Eyes Cold Like Winter

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Harmless Attraction

“Because you what?” asked Lucius.

“I already know your answer even if I told you,” said Elise. “Now I’d like to go have my break.”

“Elise, wait!” exclaimed Lucius as Elise hurried off.

After Elise disappeared, Lucius punched a locker, creating a dent on the door. Luckily it was empty, or otherwise the user would have it at him.

“Just what was she trying to tell me?” he quietly wondered out loud.

Elise hurriedly made her way to the cafeteria, hoping that there were still some cakes available for grabs. Lucius already made it clear from the very start that he does not intend to fall in-love again. She thought to herself sadly. But it did not stop me from developing feelings for him.

It was not long until she bumped into someone just as she was nearing the cafeteria. Looking up, Elise found herself face-to-face with Monsieur Archambeau.

“I’m sorry Monsieur Archambeau!” exclaimed Elise, “I wasn’t looking where I was going and didn’t see you there.”

“Do not worry, Mademoiselle Benoit-Smith,” said Monsieur Archambeau. “It is not a big deal. You do not have to apologise for anything trivial. But more importantly, why the long face? Did something happen earlier just now?”

“Not really,” replied Elise sheepishly. “Just something personal.”

“It’s alright,” said Monsieur Archambeau as he placed a hand on Elise’s shoulder. “If there is anything that is bothering you, you can tell me anything. I will always be there for you no matter what.”

“Uh, thank you?” Elise responded with a quizzical expression.

For some reason, Monsieur Archambeau’s presence was making her feel strangely uncomfortable. In her mind, she could not deny the fact that he was very good-looking, but why did he seem so fixated on her?

“Anyway,” said Monsieur Archambeau as he broke her train of thoughts. “There are still teas and cakes in the cafeteria if that was where you were going. Better hurry before the dinner ladies close up shop.”

“Thank you Monsieur Archambeau,” replied Elise. “I’ll see you in the next French lesson.”

She then hurried off. As he watched her run down the corridor, Monsieur Archambeau smirked.

“It really is her,” he quietly whispered.

On the bus ride home, Elise and Lucius said nothing to each other, most likely due to what had happened this morning. When she was getting to know him, Elise recalled how Lucius had always said that he was only being kind as per his father’s orders, but she could tell that he was genuinely kind at heart. However, she began doubting his kindness when he kept calling her Genevieve after a nightmare which he claimed was a recurring one.

Even though he told her of his past lover and made it clear that he was never going to fall in love again, Elise could not stop the blossoming feelings she was developing for him. Should I have confessed to him that time and prepare to receive his rejection? She wondered to herself. Though, this is the first time I’ve felt this way towards someone. But I heard from my female classmates that first loves don’t usually work out.

Maybe Lucius was not the right guy for her? She dispelled those thoughts when she heard the bus arriving at their stop. Lucius still did not say anything to her as they hiked up the hill back to Wintervale Manor.

After getting refreshed before doing a bit of homework, Elise joined Lucius and Mr. Courbet in the dining room for dinner.

“I’ve got a new French teacher today,” Elise told Mr. Courbet over dinner. “Madame Anouilh had to take a sudden leave of absence, so he’s replacing her temporarily.”

“I see,” said Mr. Courbet. “Is he good?”

“Very!” said Elise, “A lot of my female classmates became infatuated with him almost immediately! Though for some reason, his attention was always directed onto me.”

“Perhaps he’s attracted to you?” scoffed Lucius in annoyance, “Relationships between teachers and students can stir up trouble.”

“Just because he’s good looking doesn’t mean I’m going to fall for him!” exclaimed Elise. “Though I don’t understand why he only looked at me during class.”

“What is the name of your new teacher?” asked Mr. Courbet out of curiosity.

“Monsieur Archambeau,” replied Elise.

Bang! Lucius had slammed his fist on the dining table, creating a dent and causing wood pieces to fly everywhere from where he sat. Elise shuddered slightly when she saw Lucius growling and his amber eyes glowing slightly red.

“Archambeau…” he growled. “I knew it!”

“Lucius!” shouted Mr. Courbet, “You’re scaring Elise. And that’ll be some pocket money deducted from your account for what you did to the table.”

Lucius did not answer as he got up, picked up his dinner plate and cutleries, before heading out of the dining room. Elise stared after him from where she sat as the door slammed shut. Once the sound of Lucius’ footsteps were gone, Mr. Courbet sighed.

“Please don’t mind him Elise,” he told her. “There’s something personal that has been bothering him.”

“Well,” said Elise as she shrugged her shoulder. “I can’t deny that Monsieur Archambeau is attractive. But I have no interest in him.”

“It does not hurt to be attracted to other men or women,” Mr. Courbet told Elise. “However, if you ever decide to devote yourself to your future spouse, you have to prepare to make sacrifices.”

“What do you mean?” asked Elise.

“When couples make their vows during their weddings, they devote themselves to one another,” explained Mr. Courbet. “This means giving up their leisure by prioritising each other’s needs and accommodation. The same thing goes to romantic relationships.”

“Speaking of romance,” said Elise quietly. “There’s something I want to tell you.”

“Are you, perhaps, attracted to Lucius?” asked Mr. Courbet.

“How did you-?!” exclaimed Elise as her cheeks flushed red.

“I have noticed it for quite some time,” replied Mr. Courbet with a kind smile. “Young love is quite beautiful, isn’t it?”

“He has always been kind to me after he took me out the first time,” said Elise shyly. “But he keeps insisting that he’s only being kind to me because you said so. However I could tell that deep down, his kindness was genuine.”

“How typical of him,” sighed Mr. Courbet in amusement. “That side of him never changes.”

“Lucius also told me that he has no plans to fall in-love again,” added Elise. “When I discovered that you and him are vampires, he told me about his past lover, Genevieve Renouard who I happen to resemble.”

“Ah, Mademoiselle Genevieve Renouard,” said Mr. Courbet with a look of nostalgia. “He still hasn’t gotten over her, has he?”

“This morning, when he woke up from what he claims to be a recurring nightmare, he called me Genevieve,” said Elise quietly. “It’s making me wonder if he’s only being kind to me because he sees Genevieve in me.”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed Mr. Courbet, “Lucius definitely sees you for who you are. I think your presence has healed his broken heart a bit, but not entirely. You have done nothing wrong. Lucius just needs to let go of Genevieve in order to make way for you to enter his heart. Memories of first loves can be a terrible thing.”

“I guess you can say that Lucius is my first love,” Elise said quietly. “I didn’t fall for him because of his looks. I fell for him because of his genuine kindness, and because he was my very first friend. I guess I should’ve confessed to him earlier at school today so I could get rejected by him. Perhaps that’ll get some weights off my shoulders.”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it at all,” said Mr. Courbet.

“Why?” asked Elise.

“First things first, you still haven’t confessed to him,” explained Mr. Courbet. “So while Lucius is still within your reach, take your time until you are ready to tell him how you feel. It is alright if he does not reciprocate your feelings, but you can take this as a growing journey. You might end up finding someone even better than Lucius in the future. If you keep clinging onto your unreciprocated feelings of your first love, you will never be happy and it could affect your social life. For now, forgive him for his unintentional actions and make amends with him, alright?”

“I see,” whispered Elise quietly. “Thank you Mr. Courbet. I will do my best.”

“We don’t know what fate has in store for anyone after all,” said Mr. Courbet.

Meanwhile, Lucius had retreated to his room with his dinner. Sitting on the sofa in front of his TV, he flicked through the channels with the remote, trying to find something interesting to watch.

“How dare he set foot in our school,” he quietly muttered to himself. “If he is who I think he is, I won’t let him go anywhere near Elise.”

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