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The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love You'
By Myra

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bullet    The rain poured down.  Of course Herlikin would never have known that had she not disobeyed Clopin by going out to take a walk through the streets of Paris.  It was quite early when she left.  The sun was first starting to peak over the horizon, creating a fiery orange color almost as brilliant as
Herli's hair, but Herli liked to believe that the sun could never match her
fabulous color.
    She quietly strolled down a narrow road humming an Indian hymn she had learned when she was merely six years old.  As she sung quietly, she began to reminisce, something she promised herself to hardly do since it would bring tears to the brim of her eyes.  She sung and slowly a silver tear made a wet streak down her pale cheek.  She brushed it away also rubbing her eyes to get all the silly water away.  "Stop it, that was years ago," she told herself.
    As she walked the sounds of a flute grew nearer as she caught sight of
Esmerelda dancing with her pet goat, Djali.  Esmerelda entranced all the
spectators who watched her, especially the male ones.  She was only sixteen, but allowed to go out and dance in the streets now and then.  Esmerelda had been a natural at learning the rhythmic beats of the tambourine and flute.
    Herlikin walked up to the back of the crowd and watched, smirking at the
thought of knowing she taught Esmerelda a lot of what she knew today.  Her
and Colombine had taught Esmerelda much throughout her childhood years.  Clopin often teased that they were simply corrupting her and should stop
before Esmerelda turned out like them!
    Herli watched for around ten minutes and the made her way toward the many stores and open markets.  As she walked a girl a bit younger than herself bumped right inter her going the opposite direction.
    "Excuse you!"  Herlikin cried as she turned to see the face of the girl.
She seemed about twenty-two and had violet eyes.  Herlikin could see they
were very deep and mysterious.  Also dark, but violet nonetheless.  Herlikin
waited for an apology but got none as the violet eyes surrounded by thick,
black, curly, hair turned around and continued back the way she was going to catch up with a man she was calling after.
    "Humph," Herlikin grumpily answer herself.  Being so sidetracked by the
rude creature she hadn't noticed the dark specs that had started appearing on her red dress.  She noticed the girl looked like someone who belonged in a Court of Miracles, though she had never seen her before.  A hidden lover of Clopin's old harem no doubt.  She kept pondering as her ahir started to get
slightly damp and finally noticed the heavy storm on the way warning everyone with the drizzle that had started.
    "Great," Herlikin mumbled as she had wandered a good distance from the
Court and would never make it back without getting drenched.  She hurried
along the cobblestone not wanting to ruin her red dress she had so delicately picked out.  She kept running, not noticing the stone that was misplaced and
risen above the rest.  She tripped banging her knee and hurting her foot and
ankle as well, though her knee's pain quickly vanished, her ankle didn't.
She wanted to get back to the aawning she was headed toward but knew that if she stood up immediately she'd be back on the ground within seconds.
    "Smooth one."  Herlikin heard a condensending voice and turned around,
ready to spurt insults and excuses, but mostly insults.  Then she realized
who had decided to point out her fall by simply seeing the black and white
dress.
    "Morning Colombs," Herlikin muttered as Colombine, her best girlfriend,
lent a hand to help her out.  Without being asked Colombine helped Herlikin
over to the awning and standing out of the rain, Herlikin leaning her wait on
her left foot to relieve some pain.  They watched the rain come down, a
little harder than before.  Both had drifted off into their own thoughts when
it was interrupted by a harsh voice behind them.
    "Thieves!"  Both turned around to see a pale face yelling right to them.
Looks of surprise one their faces.  "You are gypsy thieves and I want you to
go away from my shop.  You bring nothing but trouble and misfortune, all you dark faced scum."  They were speechless and Herlikin couldn't help but think this man and idiot for not realizing that she was anything but dark skinned and without her clothes and jewelry she could easily be mistaken for a gaje.  "Out, or I will have the soldiers here within two minutes!"  They started back out into the rain when Herlikin, unable to resist, decided to spit back."
    "You are nothing but misfortune to us and if you had or all gaje had any
feelings you'd realize we were doing nothing but wanting to stay dry!"  It
wasn't the greatest comeback but she'd like to believe that her foot was
blocking her sense of spiteful remarks.
    Herlikin and Colombine went in the rain getting very we all the way until
they reached their tavern that held the secret door to the Court.  They
would've stopped at another place to keep dry but decided they didn't want to face another prejudice Parisian.
    They sat down for a while putting a bit of ice on Herlikin ankle
realizing that's what had been mainly hurt in the fall.  She would've went
all the way back to her tent but not only was the pain throbbing but just the
thought of going through the Catacombs with her ankle just made it hurt worse.
    "So you were just running to get dry?  How, well, typical of you."
Colombine laughed, replaying the scene of Herli's fall in her mind.  From a spectator's point of view it looked pretty humerous seeing a beautiful dignified, gypsy plummet to the ground.  At least Colombine thought so.
    After half an hour, Herlikin slowly stood up, leaning on Colombine, and hobbled to the door to the Court and went in, Colombine following her.
    The water in the Catacombs felt especially sickening hopping up and down in it as Herlikin tired to walk.
    Soon they reached the bright lights and colors of the Court of Miracles.
Usually Herlikin would smile as she'd walk to the tent knowing she'd soon be seeing her strong husband.  Though she didn't smile today.  She even knew that Clopin would be home since it was raining.  Even if he had the cover of his cart the audience had none and wouldn't care to watch.  The thought of her dashing husband at home still didn't lighten her spirits.
    Herlikin made her best friend take her to the front of her tent, but told
Colombine to leave then.  "I want to earn my own sympathy."  Colombine just laughed and twirled to her own tent.  Herlikin looked at her foot once more before she entered her tent.  Her ankle was large and red, for once she was unhappy at how the color looked on her.  With a frown she lifted her tent flap and walked inside.  Ready to speak until she caught Clopin standing with two people, the young man caught Herlikin's eye as a very attractive man. His jet black hair was short, his eyes' color matched his hair.  he was also very muscular, but not overly so.  If she hadn't known better she'd though him a relative of Clopin.
    "Ah Herli!  I'd like you to meet my close friends, Pipes and Ariel."
There staring at Herlikin were two violet eyes.
 

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