A/N: And here's the second part of the story. I intend to write the final part soon and also hope you enjoy reading this one too. :3
Disclaimer: The main characters, settings, etc. from The Hunchback of Notre Dame are the property of Victor Hugo. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. This story is for entertainment only and no copyright infringement is intended.
A sudden commotion got her attention and Esmeralda looked up from the small group she was in, with Clopin and her friends, in search of its origin. And the sight she found was quite curious.
The young blond man Jehan, who invited them there, was laughing at his companion, a tall and rather stern looking man. Looking more carefully at the man, she realized she had seen him before, a few times actually. Judging by what little she knew and despite the clearly opposed personalities, some of their shared traits told her they were probably related. "They certainly have a considerable age gap, that much I can guess."
At this point, she couldn't help but raise a confused eyebrow at his outfit now, a bright colored sweater that had badly stitched letters but the man had his arms defiantly crossed at his chest so she couldn't read what they spelled. Anyway, it was such a stark contrast with the dark and somber style from previous encounters.
And then, as if feeling the weight of her questioning stare on him, the man turned around and looked straight up to her across the room.
For a second, the girl could swear that the color drained from his face. Esmeralda assumed he had recognized her as well so she opted for waving discreetly at him, after all they hadn't been properly introduced and she thought it was a good way to greet him from that distance. It took her a certain amount of control to not laugh at the startled reaction that followed.
Apparently shocked by her presence, he suddenly dropped his arms to his sides, momentarily forgetting about his adamant determination of hiding the full sight of his outfit from the rest of the guests. (an activity that he had been busy since the very start of that party.) The gesture then revealed glaring red letters that formed the word "grump" etched on his chest and she could feel an amused smile on her face as she finally read it. That promptly made the man realize what he just did as a flush of color crept back to his face. He then quickly recomposed himself and made a slight frantic and stiff nod in recognition and stomped away in a rush.
"Well, that's a shy one." She said to herself while considering crossing the room to attempt a conversation once he returned. It had been the third time now that he ran away for apparently no reason. She had to admit she was curious about that. Truth be told, she didn't see that kind of reaction that often.
That brief exchange of looks also didn't get past Jehan and his mischievous spirit unscathed. His eyes darted from his brother's hasty retreat to the direction he had been looking a second ago. It did surprise him to discover one of the most beautiful girls he knew standing there, with a half amused and half curious look on her face as she seemed to be following the steps he had taken.
It didn't take long until his brain connected the dots and a big grin took over his face. "Oh you sly old man, brother Claude has a crush! This is just too fun! More than that, it's perfect, haha!" and with that he eagerly rubbed his hands together as a plan already formed in his mind.