I stayed up and looked through the book for a couple hours. Though
The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love
didn't understand a bit of it my
interest kept growing, my yearning to read
every line and understand what
the idea of the book and picture the story in
my mind raised higher and higher
with each object I couldn't read. I was
staring at a page to no avail of
teaching myself anything when Clopin stirred and awakened. I could
tell he was at first shocked I was not next to him,cuddling where I had
started out three hours ago. He rubbed his eyes a bit and then looked
up to see me sitting at the table. By this time I had hid my book
and was eating some grapes that were in a small purple bowl I had in the
centre of the table. I had to pretend I was preoccupied and not realizing
Clopin was looking at me, I watched him from the corner of my eye.
Pretending I didn't know he was
watching was easy, I had done it before when people in the Court would
follow me and gossip among themselves about me as I would walk past, but
the first one, of being preoccupied, was difficult. I had a lot on
my mind and the grapes certainly weren't making any of it go away, and
the grapes were rather sour anyway and I had to strain not to make a puckering
face. Clopin started at me a little while and didn't say anything.
I started feeling uncomfortable and finally looked at him, acknowledging
I knew his eyes were on me. "Herli, what are you doing?"
He was still half asleep and seemed confused at what time it was and what
he was even saying and perhaps he even believed he was in a dream.
After realizing he wasn't, he sat up and reached for his purple robe, wrapping
it around him, his eyes squinting having to adjust even for the small candle
I had lit. He tied the belt around his robe and pulled up a chair
next to mine.
"Oh, I was just
not feeling well and thought I needed something small to eat." I
choked down a few more grapes and made a mental note to get rid of them
tomorrow morning before he ate any or I did forgetting what they tasted
like. I smiled weakly at him and he put his hand on my knee.
"Do you really
feel unwell? Do you think it's serious?" He immediately became
concerned and I knew I had to downplay it so he didn't tell anyone it was
something severe when I was lying anyway.
"No, no, just
a bit of a stomach ache, that's all. Nothing serious, promise.
Now go to bed and I'll be there in a minute, I'll be alright." I
tried to sound reassuring so he would go to bed. He pushed my head
toward him and kissed my forehead. He smelled of sweet herbs, I wondered
if he had taken a walk and then taken a shortcut to the Court through a
garden of a simple minded Parisian and the smell had lingered with him,
or perhaps it was one of the smells Ariel and Pipes had brought along with
them and since he had spent more time with them then I had the smell had
But you had better come to bed soon. It feels too empty without you."
By now he was fully conscious and well aware of what he was saying to me,
which made me smirk at his last comment and I smiled again. He got
up off the chair and went back to bed. I knew he was tired, especially
because he probably would go up and perform tomorrow, weather permitting,
and he would need all the sleep possible for his early rise. But
he had gotten up anyway to see what was wrong with me. I couldn't
help but feel special. He sure knew how to make a woman feel like
the only one and it was no wonder every girl in the Court wanted him for
herself before I came, I certainly spoiled all their plans. I remembered
how he had been so kind to me when I first arrived at the Court years ago
even though he was against the premarriage agreement as I was. I
knew that Clopin was no award to win at a festival but nevertheless, I
felt like a winner.
I smiled to
myself remembering the past when my buttox started to hurt. I remembered
the book I was sitting on and took it out. I patted on it
to have to wait until tomorrow," I whispered and took the book over to
my unicorn chest, stuffing the object under all my clothes. I closed
the chest quietly and took off my robe hanging it on the corner of the
bed. I moved against Clopin and I knew I felt him relaxing because
he knew I was there.
I woke up shortly after Clopin that morning. He was pulling on his
bright yellow shoes with the curled toes. I caught sight of his purple
and yellow smock and knew he was going up to perform because I also heard
the jingling of the bells hanging off of his outfit. I saw
his fusia colored mask in his hand, it hanging down to show the profile
of its long nose. He walked over to get his hat and leave when I
moved a little in bed. He turned around toward me and walked over.
He rubbed my upper thigh a little and I looked up at him.
soon?" I smiled at him, still only half awake. I yawned and
then rubbed my eyes so I could completely focus on my colorful husband.
"Well I didn't
go out yesterday because of Pipes and Ariel so I need to make double profit
today." I guess that confirmed his smell. He gave me a pleading
look to let him leave but I wasn't so easily persuaded to let down my guard.
I grabbed his hand and after last night's episode of his attention being
taken away by another woman I wanted him to stay. Part of my wanted
just to be with him, but the other part just wanted him to stay because
I wanted to inquire about Pipes and Ariel. I sighed and stared into
his eyes, challenging him.
but just a little while. I really do need to make money today, I
can make many different things appear out of thin air, but money isn't
one of them." After saying that he reached behind my ear and pulled
out a beautiful blooming rose. I wanted to keep it for Clopin's sake
but he knew that I had my fetish of eating roses and would understand.
I sat up and gave him a peck on the nose half smiling before I started
plucking the petals one by one and placing them in my mouth, chomping quietly
on them. He rolled his eyes and got up, walking to a chair
by the dining table and sat facing me. I decided it was now or never
and I should get right to the point, no good beating around the bush.
do Ariel and Pipes have so many books?" Clopin's expression changed
to a look of complete shock. I think I caught him off guard and was
surprised I even knew what books were.
After a minute
or so he composed himself and answered my question, giving the reply I
they can read of course. You know you should go and get to know Ariel
better, she likes you. She sees you as a person she wishes she was,
and I yelled at her for that, one of you is enough, nevertheless she envies
your spirit and personality immensely." I noticed he had gone off subject
of my question after answering it quickly. I also became a bit confused
since Ariel and I had barely spoken two words to each other but I listened
attentively. Clopin continued, "Don't throw away what could be a
great bond. I'm asking you nicely to be her friend." I was
still flattered at what he claimed Ariel had thought of me but was a bit
she just wishes she was me because
I'm the one who lays in bed with him every night. Clopin read my
mind, "As for feelings she has for me now, there are none, so get
your sweet revenge ideas out of your head! You two could become very
close, if you give her the chance." At that Clopin stood up and bowed,
"And now mon amore I must go. The children await and must be upset
at my yesterday's absence."
yourself," I muttered and he simply chuckled as he lifted
up the tent flap and skipped out.
I decided to go wash up and then get
dressed and talk to Colombine.
Not about the idea I had in mind but just a
friendly chat. I put on my
robe, my golden slippers and grabbed the book out of my chest, hiding it
in my robe and made my way to the bathing tent.
I soaked in the
water longer than usual as I hungrily flipped through
page after page, getting more and
more frustrated that I couldn't understand
a word of it. I finally decided
to get out of the tub and head back to my
tent. I was actually glad
Clopin had left since it had now given me time to
think. I dressed in a dark
orange dress with silver trims which I didn't
wear much because it was so loud,
but I enjoyed making a statement and being noticed, of course, from time
to time. I sat on our unmade bed and sighed deeply. After getting
so angry I threw the book against the tables and chest and was determined
to make myself forget about it for now.
I cleaned up
the tent a little and went to the children's tent. As I
walked in I saw Clopin my son close
his eyes, trying to trick me in to thinking
he was asleep, but I knew better.
I also knew they liked the feeling of
"Aw, all my
babbies are sound asleep," I said loudly and over exaggerated.
I heard some giggles from the beds and realized they were all up.
I put my hands on my hips. "Now, how will I wake them up? Maybe
I won't wake them up and then I won't have to feed them!" In reply
I heard some quiet gasps or terror but they still didn't move. "Well,
all right, I didn't have enough to give them any food anyway." I
started to walked out when right on cue Harlena sat up.
I'm hungry, I was only joking! Can I still have breakfast?"
Her large eyes gazed up at me,
begging, pleading for me to give her and her brothers food. Then
they all sat up, their eyes waiting for my answer. I
gave an overplayed exasperated
sigh of defeat.
"Oh all right,
come one." They all cheered and followed me single file
into mine and Clopin's tent and
sat around the table. They talked amongst
themselves and eagerly looked up
at me waiting for breakfast. I scrambled
some eggs I had 'borrowed' on a
walk some days before through the streets and some rural areas. I
gave them each utensils and plates and they squealed with delight at their
shortly and continued rambling on to each other about
various childish things.
I just cleaned up the dishes until Lena stopped her
conversation with her brothers.
I turned to face her as she got out of her chair and walked over
to me. "What's that?"
She pointed to the book that was still sprawled open
over my chest. I had thrown
it a short while ago and realized I had
forgotten about it and never did
pick it up. I looked down at Harlena with
her exquisite eyes and thought
up a quick excuse.
"It's just a
new decoration maman got. It must have fallen off the
table. But it's an ugly decoration
so I'm just going to put it right in
here." I bent down and picked
it up, stuffing it in my chest. "Now, I think
it's time you go get in appropriate
dress." They all scurried out of the
tent and ran to their own.
I put the washed dishes away and wiped my damp hands on a nearby towel.
I decided I needed a walk. I went out of my tent,
only stopping in front of my mirror
first to make sure I was pleasurable to
the eye, giving my hair a few strokes
with the brush, and then stuck my head
into my children's tent.
"I'm going to
go for a short walk and maybe to visit Aunt Colombine,
promise to be good?" They
all responded with their 'yes mama's'. I smiled
at them and then energetically
skipped through the walkways. I went past
Christophe and waved. He
waved back and gave me a quick smile. I walked past a stand with
flowers and slyly picked a few head off of some roses and stuffed all but
one into the top of my dress. I heard some chuckles and saw a few
of the men shaking their heads.
"You are a devil!"
A few slapped their knees laughing, I could tell they
were drunk, but so early in morning?
Well, I supposed nothing surprised me
in the Court of Miracles.
I smirked at them, deciding to amuse myself, and
replied pleasantly, knowing they'd
find humor in whatever I said and
regardless the tone of voice I
"Boys, I am
only a little devil, you're making me sound much worse then I
really am." The same who
had laughed before only laughed harder this time at my reply and I bathed
in the attention. "See you later gentlemen!" I saw their over
exaggerated, sloppy waves and then caught the face of Pipes behind them
all. My expression changed from a face of superiority to a face of
surprise. Pipes simply smiled and nodded, I saw he wasn't drunk as
the rest of the group was. I hoped he didn't think me an indecent
person for my flirtatious habit of just having some fun. He didn't
seem to be disgusted in any way with my enjoyment so I just smiled back
to cover myself. If he did think I was a bad person he would just
be joining the rest of the Court who thought the same.
I walked, eating
roses all the way to Colombine's tent. I didn't even
make my presence know to her.
I sat in a chair and waited for her to turn
around from folding her clothes.
After waiting what seemed like hours but
were only minutes she turned around
and I didn't only get a scream out of her but a jump ten feet high as well.
I could've sworn her black hair went
straight up. Of course I
was laughing uncontrollably, tears streaming down
my cheeks. My stomach felt
like it had been tied into a double knot because
I was laughing so hard. I
would've given anything to be able to freeze that
moment and then be able to look
at it whenever I was upset to cheer me up. Colombine, however, did
not show that she was amused, although inside I knew she was congratulating
me on being so sneaky.
"You are evil!"
Hmmm, evil and a devil, that's two for two today. She
walked over to me, I was now standing
and still wiping the tears from my
eyes. She tugged a piece
of my hair.
it's worth it for the expression I got on your face." I
started laughing again and she
sat on the bed across from me and crossed her arms, but she still smiled
anyway at me.
"So how was
dinner?" She raised a brow, remembering how much I loathed having
to go yesterday afternoon. I sat down, not wanting to give away any
details of the dinner because I was still unsure of how I felt myself.
"Oh, fine, Ariel
cooks very well and they seem like pleasant people."
She seemed uninterested seeing
as though there was no gossip worthy speaking of.
"So what do
you think of that man that came with her?" Pipes, yet
another topic I didn't even want
to think of right now.
yes, very nice." I looked off around her tent not wanting to
make eye contact, she'd know I
didn't want to tell her any information about
it. Colombine stood up and
put her hands on her hips.
You know very well you have a husband and of many years besides!"
I realized what she was concluding of my words and saw she was actually
serious and became outraged. Never had Colombine been so wrong about
something in her life. My eyes went wide with fury.
how dare you accuse me of such things, you know me much
better than that!" By now
I was on my feet as well with one hand on my hip
and the other shaking a finger
at her. "You're impossible!" I stomped my
way out of her tent without looking
back and went immediately to Abigail's.
She was feeding
her pets when I arrived, angry and out of breath.
take a deep breath, I don't want your rage in here." I did
as she said and felt a little better.
"Sit down," Abigail commanded and I
did as was told. "I know
you have a lot of mixed feelings on your mind right
now so calm down, stressing your
nerves certainly won't help it." I nodded
and closed my eyes, taking some
more deep breathes. When I opened my eyes, Abigail was sitting directly
in front of me, she stared into my eyes.
"I came for
your advice. There's this thing I want to do but I can't
decided if I should trust my instinct
because it might just get me into
trouble and I don't want that kind
of trouble because it would be very bad
trouble and I don't want Clopin
mad at me and....." I was babbling and
stopped talking so she could speak.
"My child, you
usually have battles with other people, or the entire
Court but this one is with yourself.
And fighting against yourself only
means you'll win, but you have
to decide which side will win. I will not win
this battle for you, but I want
you to know that I can tell you know what you
want. And you should do what
you want, you always do, you've never had
anyone's thoughts stop you before,
why now?" Though I had thought most of these things myself in my
head, it helped to hear it and her words were all I
I stood up and
hugged Abigail, kissing her on the cheek. "Thank you," I
whispered to her. I walked
quickly out her tent and through the walkways and came upon Ariel and Pipes'
tent. I knew it was now or never. I breathed deeply again and
swallowed hard, knowing I wasn't only swallowing the saliva in my mouth,
but my pride as well. I stepped into the tent to find Ariel
stitching a ripped dress and Pipes
no where to be seen. Ariel looked up at
me blankly, questioning my unscheduled
me to read."