Author's note: "perdu dans la traduction" = "lost in translation". This is my repentance romancefloof for The Lost World. English translations of French sentences, when needed, are in parentheses ( ). I used Google Translate for the French so my apologies if it is inaccurate.
Lucien Blake sat in his study gazing at the fire, whiskey in hand. Rescued a little at a time from his mother's painting studio, Lucien had cleaned out a small space and with Jean's help created a cozy sitting room. It was sectioned off from the rest of the studio with a curtain and furnished with comfortable leather seats, a book shelf, and some worn rugs on the floor. He had plans for the rest of the room, a master bedroom big enough for two with its own bath, but for now this was enough. Quiet and warm, it had become his favorite place to spend a chilly evening. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching. Jean Beazely pushed her way through the curtain, smiling at him as he stood up and turned around to greet her.
"I'm going to bed, Lucien. Is there anything that you need?"
"I don't think so Jean. But why don't you sit with me for a while?"
"It's already late, Lucien."
"It's not that late Jean. Just for a few minutes."
Lucien gestured towards the leather couch. Jean smirked at him.
"That's what you said last night."
Lucien watched as Jean made her way around to the front of the couch, sitting stiffly on the middle cushion. Lucien sat down next to her, leaning back into the corner of the couch. He cleared his throat to get her attention and looked down at his arm, stretched along the back of the couch, then back up her. Jean raised an eyebrow.
"If I do that I'll get makeup all over your shirt."
"I don't mind."
"Of course you don't, I'm the one who has to clean it."
"Well if it really bothers you I'll take it off."
Jean could only manage an "oh!" as he moved to unbutton his collar, laughing as a flustered Jean pressed her hand against his chest to stop him.
"Don't do that! Not here."
Lucien raised an eyebrow.
"No I meant...fine, I'll just..."
Jean leaned back against him, slightly stunned. Lucien, still chuckling, wrapped his arm around her shoulder, kissing the top of her head. For a while they sat together in silence, watching the fire cast flickering light around the dark room. Lucien had originally envisioned this room as his personal study, someplace to hide away at the end of the day. But recently he had begun to think of it as his and Jean's, someplace they could be together away from the prying eyes of lodgers or anyone else who happened to be in the house. He knew Jean was not comfortable with the idea but he hoped she would be with time.
Lucien squeezed Jean's arm and planted another kiss in her hair.
"Did you mean what you said about us traveling on our honeymoon? To England and France?"
"Yes! Wouldn't you like that?"
"Oh yes! I'm just having a hard time imagining it. It's so far away. I've never even been to Sydney."
"Well we can visit Sydney on the way back if you'd like."
Jean laughed, "Perhaps. But I don't know any French. I suppose I aught to learn while we have some time."
"I can teach you if you'd like."
"I didn't know you spoke French."
"Quite well though it's been a while. My mother used to speak it to me at home. My father would get so angry. He wanted a proper English son. He was afraid she was raising me to be a Frenchmen. Of course that didn't stop her."
Jean turned so her head was on Lucien's shoulder, one hand resting lightly on his chest. Lucien covered it with his own.
"I'll bet you still have family there."
Lucien looked down, "In France? Somewhere, I suppose. But I wouldn't have the slightest clue how to find them."
Jean suddenly straightened up.
"Would you teach me a few phrases?"
Lucien looked surprised.
"Why not? Just a few. Please?"
"Ok. Just give me a moment to think."
Lucien paused for a minute, bringing a fist to his mouth.
"Ok, here's one. Which way to the market? Quelle voie vers le marché?"
"Quelle voie vers le marché?" Jean repeated.
"That's very good Jean. Le train est en retard. That means the train is running late."
"Ha. We could use that one in Ballarat. Le train est en retard."
Lucien took a breath, considering the next phrase.
"Tu as de beaux yeux." (You have beautiful eyes.)
Lucien watched as Jean thoughtfully considered each word, carefully trying them on her tongue and he found it mesmerizing. It took all his self control not to pull her back towards him, to punctuate each word with a kiss.
"Tu as de beaux yeux. What does it mean?"
"Uh, it means I have something in my eye."
"Well that's an odd one. What's next?"
Lucien leaned forward slightly, studying Jean in the firelight.
"Je ne savais pas que j'aimerais tellement quelqu'un." (I didn't know I could love someone this much.)
"Je ne savais pas que j'aimerais tellement quel...can?"
Lucien took Jean's hand, repeating the word slower.
"Quelqu'un. It means...ah, we are going to the museum. Je ne savais pas que j'aimerais tellement quelqu'un."
"Je ne savais pas que j'aimerais tellement quelqu'un," Jean repeated, eyes locked on his.
Lucien noticed he was having trouble breathing.
"Je mourrais pour toi." (I'd die for you.)
"Je mourrais pour toi. What does that mean Lucien?"
"It means please recommend a restaurant."
"That's odd. Doesn't mourrir mean to die or something like that?"
Lucien straightened up.
"Yes, you know I think it might. I told you I was rusty. I guess I'll have to practice some myself."
Jean fixed Lucien with an appraising look.
"That's all right. It's late and I doubt I'll remember much anyhow."
"We can practice again tomorrow if you'd like."
"I'd like that."
Despite the late hour, Jean leaned back into Lucien's side, wrapping her arm around him. Lucien pulled her close, laying his cheek against her forehead. They sat together for a long time, watching the fire burn low.