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Chapter 1 : Impossible n'est pas français
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Fleur de Lys
Impossible n'est pas français
Well, of course Fleur has secrets. Everyone has secrets. It’s completely normal. Not any huge secrets… just ordinary, small secrets. For example, yesterday she used the money her parents gave her to pay for her apartment rent on a pair of Muggle shoes. But, they weren’t just any Muggle shoes — they were the most gorgeous emerald green high-heeled shoes she’d ever seen. She simply had to buy them. But, that’s a minuscule secret that can’t hurt anyone. And the shoes are amazing. Gabrielle even reckons that Fleur may meet her future husband in them. Wishful thinking, thought Fleur.
« Oh, non. Mais c’est impossible. »
Fleur Delacour’s large, deep blue eyes stared at the sheet of parchment that she was clutching in her hands. She squeezed her eyes shut then opened them apprehensively again as if to convince herself that the bill really was just a mistake.
But, it wasn’t. Fleur Isabelle Delacour was written in black ink at the top of the page. But, the most impossible thing on the page was the number written at the bottom. The number that she couldn’t even believe.
Fleur looked over the page thoroughly, scrutinizing it for some sort of mistake. Twilfitt and Tatting's — eighty-six galleons. Oh, yes, the short ivory slip dress that had fit so perfectly. She moved onto the next line, Flourish and Blotts — 5 galleons and seven sickles, for that leather-bound journal she had bought. It really was gorgeous and she really was going to use it. Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop — 2 galleons and five sickles, for her quills and coloured ink. Okay, seven bottles of metallic ink was a little excessive, but in the end she was saving… sort of. Madame Malkins — twenty galleons, eight sickles and two knuts. What? She needed new light blue robes for her new job… which she still did not have…
The list felt never-ending and each number seemed to be getting larger and larger, all to add up to the grand total that she couldn’t even think about.
Fleur Delacour was in way over her head.
She tried breathing deeply to calm herself to no avail. She didn’t understand any of this. Perhaps there was a mistake in the calculations, Fleur reasoned. Yes, she consoled herself, all she needed to do was to sort this matter out.
This is how Fleur Delacour found herself standing in front of Gringotts Wizarding Bank the next morning. Gringotts had always made her nervous. Perhaps it was the goblins that made her anxious, with their beady eyes and deep voices. She trembled at the thought. It was rude to judge, but Fleur couldn’t help her feelings. Fleur sat down on a bench and waited until her name was called to come forward.
When she was called forward, Fleur shook back her sheet of silvery-blonde hair and swept up towards the counter.
“And what is your problem, Miss?” asked the goblin wearily.
“Meester, zair ’as been a miztake wiz my bill,” replied Fleur politely, trying her best to enunciate each word clearly.
True, Fleur’s English was barely understandable, but the goblin managed to understand the word ‘mistake’ and raised an eyebrow. “Do you have your bill, Miss?”
“Oui.” Fleur reached into her black leather tote to produce the bill. She handed it to the goblin anxiously and took a step back.
The goblin’s eyes ran over the bill slowly. He mouthed the numbers to himself and furrowed his brow in deep concentration.
Fleur waited nervously for the goblin to finish. He stopped counting and scanned the bill quickly once more.
Clearing his throat, he handed the bill back to Fleur. “There has been no mistake, Miss. The calculations are correct.”
Fleur held the bill with shaking fingers. “Mais, c’est impossible.” She resisted the urge to argue. Inwardly, she was panicking. The goblin’s words had left her quaking in her leather lavender platform pumps.
“If you would like to set up an appointment with a financial advisor, you can do so now,” added the goblin helpfully.
“All right, thank you, Meester…” Fleur trailed off, unsure of how to address the goblin.
The goblin carefully wrote down the appointment on a white card in black ink and handed it to Fleur.
“Thank you,” said Fleur weakly. She glanced down at the card that read: Monday, April 27th, 1995; 10:00 a.m.
Shakily, she headed for the doors. As she stepped outside she realized that it was raining. It was just her luck, she thought. Fighting back tears, she walked down the steps of the bank and to the nearest café.
By the time she had reached the café’s doors, the rain had already soaked her thin, cream-coloured coat through. Today was definitely not her day.
Thankfully there wasn’t a line and Fleur walked straight to the counter. “Can I ’ave a café au lait, s'il vous plaît?” she asked the girl behind the counter.
The girl frowned slightly. “Sorry, did you want coffee milk?”
“Non,” sighed Fleur. “Never mind, can I just ’ave a thé, please?”
The girl nodded and Fleur handed her two sickles. Fleur took her cup of tea and seated herself at a table near the window. She sighed and took off her coat. Fleur Delacour always managed to look haughty and unruffled, but at the moment she just looked like a mess.
She wouldn’t complain no matter how frustrated she was. Partly because she had no one to complain to and because it aided the formation of frown lines. Fleur was in deep trouble and she didn’t want this stupid English Breakfast tea and she hated this stupid city and —
She stopped herself, it was all only making her more distressed. She stared at the dark liquid and took a small, apprehensive sip. Grimacing, she put the bitter tea down and reached for the sugar bowl and began spooning sugar into her tea in an attempt to sweeten it. She stopped, took another sip and grimaced again. Pushing the cup of vile liquid aside, she buried her head in her hands and tried to pull herself together.
Why had she so impulsively decided to come to England? She was all alone and her English hadn’t improved one bit. No one wanted to hire her and she was in debt. Her life was so pathétique.
Hot tears of frustration pooled in Fleur’s deep blue eyes. She wiped them away quickly but that didn’t stop more from falling down her high cheekbones.
“Excuse me, are you all right?”
Fleur stiffened. She hoped that whoever had spoken was not speaking to her. The voice sounded male and Fleur looked up tentatively.
The person was male, as she had predicted. He was also so tall that she had to crane her neck a little to see his face. The man’s blue eyes widened a little at the sight of her. Fleur was used to this, she often had that affect on men. She was part-Veela, after all. Her grandmother had been a Veela and Fleur had inherited her silvery-blonde hair, pale eyes, good looks, and of course, her ability to entrance men.
The man averted his eyes quickly and cleared his throat.
“I am fine, merci,” replied Fleur with all the dignity she could muster. How damsel in distress, thought Fleur.
“Right, sorry. You just looked a little…” he trailed off and smiled a little.
“Non, zair was just some-zing in my eye,” responded Fleur, tear tracks glittering on her cheeks in the light shining through the window.
“Are you sure?” asked the man. A look of concern was etched across his face. “I don’t mean to pry, but you do seem a little upset.”
Fleur shook her head. “Eet’s just that every-zing ees 'orrible.”
“It can’t be that bad,” assured the man.
“Eet ees,” replied Fleur. For some reason Fleur felt the smallest bit better, she was finally talking to someone and they hadn’t asked her to repeat herself or been rude once. It didn’t bother her that she was talking to an absolute stranger, she’d finally met someone nice.
“I came ’ere to Eengland ’oping to improve my Eenglish and to get a job, but everything ’as just been 'orrible.” Fleur sighed, the man probably thought she sounded like some spoiled French girl. To her surprise the man just stood there, listening.
“Eet was supposed to be a great opportunité, but not-zing ’as been going according to plan.” Fleur shook her head again.
“Sometimes, not everything happens the way we want it to, but everything happens for a reason,” replied the man. He had a deep voice and Fleur thought she could listen to him talk forever.
Fleur contemplated what the man had just said but she couldn’t think of a logical reason as to why her being in debt had to have happened. “Yes, I suppose,” responded Fleur. “Eet ees just zat I ’ave no job and I can’t even understand Eenglish properly. And no one will ’ire me and I am a month behind on my rent because I spent eet on a pair of Muggle shoes. And, I am too proud to go back to France when I ’ave succeeded een not-zing. And —”
Fleur stopped herself. Had she really told this stranger all of her problems? Fleur could feel herself blushing in embarrassment. “Sorry,” apologized Fleur softly, looking away.
“It’s quite all right,” replied the man.
Fleur looked up to see that the man was sincere. She frowned, why was he so nice? She didn’t even know him and he was listening to her problems.
“Well, zank you for… listening to my problems and talking wiz me. You really are far too nice,” said Fleur awkwardly. She hoisted her tote onto her shoulder and stood up. She let out her hand uneasily for the man to shake.
“No problem,” answered the man politely, shaking her hand lightly.
Fleur smiled uneasily and walked past him towards the café doors. She stepped outside onto the cobblestone street to see that it was no longer raining and that the sun was shining brightly. Fleur smiled, maybe things were looking up after all.
She turned and began walking towards her flat when her red-soled pump’s heel got stuck on the cobblestone street and inevitably snapped off.
Then again, maybe not.
Author’s Note Well, here’s the first chapter of Fleur de Lys. I hope you liked it and I’d love to hear your thoughts should you want to share them in a review. I know this chapter was a little boring, but I promise the story gets more exciting. So, should I continue it?
ps. The reason I didn't put it in the first person was because I figure it's hard enough to read her dialogue and it'd be too annoying to have all these "eets" and " 'aves." I'm sorry if it's still hard to read, but I couldn't just make her talk normal English.
Also, the title, "Fleur de Lys" is a symbolic lily. And the chapter title, "Impossible n'est pas français" means, "Impossible is not French."
« Oh, non. Mais c’est impossible. » — "Oh, no. But, it's impossible."
« Oui. » — "Yes."
« Mais, c’est impossible. »
café au lait — milky coffee
s'il vous plaît — please
Non — No
thé — tea
pathétique — pathetic
merci — thank you
opportunité — opportunity
Thank you all for reading!
chapter image by Camila
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