by Corb Silverthorn
Image by Ivan Bliznetsov
Marie let the question sit for a long moment before answering Danilo. He sat in the armchair nearest the window, studying her, as she wrote a letter to their father.
“Perhaps.” She continued writing, never looking up from her paper.
“Typical,” he murmured as he lit his pipe.
Ghostly ringlets emerged from his well-formed lips. The smell of his pipe filled her nostrils, something she truly detested.
“Try to remember, Marie. He visited often to talk with Papa.”
Marie sighed heavily, as if she had been burdened with the greatest task in the world. She dipped the tip of the plume into a dark inkwell.
“I suppose I do remember him,” she said finally. “Tall? Quite thin? Now that I think about it, he always looked nervous, as if waiting for something to happen.”
“Yes.” Danilo nodded, taking another puff from his pipe. “That would be him.”
Marie bit her bottom lip, contemplating the next sentence she would write. Danilo watched her as she scratched away at the paper on the desk. Blue-black waves of hair reflected the moonlight streaming in from the window. Absently, she tucked it back behind her ear and continued writing.
“I ran into his father this afternoon, literally, as I entered the print shop.” There was a long moment of silence, broken only by the scratching of the plume against the paper. Marie knew he was waiting for her to ask him what had happened, but she was in no mood for her brother’s games. When she finally looked up, her face was without expression, but her voice held a note of irritation when she spoke.
“Danilo, I must finish this letter.”
He acted as if he had not heard her. “Monsieur Bonenffant is severely old now. I believe it was quite a shock for him to see me there, at the print shop.”
With a sigh, she returned her attention to the letter and said, without looking up, “He would not have been shocked had he known what a political madman you are with all your pamphlets.”
Danilo chuckled and then fell silent. Marie chanced a glance at him. Melancholy had darkened his beautiful features. She loved him. They were inseparable, twins, and she was his Marie; his confidante and friend. Marie remembered the night he confessed his fear of losing her. The thought had filled him with terror.
“Marie, Monsieur Bonenffant told me his son has been missing for two months. He was afraid and angry. He did not greet me with a handshake nor a good day. Mon Dieu, he was so angry.”
She let out a little sigh and shook her head, then said, “Danilo, why should I be interested in this story? It is a tragedy for the old man, but how should this affect me? Us?” The pen dipped into the inkwell again.