Éponine first noticed it when they were at Courfeyrac's party.
It was a couple hours in, and Courf was already pretty drunk. Jehan wasn't there, and it sounded like he wasn't coming. It was sad, really, how infatuated Courfeyrac was with the young poet. He hadn't admitted it yet, but it was clear by the way he wouldn't shut up about him.
So there Éponine was, stuck with a very drunk and very mopey Courfeyrac. Marius and Cosette were apparently swapping jokes with Joly and a bald—but still young—man that Éponine hadn't met before that night, and try as she did, she couldn't remember his name.
Across the room she could see Enjolras with Feuilly and Combeferre in what looked like a pretty intense discussion. But he was looking up more and more frequently, glancing between Courf and her.
"He's just so," Courfeyrac starts, stroking Éponine's hair. He had a reputation for being physically affectionate, particularly when he was wasted. "He's so," he repeats, putting an arm around her shoulder. "He's so…" and with that, Courfeyrac hugs Éponine tight, nuzzling into her neck. "He's just so wonderful and beautiful and smart and funny and nice and I don't deserve him."
"Oh… erm… alright," she said, patting him awkwardly. She was a lot better at the suck-it-up speeches than she was at comforting, especially when it came to romantic attachments.
"Courfeyrac, I'm going to need to borrow my girlfriend really quick," Enjolras's voice came from behind the drunk man. Éponine couldn't see him, partly because Courfeyrac's curls were in the way and partly because he was squeezing her so tight that her vision was going blurry.
"Yeah, o' course," Courfeyrac sniffed, finally letting Éponine go.
Enjolras grabbed her hand and led her so quickly into one of the back rooms that Éponine practically had to run. He closed the door behind them and backed her against it. Enjolras looked at her, his face unreadable. Slowly, he pressed his lips against hers, tentative although they had been dating for months. Éponine didn't hesitate to deepen the kiss, curling her fingers in his hair and pulling him tighter against her.
He moved his mouth to her neck, which she was grateful for; she was having a hard time catching her breath. His hands found their way from her waist to the hem of her shirt, but as soon as his fingertips made contact with her skin, she had a terrible realization.
"Enjolras," she said, her voice flat. She loosened her grip on his curls.
"Hmm?" he breathed against her neck. It tickled and Éponine tried not to twitch.
"This is Courfeyrac's bedroom. We can't do this here. It's weird."
He groaned and planted one last kiss to her collarbone before straightening up.
"You know," Éponine grinned, "I'm not feeling all that great. Maybe we should head home early."
Enjolras smiled back, but before he could reply, Éponine licked a finger and brought it to his lips. "Some of my lipstick," she explained.
"Got it?" he said finally, when she had removed her finger.
"Good enough," she replied, grabbing his hand and leading him back to the living room. Courfeyrac had since attached himself to Combeferre, who looked rather uncomfortable at the other man hanging onto him.
"Hey, um, I'm not feeling well, so Enjolras is gonna take me home early," Éponine said, trying her best to keep a straight face.
"You do look a little flushed," Joly whimpered.
"Yeah, it has nothing to do with the hickey on your neck or the lipstick on Enj's face," Bahorel practically yelled.
Éponine grinned in the sweetest way, then gracefully flipped him off as she and Enjolras left.
Enjolras was at a back table with Jehan and Courfeyrac, who were all but jumping on each other. Grantaire was there, too, talking about something that happened at the museum that day. Enjolras tried to pay attention, really, he did. But Éponine was at the counter, supposed to be grabbing beers for everyone (she had just gotten paid, and was all too eager to blow her paycheck on booze). Instead, she was talking with the bald man they had met and Courfeyrac's party a few nights ago. She was waving her arms wildly as she talked. The man replied, and Éponine laughed loudly, tilting her head back and flipping her hair over her shoulder.
Enjolras stood up. He had really tried not to interfere, but the hair flip was too much, and he cracked. He walked—well, it was more of a march, really—over to his girlfriend, put his hand behind her neck, and took her bottom lip between his own. She made a small squeak of surprise, but then kissed him back. He didn't even hesitate to swipe the tip of his tongue against her mouth, because hey, she was his girlfriend and if they wanted to make out in public, so be it.
"Do you greet everyone like this or does she get special treatment?" the bald man laughed.
Enjolras glanced back at the man.
Éponine cleared her throat and then introduced them. "Bossuet, this is my boyfriend Enjolras, you might have met him at Courfeyrac's house. Enjolras, this is Bossuet… Joly's boyfriend."
Enjolras was sulking. This was getting out of hand. At Courfeyrac's party, it had been endearing, the way he got jealous. At the bar the other night, it was hot. But this? This was just ridiculous.
"You're brooding," she told him.
"I am not." They were sitting by the window of the café, and Enjolras was staring out the window with his face in his hands. Definitely a brooding position.
"Yes you are. You stick out your bottom lip when you pout." For emphasis, she flicked his bottom lip with her finger.
"I am not," he repeated, brushing her hand away.
At that moment, Marius—who was who they had been waiting on—walked by. He was chatting on his phone, holding up a finger to let him know that he was going to be a minute. He did, however, pause to make a face at Éponine, who laughed loudly.
Enjolras sucked in a breath, and Éponine turned to him. Seeing the irritated twitch of his lips, she laughed even louder. "Oh my god, you're jealous of Marius?"
"What? No, I—"
"Yes you are! Oh my god. Really? Wow. We're going to go pick out an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Who happens to be one of my best friends."
"Yes, but you used to like him."
Éponine gave him a sideways glance. "Maybe, but you also happen to be the one who gets to rip my bra off with his teeth every night, so…."
Enjolras coughed loudly, surprised by the blatant statement but also alerting Éponine of Marius's entrance into the café.
"Ready?" Marius asked.
"Yep!" Éponine replied cheerily. She leaned into her boyfriend's ear, cupping her hand around her mouth so Marius was sure not to hear. "I'd say 'don't be jealous', but it's actually really hot."
Then she stood, planted a kiss to the top of Enjolras's head, and left with Marius. For good measure, she linked her arm in his just as they were passing by the window.
She really could be so unfair sometimes.