Felinette November Day 3: Take Flight
Young Marinette makes her first friend in Paris.
Trees swayed in the warm breeze. It was good weather for flying kites and for having picnics by the Seine. The little girl staring at the empty park didn’t know any of that. She had moved to Paris only two weeks ago and this was the first time in all that time that she was able to go out exploring.
She slumped down on the bench, reevaluating her plan. Originally, it had consisted of five excellent points.
Go to the park.
Meet people her age.
Offer them macarons.
Become good friends.
Have them show her around her new hometown.
It was a good plan. An excellent plan. Had she executed it on any other day of the week, she would have succeeded in less than five minutes, including the time it took her to run over from across the street. But out of all days, she had chosen a Saturday.
Her legs started swinging on her own as she contemplated what to do next. When she noticed something golden shimmering in a spot of sunlight from the corner of her eye, she jumped off the bench and tiptoed over. She moved quietly, afraid of alerting the angelic creature to her presence.
“What are you doing?”
Félix’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest at the obnoxiously loud voice coming right behind him.
“Go away,” he sighed, annoyed. “I’m not going to that stupid party. I’m busy.”
Marinette shuffled her feet, unsure what to say or do.
Noticing that the person wasn’t leaving, Félix glanced behind his back, stopping to stare as soon as he realized he was face to face with a stranger.
“You’re not Adrien.”
“Um… I’m Marinette.” She held her hand out shyly, hoping from the bottom of her trembling heart that he’d take it. “I-I’m new here.”
Félix stared at her hand with mild disgust. He’s parents had raised him to be a gentleman so though the idea of all her germs repulsed him, he grabbed it and shook it. Marinette’s hand was hot and sweaty, and she blushed, when they both realized it at the same time.
“Félix,” he introduced himself. “Pleased to meet you.”
Marinette knew from his frown that he didn’t mean it but she beamed at him anyway. She fumbled with her box lid. As soon as it was off, she offered the treats to him. “Would you like one?”
Félix was conflicted. Accepting anything from strangers was something his parents had forbidden quite expressively. He didn’t particularly like macarons either. But the girl's face was hopeful, her eyes sparkled with nervous anticipation, yet even so he could detect a hint of stubbornness in the manner she poised herself, back straight, head high.
"I don't like sweets," he admitted regretfully.
Marinette tilted her head, looking like a praying mantis sneaking up on its prey.
"And my hands are dirty," Félix added quickly, almost apologetically. It hadn't stopped him from shaking her hand, but handling unspoiled food was not the same as touching the fingers that had been all over who knows what.
"There's a fountain over there," she quipped cheerfully. "You can wash your hands there!"
The boy scoffed, turning his attention back to the ground. Marinette squatted down next to him.
“Whatcha doing?” she asked again.
"Studying." was his curt retort.
"On vacation?" she wondered.
"Please be quiet." It had been nice and peaceful before she showed up.
"Sorry!" She lowered her voice to a whisper and blabbered on. "Isn't it vacation? Mom said I can’t go to school for another two weeks..."
“Some of us like educating ourselves.” Félix expected her to scoff and laugh at him for that, and shot her a preemptive glare. She deflected it with a wide smile.
"So — what are you studying?" She whispered, leaning closer to see better. Félix was taken aback by her boldness, yet a smile crossed his face when he explained.
"I found this chrysalis when I got here. And I've been observing it ever since. See, it's transparent. It means it should emerge soon." He pointed at the cocoon. Marinette's cheek bumped against his as she tried to see where he was looking.
"It's pretty," she murmured in awe. Félix bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from agreeing.
As if on cue, the chrysalis swayed a little. The two children held their breaths. Marinette leaned forward to see it better. Félix grabbed her by the shoulder to stop her from toppling over.
The firm squeeze snapped Marinette out of her daze. She turned her head just the tiniest bit so she could apologize for causing him trouble.
Her heart wasn’t prepared to see him lost in his own world, cheeks pink and eyes sparkling as he rambled on. It filled her with excitement and she couldn’t keep a grin off her face.
“When the butterfly emerges, its wings are wet and wrinkled,” he told her. “It expands them, so it’s able to fly as soon as they’re dry. The colors and patterns come from layers of tiny scales. Like fish, except the scales are more like hairs on butterflies.”
“That’s so cool,” she whispered, eyes glued to the boy, the butterfly long forgotten.
“Come on, you’re missing all the action!” He didn’t mean for it to come out as a whine, but Marinette scrunched up her nose and turned her face towards the chrysalis. The white-winged insect was halfway done with its escape. It clung to the cocoon with his legs, courageously exposing itself to the whole wide world.
Marinette wished she could be as brave as the butterfly.
Félix reached out a hand towards the butterfly and for a moment, Marinette thought he was going to capture it. She opened her mouth to protest, expressing her conviction that all living creatures should be free, but closed it when she realized he was chasing away a small lizard, who was approaching the insect with the clear intention of making a lunch out of it.
“Look, it’s taking flight!” Marinette’s voice got louder with her excitement. Félix’s head snapped back to the butterfly, ready to argue that it was too soon. That they hadn’t even seen the butterfly dispose of meconium. But she was right.
The butterfly’s wings fluttered. It took off, heading straight towards them. Marinette squealed and tried to get out of its way. In her hurry, she dropped the box of macarons. The insect landed on it.
Then Marinette remembered to check the watch on her wrist. It was quarter to four. She’d told her parents she’d be back by three.
“I have to go!” She scrambled to gather her things. “Mom’s going to be so pissed! You can have the macarons!”
Félix picked the box up, watching her run off. He was a little sad to watch her go. It had been nice to spend time with someone who didn’t make fun of his hobbies.
By the time school started, Marinette had made many new friends, but her paths with Félix hadn’t crossed again. For days, she had daydreamed about him coming to the bakery with more interesting facts. She had even used beads and wire to make a small butterfly that she wanted to gift him as a symbol of their new friendship.
She was slowly coming to terms with the idea that perhaps their friendship was as short-lived as a mayfly.
“And this is Adrien,” she heard Alya, her new friend, introduce another one of their classmates. Marinette looked up and her heart picked up the pace before she realized it wasn’t the boy she had been hoping to find. “Be careful you don’t confuse him with his older brother. Félix is a nightmare compared to our sunshine boy. Adrien, this is Marinette.”
“Fé’s not that bad once you get to know him,” Adrien grinned. “The other day, he even came home with a pink box of macarons, saying that a friend gave it to him. And he wouldn’t share. He doesn’t even like sweets, you know!”
Marinette’s heart sparkled. Her brain kickstarted. It was time to make another plan.