Oh, and as promised, here is the link to the updated French to English translations. http://alysonbowen.blogspot.com/2014/05/french-to-english-translations.html#.U5YboBZcMpA
He felt his head pounding along with the ridiculously loud bass that was blasting throughout the entire De La Fontaine mansion. Vi had gone all out for her birthday. Loud music, flashing lights, and alcohol abounded as frequently as the drunk jeunes he had never met before and wondered if Vi actually could name all these people. After watching her down another shot of Glann ar Mor whiskey, he realized she probably didn’t even know her own name.
The party had only been going on for an hour and Phillippe was ready to go home. He had to stay for at least another hour to satisfy his father, or more likely lessen the severity of the lecture he had surely planned. It would not go over well when his father found out that Vi had refused to even acknowledge his presence. Surrounded constantly by a wall of people, she danced away. Tired of watching the drunk dancing, he crept out the back door onto the veranda for some air that didn’t reek of alcohol.
“Phillippe, I didn’t realize you were still here.” Dai was seated on une chaise, overlooking the vineyard.
“Not enjoying la fête?” He pulled up une autre chaise next to hers.
“This isn’t really my kind of fête. I don’t really know any of Vi’s friends from lycée, so I have no one to talk to.”
“Well I’m here so you can talk to me.”
As she looked at him, her small pink lips pushed her pink cheeks up into a smile.
“Do you want something to drink?”
“I’ll pass on the alcohol, but I think ma mère made her buy some Lorina too. Grenade, s’il te plait.”
He nodded and headed back into the chaos, forcing his way through crowds of dancers to grab two Lorina sodas, one grenade and one citronnade. After finally making it back outside, he stopped and watched Dai for a little bit. Her head was down, her short hair falling in her face as she scribbled out a sketch onto a scrap of paper in her lap. Her bright hair seemed to glow in the light of the stars. It was the color of the sun, but not the bright yellow color usually associated with the sun. No, Dai’s hair was not yellow. It was the actual color the sun appeared when looking up into the sky. It was the color of the stars.
Not wanting to interrupt her drawing, he sat and watched for a little longer. She seemed to be drawing three girls together. She was finishing up the face on the second when she glanced up at him, embarrassed, and tucked away the drawing. She took her soda and they sipped in silence, well as silent as it could get with the thundering music from inside.
“So who were you drawing? I could tell the first one was you. Was the second one Vi?”
She nodded and took another sip of her drink.
“Was the third one Rose?”
She nodded again and turned her head away, but not before Phillippe saw the storm brewing in her eyes the reminded him of the waves at the beach on a cloudy day from when he was a child.
“It’s always hard to lose a sibling, especially one you never got to know. You can’t help but wonder how life would be different if that other person was there in your life.”
Dai put a hand on his arm. “I forgot that ta mère had a miscarriage. You were supposed to have a younger brother.
“Or sister. It was too early to tell.” He sighed, then continued. “Oh, how things would be different if I had a sibling to take away some of the attention of mes parents. It’s impossible to not think about. Or, how different life would be if Rose were still alive. I wouldn’t be at this party because I wouldn’t have to be with Vi. I might already be married, that is if Rose liked me more than Vi does.”
Dai laughed. “Vi really doesn’t want to date you.”
“Oh, je sais. That’s why I haven’t been able to see her all night. You know that she didn’t send me an actual invitation. Mon père overheard about her party and told ta mère to expect me.”
“Well I didn’t get one either. I just live here.” She laughed.
“As her sister, she must be nice to you, vraiment?”
“Of course she’s nice to me. I just don’t always get along with her friends.” They both glanced inside at the crowds of boisterously intoxicated people.
“Does she really know that many people?”
“I’m sure she does. Vi is very friendly.”
“I guess that’s one way to put it.”
“How would you put it?”
“Je ne sais pas. I don’t understand how she can have actual relationships with all these people. Can one person have that many friends? I think I would explode.”
“You don’t have to know everything about a person to be their friend.”
“Non, but you should know more than their name. How would you even spend time with that many people? There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
“You don’t spend time with me anymore. Are we no longer friends?”
“Dai, that’s not what I meant. I know a lot about you. Your favorite color is yellow. You love to draw. Even through drawing is your favorite thing, and quite frankly you’re fantastic at it, you don’t want to make a career out of it. You want to move to Los Angeles and start a charity, but you haven’t decided what kind of a charity it will be because you move through ideas faster than you can write them down. You’ve only had one boyfriend, mais il y a six mois he broke your heart and left you for Dominique, one of your closest friends. You haven’t talked to either of them since. Don’t forget that I brought you ice cream and watched Amélie et Paris, Je t’Aime with you multiple times that weekend. Of course we spend time together. Dai, you are more than a friend. You are family.”
“Merci, Phillippe. But what about Vi?”
“I don’t know anything about her except that apparently she likes tout le monde except me.”
“Ce n’est pas vrai. She likes you.”
“Not the way she’s supposed to. We’re supposed to be in love so we can get married, and instead she ignores me because she’s too busy throwing herself on every other homme she meets.”
“That’s not very nice, Phillippe.”
“Non, Dai. What isn’t very nice is her ignoreing me and treating me comme des déchets every time I’m with her. Remember Paul? She went out with him while on a date with me! Then she ignored me for a week, and have you ever seen him since?”
“Phillippe, it isn’t like that. Can you imagine being promised to a person from before you were born? She has always been told who she would marry and what she would do for the rest of her life. She doesn’t get to experience life like a normal human being. She doesn’t get to date or deal with heartbreak like I have. This isn’t the 14e siècle, yet she’s being told who to marry. That’s all of her freedom taken away.”
“You think it’s easy for me? I’m in the same situation. I don’t have any say in my life either. At least I’m not out dating other girls because I know what I’m supposed to do. I chose to accept that and try to make it work. She’s making it so difficult for me.”
“Did you know that a few years ago she asked if she could study music at Oxford but was told she couldn’t because she had to stay here and marry you? She promised not to date anyone else if the wedding could be put on hold until she had her degree. Mes parents adamantly refused, and ever since then she’s been acting like this!” She gestured to her sister wearing the low-necked, short skirted navy dress as she danced on the table next to two young men who were uncomfortably close to her.
Phillipe didn’t know how to take in that new information about Vi. It’s true that Vi had definitely gotten worse and ruder in the past couple of years, but he was going through the same situation as her and he didn’t handle it that way. “Dai, I have to go. It was nice talking to you.”
After driving all the way home, he decided to postpone the inevitable confrontation from his father so he snuck around the side of the house to Audrée’s garden and climbed up one of the trellises. He crept along the roof until he reached his bedroom window where he snuck in. His mind circled around itself as he tried to sort through what Dai had told him.
On one hand he wanted to feel bad for Vi being denied so much, but at the same time he was going through exactly the same situation and was trying to make the best of it instead of the worst. She was using him as an excuse to act completely irrationally. He had worked so hard and given up so much because of her. He had always wanted to travel. He wanted to take in world culture. He wanted to live on his own and see how he survived. Most importantly though, he wanted to get a business degree from HEC Paris. Instead he was trapped at home with almost nothing to do while he waited for her to get old enough to marry.
She was unbelievable. How was this marriage supposed to last if they fought worse than married couples did before they were even engaged? Yet he knew he had to keep at it for his parents, her parents, and both wineries. No matter what she did, he would put up with it and keep trying.