“So, what did you want to talk about?” Feuilly asked Courfeyrac.
“I want to apologize for my behaviour earlier. I, well, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I was trying to impress you and I think it backfired. Joly and Lesgle caught me pulling out the lawyer talk, as they say, and I’m afraid it might have put you off. I’m also sorry that I attempted to correct your language. I curse quite readily myself, but I’m just not used to it in women who are not whores. I probably came out sounding snobbish, and I apologize for that. But, if we get back with Enjolras, you will have to watch your tongue. Oh, God, I’m doing it again. I’m lecturing you again, and I didn’t mean to, and this turning into a really shitty apology.”
“It’s okay. You’re forgiven. I don’t even really know you, so I suppose I ought to apologize, too. I thought you were really anal or something.”
“Maybe I am,” Courfeyrac said, smiling. “Maybe that’s what I got from my father. It certainly isn’t family pride.”
“Then what did you get from your mother?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember my mother. My aunt says I look like her, but my father doesn’t say anything, about me or her.”
“Maybe that’s your answer. At least you have family that remembers your mother. I don’t know anyone who knew my parents. Not even Renaud really knew them.”
“I . . . I’m sorry.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I don’t, usually.”
“I’d like to help.”
“I don’t need help. There’s nothing you could help with, anyway.”
“Could I at least be your friend?”
“Of course! What a stupid question! Why the hell not?” Feuilly smiled.
“Can I ask you something?” Courfeyrac asked seriously.
“Why did you choose Joly to go with you?”
“I’d like the truth. That doesn’t mean you have to give it.”
“I’ll be frank. You’re too short, and M. Lesgle is too bald. I need to preserve my image in that quartier, and I’m sure that you and me would be a laughingly funny couple. And M. Lesgle just looks like a victim waiting to happen. He looks old, and kinda goofy.”
“‘Laughingly funny’? ‘Goofy’?”
“So I don’t know a lot of words. I’m not a student.”
“Don’t worry about it. You mean that as a couple, you and I would look hilarious, and Lesgle looks like he would be easy to take advantage of. I understand. Joly was the lesser of three evils. Actually, I think I agree with you. Us as a couple would just look too odd for words.”
“You mean because I’m taller than you?”
“Well, yes. You don’t have to rub it in,” Courfeyrac smiled.
“I didn’t mean nothing, honest,” Feuilly said a bit apprehensively.
“Relax, calm down, I know you didn’t mean anything. I was just teasing you. Do you really offend that many people?”
“Well, no, but I remember -- no, no, I won’t bother you with that stuff.”
“What ‘stuff’? You can trust me.”
“Well, I suppose I’ll have to tell somebody eventually. The only thing I remember about my parents is that my father badgered my mother to death. Little stuff, like what I just did, only meaner, until she jumped off a bridge. I try to control my mouth, but it’s so hard sometimes.”
“My God, you’ve had a terrible life. At least my mother just took ill.”
“Don’t worry about it. I usually don’t. They’re both dead, so it means almost nothing to us.”
“Are we OK? I mean, are we friends and everything?”
“Uh, sure, I guess.”
“Good. Here’s my building. I’d be polite and invite you up, but I have no furniture right now. If you don’t mind standing, you can wait and I’ll walk you home.”
“I’d be too afraid for you alone in my quartier. I’ll go now.”
“See you Thursday?”
“Yes, dinner on Thursday.” Feuilly actually smiled as she turned to leave.
“Marie?” Courfeyrac called to her.
She turned back. “Don’t call me that, monsieur. In a week, Marie will be dead.” She fled around the corner.
Courfeyrac was stunned and confused. He went up to his flat, grabbed what was left of his possessions, and returned to Joly’s flat.
Chapter 7 ~ Fiction ~ Chapter 9 ~ Home