Status: Currently working on - hope to finish by the end of the summer.


Chapitre Quatorze

“What is it?” François asked when Marie pulled away.
“I thought I saw Jean.”
François rolled his eyes. “Let’s go back inside then.”
When they stepped back into the foyer, the people were dispersed on either side, as if Moses had just parted the Red Sea. They were buzzing about a rude little boy. “Does anyone know his name? That was completely unacceptable behavior!”
Marie gulped.
“He is a lost cause,” François said, “This will never stop happening. You cannot force someone to be someone they are not.”
“I have to go after him.”
“No you do not,” François pulled her towards him. “You owe him nothing. Do not let him ruin your night.”
“I have to go.” Marie said more sternly. She pulled away and went for the door. When she got outside, she went past Gustave and got her horse.
“Do your parents know?” He shouted after her worriedly, but Marie did not answer.
It did not take her long to catch up with Jean. He was grey in the black night, moving solemnly through the sleeping grass.
“Jean!” Marie called.
He looked over his shoulder and sighed. His lungs felt tight. “Hey, Marie.”
She jumped off of Bruno and looked him in the eyes. “Why did you leave?”
“Why did you?”
“What –?”
“You said you wouldn’t let me feel left out.” He reminded her. “But I felt left out from the beginning. And then you left with François…”
“I went to go tell him to stop singling you out.”
“Oh sure,” Jean turned and crossed his arms, “surely that is what you were doing.”
“What do you think we were doing?”
“Whatever engaged people do.” Jean realized how bitter he seemed and uncrossed his arms.
Marie laughed. “Who told you I was engaged?”
“Edgard did. Or at least, he said he was your suitor.”
Marie frowned. “Edgard has been trying to sabotage you!”
“He told you that to try to make you jealous. Just like he instructed François to make you ‘feel included’.”
Jean gave her a confused look.
“He also hired your brother to remind you that in any other scenario, you would be working for him. It all makes sense now.” Marie said proudly.
“Why would he be doing those things?”
“How should I know?” Marie shrugged. “He just does not like you, I guess.”
They were quiet for a moment. “So…you aren’t going to marry François?”
“I do not know. I do not really like him like that. Why?”
Jean looked out at the darkness. “Just asking.”
“Are you jealous?!”
“No!” He blurted.
“You are jealous!” Marie put her hand on his shoulder. “You are green with envy, pirate.”
Jean bit his bottom lip. “I’m not jealous.” He mumbled. “I do not like you like that.”
“Shame,” Marie pulled her hand away, “because I just thought of a way to get back at Edgard.”
“I pretend I like you. You pretend you like me.”
Jean’s palms began to sweat. “Why would we do that?”
“Trust me. Nothing would upset him more.”
“Oh – ugh…okay…”
“So, what should we do tomorrow?” Marie asked. “My family is leaving for Paris. I want to get out of that house.”
“I can’t do anything tomorrow.”
“My sister is getting married.”
Marie grabbed his warm, wet hands and squeezed. “Could I go? Oh Edgard will be so mad if I go!”
“Um…I guess…maybe…”
“Wonderful!” She threw her arms around him. “I love weddings!”
Jean’s voice was softer. “I have never been to one.”
“You probably will not like it. You have to sit still almost the entire time.”
“I know, but still, it is sweet.”
“I guess…”
Marie glanced around and realized how dark it was. She could not see much further than an arm’s length. It was as if she and Jean were the only two people left on the world.