The pale brown boy stares out through the gates, gazing at the ebony-skinned girl lying limply near the gates. She truly loves me, Daniel Beauxhomme realizes. She has been waiting for me for two weeks, doing nothing but waiting. He watches the crowd of peasants for a moment longer. He spots a motherly older woman and a large man who seems to be her husband. They act strangely, looking around and through the gates for...someone. He doesn't know who. Then the woman gasps and rushes over to the girl. Ti Moune, Daniel thinks with a pang. He looks on as the man and woman cradle Ti Moune in their arms, gently brushing her hair away from her face. The girl opens her eyes for a moment. She sees the two peasants next to her, and she smiles weakly at them, whispering something Daniel can't hear. Daniel notices that the woman has tears rolling down her cheeks. To his surprise, Daniel realizes that he, too, is crying. I love her...I love Ti Moune, and she needs me! But if I stay here...I will have to marry Andrea. He stares through the gate a moment longer. Then he rushes to the garage.
Ti Moune smiles weakly at the faces of her adopted parents. "Mama...Tonton..." she whispers.
"Oh, Ti Moune, don't give up," her Mama begs. "Please! You can still live in the village, find some nice boy to marry...please, Ti Moune!"
Ti Moune closes her eyes. She knows her strength is almost gone. She doesn't feel like talking.
A rumble permeates her thoughts, and she opens her eyes again, just as a pale shape in white swoops down and picks her up. It starts to carry her somewhere, but her Tonton protests.
"Stop! Where are you taking her? What right do you have to do this when you are the one who left her here?" He shouts at her carrier.
"It was wrong of me to leave her out here. I knew she was waiting—I glimpsed her once, out the window. But it was early on. I had no idea she wasn't eating, drinking, or sleeping."
Ti Moune's heart stops for a second. Daniel!
"But now, I'm going to make up for it. We love each other, and she needs me. Come. Get in the car with her. I'll take you back to the village."
Ti Moune feels so confused inside! She's a jumble of confusion, joy, relief...and fear. Daniel doesn't know about her promise to Papa Ge. She's still going to die.
Daniel lays Ti Moune on the laps of her adopted parents, who have just explained their relation to his love. He's so worried about the girl. She feels almost weightless, and below the color of her skin, there's a paleness that isn't right.
He gets into the driver's seat as the peasants watch in confusion. They're all thinking, What is the groom doing with the peasant girl and her parents? Isn't he going to get married today?
"Put the straps on," he tells Julian and Euralie, "and hold Ti Moune tightly. None of us want her flying out of the car." He buckles his own seat belt and hears two clicks like an echo of his own.
A shout comes from the Hotel Beauxhomme. His father.
"What, Papa?" He asks tiredly. He knows the answer to his question.
"What are you doing, Daniel?" His father asks, confusion and anger battling in his voice. "You're marrying Andrea today, not taking some peasants on a jaunt, or whatever you're doing."
"What I'm doing, Papa," Daniel says in the same tired voice, "is following my heart. I'm taking Ti Moune and her parents to their village, and I'm going to stay with Ti Moune. We're meant for each other."
"What?" his father yells, but it doesn't matter. Daniel zooms off, only slowing down when he realizes that his two conscious passengers' teeth are chattering with fear.