The Green Eyed Monster
A.N.: I'm making up the stuff about Chauvelin having a signet ring, because I need there to be some tip off. This was based off of a line from the movie "Mystery, Alaska." Whoever can pick out the line wins a prize! Well, no, not really, but I might send you something "nifty." I'm intending this to be a one shot, but if I get some good response about it, then I will probably continue it, because I could do so pretty easily. And yes, I am steeling lines from the 1982 movie, though it doesn't take place at Lord Grenvile's ball. It's some random person's ball instead. I'm also quoting from the musical, though I might screw up the lines a bit. I'm only quoting the tiniest bit. I'm probably going to get a lot of people who disagree with the way I portray Chauvelin, and that's fine, because it's how I portray Chauvelin. Mostly, I think he acts like this because of songs from the Concept CD, like "Marguerite." In a nut shell, I think that if he didn't have to blackmail Marguerite, and if she had become his lover again, he would have definitely been side tracked from the republic. If anyone is familiar with Shakespeare's "Sonnet 119," then you'll understand where I'm coming from. I can't remember exactly how it went, but part of it talks about how much stronger love is after it's been remade. So, I figure Chauvelin's going to be far more doting and protective over her if he gets a second shot. I'm also dragging in a few charries from the book, like Andrew Ffoulkes and so on. So, without further ado, the fic!
She did not know that he was watching her. That was because he was employing the stealth he used as the Scarlet Pimpernel, and he was just as glad. He inwardly sighed as he looked upon her, her lovely strawberry blonde hair tied intricately with a diamond clasp in the back. He'd given her that clasp.
Along with all the other jewelry on her bureau. All gifts from an adoring husband to his beautiful French wife. She was now delicately running her fingers over one with emeralds in it, deciding if she would wear it to the ball tonight or not.
Percy was always giving Marguerite gifts. All England knew – or could at least gossip – about how terrible their marriage was. And no wonder! For the most splendid and talented actress in France had married a complete fop. Of course, she'd only married him for his money, that much was obvious. Which was why she looked so terribly unhappy all the time. The only attention that insufferable dandy paid her was in jewels and furs, and anything her heart desired. But the things that her husband gave her were not what she desired.
Half of England supposed that Sir Percy had some lover, for why else was he always off, away from home, with some new excuse each time? Did Marguerite believe that? He thought it was as likely as not. And some of the young bucks of prominent English society were always trying to sway her, see if they could get the lovely creature to flirt back with them. Of course, they never succeeded.
Finally, he gathered the courage to enter her room. Carefully he walked nearer to her, though she did not notice, for she stared into her mirror with melancholy and loneliness, having decided to wear her emerald necklace.
"How lovely you look tonight, m'dear," he said gently, loud enough for her to hear. He smiled ever so slightly, before affecting that lazy expression in his handsome blue eyes.
Marguerite jumped, not having noticed him, and instantly sat straighter. For a moment, her face glowed, and she turned in her seat, gazing up at him. "How long it has been since you've noticed me at all." She was smiling faintly, and looked terribly happy all of a sudden.
"Lud, madame. A man would have to be blind not to notice. But, it seems I've interrupted you in the middle of thought. So sorry for intruding." And he prepared to leave the room.
Her hand shot out and touched his for a moment, and he stopped. "No wait! Don't go. Here, sit," she said, getting up to bring a chair foreword. "Talk with me for a bit. We never talk, you and I."
"Odd's fish, m'dear! Too much talking and you won't finish getting ready, and it would be terribly unfashionable to be late."
"It won't matter!" she insisted. "Not this one time."
And she pushed her chair aside, reaching out her hand again to hold his. But, in this instant, she accidentally knocked something off of the bureau in her haste to convince her husband to stay.
The little gold thing dropped to the floor with a "clink," and, before Lady Blakeney could stop him, Sir Percy had stooped to pick it up. Holding it up so that the candle light flickered off of it, Blakeney studied it, and his memory flashed; he knew exactly what it was.
"We have little use for lace in Paris, Sir Percy," Monsieur Chauvelin had protested in the rose garden that afternoon nearly a month ago. Chauvelin had crossed his arms, the sunlight glinting off of a ring on his finger.
Pretending to be intrigued, Blakeney said "But there's still a use for rings, I see. How marvelous! Mon-sewer, I must see yours." And he had pulled at Chauvelin's hand until the gold signet ring was revealed; it was just an outline of a bird of prey of some sort. Probably a falcon.
As quickly as he could, Chauvelin drew his hand away, awkwardly rubbing at the gold band. "That's….just a family ring," he said nervously, flashing a look at Marguerite, almost a plea for her to make her husband leave.
"Ah, yes, of a family seal? I simply must get one of those, shouldn't I, Marguerite?" he asked, turning to his wife. Of course, they didn't know that he already had one – his faithful family seal of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
She looked back at him mournfully. "Whatever you want, of course. The next time you go on one of your many trips, you should get one."
"Indeed! I'll have to go quite soon, in that case!"
Horrified, Marguerite stared at her husband as he looked at the ring, the candle light flickering off of the form of the falcon. Her breath came in shorter gasps, and her jaw was slightly slack. Finally, she got up the courage to pretend she had no idea what it was.
"What have you found, Sir Percy?" she asked him. "Did I knock an earring off the bureau?"
He felt his insides turn into cold stone as he tightly held the ring. He was in too much shock to do anything. To yell, to cry, to feel anything but this utter despair. He could easily guess how the ring had come to be in his wife's bedroom.
"Not quite, m'dear," he responded, trying hard to affect a careless tone. He was not quite succeeding. "I seem to have found a ring."
"A ring?" she asked. "But the only ring I have is my wedding ring." She held up her hand for him to see. "And I promise you, it never leaves my finger."
"This is not a wedding ring," he responded slowly. Mournfully and distraught, Marguerite let the game drop.
"There's no need for explanations, m'dear. I can easily divine for myself how you came by this, though I am slow witted. No doubt Monsieur Chauvelin was careless. You should tell him to get it tightened, so he won't loose it again."
But Marguerite was not quite willing to let him know the awful truth yet. "No, Percy, you don't understand! I found this out in the garden only a little while ago. He must have dropped it when he was visiting us."
"That was a month ago, Marguerite," responded Blakeney, letting the ring fall back to the bureau. "He would have noticed it was gone by now. If it's a family ring, he would have come back to get it."
"But it must have been then!" she protested, very close to tears now. "He hasn't been back since."
"Marguerite….." said Percy slowly, at a loss for words. He knew she was lying to him, he could feel it. That bitter stab of betrayal.
Now Marguerite was on the verge of tears. Clenching her fists at her sides, she looked up at her tall husband. Saltwater tears hung in her eyes, and she looked up at him with a mixture of contempt and sorrow. Her voice, when she now spoke, was almost defiant, and it grated against his ears. Strongly, she replied "All I have is a notion that being adored by your husband is enough in life. You never touch me!"
She now turned her head away, so that he could not see the tears streaming down her perfect, pale cheeks. Blakeney felt a terrible ache in his heart, and part of him wanted to reassure her that it would be alright, for he could never stand to see a woman cry, but the rest willed him to leave the room. Bowing stiffly, he said "I think we shall leave for the ball in a quarter of an hour, if you need to finish getting ready."
And he left with this terrible pain in his heart, for he knew that it was partly he who drove her to this terrible, terrible betrayal. Maybe if he had done so little as to tell her that he loved her, none of it might have happened. Still, if he'd allowed that to happen, he might have tricked himself into trusting her again, and tonight only proved that that was simply impossible.
Marguerite collapsed back into her chair as he left, covering her face with her hands and trying to quiet her sobs as best she could. Her shoulders shook and she felt utterly and terribly alone. Finally, she ceased her tears and finished making herself look as beautiful as possible, painting the smile of an actress on her face, for she had no smiles within her that were all her own.
It had been a long, silent, cold drive to the ball, Sir Percy driving his splendid bay horses as always. The cold night air felt good on Marguerite's hot, tear stained cheeks, and every once in a while she had to dab at her eyes and try and keep her composure.
When they finally arrived, Percy offered her his arm, which she took, and she walked with him until they got inside.
"Presenting Sir Percy and Lady Blakeney."
Marguerite did not want to remain near her husband for another instant. She felt terrible. Seeing Suzanne de Tournay, soon to be the Lady Suzanne Ffoulkes, she excused herself and went to talk with her.
That customary look of devotion and depression in his eyes, Blakeney watched her go, before he was distracted by Lord Antony Dewhurst.
"There you are, Percy! You're later than I expected you would be, and I've been needing to talk with you." Tony now looked rather surprised by the somewhat grey color of his friend's face. "Good God man, what is the matter?"
Percy stepped into his foppish character and said "All that in time. I'm dying for some wine, and to discuss some of the lovely fabric I found in Paris!"
Suzanne was also at a loss as to what had upset Marguerite so. "Please, Marguerite, can't you tell me what's wrong?"
Marguerite clutched the girl's hand. "Suzanne, you are one of my dearest friends in the world, you know that! But please, please don't ask me to tell you what is troubling me. I don't think I could bear to let another person know."
Suzanne looked slightly forlorn. "Of course. Your business is your own, but isn't there anyway I can help?"
"Yes, yes there is!" Marguerite responded quickly. "You can tell me if Citoyen Chauvelin has arrived yet."
Suzanne's lovely features darkened slightly. "Marguerite, why on earth do you want to see that odious creature?"
"Maybe I will tell you soon," promised Marguerite. "But not now, not tonight. Please, Suzanne, it's terribly important! I must know. Where is he?"
"He's standing right behind you," answered a deep, male voice just behind Marguerite's shoulder.
She quickly turned, surprised, to find none other that Citoyen Chauvelin, a slight smile on his face. Bowing stiffly, he took Marguerite's hand and kissed it.
"Lady Blakeney, it is a pleasure to see you, as always." Noticing Suzanne – who actually looked somewhat terrified – he added "And Mademoiselle de Tournay, of course." The child's entire family should have been food for La Guillotine, but it mattered little now. He could not touch her on English soil.
On the other side of the ballroom, both and Andrew and Tony were privately consoling Percy, who was sulking in the corner.
"I've ceased to play the fool and, instead, become one!" he sighed mournfully, taking a sip of wine from his glass. "I drove her away, it was I who did it! She's completely right."
Andrew grimaced. "You mustn't say that, Percy. Really, it will work out all right."
"Yes," agreed Tony. "Marguerite loves you."
"I thought she did, but I'm sure she doesn't. And who could blame her? I've been terrible to her these past months."
Tony and Andrew gave each other a look, not knowing really what to do.
"I was a fool to marry her, the perfect jewel," Blakeney continued morosely. "She was an actress, a thing of fire. You cannot bottle fire, but I tried when I married her. It only makes too much sense that she would grow tired of being bottled, feel confined. She probably wishes for France each and every day."
"No," protested Andrew. "She loves England, and you!"
"I would let her go back, if I didn't think I would die if I let her go," Sir Percy continued mournfully.
"I suggest you do something," said Tony, noticing that Chauvelin was asking Marguerite to dance. "Or else the crafty snake might steal her away, and you won't even have the luxury of having willingly let her go."
"What do you suggest?" Blakeney snarled. "She's far more beautiful that Helen of Troy, to be certain, but I can't wage ten year wars and craft wooden horses. Maybe I should let him steal her away…."
"Stop saying that!" Andrew ordered, getting intensely tired of the subject. "Wake up, man! You've out witted that damned frog eater at every turn, you can't let him win now! Wake up! Think of something!"
And indeed, that did spark something within Sir Percy. Yes, he had won out against Citoyen Chauvelin time and time again. He wouldn't make a habit of loosing, especially if Marguerite were on the line.
In the meanwhile, Marguerite and Chauvelin were absorbed in the dance. When Chauvelin was close enough to speak with her, he said "Something's troubling you. What is the matter?"
"If you think you can be in the library at eleven, then I will tell you. I don't think anyone will be in there."
"I'll be there."
Percy's blue eyes followed them as they weaved and danced across the floor. To control his anger, he clenched and unclenched his fist repeatedly, scowling as he watched the pair. "Stop smiling," he thought, mentally ordering Chauvelin, who did, indeed, have a rather superior smile on his face. "Stop dancing with her. Don't touch her hand! What did you say to her? Stop talking with her!" He thought he might go mad with jealousy before the night was over! Finally, the dance ended, but Percy's gaze still followed Marguerite who had separated from Chauvelin.
He noticed that she had become transfixed by something, and, curious, he looked in the same direction; it was a clock, and the time read 10:30. Andrew and Tony desperately tried to divert his attention with cards, food, and drink, but it all did little good. The minutes passed by, and at each and every one of them, he stared over his shoulder to get a look at Marguerite, who, in turn, kept on looking at the clock.
Finally, the bell struck eleven, and Percy noticed that Marguerite was hurrying in the direction of the library. It would not have worried him had he not suddenly realized something: Chauvelin was nowhere in sight.
Andrew anxiously noticed that Percy seemed like he might follow Marguerite. "Percy, do you really think you should-"
"They'll never know I was there," he said in a hushed whisper. "I have every right to know what my wife wishes to speak of."
"But eavesdropping-" protested Tony.
"Hush!" Percy ordered. "I'll be back in a moment."
Tony and Andrew looked at each other with a sigh and shrugged, letting him go, as though they could have done otherwise.
Calmly, and with intense concentration, Blakeney weaved his way in the direction that his lovely wife was heading. Nervously, she entered the room, and, unnoticed, Sir Percy slid against the wall just outside the room, away from anyone's view. If he maneuvered just right, he could see them, though they could not see him, and he could easily overhear their conversation, for the main activity was downstairs, and all was silent in the large room, the fire providing the only necessary light.
As he had guessed, Chauvelin was there, and he smiled, seeing Marguerite, and opened his arms out to her. With a small cry, she rushed into them and he held her for a moment while Percy was privately foaming at the mouth with rage. How dare he even touch her; the sparkling goddess, that daughter of flame, the bright star!
Grey as a ghost, Marguerite pulled away from her lover's embrace, and with a voice that was fighting tears, cried "Oh, Chauvelin, what are we to do? He knows! Mon Dieu, he knows!"
Surprised, Chauvelin blinked. "But who told your husband? One of the servants, or-"
"No, they'd never breathe a word," she dismissed, waving the notion away. "They're British upbringing is to mind their own business and not to say a word about the master's or the mistress'."
"Then who?" asked the Frenchman, thoroughly befuddled.
She turned and gave him a hot glare. "You. Oh, I don't know who is the greatest fool out of the three of us!" she cried.
"Talk sense," Chauvelin ordered.
Thrusting her hand out, she held up his ring. "You were careless enough to drop this on your last visit. Oh, what are we to do?" she cried again.
Chauvelin was ignoring her repetition, and had snatched up the ring. He blinked and smiled in surprise, sliding it back onto his finger. "I was quite afraid I'd lost it completely!" he exclaimed, astounded.
"If only you'd lost it somewhere else!" she wailed mournfully.
Chauvelin now turned his attentions to making sense out of the things she was so upset over, and to soothing her. "There now, hush," he whispered, gently reaching out and pulling her into his arms. In the hall, Percy was fighting to resist the urge to go in there and strangle the foul, tempting snake, and fight for his wife. But that would do little good, if he wanted to know what they would speak of, and he did.
"Oh, he must hate me now, I know he does! How can he not? Who could blame him? Whatever was left of his love for me is quite gone now, I know it, I know it!" Pulling away from him again, she began to sob into her hands. "Oh misery! I am fortune's fool!"
"You must calm down," insisted Chauvelin. "I shall make all well; I shall make you forget, I promise." Tenderly, his arms encircled her and he pulled her back into his embrace, rocking on the balls of his feet and whispering "hush," to try and sooth her.
"No one can make it well!" she protested. "Why did I ever let your smooth words seduce me so?" she asked, trying to dry her tearful eyes.
"You needed someone to take care of you," he reminded gently. "Your husband had ceased to care, you rarely saw your brother; you were all alone in a foreign land with no one to care for you, to understand you. You had no one to hold you, to satisfy your passion, for you are made of passion, Marguerite." He held her tighter and brushed her hair back, kissing her cheek. "You needed me."
"I need you no more," she lied, willing herself to push him away, but finding not the strength. "Go back to France, Chauvelin."
"You wouldn't be crying in my embrace if you didn't need me," he responded, able to tell that she was lying; he knew her moods, her ways, her airs.
"She doesn't need you," Blakeney privately thought. "She has me! Do as she says! Go back to your revolution sickened country, you son of a –"
His train of thought was interrupted when Chauvelin said "Come away with me, there's nothing to hold you here. We will go south; the coast of France, the sea! Think how lovely it would be, just you and I. Between the two of us we have more than enough money to live comfortably for years on end!"
"No, mon amour, you would not be happy, neither would I," Marguerite refused. "Maybe we could have done that once, a long time ago, but no longer."
"Why not?" he exclaimed, turning her around to face him. "What's to hold you here?"
"Let us start with what holds you: The revolution. Would you really leave it willingly? Would you leave it and not have some buried grudge against me for 'making,' you go?"
Chauvelin fumbled. "I….would go, yes, I would. I could not bear to loose you a second time. You," he sighed, holding her tightly. "The fire of my soul, the light of my days. The warm memory on cold nights. You know not how you drive a man to insanity, Marguerite. These past months without you have been more than I can stand!"
"Do not forget, Chauvelin; I asked you to make this decision once before, and you chose politics over love. Have you really changed?" she asked, allowing him to hold her.
"I would go, I would!" he repeated, clutching her to him tightly.
"I could not," she said in all honesty, now pulling away from him. Her gaze was attracted out the window, and tears sprang to her eyes. "As much as I hurt him, betray him, I still love Percy, Chauvelin. I won't stop loving him until the day that I die, though I know he holds no love for me."
"How wrong you are!" Percy's soul cried, taking sudden flight. She loved him? Did she really? His heart began to beat a crazy tattoo, and his palms began to sweat. "You are the only reason life is worth living! I do love you, Marguerite! Fool that I am, that I do not show it! We have lost our faith in each other, but not our love! The faith will be rebuilt, so long as the love stands!" Despite how she had betrayed him, Percy felt more in love with Marguerite than ever. He felt more bliss than he had in at least a month!
"I will not be happy in England without his love, it is true," she continued. "But I'll never be happy anywhere else."
"Forget him!" begged Chauvelin, sitting down on the elegant sofa and pulling her down with him so that she sat with her lover. "He does not care for you! I do! My soul burns for yours! We were made of the same fire, we understand each other. We were meant to be together!"
And he kissed her; tenderly, passionately, he kissed her lips, her cheeks, the lids of her closed blue eyes. His arms encircled her so that he pulled her very close as they kissed, tears streaming down the young woman's cheeks as her lover kissed her, her hands cupping his face.
And though Percy turned his head away, for it was too painful to watch his beloved shower affections on another man, he realized something: In his own, terrible way, Chauvelin did love Marguerite. His soul did burn for hers the way he said. He was done with fancy, charismatic lies to lure her in, to keep the flame of her passion going strong. He was done with manipulating her and hurting her at every turn to prove to her that she could never stop loving and needing him. He was done with tempting and testing to bind her to him. "And ruin'd love, when it is built anew, grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater," as the sonnet goes. All Chauvelin was promising, threatening, giving, taking now was love; that was all. But it was far more than anything Percy had given her as of late.
And in the same way, Marguerite still loved Chauvelin. She loved him for the memories of days and nights in Paris before this Reign of Terror had started. She loved him for being the most solid thing in her world, the only thing that she could hold onto. She loved him for his caresses, and his words – words in French, which was a language she did not often hear.
"I'm tired of sharing you," Chauvelin growled, brushing stray locks of hair from her face. "It is not right; he is your husband, yes, but I am the one who truly loves you, who cares for you."
"What do you know of love?" snarled Percy inside of himself. "You've not the faintest concept of the word, you snake! You do not know what I've suffered at the hands of love, though it is both joys and sorrows."
"Be contented, love," soothed Marguerite. "You must settle for sharing for now." She kissed him again, before resting her head upon his shoulder.
"It makes it so hard to see you, and that is my only joy in staying in England; I miss France."
"And so do I," she responded. "But how much longer will you be staying?"
"A few weeks more, but that is all. No doubt half of the republic is falling apart in my absence."
"Then why do you stay?"
"For the same
reasons: The republic."
"I'm afraid I do not understand."
"I am here, officially, to be looking for the Scarlet Pimpernel."
Now, Marguerite went rigid in his embrace, and slightly startled, he looked down at her as she looked up at him.
"And have you been?"
"Yes, with some success. I have yet to find the man, but I know who a few of his League members are." Carefully, he did not mention that he knew that Marguerite's own brother was one, could be guillotined if Chauvelin didn't keep him attached to a string and carefully watched.
Fearfully, Marguerite asked "And what have you done to these brave and noble men?"
Chauvelin scowled at her, and responded "Had them spied upon, as best as any of my spies can, though that is rather disheartening."
Marguerite brightened. "That is all?"
"As long as they are on English soil, I cannot touch them. Once they reach France, they disappear from right under those incompetent's noses."
Marguerite breathed a sigh of relief, and Chauvelin decided to change the subject. "Really, Marguerite, I am being sincere: Come away with me. I hate knowing that I cannot have you because some fool was lucky enough to marry you."
"Are you jealous?" she teased, gently running a hand down his face and jaw.
"Yes," he growled, taking the delicate and kissing it, his pale eyes looking up at her with a look of longing and adoration. He pulled her very close and whispered to her, almost too quiet for Percy to hear. "Will I see you tonight?" he asked, almost in a begging way.
"Not tonight," she responded. "It will be a long drive back to Richmond, and you probably wouldn't get there until dawn anyway. We'll both be tired."
"That's right, Marguerite, tell the bastard off!" Percy though, privately cheering.
Chauvelin caressed Marguerite's neck, drawing sighs from her lips. "And what about tomorrow night?"
"I do not know," she sighed, exhausted. "That's too far ahead to plan. Wait, yes! Percy told me he wishes to go fishing in Scotland again." She said it with a bitter laugh. "Does he think I'm a fool? I wonder where he is really going? To what lover that he think more wonderful than I?"
Both Percy and Chauvelin struck upon the same idea, but Chauvelin was the one to voice it: "There is no lover more wonderful than you."
Percy mournfully remembered that he had indeed planned to go "fishing in Scotland," and to leave tomorrow. Well, he had a baron to rescue, after all. Priorities, priorities. His blue eyes flashed green with jealousy knowing that his beloved wife – his angel! – would be dallying in the arms of another man come this time tomorrow.
The clock in the hall way struck twelve, startling Percy from his melancholy thoughts.
"I must go, they shall noticed that I have gone," cried Marguerite suddenly. Unwillingly, Percy carefully peeled himself from the wall and snuck down the hall, his mood considerably improved when he remembered what Marguerite herself had said: She loved her husband, and would not leave him. She loved him! Missed him! Now he need only gather the courage to trust her again, to confess his love to her, to confess everything!
"No, stay just a moment longer," begged Chauvelin, tightening his grip around her defensively. Delicately, she pried her lover's arms off.
"I can't," she insisted, kissing him once more before rising.
He kissed her back, and whispered "It will be such a trial to have to wait for a chance to spend time with you."
"Percy will leave by one o'clock, most likely, at the latest. That way he can catch the tied out of Dover….."
"And I shall arrive at your doorstep at 1:01," he promised, finally releasing her to scurry back to the ball.
Already down below was her husband, who had certainly surprised his friends by coming back with a surreal smile upon his face.
Andrew and Tony gave each other a confused look before Andrew finally asked "What on earth happened? We'd quite begun to worry about you. Do you realize you've been gone for an hour?"
"Have I?" he asked calmly. "This is the most wonderful evening I've had since I exchanged vows with Marguerite, even if that did turn out badly. Tonight shall not, however!"
"Alright, tell us; what's so wonderful?" pried Tony, handing Percy his glace.
Grinning, Percy said nothing, and chose not to think about the fact that Marguerite had a lover, just two little things: That she was still in love with him, and that he might soon rebuild his marriage.
(Or possibly not if people want more.)