Music Lessons

Chapter Ten

The Time & Place:
Later that evening, at Chateau du Pré, country home of Claude Frollo, Danisha assesses the day's activities. Our heroine has mixed feelings about her entire vacation, for another man has entered the picture, and has stirred forbidden, turbulent emotions within...
(From Danisha's Journals)
Finally! Some time to myself after such a wonderfully pleasant, yet somewhat trying afternoon. Don't get me wrong – The game was great; the entertainment was great; the food and company superb. Right now I crave the quiet time. Claude is upstairs putting our daughter to bed, and I'm glad it's him instead of me trying to explain to a six-year old what Orry Ouimet said about, "We almost became brother and sister."
And it didn't help matters with his father Évrard Ouimet asking question after probing question concerning my country and "advanced" society. He practically hovered over Phoebus and Quasimodo most of the afternoon; at least he had the decency to wait until after the game ended.
I was grateful Philippe Ouimet, Évrard's brother and the current Minister of Justice accepted Claude Frollo's invitation. With him there, I was able to withstand Évrard's never-ending inquiries. At one point, Philippe, a practical sort, steered Évrard's attention to other things, such as Chateau duPré's gardens and grounds.
But the day wasn't a total washout, for I did get to spend valuable time with three women who became very good friends and more. Isabelle LaCroix, my African-French ancestor, a woman who everyone claims I favor, was with me nearly all afternoon. There was Clarice Flambert, Évrard's maternal cousin, a bouncy, effervescent lady to whom I truly owe my life. After all, last winter, it was she who found me half frozen in the snowy meadow just outside Maison des Chénes. I came to love Clarice as a sister; she so much reminds me of my half-cocked middle sister Vernice.
Then there's Felise LaCourbe, once of the nicest ladies I have meant so far during my decade in and out of this 15th Century world. She is a poet -- she writes under the pen name "Beatriz" -- and often writes lyrics to fit Raimon Cauant's music. Verses of courtly love and the value of friendship flow from this woman's pen, yet Felise did admit to me in private that she truly likes to write "Stories of passion, romance, the fire and beauty of two people coming together."  To which I smilingly replied with equal secrecy, "So do I."

Felise and I have grown close yet I can't shake that feeling that she is harboring secrets. Jehan Frollo told me that he and Felise met in Florence years ago; come to think of it, Phoebus met Felise a few years before that. But that was during the wars, long before Jehan's southern excursion. When I asked Phoebus about this, he merely replied that he didn't recall meeting a woman named Felise.
Hmm...Oh well, perhaps another "casualty of war", confused memories that is...But, getting back to our eventful afternoon...

Aside form Évrard's never-ending questions about me and my country, the festivities ranging from the game to the food to the music, proved to be quite a treat for our late medieval friends. However, in the end, I only wished a few people had declined Claude's invitation.


What my 21st Century friends had planned looked and sounded like something straight out of early 20th Century. Because this was to be an "interactive" baseball, with many of our 15th Century friends trying their hand and pitching and hitting, the entire game had to be seen to be believed.
It was Fern's idea to dig up uniforms that echoed circa 1910; that meant those baggy knickers for the men and long skirts for the women. We even customized the caps, logos, and team colors just for this occasion. The two teams "New World Clowns" vs. the "Paris Peregrines", featuring many "guest" players, took centerfield for a game our 1495 friends would never forget.

The 15th Century Paris team's' colors? Well, we were doing this in honor of Claude Frollo, so what else? Black and purple! Naturally it was red, white and blue for the "New World" team.
It was a curious game, since a few of our 1495 players had never heard of nor seen "baseball". But it was worth the effort, and many a guest still talk about, "That amazing New World sport." With the likes of Quasimodo as catcher, Phoebus as umpire, and several ladies up to bat, there were plenty of good time jokes and good-natured ribbing. Thanks to Clevon and Willie -- those "New World" musican-scholars -- for providing the...ahem...'color commentary'.


"Oh no, Will, look who's up to bat now! Come on, honey! Knock that bad boy clean across Europe!"

Thus said Clevon as he stood back and watched Renée LeBeau, Phoebus' cousin, step up to the plate. Looking rather smart and sporty in her Gibson Girl uniform of a long black skirt, purple "leg-o-mutton" sleeved blouse, and fleur-de-lys emblazoned cap, Renée made a few mock swings before Phoebus, who acted as our umpire, yelled the classic, "Play ball!"

Let's see...Bottom of the ninth, the Peregrines and the Clowns are tied with three runs apiece. The Peregrines have two outs. If Renée can knock this homerun...and with two men -- that's Laurent d'Anges and Jehan Frollo -- on first and third respectively...Hoo boy!

Now I never informed Clevon and Willie about Renée's killer swing, but there she was, poised and ready to slam it home. More than ten years ago, little Renée de Chateaupers learned how to slam a baseball clean out of Paris. Thanks to Frollo's New World lady for those baseball lessons.

"Come on, Renée!," I loudly cheered, "You can do it! Win one for your brothers!" That bit of encouragement did it.

OK, here comes Willie winding up. He pitches one of his fastballs; Renée swings too soon. "Strike one!," pronounced Phoebus. Here's Willie firing off another fast one. No good.
"Strike two!"

Claude Frollo, standing on the sidelines with Nadine and me, called out to Renée, "Focus on the ball, my girl! Remember to focus!"
Willie fires off his patented killer curve ball in hopes of striking out Renée and sending the game into extra innings. Whoosh! The ball flies from Willie's hand, hurtling towards Renée at top speed. It wobbles a bit upon approach, but Renée quickly and deliberately slams the bat against the speeding ball.


And there it goes! She's going, going.....GONE!

The Paris Peregrines win it by one run, and it wasn't planned that way. You see, Willie had hoped to strike out Renée, thus sending the game into extra innings and in turn give the Clowns a chance. But no, fate stepped in, and -- POW! -- a young lady, one of the best dressmakers in all of 15th Century France, won one for her long-dead siblings, and for her very best friends.


The post-game reception in the lovely gardens of Chateau duPré became the talk of all Paris for many weeks to come. Sometimes I wonder if folks could pick up on the sparks that flew from Évrard Ouimet to myself. Even though I kept myself in check during the whole afternoon, I kept wondering whether those feelings were genuine or just a ruse to get me away from Claude Frollo. I know Évrard is still seething over the fact that neither his brother nor Jehan Frollo bothered to inform him of my true identity back during that whole "Dottie-is-really-Danisha" ordeal. 
Sometimes I wondered if Philippe and Jehan had their reasons not to tell either Évrard or Claude. Whatever those reasons, I was very happy that the Ouimet brothers seemingly made up. Perhaps it was all for the best that I never ended up as Madame Ouimet or else I would've lost Claude and my daughter forever.

In light that Claude Frollo and I were able to regain all that lost time since last winter, I could put Évrard out of my mind. But, now that I've met the man face-to-face and talked with him, I couldn't. Moreover, it meant that I had to take a long hard look at my long-term relationship with Claude Frollo. Oh yes, the commitment and devotion are still there, but I have a feeling something is missing. Ever since the Dorothy Ducharme episode, I kept getting the feeling that Claude and I would never recapture the magic and sparkle of a unique love that spanned more than than five centuries. 
That's when, in the back of my mind, I decided to continue my therapy and finally put to rest all those turbulent emotions running through my being. Only then will I be able to ask the question concerning my future with Claude Frollo: "Will I be better off with him or without him?"

I fervently prayed that I wouldn't have to make the latter decision.


During the post-game reception, Clevon banged on that big Steinway grand and belted out one of those old Negro juke-joint standards, "I'm a ramblin', travelin' man. And I be ramblin' all over this land..."

In the spacious grandeur of Claude Frollo's drawing room, all our guests were treated to fun food -- ice cream, lemonade, homemade cookies and cakes -- and good old fashioned music. Once, during the course of our afternoon levée, I espied Orry Ouimet and Nadine in a quiet, remote corner of the room. I had no idea what these two youngsters were talking about, but I never interfered. Nadine and Orry are friends, and I was never one to hold my child back. Even Claude Frollo acknowledged his approval of the fast, firm friendship that blossomed between the kids.

Claude took me aside and laughingly admitted, "My love, Clarice Flambert approached me just now and asked if I've given thought to Nadine and Orry..."
"Oh no, Claude! She didn't suggest that our daughter and Orry Ouimet...? Come on, they're only kids!" 
"She inquired just that, Danisha. Of course, this means that if, in a few years, the friendship should blossom into something else, well..."

He paused long enough to glance over at the children, then chuckled and said, "At least she will follow in her parents' footsteps – The ultimate May-December romance."

But Claude, we – you and I – are not married...We'll never be married. Don't you get it? And I don't want Nadine to....

Évrard Ouimet walked over to us and started to make small talk. I could feel his smoldering eyes burn into mine as we conversed on various, and innocent, topics. During our conversation, Claude Frollo, his eyes never wavering from Évrard's, drew closer to me, embraced me, then tightened his grip around my waist. It was as if to say, "No, Évrard. She belongs to me."
Oh, the confab amongst the three of us was pleasant and lighthearted; no one ever mentioned the events of this past winter. Nevertheless, the more I drank in Évrard's sensual presence and his masculine beauty, the more I wanted to be with him -- Alone with him. Did I start to pull away from Claude Frollo? Did I actually loosen myself from his protective, possessive grip?


A few days later, at Danisha's 15th Century pied a terre...
Well, it's been fun, but it's time to get back to work and routine. Nadine will be starting school soon and I'm anxious to see what response I got when I sent in that manuscript. Momma said I had a huge stack of mail; a few items looked rather official. So I dispatched Fern to 2005 to retrieve my mail. At least, whenever I took a trip to 15th Century France, I'm never without my checkbook and stamps. There's no reason not to keep up with the bills.
However, among that stack of bills and personal letters that needed my attention, there was something else that demanded immediate response.

"Oh my God, what is this...?!" 
"Something wrong, Nisha?" asked Fern. 
"Oh no, Fern, it's just that...I've been offered a job...A very prestigious, six-figure salaried, high-powered job!" 
"Oooh, lemme see that letter....Hmm...It's where?! Have you told Claude about this?" 
"No, Fern. And I don't plan on telling him any time soon. Besides," I said as I stuffed the letter back in its envelope, "I don't see the need in uprooting Nadine, leave behind all that's familiar. Claude Frollo, being a 1400's man, despite his many excursions to our time, may be in for a culture shock of the worst kind..."

"Am I missing something?," called out the deep booming voice from the vestibule.

Claude Frollo, resplendent in his all-black ensemble -- right down to the boots, hose, doublet, and chaperon -- strode into my drawing room. Only a few days left of my summer-in-medieval Paris, and Claude wanted to cap my vacation with as little disruption as possible. Seems the Ouimet brothers decided to remain in the country -- Philippe and Évrard, along with Orry -- out at Évrard's country home, Maison des Chénes. What a relief! At last Claude could enjoy his family without the distractions. 
Yes, Claude Frollo did sense that Évrard's presence last Saturday afternoon was a major distraction for both of us. Not that he's all that jealous of the attention Évrard showed me over the past few days, but Claude's protective streak kicked in. As he reasoned with me, I was not myself when I nearly became Madame Ouimet. And what would have transpired once I ever did regain my memory?

Come on, Nisha...Can't you see this man's smothering you? Keeping you from really enjoying....?

"Danisha, what is that I won't understand?" 
I guess he sensed that something was up, and there was no way I was going to break the news that I considered...

"Claude," I finally said as sifted through my many bills, "I was just telling Fern that as a 15th Century man, you wouldn't understand the meaning of 'maxed out Visa'...Uh, you see, I got my statement today..." 
"Ah, so the spendthrift woman has to pay up for all her extravagant ways!," he replied playfully. Then, finally settling down beside me, summed up our 1495-meets-1900 adventure. "My love, the game was a success. The King has sent his regrets explaining why he was unable to attend. But from what he heard from the many guests, His Majesty is very anxious to see this game of baseball and, perhaps, listen to your varied New World music."

Of course, as I explained to Claude Frollo, the King would have to wait until the end of the year to hear more of Clevon and Willie's music. The pair had returned to their own time frame: Willie was back in D.C., teaching music history and theory; Clevon was presently back at his job as a middle school assistant principal.


You thought "Big Lonnie" was really a professional musician? Well, he does play in clubs during his off hours, but Clevon liked the idea of traveling back in time. Besides, as he intimated to me a few days earlier, "What I've seen -- in both 1932 Mississippi and 1495 Paris -- can be used as leverage with the kids I deal with. I mean, I'll be able to scare the starch out of them."

To that Claude Frollo got one of the biggest laughs and then mentioned Felise LaCourbe and the impending luncheon date he had arranged for the next day. My baby sister Cherie was to take a rare time trip and join us, since she's into women's studies and meeting a poet of Felise's caliber would be, for Cherie, a dream of a lifetime.
And what of the equally mysterious Raimon Cauant, the gifted musician from Toulon. Well, he returned to his southern homeland, but not before taking me aside and commending my country for, "The sheer genius, the highly developed culture."  For that, said Raimon, he's more than anxious to see this New World for himself. I happened to overhear a conversation between Philippe Ouimet and Raimon; the latter telling the former how he'll personally write a letter to Christoforo Colombo asking about New World music.
Oh no, Raimon, you're in for a disappointment...

But getting back to my mixed emotions...Stop that Danisha! Don't think that way! Something good will come out this, although I still have this gut feeling that something will go terribly wrong...

"Danisha, dearest, are we daydreaming again?"
"Uh, oh...Claude, I was just thinking how wonderful this summer has been. Thank you for the 1900's toys, but...."

I glanced about the room, my eyes resting on the gramophone and player piano. I also thumbed the manilla packet into which I hastily stuffed that envelope. "Claude, I love you so much, and there's no simple way to tell you, or to show you how grateful I am to have you..."

He kissed me then laughed when our daughter's giggly voice could be heard emanating from the courtyard. He finally said, "My dear, I believe these past few weeks have been the happiest for a long time. Now that Jehan is all better, I have you and Nadine back in my life, the Ministry of Justice is in capable hands..."

Yes, everything is happy again, no matter how much so many forces out there would love to destroy the good thing Claude and I have. Come autumn, I truly hope Claude, Nadine and I will finally become a true family....Old time music, tap shoes, homemade ice cream, and all.

The End

Author's Note:
This is the end of the third entry in a four-story arc. The last "Transtemporal Frollo" fan fiction, "People Like Us", follows and draws my entire Frollo-loves-Danisha fan fiction series -- but NOT my web-based writing -- to a close. Thanks for all your visits and support!

Copyright©2000, 2001 by FrolloFreak®

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