All it ever seemed to do was snow. Not that it was a bad thing. The white made everything look pretty when it froze over and most of the time I enjoyed sitting on my windowsill and looking at its beauty. Sometimes, it even made me want to write a song or two about it. Tomorrow we were supposed to be going to Nadir's for Thanksgiving dinner and I was excited about it. Back in Paris, Thanksgiving was made up of Raoul's friends coming over for drinks and games, while mother and I were left to entertain ourselves. It would be nice to finally be surrounded by friends and my papa. I came running out of my room that morning, in search of my papa. I found him sitting at his desk in the family room, writing.
"Papa, are we going out today?"
I hopped up onto his desk, causing him to look up and shoo me off the surface.
"I told you that we were, Gustave. I have to pick up a pie from the bakery for dinner tonight. And then, we have to hurry back and get dressed to go to dinner. Nadir asked us to be at his home by three today."
"Could we go out and play in the snow?"
"Not today," he said. "We have too much to do. Perhaps tomorrow."
With that, I ran back into my room and dressed to go out. Once I was ready, my papa and I walked out of his home and towards town. The bakery smelled wonderful, so wonderful that my stomach began to growl.
"Papa, could we get some doughnuts for breakfast today?"
"No," he said, approaching the pie counter. "We had pastries yesterday for breakfast. I told you that we would only be eating that stuff once a week."
"But I'm hungry."
"And when we get home, I will make you some oatmeal."
I looked at the display case of all the fresh pastries and sighed… A chocolate doughnut would taste a lot better than some runny oatmeal.
"Come along, Gustave, we have much to do today. You need to eat breakfast and then dress in your best clothing."
For some odd reason today, my papa seemed tired and irritable. There were a lot of days when he seemed like that, but I never really liked asking him about it. If there was one thing Mister Y had, it was a terrible temper. I knew he never meant to yell at me, but there were times when he couldn't control it.
"Papa, are you ok?" I was sitting at the kitchen table, watching him moving about to make my breakfast. He kept clasping his chest, and I didn't know why. But, he put a smile on his face and nodded, bringing me over my bowl of oatmeal.
"Perfectly fine, Gustave," he said. "Now, eat your breakfast and then head to the shower. I want you looking your best today for dinner."
Knowing that the conversation would end here, I did as my papa asked and ate breakfast.
If there was anything I didn't want to do, it was to go to Nadir's for dinner. Holidays were never my favorite time of the season, but I had a son now, and therefore, I couldn't shun myself from the world. Thanksgiving was a time for celebration and being thankful for what we had. Though, there wasn't much that I could be thankful for. Christine was dead, and yes, I did have a son, but that would never make up for the love I had lost. To make matters worse, I was feeling under the weather, and not in the mood for anything. After placing Gustave's breakfast down in front of him, I headed upstairs and changed into my best attire. I was going to settle with making Thanksgiving dinner for Gustave, but as an apology for what Nadir had done to my child, he invited me to dinner at his place. I would have turned down his offer, until I pictured the disaster of dinner at my place in my head. I had never cooked a large meal for anyone before and I wanted this Thanksgiving to be one that Gustave would never forget. I didn't want him going through life remembering his first Thanksgiving as a disastrous one.
"Are you ready to go, Gustave?" I called, standing in the doorway of my home. I was becoming inpatient with the boy, seeing that it was nearly ten minutes before two.
"Yes, Mister Y…"
The boy came hurrying out with his jacket in hand. I placed down the boxed pie and pushed his arms into each coat sleeve, adjusting the collar and patting him on the back.
"Come along then, dinner awaits us."
"Nadir said that there will be other children there to play with," Gustave excitedly replied. "I can't wait…"
"Other children?" I questioned. "What in God's name are you talking about? Nadir never said anything about other children."
"Um…I wasn't supposed to tell you that."
In my mind, I was already feeling uncomfortable. When I asked the man about who would be attending, he assured me that his meal would consist of three people…Himself, Gustave and me. Oh, what a liar he was! I would kill him for lying to me. I hated people, and didn't want to be around them. It was too late to refuse now, too late to turn back. I knew I would have to sit through dinner and suffer and then, kill the bastard later. When we arrived at his door, Gustave knocked, only to have Nadir pull it open and smile.
"Ah, you're ten minutes late," Nadir teased. "I was beginning to believe that you changed your mind about dinner."
Gustave ran inside, leaving the two of us standing there.
"You lied to me, Persian!" I growled. "You specifically said that there would only be three people attending this dinner."
"And if I would have said ten, you would have stayed home."
Nadir forced me inside his apartment, where there were a few other couples and their children sitting around and talking. Gustave was already interacting with the children, making me alone and with my heart pounding against my chest. Great… This was all I needed.
"So, sit down man," Nadir said. "I'll bring you a glass of wine."
When he walked away, I stood there, my palms swearing profusely with nervousness.
"Well well stranger, long time no see…"
When I heard a familiar voice, I spun around to see Cecile standing before me. Oh, how did Nadir even know about her? I had never ridden the train with him, so how did he know about the waitress? Oh, I would kill him… Surely I would kill this man.
"Well, aren't you going to say hello?" she giggled.
It was strange, for I never actually seen the woman out of uniform before. Usually, when I saw her, she would be dressed in her blue dress and white apron, with her brown hair tied back. Tonight, however, she was dressed in a rust colored dress and her hair was down….Oh, what was I thinking? Come out of it man! You love Christine!
"Ah, I see you've met Cecile…"
Nadir patted me on the back and handed me a glass of wine.
"Nadir, may I speak with you in the kitchen?" I growled.
I grabbed Nadir by his shoulder and pushed him into the kitchen, slamming his back against the wall.
"What in God's name is going on, Nadir?! Why did you invite Cecile?! And how do you even know her?"
Nadir placed on a sly smile, one that filled me with rage.
"Oh, so you do know Cecile… Do we have a crush on her, Erik?"
"Enough! Why is she here? You're not friends with her!"
"I wouldn't say that. Two weeks ago I took the train and believe it or not, she was my waitress. We started talking and when I spoke of you, her cheeks lit up like the morning sun. She seems to admire you and your work very much, man…"
"So you invite her to dinner?! You're mad, Nadir, mad! I have a wife…"
Nadir rolled his eyes. "She was never married to you, Erik."
"She would have been!"
"Shoulda, woulda, coulda! She's gone, Erik… Don't you think it's about time to move on? Christine is dead, and she's never coming back. You shouldn't let this woman pass right on by. God knows it was hard enough to get Christine to love you."
I grabbed Nadir by his shirt, enraged over his attitude.
"You bastard, take that back!"
"I never meant to make you feel insulted, Erik. But we all know that the women aren't breaking down your door. This woman really likes you, I can see it."
"She doesn't even know me," I growled. "She knows nothing. She is my waitress and nothing more."
"Well, look what we have here?"
Nadir approached the doorway of the kitchen, laughing over something I wasn't sure of. Oh, what was he up to now?
"Seems as though your son has her heart in the palm of his hand."
I quickly approached Nadir and looked out of the doorway, spotting Gustave standing next to Cecile with his deck of cards. Oh, he was practicing his card tricks with that woman! She was giggling and acting like a love stricken school girl. Oh, no… This would not go on!
"Now pick a card, any card…"
"Oh, you are just too cute," Cecile squealed, picking a card from the deck. "And I bet your papa taught you this?"
"He sure did," Gustave said.
"He is a genius."
I had to intervine before something tragic happened. I hurried to his side and stood in the way, lightly pushing Gustave away with my foot.
"Sorry if he's bothering you," I said. "He can be a handful at times."
"Oh, he was just going to pick my card," Cecile giggled. "I was really hoping to see this."
Gustave magically appeared at my side again, and lifted a card from the middle of the deck.
"Oh, you are just adorable!"
"Gustave, could you go and play with the other children for a while?" I questioned. "I have something I wish to talk about with Cecile."
Gustave nodded. "All right, papa…"
When Gustave was gone, Cecile and I took a seat on the couch that was away from everyone else. The woman had this smile across her face, a smile that was melting over Gustave. Why? Why did Christine give birth to such a child? He should have been ugly, he should have been grotesque, but instead, he was melting hearts. I could only pray the day of his adult hood never came… I knew every woman this side of Coney Island would be wanting him. I prayed that he would stay small forever, and that this time in my life would never end, for as long as Gustave was small, Christine would be at my side.
"Your son is a real cutie," she said, smiling at me. "I've always wanted children."
"You…You haven't any of your own?" I nervously asked.
Cecile shook her head. "No… I… I was married a long time ago, but my husband got angry with me every time we tried to have a baby. He wanted a son so bad, and I couldn't give it to him. I've had ten miscarriages. Finally, the doctor told me that I would never be able to have children. My husband left me ten years ago… He found a woman that could have children and now, he has eight."
"I'm sorry," I said. "That wasn't right that your husband left you because of that. If he really loved you, he wouldn't have cared. There are other ways to have children. The orphanage in Coney Island is filled with children that need a home."
"What about you?" Cecile asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, where is Gustave's mother?"
"She…She died a long time ago," I lied. "So, I've come to raise him myself."
"You've done a wonderful job, Mister Y. Your child is so well mannered and proper. He's wonderful."
"Thank you… He is the light of my life."
"Do you miss his mother?"
"More than anything in the world."
"There's a lot of things that I don't know about you," Cecile replied.
"Such as what?"
"Well, for the last ten years, I've served you on the train, and yet, I don't know your name."
I smiled. "It's Erik."
"Erik? That's a really nice name… But why is it that you're called Mister Y?"
"It's a name that sort of just stuck…"
"Could you and I get some air outside on the porch?"
I nodded and walked outside with Cecile. It had stopped snowing, but it was still chilly. I was just glad that we were outside and not inside with everyone else.
"So, Erik," Cecile smiled. "What else do you like to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you run a park…What do you do in your spare time?"
"Raise a child," I said.
"I like music," I said. "I listen to it… I play it, I write it. Music has always been a major part of my life."
"I love music too," she said. "I would love to hear your music sometime…"
My heart was pounding against my chest now… I wanted Christine, more than anything in the world. I didn't want to be standing here with this woman. I wish it were Christine, I wanted her more than anything in the world. I pressed my eyes closed and sighed…And that's when Cecile pressed her lips against my own. What was she doing?! Quickly, I pushed her away, angry with rage.
"What are you doing?!" I snapped. "What was that?!"
"I'm…I'm sorry," she cried, backing away. "I… really like you…"
"Don't you ever do that again, do you understand me?!"
She nodded, and that's when we were interrupted. Nadir opened the door and smiled.
"It's time for dinner, you two…"
Cecile looked at me one final time before hurrying inside. I sighed and leaned over the railing of the patio, touching my lips and feeling a heavy sob wracking inside of my chest.
"Oh, Christine…" I grasped my chest and sobbed, wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep. It was then, that my heart began to pound against my chest, my heart beating out of rhythm. I gasped and pressed my hand against my chest… Oh, what was happening to me?! Soon, pain shot through every part of my body and I weakened at the knees.
I heard Christine's voice, turning to see her kneeling at my side.
"Erik, what's wrong?"
My heart began to spasm, causing me to land on the cold ground of Nadir's patio. I couldn't breathe and my heart felt as though it were being squeezed.
"Erik…" Christine was crying, but I couldn't say anything… And moments later, I blacked out.
Let's just say that Cecile should have known better than to kiss her crush...Please review!