It was, an extraordinarily lackluster day. Slumping further down in the smooth seat of father's towncar, Adrienne surveyed the English countryside through the rain-flecked car window. Nothing but fields. Fields and the occassional cow. Sighing, she remembered that somehow, French villages, even the most provincial, reflected and air of...tidy efficiency. Charmante, mother would pronounce them. But these rustic English farms certainly lacked such a faculty.
It had been two months since mother's funeral, two months of sincere black-clad well-wishers. Ah! But she was sick-to-death of condolences! Poor maman had been sick for awhile, and neither Adrienne nor her father were shocked at her passing. Unable to be consoled, they submitted to the resounding truth, that they had only each other. Awkward though it was, Sébastien Moreau was a good man, and he was willing to try to make it work. Adrienne was 17 of course, but her father, not quite diligent, or tactful for that matter, laboured still under the presumption that she would still very much prefer to be treated as if she were 12 years of age. For now, she would like that. But only because she was entirely unready to re-enter the world as a young adult.
Adrienne began to chew, in a decidedly impish manner on one of her perfectly manicured nails. She suddenly sat bolt upright, extracted the finger from her mouth and stared at it accusingly. Already, she was sliding back into her unattractive habits! She pictured her mother, frowning ever-so-slightly issuing her a hushed admonition.
Je regrette, maman.
A small, wayward tear found its way down her cheek. She brushed it away impatiently. Adrienne couldn't help but feel...exposed, vulnerable now. She had let down her guard. If it was just Papa and her, no more of the Ambassador's daughters, no more of the Prime Minister's nieces, no more horrid royalty, and no more of the Beauxbatons girls, what was there to defend against? She knew her papa must not be quite so clueless if he had accepted this new position in this...Ministry of Magic, as it were. He had just smiled his crinkly smile, ruffled her coiffed hair and breezed on about a change of scene, and moving on. But he knew. He must have known. Adrienne smiled, at this huge new opportunity. Did her father know what he had released her from? Here she was, travelling alone (her Nana had been dismissed, as Adrienne was now of age) to meet her Papa in a strange new land. No one would know who she was, or where she came from, as she was determined to start afresh. Whoever said outrunning the past wasn't possible? Adrienne had just done it.
Naturally, papa had gone ahead, to manage the new house. This entailed overseeing the moving of furniture, settling in the new staff (which would be a fraction of the size of the old staff), and checking in at the Ministry. Adrienne had volunteered to come and help, but she had been politely reprimanded and told to stay put. Thus, with great reluctance, Adrienne finished out the rest of term at Beauxbatons. Her Nana escorted her one final time to Aeroport Marseilles, and from there she had been on her own. Adrienne relished in the glory of unchaperoned freedom. Before, either maman, or someone else's parent, or heaven forbid, a not-quite-so-discreet bodyguard had always been hovering over her shoulder. With a self-satisfied nod, she recalled how she had expertly handled her baggage, and sought out her car. Rather, her father's. And as she glanced out the window again, she saw it had made significant progress while she had been absorbed in her thoughts.
With a start, she noticed the driver looking at her from the mirror. He announced they were in proximity and she should be arriving rather soon. She bestowed the perfunctory smile on him, and thanked him tonelessly. They were in the midst of a village now. It was charmante no doubt, but lavish as well. The scenery was rather impressive. Adrienne found her lips curving in a smile at the sight of the gardens. Bursts of azealeas, bushes upon bushes of rhodedendrons and roses, and lilies, and tulips, daises....
Again she smiled at her absent papa, knowing he had been thinking of her when he happened upon this village. Hearing the crunch of gravel, she peeked out the window one last time. The car passed through a wrought-iron gateway and entered a brief pathway lined by trees, emerging onto a circular drive. Before the car had even come to a proper stop, Adrienne flew out of her seat, slamming the door behind her. She thought she heard the driver make some noise in consternation. Stepping back, Adrienne grinned up at her new home. Wide steps led upto an large, ornate set of doors, flanked on either side by massive columns. Multiple shuttered windows winked down at her in the rainy sunlight. The sound of water greeted her, though she could not tell from where. Before she could think on it further, the doors were thrown open by a man she did not recognize. Her father, bounding down the staircase, enveloped her in a rib-cracking hug.
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