Orry Ouimet, his expression the very picture of despair, sat at the upper story window that faced the street. He's to spend how many days up here, alone within his bedchamber? A week? That's the punishment his father Évrard Ouimet issued. Évrard was livid that Orry so nonchalantly strode through the door after a brief absence. During his amazing adventure, Orry had been missed; Imbert had informed Évrard of Orry's disappearance the following morning. Granted, Orry couldn't tell his father the entire truth, so he made up a plausible explanation. However the father was not swayed.
"You've been slipping off to see Nadine Frollo, haven't you?," Évrard
So Orry found himself confined to his chambers; he couldn't go anywhere unless accompanied by Clarice, Anseau, or Évrard. Oh, there was the attendant Imbert, but Orry just as soon stay indoors for the duration rather than be in that man's company.
The boy sighed as he watched Nadine and Cherie pass the house. He saw them pause momentarily, wondering if they just might come inside. To his surprise, Clarice Flambert had just arrived home and stopped to make nice conversation. Soon afterwards, several minutes after Nadine and her aunt resumed their journey, Clarice appeared in Orry's chambers.
This kindly woman, a stunning ebullient dark-haired, sepia-toned lady in her mid-thirties took pity on the boy. She said to him, "Orry, I know your father had forbidden such a thing, however he has yet to ban me from my social obligations. Why don't you accompany me to Nadine's home. You and she can play in the courtyard while her aunt and I visit."
An elated Orry didn't quite understand. "But, Tante Clarice. Won't Father...?"
"Do not worry about your father, Orry. He's presently attending to business; he will be gone for most of the day."
She flashed one of her famous smiles as she cautioned, "For your comfort,
dear little cousin, I've sent Imbert on several errands. He shan't return
for a while. So, do you want to see Nadine Frollo or not?"
In a flash, the boy threw on his cap and mantle; he made it to the top of the stairs before Clarice.
She smiled to herself knowing that she was about to reunite two special little people. Who knows? Although they are mere children, perhaps Orry and Nadine have already sown the seeds for future marriage. Clarice smiled again at the thought of what beautiful children these two would produce...
Of course, Orry had already seen Nadine several days earlier. That incredible
journey to Nadine's country -- the "New World" -- to the future at that.
Well, that was what Nadine told him, and she proved it! She showed him
several newspapers and calendars; then she showed him how things in her
Naturally, and since she was the only person in the house aware of Orry's sudden presence, Nadine felt it wise to secure the stowaway house guest in the basement. Even a child as young as Nadine knew to keep a secret; she never told her parents of a certain surprise visitor. At least the boy had a nice warm place to sleep, plenty of food and drink, and all those wonderful 21st Century toys with which to play. Orry was flabbergasted the moment Nadine showed him all the secrets; however, she cautioned him not to tell a soul.
"Quasi was a little mad that I showed you the piano and old-fashioned
record player last summer, Orry," she said to him while sneaking the boy
a clandestine snack consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That
was another thing Orry found so incredible -- the food. Odd yet delicious
things to eat, this peanut butter and lemonade.
Nadine showed Orry the whole basement, including the laundry facilities, the party room, the heating and cooling systems. Imagine Orry -- a child of the late 15th Century -- getting a crash course in almost everything 21st Century.
So this is how these people keep their homes cool in the summer and warm in winter. They don't scrub their clothes like we do; they simply put them in this machine. More things to show me, but Nadine says I'm never to touch them.
"You can't play the jukebox or mess with Mommy's bar," she warned. The
latter was self-explanatory: "Mommy says I'm way too little to drink strong
stuff. That's what she calls it. I have to wait 'til I'm grown, but Papa
will give me a little wine in water sometimes and Mommy doesn't mind that."
The former, the jukebox, Nadine was to play only with her parents present. It's a rule, she told Orry. "But I'll show you how to turn it on and keep the sound down. When I go to school in the morning you can play it."
Nadine went on to explain that her parents would be gone most of the day as well, "So you'll have the house all to yourself. Just stay down here and out of trouble, OK?"
The little girl played the perfect hostess to her unexpected, and very secret, guest. She never let on to her parents about Orry's sudden arrival nor did she allow herself to display "guilty conscience". That's a trait obviously inherited from her father: the ability to stay calm and cool during difficult situations.
So Orry Ouimet, a child of the late 1490s, spent the night and a good
part of the next morning in the confines of a comfy basement bedroom in
a 21st Century American home. No one ever discovered him because no one
had yet to come downstairs. That morning, Orry bided his time as Nadine
and her parents prepared to leave. Nadine was off to school (she had to
explain that to Orry) and her parents were to spend part of the day at
Nisha's downtown offices.
Actually, as Orry overheard, Danisha and Claude, after dropping off Nadine at school, would head to town for a leisurely breakfast and shopping trip. This was the pre-birthday surprise, as Nadine related, "But I'm not to tell Mommy. Papa made me promise because he's really going to buy a special present for her birthday."
After everyone was gone for the morning, Orry, heeding Nadine's cautions as to "touching things", took a little tour of this 21st Century home. What an experience! Orry, by virtue that his father reared him to be more open-minded than the average late 15th Century child, marveled at the many "New World" items. There was the miracle of running water, electric lights, central heating and cooling systems. Orry sat in the big window seat of the upper floor landing and watched with amazement the many strange vehicles traveling the busy thoroughfare.
What are they? How do they work?
Orry tried to remember what Nadine told him about "cars" and how they worked. But it was all too much for the boy from 15th Century France, so much that Orry decided to go home this very morning. Nadine was kind enough to show how to return to his own home, in his own century, but Orry was not ready to leave just yet. He wanted to explore this house more, so he decided to spend more time looking through Nadine's many picture books. Oh, what an education for this 15th Century lad! The most fantastic adventure ever experienced and he could never share it! He settled with a book on great American cities; Orry must've lost himself in the pictures.
It was now early afternoon and the boy nearly got caught. For who should
come home but Claude Frollo and Danisha. When Orry heard the voices coming
from downstairs, and when those voices grew closer, he panicked. He knew
that lest he be caught by Danisha and Frollo, he must depress that red
button and return home at once, but something made him pause. He could
hear them -- Danisha and Frollo -- just outside Nadine's bedroom door,
and they were about to enter. With little time to lose, Orry dove under
the bed just as the adults entered the room.
He could hear them talking about many things: Danisha's upcoming trip to New York City -- something about a possible change in career and the upcoming publication of a book she wrote.
What's the book about? "Dorothy Ducharme"! That's the woman Father almost married! The woman who Mlle Danisha thought she was...Now I understand...Father really did fall in love with a make-believe character...
He caught other snatches of conversation -- Nadine's upcoming visit to Paris; that pleased Orry greatly. Then he heard something else, a bit of news concerning a reporter who had sparked Frollo's wrath later that morning...then something about a boy named Guibert Gaudet, who lived in Lyon, in the Orry's time frame...and something about a man named Julian...
Then the inevitable. Orry very cautiously peered out as Nisha laid out new clothes on her daughter's bed. He could see Claude Frollo, who wore all black, yet differently styled clothing, placing new books on the shelf. The pair's conversation then shifted to a more earnest subject: their relationship. Yes, Orry heard it all -- Nisha's renewed commitment with Frollo; the fire and sparkle had rekindled. Orry also heard his father's name mentioned again, this time it was something rather disturbing.
"Danisha," Claude Frollo said as the pair exited the room, "I've asked Jacqueline and Antoine to run a background check on Évrard Ouimet, from 1495 onwards. My love, if the man had indeed married 'Dottie Ducharme' ..."
What did Frollo mean by "run a background check" on Orry's father? What
has Évrard Ouimet done, and what might have happened if "Dottie"
indeed became Madame Ouimet?
Thank goodness an even further confused Orry had the good sense to scramble out from under that bed soon after. Grabbing that device, he immediately pressed that red button. Yes, return home, sneak back to the bell tower to replace this thing. Then go home...Father may be angry but I don't care...
Orry Ouimet still couldn't get those memories out of his head the moment he and Clarice strolled through Mlle Danisha's elegant Parisian home. This would be Orry's first visit without the sneaking and lying. At least with his father and attendant away, Orry could relax and enjoy a pleasant afternoon with Nadine. She was one of his true friends in all of Paris and he intensely valued that friendship despite his father's forbidding. The boy was delighted with Nadine's Aunt Cherie, a petite bronzed beauty who boasted a sharp mind and kind heart. Orry was also glad that Cherie invited Felise LaCourbe today for he admired her as well. Mlle LaCourbe was a poet from Toulon and also of great beauty. He often wondered what might have happened if his father had met Felise instead of "Dottie".
Perhaps they'd be married by now, and I would have a new mother...
Pushing those thoughts from his mind, Orry concentrated on Nadine, who
was kind enough to teach him a new game. "Aunt Cherie?," she politely asked
before the pair departed for the courtyard. "Is it all right if I show
Orry how to play marbles?"
Cherie Wood, utterly breathtaking in her circa 1495 dark gray velvet gown with fur-trimmed collar and cuffs, graciously granted such permission, saying warningly, "Don't play 'for keeps.' And don't lose those marbles; some of those belonged to your grandfather."
Hiding within the dark recesses of the narrow street, Fabrisse and Imbert
watched as a little Gypsy girl paused outside the stone wall that separated
the courtyard from the street. She peered through the wrought iron gate.
What was she watching? What was on the other side of that wall that commanded
Then Fabrisse and Imbert heard the child's question: "Can I play?" Another child on the other side obliged, cautiously allowing the Gypsy girl entrance. Imbert turned to Fabrisse, asking, "Who is that child?"
The aging prostitute answered without hesitation: "That, my dear Imbert,
is Katerina, daughter of la Esmeralda."
"La Esmeralda? That dancer who, among others, nearly caused Claude Frollo's undoing so many years ago?"
"The very one!"
The attendant stroked his chin; his fingers swept through dull dishwater blond hair. Suddenly he snapped his fingers, as if a brilliant idea came to him. "That's it, Fabrisse! If we plan this right then...Why not? The blame would not be on us, but on them! I'll need your help more than ever."
Fabrisse looked rather puzzled but soon found herself back at that remote
table at La Belle d'Avignon, hammering out the final details
for a plot that went haywire from the beginning.
To Chapter Five!
Copyright©2001 by FrolloFreak®/Ms. Diva