|Joséphine Renaud (oh_nurse) wrote in la_vie_rpg,|
@ 2008-06-15 22:54:00
Who: Josephine and Alain (TBC in tags)
When: Late night, June 14 1941
Where: streets, then Josephine's home
"Please, let go of my arm," Josephine said, struggling against the drunken soldier that was muttering how beautiful she was and trying to lead her off the main road and into an alley. She'd been walking home from a late shift when she'd run into trouble.
"A bit of that famous French hospitality could go a long way.. come on now pretty lady, we could both have a good time," the soldier slurred.
"The lady is not interested." The voice was cold, firm, and speaking German.
The soldier looked up, straightening as he expected to see one of his superiors. His bleary vision tried to focus on the face in front of him - obviously a man, not in uniform. "I saw her first," the soldier complained, still holding on to her arm. "Be gone with you." Josephine struggled against his grip, but for a drunk man, he held on tightly.
"I do not care when you saw her. She is not interested. Perhaps a word with one of your superiors. I drink regularly with several of the sort who wear those LOVELY leather coats?"
The soldier stiffened. Maybe the man was bluffing, but... the chance was one he didn't want to take. He shoved the woman roughly away from him and towards the man. Josephine stumbled, and fell against the rescuer. "Take her," the soldier groused. "She's probably diseased anyhow- damn French." He started weaving his way offwards.
Alain caught the lady, and took a long, hard look at the man. He would be finding him later. Perhaps he'd even allow for one of his superiors to handle the situation. Perhaps not. The man had just treated a woman of obvious class most shabbily, after all... "Are you alright, Mademoiselle?" He switched immediately to French.
"Oh... I am mostly unharmed, but I shudder to think of what would have happened had you not come along," Josephine said, her voice trembling slightly. She wore the uniform of a hospital nurse, with one lapel now slightly torn. Her pale skin was already bruising from where the man had grabbed her arm roughly. "This has never happened before..."
"They become bolder. You should not walk home alone." He reached to touch the bruises with one fingertip, very gently. "I shall see you to your door. My name is Alain Baptiste, and I am very glad that I found you when I did, only wish that it had been sooner."
"Thank you, M. Baptiste - I am Josephine Renaud," she said, thankful for the escort. "I was working a late shift at the hospital - we are so understaffed and under supplied these days, it's dreadful - and I was just making my way home when that terrible man accosted me. At first I thought he wanted my papers - which are in order, and that would have been simple enough to show him. But clearly, he wanted something ... much different." Her cheeks flushed at the thought of it.
"So much for the German love of order." He took her arm. "You are a nurse, and a lady, and that obviously. He should not have accosted you. This was not your fault. You say that things do not go well at the hospital, either?"
Josephine frowned, shaking her head. "I don't know what to do," she confessed. "Every day it gets worse. We are short on everything from bandages to medicines, and so many of the staff have quit because the pay has gone down considerably and everything is so expensive these days..."
"Things are hard everywhere, I think. That great a shortage on medicines and supplies, you say?" He seemed to be considering. "Is funding terrible, as well, do you know?"
"Yes," Josephine said, and leaned in to whisper to him, as if the streets themselves had ears "It is to the point where the othe nurses and I have considered taking part of our salary to try and purchase things for the hospital. But though we have considered this, we do not know where we would even begin to find any of the things we need..."
"Then perhaps it is kismet that we have met." He patted the hand resting on his arm. "I might know someone...perhaps."
Josephine' eyes lit up with hope. "Oh, that would be so wonderful, M. Baptiste! Please, if you can, put in a good word about us - we do not have much in the way of funding, but we can take up a collection if there are supplies to be had..."
"Perhaps I might even find someone willing to fund this...it would be a shame for you ladies to endanger yourselves so with things as they are."
Josephine smiled brightly. "Oh, thank you! That would be wonderful - you are a rescuer in more than one sense of the word." She couldn't believe her good fortune in meeting this man.
"Think nothing of it, Mademoiselle. One of life's few great pleasures is the ability to come to the rescue of a beautiful lady."
Josephine blushed, and looked down. "Thank you, sir. My home is just down the road from here.." She pointed towards a small house with lace curtains and shutters.
"I shall see you to the door." He said, leaving no room for argument. "It is usually quiet, here, no? It seems a nice place." He noted the little house with its curtains and shutters.
"Yes - in this street we rarely have trouble," Josephine said. She lead the way towards her house, and paused outside the door. "Would you perhaps care to come in for a cup of tea? It's the least I can do, after your rescue."
"Tea would be very much appreciated." He nodded. "I would be most delighted."
Josephine opened the door to her house, which was warm and feminine in decor. A thriving windowbox garden rested on the sill inside the window, and a bookshelf in the living room contained a lot of novels. She had a good many house plants, and a fluffy cat which promptly hissed and ran into the bedroom when he saw a stranger come in.
"Oh, forgive Kitty - she's not pleased with visitors," Josephine said, and closed the door behind them. "Do have a seat."
He took the seat as offered, looking around. It was comfortable, and well-kept. He liked it. "Perhaps she will warm up to me in time." He said. "Cats usually like me. She is a rather lovely creature, from what I could see of her." He let out a soft chuckle.
"Perhaps so," Josephine said, pleased that this meant he would likely return. She needed more friends. In the kitchen, she put the teakettle on to boil then came out to sit while the water warmed. Now that they were inside where the lights were on, she could see that her rescuer had a very handsome face indeed. "What is it you do, M. Baptiste, other than rescue women in distress?"
"I work with my family's estate, mostly, care for my father, his business needs, and my sister. The rest of the time, I must admit, I have entirely too good a time." He gave her a winsome sort of smile.
"Oh- how nice of you to care for your father. Is he ill?" Josephine poured the tea into two cups when the water had boiled, and brought them out into the living room along with a little plate of cookies.
"Yes, I am afraid that he is not well. He has nurses in addition to the servants, and my sister and I look in on him frequently, ensure that things are properly overseen. I do worry for his health, especially as cold as this past winter was. I shall have to see if I can't find him some fresh fruit."
"Oh, I have some strawberries grown in my window box - please allow me to give some to you before you leave, for you father," Josephine said, glad to help.
"Then you shall have to accept a gift in return." He said. "With things so hard, I would not see you deprived of your berries, either."
"Oh, but M. Baptiste, you have already given me the most precious gift by rescuing me from the hands of that terrible man," Josephine assured him.
"I could not call myself any sort of man at all had I not done that." He waved his hand, almost dismissively. "But my father will, honestly, enjoy that...and hearing of you, I think. Very much."
Josephine smiled. "I would be pleased to meet your father someday, if he is well enough for vistors or if he would not mind the presence of yet-another-nurse."
"This could very likely be arranged. He does love guests, and in his current health, has little chance to entertain. And it is never a bad thing to make the aquaintance of another nurse." He smiled again.
"What does he have, if you do not mind my asking?" Josephine said. She took a professional interest in such things.
"I do not mind. His heart is weak, and he's had pneumonia again. His lungs are bad. Basically, he is elderly, and his body is declining. It makes him very tired, frail. We try to keep him warm, comfortable, try to ensure he eats enough, and well...but I fear it is only a matter of time."
Josephine frowned. "Poor fellow. It is good that his children are so kind to him, however. That must be a comfort to him."
"I do hope so." Alain nodded. "My sister is very attentive to him. He adores her."
Josephine sipped her tea, and thought about how pleasant that sounded, to have a father (albeit an ill father) and a sister. "You must be very happy ," she said wistfully, "to have such a nice family."