Another one for a contest. I believe it won first.
Meredith was paying so little attention to what was going on around him in the British Museum he did not even know what rooms they were entering. Long ago he had lost track of how many times he had visited the grand museum as a school boy and for awhile he had dated a guy who worked security. Better not mention that last tidbit or André would scowl at all the guards. Or maybe he should mention it now and André would want to leave.
He grinned, ready to make his suggestion, and bumped into a very short girl in front of him. “Pardon me.”
She smiled up at him. “It’s all right.”
“Tall people should be more considerate and look out for the short in stature.” André mumbled in his native French as he consulted his guide book. “This is mummy room. They got a special Chinese mummy exhibit.”
Meredith glazed over. To him if you’ve seen one mummy you’ve seen them all regardless of country of origin and at the moment he couldn’t see any of them due to the tour of Egyptology students being lectured by a professor about the Emperor being a Chinese god or some sort of nonsense. The professor, a tall woman with jet black hair so shiny and deep in color her white streaks appeared blue read from an ancient scroll displayed next to the newest bound husk on display. Meredith looked down at André who appeared quite attentive. Great, now he’d want to spend all day in here with the Egyptologists.
What did André care about Egypt or China? As far as Meredith knew André’s Egyptian knowledge was limited to preferring 600 count Egyptian cotton sheets and Meredith was fairly certain his Chinese knowledge was limited to food.
The sigh slipped out.
André elbowed him. “Don’ be rude, Old Man.”
“At least I’m not yawning.”
The students urged the professor into reading the scroll in its native language. The professor made some excuses about no one quite knew how it was pronounced, but of course. Why not?
“You actually find this interesting?” Meredith stroked his cheek and chin and turned his head away to cover a small yawn.
“Fascinating. Shut your mouth and listen.”
Meredith leaned against the wall near the doorway, closed his eyes, and tried not to think about the matinee of the reprisal of The Crucible with Ian Gelder returning as Rev. Parris he was missing. He had suggested they go to the theatre. Since when did André want to do anything even remotely educational or as dull as walking around in a museum?
Meredith opened one eye and glanced at André to be sure he hadn’t knocked over a priceless artifact. No, he just looked confused as he raised up on his toes to see what happened.
Suddenly shrieks went up and people began flooding towards the open doorways. Meredith reached for André but he became lost in the flow of people. Meredith remained calm as he stood pressed against the wall and kept his eye out for André finally catching site of the mop of messy curls. “What’s everyone running from?”
“As If I could see over everyone else.” André was now pressed to the wall on the opposite side of the doorway.
Meredith looked in the direction everyone seemed to be running from as more glass shattered. The seven and a half foot tall dried up husk of an Emperor swung a staff of some kind into a display case and the mummy inside rose up. Several already stood around the undead behemoth. Another sigh slipped out as he turned his attention to André. He pointed a finger at him. “Now this… this is your fault.”
“Pourquoi? What am I to do with this?” A piece of pottery crashed into the wall above André’s head showering him with dusty shards. André shook his head trying to clear out the bits and pieces. “This is not the fault of mine.”
“I wanted to go to the theatre.”
This one was written for a contest with a revolutionary war theme.
“What are we going to do for Bastille Day?” André handed Meredith a cold drink and leaned over the balcony to see if the bakery on the corner was still open.
“Go out dancing, get drunk, and watch the fireworks”
“We did that last year.”
“We do that every year.”
“Then let’s go somewhere.”
“We just went to New York so you could see the Fourth of July fireworks.”
“Yes, and it was very nice of you to go seeing as how your ancestors were brutally overrun by Colonists and French alike. It’s no wonder you choose to live in Paris. That sort of defeat is hard to live down.” André who had his back turned to Meredith because he was waving to people on the street, missed the scowl his lover shot him.
“Being French you would know about defeat.”
André faced him. “Are you bringing up us losing an Empire when you have lost entire continents? So soon after going to the States for their Independence have you forgotten the French victories over the British? Have you forgotten your Cornwallis surrendering to Rochambeau and Lafeyette?”
“I believe Cornwallis surrendered to Washington.” Meredith sipped his drink and knew he should just let André’s babbling run its course, but couldn’t allow his revisionist history to run unchecked.
“Tchah! That what they want everyone to be believing.” He brushed dark curls from his eyes. “Cornwallis saw the white uniforms with their blue braids and he knew he had lost. ”
“Easy for you to forget the Battle of Savannah.”
Only a ploy to make your British forces think we were unprepared. The Battle of Chesapeake is proof of that. And were it not for de Grasse what would have happened at Yorktown? We defeated the Hessians there too. The British were crying and drunk at their humiliation. And you are wrong, Cornwallis did not surrender to Washington.” He leaned forward and placed his hands on the arm rests of Meredith’s chair. “Cornwallis’ man tried to present his sword to Rochambeau. Who would not accept it. Washington would not accept it. It was accepted by Washington’s second in command. Why? Because Cornwallis was unimportant.”
“What have you been drinking?”
“Is all true.” André moved his hands to Meredith’s arms. “We had great ships in battle. The Ville de Paris. The Auguste. Languedoc. Vengeur du Peuple.”
“The Ville de Paris was taken by the British fleet when Admiral Rodney defeated de Grasse and the French fleet. And the Vengeur was later defeated by the HMS Brunswick.”
André stared at him. “That did not happen in the American Independence which is of what I speak.”
“Really? Is that what we’re talking about? How did we get on this? I just wanted to do something different for the National Celebration.” Meredith had grown tired of this discussion of history and battles and defeats. Let André hold on to his French victories from an era past. They had little to celebrate in the past century when it came to military victories, and Meredith knew his military history. The real version of it. Not the patriotic spin that André could put on anything.
“We are talking about this because you said I would know about defeat, but I know of the victories. Your mind is clouded because of your many years in the British Military. You do not recognize the greatness of the French Military.”
“One word for you, André-Chou, Waterloo.”
“Pah! Napoleon was born on Corsica. Had he been born on the Mainland the whole world would speak French. Still, he didn’t do bad for an island boy.”
“You live in a special world.”
“Ouias, Paris is very special.” André flashes his smug grin. “Say what you will about French losses. France, to this day, claims the greatest victory over the British Army.”
Meredith shook his head. “Nothing comes to mind. What is this great victory?”
“You. I captured you.” He pressed his lips to Meredith’s. “Vive le France.”