Here's the next chapter, in which events occur.
Disclaimer: I don't own Les Misérables, nor do I own the characters
Marius' apartment is definitely a lot nicer than mine and my father's. It's not the nicest apartment ever, obviously, as it is a part of the Gorbeau House. I can see that Marius hasn't completely unpacked yet, and I can also see that he doesn't have much to unpack. I look at him. He doesn't look poor. He definitely looks like he could afford somewhere nicer than the Gorbeau House. Why would he choose to live here? If I had the choice, I certainly wouldn't live here.
Suddenly, I realise I'm staring at him. He seems to realise this too, so I quickly look away. I can feel the blood rushing to my cheeks and my face feels hot. He politely pretends not to notice, which I am grateful for.
For a moment, both of us are silent; neither of us wanting to address what nearly happened. Then, all at once, we both starting,
"–Listen, about what happened back there…"
"–If you need someone to talk to…"
Then, we both laugh, perhaps out of the sheer awkwardness of the situation.
"If it's all the same to you, I'd really rather not talk about it." I say. The topic is too personal to speak of with a stranger– with anyone, really. I try not to think about it, much less talk about it.
"That's understandable;" He replies, "but if you change your mind, I'd gladly lend an ear."
"Anytime. Are you hungry? I don't have much in the way of food, but I think I have some bread."
His kindness astonishes me.
"Oh, don't worry about me, Monsieur." I say, shaking my head. It would feel wrong to accept more help from this man who has already saved me from rape and offered me safe lodgings for the night. Besides, if he's ended up here, he can't be well-off. I can't take food from him. Not when I already know what it's like to starve– I wouldn't wish that on him.
"Please, I insist."
"Really, I'm alright." I reply. I know that he must know that this is a lie. One look– one glimpse of my skeletal frame would be enough to tell anyone that I am always hungry.
The look he gives me says that he doesn't quite believe me, but he doesn't push.
"Are you tired?" he asks.
"Very." I admit. More than just tired, I'm exhausted. This whole ordeal has been a lot to go through.
"You take the bed." He said, "I'll sleep on the couch."
"No, Monsieur. You've already helped so much."
"Mademoiselle, you are a guest in my home. I really must insist."
I could tell that he would not take 'no' for an answer.
"Thank you." I say sincerely.
"You're very welcome."
I rise from my seat and walk over to the bed hesitantly. I observe it for a moment. It certainly looks more comfortable than my miserable excuse for a bed. I'm facing away from him, but I can feel that he is watching me, probably wondering why I haven't lain down yet.
I tentatively sit down on the edge. Compared to my bed, it's like sitting on a cloud. It's not the most luxurious of beds; but it's still the best I've had in a very long time. I look over to Marius and he quickly looks away, confirming my theory that he was watching me. I smile slightly to myself.
I can't help but feel safe here, despite the fact that my apartment and the people who constantly inflict harm upon me are right next door. I feel like they can't get me here. It's the best feeling in the world.
I lay myself down and pull the blanket up to cover me. This feels weird, sleeping in somebody else's bed; but, at the same time, I am extremely comfortable in this bed.
I don't think about this for very long. I soon feel sleep claim me.
"Mama?" I ask quietly, staring at my mother's pale form. She has ceased talking and I'm confused. We were in the middle of a conversation, why is she so quiet now? "Mama?" I repeat. No answer. I begin to panic. "Mama!"
Her eyes are still staring at me, but I can see now that they are lifeless. I close her eyes with my tiny hands. Now she can be sleeping. Eternally.
My eyes snap open as the familiar dream ends. I wipe beads of perspiration from my forehead and I slowly sit up. I can tell by the soft snores coming from the couch that Marius is asleep. Good. I didn't make any noise this time.
I curl up into a ball and think about my mother's death. When it comes down to it, it was really my father's fault. He probably could have found a way to buy the medicines. He didn't even consider trying; alcohol was and is more important to him than family or than anything else, for that matter. That's how he spends all of the money he forces me to steal.
I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the way he and the Paton Minette treats me. Tonight, Montparnasse came way too close to succeeding in what I have vowed to never let happen. I refuse to lose the only thing that I have left, the only thing that my father has never successfully succeeded in exploiting.
No more. I won't let them treat me like that anymore. In the past, I've done as told and didn't fight back for fear of further harm. It occurs to me now–and I don't know how it's never occurred to me before–that whether I fight back or not, they still try to inflict harm upon me. Next time, I won't let them–or, at the very least, I'll try. I know how to fight pretty well. Why it's never occurred to me to use those skills in self-defense against my own father, I'm not certain. Perhaps, it's because I've been used to this for so long, because I grew up being abused by my own father. It never occurred to me to take a stand because that's not what girls do. I've grown up surrounded by that mentality. Ladies–not that I am one, nor do I even come close–are to be seen and not heard. Men consider women to be objects. I hate it. I hate society. It frustrates me, more since I know that it won't change. That's just life.
I can improve my life at least a little by standing up to my old man. That's one change that I can make.
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