Pepe Le Pew
I filled my lungs with the French air and Emeraude squealed excitedly behind me as we disembarked the plane. “Je suis enfin à la maison, ma belle France!" She yelled, tilting her face towards the mid-afternoon sun.
“Hon, hon, hon! Je suis un croissant!" A laugh bubbled up from my throat as Casey chuckled, pulling away from my ear. I was still feeling a bit loopy from the pill Stewie gave me for the plane ride, as an apology for ‘misplacing’ our plane tickets more than three times, just so we wouldn’t leave.
With Coldplay streaming through the speakers of my headphones, we went through immigration smoothly, and came out about ten minutes later.
The airport was busy when we came out, and Emeraude stood on her tiptoes futilely in search of her parents. Sighing, Collin hoisted her up, her butt right in front of his face. Casey and I shared a glance, then snickered, fist-bumping each other. “Oh! Je les vois!" She squealed, and wiggled to get Collin’s attention.
Grabbing his hand, she pulled him through the crowd while Casey and I followed behind them, trying not to hit anyone with our luggage. Once we emerged from the crowd, Emeraude was in the embrace of her parents, both with the same red hair that she had. Collin stood off to the side awkwardly as Emeraude had one of his hands in a tight grasp.
After another minute or two, the group untangled themselves, and Emeraude pulled Collin forward. “Maman, papa, c’est ma Moitié, Collin, et ses frères Ginevra et Casey.” She pointed to us.
“Collin,” she looked at Casey and I, “guys, these are my parents. Margret and Gerald Beaulieu.”
The three of us smiled and greeted them politely, but were taken by surprise when they rolled their eyes and yanked us into an embrace. “You are family now. We do as family does.” Gerald said as he pulled away. Flushing, I merely nodded with a polite smile, afraid that the words ‘potato sarcophagus’ would burst out of my mouth.
I am going to kill Stewie.
The night life of France was just as beautiful as I remembered from my first time travelling. Though it wasn’t the city or suburbs, the silence of the countryside was something that I never got to experience, and it was a welcome change.
Everyone was seated at the round table on the patio with a drink in hand, lighthearted chatter filling the silence of the cool night.
Once we left the airport, we wasted no time in driving out to the countryside, stopping along the way to take pictures. Now, for our first night in France, we had decided to stay in and relax.
But even as Casey and Gerald joked with each other and Margret chatted animatedly with Collin and Emeraude, my heart felt heavy, beating painfully in my chest. There was a fatigue in my bones that wasn’t from the travel; a heaviness in my head that wasn’t from the wine in my glass.
Just when I was finally going to admit defeat, I remembered Henry’s words after he dropped me off from the bar that one night.
“I hope I see you again, Ginny girl. Alive and well.”
A shaky sigh escaped me, as did a lone tear. If I couldn’t do it for me, I could at least do it for Henry, for my family, for Nikolai and Vincent and that sweet little girl that they so desperately want to adopt.
Do it for them. Do it for them.
My resolve ceased its crumble into nothingness, and began to slowly build up again. Do it for them. If not for you, then for them.
“Gin?” my eyes snapped to Casey, who stared at me with concern. “You okay?” I nodded jerkily, sniffling and swiping at my wet cheek. He gave me a pitiful smile, and reached out across the table to grasp my hand tightly.
“We’ll be alright.” He whispered, and I nodded, despite the lingering doubt. “Yeah.” Was all I could manage, and I squeezed his hand tightly, hoping to draw strength from him.
For the rest of the night, even as we went to sleep, and despite having our own rooms, Casey held fast to my hand. I’d like to think that he was drawing strength from me too.
The sun warmed our skin as we walked about the city, stopping just about everywhere to snap a quick picture or buy something from a store or vendor.
As I happily munched on some much needed greasy street food, I got the unnerving sense of being followed. It didn’t make sense to me since there were so many people out and about, yet still, I felt like someone’s target.
We walked past a fountain, were an artist drew an enamored couple, gazing into each other’s eyes. The cynical part of me gagged, and I quickly looked away before I actually did gag. Emeraude squealed excitedly, and my eyes turned to her, pulling a reluctant Collin towards an unoccupied artist who smiled brightly at the approaching couple.
As I watched them sit still, Emeraude with a bright smile and a blush on her cheeks, and Collin trying his best not to blush as he stared at his Half, I couldn’t help but smile. My baby brother was happy. And that made me happy.
Margret and Gerald went next, and I pulled out my phone to snap a picture of the drawing of Emeraude and Collin to send to my mother, Thera and Stella.
Another ten minutes and the artist was done, smiling graciously as Gerald handed him a few notes. I turned on my heel, ready to leave when Emeraude called my name. “Ginny!”
I faced her, raising my eyebrow. “You and Casey should do one together.” She suggested, her cheeks coloring slowly. I glanced at my brother, who shrugged, and I sighed. “Okay, sure.”
The artist clapped excitedly, then sat down again. Casey and I took our places and faced each other, doing the only logical thing one could do.
Make funny faces at each other.
We went all out, pulling the most ridiculous ones we could think of while doing impersonations to make the other break and laugh. I could hear chuckles around me, but my focus remained on Casey.
Another ten minutes went by, and the artist ripped the paper from his sketch book, handing it to me while Casey handed him his payment. As I looked at the drawing, a smile broke out on my face.
Casey had a lock of my hair mushed between his nose and lips while I laughed, my pointer finger raised at him.
“You look happy.” Casey commented, leaning over my shoulder to peer at the drawing. I turned slightly, shooting him a smile. “I was.”
I found myself alone on a bench. Gerald and Margret went off to a flower shop, Emeraude and Collin were off being romantic somewhere near by, and Casey was trying to chat up a group of French girls. I could faintly hear them giggling at whatever it was that he said.
I tried to drown out the sounds around me and was almost successful until the space beside me became occupied. I ignored, hoping that an unnecessary conversation wouldn’t start up.
What I should have done was get up and walk away.
My personal space was invaded by a blond head, the person inhaling my scent deeply. “What is happening?” I drawled, leaning as far away as I can.
“I finally have you alone, mademoiselle.” He whispered seductively, bringing his face inches from mine. “Tellement beau..."
“Ce qui la baise?" I whispered, unsure whether or not I should be proud that I remembered my French.
“I’ve been following you, ma superbe,” he whispered, drawing closer to me, a maniac look of adoration in his green eyes, ”tellement beau...” his fingers brushed against my cheek, and I flinched away, hoping he wouldn’t notice. ”I couldn’t help myself."
I swallowed nervously. “H-how long have you been following me?” I whispered, slowly scooting backwards. He leaned closer, a hot gust of minty air blowing across my face.
“Since Costa Rica, ma superbe. You looked so gorgeous at the fair, and the beach, ma superbe, I wanted to come up to you. But you weren’t alone.”
His fingers brushed against my cheek again, that same maniac adoration intensified. “Now that I do have you alone...” his breath deepened, and before I could dive off the bench, my arm was in a tight grasp and a tongue was snaking up it.
I gasped, trying futilely to pull away. He groaned deeply, his eyes fluttering. “Divin..."
“Oh, Mon Dieu!" I squealed, tugging my hand back harder.
“Ma superbe, ma superbe, être le mien ma superbe.” He chanted profusely, trailing wet kisses up and down my arm. My breathing was rapid and tears threatened to spill from my eyes.
“Ginny? Ginny!” My saving grace, Casey called out, and I gained enough strength to pull away and stand on shaky legs. His familiar warmth radiated from my back and I leaned into it, grateful when an arm wrapped around my shoulders.
The blond haired stranger stood up from the bench, nervously scratching his smooth-looking cheek. “Bonne journée, and who might you be?” Even with my back turned, I could tell that Casey was glaring. "Her brother." He deadpanned, pulling me closer to him.
"Oh, oh, yes. I remember you." He said, swiping a finger under his nose. I felt Casey nod behind me. "Yeah well, it's nice to meet you, but we have to go now."
"Come on, Gin." Casey whispered frantically, tugging me gently in another direction. I turned away from the stranger, shivering slightly.
"Until we meet again, ma superbe!" He called out, and I risked a glance behind me. He stood still, hands casually shoved into his pockets and that same maniac adoration shining in his green eyes. I exhaled deeply, snapping my head forward and picking up my pace to match Casey's strides.
We rounded a corner, the bench well out of sight. I leaned against the wall, my hand flying up to my chest. "Holy shit that was terrifying." I exhaled, rubbing the spot above my rapidly beating heart.
"What the fuck did me mean by 'I remember you'?!" Casey exclaimed, leaning on his knees. "He.. he's been following us his Costa Rica!" I panted, still trying to calm my rapidly beating heart.
"What the fuck!" He exclaimed again, meeting my eyes. "I know right!" I responded, glancing behind me to make sure that we were in the clear. We remained silent for a few more moments, until Casey started to chuckle.
"What? What's so funny?" I inquired, staring with slight concern at my still laughing brother. It took him a few seconds, but he sobered up enough to ask, "Remember Pepe Le Pew?"
"Oh God!" I exclaimed, breaking into laughter along with Casey.
"Man, wait til Stella hears this." He murmured after he sobered up, standing straight. "Come on. Let's go meet the others." I leaned off the wall, walking into his open arm and leaning closer as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder.