Brielle turned and smiled both politely and shyly at Crispin. “I don’t think we’ve officially met or introduced ourselves. I’m Brielle Kingsbury.” Brielle extended her hand to shake Crispin’s.
“I’m Crispin Toulifon and it’s very nice to meet you Miss Kingsbury.” Crispin replied politely while clasping Brielle’s hand in his with a warm handshake.
“Oh, please call me Brielle. No one calls me ‘Miss Kingsbury!’” Brielle nervously laughed and led Crispin to the sitting room.
“Alright, then you must call me Crispin or Cris. No one can pronounce my last name nor seem to understand my first.” Crispin too let out a laugh and sat down on a sofa.
Brielle, on the other side of the room, smiled sheepishly and clapped her palms together behind her back and began nervously twiddling her fingers.
“I, eh, can I get you anything Mr.… oh, I mean Crispin?” Brielle stammered.
No, no. Thank you. I had something on the way here.”
Brielle walked over and sat on the sofa opposite of Crispin’s.
“Sir,” Brielle said, looking Crispin full in the face. “I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my life. I am extremely grateful and owe you a debt that I could never repay.” Brielle began reciting from memory her “imaginary script” of how to thank Crispin. Then it happened. The more Brielle stared into Crispin’s eyes while trying to be sincere, the more agitated and jumbled up her script became. His eyes captivated her senses, disturbed her train of thought and tore down all her barriers that she’d built to keep people out and from forming attachments to. So, naturally, her words came out just as distorted as her emotions were.
“So, I wanted to see you, I mean, to uhm, say that I… I c.c.can’t th, th, thank you. I..Ugh!”She was so embarrassed. How could her emotions be so mean as to betray her?! Brielle lowered her eyes and stared at the ground. She felt like screaming, and possibly throwing something.
While Brielle was looking down Crispin smiled quietly and covered his mouth with his hand.
“Oh, there’s really no need to thank me Brielle.”
Crispin stood up and walked over to the mantle that was behind the couch he was sitting on. Everything was quiet except the crackling of the blazing fire and some soft singing from the birds outside the window.
Then it began to snow.
Crispin continued. “I was very scared myself you know. But it’s over and inviting me here is thanks enough.” Now he turned to see what Brielle was doing. She was still looking down. Eventually she looked up and around the room. Brielle had recomposed herself and was ready to change the subject before she ruined Crispin’s entire image of her.
“How did you come by such an interesting name?” She smiled and cocked her head at Crispin.
“Ah, ha!” Crispin laughed. “Well you see…” He began and walked back to the sofa across from Brielle. Brielle began fidgeting with her fingers again.
“My mother was Italian, hence the name Crispin and my father was Italian too but his family was from a long line of Frenchmen. The name Toulifon goes way, way back in the history of France!” Crispin straightened up proudly but teasingly. He smiled at Brielle then asked, “But what about you? Do you have family here?”
Brielle felt her head getting hot.
“Well, I never had a father, growing up that is. But my mother was very dear to me. She died just a little over a year ago.” Brielle, after saying this, immediately stood up and turned away from Crispin to hide the pain she was feeling at remembering her mother. She shut her eyes as tight as she could to hold back any tear that might try to escape.
“I’m sorry Brielle.” She heard Crispin say. He walked toward her a few paces hoping to somehow comfort but stopped shortly. “My mother died when I was eight. I never ever forgot or stopped missing her.” Crispin said softly.
Brielle sighed and turned to Crispin.
“Then you know what it feels like?” Her voice faltered a little.
“Yes.” Then the room was quiet for a little while. “Well,” Crispin broke the silence. “I’ve got some chores to get done for my aunt. I don’t want to keep you all day.” He said, picking up his coat that was on the couch.
“Oh dear, I’m so sorry Crispin, you can stay if you like. I could make tea.”
“No, no, it’s fine really. I promised my aunt that I’d be able to help this afternoon. But thank you for having me.” Crispin said on his way to the door.
“Well, thank you again.” Then Brielle added in “And I hope to see you soon.” She caught herself saying.
“Yes, I hope so too.” Crispin replied taking Brielle’s hand and shaking it. “It was very nice meeting you.”
“You too.” Brielle replied shyly while smiling up at Crispin. His loose curly hair blew in the wind from the open door. His smile calmed and Brielle’s pounding heart and made her feel safe. Then, he left. He walked out the door, down the sidewalk and walked around the corner to the left.
Brielle shut the door, ran to her room, threw herself on her bed and cried. She hated crying but she couldn’t help it. She was in love.