And so it goes...
It has been an amazing decade full of adventure, intrigue, heartbreak, and triumph. Claude and I have suffered and loved our way through so much, but in the end, we've come full circle. At last we can enjoy the fruits of all that joy and pain; we can at last be a real family. So what has happened since that Christmas Day when we finally tied the knot and sealed that firm foundation and tight bond forever?
Évrard Ouimet and his son Orry went back to their 15th Century time frame as changed people. The miracle of time travel made possible Orry's very survival of his kidnapping ordeal. Without us, Orry would've died and Évrard would have dug himself into the worse of depressions, never fully recovering from his loss. He would return to Marseilles an embittered man, trusting no one and allowing his business to slide into bankruptcy. Without our presence, Évrard would've died heartbroken and penniless, not ever knowing that son he loved so much was truly not his child.
Of course the interference on our part averted all the tragedies that would've ensued, but we took cautious steps so Évrard would never know Orry's' true parentage. As agreed, Felise would simply become one of the Ouimets many acquaintances; she would have to resign herself to watch Orry mature into adulthood from afar. She would never let on that she is Orry's biological mother, and that the child was fathered by the treacherous Imbert l'Etrange via a vicious violent rape.
But what, thanks to us, is in the future for Évrard, and for Orry?
I had no idea when I took Évrard to 21st Century New York that he'd fall for Jolley, my literary agent! When those two locked eyes on each other it was instant chemical reaction. I had reservations and so did Claude, but it seemed to work out in the end. Jolley is fiercely independent and has a classy, brassy style that usually turns off most men. But Évrard, a 15th Century man who seems so far ahead of his contemporaries in outlook and attitude, told us that Jolley is just the challenge he was looking for. He told Claude that he realized that his marriage to Rixende was for business purposes, and that she never truly loved him. To this day he never once suspected that Rixende had carried on a lesbian affair with Felise LaCourbe née Francesca Gaudet, and that André Soulé merely married off Rixende out of desperation.
So Évrard and Orry have become part of our elite circle of time travelers, dividing their time between both centuries. Orry and Nadine have grown so close, and Claude still insists that these kids will eventually become more than friends as the years progress. I've finally accepted the fact that our daughter may one day follow her parents' lead, thus she and Orry may become another "ultimate May-December couple."
Felise LaCourbe and my sister Cherie have grown close as well, as both friends and lovers. She took Claude's warnings to heart as to keeping her relationships under wraps lest she put herself – and Cherie – in precarious situations. I've stressed that to Cherie as well: Don't slip up or you'll find yourselves accused of "unholy, unnatural acts" that could result in a death sentence.
As of this writing, Felise is still plying her craft as a poet and has reconnected with her family. In addition, she has met her American descendent, Leigh Gaudet-Norris, but was never told of the 21st Century connection or time travel. When Leigh arrived in 1495 Paris, she posed as a "New World" traveler in search of women writers and "stumbled upon" Felise.
The two women have become good friends and both Leigh and Cherie bring back samples of Felise's work to share with colleagues. When asked how they acquired such, they merely reply, "We have connections," and leave it at that.
At last report, the Romany dancer was en route to Nantes. She and her daughter soon would look up Guillaume Sarrisin, one of my Afro-French ancestors and become one of the transplanted African prince's dearest friends. She passed along a message to me via Jacki who had taken a special time trip to 1495 Nantes. Esme was flabbergasted when Jacki told her the good news but said that she understood and wished us all the best.
It pained me to think that in a few years Katerina would have to flee France as ordered by the King, only to wind up in Ireland, change her name, and marry a young Celtic fisherman named Cormac. It pained me more to think that Trina would find it necessary to hide her true ethnicity, convert to Christianity for her own sake, then marry and produce many children whose later descendants would migrate to the American colonies. Those people would later produce the lineage that resulted in Julian McNaney who in turn would become one of Claude Frollo's ablest and most unusual spy to date.
I don't hear from Esmeralda anymore although someday I'd like to travel to 15th Century Nantes just to look up Guillaume sans Claude Frollo. It would be too much for Claude to encounter Esmeralda, and to this day he does not know that Esme is one of Julian's direct ancestors. We've taken great pains to see to it that he never learns...
As for Clopin and his Gypsy band, word has gotten back to me that the Court of Miracles has moved again, this time to a more elusive, remote location within the city. Actually the new Minister of Justice isn't as anxious to eradicate the Romany from Paris as was Claude Frollo or Philippe Ouimet, but he still gives the Roma a hard time. Clopin senses that his people are in for something far worse than Frollo or Ouimet, and that is an official edict from the King. With what I already know, I can safely say Clopin is right – his people will always be persecuted and hounded wherever they go, and a far worse fate awaits their 1930s and 1940s descendants. I couldn't tell Clopin that, but in a way I guess he already knows the future, despite the symbolic breakdown of cultural walls, does not promise complete acceptance of the Romany by the wider society.
Which leads my thoughts back to Julian. Without him, none of the aforementioned outcomes would be possible. We still mourn his death and miss him terribly; I think Claude has been the hardest hit. He has yet to get over the shock and tells me that part Gypsy or not, Julian was his best spy and counts him as a dear friend. I had no idea it was Julian who bankrolled TimeScape, that is before Fern won all that money and further funded the project.
To tell the truth, without Julian, Claude and I would've never met, never had Nadine, nor shared all these wonderful adventures together. It's odd that everything we've been through has a connection to other people and places. For us it was Julian, and for him we are truly grateful for his presence in our lives.
In light of all that has transpired within the past three months, we've decided to rename that scholarship fund set up by Julian in Claude Frollo's name: The Frollo-McNaney Educational Trust. Claude is deeply flattered with this special honor and hopes that the money will be given wisely. Hey, Claude, you forget that I'm a professional educator and know worthy students when I see them. Don't worry: The money will go to those youngsters who will make a difference in the fields of law and criminal justice.
Oh, yeah...I finally got hold of a doctor who specializes in patients with severe addictions. I think I can lick this dreadful tobacco habit once and for all. Don't want to leave Claude and Nadine too soon, and not after we've united as a family...
Nosy reporters begone!
Auburn Wade, that snooping pest who kept after me and my family is now a distant memory. Claude will not say all he did to Wade, but rest assured that the man – and others like him – will no longer be a problem. At last report, an independent news agency sent Wade to Afghanistan to follow up on the continued hunt for the remainder of Osama bin Laden's crew. There were rumors that al-Qaida was building up again; the agency needed someone with tenacity and go-get-'em style.
That's when Auburn Wade came into the picture. Seems someone had tweaked the ear of the news agency and Wade was immediately recruited at a lucrative salary. Hmm...I wonder who that "little bird" was?
At any rate, when I sent this bit of information to Clopin via Quasimodo, the Romany king was tickled to no end. He feels Wade will not last one month in such a barren, forbidding, and still volatile, country. Clopin also begrudgingly acknowledged Claude Frollo's role in getting Wade out of our lives for good.
As Clopin said to me, and I still laugh whenever I recollect his words, "It's strange for me to say this, but Frollo is good for some things, so I'll wish him well in his future with you and Nadine."
Thanks, Clopin. I have not forgotten how much you helped me during my most trying times.
Just after Claude and I reunited, Jehan Frollo took me aside and confessed something that he let fester for nearly a year. Truthfully, I was taken aback, and a trifle upset, but finally I understood the man's recent moodiness. He had fallen in love with me during my "Dottie Ducharme is really Danisha" ordeal. He confessed a certain episode in the cellar of my 15th Century Parisian home, when I was out of my mind as Dorothy Ducharme. Something came over Dottie and she kissed Jehan with a fire and passion that took the man's breath away. Ever since, Jehan's been nursing this conflicting love for me.
Now, I had to tell him that it was Dottie, not me, who kissed him and confessed her love. Jehan realized that long ago when Claude and I nearly dumped each other over petty differences. He also knows that I care for him as the brother I never had, so he now feels better and plans to get on with his life. He says he's recently taken up with a wealthy widow named Simone who has several young children. Jehan and Simone met through Renée and Alain LeBeau, a couple who maintain one of the best textile and dressmaking trades this side of the Seine.
Claude and I wish Jehan all the best, although we have the feeling that baby brother has not totally abandoned his free-wheeling, carefree ways. We love him just the same and hope he finds true happiness one day.
Now I close this journal entry with more good news. My next Dorothy
Ducharme book is due out this spring and it promises to be another bestseller;
there is talk of an expanded TV series based on the two books. What joys!
Claude is exceedingly proud of me and continues to support me in everything I do. He's been there for me through good times and bad, through tears and laughter. I can't wish for a better man. What will the future hold for us, especially now that we are a true couple?
Maybe I'll suggest we follow Julian's advice and go into the private detective/spy business. Sort of a transtemporal Nick and Nora Charles or John and Jennifer Hart. Maybe we can help solve crimes that have defied the cops for so many years, HOWEVER...
We don't need to expose ourselves to any more danger. Besides, we have a child to rear – as a NORMAL child at that! So...We could act as overseeing advisors, let someone else do the dirty work for a change. We can enjoy our good life dividing our time between home, our NYC townhouse, and 15th Century France without the muss and fuss of extracting ourselves out of one dangerous situation after another.
Yeah, we can call it...Have to think of a name for our company...It has to be really classy and smart...
Claude, Nadine, and I are happier than ever. We've come so far and have
earned our rewards. We are truly together at last, and no one or nothing
will ever tear us apart again. One more thing: Make this note to Nadine
then lock it and all the
journals in a safety deposit box. She will get
the key when she turns 21.
I don't expect your father to survive to see you graduate from college. If that happens, and when you've passed your 21st birthday, I want you to read these journals. Learn about the real man your father was, and how much he meant to us all these years. He truly loved you and wanted everything to be so perfect for you. He would be so proud to see the woman you've become. He would also want you to pursue your dreams, so if politics or the judicial bench is in your future go for it with heart and soul. We love you and wish you all the best for the future.
After reading these journals, burn them. They're only words on paper, but the memories never go away and are always written upon our hearts. My memories of your father are so deeply ingrained into my very being that all I need is to conjure his image, his voice, his presence...In my advancing years it the memory of Claude Frollo and the time I spent with him that gives me so much joy and comfort.
Remember and honor your father always as he has done likewise by us. You represent the spirit and love that has spanned five hundred years, both the good and bad...Honor that memory and keep it with you always.
Love and kisses,
Danisha closed the journal for the last time then deposited it into the box which contained more mementos of her decade with Claude Frollo. Now was the time to look forward, not back. Claude came up from behind, wrapped his arms around his lady and kissed her tenderly.
"My love, is everything ready?," he asked.
"Yes, Claude. I just have to make sure the key is secure in this envelop...Sugarbritches, you're not upset, are you? I mean, that Nadine is to burn these after she reads...?"
Frollo stretched his long slender form on the couch and beckoned Danisha to join him. Cuddling her close, he replied, "Darling, I've had a change of heart. Of course, we don't want people snooping into our private affairs, but...No...Why not hide these items within my chateau, at least for a while until we decide otherwise..."
Danisha pondered this, then she kissed her man with fervor and passion, saying, "Claude, we've been through so much together these past ten years. Why make Nadine wait until she's 21? She should enjoy these memories now while she's growing up, not wait until after her parents are aged and/or passed on..."
Frollo thought it over, smiled in agreement and replied, "Whatever you want, Danisha, I shall not question your decisions...Darling, not to change the subject, but that suggestion Julian made long ago...Something about a private spy/detective agency..."
Nisha produced a business card from her jacket pocket, saying, "I'm way ahead of you, Claude. Take a look."
The card was plain white stock bordered in regal purple and black. On the face were these words printed in a French medieval script along with a telephone number: "l'Agence, (212)555-1024."
"I had it made up this morning but it's only a sample. If we want to go ahead with this, I can order several hundred...Claude, why are you looking at me that way?"
By "that way", Nisha meant the amorous glow mixed with impish playfulness in Claude's eyes. She couldn't quite understand but it all came together once it dawned on her that Claude Frollo was not a man to remain idle for long.
"When I retired, Nisha, I never wanted to become one of those men of leisure, although I do on occasion crave peace and quiet. But I love to keep busy, and this may be just the thing...L'Agence...Has a nice ring to it, simple yet very professional..."
"And we can do this as we discussed earlier, you know, hire the spies to do the dirty work while we act as advisors and oversee the cases from a safe distance...That way we can enjoy our time together, Nadine can enjoy a normal family life, and we don't have to extricate ourselves of one precarious predicament after another..."
With that, Claude Frollo kissed her squarely on the mouth, hungrily, passionately. She could not help but respond in like manner. Releasing her, Claude said in a hushed voice, "When does Nadine's school dismiss?"
"Not until three-thirty, Claude. But it's only ten...Hey, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
That said, Claude Frollo indulged his lady with a mad dash up the stairs. Laughing and cooing sexily, Nisha exclaimed, "Mmmm...the spark is still there after all, sugarbritches.."
Once inside their room, Claude Frollo, catching Nisha in his arms, kissed
her madly and ardently, then whispered, "May the sparks fly even higher
for us, Danisha. Now and forever..."
AND THE END OF MY FROLLO FANFICTION SERIES
Copyright©2001, 2002 by FrolloFreak® AKA The FanFiction Diva