I stretched out on the bed, worrying about absolutely nothing whilst studying the folds and drape of the velvet canopy. Purple...He made sure it was purple...
It would be a few hours yet before the King's reception, and I wanted
to enter that drawing room as relaxed as possible. I hated to admit that
I was somewhat nervous about my upcoming performance, and Claude had yet
to come up and visit with me. His presence, along with those welcomed pep
talks, always put me at ease. Oh well, no matter. I know he's busy...
I continued to stare up at the canopy. Purple velvet...Hmm...Claude wore a silk shirt of the deepest purple...and that suit! It was to die for.
In fact, my baby himself was to die for! And Claude Frollo was right again: When we walked into that ballroom, all eyes were on us, especially when we hit the dance floor!
Anyway, Claude and I decided to sit with my 'fifth period lunch' buddies:
Six thirty-something women, four of whom were presently divorced. Naturally,
these women eyeballed my 'sugarbritches' with marked interest, and he treated
them to that refreshing medieval gallantry. Of course, Claude took me aside
and told me that he was getting a kick out these ladies' "Oh-so-feeble
to flirt. My dear, there's only one 20th Century woman who truly
turns me on."
"And who's that, Claude Frollo?"
"Danisha Wood! I am shocked, truly shocked!", he said in mock indignation -- and with the cutest smile.
This playful banter went on until we heard a familiar voice behind us. "Hey there, dude and dudette!"
I had to blink, but it was Iggy all right. Sure enough, Iggy McMullen and his new bride, Cissy had finally arrived. Both were dressed in the hip clothing of the late 60's -- Iggy in a tie-dyed shirt, a fringed and beaded suede vest, bell bottoms, and those Birkenstocks (new ones this time). Cissy's outfit consisted of a hot pink minidress, matching patent boots, huge plastic bracelets and earrings, and that pale iridescent makeup. She looked so adorable, so much younger than a woman in her mid forties. But Iggy was different. Gone was the bedraggled little man in the ragged clothes. The hair was cut in a neat neo-buzz cut (almost like Drew Carey but more hip). He even had new glasses. So, a little tampering with history paid off handsomely for this man. After all these years...
"Nisha, did you hear that?", Claude said, interrupting my reverie, "Daniel
and Lili are off to the 19th Century after their little performance." He
turned to Iggy, asking where this time trip will take them. To this, Cissy
replied, "Your Honor, you won't believe this but Iggy insists on spending
a few days with the Donner Party."
"Donner Party?", Claude innocently asked, not knowing the particulars about the ill-fated Donners. I only replied, "Honey, I'll tell you all about the Donners later; now is not the time."
Hornets Nest took center stage as nearly 300 thirty-somethings (OR 'wishing-we-were-kids again') moved and grooved to the sounds of our youth. Claude had experienced music from my time, whether listening to our specially equipped boom box, or my own audio equipment at home. But dear Claude had never experienced folks from MY time jammin' and gettin' down. It was just like the good old days, at that Homecoming Dance.
Hornets Nest -- Iggy, Cissy (on a portable keyboard!), Roosevelt, and
friends -- got down with the sounds! They played a rousing, hour-long set
of classic 60s and 70s hits from the Eagles to Doobie Brothers to Ohio
Players. I kept glancing over at Claude who by now was tapping his feet.
He slipped a piece of paper to the waiter who in turn handed it to Iggy.
Now what is he up to?
As soon as the message was delivered, Roosevelt launched into a slow, mellow cover of 'Three Times a Lady'. Claude Frollo rose from his seat, extended his hand to me, and asked, "May I have this dance?" Just like that street party in Paris those many years ago...He surprises me so...
We slow danced to sweet soulful sounds while I could sense every woman drooling over my 'sugarbritches'. Now, I knew Claude had this knack for surprising me in the most romantic ways, but when the band finished, and the DJ took over...
Claude Frollo twirled me around on that dance floor until I was completely
giddy with delight. My baby had some sharp, sensual moves of his own --
John Travolta, eat your heart out! Sweet Claude glided with me across the
parquet tiled floor with all the slinkiness and fluidity of a jungle cat.
No - make that a snake - a sleek, sinuous snake. Ooh...Dip me! Swivel
those hips, sugar! Claude, you move like....Oooh!
The pair of us likened ourselves to a disco era Fred and Ginger, and it seemed no one was able to match our unique style. I taught him only a few moves, but he's made this all his own...
"I love to love you, baby", he cooed in my ear as he held my body thisclose to his. I had to laugh when I informed him that Ms. Donna Summer's first big hit "Almost got banned when it first came out. You know, all that moaning..."
Claude held me tighter, his slinky body movements matching those of my own. He cooed in my ear again, "My love, when we are 'behind closed doors' , I shall show you how much...mm...ahh...'I love to love you, baby'...ooh...umm..."
"Ooh, sugarbritches, I'd love to hear YOU moan on and on and on and..."
Later that evening, as the party wound down, the questions and comments came fast and furious.
"So where did you meet him?"
"Does he have a brother?"
"He's a little on the skinny side."
"He's so charming, so gentlemanly."
"He's so pale -- But he's cute."
"Nisha, you and Claude look so cute together."
"And you spend your money going to Paris just to visit him?"
"Girl, I wish I had a French boyfriend; they treat a woman right."
OK, so I had to answer all those questions and counter a few strange
comments. And I had to keep them all at bay with made-up tales about how
I can't tell them I'm a time traveler! They wouldn't believe it anyway...
All my old classmates would gossip about 'Danisha's high class manfriend' for days to come, and I didn't seem to mind. Let them talk.
It was an evening to remember...
"My love, you are positively breathtaking!" Claude Frollo leaned against
the bedpost as I finished dressing. He was right; my '1930s-America-meets-1480s-Paris'
ensemble was breathtaking. When I took a good look in the mirror it like
looking at an old photograph of my Aunt Eula.
Momma always said I look just like Aunt Eula, and she was so glamorous...
"Oh Claude", I said as he wrapped his arms around me, "This dress belonged
to Aunt Eula and the corsage..."
"Yes, just like Lady Day."
He chuckled again as he held and kissed me. "Lady Day...Ah, Mme. Holiday. I like the flowers; they bring out the sparkle in your eyes." His hands skimmed the slinky pale lilac satin as his lips tenderly yet passionately touched mine.
"Sugarbritches, unless you want to blot lipstick stains or go around smelling like Chanel No. 5..."
Claude softly laughed then held me out at arms' length. "I can't get over how beautiful you are! Every inch of you, every satin-clad inch..."
Of course, the dress, a slinky, figure-skimming long-sleeved, low-cut
number of the palest lilac, was quite flattering. The snow white, sweetly
scented gardenias in my dark, glossy, Marceled, upswept hair only accented
my 30's-style makeup of sculpted dark violet lips, deep thick lashes and
arched brows. Hmm...Claude Frollo's 'Satin Doll'...
I smiled when I returned the many caresses, and complimented Claude's fine outfit of a fine black velvet doublet with the deep purple soutache trim, the stiff white collar, black tights, those sharp shoes, and the many rings. As he escorted me downstairs, Claude said, "Danisha, this is just an informal gathering: the d'Arcys, the de Noailles, YOUR 20th Century friends, the Patous..."
"Hold it, Claude; back up. Did you say 20th Century friends. and the Patous?"
He kissed me again, laughing this time, and said, "Darling, I simply can't present that box to the King without its historians present -- Or the ancestors of its future owners."
It was an afternoon of music, friendly conversation, and fascinating
history. Of course, I knew all the guests: The d'Arcys, Solange and Thierry
Marchand, Etienne de Noialles. Then there was Fern and her family -- Yes,
old Dwayne took another time trip expressly for this occasion. There was
Iggy and Cissy, Kyle and Shelli. The only other persons missing were Jacki
and Tony who were presently in the 4th Century BC, tracing ancient African
societies and cultures.
So almost everyone was there, dressed in their Sunday finest; not a pair grungy jeans nor a tie dyed shirt could be found. Then there was His Majesty himself, who was pleasantly surprised when Claude, Andre, and Etienne presented that box.
And where was the genuine box all this time? It was Fern who cleared up that mystery. "Oh, we personally locked that baby in another part of the dungeons -- Only me and Claude knew the location."
After the King graciously received the box, Claude Frollo presented
Iggy to His Majesty. Fern and I thought Iggy would start sweating and maybe
faint on the spot. We were wrong, for Iggy bowed respectfully, then began
to recount the box's history. He was wise not to tell the King the box's
future history; instead, Iggy cautioned His Majesty to keep the box within
the royal lineage.
"That way", said Professor McMullen, "this box will always remain with those who truly treasure it." I knew Iggy was referring to Marvin Emswiller's scheme to ultimately sell the gold, bejeweled box. Yep...the box is now safe...and will remain safe...
After the presentation and Iggy's historic story, the remainder of the afternoon was spent with good music, stimulating conversation, and wonderful food. Claude beckoned me to the piano as he delivered a brief introduction. "My lovely New World friend shall serenade you with a selection of music from her country."
I had to correct him by addressing our distinguished guests, "Actually, this is the music of my parents' generation." I then smiled at the King and said, "Your Majesty, Minister Frollo has often said how this instrument fascinates you. His Grace thought it would be nice if I played for you." His Majesty returned the smile and said, "My dear, your presence in Paris has been a godsend. I would be delighted to hear this instrument, this 'piano'."
That said, I launched into a set of old standards that my grandparents enjoyed in their youth, ending with a collection of Gershwin, Kern, Waller, and Ellington. If I'm remembering right, I believe I had a small audience gathered around that piano. I have to agree with Fern: These folks will never hear stuff like this. So give them a sample of what's to come in about five centuries!
Claude returned to the drawing room after the last of our guests left.
The King had told Claude that he thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon. "His
Majesty was quite impressed with your musical talents, and he expressed
hopes of experiencing more of your 'New World' music."
I was presently at the window, watching our guests leave, when Claude returned. He planted a tender kiss upon my lips, saying, "I'm so proud of you darling, and His Majesty was correct: Your presence in Paris -- well, in my time -- has been a godsend." Claude kissed me again, while I said, "Does that mean that all that adventure with Iggy and Rene and the box..."
I was shushed with another kiss, and a special request. "Darling, could you play that lovely song again? I think the words are: 'You're lovely to look at; delightful to behold'."
He smiled as he escorted me to the piano, and I obliged his request with a brief song and a few well-placed kisses. "Claude?", I said at last, "All that business with the box turned into quite the adventure."
Claude replied with another kiss, replying, "We - well, I -- learned a great deal about this world's past, and future." His hand lightly touched his throat as he added, "A future that doesn't hold too promising for many of our 18th Century descendants."
I kissed him again. "Claude, the only future that is secure is that of the box." Claude smiled and replied in relief. "And that of Francois and Jeannette, and Daniel and Lili."
He kissed me again and said something else: A few choice comments about the whole '1960's & 70's pop culture meets medieval France' caper. Funny thing, though, he regarded the recent events as one long amusing romp, considering the way things turned out.
"My dear, that entire adventure was rather fun. And I'm sure Rene and Gerard had...what is that expression? Ah yes...'their minds blown'!" I laughed long and hard then shifted gears and began to play:
Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Dear Claude?
In response, Claude Frollo broke down in uproarious laughter, then put his arms around me, and kissed my lips.
"Yes, dear Danisha, I suppose it did 'Blow My Mind'...Yes, it certainly did...ahem...'Blow My Mind'!"
Hold it! Speaking of 'blown minds'....
"Where's Jehan? He didn't even bother to come to the reception."
I thought a little, then I suddenly realized why...
"Yes, my love. I've deprived Jehan of his time traveler, and he is currently on punishment."
Claude's mouth curved into a wide, evil grin when I finally asked, "Does
this 'punishment' have anything to do with that shopping list you gave
"Yes, dearest. Didn't you notice that man in the courtyard?"
"You mean the one...OH NO! You made Jehan scrub the courtyard with a toothbrush?!"
After we both got over a loud, and long, laughing spell, Claude said
in devilish delight, "My darling Danisha, in the end, WHOSE mind was truly
© Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.