Author's Note: Once more, I take this opportunity to thank everyone who continues to read my 'fic. Why not make my day and review? :)
Cosette stared wistfully out onto the cobblestone courtyard dreaming of a handsome young suitor, like most seventeen-year-olds do. She could imagine him now; agilely scaling the black wrought iron gates that barricaded her from the outside world, dressed in black knee-length breeches and a crisp, white shirt. Then, he'd grin with self-satisfaction as he dusted himself off and proceed to mimic Romeo's romantic act, tossing pebbles at her window, awaking her from her sleep. She'd pad across to the window and peek between the curtains to reveal the culprit below and beam, not hesitating to carefully clamber down the drainpipe and elope with him to Calais. However, there was no young suitor, nor had she ever set eyes on one.
Lying back down on her bed, she sighed with exasperation. Cosette, with her thick golden hair that cascaded elegantly past her shoulders, and her deep azure eyes that only served to compliment her delicate features, bore a startling resemblance to a mother that she could not remember. In fact, she could recall nothing other than her life at 55 Rue Plumet with her Papa, the respected Monsieur Madeleine who, in turn, disclosed very little about her childhood. For years she had hoped that some event or occurrence in her life would trigger a long-lost memory; a precious piece of the untouched jigsaw that could provide her with some hint as to what her upbringing had been like.
Just then, the man entered to bid goodnight. Cosette sat upright.
"Everything alright my dear Cosette?"
"Of course, Papa!" she was quick to reply, a false smile lighting up her face.
Monsieur Madeleine perched himself on the edge of the bed and gently brushed back a tendril of her blonde hair from her eyes.
"There are a few errands I need to run tomorrow. We can get you some new books, if you'd like?"
Cosette's isolated and sheltered life at Rue Plumet had meant she often had little to occupy her time with and so had taken to reading books, when the weather would allow, on the solitary bench in the courtyard. Having just finished Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and numerous other classic literature stocked in her Papa's expansive library, she was eager to purchase more. Books fed and encouraged her imagination; allowing her to dream of distant places she longed to explore and noble princes she'd love the privilege to meet. For Cosette, it was a form of escapism with no boundaries or restrictions.
"Oh, yes! I'd love to! I just finished reading Romeo and Juliet today."
At that, the man grinned and planted a kiss on her forehead, before standing to leave.
"You'll be tired after all that reading. Good night, Cosette."
Although she conveyed and felt unconditional love for the only person that had been so dedicated in caring for her and whom had striven to provide her with the best he could, paying to have her privately educated and indulging her in life's luxurious comforts, there were so many things that continued to trouble her about him. Whenever she summoned the courage to approach him about her past he would casually brush off her questions like they were of no real importance, like it wasn't a part of her identity.
"My lovely Cosette," he would say, "let us not dwell on the past and focus rather on the present and the promising future."
In these moments of despair and destitution, Cosette would be filled with a sense of loss and emptiness, like a giant abyss swelling inside her. She was certain that whatever had been inexplicably erased from her memory as a child had been significant; precious even. It brought tears rising in her eyes to think she could not remember a single defining moment, a milestone, anything remotely memorable to say the least. Many people enjoyed reminiscing about their birthdays, how they came to lose their first tooth, how they met their best friend, but Cosette could recall none of these. People are shaped by their experiences in the past; but what if you don't know of a past to shape yourself with?
Furthermore, there was the point of his over-protectiveness, which sparked curiosity in her; what was he so afraid of? Was it something linked to her past? The girl often felt like a caged bird, unable to fully spread her wings and enjoy the independence and freedom that many others shared. Instead, she was resigned to staying put and simply idle away the days, looking pretty.
Upon hearing her door click shut, Cosette slipped off her bed and returned to perch on the windowsill. She lightly pressed up against the chill of the glass and watched the condensation form like mist. With one delicate finger, she traced the black iron gate, spread open in invitation. Then, she watched it evaporate; like all her hopes and dreams.