Hi everyone! Thanks to the people who reviewed; I really appreciate it. I would always love more, though! :)
Mainly This post is because I wanted to remind anyone who didn't know that this chapter of the story also goes along with another, shorter story I wrote about Cosette, called "Bitterness." Please read and review that one- it's about this same theme!
The rest of the evening passes even more excruciatingly than the day had. I learn more of the details, and learn that I was better off not knowing:
Marius lay in his grandfather's house, battling for his life, while I sit in my living room. I wait, listening to the clock tick away seconds, and know that each could be the last second of Marius' life. Once again, hope is getting me through: I am clinging to this glowing warmth of the hope inside of me- I am choosing to believe that I will no longer feel it if Marius has died. As long as this ember of hope is burning low and deep inside of me, he is still breathing, still fighting.
I learn that he has been shot more than once.
Someone has shot Marius.
I cannot even think the words, form them in my brain. I cannot imagine killing anyone, much less Marius. Truly, dark thoughts like that have only ever danced through my mind infrequently. Late at night, at times when I am feeling morbid, I would imagine dark things, horrors that I heard whispers about through stories and frightening scenes I have seen inacted on the streets of Paris. But they were not real! Not real murderous thoughts! Before tonight, I could not have said for sure if I believed that people reallt did murder each other. I would have said that it was a myth- murder was simply too evil to really exist.
Sometimes I feel lonely when I am lying awake and unable to sleep, and I imagine my mother- I think about who she was, and what she is doing now. She must be in heaven, I believe, and I sit in bed and wonder what she is doing: maybe looking down on me, maybe not. But that was how I thought of death- nothing more, nothing less. Nothing violent, for sure. I had heard that there were men who killed people, but I could not imagine them. Now I can: they are evil figured, hunched over and breathing through wheezes, with glowing yellow eyes, clothed in shadow. I cannot make him out fully. This is how Marius' attacker looks when I think of him. But truly, when I think of killing someone, I know I could never do it. Not even if the man who shot Marius stood in front of me, and I was holding a gun. I could not end anyone's life, even the person who might have ended Marius'. I just could not take someone's life from them.
Yet someone wanted to end Marius' life. Someone wanted Marius off of this earth. My Marius. Well- they obviously were not sane. Any sane person could not look their potential victim in the eyes and kill them- I could not, I know. I would see them and only think of their wife, their child, their sisters, fathers, brothers, or- in Marius' case, the girl who loved them. For every man has someone who loves them, don't they?
Once Papa told me what happened, I demanded to go and see Marius right away.
"Father- I cannot simply sit and wait- please take me, Papa, please-"
"No, Cosette, that is impossible and quite improper."
Didn't he understand? I feel like I am being tortured here, waiting to hear the news.
"Why can't you take me- I just want to help and see if he's alright-"
"There is a doctor there by now, I am sure of it. You would not be of much help anyway, Cosette, and I assure you it is not proper."
I have not asked yet how Monsieur Gillenormond's servant had found father and told him, and frankly I do not care. Father had handed me a note written by Marius' grandfather, reiterating what I already heard from him. It did not matter how Marius was injured, or where, just that he was, and that I could do nothing to help him.
I may never see him again!
Papa had been angry with me, I know, I could tell. After I insisted on seeing Marius again, and even began crying, he had almost raised his voice to me.
"Cosette!" he had said, his tone past patience. "Be grateful you are not being punished for lying to me about something of this magnitude. It was very wrong of you, very wrong, I hope you understand. For the last time, I cannot take you, Monsieur Gillenormond will not allow it, I will not allow it, and he cannot recover properly with you there. Right now, it is not your place to be there. It is probably best if you go to bed- tomorrow we can think of something more permanent."
I sniffle, sensing that the conversation is over and that Papa will not budge. "Can you go over there tomorrow and inquire over his health? Please, Papa- you must know I am sorry, deeply sorry for lying to you. I never had before, and I promise never to lie again- it's been awful keeping something from you. I've felt guilty, but please understand me: I love him, Papa. I cannot go without knowing if he is alright- I shall go mad." My voice gets small and soft when I say this, and although it is manipulative, I think that I may have lessened some of father's anger and invoked some pity.
Papa sucks in his breath- I do not see him, for my face is buried in my hands and my eyes are blurred with tears anyway. But then I feel a large, warm hand on my shoulder, and look up. Papa's kind eyes look down at me. "I forgive you, Cosette. And... you shall not have to lie to me any longer. I feel as though I may have forced you into keeping this from me. Have you feared me? You will not have to in the future," he says, and I breath out a sigh of relief. There is more relief than I expect- I did not know how important his blessing was to me.
If it matters anyway... His blessing could be a waste come tomorrow morning, I think, and feel immensely guilty about it. Lack of faith is a sin, I know- but sometimes there is not a way around it.
"I will ask the Gillenormond's if they need any help- possibly bandages? I will stop by tomorrow and come straight back here and let you know everything I can."
Fathers kindness once again surprises me, and I feel like a wicked daughter for ever fearing him, for not recognizing his true goodness. Finally, I dissolve, leaning into his embrace and sobbing into his shoulder.
"Everything will be alright, dear," Papa says in his low, raspy voice, and I believe him.
I am contented for a short while, or at least I try to be. I bury my feelings and resign myself to bed, not letting loose until I am safe under the covers. When I am under the blankets, hidden and protected, I let myself cry.
And cry, and cry and cry...
Hours later, I am exhausted. I know my eyelids will be inflamed come the morning, and too swollen to open properly. What do I care? After all these tears have fallen, I feel that my body has been purged of any feeling. This numbness is a relief! But I do not let myself sleep yet: I say some anxious prayers to Mary, and pray for my Marius' health. I send some thoughts to him, and I hope he recieves them. He musn't give up, not yet. It's not his time to leave me.
Sleep finally overtakes me when I can fight it no longer, and I am safe for a time- in my dreams, Marius is not dying.
But when I wake up, reality is only that much harder to live.