“There’s one thing I cannot quite figure out yet,” said Courfeyrac behind her suddenly. Eponine tensed, glancing at him. He was staring at the newly weds, an odd, wistful expression on his face. “Are you in love with Marius, or with Cosette?”
If Eponine had played the lady as well as she wished she could, she would have probably left, after making sure that Courfeyrac knew he had greatly offended and scandalized her; as it was, Eponine was still ill-suited to the role; she could barely fit right in all the dresses she had now and had dreamed of for years, and she could pretend even less that she was as respectable as she ought to be; she’d seen too many things. Courfeyrac wouldn’t have been able to shock her even if he tried, and – if she’d judge the man properly, he wasn’t that kind.
“Neither,” she said, honestly, and when he looked down at her, blinking dubiously, she shrugs an amended, defensive: “A little bit of both, perhaps. I don’t know. What about you?”
“I thought it was just Marius,” Courfeyrac answered, genuine and almost pensive.
It figured, Eponine thought, nodding. Cosette was like that; one minute you hated her, and everything she was – everything you thought you’d be, one day – and the next she was smiling at you and your heart was beating just a little too fast. Or maybe that was just Eponine. She didn’t like thinking about feelings too much; she got wistful if she lingered on it too long; No Marius for her; certainly no Cosette. Still, it was beautiful, the way they looked at each other like they were each other’s entire world. Eponine couldn’t even be properly jealous.
Glancing back at Courfeyrac again, it wasn’t hard to see he wasn’t jealous at all either.
“It’s improper, to stand so near a lady, and not making her dance,” she told him, abruptly, a bit too sharply.
He startled, and then, he smiled, amused and charmed.
“Of course,” he told her and hold out his hand after a brief curtsy, every bit the gentleman. “Mademoiselle -”
Eponine still got a thrill every time she was called “Mademoiselle”. It was nice, feeling proper and respected and all that. It felt right, even, more and more.
“Monsieur,” she said, and took his hand.
Nothing could be more melancholy than to see her sport about the room, and, so to speak, flit with the movements of a bird which is frightened by the daylight, or which has broken its wing. One felt that under other conditions of education and destiny, the gay and over-free mien of this young girl might have turned out sweet and charming. Never, even among animals, does the creature born to be a dove change into an osprey. That is only to be seen among men.
Yes, I am a triple threat! Bitter, petty, and an emotional mess.