Thanksgiving at the Beaulieus. A snippet from Cedrick and Vivienne’s past. This was going to be part of a larger story but I never wrote much in it. Someday I will likely edit and rework this scene, and add it back into a backstory series. This is heavy on the explanatory narration but at the time it was written I was trying to note how I imagined they interacted.
A Beaulieu Thanksgiving
Cedrick drove slowly through the countryside, making random stops here and there. Any time he saw Vivienne’s eyes linger on a particular area or when she seemed especially curious about a town name on the map, he simply turned the car in that direction. He didn’t stop when Vivienne expressed annoyance that they were breaking from their schedule or even when she fell into icy silence.
He had learned long ago not to always listen to her; that sometimes she thought she knew exactly what she wanted or needed but she could be wrong.
He felt vindicated by the fact that each time he did change course, despite the cool exterior she showed or the biting remarks about the waste of time, there was always another layer to it. A flash of softened eyes as she watched a horse running free on a farm he’d purposefully driven by; a hint of enchantment as she peered into a store window and studied the simple, delicate jewelry on display.
He knew she didn’t really hate the delays or she would have stopped commenting on the map, she wouldn’t have continued to ask questions. But pride was a powerful force in Vivienne’s life and even after a year of being with Cedrick she still seemed to automatically hide the little pieces of life that made her happy, as if by anyone else knowing it the happiness would be taken away. She guarded her secrets with the careful, unconscious control of a person who’d had them used against her by someone close.
Watching her profile, he couldn’t help remembering the first time he had seen her. How startlingly beautiful she had been; everything from her graceful movements to her hair tumbling over her shoulder. She’d had something dark smeared across her temple, he remembered, and exhaustion had crept even into her stoic expression. It had still been love at first sight for Cedrick.
“What is it you think?” Vivienne’s light blue eyes studied him closely.
Cedrick returned his eyes to the road.
He found her awkwardly phrased English to be endearing. The moment they’d stepped off the plane and set foot in Canada, she’d insisted that she needed to improve her English and had refused to speak in French unless absolutely necessary. His arguments that French was the official language in Quebec and that actually more people spoke French than English had fallen on decidedly deaf ears so he hadn’t bothered to push it.
“Nothing,” he said with a grin. “Just you.”
Vivienne was quiet a moment although she looked pleased. “It was good?”
“Of course.” Cedrick raised an eyebrow. “You doubt me?”
“I doubt your directions,” Vivienne leaned back in her seat and peered out the window. “You did not say the house is so distant from the city.”
“It’s an hour’s drive! It’s not like it takes a day.”
“We will be late.” Vivienne’s expression set in disapproval. “It is a bad impression.”
Cedrick rolled his eyes. “Trust me, my mom’ll blame me, not you. And anyway we can just lie and say the plane was late.”
Silence met his suggestion and he glanced over again. Vivienne held herself very calm and still as she looked out the window. He could see the tension in her shoulders and the worry in her expression faintly reflected in the glass.
“Don’t worry. They’ll love you.”
“I feel no worry.” That guarded coolness had returned to her tone.
“Well, then,” he said easily, “when it happens, don’t be.”
Vivienne simply gave him a sidelong look.
Cedrick returned his attention fully to the road and decided to give up on her for the moment. Although he’d made some successes infiltrating her aloof moods in the past, he didn’t think it was worth it over this. She was worried but didn’t want to acknowledge that she was and if he pushed it they’d just end up in a disagreement over something inconsequential.
Cedrick was by nature a pretty easygoing person so it didn’t bother him to simply let her brood while he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel to a song from memory and thought, instead, about the Thanksgiving dinner ahead.