[Summary:] There's no luxury to an unrequited love.
It quickly becomes a romance he travels to and from, leaves (for Africa) only to return to later and on top of it, it's an unequal romance as well. Claude knows none of his feelings are reciprocated, not the affection (not in any way that matters) and certainly not the overwhelming desire. To fuck or be fucked, whatever would suit Matthieu better, but Matthieu regards him as a close colleague, hardly even as a friend and is as straight as an arrow anyway, even when dead drunk at Le Monde's annual Christmas party, hanging over Claude's shoulder. Oblivious.