People Like Us

Chapter Two

The Time & Place:
Paris, 1495. It's now early evening and little Orry Ouimet takes matters into his hands. One more night listening to his father's tirades is enough!
He waited until after supper; that way his father and cousins would be none the wiser. Besides, thought Orry, what better timing!

First the boy snatched something of value from Quasimodo; then later he overhears Frollo tell Tante Clarice that he's off to visit Mlle Danisha. Hmm...that means he's going to see little Nadine as well. Orry loved Nadine more than anything, outside his father of course. He and Nadine Frollo shared a special bond that proved virtually unbreakable.
Orry recalled those two months ago when Nadine showed him all those ingenious New World items. The gramophone and player piano were eye-openers enough, and Orry never forgot looking at all those pictures through the stereoscope, another wonderful item Mlle Danisha brought with her.
Oh my goodness! And we could never tell anyone, not even Uncle Philippe...

Well, at least the secret about Mlle Danisha and Nadine didn't go any further, thanks to a deal made by Orry, Nadine, and Quasimodo. However, there are times when people can't always be trusted with such valuable information. Yes, Orry did take items from Nisha's Parisian home, and showed those things to his father.

Évrard Ouimet, overcome with insatiable curiosity, immediately launched an informal inquiry about Mlle Danisha. Naturally he didn't know all the particulars, but he did see those 19th Century prints. He asked his brother Philippe, the current Minister of Justice, about this woman. How does she manage so many crossings within a year? Why hasn't Frollo contacted this Christoforo Colombo concerning those voyages to the New World?

At first Évrard had hoped that Danisha would soon tire of Claude Frollo, perhaps leave the man altogether. No, it never happened; for Danisha Wood encountered unforeseen events between the time she left for home in August and that day she returned to Paris earlier this month. She came to pass along good news -- At least that's what Solange Marchand would tell -- or allow herself to divulge -- to Clarice, who in turn passed it on to Évrard.

Now the younger Ouimet brother saw his chance, a remote possibility that Nisha would finally come to her senses. And that's what Évrard thought when Danisha returned to Paris for a brief visit.
She expressly invited Clarice to luncheon -- a "girls afternoon out" is what Danisha called it. From Clarice's reports, Danisha never "loved" Évrard Ouimet and successfully fought those forbidden passions. She came to the conclusion that Évrard fell in love with Dorothy Ducharme, not Danisha Wood.

"While Dottie and I share a few similarities, we're not the same," is what she told Évrard upon meeting him again. They were quite alone that last night of her visit, and Nisha insisted on closure to a traumatic event that never should've happened.

Orry heard it all: How Danisha and Claude Frollo were thoroughly committed to each other, how Nadine truly needed her papa's full-time attention. Danisha explained that Dorothy was a make-believe character she invented when she was still a child. She also explained, or tried to explain, her "New World", although she was vague on a few details.
And that was that. She simply walked out Évrard's love life forever, but still insisted that the two could at least put aside differences and broken hearts, perhaps remain friends.
"After all, Évrard," she said before departing, "our children are the best of friends. Surely you won't jeopardize that. And don't forget about your brother and Claude Frollo. I truly want the three of you to forgive and forget. Move on with your life and don't let this fester into something that may explode one day."

A wealth of good sense, and from such a wise and caring woman. That was Clarice's take but Évrard was not swayed. Right after the New World woman left for home, Évrard Ouimet exploded! He forbade Orry from ever visiting Nisha's pied a terre; he even banned the very mention of the woman's name. He fussed and fumed over how Claude Frollo "won", and he blamed Philippe along with Jehan Frollo for turning Danisha against him. Every night since then, Évrard griped endlessly about his lost love and how it pained him to break off a lifelong friendship with Claude Frollo.

Humph!, thought the gentleman from Marseilles, Claude Frollo has had women by the scores. That's what Philippe told me. And now, years after siring that child, Claude has yet to marry Nadine's mother....

As always, these painful nightly sessions would find cousins Clarice and Anseau Flambert playing counsel to a fuming Évrard: "Évrard, if you don't stop this brooding and blustering! Let it all come to a close. Can't you see? The woman is not in love with you; she's committed to another, and they have a child. My dear cousin, let it go! Think of your own son for a change! He's so brokenhearted that you've forbidden him to see Nadine ever again, " said Clarice in an exasperated voice.

Her husband Anseau took another approach. "Never mind, Clarice. If he wants to spend the rest of his life damning the very man who, incidentally, is the key to his prosperity, let him do so!"

The Flamberts' hearts went out to Orry, who, at this moment, chose to retire early. Perhaps, as Anseau reasoned with his wife, the boy simply needed to get out from under the rants and raves of his heartbroken father.


So Orry, alone in his room, took out the peculiar looking device. It was his good fortune that Quasimodo diverted his attentions elsewhere. It was all the opportunity Orry needed to lift that device he found amongst the bell ringer's belongings. Orry, taking advantage of Quasimodo's absence, quickly and quietly searched the man's quarters.
That's when he found a few items: that odd looking battle scene complete with little soldiers dressed in blue and gray certainly caught his eye. Consequently, these figures didn't quite register with Orry. They looked like soldiers but so unlike the armored men he was used to seeing. Then he found that! That curious little item that Quasimodo had carefully stashed away. What is this thing? What does it do?
Orry remembered observing Quasi using the device, although the bell ringer never suspected he was being watched. Now that device was in Orry's possession and Quasimodo had yet to miss it. The boy examined the device, a curious little box that boasted many buttons. What are all these buttons and how do they work? Surely this has to be the "secret" Mlle Danisha and Claude Frollo protect with such fierceness. Certainly this has to be one of those marvelous New World inventions. Suddenly, and to Orry's surprise, the thing began to flash and beep. The child was filled with such awe and wonderment. Now what? What do I do? What makes it do this? Within seconds a message scrolled across the black screen:

Hi Quasi:

Just a quick message to inform that Claude Frollo arrived safe and sound. I leave for New York City in a few days but want to ask a favor. Do you mind helping me pack to move, that is, if this new job pans out? It's a big job since I have so much stuff. I need all the help I can get (smile)...
One more thing...Nadine is coming to Paris while I'm gone...Cherie is bringing her so save a seat up in the bell tower for both of them. 
Thank you for the birthday present. I truly enjoy it, and I'm so glad you'll be able to attend my party...When I return from my trip, I'll bring back presents for everyone. Something that screams "Noo Yawk" (smile).


If and when you see Orry Ouimet, tell him not to feel responsible for what happened between his father and me. He's such a sweet little boy; any woman would be proud to have him as a son...I just hope Évrard will come around so we can all be friends.

Orry's eyes lit up; he repeatedly watched the message scroll past. He let out a soft whimper, partially out of fear and confusion, partially out of frustration. Orry re-read the message over and over, still trying to fathom it all.
So this is how they communicate. No wonder the bell ringer is able to pass along such information from them so quickly. That must mean Claude Frollo has one of these as well...
Orry Ouimet, his 15th Century child's mind still not quite comprehending the ramifications of his next act, quickly and quietly got up and dressed. What does it matter if his father lays into him? Orry wanted to see Nadine Frollo, if only for a few moments, but there was still a matter of getting there.

At that moment, Orry heard a knock on the bedroom door, then a voice. "Master Orry? Do you require anything?"

That was Imbert, Orry's personal attendant, a man the child thoroughly hated. All during the "Dottie Ducharme" adventure, the child had hoped that his father and "Dorothy" had married; then Imbert would simply have to leave.
Orry was told by "Dottie" that, "I don't trust that man, Orry. Why does your father keep him?" Months later, Danisha Wood would tell the boy the same thing, yet Orry knew his father would never let Imbert go. After all, reasoned Évrard Ouimet, Imbert had been in service to his family for years -- First with Évrard's in-laws, then as attendant to both him and Rixende. "Imbert is, my son," said his father, "the sole link to your mother. She died so young, when you were barely prattling..."

Orry was jolted back to the present as Imbert called again. "Do you require anything, Master Orry?"
"Er...No, Imbert. I'm going to sleep now...Tell my father 'Good Night'..."

Ever so silently the child crept to the door and listen for Imbert's departure; he cracked the door open just enough to make sure. Oh yes, the servant was already gone for the night.

Orry wrinkled his nose in disgust, thinking, "Ewww, he's probably going to that tavern again to see that awful woman...I really should tell Father, but..."

Pushing those thoughts from his mind Orry, now fully dressed, slipped out of his room, crept down the hall, then stood just short of the landing. He heard them again: the cousins Anseau and Clarice trying to talk sense into a still-fuming Évrard. Orry started to cry but fought back those tears successfully.
It was now or never he thought as he quickly found his way to the backstairs, the lower level, then out the door.
Once outside, Orry had intended to go to Danisha's pied a terre; he wanted to search that house where he had hoped to uncover many secrets.
Suddenly the boy heard a noise emanating from far down the darkened alley. Whew! Nothing more than a stray dog searching for food, thought Orry.  The child started up the narrow passageway that led to Nisha's courtyard. Yes, Orry had been to the house many times, even after his father forbade the child from ever again setting foot on the property. Again, that sense of panic kicked in; Orry's heart pounded and his palms perspired profusely.

What if Imbert discovers me gone? What if my father finds out I've been sneaking to see Nadine Frollo even after he's ordered me not to? Unable to stand his sweaty hands, Orry pulled a cloth from his brown doublet, inadvertently dropping that wondrous device.

Oh no! Don't tell me I broke it?!

In his haste to examine the device, and without anticipating the consequences, Orry began to wipe the screen, then pushed buttons. What a shock! When Orry depressed that red button he found himself engulfed by a blindingly white light.


Meanwhile, in Notre Dame's bell tower...

"Where is it! I know I had it here somewhere!"

Quasimodo spent much of the evening fretting and searching. Something was amiss the moment he returned from his duties. He noticed several items out of place -- items that Quasimodo could share with no one. A few pieces of that model battle scene, which depicted events that would not happen for nearly 400 years, were not replaced correctly. A few books had been opened.
All right, so what's wrong with the books? The bellringer kept books up here all the time. No, the differences with these books were the dates of publication. Not the 1400s or before, but the 1800s and beyond.

Quasimodo thought long and hard over who could've disturbed these items. The only persons up here all day were Phoebus, Orry Ouimet, then Claude Frollo. No, thought the bell ringer, couldn't have been Phoebus 'cause he came by this morning and disturbed nothing. Besides, the ex-soldier sees these things all the time. And it definitely wasn't Claude Frollo, so it had to be...

"Orry? But why? Why would he...?"

Without hesitation, Quasimodo donned a black woolen cloak then hastily exited the cathedral. He hated to call on the Ouimets at so late an hour, but he had to get that item from Orry. On the way, Quasi shuddered at the thought of that boy actually using it, and the resultant consequences.

"No! He can't do that!"


Fast forward to the year 2005, in Danisha's Meridian Street mansion...

Where was he? What is this place?

For all practical purposes it looked like a child's bedchamber, but unlike any Orry had seen before. The poor kid was confused enough: All he could remember was standing in that alley, then being engulfed in a sudden flash of light. Now he was inside someone's house, but whose?
Even in the dim, dusky early evening hours, Orry could make out the bed, the many chairs and playthings. It looks like it might belong to a little girl. The room was rather dark but Orry was able to negotiate his way to the window.

What is this? This isn't Paris....It's not even...The houses, the streets, those odd things traveling along the road. What are those things? Looks like there are people inside...

It hit him all at once.  "The New World! I'm in the New World!"


When Orry emerged from the room, he was so amazed with everything he saw. This house is so grand, far grander than anything he'd ever before seen. Although the upper story was dark, he could tell that the house was unlike most homes of his 15th Century world.
He ventured into another room, the bathroom this time, and was overtaken with such awe. What sort room is this? The fixtures were totally foreign to him: the commode, the bathtub, the basin. It was an attractive room to be sure, but fascinating all the same. Orry tentatively looked at the basin and its plumbing fixtures. He touched the faucet handle, turned it, asking himself,
"What does this do?"

No sooner had he spoke when water spewed forth from the faucet. And it was hot! Running water! We don't have this back home! Orry was filled with awe; he immediately surmised that the rumors about the "New World" were all true. This country is a Paradise. Wonder if anyone's home? I don't hear voices...

But soon Orry heard just that: voices coming from the first floor. He wandered down the corridor then found the backstairs. He stopped and listened. Surely enough, he heard and immediately recognized those voices-- Danisha, Nadine, and....

Claude Frollo!

How did Frollo get here so fast? He was in Paris, talking to Tante Clarice just this afternoon! Ah, he has one of these wonderful things too! Orry pulled the device from his pocket and carefully examined it again. So, this is the secret that no one would talk about. No wonder that select circle of Parisians wouldn't tell Orry's father everything. Orry presently worried how to return to his own home; surely he would be missed by now.
But what does it matter? He finally discovered -- or at least partially discovered -- the secret Frollo and friends had so carefully guarded all these years.
The boy's thoughts turned to someone else: Quasimodo. Surely the bell ringer would discover the wondrous device missing; Frollo would surely and severely chastise Quasi. Orry recalled Uncle Philippe's stories of Claude Frollo's unusual relationship with the bell ringer, and how that forced bond became strained at times.

No, find a way to return home, Orry said silently, but I really want to explore this house, perhaps see Nadine.

Quickly he made his way down the darkened hallway back to the bedroom. Once there he tried to locate a candle or lantern. If he was to examine that device and find a way to send himself home, then he'd need light to see.
Where's the candles? Surely these New World people use them. How else can they see at night?

Suddenly the room illuminated with a brightness that almost resembled daylight. A barely audible gasp came from behind -- a young but very familiar voice at that. Orry wheel around only to look into the face he'd long to see more than anything.

"Nadine," he said in hushed tones; then he showed the girl the magical device. She recognized it at once.

"Ooh, Orry. Did Quasi let you use that?"
"No, I took it. He doesn't know it's missing."

The two kids looked at each other for a while; then, without further words, embraced each other. Two friends were at last reunited, but at what price? Nadine was fully aware of the consequences if her parents ever discovered Orry here.

"Orry, you're to hide in the basement. You can spend the night but you have to go home tomorrow. Don't worry, I'll show you how. I have one of those things too."

With that, Nadine Frollo, mindful that her parents were still outside chatting with Grandma, very stealthly made it to the basement with her unexpected, precious cargo. She brought Orry food and tried to explain to him the "truth" about her parents.

Orry Ouimet, within the span of eighteen hours, received an unforgettable crash course on life and culture in the 21st Century. However, as Nadine cautioned, he could never reveal his experiences. That silence cost Orry dearly once he returned home.


Copyright©2001 by FrolloFreak® aka "The FanFiction Diva"

Fanfic Collection #2
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