Eyes Cold Like Winter

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The Mysterious Substitute Teacher

T/B: French Vocabulary at the very end of the chapter

It was Monday morning and Lucius was on the bus with Elise heading to school. Sleep was still in his eyes as he gave a big yawn. He did not sleep at all last night, due to his paranoia of Draven’s appearance. His father insisted that it was still too early to assume that Draven was actually in Whitby, and was the one behind the recent vampire-like serial killings.

“Lucius?” asked Elise as she peered at his face, “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” he murmured back as he yawned. “I just didn’t get enough sleep last night. Wake me up when we arrive at the bus station.”

He dozed off as said this. The last thing he felt was his head resting on Elise’s shoulder.

September 3rd, 1792

Lucius ran through the Rue Pavée in Le Marais. He ignored all the cries and screams of the prisoners being massacred in the streets. The strong scent of fresh blood from the corpses caused Lucius to feel parched, but he knew that there was no time to be admiring the feast before his eyes.

It had been three years since revolutionists began revolting against King Louis XVI. Last June, the King and his family attempted to escape the revolutionists by fleeing to Varennes, but it failed. He had heard that the royal family had been re-imprisoned at the Tuileries Palace, and were being mocked by the crude propaganda he had seen in the newspapers his father read.

“Genevieve!” Lucius exclaimed as he ran on.

He had suddenly remembered his purpose for visiting the Rue Pavée today. Genevieve lived with her parents in La Marais, a district in Paris where most of the aristocratic families resided. La Force Prison was nearby, and he had just heard that it was under attack by violent mobs.

“I hope nothing has happened to them,” he quietly whispered to himself.

Since the start of the revolution, he barely had any chances of meeting up with Genevieve for their usual outings at the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Champ de Mars. They had kept in touch through written correspondence. In one of the letters his lover had wrote, she told him that her older sister who had married into the Benoit family had fled to the countryside and were planning to relocate to England.

Lucius finally arrived at Genevieve’s house, but to his horror, it was on fire. Without hesitation, he used his inhuman strength to break down the door to rush inside the burning house. If he was an ordinary human, he would have been suffocated to death by the carbon monoxide from the flames.

“GENEVIEVE!” he shouted at the top of his voice.

There was no answer as he wandered through the fire, shielding his face from the flames. Through his fingers, Lucius saw the dead bodies of the servants scattered across the hallways, until he spotted the mutilated corpses of Genevieve’s parents, Monsieur and Madame Renouard in the living room. They had been repeatedly stabbed to death. The sight of everything he had seen so far was just enough to send chills down Lucius’ spine.

“Don’t tell me..!?” he exclaimed in horror.

He turned and dashed upstairs. Lucius ran straight to Genevieve’s room and kicked down the door.

“GENEVIEVE!” he shouted again.

There was no answer. It was not long until he spotted Genevieve’s lifeless body sprawled on the ground before his eyes. Just like her parents, she had also been stabbed repeatedly.

“Genevieve…” a strangled noise escaped from Lucius’ throat. “GENEVIEVE!!” he screamed.

“Lucius!” came a familiar voice out of nowhere, “Wake up. Wake up!”

Lucius groaned as he felt his shoulders being shaken by Elise. His body felt stiff, most likely from the position he had been sleeping in. Rubbing his eyes, his vision gradually became clear as he came face-to-face with Elise.

“Lucius,” said Elise worriedly. “Are you alright? It looked as though you were having a nightmare.”

“Genevieve!” exclaimed Lucius as he threw his arms around Elise, “Thank goodness you’re alive! I thought you had died.”

“Lucius!?” exclaimed Elise, “What are you doing? And I’m not Genevieve!”

“What are you saying Genevieve?” asked Lucius, “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about everything! About us!”

“Let go of me, Lucius!” said Elise as she wriggled and squirmed in his arms, “I’m not Genevieve!”

“No!” shouted Lucius, “I will never let us be apart anymore! I can’t bear the thought of losing you!”

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” yelled Elise.

Lucius felt Elise’s hand against his right cheek. The stinging pain from the impact caused him to come back to his senses as he stumbled back into his bus seat.

“Elise?” he exclaimed in surprise. “Why did you hit me?”

“Do you only see Genevieve in me?” asked Elise quietly.

“What do you mean?” asked Lucius.

“Is that why you’re only nice to me?” Elise asked again, “Because I happen to remind you of your former lover?”

“What’s wrong with you?” said Lucius, “You’re not making any sense.”

“You’re not making any sense either,” snapped Elise as she picked up her bag and hurried to get off the bus. “I woke you up because we’ve just arrived at the Whitby bus station and we’re going to be late for school.”

“Wait!” shouted Lucius as he picked up his bag and ran after her.

As he followed behind Elise, Lucius wondered why she was getting all act up this morning. It was strange that he was the one behind Elise, when she was the one who used to trail behind him.

Do you only see Genevieve in me?

Is that why you’re only nice to me?

Because I happen to remind you of your former lover?

Elise’s words from earlier caused Lucius to recall what he had done to her the first thing when he woke up. Do I really only see Genevieve in Elise? He quietly thought to himself. They do look alike, but they’re nothing like each other. Is that why I’m nice to her? However, I became attracted to Elise because she accepted everything of me just like Genevieve did. He brushed all those thoughts aside as they neared the school gates.

This week, the first period was French for Elise. She and the other students hurriedly made their way to their desks when they heard the teacher coming. To Elise’s surprise, it was not her French teacher Madame Anouilh, but the Head of the Languages department. Following behind her was a tall young man with gold hair like wheat and green eyes like emeralds.

“Students,” said the Head of Languages, “Madame Anouilh had to take a sudden leave of absence for personal matters. So until then, I would like to introduce you all to Monsieur Archambeau. He will be your substitute teacher until Madame Anouilh returns.”

“Bonjour Mademoiselles et Messieurs,” said Monsieur Archambeau. “It is a pleasure to meet you all and I look forward to teaching you.”

Elise heard some of the female students squeal and sigh with infatuation. There’s no denying that he definitely has good looks. She thought to herself. Looking up at the substitute teacher, Elise froze when she saw his emerald eyes staring directly at her. Our eyes met! Elise quietly exclaimed in her head. Why was he looking at her?

Monsieur Archambeau proved to be a really good teacher for his first day. The girls who were immediately infatuated with him were willing to focus on their lessons, with hopes that they would get praised by him. However, Elise had noticed that his gaze was fixated on her during the majority of the lesson. Even when one of the students was answering his question, he still looked at her.

When it was finally time for break, Monsieur Archambeau was immediately swarmed by the female students who were eager to get to know him. Elise took the opportunity to slip out, but she felt his stares tickling her back as she left the classroom for the cafeteria.

“Elise!” shouted Lucius’ voice as she was nearing the cafeteria.

Elise froze when she heard Lucius and tried to hurry ahead, but Lucius grabbed her arm before she could do so. He pulled her into a quieter and less crowded part of the corridor.

“Elise,” repeated Lucius again. “Please hear me out.”

“What do you want?” asked Elise quietly. “Are you going to tell me that you didn’t mean what you did earlier today and expect me to forgive you?”

“Precisely!” said Lucius desperately, “From the bottom of my heart, I didn’t mean what I said. When you woke me up on the bus, I was still half-asleep.”

“Tell me truthfully,” said Elise. “Do you only see Genevieve in me? Are you only being nice to me and ensuring my safety because I remind you of Genevieve?”

“No!” exclaimed Lucius, “Why are you bringing Genevieve into this? From time to time, I have these recurring nightmares of the day Genevieve was murdered along with her family. But that doesn’t mean I only see you as her! Why are you getting all worked up about it?”

“Because I…” began Elise, but she trailed off.

Unbeknownst to them, Monsieur Archambeau had overheard their conversation. A smirk appeared on his face as he watched Lucius trying to reason with Elise.

“Poor Monsieur Lucius Courbet,” sighed Monsieur Archambeau sarcastically. “Are you still clinging onto the past? Is that why you are refraining from making that girl yours? Looks like the perfect opportunity to create a wedge between them.”

French Vocabulary

Madame - Mrs.

Mademoiselles - Miss

Monsieur - Mister

Messieurs - Mister (a group of Misters)

Bonjour - Hello/Good morning

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