"You've chosen a magnificent prison, but it is a prison nonetheless. Step one foot outside and you're mine."
The sound of Claude Frollo's sinister voice kept ringing in Esmeralda's ears. How could she not sense him? He was silent. Silent. Her heart pounded through her chest at what had occurred. The most prejudiced and spiteful man in all of Paris groped her in a church. All these years she spent avoiding him with Clopin, watching, praying he wouldn't see them past curfew resulted in finally crossing paths and realizing nothing about Judge Claude Frollo could be redeemed.
Esmeralda had spent the rest of the evening inside Notre Dame, taking heed to the Archdeacons advice. She looked for answers through the Holy Virgin, praying for help and the wellbeing of the gypsy's only to then be startled by a deep below.
"You bellringer! What are you doing down here?! Haven't you caused enough trouble already?"
Esmeralda whipped her raven locks only to see a stumbling Quasimodo running up a stairwell.
"Wait!" she called, "I-I'd like to talk to you!" Despite his burly physique, he was quick proving a challenge as she chased him up the ridiculous flight to the bell towers. Exiting the door frame, she saw a blur of green dart past; huffing, she sprinted after him.
"…Here you are, I was afraid I lost you."
Esmeralda tried to regain her breathing, while the bellringer merely looked distraught. The Gypsy eyed the him carefully: he was shifty and rubbing the back of his neck averting her gaze. He nervously scurried up yet another flight of stairs to a loft adorned with beautiful mobiles of stained glass and tapestries that ran across the ceiling. Esmeralda was in awe.
Quasimodo was close to having a nervous breakdown, today was proving to be a day of regrets. He looked at Esmeralda, so beautiful and kind that it pained him; It pained him to know a monster such as he could never have that heaven's light. She walked so gracefully, eyeing every little detail. Quasimodo hid from her view, watching her. He still felt so jaded from that morning. Everything seemed so surreal; that same woman that rescued him was now smiling at his creations, even praising his craft. It was so foreign to him; Minister Frollo would hardly look at his town model, let alone call it 'beautiful'.
Quasimodo blushed behind a pillar dazzled by Esmeralda, only to suddenly sprint towards her as she reached for his unfinished project. His plea proved futile as she looked at his latest editions chuckling in amazement at the accuracy of both the blacksmith and the baker. Quasimodo's shoulders relaxed as he then began to feel more comfortable about the situation at hand. Gathering enough courage he offered to show Esmeralda his bells. Reaching the top most level, Esmeralda was awestruck. The sense of wonder in her eyes captivated the hunchback and a crooked smile spread across his face. Listening to her husky voice echo inside Big Marie sparked something inside him: Esmeralda was simply alluring.
Everything seemed to go so perfectly, if only for a little while. Quasimodo eagerly awaited to show Esmeralda the best part of his loft: the view. Looking onto the horizon, the setting sun had the Romani gasp in admiration. The way the Seine reflected the twilight was incredible and to share it with the humble bellringer gave her a warm feeling. He truly was a surprising person. Esmeralda sighed in bliss, to stay up here forever would be wonderful…if only she could. Looking back to Quasimodo's innocent offer she smirked spitefully restating the chilling connotation behind Frollo's words:
"Gypsy's don't do well inside stone walls."
The bellringers revelation about his self loathing and of the cruel Judge raising him caught her off guard. How could someone so kind be raised by someone so hateful? To ease Quasimodo's mindset, she read his palm. His hands were so large, almost bear like. She hoped Quasimodo would think more of himself and of the Romani, he was so horribly misguided...that cruel man... Esmeralda sighed and looked off into the starry night. Her emerald eyes sparkled brighter than any star Quasimodo had ever seen. He caught himself staring again and looked away shyly. Esmeralda sensed his discomfort and turned towards him. In a quiet voice Quasimodo looked down upon the roof shingles.
"Thank you…f-for all you did…I, you'll never know how much that meant…"
Quasimodo rubbed his hand along his neck. He could still feel where the rope strangled him to the ground and he shuddered, it was definitely going to bruise.
Esmeralda's look softened as she placed a hand along his neck, rubbing the area gently. Looking into his aquamarine eyes, she could only feel tears welling up. Today's events were downright taxing. She was trapped here until Frollo decided otherwise and witnessed Quasimodo being horribly mistreated as a spectacle in front of all of Paris. Esmeralda wordlessly embraced Quasimodo and let out a hoarse sob, the frustration pent up inside broke open like a dam. The bellringer was caught off guard as the Gypsy clung to him tightly. It was the only contact he had ever had with a woman in his life. Her tears broke his heart and he could feel his chest tighten to see her so broken down. Gingerly, he wrapped his muscular arms around her, lightly stroking her hair as if it were of fine glass.
"Esmeralda…d-don't cry, everything is going to be ok, you claimed sanctuary!"
Sniffling, she felt foolish. Quasimodo had been publicly ridiculed, raised by Claude Frollo and had been trapped inside Notre Dame for 20 years. Yet, here she was whining about being locked inside a church for less than a few hours. Ashamed, she caressed Quasimodo's face and wiped away her tears. She had to stay optimistic.
"..You know what? You're right."
Esmeralda lightly laughed as she shimmied herself off the roof back onto the balcony. Stretching she welcomed the evening breeze as she waited for the bellringer to gracefully hop down next to her.
The two walked back inside the loft, the January evening proved to be quite cold. Inside, Quasimodo lit a candle atop the large statue of a hand by his make shift bed. Esmeralda quietly settled down next to him.
"…Can I stay up here with you? I know there are other rooms here but.…"
Esmeralda looked down sheepishly feeling foolish for asking so much of him.
"N-no please, you can sleep here tonight."
Esmeralda smiled radiantly as she leaned in and puckered her wine colored lips, kissing Quasimodo's cheek.
"Thank you Quasi… goodnight."
Quasimodo's eye widened as his rosy blush turned red hot. The sight had Esmeralda chuckle as she lay down next to the stunned bellringer.
"G-g-good night Esmeralda…"
Leaving her to rest, the bellringer walked with a light gait. He climbed the ladder to the third level effortlessly and gently brushed his fingertips to his cheek. He was then met with Hugo and Victor jabbing at him lightly.
"Way to go lover-boy, looks like she left you a little memento!"
"What?" Quasi replied dumbfounded.
Hugo presented him with a small piece of mirror. Quasimodo picked up the shard to see a kiss mark on the side of his face in the shape of Esmeralda's perfect lips. Blushing madly he laughed at Hugo.
"She's the definition of beauty and grace." Victor chimed in.
Laverne hopped over giving Quasimodo a hug.
"I've never seen you so happy, our boy has got himself a girlfriend!"
Quasimodo rubbed the back of his neck.
"I-I don't think I'm her type, she's probably just being nice guys. For now she's bunking up here but it all depends on Master Frollo…she can't stay up here forever…"
The three gargoyles backed off remembering what the Judge was capable of. Not wanting to replay the days events for Quasi they smiled bidding him a goodnight.
Quasimodo held onto a rafter from above watching the perfect form of Esmeralda rise and fall softly as she slept. He sighed blissfully to himself, he actually made a friend. The bellringer lightly hopped back to the wooden platform and stretched himself out onto the floor. Burying his face in his giant arms, he prayed tomorrow would be a better day.