Here's the link to the translations!
After an uneventful Wednesday, Rose was laying in bed reading Le Collier de la Reine when her cell phone rang. Because she rarely used it, she had to dig it out of her purse. When she found it, she didn’t recognize the number but answered it anyway. “Allô?”
“Excusez-moi, mademoiselle, but can you tell me what happened on 6 Juin, 1944?”
“Just answer the question.”
“Did you know that it has been almost 70 ans since le jour J?”
“Oui, and again I ask, pourqoui?”
“Oh, no reason. À Vendredi!” And then he hung up, leaving her absolutely confused until Vendredi came. Dahlia had joined her everyday in the shop since Florian’s departure, so that morning they headed out together for le marché.
While they crossed items off the grocery list, Dahlia informed her all about the current proceedings of the Coupe de Monde de Rugby League. Throughout the past week, Rose had discovered just how obsessed Dahlia was with sports. Apparently the semi-finals were happening tomorrow and Australia needed to redeem themselves, or else. She didn’t understand the fascination with watching men injure each other over a ball, but she enjoyed not having to talk while Dahlia enjoyed not stopping for breath. With all the groceries checked off her list, they headed back to put everything away before returning to Dahlia’s apartment.
As they walked throught the brisk, almost winter air, Dahlia’s rant faded out long enough for Rose to slip in a thought that had found its way back to the front of her mind after the past two months. “Do you find it strange that Phillippe is pushing so hard to be my friend? We ran into each other once by chance, but the rest of the time he keeps coming around purposefully. Isn’t that odd?”
“Non, I think it’s adorable!” She squealed, her attitude suddenly the complete opposite from the aggression that sports brought on.
“You don’t find it weird in any way that he keeps doing these things for me? I barely know him, yet he keeps coming back into my life and changing things around. Before him I had never even left Domfront.”
“Well how would I leave? I don’t know how to drive, and there is no other way out of this tiny town. I guess you could walk, but you wouldn’t get very far. And then he comes in, a total stranger, and I just went with him without even questioning it. Shouldn’t that be slightly concerning?”
“You sound like you want it to be concerning. It seems like you found a really nice guy and a really good friend, yet all you care about is finding a reason to distrust him. Why can’t you just enjoy it?”
“Because that’s not how things happen.” She started to tug on her earlobe.
“Why not? Have you ever met a bad person?” They stopped walking and Dahlia’s honey-brown eyes seemed deeper than normal, trouble swirling just beneath the surface. “Well have you? Someone who truly doesn’t like others and wants to cause them suffering?” Dahlia placed a hand on Rose’s arm, making her uncomfortable. “There are truly bad people in this world who do terrible things for reasons that make no sense. These people do not make friends with people like you and me. Phillippe is just a normal person who just wants to do fun things with you.” Her eyes finally softened and she released her friend’s arm. “Rose, men like Phillippe only do these kinds of things for women like you for one reason.”
Trying to lighten the mood she responded, “He wants me to trust him so he can lure me away and kill me?”
Dahlia’s straight face cracked and laughter leaked out. “You are so naïve. He’s in love with you.”
Rose stared at Dahlia for a second and then laughed in response. “You’re so funny.”
“I wasn’t kidding. He is!”
“That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!” As they resumed walking, Dahlia kept insisting while Rose kept denying. Phillippe didn’t have feelings for her. That was impossible. If he had feelings for her then he’d do some grand gesture for her, or at least he’d try and do something romantic like hold her hand or put his arm around her. Phillippe had always kept a respectful distance. Their friendship had never been even the slightest bit romantic. Do people really do things for others the way Phillippe did things for her?
“Speaking of...” Dahlia trailed off when she saw Phillippe lounging against the wall between La Mine and la Pâtisserie.
“He called me on Mercredi.” She blurted out.
“And you didn’t tell me?”
“It was really strange. He asked me a question and then hung up. I didn’t know what to think.”
“Well, at least go have some fun with him. If I had a man doing all those things for me, I wouldn’t question it. You don’t know how long this will last, but you’ve had fun so far. Just enjoy it. He won’t be doing this forever.”
Rose nodded, her nervousness bubbling back up so strongly she had to fight the urge to burp.
“Well, I have to go. Au revoir! Salut, Phillippe!” She smiled and waved before running off, leaving Rose feeling more uncomfortable than she thought was possible.
“Salut, Rose.” He smiled at her in his usual, perfectly confident way.
His confidence made her unease even more uneasy. “Comment ça va?”
“Oui, ça va, if that can mean I need a break from home.”
“Life is rough for the rich.” She nodded sympathetically, feeling more at ease when he laughed.
“I’m not here to complain to you. I’m ready to take you on another adventure. Are you ready?”
“Ouai. Where are we going?”
“Now Rose,” He offered his arm to her, “you know that’s not how this works.”
Tucking away her earlier concerns, she accepted his arm and they walked together to his car where she slipped into the plush seat once more. Without realizing it, she knew exactly where to fit her purse so her feet could stretch out enough to prevent her knees from getting stiff.
As Phillippe started the car, he pulled out his phone and plugged it into the stereo. “I downloaded a ton of music for you.” Then he drove off to the unknown destination, explaining all about the variety of music he was introducing her to. There were a lot of different styles, many of which caused her to crinkle her nose in dislike and shake her head. Every time she did that he would laugh and change the song, constantly watching for her reactions.
After they had been in the car for over an hour, Rose finally asked, “Are we almost there?” And she started to fidget in her seat, tugging on her earlobe.
“We’re almost there. Je promis. Don’t take off your ear.” He reached over and took her wrist in his hand, his fingers brushing her palm. “I’m going to hold this until you stop being so nervous.”
That, of course, made her even more nervous and she started to bite her lip, not quote sure how to respond. “Can I at least ask how much farther?”
He shrugged. “Just under a half hour.” When he saw how she looked out the window, his guilt of pushing her comfort too far kicked in and he released her wrist. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I’m nervous, but I’m also excited.”
“That’s what I like to hear.” He proceeded to turn on some songs by Phoenix, knowing it would distract her and make the rest of the drive easier.
When they arrived, Rose’s excitement won over her uneasiness. “Le Musée Mémorial de la Battaille de Normandie?”
He nodded as he held open her door and gave her a hand getting out of the car. “I know how history intrigues you, so I thought it would be a fun stop. You can’t live your entire life in Normandie and not visit le Musée.”
“I find le jour J and the whole invasion of Normandie fascinating. I’ve read quite a few books about it.”
He offered up his arm, which she accepted, recounting details of the battles that freed France and turned the tide of la deuxième Guerre Mondiale. They joined up with a larger group for their tour of le Musée, causing Rose’s enthusiasm to drop slightly, but not enough.
When the tour concluded, Rose was silent as he led her back to the car. After a minute of driving, she finally spoke. “War is such a horrible thing. I can’t imagine knowing anyone who is so unhappy that they would go out of their way to harm others. Who would do that?”
“Truly twisted, dark souls who have gone too far to redeem themselves. He shivered at the thought of the glowing green eyes that haunted his childhood nightmares.
The sudden intensity in his face reminded her of her earlier conversation with Dahlia. All her life she had heard her aunts talk about the dangers and evils outside of Domfront, but she had been outside many times with Phillippe and she had yet to encounter something so terrible that could change her whole demeanor in the way her friends had. Was the world really so terrible?
Her thoughts were interrupted when they arrived at a small restaurant where they ate another meal that blew away her taste buds and brightened their moods. Then, because they had driven all the way over here, he insisted they go to the beach despite the cold wind and clouds. She had never been before, and he convinced her to take off her boots so she could feel the sand between her toes. He insisted it was a sensation everyone needed to experience once. It was weird. Before they left, he promised he would bring her back when summer came so she could enjoy it more and actually go in the water. When he talked about the summer, Dahlia’s words popped back into her mind. She didn’t when this friendship would end, and she found herself wishing it never would.