Here is a link to the French to English translations I have compiled for your reading aid.
All week had been warm and sunny, but the fog that snuck in overnight seemed to fit the sourness in Rose’s throat better. She felt uncomfortable with the bright sun beating on her skin when inside she felt so dark from the stale aftertaste of her words that resided in her mouth. She had gotten up early and done the shopping just as clandestinely as she had been since her family left, then slipped out again with her book and returned to the pear tree. Now that she was here, she was having trouble keeping her mind off her family and in prison au Château d’If with Edmond Dantès. In frustration she slammed the book closed.
“Ho! What did Dantès ever do to you?”
“Phillippe!” She looked up, startled. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to know that something’s bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?”
He sat down next to her and steadied his gaze right into hers. His eyes were so sincere that they seemed to contradict the self-assured person he was two weeks ago. It caught her off guard. “Should you talk about it?”
“Now you know I’m not going to believe that. I just watched you practically throw Le Comte de Monte-Cristo in frustration. Talk to me. I’m a surprisingly good listener.”
“Just some family issues.” She turned away, feeling little and intimidated.
“I know how that can be. Sometimes I get so frustrated with my family but I don’t want to do anything rash so I take some times to myself and get away from everything until I feel better. I don’t want to say something I’ll regret.”
His words brought back the sourness to her tongue. Ashamed, she folded her arms to hug herself and brought her knees up to her chest.
“Oh, that’s what this is. You already said the rash words. Now you’re dealing with the regret.”
“Well, it’s not like I can just get away from the problem. I am the problem. So now I’m stuck here with my rash words and regrets gnawing away at me.”
“You don’t have to be. You can still take some time away.”
“I can’t just leave. I have a job here. Besides, I wouldn’t get very far walking.”
“Why would you have to walk anywhere? I’m here.”
“You’re going to carry me?”
He laughed, raising an eyebrow. “Vraiment? How do you think I get here? You are getting lost in this older way of living that Domfront seems to be enveloped in. I have a car, Rose. Come on, we’ll only be gone for a little bit.”
She shook her head. “I can’t leave.”
“Why not? What else do you have to do all day besides making Dantès feel guilty for more stuff he didn’t do?”
“Well, nothing. Today’s my day off.”
“Then let me take you away for just a little bit so you can clear your mind. You need to get away from here in order to think straight, otherwise you’re just going to keep beating yourself up—and your book.”
She laughed a little.
“Allons-y.” He stood up and held out a hand to help her up.
She tugged on her earlobe and avoided his eye contact. “I’ve never been outside of Domfront before.”
He looked at his watch. It was almost midi. “We don’t have to go very far. Let me take you out to lunch. I know a place only about quinze minutes from here.”
Apprehensively she accepted his hand and he led her to his car. “No.” She stopped and stared at his black and red Bugatti Veyron, eyes popping out of her head. “You didn’t tell me you were rich.”
Suddenly self-conscious about his wealth, he shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yeah...well, my parents are. Is that okay with you?” He didn’t want to scare her off, and for the first time he worried that his car was too much.
“I’ve never seen something so expensive in my life. Are you sure you want me anywhere near this thing?” She had to laugh when she saw how anxious he looked. “Am I allowed to touch anything?”
Seeing her relax a little helped ease his stress. “I’ll lay down a towel on your seat just to be safe.” He couldn’t help but laugh at how taken aback she was. “I was kidding! You’re fine. I’ve had this car for a while so I don’t really care anymore. My dad is kind of a snob about cars so he insisted we get something ridiculous like this. On a serious note, you aren’t allowed to touch the door handles because only I will open your doors.”
“You don’t have to do that. That’s ridiculous.”
“I insist. See, my mother taught me this thing called manners and I promised I would use them.” He opened her door with a flourish. “Mademoiselle.”
She rolled her eyes but cautiously sat down on the plush leather seat. It was certainly nicer than anything she had ever seen, let alone been allowed to sit on. She had been taught to not touch things she couldn’t afford, so this was a new experience. Phillippe must be majorly rich to have something this nice.
He started the car and headed off. The farther they drove, the tenser she grew. He noticed that she started to bite her lip. “Relax, Rose. It’s not like I’m going to kidnap you or murder you. How fun would that be? Then I’d have no one to help get my mind off my family.”
“That’s not why I’m nervous, but maybe it should be. I barely know you.”
“Well you know my name and you know that I’m fabulously wealthy. What more do you need to know?”
She laughed, but only enough to disturb the ball of nervousness in her belly. “I’ve never been outside of Domfront so this is scary.”
“Why do you think the world is such a scary place?”
“Because...” Because why? He actually had a valid point. She had read so many times about all the cities and regions of France. She knew so many things about the world, so what scared her?
They finally reached a large white building with vines growing up the walls and windows spotting the wall. He held open her door and helped her out of the car. He also insisted on opening the door to the restaurant, Auberge de la Mine. It was very grand inside, and definitely nicer than any place Rose had ever been. It smelled absolutely delicious too. She watched a waitress bring out a tray of chocolate desserts and sorbets for a small group. Merveilleux.
“Rose, viens.” Phillippe had already talked to the hostess who was leading them to a table. He took her arm and guided her to a seat, which he also pulled out for her. She hardly paid attention as they were told of the specialties, so Phillippe ordered for her after making sure she wasn’t picky. She did remember to order water after Phillippe quickly turned down wine. Engrossed by the sights of the meals around her, she didn’t even notice when their own food came. Entrée, viande, fromage, et dessert. Four courses was a lot of food.
“Phillippe, this is too much.”
“Non! This is my treat. I needed to get away as much as you did, so please just enjoy it.” He got excited at the sight of her so happy. He could tell she was really enjoying herself and the food. She had probably never been somewhere this expensive and he started to get eager to take her to do other things she had never done before.
“So what does your family do so you can afford all this?”
“It’s an old family business that my father now runs.”
“And you don’t want to be stuck following in his footsteps?”
“What? Non! I love the family business. It’s like a distant relative you can’t help but love unconditionally. I’m honored to take control when the time comes. There are...other stipulations from my parents that I need a break from. I don’t really like thinking about it, but I’ll do anything for the business.” He sighed at how frustratingly true those words were. He really would do anything to save the winery. “What about you? What made you so frustrated that prevented you from reading?”
“My family came to visit last week. I never get to see them. My sisters grew up without me and I have no idea what they are like. I don’t even know what my dad is doing for work right now. I got upset because I don’t feel like part of the family and I said some mean things. The worst part is that I never apologized. I just need to keep myself working in my aunts’ shop so my parents can have the money.”
“Well I think working is a good way to show them that you are sorry and you still care.” He smiled at her as they silently reached a mutual agreement to not mention their families again. “Are you enjoying your food?”
“How could anyone not enjoy this? I’ve never tasted anything so delicious.”
“Just wait for dessert.”
Her eyes lit up when her slice of chocolate gâteau arrived. It even had frensh strawberries on top.
He didn’t have to ask if she enjoyed the chocolate. Her eyes reflected everything she felt, just like the moon relects the sunlight. They really were the color of the moon on a clear night, so gray and bright, but they would get darker when she was feeling bad like she had earlier. His attention was taken away from her by the check.
“Phillippe, how much did it cost?”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s my treat.”
“Just let me see it.”
“Absolutely no. It isn’t gentlemanly of me to let you think about the check.”
“You can’t pay for all of this.”
“I always pay for all of my dates.”
“This isn’t a date!”
“Non!” She didn’t know why she was so adamant about that.
“Okay but you still can’t see how much it cost.”
She sighted, but wasn’t really frustrated, although the mention of him going on other dates did make her feel strange.
After the check was paid, he escorted her back to the car and drove back to Domfront. “Now you can’t say you’ve never left Domfront, so next time will be easier.”
“Next time you need to get away for a bit.”
“What makes you think they’ll be a next time?”
“I’ll answer that next time.”
She laughed as he roared off in his fancy car. She walked back to her pear tree and took out her book. It really had been a nice lunch. She felt content for the first time in a week. She felt at peace when she thought of her sisters, and she knew she could continue to work happily for her aunts. She found it easy to continue reading. Phillippe had been right. Taking a break from her weekly routine had really helped. She bit her lip to fight off the smile that he brought to her face.