I know this isn't really a short story, It was written in a screenplay format, but I actually like it a lot so I wondered if anyone else would think it's good enough to read.
I never really share and this is the first time I've actually decided to share.. so forgive me if it's such a poorly written story.
December 23 2002
*In the Café Le Rouge, seated on a bar stool. Coralie Duerre Johnson‘s attention is completely drawn to the heavily scented cream parchment paper in her one hand while her other was busy holding on to her forgotten Gauloise cigarette.*
*her long hair is tied up in a messy bun; her brown eyes had traces of sleep and tears. She puffs on her cigarette in an agonizingly slow pace. Her eyes reading every single word of the 3 page letter she was holding*
* As she kept on reading... her cigarette began to ash... and that’s when she found out she was a descendant of Catalan Nobility.
Coralie : This is clearly an old kooky wives tale.. This has got to be a joke.
*She puts out her cigarette and takes a huge sip of Prosecco*
Coralie : I can’t believe I’m here in the middle of a pub.. Reading through this... This... may not even be real... this is probably just a stupid prank..
*scoffs and sighs as she takes another sip of her drink*
Aunt Viv... you really did have a sick sense of humor.
Sending me to France... from the afterlife...
Wild goose chases... Viola...
*Coralie puts down the letter and traces her fingers on the intricate detailing of the red velvet pouch, that remained unopened on the bar counter.
Coralie: What could have possibly went on inside your head aunt viv.. I don’t want to know.. this is crap honestly… Yet that crap bought me here..
*she unties the pouch’s leathery laces and reaches in to grab the book inside, it felt heavy and as she pulled it out.
*her eyes filled with awe as she gazed at the leather cover of the journal, It was painstakingly made, beautifully detailed with details of the Fleur De lis embroidered on the cover with threads of gold intertwining each one together.
*Coralie carefully unties the thin leather laces, hoping she won’t break the fragile straps.. as she cracks the spine open. She inhales the sweet and stale smell of the yellowed pages.
Coralie : Pas a Pas Se va luenh *mutters under her breath as she reads the phrase written in tiny cursive writing on the front page.*
Coralie: What the heck does that even mean? * she says out loud, curious she took out a pen and wrote it down on a piece of tissue paper and stuffing it in her purse so she can look it up later *
*Coralie reaches inside her old Hermes Birkin bag and pulls out a rectangular cigarette case together with a zippo to light up another cigarette.
Coralie: Pas a pas se va luenh… *here she thinks the phrase hit home with her.. she knew it meant something but she can’t put her finger on it, it seemed so familiar.
*She takes another drag, inhaling deeply and holding it in until her throat was starting to itch*
*Coralie’s reverie was interrupted when the bar keep came over with worry in his eyes yet he remained smiling as he asked her if she was well in his broken english*
Barkeep: Pardon, Mademoiselle, but are you…ehm..my English is not so well, but are you.. uh cool?
Coralie: oh yes I am * surprised by his use of such an American word*
Barkeep: It just seems that you look un peau triste ma chère. And it seems you have not looked into a mirror at all since you arrived at my café.
*The kindly barkeep points to a mirror behind Coralie and she examines her reflection, she looked haggard, there was barely a pinch of color in her cheeks and her eyes looked like she needed a good night’s rest.. in other words she looked like a wreck.
*Pitying her, the barkeep pours her another glass of prosecco and grabbed a meringue from the chiller and placed it in front of her.
Barkeep: Eat enfant, a plate of sweets usually helps the mind eerhm.. calm down.. is that the right word?
Coralie : haha, qui monsieur. you are right.. *hesitant* I’m Coralie Duerre Johnson it’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your kindness and oh also the dessert.
Barkeep: Well Coralie, enchante…you are simply too pretty to be sad no! so why not offer you a treat.. Men of the Midi never like to see their hemnas wet their eyes.. it is considered beneath us to do so.
*he said with a twinkle in his eye*
Barkeep : Oh yes I am Jacques but call me FatBar, it suits me better no? * he laughs a big, booming laugh while his hands pat his miniscule belly*
*Coralie smiles as she takes another sip of prosecco and stabs her meringue with a baby fork*
Barkeep: ah! Finally a smile on your face! You look much prettier with a smile. You should always smile. Smile is ahh.. good for the heart?
Coralie : You may be right about that Jacques.. * she smiles softly at his statement and takes another bite of her meringue while Jacques pours himself a special brandy.
*Jacques takes a sip from his brandy
* and as he was chuckling he leans over the counter and asks
Jacques : so Coralie, why are you in the land of the snobby French?
Coralie : That Jacques.. I don’t have an answer to.. I guess the only thing I can say is I’m finding myself?..wait how did you know I’m not from here other than the accent which is a dead giveaway.
Jacques : why of course I know what a tourist looks like! I have been running this café for over 20 years oh and things I have seen filha!
*Jacques’ laughter filled the room, his resident patrons grinned at him, raising their pints of beer and glasses of wine at Jacques’ comment.
*Coralie laughs at him, her laughter sounded like small bells tinkling*
Coralie: alright, alright mate you caught me out I’m a bloody tourist…*taking a sip of her prosecco* I can see why the brits don’t really like the French *she jokes and laughs but she realized Jacques was not laughing anymore, but he looked at her sternly.
Coralie : Jacques I did not mean to upset you, it was only a joke.
*Jacques crosses his arms and shakes his head as he says.
Jacques: Mademoiselle Coralie.. this is the 1st time a tourist has ever blatantly insulted the french in front of a French man
It is erhm uncool.. barbaric almost!
*Coralie’s cheeks turn pink from embarrassment, she sets down her fork and puts her hands on her lap while nervously biting her lower lip’s dry skin.
(Coralie’s inner musings)
Coralie : so much for making a new friend.. and darn I could really use some Vaseline.
*Coralie looks into jacques’ eyes and saw that he actually meant what he said*
Coralie : Jacques I’m sorry for truly offending you, I’ll leave you now and pay for the cake thank you again for extending your hospitality and company towards me even though it ended on a sour patch during the end.
*Coralie prepares to leave, she reaches inside her purse to get her billfold and starts taking out money to pay the offended barkeep.
*Until Jacques started to laugh again*
Jacques: ahhh Tu es ma fille trop grave! Haha
Coralie : uhm Jacques my French isn’t that good.. did you just tell me that I think too much?
Jacques: Coralie.. Coralie.. Vous fees insaisissable! I was just.. erhmmm.. joking! Yes that is the right word! I don’t mind about you making jokes like that! All French men are terrible indeed! And I am one of them..! * chuckling* I accept that fact about my identity.. it makes me a true born Frenchman!
*Coralie sighs in relief, glad to have not offended Jacques.. Because she liked the old jolly man and would have hated to hurt his feelings, especially when he has done nothing but kindness for her.
Coralie: well I’m glad Jacques I would have hated to truly offend you.
*Jacques waves away her apologies and merely said with a shrug*
Jacques: Bah! It takes a lot for me to be angry fille! Don’t apologize for it was all in good fun no?
*Jacques raises his glass and calls for a toast*
Jacques : I would like to make a toast for the sake of fun.. may it never leave our lives!.. jour heureux pour nous tous.
*Coralie raises her glass and repeats after everyone then drinks.
Coralie : to fun.
Later on that evening..
*Coralie sits there smoking her fifth cigarette. Blowing smoke rings in the air as Jacques cleans up the glasses behind the counter.
Coralie : Jacques, to answer your question.. I came to france because I was confused and a little bit depressed.. my aunt she died 2 weeks ago. I didn’t come here looking for anything… my mother told me that I should find my happiness here… to get away from everything I left back home in the meantime. She told me it was what my aunt would have wanted.
*Jacques stopped his cleaning and puts his hands on the counter, giving Coralie a sad smile.
Jacques : well my dear, she may be right but maybe you need to just break away from everything yes?
*Coralie looks at her watch and realizes that it was already getting late, she turns to get her things and was about to beg her leave to Jacques.
Coralie : Jacques, I’m sorry.. but I just realized that it was already getting late, I still need to get my luggage from the train station and look for a place to stay. but thank you so much for your company and the advice
*Just then Jacques had a brilliant idea.
Jacques : ah! filha I have a idée géniale!
*he waves his arms around,while moving around behind the bar.
Coralie : What?
Jacques: You shall stay at my place.. until.. you.. uhm find yourself! my wife and little girl would love to meet you! come come! we shall be home in time for my wife’s bouillabaisse.
*Coralie was too surprised to say no
Coralie :..oooh.. I guess I can’t say no to good bouillabaisse! *she jokingly said*
*Jacques rushes to get his coat and frantically looks for his keys…. which were dangling around his neck
Jacques: ahh found these confounded keys.. There we shall go now and show you good french/midi hospitality.
*Coralie puts on her coat and lights up another cigarette and smiles as she exhales a long drag.
Coralie : Well I can’t get enough of good hospitality as it seems.
Dame Oriano: Why Hello there mon cor! You are just in time for dinner.
*Dame Oriano turns around and was surprised to see her husband with Coralie, she collected herself and comes forward smiling.
Dame Oriano: I wasn’t expecting guests today,*playfully rolling her eyes at her husband* Bonsoir my dear I am Oriano, Je suis la femme de ce salopard.
Jacques: Ehhh! Language my wife.. she loves me really *he reaches over and hugs his wife then kisses her on her temple.
*Coralie laughs, enjoying the sight of their loving.
Dame Oriano : ahhh this singe only acts like this when he wants something.. *gestures towards the dining table where their meal is waiting* Come.. how do you say it in english?.. Supper is served!
Jacques : Yes yes Come filha! You shall see that what I said about my wife’s bouillabaisse is true! But wait where is Ella?
Dame Oriano : She’s sleeping over at Margaux’s house.. you forgetful singe.
Jacques: Yes that did slip my mind… let’s eat*rubs his hands together and sits down*
Later on during dinner
*Conversation shifted to Coralie’s reason for being in france… Dame Oriano’s brow furrows when she found out Coralie’s aunt was dead.
Dame Oriano: So filha.. your aunt… she wanted you to come to france… but you have no idea why?
Coralie : Yes, Dame, she only wanted me to be happy I guess.. at least that is what my mother told me.
Jacques: I told her… la mere may be right *slurping happily away on the soup of his bouillabaisse .
Dame Oriano: I agree with Jacques.. maybe the Midi is the key to your true happiness.
*Coralie shakes her head, taking another sip of her soup and a bite of fish.
Dame Oriano : Do you not agree mademoiselle?
Coralie: It’s not that I don’t agree Dame with both your points, but I don’t see why she would cryptically send me to France and leave me nothing but a journal and a letter detailing things that I find very hard to believe.
*Dame Oriano and Jacques look at each other in amusement, silently agreeing that Coralie acted a lot like their other child Etienne and it made them miss him so.*
*Coralie misinterpreting the looks they were giving her gestured with her arms explaining further that she was a logical human being.
Coralie: do you see my point?
Dame Oriano: and what point is that ma chere? That you are logical and certain things are impossible? *folding her napkin neatly on her lap.
Coralie : Yes! Finally someone who sees my point.it’s bad enough I got saddled with this and this is probably the most illogical thing that has ever happened to me. * putting her bag on her lap Coralie pulls out the velvet pouch and reaches in to show them the leather bound journal.
Coralie: I have not read the journal at all, because It’s written in a language that I don’t know and there’s this phrase… *cracks the book open and points to the phrase on the front page.
Coralie : Pas a pas se va luenh, there that’s it I don’t know what it means but it seems familiar… but I can’t seem to remember what it means or where I saw it.
Dame Oriano: Step by Step we make our way… that’s what it means.
*Jacques leans over and looks at the journal analyzing every single inch with his eyes.
*Coralie looks at Dame Oriano, shocked that she knew what it meant.
Coralie: I.. How did you know what it meant Dame?
*Dame Oriano smiles and flips through the pages, reminiscing about the old language that her own grand mother taught her.
*Jacques looks at Coralie and at the journal and happily pronounces the origin of the book and the language*
Jacques: Coralie…Filha.. It’s Occitan.. the old language around this region… and judging by this journal it’s centuries old.
*Coralie,taken aback surprised and questioned herself who were these people really?!!
*Jacques seeing the quick dash of worry in Coralie’s eyes quickly explains.
Jacques : haha filha, I’m actually a history major… I studied everything that is to know about my part of the country…. Dame Oriano, on the otherhand, why her family has been around here for centuries. She has true midi blood, her family hails from Carcassona.
*Coralie looks over at Dame Oriano who was still leafing through the pages of the journal, a small smile on the corner of her lips
Coralie :So you know what that journal says?
Dame Oriano : Yes I do..in fact I know who owned this journal,
This was Dame Viola Du Mas Beacour of Carcassona’s journal.
Jacques: well that is certainly a surprise indeed, the question is, how did mademoiselle Coralie end up having this?
*Jacques looks at Coralie and beckoned her to answer.
*Coralie not sure if she should say anything looked at the kindly old man’s eyes and takes a deep breath.
Coralie: Because I’m her..
Dame Oriano and Coralie : Descendant.
*The three of them gathered around The Bertrand’s fire place, sitting on comfy chairs and drinking wine accompanied by Dame Oriano’s tasty crème brulee.
Coralie : I honestly thought my grand aunt was playing a joke on me from the dead.
Jacques:Bah! Why would you think that?! Your grand aunt semblait intelligent et sage aussi!
Coralie: she was pretty cynical Jacques.
Jacques: Cynical? What does that mean?
*Coralie shakes her head *
Coralie : Never mind Jacques *as she takes a sip of her wine she looks over at Dame Oriano, still busily examining the journal.
Coralie: Dame Oriano, do you understand everything about it? What can you tell me about her… Viola I mean?
*Dame Oriano gives Coralie a measured look and crosses her legs, gathering her thoughts about her analysis on the journal.
Dame Oriano: Coralie, what do you know about Viola de Carcassona?
Coralie: nothing much at all, truth be told I only heard about her when I read my aunt’s letter.. she’s a noblewoman… am I right?
Dame Oriano : Yes she is.
*Jacques takes a big swig of his wine and joins in on their conversation as he pours himself another glass of wine.
Jacques: Filha, Viola Du Mas Beaucour, is a legend around here.. they called her the ferocious lily. Her beauty was known around the Languedoc and so was her mind. She was I think.. 19 or so no Dame?
*Dame Oriano nods her head*
Jacques: Anyway Dame Viola was what they called a vieille fille. An old maid, She didn’t want to be married at all, but after the deaths of her family members she had no choice but to marry… and it wasn’t a sweet one.
Coralie: why is that Jacques? * as she takes another sip of wine*
Jacques: Because the man she married was a vile man! Why it was the same man who so they said murdered her father and brothers dead. She was left to rule and during those days.. ahh! Men believed women can’t rule without a man by her side.
Still up until now a lot of men think that *shrugs his shoulders… laughing*
*He stopped laughing when he saw his wife frowning at him.
Jacques: Of course I don’t think that mon cor.* Standing up to give his wife a kiss.
*Dame Oriano swatted the back of his head with her tiny hand.
Dame Oriano : regardez-le cochon sale! Do you want to sleep in the den tonight you dog?
Jacques: Easy mon cygne. What am I really? A pig or a dog? Make up your mind woman.
*Jacques raises his arms wildly with a mocking face.
*Dame Oriano gives him the evil eye and a frown that could frighten grown men back to boyhood.
Jacques: alright, alright you are serious… I was just joking around I apologize my dear.
Dame Oriano : Continue telling Coralie your story.
*Jacques clears his throat…and proceeds to tell Coralie more about Viola.
Jacques: Ah where was I?.. ahh! Right… well Coralie… Viola’s marriage to Viscount Cilian de Beziers was under questionable circumstances. Viscount Beziers forced marriage unto Viola by laying siege on her land. But in the end Viola decided to marry Viscount Cilian.
Coralie: She gave up so easily then? So how was she called the ferocious lily again?
Jacques: haha! She was beautiful and intelligent.
Coralie: well she probably was beautiful but smart… I don’t think so *Coralie shook her head in disappointment and takes another sip of her wine.
*Dame Oriano looks at her tentatively and pours herself another glass of wine, while seating herself in the chair next to Coralie.
Dame Oriano: Would you like to really know more about her? * Carefully untying the laces of the journal.
*Coralie looks at the journal in the old lady’s lap. She was curious but at the same time she felt like she didn’t want to know anything else anymore.
Coralie: I..uhm.. I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t thank you though.. as she rummages through her bag looking for her cigarettes and her lighter.
Dame Oriano: You may actually find the answers that you were looking for in her story you know? Fate is being kind by helping you out. If I were you I would take this opportunity as a lesson.. and a way for you to know more about yourself.
Coralie: Through an 11th century history lesson? Dame Oriano, I don’t mean any disrespect but I think I know myself well.
*Coralie lights up another cigarette and offers Jacques a stick*
Jacques: Merci Coralie.
Dame Oriano: Let me read it to you then.. as a favor to an old woman who misses telling stories.
*Coralie exhales a blow of smoke and looks at Dame Oriano’s wrinkled face*
Coralie: alright Dame I shall listen.
Jacques: Yes a wonderful story it shall be mon cor.
*Jacques puffs on his cigarette as he lazily blows smoke rings out of his mouth.
*Dame Oriano looks at her audience and proceeds to the beginning of the story*
Coralie: I’m ready to listen.
*Coralie plops down on the Bertrand’s Carpeted floor in an Indian sitting position, hugging a giant red pillow in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
Dame Oriano: well this is the story of Viola Du Mas Beaucour, a great woman who tried to be more than what society dictated her to be… she is a heroine, an idol to look up to and yet she was also simply a girl.
She was a girl who loved and was courageous enough to fight.
*Lady Viola lays in sleep, her dreams taking place inside her head. When suddenly a knock and a loud feminine voice calls from outside.
Esterelle the lady in waiting: Madam! My lady Viola, I apologize for intruding but your father wants to see you! *Knocks again* Madam? Madam?!!
*Estrelle walks off and calls for a guard to help her wake up the sleeping girl.
*Viola is still sleeping soundly and snoring while stuffing her face with the feathery pillow.
Estrelle: madam, I apologize for this but… Guillem! Knock down this door!
*The sound of a battle ax banging against a door.. Wooden debris was flying everywhere.
*Viola wakes up with a jolt, her eyes fluttered open and her attention was caught by the sound wood chipping away by the second.
*She gets out of bed, grabs her dressing robe and puts it around just in time*
*She puts on her dressing robe and moves to the side of the room to avoid the wooden debris that was going inside the room.
*Guillem the guard knocks down the last remaining pieces of wood and finally puts down the ax, tired from his efforts.
Estrelle: Thank you Guillem, now go and rest, this was rather tiring I know.
*Estrelle waves away the tired guard and gingerly steps over the threshold of her lady’s room.
Viola: *smiling* Benvenguda Estrelle, I see another door needs to be built in order to replace this one *pointing to the shattered debris in her bedroom.
Estrelle: Good morrow to you as well my Lady, I apologize for the mess in your chambers but your presence is being immediately requested by your father.
I tried to wake you my dear, but it seems a battle ax is needed to wake you up.. I should keep that in mind and tell servants to give you as much of a rude awakening as they possibly can *smirking at her charge.
*Viola simply shrugs and looks at herself in the mirror, examining her reflection. Her pale cheek bones could use with a bit of color, her raven hair was unruly with tangled curls, and her eyes wide awake and alert were almost a deep dark blue that is reminiscent of the color violet.
*Estrelle walks over to her young and sweet charge with a brush in hand as she reaches over to brush away the tangles on her head.
*Viola looks at Estrelle over the mirror and asks*
Viola : So what is the reason why my father called for me to awakened?
Estrelle: Your father would like to discuss with you matters relating to the Lord of the manor’s ball
*Viola pulls back and turns around to face her lady in waiting, exasperated she says*
Viola: oh not that useless parade of society fools.. why does my father even bother with this?! It’s nothing but a festival of corrupt charlatans prancing around in my father’s halls drinking his wine and trying to get their pathetic group of sons to be betrothed to me.. who I shall all say no to.
*Viola pours herself a goblet of wine that was safely hidden away in one of her cupboards.
*Estrelle comes forward and plucks the bottle of wine and the goblet away from Viola.. clucking her disapproval at her charge’s scandalous debauchery.
Estrelle: Madam I do not think your father would appreciate you drinking when the sun has just shown us her radiant smile.
*She sets the alcohol aside and turns her attention towards Viola’s gowns… her eye analyzes each one and she picks out the one she likes.
Estrelle: My Lady Viola, this dress is absolutely lovely, it goes so well with the rosy glow of your skin * she presents a pale violet gown.
*Viola rolls her eyes and lets Estrelle dress her.
Viola: I still don’t see the importance of this matter it’s a silly ball.* while Estrelle is tying the laces of her corset.
Estrelle: Well my dear you can take it up with your father *fixing Viola’s hair into a fish tail braid in order to tame her unruly curls.
Viola: Estrelle you know father….
*Estrelle interrupts her
Estrelle : well Filha, it is never wrong to try yes? Oh and Madam, your father is displeased that you missed Prime again, If I were you I would make it to the grand hall oc?
*Viola’s eyes widen and she immediately puts on her shoes and makes a mad dash outside.
*Estrelle steps out of Viola’s room calling out to the young lady.
Estrelle: Madam! I shall have your new door replaced again, it shall be here once you get back oh and do tell your paire, You have another broken door oc?!
*Viola keeps on running, yelling back to Estrelle.
Viola: YES!YES! Estrelle *bumping into slow moving ladies and guards, who mutter under their breaths about how wild their lord’s daughter is.