The back room of the Café Musain was unusually empty, a perfect opportunity for Enjolras to finish those letters to the Courgourde d'Aix and his German correspondent. Not that he came to the Musain to work, whenever he was truly occupied he stayed at home; instead he was looking for the pleasant experience of working with his friends' laughter and conversation in the background.
He would have to wait for Combeferre, at the very least, Enjolras thought, putting his signature on the first letter. Although he knew German well enough to maintain a written conversation, he frequently made grammatical errors that Combeferre seemed to have a deep satisfaction in finding and then gently pointing them out. He would have to humour Combeferre once more - the revolution could not be undermined by a weakness in grammar.
The door opened suddenly, so sharply that it hit the opposite wall, which Enjolras knew without looking up was a mark of Courfeyrac's exuberant entrance.
"Enjolras, mon cher," Courfeyrac called out, pulling up a chair, "I was hoping to find you here."
"As was I."
"What have you here?"
And for several minutes Courfeyrac dedicated himself to examining Enjolras's papers. Then -
"Say, Enjolras," he began, with a suspiciously sweet smile, "what are your plans for the next two weeks?"
"I'm busy," Enjolras said, mentally reviewing his schedule. "On two nights we are going to the faubourgs, you, me and Combeferre, I hope you haven't forgotten that?"
"Of course I haven't!" Courfeyrac exclaimed. "I even had to make amends to my mistress since I won't be there on her birthday night. Revolution comes first, though of course I did not say that to her."
"How did you make amends?" Enjolras said absently, wishing Combeferre was at hand so he could ask him the future perfect conjugation of befehlen.
"Well," Courfeyrac smirked, "it involved a charming new bonnet and something else that I'm not sure you'd want to know about. Anyway, the other days?"
"I have to meet that Englishman who insists on calling me Mr Enjoelrass," Enjolras said. "His French is atrocious and his ideals rather weak, yet I have faith that he will improve on both counts."
"The poor man tries."
"Oh, I care little for the way he talks, so long as he talks ideological sense, which he doesn't very often do," Enjolras said, now conflicted over the right way to spell entscheidend. "Still, his sentiment is sound and his views vaguely republican. He will improve."
"In any case," Courfeyrac said, leaning back in his chair with another sweet smile, "I am convinced that you could spare a few hours next Saturday night."
"One of my very good female friends is hosting a party," Courfeyrac said carefully, awaiting his reaction. "A ball, to be precise. A costume ball, to be more precise. A masquerade, essentially."
"So I thought that we must all come. Including yourself, that is."
Enjolras lay down his pen with a sigh. "Courfeyrac, what will I do at a masquerade?"
"Well, you know," Courfeyrac said, gesticulating vaguely, "dance, enjoy the atmosphere, talk to charming ladies, or if you don't want that, there is this young man I know from lectures. He looks promising, we might very well want to lure him into our cause."
"I can't lure anyone anywhere in such an environment," Enjolras said. "He will think that I am a fool, as is our cause."
"You could lure anyone anywhere in any environment, I assure you," Courfeyrac smirked. "But well, did I forget to mention that Combeferre is coming?"
"How on earth did you persuade him?"
Courfeyrac brought down the chair with a hearty thump and smiled mysteriously. "The same way as I will now persuade you."
"And how is that?"
"I told him you are coming."
Enjolras sighed. He could not let Combeferre down.
"It seems you are always one step ahead of me," he said with resignation.
It wouldn't be a total waste of time, surely? Courfeyrac would be delighted and he loved making Courfeyrac delighted. There was something wonderfully heartwarming about it. Then, he could always find a nice quiet corner and compose that article or think of how to maximise their ammunition supply. If an evening in the Musain did not distract him, neither will this.
"Fine, I will come."
"Wonderful!" Courfeyrac cried, throwing himself on his neck and kissing him on both cheeks. "Then, come, we need to design a costume for you! Ah, it'll be delightful! I've been waiting for this for half a decade!"