I finished my lesson, worried Herli would realize my later than usual
arrival and question my where abouts. I didn't run to my tent, that
The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love
attract more attention toward me
and everyone would see where I had come from, alone.
I strolled into
the tent as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
Herlikin's head jolted up from
the pot she was studying on to give me half a
smile. "Hmmm," she gave me
as a welcome. I slipped behind her and wrapped my arms around her
waist, trying to divert her attention from the fact I came in after she
had expected. To put it bluntly-it didn't work, my little devil could
not have the thoughts on her mind erased by a simple act of affection.
quiet...to be you," I joker, her attitude didn't lighten.
there's just nothing much to talk about that's all. You're a
bit later than usual." She
moved away from the stove and me to sit by the
dining table. She crossed
her smooth, pale, yet enticing, legs which showed the slit in her dress.
It was one of my favorites on her. I wanted to tell
her how enchanting and amazing
she looked but knew there were other more important matters to explain
and excuse first.
She wasn't giving
me the silent treatment but it was almost just as bad.
Everytime Herli didn't run into
my arms when I came home I took it as a
problem was bothering her or as
a sign of being angry for some reason. I
didn't want her to know that I
sensed something amiss and just went on with
some conversation as I sat down
on the bed.
"I made more
money the usual today. That crowd is just getting larger
and larger." I shook my pouch
with the coins rattling against each other.
odd. Well, it's just for the better." She tapped her
fingers on the table and looked
around. I narrowed my eyes, trying to
determine what she was hiding,
planning, or maybe just afraid to tell me.
we are going out!" I declared spontaneously. I walked over
and swept her out of the chair
she was stubbornly sitting in. I started
walking out of the tent when she
twisted her head around to blow out the
flame under the pot. I chuckled
and made large strides through the Court.
"What in the
name of all that is decent, which is certainly not you, are
you doing?" She shouted protesting,
though she still held onto me.
"We don't spend
enough time together. Let's stay out all night and watch
the sun rise!" The reason
for this minor trip I'll never know, but it struck
me suddenly and knew it had to
"I sleep with
you every night, isn't that enough you selfish brute!" She
tried to get down but we had headed
into the catacombs and I put her over my shoulder.
"But the children!
We have to put them to bed. You can thank your good
fortune that I already fed them."
She stopped struggling seeing as it was
getting her no where and became
motionless. "I'm only letting you take me
because I don't feel like hurting
the King of Gypsies. You'd be thoroughly
embarrassed if I tried to get away!"
I laughed even more than before at her
and patted her behind. She
tried to kick me but failed. "Let's go Clopin, I
had your dinner all prepared and
now it's going to spoil!" I walked through
the tavern with her over my shoulder
and I didn't even need to look at her to
know her cheeks had gone red.
I set her down outside, it had gotten dark
which was an advantage to me since
I had not changed out of my performing outfit. She started back to
the tavern immediately after her feet touched
the ground. I grabbed her
I am making an honest attempt to spend time with
you, the least you can do is try
and act enthusiastic." I didn't want to
scold her like a child but she
was acting like one. I gave her my pleading
look that I knew she couldn't resist
and her expression softened, she even
smiled. I held her hands
and she moved closer to me.
I'll try to make an effort." She kissed me sweetly, only for a
moment. "But in order to
have me, you must catch me first!" She pulled my
hat over my eyes and took off through
the dimly lit streets. I growled and
ripped my hat off sprinting in
the direction I heard her footsteps patting
against the cobblestone.
We ran for a while and after catching her twice
(she got away with some tickling
and little bit of unfair below the belt
action) I caught her again on a
hill away from the city. We both fell on top
of each other in the grass and
laughed, out of breath from running. I was on
top of Herlikin and she looked
up at me, eyes were lit up by the
moonlight. I could have sworn two
gems were placed inside them. She reached her head up and kissed
me, it lasted longer than the one in front of the tavern. I became
overjoyed with my victory and happily returned the kiss.
"I caught you,"
I teased, smugly. She grinned up at me in the same
"So you have,
and what a prize you have captured." She kissed me again. "But
I could have hurt you back and there, and also, I let you catch me."
She raised an eyebrow and smirked.
love, I let you get away." I would never admit what a quick
runner she was. I liked giving
her a little satisfaction of getting away
anyhow. She giggled softly
and closed her eyes ready to plant another kiss
on my lips but I beat her to it.
I'm not sure
how long we stayed there, continuing what we started, but I
loved every minute. It was
nice to pretend we were newly weds again.
Afterwards we sat on top of the
hill and the sun rose over the horizon and
its beams all around us, it was
almost unreal. Herli leaned her head on my
shoulder and grasped my hand.
I didn't want this moment to end. Seeing my wife next to me was the
only thing I needed to make me happy.
We started back
to the Court and Herli yawned. "Tired my pet?" I
stroked her hair but she pushed
my hand away.
"I am not you
pet, I am your wife, and though you might consider them the same thing
I do not. So please address me correctly." I had to sigh happily
at her retort. Never letting
her guard down, never letting anyone think she
was weak. To me, there was
not a weak bone in her body, but if I found one, I wouldn't let her know
I had no idea why Clopin had decided to kidnap me and pretend we were seventeen
again but I didn't complain afterward. It was a sign of his love.I
tried to hide my satisfaction from last night but the more I thought aboutit
the harder it was. I ended up beaming as we approached the Bells
and Motley. Clopin looked down on me.
"What are you
so happy about, kitten?" He looked with a grin, waiting
for the answer he was anticipating.
"At how much
I want to tweak your large nose!" I said to surprise him. I
did and ran off through the tavern
toward the back room with Clopin close at
my heels. We passed Cosette
with an astonished look on her face as we
hurried past her without the slightest
I tripped at
the door to the catacombs and made a cry which sounded like
an animal that had just been sliced
with a sword. My injury wasn't that bad,
I had just slightly bumped where
I had twisted a few days ago and now
discovered it was still a bit tender.
I was about
to get away again when I was picked up into Clopin's arms.
He made a tsk tsk sound with his
tongue. "Now, now, tripping is a small
price to pay for hurting your handsome
husband's best feature." He replied
with a wry smile on his face as
he continued to hold me.
"You know as
well as I do that I did not hurt you in the least. Your
nose can stand much more pain than
I gave it as well as your knobby knees and your thin, frail, body."
He put a hand over my mouth to stop me and shook a finger.
"My dear Herlikin,
you must stop at once, for you are sounding as nothing
less then an ass because you know
how strong my muscular, attractive body is. You know by spending
your nights pressed against it and feeling its lovely shape with your hands."
At this he threw me down. I was enjoying our
playful fight and continued onward
"Well sir, you
are as vain as ever which makes you less appealing than
you already are not." He
tugged at my hair and I slapped his hand. "I'm
sorry, but this hair is reserved
for my loving husband, someone you're
certainly not" I had to struggle
to hide my smile and started down into the
catacombs. He followed but
said nothing. We were still in our clothes from
yesterday so I'm sure we were quite
As we came into
the light of the Court I strayed from the walkway to our
tent. I went right to the
small river canal that was dug and stood on the
edge, Clopin stood first.
here is some water to wash yourself. You have a dirty face and need
some water, for if you don't wash it, it will be thought that you
were in a fight, clawing at your
partner on the ground. Or perhaps you were
with the same fellow who passed
you on the street and was to your liking and so as flirtatious as you are,
you both ended up on the ground." He knew just how to push my patience
and humor to the limit and I leaned down, splashing him with water and
then running off before he had a chance to recover.
I went straight
to the washing tent and undressed quickly, how dirty was
I? No matter, as I hopped
into the water. I made sure to scrub every inch
of my body with soap, three times
I wished I had
stopped in our tent to get another dress to change into
and check on the children.
I suddenly felt so guilty for leaving them, had
they cried, had they ran into other
people's tent looking for us? I shook
off the feeling knowing I'd be
at the tent soon and looked at my already worn dress, it'll do until I
get back to the tent I suppose. I'll just wear it
home and then I'll change.
I was drying
off when I figure passed me. I looked up and saw Colombine.
She averted her eyes from mine and muttered a greeting. I decided
the best way to resolve this was to act as if nothing had happened at all.
Her head shot up as she stared into my eyes, trying to
see my thoughts.
a bit. "How.....how are you?" I shook my head.
Clopin decided to play sweet last night and take me
away past the city. We were
out all night."
"Oh, is that where you were? Tante Marie was all in
a fuss when she saw your kids alone
and you two no where to be found. You're the talk of the Court today!
Not to mention you're in for quite a scolding from Tante Marie herself."
"Were my kids
crying or running around trying to find us?" That fear
came back of them being afraid.
This time she shook her head.
"No, they had
already eaten and were getting ready for bed by themselves, but Tante Marie
refused to see that they were fine and focused on the fact you two were
absent from taking care of them at that very second!" I sighed at
the fact of Tante Marie and also that Colombine didn't hold a grudge.
Once she got into talking about the latest gossip she couldn't help but
forget everything else in mind.
I won't worry about her, she will just blow her hot air at
me and I'll act as though I was
sorry and knew what I did was wrong. But, my dear, I must be off."
I gave her my famous charming smile to clinch that
everything was all right between
us, she smiled back. "I need a short nap
and then I will talk more with
you, good-bye!" She waved and I went back to my tent. Clopin
was there, laying in bed.
"I missed you."
He grinned at me.
"Could it be
my real husband? Not that conceited old brute who was
outside I hope." He made
an exaggerated shake of his head. "Good, I missed you."
"They are all
fine, let's lay down for a little while." He yawned, then
laughed. "And I hear Tante Marie
is angry with us both."
I chuckled heatedly.
"I heard as well form Madame Gossip herself,
Colombine." I saw Clopin
had an odd expression on his face, but he was
smiling nonetheless. "What
is it pleasing you so?"
"I know you
and Colombine would make up. Everything all right now?" I
nodded, but wondered how he knew.
I didn't remember telling him. Perhaps Colombine had confided in
I laid in the
bed and Clopin fell asleep faster than I could say 'King of
Gypsies.' I tried to sleep
Tried, and without
success at that. I wanted to go out and learn more how
to read. And so I would!
I got out of bed quietly, trying to not to shake
the bed as well, and got dressed
in a bright red dress and headed out.
Making sure not to attract too
much attention to myself. I sneakily hurried
myself over to Ariel's tent and
slipped inside. Drinking some tea Ariel
looked up and a small smile crossed
her dark face as she went on with her tea.
"I've been waiting
for you. The talk of the Court was that you and
Clopin had taken away to the countryside
for sometime. I'm happy to see you home so soon, and in one piece
at that." She chuckled to herself at the
thought of otherwise. Why
all of a sudden she was acting in such a concerned manner toward my life
was beyond me, but I decided not to think much of it. It was probably
nothing more than an effort to be better friends. Trust, that's what
she wanted and I needed to give it.
Tante Marie likes to say many things and the few that are
true are extended beyond the truth.
A lesson I will teach you is that you
must not believe a word she says
until you get the root of the rumor and ask
that person if it is true, much
more reliable I assure you." I nodded as
though I had more knowledge than
her at my brief speech and looked away from her stare.
"I suppose we
had better start our lesson. I'll start teaching you how
to write simple things."
She pulled out her board and writing utensil, which
she later told me was chalk.
Then she also pulled out two other objects.
One was like chalk, only it wrote
in black. I knew it wrote black because
she wrote on the other object,
a rectangular white thin object, called paper.
She showed me a letter on
the black board and then I tried on my paper. It
was so difficult though, it felt
so odd. She would make her letters so
beautiful and with ease am then
I would make a scraggly, sorry excuse for a
copy. I became frustrated
and discouraged. I tried to make an A again and
again as beautiful as hers but
it didn't work. I threw down the pen with a
growl of anger.
"Why can't mine
look as nice as yours? You make it look so simple!" I
said it without the least but of
playfulness. She saw this and her eyebrows
lowered, creasing her forehead.
She shook her head with a look of confusion.
"I don't understand
why this is so difficult, this should be easier then
when I was first trying to teach
you these letters not more than thirty-six
hours ago. I don't understand."
She was talking more to herself than me.
For only being my second lesson
I was already feeling defeated. Something
that looked so wonderful had turned
out to be an enemy. I crossed my arms
and stood up, composing myself.
"I think I'll
end our session for today. It was short, but maybe
tomorrow we'll continue with my
reading?" I waited for an answer while she pondered her failure for
"Yes, yes, tomorrow."
Her voice trailed off at the end and she went back
to thinking. Obviously a
woman expecting none other than perfect from her students and herself.
I walked out
of her tent without a good-bye and trotted back to my tent,
slightly hoping Clopin would still
be sleeping. No such luck. I got back
and Clopin was sitting in the bed
quietly. He looked up and saw me. He got
out of bed and put on his robe,
walking over to me.
you been?" He didn't have a smile on his face, he looked
pretty worried. Though, it
was easy to tell he hadn't gone out to look for
me, which made it easier to make
up a false answer.
with Colombine. I couldn't sleep and I didn't want to wake
you." I felt a bit guilty
lying to my beloved but I just told myself it
would all be with it in the end.
Though if I made progress like I did today
I'd be in a bit of a bind.
I made an early
dinner for the children who ate as they all questioned
mine and Clopin's where abouts
last night. We made up our different excuses and they forgot all
about it. After finishing they went back to their tent, kissing me
before they headed back. Clopin began eating and I began to prepare
my own meal when Ariel burst in.
I must speak with your wife." He looked quite
surprised at that but didn't protest
as his stomach became more full with
me to come outside of the tent and I did. Then she
grabbed me and dragged me to her
tent. "I have figured out the solution to
your dilemma!" The giddy
look on her face showed how pleased she was with herself.
is it?" I shouted as she shoved the pen into my hand.
I did as she said and grinned as I produced a beautiful