Silence reigned in the room
She accidentally reached the dark side of her very best loyal friend, and she nearly got lost there…
beta reader: JC
Hope you recognize the scene in the pic above. Many fans’ve written about Oscar’s feeling during and after that “accident”, and some even let André go mad and go the whole way. Not like I can’t tolerate that, but seem like no one has noticed Oscar last line when André walked away and stopped at the door: André? What happened? Are you ok? I mean didn’t she have to feel scared and have to care for herself, instead of worrying for the man had just attacked her? The answer can only be: she had a special felling for him.
My eyes were closed and I was surrounded by darkness. That was not a problem if my mind was blank, really blank. But my mind was full of images that I wished they had been photographs so I could tear them into a thousand pieces… I opened my eyes and faced the darkness of my room. The candle had long burned out. And yet, those images were still floating in the dark around me. The image of me in a dress was so weird, odd, so…womanly, that I couldn’t even recognize myself. The image of me, in the circle of his arms as we drew circles on the dance floor together. The image of him taking my hand and telling me that he knows I was the strange woman at the ball.
“What are you doing in the dark?”
A faint gleam of light cut through the thick darkness and a familiar voice cut through my thought. I turned around and saw you standing there.
“I’ll bring some candles…”you said
“No!” I replied
“Let it be,” I said softly, without looking at you “Come here and sit with me.”
You hesitated for a second, then you came in and gave me a cup.
“Here’s your tea.”
“Thank you!” I took the cup from your hand and put it on the piano. “It has been a long time since I last played it.” I said.
“Maybe you need an audience!” You smiled gently.
“Maybe…” I smiled too and glided my fingers on the keyboard before I began to play it. You’re always my best and only audience since I started learning playing piano. I’d performed for Father, Mother and some people before, but just once or twice. And almost every time I wanted to play just to relax, just for fun, you were always there to listen. “Do you remember the first time we met?” I asked while playing.
“Of course I do!” Again, you smiled “Grandma said I would have to be a companion to a lovely mademoiselle who was a year younger than me. How could I not remember the young boy standing on the stairs, asking I was the kid who’d been brought here to be his fencing partner?” Your smile widened, your voice mixed with laughter as you went on. “ Especially when the boy made himself clear by throwing me a sword…”
“So I hope you do remember what you asked that little boy?” I heard a light cheer in my own voice.
“Y-YOU-ARE-ER-G-GIR-GIRL?” Suddenly, you came back to be the 8 year-old boy, eyes opened wide stared at me unblinkingly and asked me with a face as if you’d just seen a horse riding a horseman. That face had made me split my side with laughter and now it was stopping me playing as it was making me laugh again.
When the amusement was over, I raised my hand to take the cup of tea I had put there a moment ago. With a sip, I felt the tea was lukewarm. Then I found the darkness of the room, which some seconds ago was enjoyable, now uncomfortable.
“Why do people have to grow up?” I asked a random question, hoping it could clear the whole room, but obviously it didn’t.
“What brought this on?” you asked slowly “I mean, did something happen to you?”
“Nothing” I sighed, put the empty cup back on the piano and stood up; without looking, I knew you took the cup right after it left my hand, and you said:
“…then, I think I should say good night…”
You always knew when you should leave me alone; you always understood why I needed to remain silent. You were always there to support me, and now, I no longer need it.
I heard myself call your name.
It‘s not that I no longer need your companionship. But I no longer needed your protection! Since I was no longer a seven year old girl, I didn’t need you there play with me, fight with me but still careful enough not to hurt me.
I heard your steps stopped and knew that you are standing there, waiting. I knew I must let my thought become real words:
“Tomorrow, I’ll ask the Queen to transfer me to somewhere else…”
“I don’t think she will accept that.”
“On the contrary, I think she will, since I’ve never asked her any favor.”
“Why do you want to leave the Royal guard?” still with the patient voice, you asked, but I hadn’t answered.
This’s not what I want to tell you, I should lead the conversation back to the right way.
But before I could do that, you continued:
“Is it because of Fersen?” You were raising your voice. “Is it because you don’t want to face him at the court?”
Just only his name was enough to make me uncomfortable.
“This has nothing to do with Fersen!” I spoke out “I’d like to live like a real man, fight like a real man, and I can’t do that at Royal guard!”
Silence reigned in the room.
“…I can’t do that with you by my side…” I said again, more softy “After tonight, you don’t need to be my attendant anymore. You can do whatever you like.”
This will be better. Better for both of us.
I knew you still come to the gathering with those commoners, the ones you had said you felt at ease among them. That was a part of your life that I couldn’t and wouldn’t plan to control. But you yourself controlled it, hid it, so that you could fully be devoted to me. Now I was giving back to you the right to fully control your whole life. Now I was taking back to me the right to live like a man, to again, be that little boy who always believed he was a boy.
“…Good night” I thought that was the last word I say to you tonight. But then I felt your hand strong around my forearm, spun me half a circle so that forced me to face you.
“I just want to make one thing clear. A rose is a rose, whether it blooms in red or white” you said with a composed tone “A rose can never become a lilac!”
So that’s it! You’re saying that this’s how Fersen considers me? A friend only, nothing more? Someone he could rely on, someone he knows would certainly take care of Lady Antoinette since he dare not do by himself? I knew it! Good god, I knew it already! What else are you trying to show me?
“Are you saying that a woman will always be a woman?” I asked with high and angry voice.
You didn’t say anything.
“Answer me!” With much irritation, I grabbed your lapels, and then slapped on your face “Depending on your answer, I’ll…” I realized I was pulling you closer, before you nabbed my hands and pulled me even closer to you. The look in your eye told me something had gone wrong, that I was seeing another hidden part of you “Let me go.” Fear started invading me as I was trying to back away, but I didn’t have a change to pull myself back as your mouth rushed against mine.
I felt my own body tensed. I felt my own heart accelerate from its usual rhythm.
I felt your lips leave mine, as you now was looking into my eyes and said with a voice that I didn’t know you had
“Shout as much as you want, but for this moment I won’t listen to you, until you listen to me carefully” And again, your lips pressed down on mine while your hand pressed down on the back of my head, making me stay and I started to understand something. “I love you.” Finally, you whispered to my ear as you had moved your face and rubbed your cheek with mine “Do you hear me? I love you!”
Yes, I do, I hear you very well.
I wanted to shout that to your face as you had asked me to. But I couldn’t. I felt scared, because of you and because of myself. Certainly I had to be afraid of you since you were showing me a part of you that I had never seen before, an unfamiliar you that I had no idea could be exist in this world. A side of you with such passion, with aspirations reflected in the eyes of a wild man…
Oh God, have I ever thought about you as a man?
And by that I was afraid of myself.
I always considered you as a friend only, nothing more. Someone I could rely on, someone I knew would certainly come to me right after I ask… Who do I think I am to give myself the right to ignore you, to forget the fact that you’re a man and always there for me; who do I think I am to give myself the right to ignore your feeling meanwhile incriminate Fersen for ignoring mine?
I was totally shocked as hearing you said that for twenty years, I was the only woman you looked at. For twenty years your head and your heart always turned to me, long for me. For twenty years, you’d been fallen in love with me …
I had wished for my mind went blank, and it was blank right now. It was like when you fall into the ocean, the water is all around you, the waves lap you from every side of yours, you try to swim and find the shore, try and try and try and all of a sudden, everything goes blank, you can’t try anymore.
Everything is blank now, I can’t think of anything, my feeling or yours…
When you leaned in, sought for my mouth again, I pushed you out but your hands promptly closed around my wrists. For the first time in my life, I felt scared of a man. For the first time in my life, I felt scared of You.
“Let me go or…I’ll call somebody…” I tried to use my normal commanding voice but I just failed.
“Call anyone you want!” you yelled as rushing me to the bed “I don’t care! I love you!” you screamed as falling down with me before weighted down on me and grazed your lips with mine.
“No! Let me go!”
I screamed as I tried to free myself from your locking. I had to call someone, this was not the time for being too proud, it was time for asking for help! I tried to find a name, to think of a name and cry out “Help me!”. But ironically, your name was the first name came up in my mind, like every other time when I thought of asking for help…
If I had ever had a crazy fantasy that being possessed by a man and crying for someone come and save me; I know in that terrible nightmare, you wouldn’t be the man presses on top of me, but be the one rushes the door, runs in and drags me out…
This was even worse than a nightmare…
I continued struggling, I didn’t feel scared any more. I felt angry.
What the hell are you doing? This is not you! This is so odd!
God damn it! Since when you’re stronger than me? Since when you have that brute strength like…Oh God, like a man?
Why have I never thought about you as a man?
Then I felt ashamed of myself.
My mind wasn’t blank anymore, and I felt ashamed of myself for imaging this was not you who was saying about loving me, imaging this was actually Fersen who kissed me and said he couldn’t help loving me.
Oh God, why is this not Fersen? I had dreamed for his touch and perhaps his kiss thousand time before…then why? Why do You have to make everybody suffer? I had prayed You for giving Fersen the love of joy someday. I’m ready to let him go, ready to endure all my sufferings, but how about the man was in front of me now? How about him?
Again, your mouth tried to touch mine, I instantaneously tore my lips away from yours and came the next thing that I couldn’t think you would do…your hand grabbed me by the lapels, exactly the same gesture as I did, but gripped them by a strength I didn’t have. Then the lapels came away in your palm with a dryly sound of torn cloth.
For a second, I glared at the ceiling, then slowly, I turned my head to side.
Something had exploded in you that drove you to rip my shirt, and something had exploded in me that drove the tears to flow from my eyes. My body became rigid and my heart jumped helter skelter…
What do you think you are doing?
I needed to know the answer, from someone I trusted, from someone I knew the last thing he would ever do is kill himself instead of hurting me. I needed to know the answer from you…
“Then, this is it…what are you going to do to me?” I asked
You had released me, stood there, immovable.
Silence reigned in the room.
I didn’t remember exactly your answer, seemed like my ears and my head had refused to listen. You said sorry, then again told me about your most secret feeling which now was not a secret anymore.
“Please say that you will forget this. I’m not asking for anything else which I know I’m forbidden to even dream about, but please, say that we will continue just like the way we were, before tonight, please…” You were begging now, with the sound of tears in your voice
I did want to go back to the way we were supposed to be. But how? How could I forget this?
Silence reigned in the room.
“Could you please say something?” You weren’t begging, you were demanding.
But what do I have to say to you?
I knew with my silence, I was pouring the feeling of guiltiness all over you. I was thrusting you forward the abyss as you were standing on the edge…
But what could I say to you when I was filled with panic myself? My breaths had become hoarse gurgles as I was fully aware about my nudeness in front of you. I wanted to stand up, to fight, but I could only lie there, couldn’t even stop the tears from falling. I was trembling like a calf that was forced into the corner by a hunter…
Since when did I become afraid of you?
Since when did I become afraid that in an instant you would tie my arms to the bed then do whatever a jerk would do to a hopeless woman…
Since when I think that you’re a jerk?
Since when I consider myself as a hopeless woman?
I couldn’t change the fact that I was a woman. But just a few hours ago, just before all this frenzy, even if the skies fell on my head, I would never think that I was hopeless when you were there by my side…
“I’m so sorry…” your voice was no stronger than the sound of a falling leaf
Oh God, what am I thinking? How could I called you a jerk when you’re holding my hand and touching it with your lips tenderly, how could I be afraid of you when I know the last thing you would ever do is kill yourself instead of hurting me…
“I’m sorry, but I love you. I’ve been hiding it for 20 years, and just blew everything up for a moment, but just only this moment… believe me, I swear to God that I shall never touch you again…”
That was what you said before putting the blanket over me.
Oh God, what’s happening between us? Why do You have to let all this happen? Why do You keep playing with our miserable lives?
I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t choose the right words. To not realize somebody’s love is even crueler than betraying somebody.
You opened the door then stopped there.
Oh God, your eye!
“What happened?” I asked, now the fear in me had vanished, replaced by the worry for you “Are you alright?”
“Ah…no, nothing” your voice sounded like you had startled “I’ll ask grandma bring you some candles…”
Just like you understood me so well that you could always realize when I was in trouble, I knew that right then you were telling me a lie.
What’s happening to your eye?
I wanted to ask, but you had closed the door behind your back, and again, silence reigned in the room.