A/N; So...must I stress my need for feedback? As wonderful as subscribers are (and trust me, you are wonderful), I'd really appreciate reviews. What you think of Jeanne, the way I write Enjolras, suggestions, etc. Now I know that some will skip this A/N (I am guilty of doing it too) and just not reviewing, but I'd really appreciate the feedback. So, in this chapter you get to know a bit more about Jeanne. I don't want to just list her qualities and faults in a caracter profile, and some of them are subtlely said. At some point, I may actually do one of those carcater profiles (yes I am contradicting myself) but that'll be later when the plot thickens. I'm introduceing a new caracter, and still working out the kinks in her, so be easy on poor Mme Tremblay.
La Poche de Joie
Jeanne sat on the couch, pillow over her head, desperately trying to muffle the argument that was going on at the table behind her. It had started when Grantaire had started looking over her shoulder as she made dinner. She was a pretty decent cook, seeing as her favorite place to go when she had free time at the conservatoire was the kitchen. She had picked a great many things up sitting there after rehersals. Grantaire had started pestering her as she sliced the bread, about everything. Where was her family from, how old she was, what was her favourite color and the like. She had answered politely to every question, but when he asked what her brother had died of she was at a loss. Enjolras had steped in saying that it was horrible manners to ask such a thing, especially seeing as the event was so recent. Grantaire had repleid that if he had payed attention to him, he would have to resot to talking to her. The argument gradually escalated to shouts. Jeanne was a quiet girl, and the shouts frightened her. The two other students present ignored the argument, they were used to it. Only when there was a loud knock on the door did the two men quiet. Jeanne got up, eager for an escape from the noise.
At the door was a woman, around fourty, a baby in her arms.
"Voulez-vous vous taire! I've had enough of your arguments! I've got two children to put to bed!"
"Desole, Madame" said Jeanne.
The woman looked at Jeanne, inspecting her. Then back at the men in the room.
"And you don't even take care of this girl! Look at her! Dirty face, tangled hair, and the state of that dress. You ought to be ashamed of yourself M. Enjolras. Viens, petite. I thing one of Clara's old dresses will fit you nicely."
Jeanne looked back to Enjolras, who was standing there, stunned. It hadn't occured to him that Jeanne may need or want a dress. When he noticed her questioning gaze, he nodded her on.
"Vas-y. I'm quite sure we can manage to slice bread on our own."
He watched as her face lit up and followed Madame Tremblay to her flat next door.
"You really didn't think that Jeanne may need an other dress, did you?"
"Enjolras, if I may, what do you know about Jeanne?"
"Just that she's Charles' sister, that she went to the conservatoire and that she appears to have a talent for running into people."
"That's nothing. Enjolras, you don't even know her age! If you have any intention of living with the girl, you're going to have to speak to her. She's probably wondering what you expect her to do to earn her keep. Not to mention if you're okay with how she cleaned up. You haven't said anything about it."
"Of course I'm fine with it! She's done me an enormous favor, Coufreyac."
"You have to tell her that. She doesn't know you like we do."
Enjolras pondered this as he cut the bread. It was true; he hardly knew anything about her. Grantaire knew more of her at the moment. He didn't know if she could read. She could write, but would need to be taught the exceptions in the french language. Her speach suggested that she was high born, but she went to the conservatoire. He decided that she was most likely of the upper class bourgeoisie. He made a mental list of things to ask her when she returned.
Next door Jeanne was enjoying a warm bath. Madame Tremblay had insisted on helping her. She felt as if she was back at home, when she was a child.
"You have beautiful hair, Jeanne. You ought to take care of it."
Her dress, that she now realized was actually Anne's, lay in a heap on the floor, and a pale pink that bordered on lavender one lay neatly on a chair next to the tub, along with undergarnments. She finished washing and Mme. Tremblay left her to get dressed. Looking in the mirror Jeanne smiled. Her hair had been put in a braid and her eyes shone brightly as she admired it. She'd have to ask Mme to teach her. Dressing Jeanne sighed. It was nice to be clean once again. Smoothing the skirt of the dress, she cast one last look at the mirror and opened the door.
"Ah! Que tu es belle! I'm so glad that Clara's dress fits you. Come, sit with me. Jean is out this evening and I'm in need of company. Have a cup of coffee and tell me about yourself."
Jeanne sat at the table, gratfully accepting the cup that was offered to her.
"What do you wish to know?"
"Where you come from, your family and especially why your living with Monsieur next door."
"Well, she began, my family is originally from Marseilles, but we moved to the outsikts of Paris when I was three."
"I thought I heard a Marseilles accent. Your family?"
"Oui. My brother was a student, studying law, Papa was a buisness man and Maman, well she was Maman. I went to the conservatoire after we fell into some money trouble, where I've learned how to sing and dance. Charles, my brother, died of a fever two days ago and when I got the news I went to get his things that were at the college."
"That's how you met Monsieur?"
"Oui, but I don't think I made a very good first impression. I ran right into him you see and he seemed awfully late. Anyway, after that I went back to the conservatoire. I was late for rehersal and the Madame, she's in charge of the corps de ballet, gave me an awful scolding. I went back to the dormitories and that's when-"
"When there was the fire" Madame Tremblay seemed to be engrossed in Jeanne's story. She had lead a painfully dull life, with four children and a husband. To her, Jeanne's life seemed to be novel, filled with adventure.
"Yes, that's when we heard the stagehands screaming 'au feu, au feu!' I was half dressed, getting ready for bed you see, so I had to grab whichever dress was nearest and put it on and run. I ran to a cafe that my brother had told me about and that's where I saw Monsieur for the second time. He bought me some food and had his friend who's studying medecine make sure that I wasn't hurt. I sang for them, all the students I mean, and then we had to go. He offered to let me stay with him, and well, voila."
It had felt good to tell her story. She hadn't realized how much she had wanted to get it out, and Madame Tremblay was an excellent listener.
"You poor thing. But dear, you didn't tell me how old you are."
"J'ai 16 ans, I'll be 17 in three weeks."
The older woman nodded, pouring the girl an other cup of coffee.
"Where are you sleeping, next door of course."
"I'm not sleeping with him! I'm sleeping on the couch."
"I didn't mean it like that, Jeanne. But the couch...he should have offered you his bed, at least. That boy has no manners, I swear."
"He did offer me his bed. But he had class the next day, and was already doing me a favor by letting me stay with him, I couldn't put him out of a bed."
Madame Tremblay smiled and nodded. She should have known. Jeanne seemed to be a very kind and gentle girl, though quite sheltered. It was rare to find someone with such a good heart in Paris, and she wondered if her neighbor realized just how wonderful a girl he had under his roof. Just then, he youngest child Marc-Oliver decided to wail.
"Oh, dear. How about I make us something to eat. Jeanne could you play with Marc-Olivier while I do so?"
Jeanne went over to the bassinet and picked up the child. He had big brown eyes and hair to match. He seemed to be around two.
"Allo! I'm Jeanne. What's your name?"
He smiled and laughed. Jeanne did too. Marc-Olivier decided to give her a tour of the flat and point out all of his favorite places.
"Ca, c'est la swalle de bwain. I don't like it."
"Oh? Why not?"
"'Cuz bwaths are wet!"
"You're right they are!"
The little boy nodded, a serious look on his face.
"And that Maman!"
"I do believe I've met her. What do you like to do Marc-Olivier?"
"I like to pway wit ribbon. See?" He hobbled over to the bassinet and pulled a ribbon that was hanging over the edge then started hobbling as fast as his little legs would take him looking back at the ribbon flying behing him, occasionaly stopping, laughing.
Jeanne hadn't felt so good in a long time. Being here, with Marc-Olivier and his mother, Jeanne felt at home. She felt like she had found a pocket of joy in her otherwise joyless world. Maybe, just maybe, this would work out. Maybe she could find happiness here.
Grantaire, Coufreyac and Combeferre had left an hour ago and Jeanne still had not returned. Enjolras had tried to write a speach then quickly gave up. The only thing that his mind seem to focus on was the dark haired girl that was nextdoor. He couldn't figure out what about the tiny dancer that he had taken in facinated him so much. He knew that until he knew this, he wouldn't be able to focus on anything.