Marjorie pulled her shawl closer by her neck. The chill winter air cut right through her cotton dress and petticoats. She patted the crisp pater of a letter that was tucked safely in her pocket.
Where was Jacques? He should have been here much sooner. She huffed and gave a mighty shiver when a gust of wind chilled the back of her neck and cascaded around the barren garden.
Footsteps in the alleyway signaled her to a visitor. With hurried steps she crossed the garden to the
“Jacques? Is that you?” She peered into the darkness and saw a shadowed figure moving closer.
“It is I Marjorie.” He kept his head tucked against the wind, his arms wrapped around himself in a near futile effort to stay warm.
“Have you seen Charles?” She was eager to hear news of her fiancé. They had grown up together, these three. Marjorie, Jacques and Charles were all around the same age and had resided in the same street together.
She remembered their summer trips to the countryside with especial fondness. And one visit in particular.
Marjorie sat in the tall grass, weaving a crown of daisies in her lap.
Suddenly two large hands were placed over her eyes from behind. She gasped, startled, then giggled.
“Charles, is that you?”
“Who else?” he laughed and flopped down next to her laying on his side, propped up on his elbow and his head resting on his hand. His brown eyes held a twinkle in them and his determined chin was as handsome as ever. At least, she had always thought him handsome. Others considered him ordinary, but to her, he was perfect.
He was grinning at her in a strange way.
“What is it?” she gave him a curious look. “And where is Jacques? I thought you were both going to be picking berries?” she looked over her shoulder.
When she turned back, Charles was on one knee.
“I told him to stay behind for a moment.” His face was earnest, but she was confused.
“But, why? We’re supposed to be having a picnic together, remember?” she teased him.
“I have a question for you.”
The smile fell from her lips and a feeling of seriousness overtook her playful attitude. “What is it?”
He cleared his throat. “Would you. . . Marjorie, I love you, will you marry me?”
Tear of joy welled in her eyes. Simple words from a simple man. One she loved with all her heart.
He took her hand. “I asked your grandfather for permission. He said I could as you. Will you Marjorie?”
The request was so simple, yet so complicated all at once. With a half sob, half laugh, she flung her arms around his neck and laid her head on his shoulder.
“Of course,” she whispered. He hugged her close, then stood, took her hand pulling her to her feet. He stooped, caught the crown of flowers in his hand and set it atop her head. He laughed aloud and spun her around.
“Jacques!” he shouted, calling their friend. Hand in hand they danced across the pasture in the sunshine heading towards the berry patch to tell their friend the joyous news.
Now, as she looked Jacques in the face, something seemed amiss. The revolution had taken many of France’s sons and in the fight against oppression, much of their hot blood had been spilled.
Charles was at the front and due to an injury Jacques had sustained to his right hand as a child, he was not able to fight, but was messenger instead.
“Jacques? What is wrong?” She grasped the cold iron with her hands, something cold and terrible clutching her heart with its painful fingers.
“Marjorie,” his voice cracked and he shook his head.
“Jacques please, what is it?” She was breathless.
He turned his face full upon her and their eyes met. His were so sad and haunted. “It’s Charles.”
Her breath stilled, her shoulder tense and her vision blurred. “Is he alright?” She faltered.
Jacques shook his head. “Marjorie, He’s gone.”
Suddenly, blackness engulfed her. Gone.
Unable to hold it up, she rested her head against the iron of the gate. The thought that Charles was in heaven brought only a little comfort. He was in heaven, yes, but she was alone. The pain was too deep for tears.
She felt Jacques place his hand over her icy one and felt his comfort. She felt foo him as well. He and Charles had been as brothers.
The two friends stood in the chill winter air. Drawing comfort from each other, but locked inside their own pain.
This writing prompt was really cool to do. It felt hard at times, but the ones that stretch my abilities and imagination are often times the ones that are the most fun and the most rewarding. If you know anything about Les Miserables, you might catch a few hints of that piece of brilliance in this prompt. I’m a bit of a Les Mis Fanatic.
Let me know what you thought in the comments below!
By God’s Grace,