Marinette was pacing up and down the narrow length of the hallway in her childhood home. The ball was to begin soon, though the Assembly was but ten minutes by carriage. Her striking red gown was trimmed in black, and her mask was a lovely red and black silk brocade that she’d haggled for on the docks, Papa at her side. While her family’s trade was baking, Marinette had a gift for using a needle and thread to make visual marvels: that included her gown for this evening, made specifically for the occasion. The Chinese silk had cost a pretty penny, but it had been worth using inferior cotton as the lining no one would see but the servants. She had sent an orange and white gown with delicate embroidery to the Cesaire household, for Alya had paid her for the materials and for the time it took to make another ball gown. Though Marinette would have happily made it for only the cost of the fabric, Alya insisted on paying her as a seamstress instead of a friend.
“Someday, Marinette,” Alya had grinned, “I shall only be purchasing a Dupain-Cheng gown for balls, teas, and promenades. I’ll be the talk of the tonne and you shall be the upper crust of society, designing for Dukes, for the Royal Family!”
“Alya, I have to marry someone willing to open a design house, or else find a way to open it myself. While Papa wishes to give me more, the bakery needs to be run as well. Say no more of that until such a feat seems plausible!”
“Such a feat seems perfectly plausible to me, dear friend. You are the most determined young woman I’ve ever known.”
Alya had a breadth of experience that Marinette did not, despite her own mother’s Chinese heritage. The young woman who befriended Marinette whilst learning etiquette from Madame Bustier had lived the first eleven years of her life on an island far away called Martinique. They had both suffered through the laments of a certain Mademoiselle Bourgeois that the education offered to them simply was not good enough. Well, the daughter of an up-and-coming politician had to act the part. Ever since he’d been elected Mayor of Paris, Mlle. Bourgeois had helped elevate her family status by fitting right in with the other political families.
Marinette and Alya had other dreams: the first dreamed of designing wardrobes for the truly bold, and the other dreamed of writing down events that actually happened for both public record and historical record.
The raven haired woman smiled as she paced, and didn’t register that her musings had made the pacing more calm rather than the neurotic motions that were more typical. Neurosis was unfortunately expected: M. Adrien Agreste had returned to Paris after spending the entirety of last season in the south of France, in a city Marinette had never seen called Marseilles. He would be accompanied by M. Nino Lahiffe, whom Alya hoped to court and win this season. While Alya and Nino had always had an affection for each other, surpassed only by Nino’s loyalty to Adrien, Marinette had never gotten past her clumsy tongue when it came to the love of her life.
She never seemed to have the words to tell him how she felt. It was as if any words she could use would never be enough to encompass each emotion Adrien seemed to spark in her heart, in her mind, in her soul. Marinette had stopped pacing, and sighed dreamily. Seeing his face in her mind made her heart race and her soul feel at home. No one else had ever made her feel the way he did.
“Marinette, are you ready?” Her mother’s voice cut through her imaginings.
“Yes, Maman,” she replied. Her feet somehow carried her into the carriage, and she didn’t see her mother’s telling looks to Papa, who smiled gently and hoped that M. Adrien Agreste was a better man than his father had been. The scandal of the previous M. Agreste had rocked the entire city to the core, yet Marinette had declared that the son had nothing to do with what his father had done. She had done so in the tonne, before everyone, even though the new M. Agreste had already fled to the sunny south.
That had taken courage, and M. Dupain hoped that M. Agreste would at least thank her for her loyalty. He’d heard many others of higher ranking, who were supposed to be of the higher class, claiming that the young Adrien was a scoundrel just like his father, and weren’t they lucky indeed he’d gone to the south?
M. Dupain had only felt sorry for the child who had to become a man in a matter of months after discovering his father led a secret, criminal society trying to use magic to revive his dead wife. Some even claimed that M. Gabriel Agreste had even killed his wife. M. Dupain thought it would be odd to revive a wife one had previously murdered, but this was not the sort of thing he understood. He did understand that a fifteen year old had to bury his mother and face his father’s sordid affairs while said father was executed for crimes against the Crown. He did understand that his daughter was hopelessly in love with that now eighteen year old man, even after all this time, and all the scandal.
Really, their love was inevitable and impossible to eradicate, even if one took on that nasty venture. M. Dupain looked towards his wife, and needed no words to convey the story their daughter was currently navigating. Words were, after all, overrated.