This is something of a continuation of my other story from a long time ago, "Many Years Ago." It was from before I had any grammer/knowledge of googling "french names" therefore my OC's name shares remnants of the original Les Miz book. I just wasn't creative enough back then, but if any of you remember, I had some terrible fanfiction then anyway. I would venture to say I have improved.
Anyway, sorry about the name, but I wanted to keep my fanfics consistent (even though I don't always...). Anyway, this will be multi-chapter! Hope you enjoy!
Marie Pontmercy was seated on the window seat in her bedroom, leafing through a book. However, the words did not hold her interest- she had inherited her father's dreamy tendencies, and was gazing out the window, her beautiful brown eyes full of thoughts, memories, ideas, and a touch of loneliness. She sighed and put her book down as the passerby on the street below grew tiresome.
Marie, named rather overtly for her father, had inherited almost everything about him. They looked very much alike- her hair dark and thick, her body straight and thin rather than curved like her sisters all promised to be, once curves came in. Her siblings all, to varying degrees, looked more like her mother. Marie drifted down the stairs of their house in the Marais, where she had been born and where she was happiest. She found her sister, Victoire, playing with her dolls on the floor of the living room.
"Marie, do you want to play?" she asked.
Marie sighed. Spending her afternoon with a nine-year-old sounded rather unappealing. "Did you ask Isabelle?"
"She said she doesn't want to. She's upstairs, writing in her diary and being gloomy. As always."
"Well, don't be too upset with her," Marie said. Her other sister, often sickly, was usually upset about something. Couple that with the fact that she was thirteen, and therefore at an awkward age, and she had permission to be unpleasant and morose. "I'll play for a few minutes, Victoire," she allowed.
Her sister's face lit up, her brilliant blue eyes and fair hair giving her the appearence of an angel child. Marie was sometimes jealous of Victoire's beauty, soft and feminine already, striking at the age of nine. But everyone told her she was beautiful in her own way, dark and mysterious looking. She still was not positive.
Marie was forced to be quiet while Victoire's doll, Catherine, slept. But her father wandered through the room, walking and reading some papers at the same time.
"Hello, father," Victoire said sweetly, her game already forgotten.
"Hello girls," he said distractedly. "Have you seen your mother?"
"She was going to the markets last time I talked to her," Marie informed him. "But I don't know if she left yet."
"I'm here," her mother's voice floated through the hallway. "And no, I haven't left yet."
The rest of Cosette entered the room then, and smiled at her daughters. She looked thankfully at Marie, obviously glad that she was being kind and playing with her sister.
Victoire tugged at Marie's sleeve and urged her back to their game, and Marie heard her parents speaking softly in the background, her father asking her mother about something.
"Marie, have you finished your studying for the day?" Cosette asked.
"Yes, mother," Marie said.
"Then if you would like, you can come to the markets with me in a few minutes."
"Oh, yes please," Marie said, carefully standing up. She wanted to get out of the house.
"Go get ready," Cosette said. "I'll be about twenty more minutes."
Marie nodded, and drifted back upstairs. She passed by the nursery, where her brother Courfeyrac was fighting with her brother Leon over something or other. She rolled her eyes, and then passed by the library, where her brother Jean was reading.
She stopped outside that door. "Hello," she said to her favorite brother. He was the oldest boy, just a year and a half younger than she. It was March, and he had just celebrated his sixteenth birthday. Marie would turn eighteen in a few months. "What are you reading?"
"Some of father's books on the republic. Remember that revolution that happened a few years ago? Well he has a book on several that happened before that, for the same cause, but I find it so interesting that nothing happened until after that revolution. Still, many people say the republic's not working quite right... and I don't know if I agree with father's viewpoints-"
"Don't bring that up at dinner," she advised, knowing how hot-headed her father could get about politics. But she had little interest- she was more interested in reading and travel, endlessly entranced by any knowledge of the rest of the world outside Paris.
Leaving her brother, she went and put her hair up, dawdling in her bedroom until she found herself on her window seat again, watching an old woman walk her dog, and another older couple walk together. She sighed- she loved the neighborhood they lived in, a place with lots of museums and beautiful architecture. Marie, a lover of art, appreciated this. Still, their streets retired early. Crowded during the day, empty at night. After a long time spent dreaming about moving to Italy, where sun bathed every inch of the land and everything seemed ancient and marble, she jumped- it had been nearly a half an hour.
She found her mother in the foyer, coat on.
"Marie," she scolded. "What is it you do up there? Honestly you are more like your father every day, and that's not complementary- your head is always somewhere else, but certainly not attached to your neck! Come, put on your coat, let's go."
She and her mother took their carriage to Les Halles. Marie, eyes wide, followed her mother around the market, where she bought some food and other goods. Whenever Cosette needed to go to the market, she always took Marie, for she knew how her daughter loved to see everyone moving about. Marie drifted over to a stand, where a merchant had several beautifully colored, silk scarves.
"Not today, Marie," her mother said pertly. "We didn't come here for scarves."
"I know," she said, a touch of obstinacy in her voice. She could at least look, couldn't she?
"I have to go get these weighed," Cosette said, referring to her basket of vegetables.
"Can I go look at those?" Marie asked, pointing to a stand with beautifully decorated journals, the leather encrusted with gold-leaf and pressed seals.
"I suppose. But please stay right there, and don't let the merchant convince you to buy anything," Cosette advised.
"I won't," Marie promised. She walked over to the stand, and started feeling the soft leather of the books. Though she liked to read, it was more for the exercises of the imagination, and to learn about other places. Marie was not very interested in writing, whether it be fictional or autobiographical. She had never even kept a diary. Still, these books were rather beautiful, and they always made her fingers itch as though she wanted to write something in them.
She felt someone's eyes on her as she was leafing through a book, watching the creamy pages flash before her. She looked up, assuming it would be the merchant, to bark at her about touching the merchandise without buying anything. But she saw a young man across the stand looking at her, one of the books in his own hands.
He smiled politely, and she smiled back, before blushing and looking down. Why was he looking at her anyway? He had no business doing that. Marie, shy and somewhat steely, stiffened at the idea of a young man paying any attention to her.
She took a few steps away, trying to distance herself, but stayed near the stand, to avoid disobeying her mother. She gazed at the construction going on about the markets, which had started up that year.
"Marvelous, isn't it?" came a voice. Marie jumped, and then turned to see the young man standing behind her.
"I think it's a shame," she said curtly. "Why not keep things the way they used to? I hate this industrial style. It's so cold."
She did not know why she even bothered to answer him, or to really speak her opinion. Her cheeks colored, and she had the sudden urge to run away, to get away from the young man, for he made her nervous.
"Do you, Mademoiselle? Well pardon me then," he said good-naturedly. He had blue eyes, and they sparkled with amusement.
She felt more heat on her cheeks.
"You don't think the production is innovative?" he remarked, continuing to talk. "It's putting us on par with other countries."
"As I said, Monsieur, it's cold. Why not model ourselves after artistically great countries, such as Italy, instead of the harsh and fast-moving America? I say it's rather ugly."
"Well why don't we see when the project is complete, Mademoiselle?" he asked. "It is hard to tell now. The project is only just underway."
"I suppose," she said, her lips tight.
"Well..." he said, rocking back on his heels. She clutched her tiny change-purse tightly, her palms sweating, discomfort obvious. He looked as though he did not want to leave, but it was clear she wanted him to. "Have a wonderful afternoon, Mademoiselle," he bid politely, with a courteous smile.
"Thank you," she said, almost rudely. "And you as well."
He bowed his head to her, and then turned and left, replacing his hat after he was away from her. Her heart-rate, which had risen in reaction to her shyness, started to calm. She did not appreciate meeting new people, especially young men. She'd heard many times from her father not to talk to strange men, for they often meant trouble.
"And if one ever follows you in the Luxembourg," he said once, looking mischeiviously at her mother, "You are to tell me right away. You are by no means to talk to him!"
Marie had not known what he had meant, but she understood the point- young men were dangerous. The only men she knew at all were her father and her brothers, and some of their friends, who were almost entirely still children and did not count.
"Who was that?"
Marie turned and saw her mother, her purchases in a basket in her hand.
"I have no idea," Marie said honestly. "He just came up to me and wanted to discuss the new buildings."
"Hmm," Cosette said, pursing her lips. "You're sure it was architecture he wanted to discuss?"
"Why- yes," Marie said, furrowing her brow. "Whatever else would he have meant? He asked me how I liked the new designs."
"What did you say?"
"I told him that I thought they were cold and ugly," Marie said honestly.
"Marie!" Cosette scolded. "You mustn't be so blunt."
"Well he asked, so I told him the truth. He had no business asking me anyway, so why should I be polite?"
"Come," Cosette said. "You truly are your father's daughter, darling. But let's go home."