The French Girl

The French Girl by Felicia Donovan Read Free Book Online

Book: The French Girl by Felicia Donovan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Felicia Donovan
Eastern University where Jean teaches,” Giselle explained.  Pointing to a much smaller building, she said, “and that is Jean’s office, but she is lecturing right now.  You will meet her tonight.”
    I did not like the sound of “lecturing.” I remembered Madame Duvais complaining that Monsieur Duvais was always lecturing her about what meats to buy for the shop and where to place things on the shelves.
    We turned away from the campus down a dirt road that was lined with trees on either side.  I grabbed onto the leather seat as the car lurched over a pothole.
    Giselle tossed back her head just like Maman and laughed.  “ Je suis désolé . I am sorry. This road is unforgivable.”
    I watched as a small stone house with a bright red door suddenly appeared at the end looking like something out of a fairy tale with its pitched roof, stone porch and windows filled with so many small panes.
    “Welcome to Stone Cottage,” Giselle announced as pebbles skidded out from under the tires.
    I had never seen such an odd little house before. Two front windows were set deep inside the stone openings, as was an old wooden door that looked freshly painted in bright red, the same color as Maman’s polish.  It looked as if someone had built it, forgot it was there, and then remembered it again.  Giselle gathered up my small blue bag.
    “It used to be the caretaker’s cottage when the University was first built,” she explained.  “I fell in love with it the first time I saw it and when I heard the University was selling it because it was too much to maintain, I begged Jean to buy it.”
    “Jean owns it?”
    “We own it together,” Giselle said.  “But she does not like the door,” she added grinning.
    “Why not?” I asked.
    “She thinks it should be gray or white or brown, but I like it red.”
    I liked it red, too.
    “It looks like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?” she asked gesturing widely.  “Wait until all the gardens are in bloom and you see the beautiful stream that runs down the back.”  Turning to me, she said, “I do hope you’ll like it here, Etoile.”  She opened the front door, which was unlocked and said, “Welcome home.”
    I felt a quiver in my stomach.  Surely she did not think I was going to live with her and this woman Jean long enough to see the gardens bloom? I was only there until Anais could come for me.
    I glanced back anxiously at the road while Giselle stood waiting in the open door, but I could not move. The thought of being so far from Anais when I didn’t even know where she was… And what if Mrs. Galloway didn’t tell Anais how to reach me?  I squeezed my eyes tight against the pain that was starting up in my stomach.
    Giselle shut the front door, came over and knelt down beside me.
    She reached out and stroked my hair just the way Anais did. “Etoile,” she said, “I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you, but you and I are family and you must trust me that you will be safe and cared for here. No one will ever hurt you. That I promise.”  Her eyes glistened and I thought she was going to cry, and then I thought I was going to cry, too. “Can you try and do that for me?”
    I nodded, but wasn’t so sure. She took a finger and wiped at my cheek and I realized I was crying. I looked back at the red door.
    “Come along, I will show you your room,” she said as she opened the door again.
    We entered into the living room. It had a very high ceiling with old beams running across it and a small loft area that looked down over the living room.  The walls were all freshly painted off-white. A stone fireplace filled an entire wall with stones of all shapes and colors.  Above the fireplace hung a large picture of the Stone Cottage, complete with its bright red front door. It must have been painted in the summer because the cottage was surrounded by colorful gardens. Several couches and chairs made of leather were arranged around the fireplace. The opposite wall was

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