Chapter Three: Paquette's Babies
Paquette stared at the midwife in total shock. HOW could this have happened? Well, she knew HOW it happened, but seriously, HOW did this happen? She and Roderigo had been very careful that nothing would happen. They had not intended for anything like this to happen before the marriage vows had been exchanged. How could Paquette have ended up pregnant?
"How could I have ended up pregnant?" she asked the midwife, shivering in fear and confusion. The midwife sighed. "Darling, you don't have to have this baby if you don't want to. I know some great herbs that I can mix into a potion for just a sou extra. You drink it, and your womb will be rid of the thing." Paquette gasped. This woman actually suggested she KILL her own baby?! What kind of parent would she be if she did that? Besides, this was quite possibly the only thing besides the necklace that she would ever have of Roderigo. That soldier had told her that all her tears were in vain, that she would never see Roderigo again, on that horrible day, two weeks ago. She tried not to think of it. That Claude Frollo! He just took the one happiness she had ever had since her parents died! If she hated him before, she despised him now. But he could never take away Roderigo's child! Besides, she had always wanted a baby of her own.
"No, thank you." Paquette told the midwife. "I will be checking in regularly to see about progress and you will know when my time comes." With that, she left, one hand placed protectively over her still-flat belly, singing to the child in her womb, even though she didn't know if it could hear her yet.
Paquette: Got nothing to give to you but a prayer that God's gonna see us through. To part with you, more than I can bear, but somebody's gonna love you. Sweet, baby, sweet! This much I know is true. Sleep, baby, sleep, 'cause somebody's gonna love you. Oh, I'm always gonna love you.
When Paquette reached her cottage, she was met with a not-so-very-pleasant surprise. She walked down her cobblestone path and who should be waiting at the door but the very soldier who had forcibly ripped her true love away from her. "What do you want?" she snapped. "Haven't you made my life empty enough? Do you think I could be MORE miserable than I am now?" The soldier smiled evilly. "You might not want to cross me, Mademoiselle La Chantefleurie. If I were you, I'd think of my baby before saying anything else." Paquette was stunned. "How did you…" "You actually thought it was going to remain a secret? Oh no, Mademoiselle La Chantefleurie, everybody knows. It's all over the town. You are having an illegitimate child. You are quickly losing all status you have ever enjoyed. Soon, people will see you as no more than a common street girl. But, luckily, Claude Frollo has taken pity on you in your wretched state. If you will become his wife for all eternity until death do you part, he will raise your child as his own. If not, well, then you had best leave Paris. Nobody will ever accept you now." Paquette, horrified at the prospect of marrying the man who had taken away her true love, somehow found her voice. "Well, Captain, tell his Honor this! I refuse his offer! I would never marry him even if he was the only man left on Earth, and I will not be so cowardly as to leave Paris! In fact, I am PROUD to be having my beloved Roderigo's baby! He or she will grow up knowing what an amazing man his or her father was, and one day they will help give Frollo what he deserves for this!" The Captain, hearing this, slapped her, causing her to fall to the ground, and left, muttering about how women should know their place. When Paquette finally got up again, she swore to herself that she would live by the words she had uttered.
"And so, Paquette bided her time until the baby was born. And little did she know she was in for a huge surprise."
Paquette woke up one winter's morning to hard kicking from inside her stomach. At first, she thought she was still dreaming. Then she remembered. Of course! It was the baby! God, you'd think she'd be used to it by now, being six months pregnant already. She patted her stomach, which, much to her surprise was much bigger than it should be at this time. She'd been noticing that lately. "Good morning!" she cooed. "How did you sleep?" By way of response, the baby kicked again. "I'm glad to hear that. I slept well too. I had the most wonderful dream last night!" Another kick resulted. "Oh, it was about your Papa. Yes it's the same one I've had about nine times this month. The one where he escapes that nasty Claude Frollo and comes home. I think it will come true. I mean, after all….."
Paquette: A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartache. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come shining through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true!
Paquette happily jumped out of bed and began to make it neatly, stepping into her slippers while doing so.
Paquette: (hums the first two parts of A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes)
Next, she danced over to her closet and picked out a green flannel dress and a grey knit shawl and laid them on her bed.
Paquette: (hums the next two lines)
Now she rushes over two her washstand and splashes water on her face.
Paquette: (hums the next two lines)
Finally, she pulls her dress and shawl over her head.
Paquette: (hums some more, then…) No matter how your heart is grieving if you keep on believing the dream that you wish will come true!
Paquette strolled into her parlor. "Good morning, Chou-Chou! " The little rabbit nudged Paquette's workbasket with her nose. "You are quite right, I should be getting on with those baby clothes. What would I do without you, you smart little rabbit?" Paquette picked up a blue dress she was making for the baby and began to embroider pink flowers all over it. She was working on a whole blue-and-pink wardrobe for her baby. She also had a pink-and-purple wardrobe and a purple-and-blue wardrobe that she was working on in her basket. The crown jewels in each of these ensembles was a little pair of satin shoes: one pink with purple embroidery, one purple with blue embroidery, and one blue with pink embroidery. Each set also, when finished, would include five nightgowns, two bonnets, six everyday dresses, one fancy dress, a couple of blankets, four pairs of socks, and a stack of diapers (each one having a design on it in the scheme's primary color), but the shoes would be what would get everyone's attention. Instead of spinning, weaving, and dyeing the cloth herself, she had bought it in the marketplace, and she had used special care to make sure no stitch was made out of place. It was easy, really. She WAS the best seamstress in all of Paris. Too bad nobody was buying her creations anymore, or paying her to do their mending. People had been pretty much avoiding her ever since word got out that she was pregnant out of wedlock. Paquette secretly worried about being able to provide for the baby. Oh well. She would figure something out. While she was sewing, she began to think of names for her baby. If it were a boy, that was easy. He would definitely be Roderigo, after his father. For a girl, well….. She had always liked names that began with the letter "A." Like Agnes, after the heroine in her favorite romance novel. Or Amelie- that was such a pretty name! Or maybe Aurore, after Paquette's mother. Yes, those names would do nicely. But there was not time to think about this anymore. Paquette was late for her meeting with the midwife!
Paquette trudged through the snow towards the midwife's cottage. Why did she have to live so far away? All the way to the house, little boys were pelting her with snowballs, local women were giving her dirty looks, and people were screaming personal remarks at her. Finally, she reached the cottage. The midwife was waiting for her at the door.
After a thorough examination, the midwife pronounced the baby in Paquette's womb to be very healthy. But that wasn't all. "Darling," the midwife said, "It looks like you may be having twins!"
"Finally, Paquette's time came, and she delivered substantial proof that she was expecting more than just twins."
Spring was here in Paris. Paquette stood on her front steps in a pretty pink gown, stroking her huge belly and taking it all in. Many animals were giving birth now; even Chou-Chou had given birth to a litter of baby bunnies. And it seemed like Paquette was next. Her belly had swollen to about twice the size it had been a few months ago when she found out that she was having twins. Apparently she was going to need all those sets of clothing after all! The babies had seemed to drop lower into her stomach, and she was having little cramps lately. Suddenly, she felt a long, hard pain cut through her body! The intensity sent her barreling over, screaming. She knew what that meant. She had to; the midwife had described it endlessly. The babies were coming!
The local midwife was sitting down to a cup of tea when she heard loud, frantic knocks on her door. She knew what that meant. Somebody was either having a baby or being attacked and needing somewhere to hide. She got up and answered the door. When she opened it, who did she see but, "Paquette La Chantefleurie? My dear, what in Heaven's name is the…." She knew instantly what was wrong when she saw the puddle forming from under Paquette's skirt. "Paquette, you silly girl! One your age should know better than to wander around the streets in your condition! Why on Earth didn't you send someone?" "Madame," Paquette panted, "I don't exactly have anyone to send here for me. All my family is gone, and it appears to be me against the entire city. Nobody would fetch you for me if I asked. Now please, take me home and get these babies out of me!"
A few hours later, the midwife had helped Paquette hobble back to her cottage and situated her in bed and prepared all the materials for the delivery, and Paquette's contractions were coming closer and closer together. "All right, Sweetie, breathe. Breathe. Keep breathing. Don't stop. You stopped. Breathe again. Keep it up. You're doing great. Breathe." "SHUT UP!"
Many hours later, Paquette did not appear human anymore. Now, she was just one writhing, screaming mass of sheer pain. Experience had taught the midwife that this meant it was time for her to start pushing. "All right, Darling," she instructed. "It's time to start pushing!" "I can't!" whined Paquette. "Yes, you can, now do it! Push!" "AAAHHHHHH!" "Push again!" "AAAAAAHHHHHHH!" "One more!" "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" The crying of a child was heard, and the midwife held up a beautiful baby. The baby looked exactly like an infant version of Roderigo. It had flawless olive skin, perfect dark hair, and impeccable green eyes. The only thing that resembled Paquette was the size of those eyes- they were humongous. Paquette was awestruck. "Is it a boy or a girl?" "It's a girl!" the midwife proclaimed.
The next delivery, however, was very hard on Paquette. The pains seemed to be stronger than the last ones, and the baby did not come out very quickly. Finally, weak crying was heard, and the midwife held up an extremely small, only about four pounds fifteen, baby. The midwife told Paquette that this one was a girl, too, and lucky to be alive. This baby looked almost exactly like Paquette, except, where Paquette's hair was red and curly, the baby's was straight and brown. Paquette was just about to take the babies out of the midwife's arms and into her own, when the midwife stopped short. "I don't think we're through here." "What?" "What I mean is, there is another baby in there."
Less than a minute after this was said, a third and final baby girl was born. This one was blonde with blue eyes and a slightly rosy complexion. Now, the only thing remaining was to name them. Paquette decided that she would call the black-haired girl Agnes, because the character of Agnes in her favorite romance novel was very radiant and full of life, both things she could tell her daughter was going to be. The brunette's name was going to be Amelie, because to Paquette, the name described a pretty, small person. Finally, the blonde was going to be Aurore because she looked exactly like Paquette's mother would have looked as a baby. Holding her babies close, she began to sing them to sleep.
Paquette: I've known you a life and a day, but we've just begun. Come with me, I'll show you the way. We'll soon live free in the sun. Though we danced and sang through the night, now those nights are none. Soon there'll come a new morning light when we'll all laugh in the sun. Though the fates have torn us apart and we don't know how or when, from now on I know in my heart, we'll be together again! I've known you a life and a day, but we've just begun! Come with me I'll show you the way! We'll soon live free in the sun! We'll soon live free in the sun!
Song list: Somebody's Gonna Love You (The Color Purple), A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella), Lullaby (some 80's version of Anastasia I saw when I was 6)