Seems to be a return this week to the slightly longer chapter. Which for you, is either a good thing or a bad thing. I can't decide. ;)
You'll find out some interesting (cough) background information this week about some of the people at the 'face place' (as it has been referred to in previous chapters).
As always, as this story was written in my youth (and therefore, I can't be held completely responsible for my lack of originality in the storyline, nor the occasionally poor spelling and grammar etc), I will make a few comments in [brackets and in red like this].
If you're just joining the fun now, or you've missed anything to date (God forbid), you can find links to all chapters published to date underneath the pink ballet slippers on the RHS of my homepage.
Now, next week, we'll be taking a little break, as I have a super busy week coming up, as well as a conference to attend next Saturday, so I just don't imagine I'll get the chance to type up a whole new chapter by then! Never fear though, as the week after that, Dance will be back in all its unedited glory.
THE DANCE OF REVENGE
LOUINA awoke to the sounds of a tray being wheeled into her room. She opened her eyes and found Marianna pulling two seats up to the tray. Marianna turned and smiled at Louina and rushed to her bedside.
“Good morning, Louina. How’re you feeling? I’ve been so worried. I didn’t wake you this morning because I wanted you to rest.” Louina laughed.
“Thank you, Marianna. I am feeling much better.” Louina wasn’t lying when she said she felt better. After last night, most of her feelings which she had left bottled up inside, had finally been eliminated. For the time being anyhow.
“Well come and get your breakfast, Louina. Are you hungry?” Louina took a deep smell of the eggs and bacon and freshly baked croissants. They all smelled heavenly.
“Oui. I am famished.” She noticed there was only one plate. “You are not eating with me?” she asked sadly.
“Oh, no madamemoiselle. I have already eaten, but I will sit with you and have my coffee.” She smiled, but Louina noticed how empty her eyes looked.
“Are you alright, Marianna?” You are not ill are you?” Marianna smiled at her softly. [No, she’s hiding her own secret!]
“Non, Louina. I am a little tired. That is all.” Louina still wasn’t convinced.
“Are you sure madame?” Marianna laughed heartily, touched by the girl’s concern.
“Of course, Louina. Now eat your breakfast before it gets cold.”
So Louina sat and ate whilst Marianna told her about the details of the day. [Think I meant ‘plans for the day’.] Swimming, listening to music and reading poetry, and magazines she had bought for Louina.
“But only if you are up to it, Louina. Dr Meunier told me you might feel weak but to see if you were up to going swimming.”
“Of course I’m up to it,” Louina protested. “Are you?” she asked slyly, smirking playfully. Marianna pretended to act surprised.
“Moi? Of course. I shall surely beat you at swimming.” She waved away the subject. “No question about it. A race?” Marianna’s eyes challenged Louina playfully.
“In an hour. You haven’t a chance.”
* * * * *
“Ready, set GO!” Two bodies dived into the clear water of the pool. One body was leading. Louina. The other was very close behind. Marianna. Frannie watched excitedly from the sidelines. It would be a very close contest. They were both equally good. Marianna was now in front for the final lengths, but at the turn at the end for the second lap, Louina was ahead. Frannie jumped up and down excitedly.
“Come on Marianna! Come on Louina!” The bodies neared the end of the pool. Suddenly Marianna came close to Louina. They were equal all the way to the end, even touching the edge at the exact moment. “You both win!” Frannie shouted.
Marianna and Louina laughed and hugged briefly, congratulating each other.
“Well, that was a good race, Louina. I used to be a swimming champion when I was your age. You could be too.”
“Oh, no, not me,” Louina protested, laughing. “Not in a million years!” Frannie passed them both their towels.
“Congratulations, both of you. You both are very fine swimmers. I wish I could do as well.” Marianna and Louina beamed under Frannie’s praise.
“Thank you,” they replied in unison.
“Would you like a drink?” Frannie asked the two wet swimmers.
“I’d like a lemon drink, merci,” Louina replied.
“I’d like an iced tea Frannie, thank you.” Frannie nodded and waved to one of the hands. [One of the ‘hands’? Good lord.] He quickly came to Frannie’s side and took the order. He retreated quickly. [Did he move backwards, bowing, I wonder?]
Frannie motioned for the two ladies to sit with her on the lawn. They did and smiled happily.
“It feels good to rest,” Marianna said.
“I second that,” Louina agreed. Frannie smiled at the young girl.
“One more day now Louina,” she said, refferring [or referring] to Louina’s first operation. “Are you feeling ready for it?”
“I thin I am. It scares me a little though. I know it will be quite painful, but I’m sure that I will be ready. Yes, in a way I’m quite excited.” Frannie and Marianna smiled.
“That’s…how do you say…” Frannie’s english failed her.
“The right attitude?” Marianna asked. Frannie laughed.
“Oui. I’m sorry. My English, it is not too good. I never really learnt English until about six years ago. Even then, I learnt it very slowly.” [I’m confused. If they’re all French, why don’t they just speak in French to each other?]
“If it’s not too personal, Frannie, how did you decide to do this occupation?” Louina asked curiously.
“Well, it was six years ago when I had just graduated out of my nursing degree, and I came here. Pierre told me that I didn’t really have the…,” she faltered.
“The experience?” Marianna asked.
“Oui, merci madame. That is what he said, but he told me that he would teach me as I go. I was always a fast learner. It didn’t take me long to learn all about facial surgery.” She laughed gaily. “It’s a pity I wasn’t a fast learner at my English!” Marianna and Louina laughed with Frannie.
“I came from a very broken family,” she continued. “My mother and father were divorced when I was seven and then my father and I lived in Paris, my mother married some rich lad, a very nice man, and asked me to go with her to America. My father wouldn’t let me, so I stayed with him.
“We soon ran out of money and my father soon began to drink. Soon all the money we had was wasted on his alcohol. [Everything was ‘soon’.] He had no job and we were thrown out of our house. We were only, ah, renting it. Oui.
“My aunt took us in and three years later my father died. He drank too much. By this time my mother did not contact me so I stayed with my aunt. A lovely lady. You would both like her. She is still living in the middle of Paris. Maybe one day you will meet her.”
“We would love to, Frannie,” Marianna said sincerely. “What a hard life you have had.” Frannied laughed a little sadly.
“Not as hard as some people, Madame. Well, I really must be going. It’s time for Mrs Pental’s muscle exercise. She hates it, but it must be done. Doctor’s orders. I will see you both later, alright?” Louina and Marianna both waved and called goodbye. They were both silent for a moment, thinking about Frannie. Finally Marianna interrupted the silence.
“Would you like to read for a while, Louina?” she asked.
They both settled down, reading poetry out aloud and sometimes reading magazines to themselves. It was a quiet afternoon, filled with only the sounds around them. The sudden splash in the pool from someone who was using it for therapy, and the birds whistling around them. There was the occasional scream of, “kick your legs a little harder, madame!” from Frannie.
Soon the day got darker and both decided to go to their rooms to get dressed for dinner. Their bathers had dried but felt a little sticky. [Huh?] They met outside, both in freshly ironed garments and headed to the hall for dinner.
They had both decided to have dinner with all the other patients this time.
After dinner, everyone made theirselves [there’s a new word] comfortable in the recreation room. Because Louina was new, every one took turns introducing himself to Louina.
“Bonjour, Louina. My name is Paul Lamone. I am thirty-five years of age and I come from London. I am here because I was in a bating [probably ‘boating’] accident just off the Australian coast. [Isn’t it interesting that many of these characters have links to down under? ;) ] I was there on holiday and I had decided to try myself at some fishing [I just don’t understand that sentence]. My wife and I had hired a row boat, just a small one, and we’d gone quite far from shore. Anyway, I was fishing and suddenly I got a huge bite. My hands were torn by the fishing line I was holding. I let go and because of the shock, I stood up rather quickly, losing my balance and falling into the water. My fall made the boat rock to its side, and therefore made my wife tip into the water as well.” He paused for only a second. “I resurfaced quickly, but found it hard to see. The water had made my eyes blurry. Then all of a sudden, to one side of me I saw the boat sinking. I thought, but it was sort of rotating or something. I was too shocked to swim to it at first. I was desperately trying to look for my wife.
“That’s when I noticed the fin in the water. I knew straight away where she was. In that finned body. I screamed and hurried to the boat. Excuse my language, but I was shouting, ‘You bastard! You bloody bastard!’ As if it heard me, the fin switched directions and headed towards me. ‘Come and get me, you bastard!’ I yelled. ‘I don’t care!’ Then to my surprise, I heard my wife’s voice shouting, ‘Paul, I’m over here! I’m on the other side of the boat. Swim, Paul, swim!’ I had never swam so fast in my life. I made it and swam to the other side of the boat. I grabbed my wife and pushed her up into the boat. Once inside, she turned and started to pull me up. My legs were in, and one side of me. [Not sure how his wife would have pulled him in legs first.] One arm dangled in the water. It was too late. The shark got closer and took a huge swallow of my arm [?], leaving me with only my shoulder. Then it spun around to leave, its tail ripping at my face. Sara, my wife, hauled me into the boat.
“Luckily a man off shore had seen the whole thing and he was out quick enough, leaving his binoculars on the beach. [Important detail to note there.] He picked us up and took us quickly into shore, where I was rushed to hospital. They fixed my arm [to explain, I meant he lost his arm, but they repaired the damage], but I had lost a lot of blood, so I recovered in hospital for quite some time. A week after the accident, my wife bought me news that the shark had been spotted and killed. They said it was the same one because they found my arm inside.”
Louina cringed. That poor man.
I’m sorry to hear that Mr Lamone. What a horrible experience. So you came here to get your face fixed?” He nodded.
“Yes, Louina. That is correct.” He sat down and smiled at her. She smiled back. Everyone looked at her. It was her turn.
“Well, as you know, my name is Louina Silk. Though that is not my real name. I don’t know what it is. Apparently I was in some sort of train accident. The train had half run off the bridge, and the other half stayed on. The people in the top half had all been thrown in to the water, the second either burnt to death or badly burnt. Apparently I was somewhere in the middle, burnt and then thrown in to the water. I was dragged ashore by some unknown fisherman.
“The problem is, I don’t remember anything, the accident or who my family is. They said it’s impossibly to identify me because of my burns and still people have not been found. So until they are, and until I get my memory back, I do not really know my true identity.” She finished taking a deep breath. Everyone spoke words of sympathy but she hardly heard them. So many lies! But in the end, the lies would all be worth it. They would.
Ah, classic stuff. See you in a couple of weeks, Dance fans. ;)
Image: We Heart It