What REALLY Happened

Part 9

This is a multi-part series exposing the events behind the failed attempt on the life of Claude Frollo, Minister of Justice.


Jehan Frollo knocked the snow from his boots as he knocked on the door of the Chateau d'Arcy. Ah! Lovely morning! Even if it a tad cold. Wonder how Claude's holding up? She's very good for him...he's so much calmer when she's around...He should marry her...but I know my brother...he'd never give up his one true weakness...But, maybe, just maybe, he'd settle down...I like Danisha...

Cecile opened the door. "Cecile", Jehan smilingly greeted, "I hope Mme. d'Arcy didn't chastise you too severely, I mean, with you being in Paris all night."
Cecile only responded, "Oh, M. Jehan! How sad is this house!" Cecile tried to smile as she showed Jehan inside, but her tear-stained face belied her present mood.

"Cecile, why so sad? What has happened?", Jehan asked, who was now alarmed at the aspect that Marie-Louise or Andre may be ill, or worse.
"It happened last night...the boy...", her voice trailed off as she was overcome with grief. Jehan then told Celie to run along, then he entered the drawing room.

Gathered around were the d'Arcy family. Jehan scanned the room---Where are Jules and Renee? What's happened?

Andre d'Arcy extended his hand to Jehan, his voice was grave, but still he managed to greet Jehan warmly.
"Jehan Frollo, it is good to see you again. As you can see, our household has been turned upside-down. We had a visitor, an intruder, last night..."

Jehan looked puzzled. He asked, "An intruder? But why the long faces? None of you were hurt, were you?"

Solange du Champs-Marchand dabbed a tear from her eye as she told Jehan Frollo what had happened the night before. Jehan's face registered sheer shock when Solange told him of seeing a strange man wandering about the drawing room, how she summoned her uncle, how they surprised the man.
Then she told Jehan how Jules, who had seen the man enter the house, struck him down with a heavy shovel.

"Jules had no idea that the young man was his brother", said Andre, "and Solange's brother."

Jehan Frollo felt himself swoon; Hubert d'Arcy, Marie-Louise's and Andre's only child, helped Jehan into a chair. Jehan Frollo said nothing as Hubert handed him a cup of brandy. "Thank you", Jehan said at last. He sipped the brandy; he let Solange's words sink in, then it hit him!
Solange's father would be...Oh my God! ...Jean-Michel du Champs! Claude's old friend-turned-enemy? I had nearly forgotten that...Claude had told me everything...about Jean-Michel and Adele...the near-scandal...long ago...

"Where's Jules?", Jehan finally asked. "And where is Renee?"
Marie-Louise d'Arcy answered him in a sad voice, "My dear Jehan, Jules was so distraught at what he did. And poor Renee...she does not know--yet. I don't want the poor child upset."

Hubert told Jehan that Jules had left the d'Arcy estate not long after he had killed his brother. "It was our old caretaker who discovered Jules had left; all his belongings were gone."

"And to where did Jules go?", Jehan asked.

Andre replied, "That we do not know. Jules is a fine boy; we had hoped to...well...I'm sure he'll be all right. He is a tough lad, after all."
Andre d'Arcy then took a deep breath, glanced around at his family, and said with some finalty, "We must go on with our lives, pick up the pieces, so to speak. Solange needs to know the truth about her father -- my wife's brother. And Renee deserves to know the truth. After all, she is nearly part of the family."
He then asked Jehan, "I suppose you haven't run into Jean-Michel recently?" Jehan shook his head, saying, "I haven't seen him since...It's been over ten years." Andre then flatly said, "Well, perhaps it's all for the best then."

Swiftly changing the subject, Andre then said, with certain disgust, "Did your brother lose his head? He nearly burnt down all of Paris! What idiocy!"

Jehan Frollo immediately sprang to his feet, and defended his brother from this slur. "Andre, for your information, that man was NOT Claude Frollo, but an imposter!" Everyone in the room froze; no one said a word.
Hubert d'Arcy then asked in some disbelief, "Is this the truth? Are you saying the man who burned the miller's home, terrorized half the populace of Paris, only to plunge to his death, wasn't your brother? Impossible! For I was there! I saw him fall from Notre Dame, when the bellringer Quasimodo tried to rescue that gypsy girl."

Jehan was adamant. "I swear to you that that man was not my brother! Malus and others plotted to destroy Claude. They drugged him, imprisoned him in his own dungeon. But we rescued him."
Solange softly asked, "And who is 'we'?"
"Solange, you wouldn't remember her, as you were on your honeymoon", said Jehan, his anger abating. He turned to Marie-Louise and said, "Madame, you remember her. She's from the New World---Jacqueline's friend."

Mme. d'Arcy thought a bit, then she smiled and her eyes widened as soon as she recalled "Jacqueline and her friends from the New World. What was her name? Danisha! Oh she is a lovely thing! So sweet and kind. And there is Jacqueline's aunt -- what was her name?"
"Her name is Perle", Jehan replied. Mme. d'Arcy smiled. "Perle---delightful lady! I often think about her."

Jehan then explained how Malus and the others planned to kill Claude: An elaborate scheme that involved an imposter, and nearly destroyed not only Claude's life, but of those close to the Minister of Justice. Andre, still finding it hard to believe Jehan's revelation about Claude Frollo's brush with death, asked, "And just where is your brother? If he's not in Paris, then where?"

Jehan reassuredly replied, "He's with her, with Danisha, where I know he is safe."

******************************

"Good Morning, my love", Claude tenderly greeted as he kissed my lips. "Morning, sugarbritches. You look well-rested...So much better than a couple of days ago."

Claude laughed, and suddenly embraced me, and twirled me around as if we were at a sock-hop. "Claude Frollo, what has gotten into you? You almost got killed...you haven't slept, haven't eaten..."

I laughed as he caught me in his arms and voraciously kissed me. Oh Claude! I really thought I'd never see you again....I almost...I almost lost you for good...I don't know what or how I'd get along without you...

Claude continued to kiss me; I felt that familiar yearning building inside me. But I also felt a crying spell coming on, the first real tears shed ever since I realized my Claude was missing. I trembled, trying to hold back the tears, but I finally broke down.
"Darling...whatever is wrong?", Claude asked worriedly. I couldn't stop myself; the tears kept coming. I sobbed just like a small child. Claude led me to the couch, cradling and comforting me with kisses and tender words.
"Oh no...It has finally hit home for you...My darling...There, there, Nisha my dearest...It's all right, my love..Let it all out."

How sweet, how wonderful he is to me. I wish he didn't tell me the whole story surrounding Malus' paternity...that man, Jean-Michel was actually going to kill my Claude...and Quasi...I sure hope Renee nor Jules ever find out...Where is Malus, anyway? Never mind...I don't want to think about that now...Oh, Claude, you are so good to me...That's right...hold me some more...I love you so much.

Claude held me for what seemed like hours. I then suddenly realized that keeping him here with me was not accomplishing a thing.
"Claude, honey?"
"Yes, my love," he replied.
"Baby, you need to return to Paris, to your own time. I think it's time you face down this man, confront Malus, and their co-horts."

Claude agreed with me; however, "it may still be too risky---We'll need some help."
Claude got up and paced the room before he snapped his fingers. "Jehan! I can enlist him; he can help with...er...re-introducing me to the citizens of Paris."

He kissed me again, then said with a smile, "But not too soon, Danisha my love. I need to get my strength back, and your tender care will help accomplish just that."

Go to Part 10!M

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