Here is a link to the French to English translations I have compiled for your reading aid.
While her parents hadn’t been able to stay very long, they allowed Vi and Dai to spend the night with Rose in Domfront. Dai was ecstatic. She loved Rose and she loved Domfront. Then again, Rose had a hard time coming up with something Dai didn’t love. Vi was less excited, but she still loved her older sister enough to put up with it for the night. After they had unloaded their bags into the apartment, they headed out for the evening. Leah had provided Rose with money to treat the girls out for dinner, so she took them out to her favorite restaurant, la crêperie.
They ordered a variety of crêpes, both fruit filled and meat filled, and they all ate off each other’s plates like sisters often do. Rose even allowed Vi to order an alcoholic drink. She was only about a year away from the drinking age, and they didn’t even ask when she ordered it. Besides, she just couldn’t buy it at that young of an age and Rose was the one who was paying.
After dinner they went window-shopping through town, with Dai and Vi dragging her into shops to try on ridiculous clothes and shoes they would never want even if they could afford them. She was caught off guard by the revealing tops and dresses her sisters picked out. At one point, Dai made her try on flowered skinny jeans that made her feel self-conscious about her legs. Rose preferred quieter clothing. They even went into a hat shop and tried on extravagant hats that their ancestors might have worn at one point in the 1900s. It was so much fun to be with her sisters. She couldn’t express how wonderful it felt to spend time with them and feel like part of the family. Having no friends around her age made these times that much more special. Eventually all the shops closed and hey had to head home. They changed into their pajamas and sat on the floor in a circle talking and playing with each other’s hair.
While Dai was braiding Rose’s long waves, she asked, “How is the shop doing?”
“As good as it can. The summer season is over, so things seem slow, but really summer was super busy.”
“Did you meet any cute boys over the summer?”
“Oh, Dai, you are such a boy crazy teenager.”
Vi chimed in from her spot brushing Dai’s short vanilla hair. “Actually Dai has a very solid crush on one boy in particular.”
“Too bad he’s seven years older than me.” She giggled.
“Wow. Only you would have your heart set on someone so much older than you.” Rose laughed with her sister.
“Have you met the boys my age? Fourteen year olds are so immature. Besides, Mama et Papa have him set aside for Vi.”
Vi scoffed. “That’s never going to happen though. I wish they would just give up on that. Anyway, I never told you about Paul.”
“Ooh, Paul?” Rose teased.
“I met him when I went out for lunch today. He’s a drummer in a band.”
“Wait, weren’t you on a lunch date?” Dai couldn’t stop laughing.
“Yeah, a date set up by Mama et Papa. That’s not even remotely romantic. Besides, he just ignored me the entire time. I don’t know what you see in him.”
“I don’t know what you don’t! Il est très beau!”
“Ouai, well he’s also weird. He thinks he’s so clever but he doesn’t have a real sense of humor and he never even listens to anything I say. I’m not going on another date with him.”
“Is he rich?” Rose asked.
“Loaded.” Dai replied.
“Then what more do you need?”
“He’s just not for me. I want to marry rich, but I also want to marry someone who genuinely worked for his money than someone who was handed fabulous wealth because he was born into a family with a certain last name.”
“Like Paul the drummer?” Dai interjected, still giggling.
“I bet he has a diamond stud in his ear.” Rose laughed along with Dai.
“Or a hoop earring?”
“Maybe he had a chain dangling from his belt loops!”
“No! He must have been wearing suspenders, but he left them hanging instead of actually wearing them.”
“Did he have long, unwashed hair?”
“Long, unwashed, black hair?”
Vi rolled her eyes in irritation with the escalation of their laughter. “Tayez-vous! You guys don’t know him like I do.”
“And how long exactly did you spend basking in Paul’s presence today?” Rose retorted.
“Two minutes?” Dai guessed.
“It was seven minutes, actually.” Vi responded.
“Must be true love.” Rose said, nodding gravely at Dai before bursting out into giggles again.
“Please, Rose. And exactly how many single men have you talked with in the past month?”
“What’s his name? What’s his favorite color? Is it true love?” Dai interjected, her eyes as blue as the English Channel laughing along.
“Definitely not true love. Sorry, Dai.”
“So you can be definitive of whether it’s true love or not, but I can’t?” Vi raised her eyebrows disapprovingly.
“D’accord, you got me there. But if next time you come to visit you start going on about an Albert or a Dimitri, you have to buy me my favorite Richart chocolate bar.”
“And if in the future you admit that you were wrong about that single man you met and you two fall madly in love, you have to buy me my favorite Richart chocolate bar. Deal?”
Dai chimed in, “And if I end up with the man destined for Vi, then you both have to buy me my favorite Richart chocolate bar!”
All three laughed as Vi and Rose agreed to the deal.
The next morning, all three sisters were exhausted after staying up late. Rose did not want her sisters to leave, but she was excited to see her parents again. She was planning on asking about Vi working in the shop again because she really wanted to be closer to her sisters. When she had mentioned it the night before, Vi had brushed it off while Dai changed the subject. She was hoping her parents would listen to her this time.
When they arrived that afternoon, Rose found herself losing her determination. She didn’t want to get shut down again. Sometimes it really bothered her that she was the random outcast of the family. Not that she felt her family didn’t love her, but she just didn’t always fit in with her sisters or her parents. Convincing herself that she was just imagining things, she hugged both her parents. “How long are you staying?”
“No longer than an hour. We have to get back fairly soon.” Leah hugged her daughter. “Did you girls have fun?”
“Oui, Mama!” Dai said before yawning. “We might have stayed up too late though.”
“But it was worth it. We had fun.” Vi added.
“I’m glad you had fun, Vi.” Rose decided to continue before she lost her nerve. “I still think you should stay here with me and work in the shop.”
“Rose, we’ve talked about this. Vi has to stay and finish school. Then we might discuss things further.” Leah’s tone was an odd mix of warning and anxiety.
“Non, Rose. This discussion is over.”
“Besides, Rose, there are not cute boys here anyway.” Vi winked and squeezed her older sister’s hand.
“No drummers named Paul.” Dai corrected.
All three sisters giggled at the reference to the previous night, much to the confusion of their parents.
“Alright girls, you stay here in the shop while we go talk with your aunts in the back.” Leah left with Stéfan following behind.
The girls were left alone in the modest shop. Dai and Vi tiredly wandered through the racks of clothing while Rose sat on the counter staring out the big window at the sun reflecting off the cobblestone street outside. “I still don’t understand why you don’t just move here. Life is wonderful here, and cheap.”
“Rose, Mama et Papa are going to keep doing whatever they want to do. Sometimes it’s best not to question them too much.” Vi responded softly.
“It just doesn’t make sense.”
“It doesn’t have to make sense for you, Rose.” Vi’s voice started to climb. “You act like you know so much about our situation, but you don’t even know what life is like at home. You just don’t understand. Things are so much more complicated that you know. You don’t see the things they have done for you because your head is so caught up in this ridiculous, ancient town in the middle of nowhere. Maybe if you lived at home and knew what they knew you’d have a right to say and act like you know everything, but you don’t know everything, Rose. Just leave it be.”
“I’d love to live with you guys if you’d ever let me. I’d gladly offer better advice if anyone would let me know what was happening at home. Maybe if I was ever a part of your family, things would be different!”
“Rose, I didn’t mean it.” Vi instantly regretted her words as she watched the tear slide down Rose’s cheek.
Both parents came into the shop when they heard the sounds of shouting. “Is everything okay?” Leah asked, noticing Rose’s tear, Vi biting her lip, and Dai’s stunned silence.
“C’est très bien, Mama.” Rose’s voice seemed extra quiet.
“Chère,” Leah tried to put an arm around her daughter, but she pushed it off.
“Au revoir.” She whispered as she ran out of the store, another tear falling. Taking the back route to her favorite spot, she curled up under the pear tree at the back of le château. The bitterness of her own words filled her gut, making her feel worse than just thinking it had felt. She was a horrible person for treating her family like that. She loved them, but she missed them so much. She had missed out on everything. Her sisters had grown up without her. Every time they came to visit, she realized how well Vi and Dai knew each other, while she had no idea what they were really like. Shopping had only revealed how they were from her. Reminding herself how much they meant to her, she resolved herself to keep her opinions to herself. She had a part to play to help her family and she needed to keep at it. Nothing could get in the way of helping her family anymore, even if that meant not knowing her family.