Author: Roka Polaris PM
A little girl in 19th century France starts to see things before they actually happen. Attempt of a story playing with some motives of the typical gothic novel.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Drama - Chapters: 7 - Words: 9,958 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 01-27-13 - Published: 06-11-12 - id: 3031161
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Marie carefully worked her way through the girl's hair. Lysette's reddish curls were of a quite stubborn nature. Brushing and braiding them before going to bed did not help to keep it free of tangles. Lysette sat still during the whole procedure, holding one the holding one of her dolls on her lap, imitating Marie's actions by using a smaller brush on the doll's hair.
" You have to be careful, the doll's hair is not fastened to her head as securely as yours. You don't want to tear any of it out."
"No, no," Lysette assured avidly. "Actually Marjorie's hair does not need as much brushing out as mine. She sleeps in the doll bed and does not move around at all. And still she is crying."
Lysette slightly shook her head and Marie made her understand with gentle pressure that she had to sit sill now.
"But Marjorie is still little, you know? That is why she cries, little girls always cry."
"I am glad that you are a big girl," Marie answered and could not suppress a smile at how serious Lysette sounded. Children's games were always a very serious matter. Pretending to be a lady. This girl though was not just pretending. She was the queen in her own little kingdom of dolls and fairy tales and Marie hoped she would always remember to be this kind of queen even when the time of games was over for her. At least the time of children's games. She would have to play the games of adults soon enough, only that those were not as serious and sincere.
"Are you going to read me the story again?" Lysette asked after a while.
"In the evening, chérie. What story is it that you would like to hear? The one about Sleeping Beauty?" Lysette had been very fond of that one lately.
"No, I want to hear the one with the deer and the wild-boars."
Marie held her breath for a moment; that story. She hoped Lysette would forget about it, because she did not want to hear again what the girl had made out of this it last night.
"You don't like the story, Marie?"
The nursemaid just wanted to assure that she liked it indeed, she was rather irritated about how Lysette sometimes seemed to guess the things that she did not say aloud. Though before she could go on debating stories, there was a knock on the door. Certainly it was one of the maids with the washing water she had asked for.
Marie was rather surprised to see no-one less then the young Vicomte, as she opened the door. She hurried to curtsey, but he just stood and grinned at her.
"Marie, what are you doing?" he said. "No-one else is here."
"Vicomte, I don't understand what you mean." Lysette was here, was she no-one? She did not like the way he constantly underestimated his little sister. The girl understood everything that was not meant for her to understand, especially those kinds of matters. And of course she now had heard who had come to visit. She was not deaf either.
"Jules!" The girl jumped from the chair with her half braided head of hair, the doll still tightly clasped in her hands.
"Lysette!" he answered and let her hug him. "It is you who I have come to see." His voice was cheerful and his smile was bright, Marie hadn't seen him in such a mood in a while. He now seemed to be the young and enthusiastic man that he actually was. Not the one who apparently needed to hide his enthusiasm behind polite words, fine manners and sometimes ironic remarks that sounded as if he did not care about anything.
Lysette was radiant as well; she took her brother's good hand and tried to pull him towards the bench. "You are staying with us today, aren't you? Please say yes!"
"Lysette, you have to let your brother talk first. You are not even letting him say a word. That is not very well-mannered of you." Marie tried to make her voice sound stern, but she had a hard time staying serious in this situation. Those two siblings were such a heart-warming sight. It had pained her to see how he seemed to try and stay out of Lysette's way sometimes, or at least to act as if she was not there. Of course she was only a child, but she adored him, and Marie did not want to see the little girl's feelings hurt.
"Right now, I am afraid to say so, young lady," Jules replied to his sister. "I cannot stay very long. I am very busy, as I have something important to prepare for – something of utmost importance."
Marie slightly raised an eyebrow. Since when did he talk to Lysette about 'important' matters? What was it that he planned? After all he hardly came up here – and never at this time of the day. Why should he?
"Important?" Lysette asked. "You can tell me, I won't tell anyone."
"I am sorry, I can't. It's a secret."
"I can keep secrets." Lysette declared. Of course, she loved secrets.
"I know, I know. But in this case it is about a surprise for you. And would it be a surprise if you knew everything in advance?"
"No." She looked down to the floor, but there was a grin in her face that Marie knew would not disappear for at least the rest of the day. Not even the tale about the deer and wild boars would be enough to distract her from asking questions about the surprise that Jules had been talking about.
Jules cast a glance in Marie's direction, one that unambiguously told her that he wanted her to follow him. What was she to do, she had to follow his orders, he knew that. But then it was also her duty to look after the child. Still … Lysette was a well-behaved girl and usually did not do anything that she was told not to – at least not on purpose. Especially after she had also promised it to her brother, so what could actually happen?
"You are bringing me into a lot of impossible situations, do you know that? And in front of your sister ... She is a child, but she understands more than you think. She is not stupid." Marie hissed at Jules just a moment after he had closed the door.
"Of course not, she is my sister," he answered with a proud grin on his face. Marie sighed.
"Don't tell me you don't understand …"
"I don't have the faintest idea of what you are talking about," he answered, and before she could reply he closed her mouth by placing a kiss on her lips - and she allowed him to. Feeling his warm breath on her skin made her forget her resolution to just be the one she was supposed to be. He was making it impossible for her anyway. And after this night … she maybe had not slept very much. For a moment she had really believed that something terrible had happened to him again. And for the rest of the night she had not been able to get the girl's awful story out of her head. Lysette's words had come alive in her imagination, living images that had not ceased to haunt her. Having Jules now close to her, feeling his presence was more comforting now then she had ever hoped it would be. She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her cheek tightly against his shoulder.
"Jules, you have no idea …" she whispered as she let go of him again. She looked at him with a serious face and it seemed her expression confused him somewhat. Seriousness was something he did not seem to have expected right now and he returned her gaze with a questioning look in his eyes.
"Marie? What happened?"
"Nothing. Nothing really. But, I must talk to you. Whatever it is, I don't like it, and I am very glad you did not go on that hunt today. I wish you would never again go on a hunt."
He gave her a wry laugh.
"Sometimes you are remarkably funny, Marie, do you know that? This is what I would personally prefer as well, just – I can't. What is it that makes you state the obvious?"
Marie felt quite silly. How was she going to explain it to him, without making him laugh at her. Without annoying him by bothering him with her superstitions.
"I am just a little worried." She looked away, playing with the frills of her apron. "Lysette said something yesterday, that I must confess, kind of unsettled me. It was a bit like the last time, before you had your accident and I thought it would be better to be careful. Stay away from where it could get dangerous for you." She tried to make her voice sound sensible, as she wanted to avoid him to think of her as hysterical.
"That is all?" She felt his hands on her shoulders. "Look at me. I still don't know, why you believe in a little girl's stories, but I can assure you that my father's hunts are nothing but amusement for old men. They are boring, there is not the slightest chance of getting killed or even hurt in them. You understand?"
"I hope you're right."
"Of course I am right. But it is no wonder you and Lysette get those strange ideas, being cooped up here in this old dark house day by day. Not going anywhere, not getting to see anyone. No-one to talk to but me and I don't know, whether I am the most uplifting company most of the time. But let me tell you one thing. My father is gone for today and we are going to make the best of it of it," he said, smiling before continuing,
"You are going to take a nice long walk with Lysette. I will take a walk too and at some point our paths will cross. What a coincidence! Then I will continue walking with you – and my sister of course. Can anyone deny me the pleasure of taking a walk with my sister? We are going to find a nice little place for a picnic somewhere; a place where no-one can see us. I am going to arrange everything - and no more ghost-stories. I am in such a sunshiny mood today, you won't be able to do anything to spoil that."
What could she possibly say now? She loved seeing him with that bright smile. It made him look handsome. It was a very sunshiny mood, he was in. That was maybe the right way to put it. His smile illuminated his face like a sunrise. What could be wrong with spending a day outside enjoying this late summer air with the child. Even though she would not be able to stay alone with Jules, just he and she - but probably that was too much to ask for.
He was right. They were all getting gloomy in that old lifeless house. Maybe they were all more than ready for returning to Paris. Before she had started in this position here with the Saint Rotrou family she would have never believed that she would long for autumn and winter at any point in her life.
"Well, you have promised it to the child, you can hardly disappoint her now, can you?"