Enjolras was never late for an official meeting. Late for classes, for social engagements, late writing his letters home, late in returning books he had borrowed, but never late for official meetings of the Societé des Amis de l'ABC. So, naturally, Combeferre was worried. Not only was it not like him to be late, with the way things were heating up since July, Enjolras being late could point not only to a commonplace mugging or accident, but to a capture by the police. The other Amis seemed to notice as well. Even Courfeyrac was slightly quiet.
"If he's not here soon," Bossuet suggested, " Joly and I will go out looking for him."
" If he's not here soon," Combeferre amended, " We are all to return home, lay low, and take any sensitive information with us. If he was arrested, there's no telling what he has on him, and we do not want to lead the police right to our center of operations."
" Honestly, Combeferre," Courfeyrac put in, determined to be the only one who was not troubled, though, to be honest, he was not fooling anyone. " Just because he's late it doesn't mean he's been arrested. Not everything is a crisis—"
" And not everything is to be dismissed as nothing!" Combeferre fired back . The argument might have escalated if Enjolras had not entered the café, slamming the door behind him with a look that reminded one of a cornered beast.
" Enjolras! Are you all right!" Combeferre was the first to address him, though everyone fell silent at his odd entrance. At first, their leader did not speak. " Are you well?" Combeferre repeated. "Did you run into some sort of trouble? The police—?" Enjolras finally seemed to realize where he was, and who was talking to him. Although the fearful look did not leave his eyes, he managed to shake his head.
" I'm fine." He said.
" Are you certain?" Combeferre asked. Enjolras swallowed nervously, then his eyes closed, and he nodded once more.
" I'm perfectly all right." His usual calm had returned. " Where is Bahorel?"
Back to business-as-usual, can't the man give me a straight answer before he retreats into work, and I don't see him again? Combeferre thought, with unusual testiness toward Enjolras' single-mindedness. He knew when something was wrong.
" Our ambassador has gone on a diplomatic mission to the Society of the Rights of Man." Jehan explained. " Though, if you ask me, they aren't worth cultivating."
" We'll leave that to Bahorel to decide. There are many groups rising up—some are more serious than others. I trust Bahorel to know the difference." Enjolras replied, sitting down. He was all business now, any trace of his unexplained fear was gone, but Combeferre was not fooled. He was uncharacteristically quiet for the rest of the meeting, watching Enjolras, and privately planning to corner him later.
Combeferre spotted his opportunity just as the meeting was winding down. There was a certain sound in the room that Combeferre often noticed, which was not entirely unlike the sound an audience makes just as they are beginning to lose interest in a play. It was a silent sound, and thus, difficult to grasp, but just as real, and it could always be heard in the Café Musain just moments before someone realized they had said the same thing three times, were not reaching any conclusions and nothing further could be done that day. There were a few moments between the sound, and someone's declaration of ' I think the meeting has concluded itself, don't you?' wherein Enjolras, without fail, would try to squeeze a few more minutes of focus out of them but once the sound was heard, there would be nothing more done that day.
This time, as soon as the sound—which was quite similar to the sound journalists make when a politician is lying through his teeth—was heard, Combeferre quietly switched chairs with Joly, and sat by Enjolras' side.
" Are you going to tell me what happened earlier?" he asked quietly. Enjolras was in his desperation phase. He never liked to admit that they had been going round in circles, doing nothing, but that was what they were doing.
" Happened earlier? Nothing at all." Enjolras replied. He had heard the sound as well.
" Something happened. You came in here looking like you had been chased."
" It was nothing."
" Enjolras! Tell me. If it was a political matter, I have the right to know as your lieutenant, and if it is a personal matter, I have the right to know as your friend. Now please, tell me what happened earlier." Enjolras sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Suddenly Combeferre understood.
" It was another girl, wasn't it?"