Snapping off the radio, Leigh popped another cassette into the player.
This was the final tape of her session with Danisha Wood, the woman who
had earlier confessed of time traveling and being in love with a 15th Century
French magistrate. It was that relationship coupled with the transtemporal
excursions that aided in averting tragedy. Everything was on tape: the
child's kidnapping; the attendant and his female accomplice spreading vicious
lies; the death of the boy's uncle; the truth coming out in the end. Leigh
learned that Felise LaCourbe AKA Francesca Gaudet was the chief eyewitness
to the crime, and that the woman was nearly scared silent due the to the
delicate nature of her sexual orientation and the certain fallout that
would ensue if she was ever forced out of the closet.
Then there was the unexpected, nearly unfortunate fallout of that kidnapping. Danisha nearly put an end to her unique relationship with Claude Frollo, a man of the late 1400's. However, things did work out for best in the end. And there were final instructions for Leigh given by Claude Frollo himself. In time, Leigh would carry out that promise, but she had to listen one last time....
"It's OK, Danisha. That's why I'm here. When you called and wanted to talk – on and off the record of course – I felt it had to be unresolved feelings on your part...How's the relationship with Claude?"
"...Remember when I told you about how great everything was? I thought I had it all together but things happened so quickly..."
"...Like Orry Ouimet's kidnapping..."
"Yes...Who knew the repercussions...I'm still grieving – heck, we're all still mourning Julian's death. None of us had any idea the man had terminal cancer...Wow, going on one lung...Made me quit cold turkey for good..."
"...But getting back to your relationship with Claude...And where does Évrard Ouimet fit into your life now?"
"Claude and I patched things up...What he did to make up for all the hurt and pain was so sweet...As for Évrard...I don't know what to think...It's as if he forgot all about ever 'winning me over'...I think it has something to do with Jolley, my agent..."
"Huh? You mean...?"
"Oh Leigh, that is so weird! The moment Évrard laid eyes on Jolley he completely fell head over heels for her...Claude jokes about it, says Évrard is only following his best friend's lead..."
"Well...we'll come back to that later...You never told me why you decided NOT to move..."
"Must've been the fear of leaving everything familiar, or at least not wanting to uproot myself, not at this late stage of life. Besides, Nadine needs stability, and the move would've been too costly, especially since her parents are getting to know each other again...Hey! I thought you wanted to know more about your ancestor, Francesca Gaudet AKA Felise LaCourbe..."
"That was my next question, and this will be totally off the record...Nothing we say will go beyond these walls..."
"Good! Anyway, to follow up on Felise, I understand she is staying on in Paris...My sister has talked her into writing a few samples under another pseudonym...Felise, from last reports, is doing well, especially since Imbert and his accomplice are no longer a threat...I told you of the Ouimet family secret – that Orry is really Felise's son by Imbert...He raped her, you know...Felise has twin baby boys...one is given to her married brother, the other to Rixende Ouimet – Évrard's wife – to pass off as her own...The other boy, Guibert Gaudet, is the one who's later lineage would result in your mother's family tree... "
"Danisha, that is so incredible! What surprises me is that Évrard never learned the truth, I mean that Orry not being his son..."
"And he will NOT ever know!"
"Claude! Where did you come from? How did you get past the receptionist?"
"Isn't it obvious? When I arrived in your time, I landed right outside Dr. Gaudet's door. The receptionist is not at her desk, so..."
"Judge Frollo, I'm so glad you're here. Danisha and I are almost finished...."
"Not to worry, my dear Leigh – May I address you by your Christian name?....Actually I arrived in time, for you see, no one must ever tell Évrard the truth about Orry..."
"Judge Frollo, I take the doctor-patient relationship very seriously...No one will ever know..."
"Good! Now, I must pass on this bit of good news concerning your ancestor, Mlle Felise LaCourbe née Francesca Gaudet..."
"Ah yes, Nisha says Francesca lives in Paris circa 1495, and stays there until her death in 1515...She continues her craft as a poet and musician but still harbors that secret surrounding Orry Ouimet..."
"Leigh, if it's any comfort, Felise was not 'outted' at any time in her life. While few people suspected something, Felise was never caught in the act of doing something...hmmm...What's the word I'm looking for?"
"Thanks, Claude, I forget that in your time such things are considered unholy..."
"It's so amazing, Nisha, that you and your friends had the power to go back in time, and change lives forever. But tell me, and I'm addressing this question to you, Claude. What was your reaction when Nisha decided not to move to New York? And what does the future hold for the both of you?"
"My dear Leigh, I support Danisha 100% in all she does. When she intimated to me her decision to remain here at home instead of relocating, I was not surprised. Although it did put a snag in my special surprise for her..."
"Claude, I was deeply flattered, and grateful. But you know we can use the New York townhouse anytime; it's just a few hours away by plane...Where ever we call home – here, New York, Paris – we have each other, and Nadine, and that is all that matters...But that 'other' surprise! When Jacki did that digging after we..."
"Yes, she forwarded that bit of information via Solange Marchand, and that's what forced me to find ways to win you back. I now understand all you have said to me these years. But I never suspected that I would have...Of course in my time, such things are rarely held against us, but in yours it's still something to hide, and curiously, to be ashamed of...Ah well, no matter..."
"Claude and Danisha, I wish the best in all you do. But I'm curious...Nisha told me about how you dispatched that nosy reporter, and how Julian set up that scholarship in your name...What if someone questions the time travel again? The secret is safe with me although there are still people out there who may wonder why...Oh no!"
"What's wrong, Leigh?"
"I left the recorder on! I meant to turn it off when Claude came by but I was so engrossed in our conversation..."
"Er, Leigh, I know you tape all your sessions for you records, and that you use a few for case studies, but..."
"Dr. Gaudet, I feel something has to be done, or else those tapes could fall into the wrong hands. M. Wade, for example, if he was as resourceful as he claimed, would have resorted to trickery just to get hold of those tapes. It would be all he needed...Actually, to prevent such from ever occurring again, to maintain Jacqueline's time traveler secret, thus preserving the safety of all involved...Might I make a suggestion..."
"But Claude, I've never done such a thing. It's totally unprofessional, and unethical. To do that would mean...But for your sake, and for Nisha and Nadine, I'll do it...Lord knows I don't want reporters breathing down my neck, or a court order demanding I turn over these tapes to the government..."
"Thanks, Leigh. I know it compromises your professionalism, but..."
"No, Danisha. Let's just say that it's my way of saying Thank You for finding my French ancestor, thus proving my hunch that she was gay, that being gay is in the genes..."
"Say no more, Leigh. Do what you have to do..."
Danisha resettled on the couch next to Claude Frollo and lightly fingered his hair. So much she has given to this man, and he's returned that love tenfold. But what is next for our time-traveling lovers?
"Nisha, I believe it is time for us to settle down, stop this mad 'chasing bad men through time'. It is not good for Nadine as she needs both parents – alive and well!"
Danisha nodded in agreement. Yes, a decade of adventure and intrigue is enough – time to move on with life as a family. However...
"Claude, to tell the truth, I don't think I'm ready to settle down...I know you've proposed to me numerous times, and I've refused. I realize neither of us is the marrying kind, and marriage at this late stage in life is out of the question. So..."
Claude Frollo snuggled closer to his beloved, kissed her countless times, then assessed more than ten years of an unusual and unique relationship.
"My darling, long ago, I made my promise to you that I would never hurt you nor would I allow misfortune to befall you. I have kept my word all these years. But, Nisha, the proposal still stands, that is, if you want..."
"No, Claude, not now. May we allow things to settle? I mean, everything that happened: Orry's kidnapping, Felise's secrets, Philippe's death, Évrard's new love...I want to make you happy, Claude, and if marriage is what you want..."
"A holiday wedding! I can't think of a more appropriate time to tie
"Danisha, you know me well enough. I am not a man used to hearing the word 'No'. So, shall we contact your parents? Better yet, let us tell Nadine first..."
She pondered a bit then flew into his arms saying, "Claude Frollo, if
you aren't one determined man! Yes, yes, yes!"
Copyright©2001 by FrolloFreak® AKA "The FanFiction Diva"