early, but not before her boss. Monsieur Enjolras is already in his office, seemingly arguing with someone on the phone. She sets up her at desk and puts herself to work. And if she could hear the conversation perfectly from her position, that could just be a complete coincidence, couldn’t it?
“I am aware…” Enjolras is saying, sounding tired and frustrated. “Don’t put words in my mouth. Of course I want to--Yeah, okay. I can do that...I will arrange it right away. Bye, R.”
She hears the door open a few minutes later. “Oh, Musichetta.”
Monsieur Enjolras seems to be surprised to see her. She greets him back.
“Good morning.” He says politely. “You’re early. Good. Please cancel all appointments for Saturday.”
She doesn’t have time to bask in the compliment. “Oh! But, sir, you have a meeting with the board that day.”
“Combeferre can represent me. Tell him that it’s because of R.” Enjolras replies, skimming through the files at the cabinet.
“R? Like, the letter?” She asks.
Enjolras nods and doesn’t say another word as he takes a file and goes back into his office. Musichetta is left deciphering how to spell “Combeferre” and what the hell “because of R” means.
Musichetta still hasn’t figured out what R stands for, but she does meet many of Monsieur Enjolras’ friends and colleagues. There’s Combeferre, her boss’s closest confidant, having had known him since kindergarten and there’s Combeferre’s charismatic husband Courfeyrac, who pops in once in a while to drag the two out to get some sleep and take care of themselves. Combeferre is a doctor, lending his work to Enjolras’ private law firm frequently and Courfeyrac is a rising star in the Broadway Musical Scene (his words, not hers). They make sense together, the three of them. Enjolras has a lot of drive, yet little self-control. Combeferre is consistent and methodical, yet has trouble with emotions. Courfeyrac has a big heart and gives wonderful hugs, yet is prone to unnecessary spectacle.
She finds a routine in her work, scheduling appointments and meetings; finding out which case is a higher priority; keeping track of the press (with the help of Jehan the whimsical PR Head); and reminding Monsieur Enjolras every time he forgets to eat, which is quite often. She forgets about the Mystery R until Courfeyrac appears unannounced with a package.
“Hey, Chetta!” He greets, having taken to calling her her nickname. “Package for Enjolras. Though I would quite enjoy to inform him myself. Could you tell him I’m here?”
She does and as he walks out, Courfeyrac grins before shouting, “Enjolras! You have a big package...from R!” and then laughing delightedly at his own joke.
Enjolras rolls his eyes, crossing the room with a few strides. “Am I allowed to know what’s inside?”
“Nope! You have to open it yourself.” Courfeyrac says. “Enjoy your...package.”
And then he’s gone with a saucy wink.
“Would you like me to put it aside, sir?” Musichetta asks.
Enjolras is reading the tag when he says, “No need. I’ll keep it on my desk.”
Unusual, as he usually puts all his packages and received envelopes in a pile to be brought into his house by the delivery boy every night. There must be something about that particular one.
Monsieur Enjolras is late.
A few months ago, Musichetta would not have thought this to be a big deal, but she knows better now. Monsieur Enjolras is never late. He has never arrived after 7:30, actually, even though the office doesn’t open until 8:00. One time even, Musichetta found him asleep on the couch at 7:00 AM, which left her wondering if he slept there the whole night.
Not only that, but he has an appointment scheduled at 8:10 AM with Mayor Valjean and although the mayor seems to be only a little irritated, Musichetta knows that Enjolras would never be late to an important meeting with a person of authority. She tries to contact him, but it goes to voicemail.
It is 8:46 when he arrives, five minutes after the mayor leaves with a polite ‘I’m displeased but not angry’ nod. Monsieur Enjolras’ hair is a mess and--is that a hickey under his scarf?? He must have caught her staring and puts his scarf back on. He looks like he dressed himself fairly quickly as his socks don’t match and he’s wearing a sweater instead of his usual crisp polo.
“Uhm.” He says, even though he almost never uses filler words. “I--I apologize for being tardy. I will call Monsieur Mayor in a little bit. I left my phone at home. Would you mind terribly if I borrow yours quickly?”
She hands it over. Later, when she gets it back, she sees a deleted text message along with the call to the mayor. Perhaps he wasn’t aware that messages were very hard to completely delete these days. It read:
R, this is E. You are going to pay for that fucking mark you made on my neck. What are we, teenagers? Obviously, I left my phone so if anything important comes up, just e-mail me. And no, your nudes aren’t under Anything Important. Don’t reply; this is Musichetta’s phone.
She tries very hard to remain a neutral expression as Enjolras goes around with his scarf stubbornly around his neck for the rest of the day.
She mentions it to Combeferre once with a casual, “So who’s R? I’ve heard him mentioned a few times, but I’ve never seen him around.”
Combeferre only says, “Ah, yeah. He hates going here, something about having to compete for Enjolras’s attention amidst all his paperwork. Don’t worry though; he’ll show up eventually.”
And with that, he changes the subject.
She asks Jehan once.
“R?” Jehan repeats, doodling on their notebook. “Well, how could I even begin to describe him? He is Dionysus balancing his Apollo. He is a paradox. He is an enigma, knowing all the best places in Paris, yet he grew up outside of France. I heard that he broke his nose not once, not twice, but thrice! He is a cynic, yet he has a fondness for teaching children the ways of an artist. He doesn’t believe in change and revolution, yet he stays beside the very personification of Delacroix’s Liberty. He stays within the confines--”
Musichetta stops listening halfway, not understanding any of it.
Monsieur Enjolras is a hardworking man. Musichetta knows this and she admires him for it. He always seems to be taking on at least 2 cases at once, usually one being pro bono, just to help out the less fortunate. He goes through all the details several times, writes and rewrites all his speeches with a meticulous eye, and can convince crowds of people to rally by his side in a matter of minutes.
However, she also knows that this doesn’t all happen by magic. Monsieur Enjolras works very hard, often excessively so. His work takes up a lot of his time and he is prone to forgetting basic human needs like sleep and hunger. He seems adamant on ploughing through mountains of case files even when his left eye starts twitching. He refuses to leave his office at times, claiming that he’ll get distracted. Musichetta tries to help as much as she can, picking him up coffee (never from Starbucks; she learned that the hard way) and bringing him snacks every so often. He would usually acquiesce and say something like, “I guess a ten minute break wouldn’t hurt.”
This time though, he refuses to take even that. He has been holed up in his office since 2 pm and it’s already way past sunset. He has only eaten an apple left by Jehan sometime after 4 and seems to be fueled only by his water bottle. Musichetta has tried multiple times to have him pack up and go home to no avail.
His eyes are red and clearly irritated. The bags under his eyes are more evident than usual and he looks like a zombie. A zombie that’s very good at law, but a zombie nonetheless.
He has also told her that she’s free to leave, but she has the sneaking suspicion that she’s the only thing keeping him from moving to his office and staying there for the next 5 days. She wants to convince him to go home for his own sake, but she’s tired and she has a date with her boyfriends in fifteen minutes.
She is still mulling her options over when the entrance door opens, strange as everyone has gone home already. A man with inky black curls for hair walks in without knocking and acknowledges her with a nod, then continues directly to Monsieur Enjolras’s office. Musichetta hears him sigh dramatically once he enters.
“Enj, I’ve called you like five times.” The man says accusingly.
Enjolras seems to only then notice he’s there and stands up abruptly. “Grantaire, what are you doing here? I...I think my phone is here somewhere.”
Musichetta tries to remember a Grantaire, but fails. The man closed the door behind him, but the office wasn’t soundproof. She could clearly hear their conversation.
“Alright, that’s it. I’m taking you home.” The man named Grantaire says, “You look like shit and this can all wait until tomorrow.”
“It cannot! I need to reread this source I need and…” Enjolras interrupts himself with a yawn. “This is important, R.”
Musichetta’s eyes widen in realization. This is him, the infamous (at least to her) R!
‘R’ says, “Let’s make a deal. I’ll go through these with you tomorrow , but you have to get some rest and take care of yourself. Seriously, Enjolras, you can’t help anyone if you’re in danger of collapsing to the ground any second. You might be okay with destroying your body for the sake of the Cause but I’m not okay with watching the man I love almost kill himself everytime there’s an important case. Deal?”
She thinks Enjolras would never agree to that (he was far too stubborn), but to her surprise, he does.
“You’re right.” He says to R.
“When will you learn that I’m always right, darling?”
“Shut up. I love you. Unnghh, my head hurts.”
“Alright, come on. Up and at ‘em.”
Musichetta hears some rustling and debates with herself whether she should just go or stay to witness this rare moment of Monsieur Enjolras’ emotional vulnerability.
She starts packing up when the door to Enjolras’ office opens with Grantaire supporting the half-asleep blond. Enjolras presses a kiss to Grantaire’s jaw and seems to suddenly remember that they’re not alone. His face reddens as he bids his goodbye.
Musichetta locks up after them, looking forward to telling Joly and Bossuet about this exciting turn of events.