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26 December 2013 @ 01:29 pm
Chapter 78: The Finest Day of Summer  

A/N: The chapter we've all been waiting for (probably since the story first began). There will be 4 more chapters after this one, so keep posted.

Especial thanks to Hiyas for a particular headcanon here.

Chapter 78: The Finest Day of Summer

"You already know that this is going to cause quite the stir in the next edition of Le Follet."

"Are you talking about the dress or the fact I'm wearing boots under it?"

Musichetta's eyebrows shot up querulously as she set down the curling tongs, taking care to keep them away from her deep blue dress. "Ponine that second part had better be a joke. After all the effort I've put in the dress..."

"I was only having a bit of fun, Chetta, don't you worry about it!" Eponine said, giggling as she stuck out her right foot to show her red satin slipper. "I wouldn't wear such things on this day. Not when I'd like to feel a bit nicer than usual," she added more softly as she smoothed down her skirt.

"You already are," Cosette chimed in as she stepped out from a corner, where she had just been nursing little Georges. She smiled sympathetically as she sat by Eponine, who was now fidgeting with the hairpins that kept her delicate lace veil in place. "It's perfectly fine to be nervous, Ponine. It is a big day."

"I simply cannot believe that all of this is happening," Eponine whispered. She took a deep breath, if only to try to get rid of the feeling of her heart hammering hard against her chest. "You remember I was at your wedding, Cosette. That was about ten months ago and everything was so, so different then. I sometimes wonder if I am just dreaming it all and I'm back on the streets again. This is almost too much like the ending of a fairy story."

Cosette nodded as she adjusted her hold on Georges, who was beginning to fall asleep. She paused to wipe off some drool from her baby's face before it could drip all over the front of her pink gown. "For you and Enjolras, it probably is more like the beginning of another adventure."

Eponine smiled to herself as she recalled her conversation with Enjolras right before they had parted ways for the evening. "I s'pose so; it takes more than one person to do even half the things we want to do. I can only wonder about the things we both can't imagine yet," she said as she pulled on a pair of white satin gloves.

A knock sounded on the apartment door, which creaked open to reveal Azelma and Claudine. Both of them were dressed in the same shade of lavender, though Claudine had added black mourning bands to the cuffs and the hem of her dress. "You were right, she wasn't going to wear her hair down even if my brother likes it a lot," Azelma said to Claudine.

"It's far too hot, and to think it's not even midmorning yet," Claudine pointed out.

"I think it would look messy after a while," Eponine said to the newcomers. "Everyone is there already?" she asked.

"We're ready when you're ready," Claudine said. "Do you still need a few more minutes?"

"Maybe two or three," Eponine quipped as she got to her feet. She shut her eyes as she went to stand in front of the large mirror that her friends had brought up to the apartment the night before; although she knew that her reflection would not be completely strange to her, there was still a certain sense of finality and certainty about this particular moment.

Before she could open her eyes she heard a hurried set of footsteps hurrying up to the room. "I told you she was going to wear red!" Jacques crowed.

"Shhh, the others aren't supposed to know that yet!" Neville said, trying to cover Jacques' mouth.

Jacques scowled as he evaded Neville and ran to stand in front of his sister. "Ponine you're the prettiest lady ever!" he exclaimed, jumping up and down restlessly.

Eponine laughed as she turned to look at her brothers. "Thank you. The two of you are such gentlemen today," she said, noticing that they had managed to keep their clothes clean and even get their cravats tied without much apparent fuss.

Neville rolled his eyes at the compliment while Jacques blushed. "Why do you and Enjolras get to stay at the Rue Guisarde tonight, but we and Gavroche have to stay here?" Jacques asked.

"Jacques, must you ask that?" Azelma said, trying hard not to burst out laughing. "You'll understand better when you're older."

"I s'pose that's the best way to say it; wait till you get married yourself someday," Eponine said, only to end up earning a grimace from her youngest brother. "But tomorrow afternoon, you'll get to stay with us at the new house."

Jacques nodded trustingly. "Always?"

Eponine smiled before hugging him tightly. "You're my brother. I'll always take care of you, Neville, even Gavroche and Azelma," she promised, letting go of him to straighten out his coat. "That's never, ever going to change."

Neville tapped his good foot restlessly. "Ponine I have to say sorry for something," he said in a small voice. "Remember when that lancer fellow came here asking about the letter you wrote him? I helped Musichetta tell him to go away."

Eponine's eyes widened at this confession. "Chetta, did he really?"

Musichetta reddened and cringed for a moment. "He was quite...strong about it. I figured that day wasn't the time to implicate Neville in it."

"Why did you do it?" Azelma asked Neville.

Neville scratched his head sheepishly. "That lancer was always too loud and he didn't like us very much. Also it's because Enjolras really doesn't like Theodule, and I was thinking you didn't like Theodule that much either, but you sounded so angry when you came home."

Everyone in the room burst out laughing. "I must say that was one of the best things you could ever do," Claudine said to Neville.

"I'm not angry about it anymore, Neville. It's good that you and Chetta did it," Eponine reassured her brother. "You both knew better than I did what to do then, and he didn't like me that much anyway to ever come calling after."

Neville cracked a smile and smoothed out his cravat. "I told Enjolras about it last week and he told me I should be the one to tell you someday."

Jacques jumped up and down again. "Can we tell Enjolras about your dress yet?" he asked Eponine.

"No, that's going to be a surprise. Don't you dare say a thing," Eponine admonished. Still, judging from her youngest brother's overly gleeful look as he and Neville left the room; it would be very easy for just anyone to guess the matter. "I s'pose this will do?" she asked the other ladies.

"Here, let me help you with your veil," Claudine said, picking up a hairpin that had gotten askew. "Now you can look in the mirror again. Your brother is right. You look so lovely; it will be a wonder if Enjolras doesn't trip over himself during the ceremony."

"That would be a first," Eponine quipped as she finally got a good look in the mirror. She had pinned up her hair in an elegant knot at the back of her head, but she had allowed a few strands to hang loose in curls that framed her face. This upsweep was highlighted only by a single lily tucked into her hair. Her wedding dress was all in bright red silk, accented by a maroon satin ribbon around her waist. The dress' neckline showed off the slope of her shoulders but stopped at her collarbones, in contrast to the latest fashion which required the dress to be almost off the wearer's shoulder. The sleeves puffed out at her shoulders but flowed to taper smoothly at her wrists. Delicate embroidery in the shape of scrolls and roses ran along the skirt of her gown. Although she did not wear any jewellery, Eponine still felt radiant. 'Not entirely fashionable, but I do feel beautiful in it,' she realized, smiling at her reflection. She could only wonder what would Enjolras think when he finally saw her.

In her reverie she almost did not notice that everyone else except for Claudine had already quit the room. "That wasn't three minutes, was it?" she asked her friend.

"Maybe half of that time," Claudine laughed. "Come on, let's go. We're supposed to be at the mayor's office by eight."

Eponine bit her lip with sheer trepidation as she followed her friend out of the apartment and down the stairs, towards the hubbub of excited talk in the front room. She only had to descend the first few steps before she could see what everyone else was up to. She noticed that Nicholine and Leonor, as well as Marius, Prouvaire, Courfeyrac, and Joly, were fussing over Cosette and Georges. The rest of the group was still drinking coffee or making lively conversation.

As for Enjolras, he was in the middle of some sort of discussion with Gavroche, Neville, and Jacques. Eponine paused for a moment, if only to fully take in the sight of him. He was, of course, nothing short of elegant in his best tailcoat, trousers, and hat, but on closer inspection Eponine saw that Enjolras had chosen a dark red waistcoat in lieu of his more sober ones. This unexpected gesture was enough to have her grinning from ear to ear even as she stepped towards him.

It was then that Enjolras turned to look at her, apparently heedless of the cheers and catcalls of the rest of the group. For a fleeting moment his expression was one of wonder before it quickly changed into that teasing yet warm smile he usually had when they were sharing a private joke. "No wonder you were so secretive last night," he remarked dryly as he closed the distance between them.

Eponine laughed, if only to resist the urge to run her hands through his hair or even kiss him for such a blasé quip."I s'pose you knew somehow?" she asked, gesturing to his red waistcoat.

"To be more the point, I guessed," Enjolras admitted. "I'm glad I can finally see you this way."

Eponine felt her toes curl in her slippers even as heat rose to her cheeks; judging by the laughter around her, this last fact was not lost even behind her veil. It was all she could do to keep a straight face as she, Azelma, Claudine, and Jean Valjean boarded a carriage; Jean Valjean was accompanying them owing to his standing in for Thenardier at the ceremony. Enjolras, his parents, and Combeferre were to follow in a second carriage, while the rest of the guests would rendezvous with the wedding party at the church of Saint-Sulpice.

It was a bright but quiet Sunday for a wedding; owing to the relatively early hour there were few people on the streets, allowing for an easy journey to the mayor's office. The magistrate who met them there eyed them curiously. "A bride in a red dress, a bridegroom in a red waistcoat-so perfectly radical. So much for all the talk that this will be a sort of left hand marriage."

Enjolras raised an eyebrow at this archaic notion. "Such things are not legally recognized especially in this present Republic."

"Tell that to those who predict a dispute between you two within a year," the magistrate said. He gave Eponine a pointed look. "Citizenness, are you sure that you are entering this marriage out of your own free will, and not out of any...hastening circumstances?"

"Yes, and we have nothing of that sort to worry about," Eponine replied briskly to this jibe.

The magistrate nodded with relief. "I'd hate to officiate an unhappy matrimony. Come on; let's get the two of you married before the morning gets too old for merriment."

After this, the proceedings here were unhurried but brief; by nine in the morning the vows were said, the registers were signed, and the wedding party was on its way to the Place Saint-Sulpice. In the span of less than sixty minutes the situation on the streets had changed drastically; now there were onlookers clambering all over themselves to watch the procession. Pedestrians stopped on the curb, carriages paused for a moment or two to allow their occupants to lean out the windows, and a good many well wishers and hecklers endeavoured to get closer to the carriages.

At the Marche St. Germain, Eponine saw little Navet racing up with a hastily put together nosegay of roses. "To wish you well, Citizenness," he said as he handed up the bouquet to Eponine.

"Oh where did this come from?" Eponine asked.

Navet pointed to a group of children waving to her; Eponine recognized some of them as her siblings' classmates or from the neighbourhood of the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau. "Roses for a rose, so they say!" he replied cheerily before jumping back into the throng.

Azelma was astounded at this scene while Jean Valjean and Claudine laughed. "It was only something the newspaper men used to say," Eponine explained bemusedly. "It's a funny thing they thought of, but maybe it fits since roses are so common."

"Maybe it's because of your hair," Claudine said. "That, and because you have worn red at a number of important occasions."

"Perhaps because a rose only seems fragile," Jean Valjean said pensively. "It is a hardy bloom but nonetheless one very dear."

Eponine smiled as she set down the nosegay; whatever the reason was behind the gesture, she could feel nothing but appreciation for it. From here on the procession inched along slowly such that it was nearly ten in the morning by the time the party arrived at the Place Saint-Sulpice. By this time everyone who had been at the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau earlier that morning was already waiting at the church. Courfeyrac had somehow gone to his lodgings in order to bring little Armand with him to the ceremony. Also there were Citizenness Leclair, Odette and Emile Stendhal, Coutard, Bamatabois, Rossi, Jeanne, Mathieu, Allyce, Simone, as well as various friends and acquaintances from work and political groups.

The excitement here was almost palpable, more so when Eponine, accompanied by Jean Valjean, finally walked down the aisle. For a moment Eponine dearly wished that she did not have to wear a veil according to custom, if only to see where she was actually putting her feet or to take a proper look at the young man waiting for her at the end of the aisle. She could hear the surprised and pleased murmurs of some members of the congregation as well as the cloying clouds of incense hanging about in the air; in fact after a while some of the older guests began to cough while little Armand whimpered and fussed. Before she knew it, Eponine found herself at the end of the aisle, where she finally heard the officiating priest ask who was giving the bride away. Jean Valjean then made his reply before guiding Eponine's right hand to Enjolras' own waiting palm.

"Thank you," Eponine whispered, just loud enough for Jean Valjean to hear.

Jean Valjean smiled at Eponine and Enjolras. "May God bless you both," he said before going to sit with Marius, Cosette, and little Georges.

Eponine felt Enjolras' hand let go of hers, just so he could lift away her veil. She couldn't help but meet his awestruck look with a cheeky grin of her own. "Finally!" she mouthed.

"An understatement," he said with a bemused smile as he took her right hand again, just before the organist started up the hymn to officially begin the marriage ceremony.

At length, after the readings and a mercifully brief homily, it was finally time for the couple to exchange their vows. Suddenly Eponine felt as if her mouth had gone dry; for a moment she feared she would not be able to speak when her turn came. 'What if I end up saying something silly?' she thought even as she could hear the congregation getting to its feet to witness the rites. Somewhere she could hear people stifling sobs or blowing their noses; out of the corner of her eye she even saw Cosette dabbing at her eyes with Marius' handkerchief. Azelma was little better off; she was squeezing Prouvaire's arm as if for dear life, while the poet himself was already blowing his nose. Gavroche was standing on tiptoe while Neville and Jacques had already clambered onto the pew.

The priest rubbed his spectacles before looking at Enjolras. "Do you, Antoine Enjolras, take Eponine Thenardier to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor her all the days of your life?"

Enjolras looked at Eponine for one long moment; the love and warmth in his eyes were unmistakable and fierce enough to dispel the last of Eponine's lingering fears. "I do," he said clearly, his voice strong with conviction.

The priest nodded approvingly. "And do you, Eponine Thenardier, take Antoine Enjolras to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor him all the days of your life?"

Eponine took a deep breath as she looked at Enjolras and held his hand more tightly. "I do," she said, feeling only sheer joy.

The rest of the ceremony was almost a whirl; the rings were exchanged, the blessings given, and the remainder of the rite carried out in proper order till the priest finally pronounced the pair as husband and wife. Eponine lost no time in pulling Enjolras close before he kissed her gently. In those brief moments Eponine could have sworn that she was on fire, for simply feeling the ardency of his lips on hers, conveying everything she wanted to hear but he knew better than to put into words.

In a few minutes they were in the sacristy to sign the marriage register; here for the very last time Eponine wrote down her name as 'Eponine Thenardier'. "I can't believe I shan't sign my name that way ever again," she remarked as she handed the pen to her husband.

"I never thought you'd prefer alliteration instead," Enjolras quipped dryly.

"You two are impossible," Combeferre laughed before he set down his name as one of the witnesses to the ceremony. The physician looked curiously towards the church doors, where even more people were gathered in addition to the wedding guests. "So much for a quiet day, that looks to be a quarter of the Latin Quartier waiting outside."

"It's going to be quite a walk to the Rue Guisarde; five minutes may as well take twenty," Enjolras noted.

"I s'pose then it's good that there is no chance of rain today!" Eponine said before they made their way out of the church. Despite the fact it was noon and the sun was high in the sky, the place was now crowded with spectators and curious bystanders, some of whom had already taken to climbing on fences, posts, and even carriages in order to get a better look at what was going on. As soon as the newlyweds stepped past the doors, the crowd cheered and applauded heartily, much to the consternation of many passers-by in the Place Saint-Sulpice. Once it became evident to these as to who the pair was at the center of the commotion, a number of them rushed over for a better view or to convey their congratulations.

A quarter of an hour later, the newlyweds arrived at Number 9 Rue Guisarde. The door of the house was wide open and bedecked with simple streamers interspersed with flowers. Enjolras and Eponine crossed the threshold hand in hand, and were immediately greeted first by Louis, Monique, Azelma, Gavroche, Neville, and Jacques, and then by the rest of their friends. A hearty though relatively simple luncheon had been set up on the ground floor; there were only three courses instead of the usual lavish six or seven, and wine was served alongside sugar water. Nevertheless the celebration was abundant in laughter and anecdotes such that there was no need for music to banish any silences.

At some point in the afternoon, Combeferre stood up and set down his wineglass before addressing Enjolras and Eponine. "I am sure that all of us are aware that till recently, most of us here thought it would be impossible to gather for this particular celebration. Now all of us, and this is in a literal sense, would dearly like to make toasts to your health and happiness, but in the interest of time and sobriety, we have decided to draw lots for this particular honor." He nodded to Azelma. "Ladies first."

Azelma was pink in the face as she got to her feet and brought a folded paper out of her sleeve. She glanced nervously at Prouvaire, who gave her an encouraging smile. Azelma cleared her throat and began, "Years ago, when Ponine, Gavroche and I were still very little, my sister was already a story-teller. Even before we knew how to write she was always telling the most fantastic stories about princes, princesses, castles, and grand adventures. Whenever there would be couples celebrating like this in the inn, we would have a little game trying to make up the best story about how they met, what their wedding must have been like, and even how many children they would one day have."

Eponine nearly choked on her wine. "I cannot believe you actually remembered," she said as she wiped her mouth.

"Well I did, and Cosette does remember some parts too," Azelma said triumphantly. "Ponine, I know that because of everything that has happened over the years, you did have to forget the stories. Now though you have something that is much better than those tales. I know you never could have imagined living through a revolution, finding all our brothers again, or even writing the things you do now. I'm happy you get to do so many things and that you want to do so many more. I'm happy that you love a man who is braver and maybe even more handsome than the princes you used to dream about. I'm happy that this is your real life and not a story. To you, Enjolras, I may not always understand everything you do or say, but you're one of the best people I know. Thank you for everything you are to my sister and to my brothers—and by the way I'm happy that I can get to call you a brother from now on. I really hope you two will always be very happy together."

Eponine got out of her seat to hug her sister. "Thank you Zelma. Does this mean that when it's your turn soon, I have to make a speech too?"

"Maybe, unless we decide to draw lots again since Jehan has so many friends too, and they have stories to tell about him especially," Azelma replied. She nodded to Enjolras. "I am sure you never thought of having a younger sister."

"Especially in this particular fashion," Enjolras said candidly.

Prouvaire clapped Courfeyrac on the back. "It's your turn."

"Him and not Combeferre?" Rossi asked confusedly.

"I've already had plenty of opportunities to embarrass Enjolras over the years," Combeferre joked.

"Remember this is not the backroom of the Musain," Enjolras warned.

Courfeyrac laughed as he held up his glass of wine. "As some of you know, the day I met Enjolras is an unforgettable one. I was cast out from Blondeau's class that day and he was my unfortunate seatmate who also took the fall owing to pure proximity, but the memory is as clear as ever."

This time everyone burst out laughing, particularly the gentlemen in the group who'd ever studied at the law school. Eponine was giggling both with mirth and disbelief, especially when she noticed Enjolras' thoroughly mortified expression. "What was that about?" she asked when she could finally speak.

"Exactly what he said. I should have been in the front row of the hall that day," Enjolras muttered.

Eponine discreetly squeezed his arm. "I s'pose you have to agree that you chose the right seat after all."

Courfeyrac grinned before continuing, "That was seven years ago, and for six out of seven of those years, I was convinced that there was no one in Paris or in France who could be as stubborn and terrible, and at the same time be so brave, principled, loyal, or brilliant. Then this year, the seventh year of our becoming friends, changed my opinion entirely. It's all because of Eponine; a woman who defies all description and redefines the meaning of tenacity. Now I am convinced that there are no two other people in the world who are as frustrating, incomprehensible, earnest, and passionate in everything they do, as different and disparate as they are on most days. You two won the campaign earlier this year, and are now doing great things in and out of the legislature, and all the while still raising three young boys. I am looking forward to what you will do in the coming years. To two of my dearest friends, Enjolras and Eponine, I wish you all the health, happiness, and wonderful events that two extraordinary persons as you deserve."

Everyone applauded and cheered at the close of this speech, and a clamor was made for more wine to be passed around. This was accompanied by dessert, which was a whole platter piled high with various pastries. By evening though the very youngest persons at this celebration were already exhausted. Courfeyrac had to bring Armand back to his lodgings, while the Pontmercys and Jean Valjean soon took their leave because Georges was getting restless. In the meantime Neville and Jacques were already drowsily curled up on opposite ends of a settee; the older was dozing on top of a book while the younger had kicked off his shoes in his sleep.

"It's definitely back to the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau now for those two," Combeferre said to Eponine and Enjolras. "There is a gift I still have for you since I did not want to leave it lying around," he said more convivially as he held out a small box.

Eponine's jaw dropped when she saw what Combeferre's present was: two identical pocket watches with gilt finishes and covers embossed with the date August 4, 1833. "I have never owned anything like this. Thank you," she blurted out.

"Yes, but you need it. Enjolras on the other hand forgot to get a new one last year after his got smashed in a fight," Combeferre said. "Considering how busy you two always are, it is necessary to have every minute accounted for."

Enjolras clasped Combeferre's shoulder. "Thank you for this. I greatly appreciate it."

Combeferre smiled broadly before going off to speak with Claudine about some matter. In the meantime Neville had already woken up and was rubbing his eyes. "It's too noisy here," he said as he slid off the settee, nearly dropping the book he had with him.

Eponine caught the book and handed it back to him. "You'll get to sleep in a proper bed in a little while. This time you won't have to share; Jacques is staying in his own bed, while Gavroche is getting Enjolras' old bed."

Neville rubbed his eyes again. "Do we have to wake up so early again tomorrow?"

"I s'pose not since you're all on holiday. But you'd better have your things ready by afternoon so we won't have such a difficult time getting them here," Eponine said. "Now please behave and don't give Combeferre and Claudine a difficult time with looking out for you three."

The child nodded again before rushing off to pester Gavroche, who was about to tuck the last of the pastries in his coat pocket. Eponine now went over to where Enjolras was just waking up Jacques and helping him put on his shoes. "He's as good as out till tomorrow morning," she pointed out as she sat by the settee.

Jacques blinked up at her and Enjolras. "Not bedtime yet."

"Yes but you were up at the crack of dawn today, and that counts for something," Enjolras said as he picked up the child. "We'll see you tomorrow, petit."

Jacques murmured something before immediately going to sleep with his head on Enjolras' shoulder. Eponine giggled at this sight before ruffling her brother's hair. "Antoine, do you have any idea how you look now?"she asked Enjolras as she straightened out his cuffs.

"This time I can imagine," he replied before awkwardly kissing the top of her head. "I'll see you in a few minutes," he said before going to find Combeferre to hand Jacques off to him.

Eponine now kicked off her own slippers, but before she could put her feet up on the settee, she realized that Monique and Louis were also looking for seats. "I s'pose that was unseemly with company," she said embarrassedly as she sat up straight.

"This is your home now, Eponine. You need not be so uptight," Monique said amiably.

"I'm sure you don't do such things when you have guests."

"You should come down to Aix as soon as you can, you'll have a different opinion of this then."

Eponine smiled, even though she already knew it would be a very long time before such a trip would be possible. "Thank you for everything. This was a very wonderful day."

"No, thank you," Louis said. "I can see that Antoine is most happy when he is at his work. That isn't going to change. However it is far better for him when is with you."

"What he means to say is that you are very good for Antoine, and we all can see that he is doing his best to be good for you too," Monique explained. She patted Eponine's shoulder. "Do enjoy the rest of the evening. We won't call on you tomorrow since there's clearly much you and Antoine have to see to, but do drop by the old apartment once you can spare some time."

"I'll make sure we will," Eponine promised before getting up to see off her brothers as well as Combeferre and Claudine, who were just about to board a fiacre.

After this she saw Feuilly, Nicholine, Joly, and Musichetta trying to reason with Bahorel, Grantaire, Therese, and Bossuet; apparently the argument involved a chamberpot that someone had sneaked from upstairs and had filled with brandy. Eponine rolled her eyes, recognizing the prank that was afoot. "If it had been wine in a different glass, I s'pose I'd like it better," she said.

Feuilly punched Grantaire's arm. "I told you it was not going to work. They'd catch on in a minute."

"And spoil all the fun?" Grantaire protested. He wiggled his eyebrows and saluted Enjolras, who had just finished bidding goodbye to his parents. "Fancy something for your health and stamina tonight?"

Enjolras' eyes narrowed disapprovingly as he noticed the chamberpot. "That sort of fortification is completely unnecessary."

"How would you know of such a trick?" Nicholine asked him.

"I have been to my cousins' weddings," Enjolras replied nonchalantly even as he slipped an arm around Eponine's waist. "This better be the only prank you have in mind."

"Are you sure? It's not even eleven o'clock-"Bahorel said before Joly clapped his shoulder. "At least it's still early enough to continue the celebration," he said, giving Enjolras and Eponine a knowing smirk.

"Go on upstairs. There are some candles by your bedroom door," Musichetta said in a mischievous undertone to Eponine.

Eponine giggled at the memories this evoked, more so when she caught Enjolras' equally abashed look. "I s'pose we'll see you all tomorrow afternoon," she said slyly.

The entire group laughed and hooted as the couple made their way to the stairs. "Enjolras, just for that, you ought to kiss her senseless!" Bossuet shouted up to his friend.

"Not here," Enjolras replied, slipping his hand around Eponine's. "If you must continue your revelry, I advise you go elsewhere. Have a good evening."