Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mamzelle Starts a New Chapter..or Perhaps a New Book?

Mamzelle leaned her elbows on the table.

"Oui, a lovely evening. Merci, Mr C."

"No, Mamzelle, thank you. I don’t know when I’ve felt so...enlightened."

"Enlightened?" She laughed. "Eh bien, I brought a glimmer of knowledge, an epiphany of understanding to you?"

"It’s a facet of the universe I know nothing about." He leaned back against his chair, tapped his fingers on the table in time to the band. "More than a glimmer. Now I have an interest, a desire, where before I had none. Indeed, before I didn’t care if I was ignorant of this or anything other than the parameters I had already established in my world. You are shifting my boundaries, making me reevaluate all my preconceived notions."

"All this from a lecture on a museum exhibition? My, are you sure it was me that you were with tonight? that it was me who gave this wonderous, enlightening lecture?"

"Oh yes, Mamzelle, only you. And I want more, to learn more, hear more."

"Pfft! Men!" She smiled, tapped his hand with her finger, then interlaced the two hands. "They always want more. More this, more that. The mantra that accompanies every courting male, every strutting peacock, every budding relationship."

"Is this then?" He placed his other hand on top of hers.

"Is this then what, Mr. C?"

"A budding relationship? Will you allow that?"

She blinked, then removed her hand from his. Wrapped both hands around her glass and swirled the wine. "Buds? Budding? Am I a horticulturalist to be concerned with buds and budding? You know I have no expertise at all in that area, not even an ability or inclination to fake expertise."

"Oh, you can fake anything if you wanted to, I’ve seen you do that!"

Her eyes are wide, startled at his comment. He’s seen? "But why would I want to? It would serve no purpose here. It is not situationally appropriate or required."

"True. And not even amusing here. I’d never want you to fake anything. Ever. If you don’t know, you don’t know."

"You’d not want me to dazzle them with brilliance or-"

"-baffle them with bullshit? No. Not me. You want to do that with the rest of the world, that is your prerogative. It amuses you sometimes. But not needed. Don’t ever do anything just to please or impress me. "

She snorted. "Do something to please or impress another? Not in my makeup Mr C."

"Oh but it is, Mamzelle, it is. It is such a part of you that you are not even aware of it. I watched you with him, saw you do things to please or amuse him, even to your own detriment. It was sweet. Bastard didn’t deserve it."

Mamzelle glanced at the TV screen near the bar. It was set to a sports channel. She sipped her wine, grimaced at the taste. She wondered how much Mr C knew about her, how long he’d been looking at her, seeing her, without her being aware of his interest. Had she been that enthralled, that blind to everything else, everyone else? Had Mr C been that discrete in his patient observation?

"You’d prefer champagne, mon coeur?"

"Not tonight, Mr C, not yet prepared to take that step. No. We are still too new to each other. Or at least you are still too new to me. I need to be cleared of any ghosts before I can feel free to start a new chapter."

"Je comprends, Mamzelle. You have enough ghosts among the dead. I don’t, I won’t compete with your ghosts among the living."

"You do not compete? There is a competition?"

"For you, there is always competition. Your past, your present, every person that comes into contact with you in some sense is competition. That’s alright. It is only the recent past that concerns me."

"I do not set up competitions. I am not that way."

""It is not anything you do. It is the way of the world, the way of the male beast to compete for a beautiful, desirable female. To want to mark her as their own and keep others away. So it does not matter what you do or don’t do, I will still be competing on some level."

"No. You are not." She took his hand, placed it on her thigh, then put her arm around his shoulders. Leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "You are not competing. I am not a battlefield. And you are your own person. When the time comes, I want to be my own person with you. No ghosts clouding my pathways. You will have your own folio."

"Folio? I rate a folio?"

"Well, that is what you have indicated, what you requested. Perhaps not in those words, but that is what your request means to me. That you have no interest in being notes, a paperback, a hardcover even. You want to be a folio."

"You’ll take that step?"

"Hmmm. Oui. Soon enough. We will take steps together. And I will take my quill and calligraph your name on a lovely leather folio. Blue-grey, I think. With silver ink."

"Things continue, it will be a very a large folio. I hope."

"Eh bien, oui, Mr C. Only those relationships which go on, which have depth, rate a folio. Rare and wonderful thing."

"It will, Mamzelle. I’ve waited a long time already for you, for you to be done with your varied and sundry others. I can wait as long as you need me to wait. If you are willing to spend time with me now and then, get to know me, then that is all I ask for now. I am happy with whatever you are happy with. I have no one else vying for my attention, I have no need to make implicit threats to you. "As long as" you are fine with this, then I am fine with this."

"Oh dear, Mr C!" She laughed. "That dreaded phrase! You quote me to myself, mirabile dictu! Seriously, I know. I did not know the reason for your solitary existence, but I appreciate it now. Truly."

"The last few weeks have been, forgive me for saying this, awesome, Mamzelle. Don’t cringe. It’s how I feel."

"Well then, Mr C. It is late. I have work to do." She stood, slid her arms into her jacket.

"I’ll walk you to your car."

"Not necessary, mon ami. I am fine."

"Oh, mon coeur, it is necessary. It’s late. It is the right thing to do. And besides, I’m selfish. Maybe I’ll persuade you to kiss me." He smiled at her, winked.

"Embrassez-moi, non baisez-moi, Mr C."

"Mamzelle! Ta geulle!"

"Oh, oui, Mr. C., oui"

"When the time is right." Mr C. kissed the top of her head and held the door for her.

"Merci, Mr C. In god’s own time. In god’s own time."

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