08-26-2011, 06:02 AM
Ch 4 - Bonding
Liliana and Criss walked out of the restaurant of an expression of satisfaction on their faces.
They were talking and laughing. They certainly look like the happiest couple ever.
Criss then said, "Would you like to take a walk on the park?" Liliana replied in a sarcastic voice, "are you sure you don't have anything to do right now?" Criss looked down and said, "Oh, about that. I'm sorry I left like that at the cafe this evening. It's just that"
Liliana interrupted him, "It's just what? You didn't like it that a girl knows how to do something you don't?" Criss felt ashamed and said, "Well, that's one way you can put it, but I don't want you to think I underestimate women, ok?" Liliana looked at him with confidence and with a mischievous smile she said, "I know, you don't have to apologize, I was just kidding."
And they kept on walking through the lonely park. The trees were their witnesses, the Moon: their protector and the wind was in charge of spreading their pollen of love all around Paris.
Then they sat on a bench for a moment. All of a sudden Liliana's expression changed. She became serious and looked down at the floor. Criss was still talking and joking around, until he turned to look at her, and noticed that she wasn't ok. "What's wrong?," he asked. "Oh, don't worry, it's nothing," she said. "No, it's not ok. If it makes you look this sad then it's got to be important. Please, tell me," he said.
"Well," she said, "I just realized rights now that, it's getting darker and I don't have a place to spend the night in."
Criss didn't know what to say. The thought of his own reality came flying at full speed to his mind. He didn't have a home either. He was used to sleeping on park benches and covering himself with old and dirty newspapers. How was he supposed to help her this time?
Criss knew that it would be too embarrassing to tell her the truth, so instead he came up with a good idea.
"Well, there's a place where I stay every night, if you want, I can take you there." Liliana looked at him with her watery eyes and with a cracked voice she said, "Really? Are you sure it's ok?" Criss replied with a fake confidence, "Yeah, sure! Let's go, you must be freezing out here."
Criss knew an old woman who owned a big old manor where she usually received all kinds of guests, especially tourists. She would charge them very little for spending the night over there, so she always had quite a bunch who wanted to stay there. Criss barely had enough money to provide food for himself and he preferred to rather save whatever money was left and make the sacrifice of sleeping in the street rather than spending it all on a soft bed with warm sheets. But he didn't want her to know he was a low-life. Well she already knew, but he didn't want her to know he was such a low-life.
Liliana and Criss arrived at the manor. Criss knocked on the door gently. But there was no response. He knocked again, but still, no one answered the door, until he became frustrated and began to slam the door and yelled, "Open the door you!-" And just as Criss was about to slam his fist on the door again, the door suddenly opened and an old lady came out screaming, "Ce que l'enfer est tout ce bruit?! Êtes-vous fou?!"1 Criss and Liliana stared amazedly at the old woman, and there was a sudden pause. Then the woman looked at Criss and with a look of disappointment on her face said, "Criss, what are you doing here?" Criss answered, "I need you to do a favor for me, please. See, this is my friend, Liliana. She doesn't have a place where to spend the night and I was wondering if…" The woman's expression turned even more hostile. "Ne même pas y penser!" the old woman screamed. "No, no! It's not what you're thinking! We'll pay you! Umm, nous vous remboursons.!"2 Liliana made a quick turn and looked at him and furrowed her brows while she thought, "Wow, this guy does speak some French after all!" When the old lady heard the words "payer" and "argent,"3 her expression and attitude made a 180 degree turn. She immediately said, "S'il vous plaît, entrez en jeu,"4 as she opened the door widely for the two of them and raised her hand to show them the way in.
Once inside, Criss took care of arranging everything with the landlady, while Liliana stayed aside for a moment. Criss and the old woman were talking in a very low voice and Liliana seemed to notice that. When Criss came back to Liliana, she asked him, "Is everything alright?" and he replied, "Yeah, sure," with a suspicious tone, but she was exhausted from the tedious day she had had and didn't want to argue. They went upstairs until they found their room.
When they finally found it, they opened the door, and to Liliana's surprise, there was only one small bed. She didn't really know what to say at that moment, but before a word could come out of her mouth, Criss said, "Well, I hope you have a good night, I'll be leaving now." Liliana turned around quickly and said, "What? You're leaving? Where?" He stuttered, "Umm, well, you see, I got a different room, you know…" One could see in Liliana's face that there was nothing she couldn't see. "You're lying, huh? C'mon, just tell me. You're lying." Criss felt cornered at this point and had no choice but to tell the truth. "Ok, fine. So I didn't get a room. What's the problem with that?" "So then where are you going to sleep in?" asked Liliana in confusion. "Nowhere," he replied, "I got nowhere to go. I'll just find myself a good spot down close by down the street." Liliana sighed and said to him, "Why do you like to complicate things even more? You can stay on that couch over there," and she pointed to a small and dirty couch. It was yellow and covered in small red spots. It had some holes on it, but other than that, it could make for a good bed. "Eh, I don't think so," Said Criss. "But why not? Don't tell me the sidewalk's hard and wet floor is more comfortable than this couch. C'mon just lay on it. Besides, you were the one who paid for this, so it wouldn't be fair that you didn't take advantage of it, don't you think?" Criss was amazed at her power of persuasion, and also a bit ashamed of himself for being such a push-over. "Well, if you put it that way…,"he said in a tone of defeat, and proceeded to accommodate himself on the couch, which by the way, felt like a needle bed due to all the springs that were sticking out of it. Liliana took off her coat and hit the bed. She was exhausted. Criss looked at her from the couch. She was looking the other way. After a moment, she said, "What are you looking at?" Criss said in an innocent voice, "What do you mean?" She replied, "I know when someone is looking at me. I can feel it." She turned around and said, do you wanna share half of the bed?" Criss closed his eyes as if he wanted to fall asleep and get away from the world and said, "Nah, the couch is fine. Don't worry." She sat up on the bed and as she patted the bed with the palm of her hand, she said, "Aww come on. You know you're not comfortable on that couch. Come on, I'll look one way and you'll look the other one. Deal?"Criss didn't know if he should, but that offer sure was tempting. He got up the bed and as if he was being forced to do it, he said, "Ok, fine. You win." Liliana giggled and said, "Like always."
They finally turned off the lights. Each one of them curled on their edge of the bed. Liliana fell asleep like a rock as soon as the lights were off, but Criss just couldn't close his eyes. They were wide open, like the eyes of a cat in the middle of the dark when it's struck by a ray of light. He couldn't stop thinking about all the things that had happened in just one day, and furthermore, he couldn't stop wondering about what would happen next. Then Liliana, in her sleep, turned around towards Criss and put her arm around him. Criss was in shock! He didn't move at all, He stayed like that all night without being able to stick his eye-lashes to his eyes.