The Second Chance

Chapter 4: André, the man beside Oscar

After the duel with the Duke, the queen had sentenced Oscar to a month´s confinement, during which Oscar had left to Arras together with André and their family doctor. Even thought Oscar was forbidden to leave her mansion, she wanted to go to the countryside for a little vacation…She wanted André to come along with her, so that they both could have a long expected leave from the military, the queen, the daily scores…well, from everything.

They both seemed to be in a good mood. A little break from the Royal Guards would do them both good, as she had said to André. They were anxious about going to Arras; after all, it was their favorite place. Soon they would enjoy plenty of fresh air and delicious country meals…

As they were on their way to Arras, they took a break…They were sitting on grass by a river letting their horses rest for a while…

André:“Well, we´ll get to Arras soon…” then they noticed a man and a boy walking by, both familiar to them. André and Oscar went to greet them.

André:“Monsieur Sugan, it´s been a long time.” he smiled.

They noticed that both monsieur Sugan and the boy were awfully quiet and unkind to them…and especially to Oscar.

Oscar:“What´s wrong? It´s me, Oscar.”

Sugan:“What brought you here today?” he tried to avoid the subject.

Oscar:“Oh, we just came to look around. That´s your youngest boy there…?” she looked at the boy, who had hide himself behind his father.

Sugan:“Yes, his name is Gilbert.”

Oscar:“Bonjour, Gilbert. Monsieur Sugan, I brought my family doctor here with us, so that you could all use his services. We´ll be here for ten days and he´ll be holding his practice for you all for free. Please, visit him.”

Sugan:“Why would you do that?” he was surprised by the sudden offer.

Oscar:“I heard that you have no doctor here, so I brought mine.”

Sugan:” Please, excuse us.” they were about to leave, when Oscar stopped him.

Oscar:“Mister Sugan…Your son seems a bit ill. Let my doctor examine him, please.”

Sugan:“But…”

Oscar:“It´s all right, he won´t charge you. I told him so. Please, I just want to help.”

Sugan:“All right.”

Oscar and André left the doctor to the people and headed for the restaurant, they were starving. There they met Robespierre…

Oscar:“Didn´t you give a congratulatory speech for the School of Louis le Grand at Louis XVI´s coronation?”

Robespierre:“You remembered me. I´m Maximilian Robespierre.”

Oscar went to sit on his table and asked André to join them. She listened to Robespierre with concerned thoughts. This time she wanted to listen…even if the words against the queen hurt her. She made herself to listen, because she wanted to know everything…And in some points she even agreed with Robespierre…

Soon after Robespierre had left, Oscar´s family doctor came in to tell her about Gilbert. He had been seriously ill and taken to the hospital. He had been taken there in time and he now showed signs of recovering.

Later that night, Oscar was awake in her room…she was thinking about André. It was now or never that she had to do it, the hardest thing she ever had to do in her life; she had to let André go…For his own sake. She couldn´t let him suffer because of her.

Oscar: “Poor André, you love me…But I´m sorry…I don´t love you and I don´t think I ever will. How can I? I think of you as my brother.” She thought. Then she remembered her nightmare and the night André confessed his feelings for her, the incident he lost his eye and finally his death…“It will never happen.” she swore: ” I am fond of you and I enjoy your company, but if being with me makes you suffer, then…” tears fell down her cheeks…“I cannot be selfish! For your sake I will let you go, set you free, so that you can do anything you want to…You can be healthy and grow old.” Her thoughts were interfered, when there was a knock on the door.

Oscar:“André, come in.”

André:“Oscar, you called for me.” he then closed the door behind him and walked to her.

Oscar wiped the tears off her cheeks and turned around. She smiled.

André noticed her reddish eyes and knew she had been crying.

André:“Oscar, what´s wrong? Why you´ve been crying?”

Oscar:“I wasn´t…Yes, I was…I was just thinking about those poor people in the village…”

André:“It´s just marvelous of you to bring your doctor here! But that´s what you are; even when you seem cold outside, you really are…”

“André…” she stopped him and turned around to look outside…“What would you like to do, if you were free? Free to do anything?”

André was startled. Why would she ask something like that? Why now, for all the time?

Oscar:“I´m asking you, because I want to release you…to give you a chance to do everything you´ve always wanted to do. I´ll ask my father to grand you enough money so that you and your grandma can start a new life. Think about it; you could do anything, live in the countryside, get married, establish your own business…whatever that you want.”

André remained speechless for a while, then he said:“Oscar, I don´t want to get married! Nor am I eager to establish my own business!”

Oscar turned around and continued:“The question came too suddenly for you. I´ll give you some time to think about it…”

André grabbed her hands and said in a firm voice:“Oscar, I don´t need time to think it over! I´m not leaving! Ever! You know you need me! I´m the only one who knows about your vision and the only one, who can help you! I´m the only one, who can protect you.”

Oscar:“André! Let go of my hands!”

He did so, but he continued his speech:“Oscar, doesn´t our friendship mean anything to you? We´ve been together ever since childhood! You cannot discard me just like that! Don´t you think I have something to say about that?”

Oscar avoided his gaze…Then he realized it…

André:“It´s about this nightmare, isn´t it? You saw that something terrible is going to happen to me and now you´re trying to save me? Is that it?”

Oscar started to weep. It was then, that André pulled her near, into his arms and let her cry on his shoulders.

André:“Oscar, it´s all right. Now that we know, what will happen to me, we can stop it, right? Whatever happens, I´ll be with you. I´ll never leave you.” he comforted her.

André was right, she did need him if she wanted to change the future…She had to figure out some other way to save André and to prevent those events ever happening to him…

To be continued…

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