"Chauvelin," I said, trying desperately not to burst out laughing, "do sit down. Let me do that."
"Mademoiselle, I assure you, I am quite capable of making a pot of tea."
And with that, he promptly half of the water in the kettle onto the floor. He closed his eyes, embarrassment evident. He set the kettle down, grabbed a towel, and began wiping up the water, holding his arm up like a wounded puppy. I couldn't take it any more. I giggle slipped out of my lips, and after that, I lost it. I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to contain myself to no effect.
Chauvelin shot me a glance that could have frozen a lake in July. I stopped abruptly, suddenly a bit afraid of him. He looked back to the floor, continuing to sop up the water. I knelt beside him,
"Monsieur, as I said before, sit down, I'll make the tea."
Without saying a word, he finished cleaning, and sat at the table. I began the tea-making process, painfully aware of his scrutinizing eyes.
"How did you know my name?" Chauvelin asked, as I set his teacup in front of him. I sat, poured sugar and cream into my tea, and thought about what to say.
"Well, you probably will not believe what I'm about to say, but----,"
He cut me off.
"Are you kidding? I'd believed that God is a giant chicken, considering what I have just been through. Who could believe that Percy Blakeney is the Scarlet Pimpernel? PERCY BLAKENEY! I was wounded in a sword fight with that foppish idiot, tied up, and then saved by some girl who appeared out of nowhere and knows who I am," Chauvelin said, gesturing wildly with his good arm. "Now, please, mademoiselle, do tell me how you knew my name."
His eyes pierced into mine. There was a fire there I had never seen before. I gulped, took a deep breath, and tried to find a way to begin.
"First of all, I'm as clueless as you are on how I got here. As for knowing your name..."
"I can't wait to hear this," Chauvelin leaned forward, eagerly awaiting my tale.
"Where I come from, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a fictional character. The events involving him are all just a story. Well, a novel and a musical actually. That's how I came to be wearing what I am. I am--was--playing the female lead...Marguerite," I paused, waiting for a reaction.
"Where exactly do you come from?"
"Actually, it more of a when. I come from New York City, America...in the year 1998."
He was surprised by that one.
"1998?" he said, eyes widening slightly, eyebrows raising. He leaned back against his chair and held his head, "The world HAS gone mad. The whole damned world."
I smiled inwardly. 'Even says 'damn' like Terrence.'
"I'm sure this is a lot to be throwing at you."
"What is your name?"
"I mean I can ima---- what?"
"I said, what is your name? You know mine, it's only fair that I know yours."
"You have a point. My name's Felicity, but everybody calls me Lissie."
"Felicity....I like it. Look, Felicity, I never thanked you for saving me."
"No need, I----".
"No, you don't understand. No one has ever cared about me like this before."
"What about Marguerite?"
"Marguerite...she was just using me to get what she wanted. She never loved me." I could see the loneliness in his eyes.
"You really do miss her, don't you?" I said touching his forearm in a comforting gesture. Chauvelin nodded, then shook his head,
"Who am I kidding? She's married to that...that..., " he searched for a word, "Percy, " he said with conviction. "Damned English mess everything up."
He finished his tea.
I said, "I probably should be getting on my way."
Chauvelin looked a bit alarmed.
"Where would you go? You don't know anyone. Stay here."
What he said next must have been hard for him, "I may need some help until my arm heals."
"Are you sure? I don't want to be a nuisance."
"You won't be," he said, looking straight into my eyes, "Please stay."
"All--all right," I replied, and took our empty teacups to the sink.
I jumped. Chauvelin was standing behind me. "Chauvelin, you scared me," I smiled and rose to tend to the whistling teapot.
"Sorry," he replied, smiling.
"You're in a good mood this morning."
"I finally got some good sleep, I guess."
"I see," I set his teacup in front of him, and sat across the table from him. He sipped his tea and studied me for a moment. He looked thoughtful.
"What," I said, his stare making me nervous.
"Well, it seems that you'll be staying here for a while."
"You can't go around wearing the same clothes everyday."
"Don't say another word."
I fidgeted, "Chauvelin, really, you---"
"Hush and stand still."
My brow furrowed, and I crosses my arms as the seamstress, Madame Arnaud, took the measurements for my skirt length.
"Oh, Felicity, quit pouting," said Chauvelin, smiling.
"You are having too much fun with this."
He laughed at that remark.
"You don't have to do this."
He held up a hand to quiet me, "Enough. Be quiet and hold still," he paused, "think of it as a thank - you present."
Madame Arnaud finished measuring, and she called Chauvelin over to her. They spoke briefly in French. Only having two years of French class all I could make out was something about "two hours". Chauvelin nodded and said, "Merci, madame,"
He then escorted me out to the waiting carriage. I sat as close to the window as possible. I stared off into space, thinking. 'He's so much more different that I thought. I thought him to be a lot like Javert, but I guess not. What's up with him being so nice to me?'
I let out a heavy sigh.
"Are you all right?" Chauvelin asked.
"You look troubled."
"I'd rather not talk about it now."
"All right." He looked at me with concern, but then turned the opposite way to the window. This gave me a chance to study him. He was staring out the window as he had been moments before. His long black hair, which fell past his shoulders was tied back into a neat ponytail with a black ribbon. His black coat rested neatly across his shoulders and buttoned in the front. The wide lapels were folded back, and I could see a bit of his white shirt and black vest. His hands were folded in his lap. Slightly fitted black pants covered his legs. I could see the line of a calf muscle just above his black boots.
I turned my eyes back to the window so he wouldn't catch me looking at him.
Two hours later, we returned to the dress shop. Chauvelin spoke to Madame Arnaud. "What time should I be expected back?" he asked, pulling out his pocket watch. She replied in French. Chauvelin nodded, and went out to the carriage.
I frowned at the packages in my lap. 'Why is all I want to know. Why is he doing this?'
"Hmm? What?" Chauvelin had broken me out of my trance.
"What's wrong? You look upset."
"You didn't need to buy me these things."
"Oh, quit making a fuss. You'll need them since it looks like you are going to be here a while."
I sighed heavily and turned back to my thoughts. 'He's right. Why bother arguing? He's so stubborn, I'll never win.' I stared out the window to the streets of Paris.
When we returned "home", Chauvelin found a place for my things while I started dinner. He sat down at the table to relax.
"How's your arm?" I asked, trying to make small talk.
"I can do it."
"Not my yourself."
"Oh really? And why is that?"
He was giving me that look again. I took a deep breath. Trying to keep your cool when Chauvelin is staring at you is kind of hard.
"You need two hands to do it. I'll take care of it."
He shook his head and sighed. "Whatever you say."
I smiled, contented, and turned back to making dinner.
Go to Chapter Four!!!
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