A Funny Thing Happened in the Morgue

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Court Puget

An elegant dome of glass stretched over the Cour Puget, letting in the pale light of a late fall afternoon. Snow fell silently along its length. Below in the clean open air, a small crowd of art lovers strolled among the sculptures, gazing into their marble faces.

One of them didn't stroll. Gaspard stood on the upper level, watching those art lovers walk across the pale gray swath of the cour beneath him. He searched for someone with eagerness though; his eyes scanned the courtyard and its entrance every couple seconds. For an hour, he stood there fidgeting with his black hair and smoothing his freshly-pressed shirt, wondering if his beard was neat, his demeanor calm and pleasant.

He was certain he'd already frightened the girl enough.

The cour was quiet and peaceful. It gave him too much freedom to think, to worry and imagine horrible scenarios - like a somber return to his apartment knowing he'd never see Léonie again. He pretended it wasn't possible; he had been alone for too long.

Below him, two strangers strolled out of the cour to explore other corners of the Louvre. He scanned the room again, but no one else had entered. Disappointment apparent in his eyes, he sighed and brought his hands to his face. He stayed there some minutes.

From the hall - too far away, yet, for Gaspard to hear - a pair of heels clacked as loud as horse's hooves in the cavernous hall. Gaspard didn't stir - he didn't yet hear their rhythm. A minute later, his blue eyes opened. He perked up, eyes wide to scan his surroundings.

Léonie, he thought, fearing the sound was a trick of his romantic imagination; he closed his eyes. "Please, Léonie. Come to me."

Gaspard opened his eyes, hoping his wish had made her appear. Gaspard stared at the entrance for a couple very long minutes, until a small form emerged, tiny and topped by a shock of bobbed black hair. She stopped just inside the cour, her pale face searching the ground floor and then moving upwards until, finally, her eyes rested on Gaspard.

He left his post. The woman ventured further into the cour, her heels sounding softly and slowly across the floor. When Gaspard reached the bottom of the stairs, she stopped near the trees to gaze into his face. She smiled. He crossed the remaining distance between him, until he was close enough to see where snowflakes had darkened her hair.

"I am so glad you came," he said.

He took her hand.

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