I squinted as my eyes opened slowly, taking in the white walls mixed with the "clean" smell that you only associate with hospitals. I groaned as I rubbed my eyes, my lips stretching into a smile as I was wrapped in a warm embrace from the person sitting next to my bed.
"I hate the smell of hospitals," I mumbled, "How long have I been asleep?"
Esmeralda loosened her grip before planting a kiss on my forehead, "Two days, the doctors have said that it was the injury mixed with exhaustion."
I nodded as my eyes flickered over my stomach, to be met with the sight of white gauze covering the majority of my torso.
"What's the damage?" I chuckled softly, wincing at the pain as I gently prodded my ribs.
"Two broken ribs, but the doctors think that you're going to make a speedy recovery. They said once you regained consciousness you'd be able to leave after one more day of observation, just to make sure everything is fine whilst you're conscious."
"So I have to stay here for one more day?" I whined, before suddenly remembering the events that transpired a couple of days ago, "How's Phoebus? Quasi? Sara?"
Esmeralda smirked before saying, "One more day isn't going to harm you, Genevieve. They're all fine, Quasi has decided to continue being the bell ringer of Notre Dame, but he is going to be living with us."
I sat up, grinning broadly, "That's great! I'm so glad everyone is safe. How's he?"
Esmeralda raised an eyebrow before smirking once more, "He?"
I rolled my eyes as I reached over and slapped her playfully, "I am merely being polite."
Esmeralda adjusted herself in her seat before fixing me with a blank stare,"He's been to visit once or twice…"
"Has he?" I questioned, crossing my arms over my chest and frowning slightly, "I bet he was just waiting for me to wake up, hoping he'd be there so he could torment me immediately."
As Esmeralda shook her head and opened her mouth to respond, the cubicle curtain was drawn back roughly as Clopin stepped into the room.
"Ah, monster, I see you are awake!" He exclaimed, running over to the side of the bed dramatically and poking me in the ribs.
"Clopin!" I yelled, "that hurts!" before pushing him away as rough as I could, cursing him under my breath.
Clopin sat down at the edge of the bed, folding his hands in his lap before tilting his head to the side, "How are you feeling?"
"Oh, wonderful," I replied sarcastically, "even better now that you've decided to grace us with your presence."
"Oh, you know me," he grinned, "I aim to please."
Esmeralda stood up, running a hand through her long dark curls, "I'm going to leave you both to it." she announced before shooting me a look and pulling the curtain closed behind her.
"Now that we're alone," he winked, sliding up the bed closer to me.
"Excuse me? You can slide right back down again and get the hell away from me!" I screeched.
"Genevieve, after all I've done for you, you still can't just give in?"
"All you've done for me?" I countered, "yes, you have done a lot, and I have thanked you, but you just keep pushing constantly, I have nothing to give in to-"
I was shut up by Clopin pressing a warm finger to my lips, before replacing it with his lips. I furrowed my eyebrows as I pushed him away, grabbing the front of his tunic roughly.
"Stop doing that! You have no right, you-"He cut me off by pressing his finger against my lips once more.
"You know, I have never in my life met someone as impulsive, maddening, courageous and headstrong as you," he said as he looked me dead in the eyes, "and I can't stop myself from caring about you. Je suis un idiot!"
He removed his finger before taking off his hat, running a hand through his raven locks, and placing it back again.
"You've done a lot for us, Esmeralda and I are extremely grateful, but-"
"Are you going to try and tell me that you feel nothing for me? Rein?"
"I," I began, "I don't know what I feel for you." I sighed, rubbing my forehead.
"Tell me a secret." Clopin demanded, grabbing my left hand and lifting up each finger gently one by one.
"What kind of secret?" I crossed my legs under the sheet and placed my hands in my lap, willing for the heart rate monitor to not give away how nervous I felt at that moment in time.
"Tell me your fears, and…" he glanced at the heart rate monitor before turning back to me, "…tell me your desires."
My heart rate started to increase, audible on the heart monitor which I cursed internally. He got me. Clopin moved and sat in the seat beside me, crossing his arms across his chest smugly, as if he knew what was going through my mind at that very minute. I ran a hand through my hair as I tried to prepare a coherent sentence, only allowing myself to think of my fears to begin with.
"I fear claustrophobic spaces, spiders, losing control of my heart, and…" I sighed, uncrossing my legs and leaning back as if admitting defeat, "…you."
Clopin nodded, raising an eyebrow as he brought his left hand up to his face, drumming his fingertips lightly on his cheek, "Some would say that in order to conquer your fears, you need to face them head on."
Whoever said that must have not been right in the head," I scoffed, "what do you propose? locking me in a small room with only you and some spiders for company? please." I furrowed my eyebrows, glaring at the heart rate monitor as it increased slowly once more.
He continued to drum his fingers against his cheek before suddenly letting his hand fall to his side, staring at me intently.
"Marry me." He said simply as I inhaled sharply, swearing that the heart rate monitor skipped a beat.
"Why would I do that? I've just told you that I fear you, I would be out of my mind to agree to such idiocy."
"You already are out of your mind. You've completely disregarded one of your supposed fears, that of losing your heart, you lost it to me the moment that I gave you that flute."
Anger began to bubble deep inside of me, "How dare you! I-"
"Marry me." He repeated, moving from his seat and sitting on my bed once more, only this time he was close enough for me to touch.
"Genevieve, marry me." He insisted, grabbing my hand and grabbing it once more after I pulled it out of his grasp sharply.
"You've already lost your heart, why not lose your head too?" He whispered, his lips grazing my cheek ever so slightly.
"You think I'm a monster, why would I marry you?"
Clopin sighed, "Yes, it is true that you frustrate me more than anyone else that I have had the pleasure or displeasure of knowing, but I do not think that you are a monster, not now."
"So what's changed?" I questioned.
"Everything," he said, "marry me."
"I just don't think-"
"Just agree to marry him already!" Esmeralda exclaimed from behind the curtain, earning a soft chuckle out of Clopin in response.
"Stop listening in on private conversations!" I yelled back.
The heart rate monitor sped up faster than it had previously. I cursed loudly as it was clearly evident that Clopin was having an effect on me. This man. This infuriating man who irked me, made my blood boil, and made me fall inconceivably in love with him. He was right, the moment he gave me that flute, I lost my heart. I had no way of regaining control of it, and, although I never thought possible, I wasn't sure if I wanted to.
"Yes." I breathed, pulling him into me and pushing my lips against his softly.