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The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love You'
By Myra

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bullet  I walked into the tent and was shocked to see Herlikin had, once again,
beaten me to it.  "Herlikin, kitten, you have turned into a psychic on me.
You are able to tell every time I plan visit to our guests."  I chuckled
nervously trying to hide my surprise.  Herlikin had seen me once here while
she was with Ariel and now I had just been caught a second time.  I was sure Herli had started her suspicion senses up immediately.  I warned myself to
stop at home from now on before I plan to go to Ariel and Pipes'.  I had
assumed too much and it was getting me nowhere but into trouble.
    I pranced to my little wife and embraced her, kissing her lightly on the
cheek.  I didn't know how to give her a good excuse to leave the tent so I
could talk to Ariel about my lessons.
    "Kitten, could you go home and make dinner?  My stomach is calling out
for beef and carrots and it is growling at you."  Hunger was gnawing at my
stomach and I did want dinner, so I applauded myself for finding the fact
that I was getting Herlikin out as well as making the move beneficial to
myself.
    "Only if you will accompany me, love."  A cunning smile formed on her
pale face.  Though my pretty one would often show childish idiocy's with her
troublemaking she certainly did have common sense and could see through me easily.  She knew my intentions were to get her out and she simply wouldn't have it.
    "Do you recall how you and Ariel had a few woman to woman talks?"  She stood up in front of me and I looked down into her eyes.
    "Yes, I do recall this."  I put my arm around her shoulder and started
guiding her toward the door.
    "Well, Pipes and I have business to take care of in a man to man
conversation, so be the dear, sweet wife that you are and make dinner."  I
put an extra emphasis on the two last words and patted her behind as I pushed her out the tent.  She made an upset growl at me but obeyed.  She walked toward our tent and I admired her from behind.  How swift she walked, how graceful her steps were as she casually strolled to her destination.  I smiled once more at her body and then went back inside to tent to the short business I had originally planned to.
    "Ariel, let's go tomorrow night through the streets of Paris.  I am too
anxious to wait two days and I owe the rest of the night to Herlikin."  I saw
down on the floor, my back against the table.  She sat next to me.
    "All right.  Tomorrow night it is.  How will you escape your inquisite
wife?"  I just smirked at the remark.
    "I will simply work the magik of my charm to get out and make my excuses.  Do not worry my dear."  She rolled her eyes as she grinned dreamily at me.  I patted her lightly on the top of her head.
    "Well now that is arranged I will go to my awaiting wife.  Oh, and one of
your books has fallen onto those blankets." I saw her red covered book
sprawled open downward across the tent.
    She gave me a sarcastic look.  "Thank you, I'm not sure what I would do
without your aide and observation."  I poked her nose and merrily danced to
my own tent.
    I walked into my tent with a smile on my face, my little devil didn't
greet me in the same way.  "Back from your in depth man to man conversation?"
 She mocked me in her tone and sat down, crossing her arms and eyebrows
raised, waiting for a reply.
    "Yes, of course kitten.  A brief discussion."  I placed my finger in the
bowl she was cooking and tasted it, then turned around to see her approach me.
    "Ahh, a man of few words, I never knew you were the sort."  She placed
one hand on her hip and the other slapped my hand for touching the food.
    "On a rare occasion."  I smiled slyly and wrapped my arms around he neck, kissing her lightly.  We ate the food she prepared in silence and I cleaned up the dishes to please her.  She smiled as she watched me soap up the glasses and dry them.
    "It is a good things you are not a woman, you would be a disgrace to our
kind," Herlikin informed me from her chair.  I laughed at her attempt at an
insult.
    "That is why I am a man, here to bring in the profit so you are able to
spend it."  She grinned at that and took the dish out of my hand, placing it
on the table.  She looked up at me and kissed me softly.  I closed my eyes,
feelings her warm touch.  I continued with her passionate kisses and returned them gratefully.  We fell onto the bed and I took off my performing smock and she removed her own dress.  We were finally laying the correct way on the bed and continued into the night.

    I woke up quite exhausted and saw my wife next to me, her hair making a fiery ocean around her.  The occasional movement of her hands and soft
snoring made me fall in love with her even more.  I brushed her cheek gently, moving some strands of hair away from her closed eyes.  I twirled them around my finger gingerly and then got out of bed, knowing if I didn't get out soon my lesson for the morning  would have to be postponed.  I slipped into my striped hose and the rest of my brightly colored performing garb.  I ran out the door when I stopped, remembering my mask.  I hurried back to the tent.  I saw Herlikin begin to move and ran out before she saw me.    I arrived at Ariel and Pipes' tent to find Ariel thumbing through the
book I had been reading.  "Bonjour mes amies!"  She looked up with her
seductive violet eyes and red lips in a curve as if she had practiced looking
perfect for when I would come.  She stood up and hugged me, which caught me by surprise.
    "Let's finish your book."  We sat next to each other and I read.  I felt
so wise and educated.  Every Parisian thought gypsies to be horrible insects
who buzzed around the streets, stinging their audiences with stupidity.  I
was proving them wrong.  Unfortunately, I highly doubt they would show any
interest in my new talent.
    I stopped reading midsentence and turned to Ariel.  "When I am finished
with this book, may I borrow more?"  I set my book down in my lap and crossed my legs.  She giggled.
    "Why of course!  That is until Pipes and I leave to travel again," she
whispered with a bit regret.
    "Leaving?  When will this event take place?  Not soon I hope."  I stuck
out my lower lip and pretended to pout.  She pulled my hat down over my eyes.
    "Whenever I feel it time to leave I will.  Now let's finish this book.
Are you not excited about finding out how it ends?"  She teased me and took the book of my lap and handed it back to me.  I read, becoming indulged in
the story.  I smiled as the book came to a close.
    "What a beautiful story.  Those two people were deeply in love.  I
couldn't have told the ending better myself."  I nodded quickly and closed
the book.  "Now, it's time for me to go the streets, Puppet and I have some
business to take care of."  I pulled out my smaller duplication.
    "I believe she wants to stay and you to leave you big.....big....JESTER!"
 I moved my head back, acting in surprise of the insult as Puppet continued.
"I will stay with the lady and you will go and tell your trite stories and
over used songs," he squealed in mockery.  I made my infamous wooden stick appear and struck him over the head.
    "Now, now, we'll have none of your egotistical comments around here,
those are for me to make!  Come now, we have a show to put on."  He groaned and I stuffed him back into my costume and stood up, reaching up my thin arms to the ceiling to stretch and let out a loud yawn.  Ariel just laughed quietly at my entertaining antics.
    "You will still make your excuses to Herlikin and come tonight so we are
able to try out your newly acquired reading talents, no?"  She asked with a
little too much desperation in her voice. I smiled.
    "But of course!  Clopin never breaks his word."  I shook my finger at her
playfully.  "Tonight we will meet again!"  I twirled out and ran through to
the catacombs and up into the tavern.  I went outside, a light breeze blowing and I had to catch my hat as a sudden strong gust swept past me.  The
children traced my footsteps as I skipped along merrily to my cart.  I
brought out Puppet who helped me with singing a fast, joyful song to start my act.

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bullet I was getting used to the routine of finding myself in an empty bed when
I arose in the morning.  I rubbed my eyes and sat up, deciding to finish the
book in my large unicorn chest.  I read through the pages at the speed of the
soldiers horses when they were trying to catch a gypsy and almost succeeding.
I read quickly until the very last sentence.  I sighed in happiness and
placed the book gently against my bosom.  The two lovers were gayfully
brought together in the end.  Contrary to the last story I read this one
started off my day on a pleasant note and I went to go bathe.  I put on a
blue dress and spun around in front of my mirror to catch a glimpse at
myself.  I thought the dress quite attractive, especially on me.  Having my
mother make it made it so the dress fit and flattered my curves and figure
and I admired the bottom of the dress fanning out as I twirled.  I hadn't
worn the dress in a long time and I reminded myself to wear it more often.
    I took one more look at my slim figure and skipped out, I needed a walk.
I thought about skipping my lesson for the day but I knew better.  I had to
get better at writing and Ariel was the only one who could help me with that. 
I teased some goats and waved at a few men before going into Ariel's tent.
  "Ah, you're here, I was waiting for you."  She made quick strides over to
the table and patted the chair next to her.  I sat obediently.
    "Can we practice my writing today?"  I kept a calm disposition but an
anger pricked me within, remembering Pipes' story of Clopin and Ariel's past
relationship.
    "Very well."  She took the book she had laying out and set it on a table
as she walked past it. She got out pen and paper and we began.  I learned
many words that day such as 'miracles' and 'tiger.'  I even learned how to
spell India.  Ariel smiled as I danced my hand around the paper beautifully
producing what she had done moments before.
    After learning about almost every word I could think of for the moment,
which was quite a few, she pushed me to think of every word I could think of
but being put on the spot it was difficult, I decided to go home.  Dinner
needed to be started or Clopin would ask why I was lazy in making a meal for him and what deterred me from doing so.  I also just wanted to spend some time with him.  I wanted tonight to be the night of exploiting my secret to my husband.  I wasn't sure how yet but I wanted it to be a special occasion.
    "Thank you Ariel.  I'll try and stop by tomorrow just to practice.  Is
that all right?"  She gave me a shining smile and patted my hands.
    "Of course.  You have done so well.  I'm very proud of you.  Feel free to
stop by whenever you like until Pipes and I leave."  I made a small, forced
smile.
    "Thank you, good day."  I trotted back home.  I casually strolled into my
tent to find Clopin already sitting at the table, smoking his pipe.
    "And where have you been, kitten?"  He cocked his head to the side,
removing the pipe from his mouth.
    "A little mystery in your life won't hurt you."  He chuckled and kissed
me.  I smelt the scent of his pipe on him and breathed it in.  It was so
relaxing to be with him.
    I started dinner and the children rushed in.  "Mama, mama, may we have
dinner now?"  They all asked at once.  I had to laugh at their eagerness.
    "And where were all of you today?"  Each shrugged.
    "Just playing with my brothers mama," Harlena said above them all.
    "Oh, I understand.  Well here, eat up and then you may play some more
before I shoo you all off to bed."  I put their plates of food in front of
them and they took to it like vultures on a newly deceased animal.  Clopin
and I joined them with their meal and one by one they ran back outside to
continue to play.
    I cleaned up the table and turned to Clopin, who was standing up.
"Clopin, my only love --"  I would have continued but he cut me off.
    "Ma cherie, I must go now.  I hear the men are having some exquisite beer in the Center and so I am off."
    "But I wanted to tell you something!  I stood in front of him, but that
didn't block his towering body from leaving.
    "I'm sure whatever it is it can wait, kitten.  Don't become too sad by my
absence, I will be back."  He made an elaborate bow and walked out.  I took
my washing rag I had in my hand and threw it at the closed tent doors.  It
fell to the floor and I stomped my feet, angry.  Clopin had ruined all my
evening plans.

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bullet I hurried off to Ariel's tent, hoping Herlikin wouldn't follow me.  I
arrived and jumped in front of Pipes and Ariel. "Ta da! I assured you I could
get here and here I am!  Clopin does not break a promise."
    "Care for some wine Clopin?"  Pipes held up a slender bottle.  I grabbed
a glass near me and raised it.
    "Yes, fill me up.  But I shall only limit myself to one.  I do not want
Ariel thinking I have learned nothing in my lessons by not being able to read
when it is the drunken stupor I'd be in."  They both laughed at that and we
sipped our glasses.
    "It's time Clopin.  To the street of Paris!" Ariel declared and we both
walked out of the tent side by side.  "So tell me about your children Clopin.
 Any of them a future king such as yourself?"  I began describing each one at a time.  Giving her their physical description along with their talent, ages,
and interests.  She seemed quite interested and we headed through the
catacombs.  Once through the tavern, and making sure to grab a small torch
form the catacombs, we headed through the streets.  Sign by sign I read with ease.
    "Bakery.  Blacksmith.  Butchery.  Engraving.  Oh, can you stop a moment?"
 She nodded hesitantly at my request and I went in and took care of a little
business.  After returning outside, we continued to walk through the streets.
 I read everything wonderfully.  Ariel would clap at my being correct each
time and then reaching the end of one side of stores she stopped and turned
to face me.  I did the same, giving her a questioning look.
    "Clopin, I've missed you while I was away for so long.  I know you're
quite happy with Herlikin and I just want to thank you for being so
hospitable as Pipes and I have come to visit.  You've been a wonder guide,
host, and king.  I applaud the hard work you've put into the Court, you
certainly have come a long way since we were together.  But thank you
again.......for being a friend and someone I could count on."  She looked up
at me to see my reaction with her violet gemstones she covered with her
eyelids and long lashes as she gently reached up and planted a sweet kiss on my lips.

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bulletI had just sat on the bed after Clopin left.  Leaving me for his drunken half-witted friends.  "Humph!"  I crossed my arms but didn't stay in my position for long.  I heard a familiar voice near the tent.  I peeked my head out and saw Clopin walking toward the catacombs with Ariel at his side!  The temptation to follow him was back again, making my fingers tingle, and this time I was going to follow it.

 

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