Surprising, If Not Terrible

October, 1830

It was a chilly autumn night as Raisa-Émilie Enjolras stepped out of the Cafe Musain. She buttoned her coat snugly, waved goodbye to her friends, and headed toward home.

She hadn't gone farther than a half-block when she heard a soft tread approaching. She turned quickly and saw a shabby young lady approaching. The girl was pretty, with dark hair tucked under a shawl, and a narrow face which brightened when Enjolras turned toward her.

"Good evening, Monsieur. May I walk with you?" she chirped, falling into step with Enjolras, not bothering to wait for the answer.

"I'm on my way home," Enjolras mumbled, stuffing her hands into her pockets.

"Oh, that's alright. I just want a little company, until your journey is done." She smiled. "Do you go to that cafe a lot, Monsieur?"

"The food is tolerable," Enjolras answered, noncommitally.

"Ah. My name is Clarisse, by the way. What's yours?"


"How interesting! Quite extraordinary. You go to the university, yes?" There seemed no end to her cheerful questioning.

"Uh-huh." Enjolras looked up, realized she was at the crossroads, and turned down the correct street, toward home. The gamins had obviously been on this street; the streetlamps were broken. Dark shadows peered out from every crevice. Enjolras glanced at the giddy creature walking beside her. The girl, Clarisse, seemed to be the only source of light in the street.

Clarisse took this glance, in the shadows, for one of passion. She was no innocent, and passion was what she'd followed this heart-wrenchingly handsome boy for. Without hesitation, she pressed her lithe body against Enjolras's and, standing on tiptoe, feverishly kissed her lips.

The kiss continued for a few dizzing, pulse-pounding seconds before Enjolras recovered some of her wits and broke it off. "No!" she gasped hoarsely. "You mustn't!" She pulled away and cast a confused, tortured look at the girl. Then she turned and ran home.

Clarisse watched her handsome prospect go with a sigh. She'd really been looking forward to this. Poor, innocent lad. She chuckled a little and trudged toward home.

--Jeni Baron.