"We promised to see our garden again. Let's go, we should not be ungrateful!"
It was a lovely April morning, and Cosette was sitting in her new living room with her husband. Upon getting married they had promised to go back to the rue Plumet, but for some reason they hadn't yet. And if they went now it would almost be exactly a year since Marius had first come into the garden. She smiled.
"Why not? I've nothing more important to do today," she said, putting down her needlework.
Marius waited while Cosette finished 'getting ready,' and they were soon out in the sunshine. They walked to the rue Plumet instead of taking a carriage or a fiacre. After all, it was a lovely day, and they were in no hurry. Marius asked if Cosette minded walking a longer way, and taking the way he used to use to get to her house.
"No," she said, laughing. "If we're going for nostalgia, I suppose we should do it thoroughly!" Marius smiled and squeezed her hand. They walked further, arriving near Marius' old apartment he shared with Courfeyrac, and from there she paid more attention. Marius was telling her all the landmarks he used to use to get to her house.
"And from this fountain, I knew that I had only twenty minutes left to go before seeing you…" he smiled and pushed her lightly, and rolled his eyes, mock-dramatically. "Now I see you all the time!"
"Oh, as though you mind!" she reached to push him back affectionately, but he caught her hand first and tucked it into the crook of his arm, and she was forced to walk closer to him, but in acceptable manner so the other pedestrians didn't stare.
"You're right," he whispered. "My life has really improved since six month ago, and it's all thanks to you…"
They arrived at the old house, and they both stopped for a moment before speaking. Cosette seemed to be experiencing a mixture of excitement, sadness, and a very pleasant feeling of peace.
"I've missed this place," she said softly. She didn't know why she whispered, but she felt like the silence that had fallen was somehow sacred; the flowers and the tree branches around them blew and the rustling of the leaves was the only noise. She closed her eyes and breathed in the familiar perfume of the flowers. Finally she spoke.
"I brought the key. Do you want to go in through the house?"
He shook his head; that didn't seem right. It didn't fit with his memories. Disrupting them now would be pointless. He had never known what the inside of the house, and he didn't want to now. It wouldn't make any difference, he was sure, but these perfect memories he had were begging not to be changed in any way.
"Why don't you go in through the house, and I'll meet you in the garden, like usual?" She smiled, and walked toward the door, pulling the key from a pocket in her frock. She opened the door, and walked inside. The sight was somewhat disconcerting; no one had been in here in a long time, and the furniture was covered in white sheets. A thin layer of dust lay atop everything. But she ignored it. She began to feel excitement in the pit of her stomach. It was the feeling she had had every day last spring. She felt it all day, and it increased exponentially throughout the day. By the time the clock struck ten, she was usually unable to take another minute. She felt just like that now as she ran to the door into the garden, opening it quietly, as though she was still afraid to wake Toussaint.
She walked into the garden, and was astonished as even more of her old feelings came back to her. She smiled to herself, but told herself not to look at too much of the garden. Not yet. She did not truly enjoy it until she shared it with Marius, she remembered, and she wanted to keep it that way.
Lithely, she hurried past the bush. Once she was past the bush, she would stop, and Marius would climb through the garden gate. She got there, and waited, seeing the bar of the gate open and Marius step inside her garden.
"There you are. I've missed you," she smiled coyly, echoing the customary line she always greeted him with a year ago.
"Mademoiselle, I can guarantee I've missed you more," Marius said. "All day I thought of your face, my love." Soon they were playacting exactly what they did the year before, with the tender endearments, the nervous touches, and the natural easiness they felt with each other. Marius resumed calling Cosette 'Mademoiselle,' as he could do no different here in the garden. They walked about admiring all the flowers they had unknowingly missed this past year, and relived every minute they had spent together in this garden, the garden that brought them together.
Marius picked up a daisy and handed it to Cosette.
"Remember when you gave me a bouquet of these to take back with me?" he asked.
"Yes… so you would remember me during the day."
"As if I could forget. It may have been the first time a woman gave a man flowers…! And I would not tell Courfeyrac where I got them. He ridiculed me for weeks, thinking I went out to a park and brought them back to brighten the apartment."
"I'm sorry! I didn't know he did that."
"Don't be sorry," he said, and they sat on the bench together, their bench, where they had spent the majority of their time together. Slowly and naturally, their lips met, just like the first time, with all the nervousness and candor of their first kiss. Cosette felt the familiar flutterings upon kissing him, and smiled. She still felt this feeling, thank goodness.
They broke apart slowly, and they were silent for the next few moments, only touching their knees together. Soon they were talking again, and they didn't notice as the sun moved in the sky, from far about their heads, then gradually more and more to the West.
It was growing dark and Marius and Cosette finally looked up and seemed to become aware of the fact that they had spent the whole day here.
"It's like living a day in the past," Cosette mused on the way home in the fiacre.
"A day in the past," Marius said, "except back then we didn't have a future together."
Cosette smiled and nodded, and she didn't remember that she was supposed to meet her father today, or any of the small things she was supposed to get done today. She was content.