~Beyond the Barricade~ Part 4
Angeline awoke the next morning to sounds of bickering. She had forgotten where she was. She looked around, confused. She then remembered where she was at. The squabbling was growing louder and louder.
"Mother! I refuse to show some stuck-up, spoiled rich girl around Paris so that she can find about her father's friends!" A young man's voice was yelling.
"They were your father's friends too...." Maria said quietly, just loud enough for Angeline hear.
"I don't want to do it."
"It's not as if you have anything to do. You've been let go from your third job this year. Go out, go explore Paris. Have some fun!" His mother said.
"Well, why should I?"
"Her father has been helping us along since your birth."
"Fine. But I won't pretend I want to do this." The young man said firmly. Angeline felt like this was the perfect time to enter the small room where Maria and her son were sitting.
"Good morning, Mademoiselle! How did you sleep?" Maria asked with a smile.
"Very well, Madame." Angeline lied. Her back ached from sleeping on the floor. Still, it was better than outside.
"This is my son, Chandler. " Maria said, motioning to the very handsome young man sulking in the corner."
"It's nice to meet you, Mousier." Angeline said, shyly. He was more handsome than she could have ever imagined. He had dark, curly brown hair and bright green eyes. They seemed to stare into her soul. But a disdainful look played on his face, his lip turned up into a sneer. Angeline blushed.
"It is nice to meet you, Mademoiselle." He said, as if it wasn't nice to meet her at all.
"Please, call me Angeline."
Chandler glared at her. Angeline looked down at her feet, embarrassed. Was he going to be like this the entire time she was tracking down the families?
"Would you like something to eat? We don't have much but what we have, we have to share." Maria asked.
"Oh, yes please, Madame!" Angeline said enthusiastically. She was practically starving and she wanted to save her bread for later on, when she didn't have such nice hospitality given to her.
Maria laid out some bread and a bit of meat, but not much. Angeline wanted to devour it all but she took very little. Chandler looked at her condescendingly. She felt very self-conscious around him.
"So, do you know who's family are you going to look for next?" Maria asked, trying to relieve the tension in the room.
"I was thinking about Enjolras Fortscue. His name was toward the top of my father's list." Angeline replied after swallowing the last of her breakfast. She desired more but she refused to let herself ask for more food.
"Enjolras was the leader of the Les Amis. I never knew him personally but Courfeyrac talked very highly of him...." Maria explained. Chandler gave snort.
"Because if Courfeyrac talked highly of him, he had to be a stand-up man." Chandler spat.
"That's enough, Chandler!" Maria practically screamed. She quickly composed herself. "Well, you ought to be on your way. Remember, you can stay here if your close by."
"Thank you so much for your generosity, Madame Molyneux. I hope to see you again soon." Angeline said with a smile.
"And you as well, Mademoiselle! You are always welcome here! Chandler, have a good journey. I'll miss you, dear." Maria said, patting her son on the shoulder. Chandler rolled his eyes.
"Do you have money, Angeline?"
"Yes, I took Fifty Francs from home."
"A lot of good that's going to do!" Chandler lashed out. Angeline felt strangely hurt by this.
"Stop it, Chandler! That shall be enough if you spend it wisely." Maria hissed. The two young people walked out into the morning air.
"Good-bye!" Maria called, waving.
"Let us get something clear: I don't want to do this. My mother thinks it would be good for me to go out and learn more about my father's friends. I honestly don't care about them. Or him for that matter. He didn't love my mother. He left her pregnant. I bet he would've left her if he had ever known. I guess it's a good thing he died." Chandler explained, angrily.
"Fine. And if it would make you pleased, we do not even have to speak." Angeline said, her eyes staring straight ahead. She didn't like the way that he talked to her. Like she was a stupid child. They went and found a list of everyone with the last name Fortscue in Paris. Surprisingly, there wasn't many. Only ten. It had been easier when she had a first name to search for.
Chandler hadn't meant to be so cruel. It just sort of happened. He was sick and tired of meddling rich people. Yet, he couldn't get her hurt blue eyes out of his head. They had looked pained by the way he treated her. He opened his mouth to say something but the way she looked straight in front of her, determined, he shut his mouth. He could feel the frustration growing within her. They had gone to four houses and none of them had had a son named Enjolras.
"Are you just ready to give up?" She asked him sarcastically.
"No. Look, I'm sorry if I've been acting horrible toward you..." Chandler began, watching how a disbelieving smile popped onto her face.
"Are you seriously apologizing? I didn't know that you were capable of such things!" Angeline laughed in a sarcastic tone.
"Now, wait. Stop there. I don't try to act like that. My life isn't perfect. I've had to work since the moment I was able to. But I don't expect a spoiled little rich girl to understand!" He was practically livid at this point.
"Oh, is that what I am? A spoiled little rich girl? Yes, my parents are Baron and Baroness but we are far from rich. We only live in the house we occupy because my father's grandfather left it for him. We use only the money that we need and we donate and save the rest. Most girls my age get a new wardrobe twice a year while I've had this one for two years now. And I don't mind! I'd rather wear rags than spend thousands on dresses while people starve. That's how I was raised." She yelled at him. People shot her strange looks but moved on. Chandler hadn't ever been so angry at a person in his entire life. He also hadn't wanted to kiss anyone as badly as he wanted to kiss Angeline at that second. There was something about the way she argued with him that drove him mad. She had a fiery personality. He liked it and yet he hated it. He honestly didn't know how to reply to her rant. So he looked at the list they had copied down and said, "Come on, we've still got a few miles to walk before we reach the next house."
Angeline huffed and walked on.
Angeline had surprised herself by the way she had talked to him. She had never talked like that to anyone before. And she liked the way her opinions rolled off her tongue, like fire. Maybe she hadn't ever been able to find her own personality at home, with only her parents as company. She hadn't had many friends growing up and hardly any now. She felt happy when she could express herself in a way that suited her. They were coming upon a large manor. She glanced at Chandler. He was already staring at her. They both seemed to blush and then Angeline asked,
"Do you think this will be the correct house?"
"Who knows?" Chandler replied, not able to look her in the eyes. He was embarrassed, Angeline thought.
They made it to the front door and Chandler knocked. A maid answered the door.
"Hello. May I help you?" She asked, curtly.
"We're looking for a Mousier or Madame Fortscue. We want to ask about their son, Enjolras." Angeline said, not wavering in her speech. She had the speech memorized after reciting it four times. Instead of saying that the masters of the house had no son by that name, the maid went pale.
"One moment, Mademoiselle." She said, leading them into the entry way of the beautiful house. Both Chandler and Angeline looked around in wonder. Neither of them had ever seen such beautiful furnishings in a house. Soon an elderly woman, about 65 or 66 years of age, came down the stairs.
"Who are you?" She asked tersely.
"I am Angeline Molyneux and this is my brother, Chandler." Angeline said suddenly. Chandler gave her a bewildered glance showing he was confused. Angeline had suddenly came to the conclusion that if her father knew Maria, that maybe he knew the Fortscue family.
"And how do you know about my son?" The old woman asked.
"Our father died on the barricade." Angeline said, realizing that that could never be so. Angeline looked much too young to have been born in 1833. She hoped the woman would not look to closely at her face.
"Oh and why do you care about my son?"
"Because we don't know much about our father's friends and we'd like to know more about them." Chandler said, going along with the act.
"Oh. And so you found us. Well, what would you like to know?" The old woman asked, softening slightly.
"What was Enjolras like?" Angeline asked.
"Oh, well, he was a very headstrong boy. He was always rebelling against something that he felt was unjust. Yet he was such a generous boy. We would give him an allowance and he would go and give it to a poor family we would pass on the street. I have a portrait of him. Give me a moment." The woman said, standing up and leaving the room.
"You do know it's impossible for you to be my father's daughter since you were probably born in 1839." Chandler said, with a smile. It was a beautiful smile that made Angeline's heart thump. She couldn't help but smile back. Soon the woman was back with a large portrait in her arms. It depicted a young, blonde man with deep eyes. He was sitting in a chair, he leaned on his arm, as if in deep thought.
"This portrait was made around his eighteenth birthday, finished a few days before he left to liberate Paris. Liberate France. He came by periodically, talking of revolution. But, during his last visit, he talked about a young girl. Someone who he felt compelled to fight for. She didn't know that he felt feelings for her. She was supposedly in love with another man. Her name was....Oh, it's been 23 years, I cannot recall her name. I just know he spoke of her eyes. Brown eyes with gold laced into them."
Angeline marveled over the beautiful man who seemed as if his heart beat for France.
"Other than that girl, Enjolras never talked about anyone else. He said he was in love with Patria, in love with the motherland." She said, as a tear slipped down her cheek. He had been her darling son, her only son.
"Do you know how he died, Madame?" Angeline asked gently.
"No one who was there survived except for the men who shot him. If he was shot. I remember that night of June 6th, I woke up with a start. I knew something was wrong and I knew it involved my Enjolras. It pains me to not know how he died. His body was never recovered."
"Well, thank you so much for sharing those memories with us. We appreciate it deeply." Chandler said. To Angeline's surprise, he seemed sympathetic.
"It has been years since I've shared those with anyone. I was just thinking today that I wished I had someone to talk about Enjolras with. My husband has been dead for ten years now and so I have no one to talk about my son with. You children were honestly sent here by God!" The woman said. The woman stood as the pair raised to leave. She hugged both of them, to their surprise. They walked out, feeling quite sad yet happy at the same time. They had made an old woman happy and it made them feel good. Like they had done something special.
We'll be visiting either the Thenardiers or Jehan's family...It all depends!
Over and Out!