Eponine was strolling down the streets of Paris, killing time before she had to meet her baby brother. Paris was mild in the midday sun, and Eponine found herself warm in her trench coat. But she didn't notice. She was too busy thinking about Enjolras. It had been two weeks since his kindness after the issue with Thenardier, and she couldn't stop thinking about him. It was like she had some silly school-girl crush on him, and it was this feeling towards him that had stopped her going to the four meetings they have had since then. How could she face him? Did she mean what she said to Gavorche?"Are you in love with someone else, then?" "Yes, I think so." She smiled remembering. She never felt this way about Marius, she felt far more mature with Enjolras. Her feelings for Enjolras felt deeper than her love for Marius. The more she thought, the more it became clear; if she could, she would be with Enjolras for the rest of her life. She wasn't thinking about Marius, he was out of her head for once.
Eponine's aimless strolling led her to the Les Amis' cafe. Of course, she thought, Lead me to Enjolras. She took a deep breath in and prepared herself for what may follow. She stepped in the open doors, and slowly looked up, hoping to see Enjolras' face... Instead she saw Grantaire, the stupid drunkard walking from the bar to a table, drink in hand. Surprise, surprise.
"Ahhhh, Eponine!" he smiled. He sounded like he had when he was drunk, yet... cleaner. His words were not slurred and he sounded brighter, like a gentleman. "I was wondering when I would see your bright face again." He put his drink down on a random table and walked over to her, arms open, and hugged her. Eponine smelt his scent, and found no traces of alcohol on him. He wasn't drunk. He was perfectly sober today. Eponine smiled; she liked this Grantaire, not drunk and at his senses. He seemed more approachable, and she understood why people put up with him. When he wasn't drunk, he was a kind and sweet man.
"Let me buy you a drink! I haven't started yet." He took her hand in one hand and his drink in the other, walking over to the bar.
"Yet?" Eponine asked her voice thick with her own kind of wit.
"I'm not as bad as that!" Grantaire laughed. Eponine had never talked to a man like this before, comfy and casual. With Marius, she sounded like a fool and was always teasing flirtatiously. With Gavroche, she spoke like a mother, full of care. With Enjolras... well, the one time she had really talked to Enjolras before the time in his flat. She liked this. Grantaire was like a true friend, though she had never talked to him properly.
They sat down at Grantaire's table in the corner, both with a brandy, and talked like old friends.
"Where have you been, Eponine? We were starting to miss your face!"
"Oh... ummm- I felt like I was bothering you. And Marius. It's important what you're doing. I felt in the way."
"Eponine, I couldn't a shit about what Enjolras wants to do, but I come along for a drink and to see my class mates. You are always welcome. Any friend of a Les Amis is a friend of ours. Including you."
"Thank you, Grantaire. I would come tonight, only I have work..."
Grantaire nodded, and took a sip of brandy. Enjolras had told him and Marius what her work was, and Grantaire was surprised that his drunken self had kept it to himself. "Now," he put his drink down. "What is the real reason why you haven't been at the meetings?"
Eponine was taken aback by this. Was she that bad a liar? "Come on," Grantaire coxed. "You can tell me. I've got an idea why, anyway." Marius. Eponine thought relived. He's talking about Marius.
"Tell me your theory." Eponine sat back and held her breath, her feeling of anxiousness creeping onto her face.
"Well," Grantaire huddled in for effect. "There is someone in the Les Amis you have taken a fancy too, and you are too scared to face them..." Eponine sighed in relief, she was right. "... And you can't face him, or the one you thought you loved, before." WHAT DID HE MEAN BY THAT? "I'm guessing I'm correct by the look on your face." Grantaire smirked.
"I- What- But- H-how- I don't know what you are talking a-about."
"Let me put this in plain French for you then." Grantaire said, sitting up and clearing his throat. "You thought you were in love with Marius, because you've known him for so long. However, you have caught Enjolras' eye, and after his flat incident, you're the same as him; you can't stop thinking about each other." He sat back satisfied.
Questions exploded in Eponine's mind. How did he know about Marius? How have I 'caught' Enjolras' eye? How did he know about what happened at his flat? What did he mean by 'you can't stop thinking about each other'? Does Enjolras feel the same way... But out of all of these questions, Eponine could only spit out, "How did you know?"
Grantaire sighed deeply, and took Eponine's hand in his, patting it in sympathy. "Eponine... The reason why I am Enjolras' best and only true friend is because of now; I'm good when I'm sober. I know more than I show, and I'm easier to talk and confide in during the day, than at night." Eponine looked in his eyes, and saw he was telling the truth. Grantaire was one of the nicest men she had ever met.
"Enjolras told me the next day about what happened. He told me that I was right." Eponine looked at Grantaire in confusion. He explained, "I remember, vaguely telling him that night that it was obvious to us that he was interested in you that night. By that I mean cared for you. Eponine, you must understand, Enjolras is very much a man away from his emotions; he has never felt like he does about you about anyone else, and he's very confused. Bottom line; he has fallen in love with you." He started chuckling, "At last, he's in love!" Grantaire looked genuinely happy about it, but Eponine didn't know what to say. Was her love for someone, finally, going to be returned? Eponine felt happy, and a smile took over her face. She knew now.
"You... you got me, Grantaire." She whispered. "For the past two weeks, I've stayed away because I was confused. But on hearing that... I'm not."
Grantaire jumped out of his chair, laughing in delight, clapping his hands. He pulled Eponine out of her chair and hugged her. He stepped back, still holding her hands, and laughed, "Thank you! Thank you for coming into Enjolras' life. You are a saint, Eponine Thenardier, no matter your social status." Grantaire kissed her check, and hugged her again.
Eponine suddenly heard a 'Oh mon Dieu!' from the cafe doorway, and there stood Gavroche, with a smiled on his face and a possibly stolen bread loaf in his hand. He ran into the cafe, and hugged Eponine. When she glanced at the clock, it read quitter to one, fifthteen minutes before they were going to meet in the nearby square.
"Eponine, is this the monsieur you told me you had fallen in love with?" his eyes were sparkling like Eponine had never seen them before. Eponine laughed loudly, not only because of her little brother's mistake, but because of her happiness.
"No, Gavroche, no. This is Monsieur Grantaire. He is my good friend. He is the friend of the man I love... And of the man who loves me!" she half squealed.
Grantaire laughed loudly, grabbing the two Thenardiers in his arms, and started yelling, "Marie, three brandies! We must celebrate! Love is splendid!" He kissed the two Thenardiers on the cheek, and ran off demanding the brandies. Eponine continued to hold Gavroche, and she heard him whisper, "Is it true, Eponine. The monsieur loves you too?"
"I've been told he does, and I trust the source. The source comes from a faithful, kind, warming, if not slightly mad, man." Eponine's happiness was through the roof. She wasn't sure what was going to happen from here, but she had faith in God to guide it.
Eponine had to celebrate. She had her brother back. She had a new friend. She had found out her love wasn't unconditional.
She couldn't wait to see Enjolras tonight.