Cosette was curled up on the sofa in the sitting room on the first floor of the house. She sat on the sofa sideways, legs bent, her book resting lightly on her knees. The late afternoon was frigid, and the winds shook the frame of the comfortable house with every passing gust. It had been one of the coldest winters in France in thirty years. Marius and Cosette had spent the majority of the winter trying to entertain themselves indoors. Cosette became irritable at any mention of going outside. She was a child of the summer, and despised the cold. Despite the roaring fire in the corner, the room was bitter. She tried not to pay attention to her chilled toes and fingers, but even the thick blanket she donned could keep out the draft.
Marius was seated in his favorite chair just a few feet away. He too, was reading, but not for leisure as his wife was. Some new intern at the law firm had overlooked something in the minutes from last week's case, and Marius was attempting to find the error in the intimating stack of papers. It was dreadfully boring. He sighed and looked up at his wife, searching for a bit of sympathy. Cosette was bathed in light from the open curtains, her blonde hair bound in a casual bun. The stray hairs caught the light like an angel's halo around her. Marius smiled, she was an angel, truly. It was times like these when he caught her at a moment she wasn't looking at him, that he was suddenly aware of how lucky he was to find her. Cosette just simply being beautiful Cosette. Whether she was being adorably frustrated with a new sewing sampler, or devouring a book like she was now, Marius could spend hours just watching her. And the lovely fact was, he could. He had the rest of his life to be dazzled by Cosette. The thought brightened his bushed mood, and he smiled to himself.
Suddenly, another gust of wind shook the house, sending a howl down the chimney. The gust was so strong the fire wavered in the hearth. Cosette looked out the window to the swaying trees in the garden. Marius followed her gaze and remarked, "Damn windy today. It's like the Arctic."
Cosette nodded. "Indeed." She replied woodenly. Marius looked to her face. She seemed distracted by something other than the wind. He watched as her expression went from reasonably empty to slightly alarmed. She lifted the blanket from her legs and began to rise at a hurried pace.
"Cosette?" Marius asked, confused. Cosette shuffled around the sofa to the window. She placed her hand on the icy glass and cried out, "Oh dear! The poor things!"
"Cosette! What ever is the matter?" Marius inquired as he tried to unleash himself from the massive amounts of documents in his lap.
"Oh no, no, no!" Cosette squeaked girlishly, and she dashed passed Marius out of the room.
"Cosette!" Marius called after her, worried now. He rose out of his chair just a little too quickly, and lost his grip on the legal papers. The sheets tumbled down to the floor, cascading in all directions around his chair. Marius took one look at the disorganization and dropped the rest of the articles in defeat. He'd let that foolish intern organize the mess.
Marius bounded down the hall after his wife. He heard her mussing in the kitchen. He hollered her name again, and leaned into the kitchen doorway just in time for Cosette to scramble passed him, her arms full of items from the pantry. He rushed after her, catching her easily enough this time. She had a few loaves of bread, almonds and a box of chocolates in her grasp.
"Cosette, you little thief, why are you stealing all our bread?" He jested, trying to take a large baguette from her left hand. She speedily shook his hand away.
"I'm not stealing! I'm sharing! Oh the poor things…!" She exclaimed. Marius was still perplexed. They walked through the sitting room and to the back door which lead to their private garden. Cosette without hesitating, and without a proper coat, opened the door to which could have been an Arctic tundra. The freezing wind bellowed into the house, sweeping residual snow through the door. Marius quickly started to shrug off his jacket, and reached out for Cosette with a worried cry. But Cosette simply got a better grip on her parcels and bravely trudged out into the frozen afternoon. With her entrance into the winterized garden, a flock of larks sprung into the air, and glided over to the lonely apple tree near the gate. Marius followed her in a panic. It had to be twenty degrees below freezing out here! What kind of husband lets his wife out into the cold without a coat? Marius wrapped his arms around her shoulders. "Cosette! Please come inside and get your coat and gloves! This is no weather for a picnic!" He yelled over the erupting winds. Cosette said nothing. Instead she turned and slammed the packages into Marius's chest. He caught them, stunned. What on earth had gotten into her? She began tearing up a loaf of bread into tiny pieces and throwing the new crumbs into the air. She turned once again to her husband and looked at his puzzled and frozen form. She groaned in irritation, throwing another half of bread at him. He fumbled to catch it, the rest of her items still in his arms.
"Well don't just stand there! Throw these to the birds! They're probably starving in this horrid weather!" Cosette wailed.
Marius now understood. He began to laugh, but still did as she said. The couple tore up two and a half whole loaves of bread and scattered the crumbs all about the garden. Once they were finished, Cosette took a handful of almonds and flung them near the apple tree.
"Threre!" Cosette crowed over the wind. Her hair had become undone in the gusts, her blonde curls flying all around her face. Her cheeks were now bright red from the exposure. Marius put his hand on her waist and hastily led his wife inside.
Once Marius had managed to close the door against the strong winds, he looked to Cosette. She was already sitting by the fire, rubbing her hands together. He strode over to her and she turned.
"I understand your intent to save the larks, but…?"
He motioned to the box of chocolates she had brought outside on her rescue mission, still a bit confused. Cosette giggled and snatched the box from his icy hands.
"You didn't tell me we had chocolates!" She laughed.