Belle25 Jul 2017 | Maurice
Maurice recovered quickly in the care of Collette, but he didn’t stay long in the winery stables. Collette’s father was not often sober, but on one such occasion, he happened upon Maurice and Collette sitting together in the barrel room. He ran Maurice out and gave Collette a few bruises for shaming their family.
Her father did not change her adoration for Maurice–even though he was much older. She even helped him purchase an old cottage at the edge of town as a shop–and home. Maurice lit up in her presence, and his spirit rekindled with a burning hope to take her with him into the adventure of an amazing future–even beyond where he had started.
Together, they slowly rebuilt the machine that he had given five years of his life for. There was no rush though, each day, when Collette arrived at his little cottage at the edge of town, he would sigh deeply and beam a smile at this young woman who had so entirely stolen his heart. All he had to offer her was his stories, hopes, and dreams of taking her away in his machine, and he felt lucky to have her love every day.
He had traveled through years of rejection and bitterness that hardened his heart, and after losing everything, this beauty was bringing him back to life.
If it were anyone else’s story, it might have been a happily ever after, but this no story of a princess who finds her prince. This is the story of Maurice.
Late one night, the rain poured down as Maurice worked in his shop by candlelight–hunched over a desk covered in calculations. Calculation was everything. There was so much damage to the time machine, but the remaining power in the cells would be enough to bring him home. He signed in relief. The repairs would be difficult enough without having to power batteries in the 1700s. He chuckled to himself.
Something pounded on the door upstairs. He almost didn’t hear it. Taking his candle, he walked upstairs. No good ever came from a late night call in the rain. He braced himself for pranksters or the law, but when he opened the door, his sweet Collette collapsed into him sobbing.
He caught her and sunk to the floor, the candle extinguished and forgotten. the brief moment of light on her face burned into his memory–her nose was broken, one eye swelled shut, and he could barely make out her words through swollen and bleeding lips.
Filled with compassion and sadness and rage, he sat on the floor with Collette and wept with her before the open door to the storm.
She was pregnant, and her already outcast family cast her out. They clung to each other over the next months, as the pregnancy worsened and the Collette became too weak to leave her bed.
Maurice spent the rest of his travel gold and most of his goodwill with the surrounding villages on medicines and preparations for the newborn–Collette’s bright presence always cut through the darkest of moments. Until the day the child came, and no midwife stood by.
Alone in the cottage outside of town, Maurice delivered his daughter into the world, and in the dark night, light shone.
Collette held the little girl in her arms and glowed. “She’s so beautiful,” were the last words she said before she slipped into eternal sleep.
Maurice held his Collette and his Belle until morning.
Then he buried her.