A/N: A continuation at last of this fic. Thanks for the reviews!
This is going in a different direction from what I thought. So here is a springboard for all of us in the meantime.
In Enjolras’ mind, Aix had always been a town of cracked facades and masonry. The cathedral was perhaps half as old as the land itself, more so the people’s ways. ‘Living relics perhaps,’ he thought the next day as he stood by while his father issued orders to the foremen of the estate. There was much to be done: the vineyard’s press was in need of a good cleaning, repairs on the storehouses were still unfinished, and of course there were accounts that wouldn’t add up—-perhaps because of underhanded tenants or slips in writing down the numbers. All the same this could not block out his father’s imperious words, the knowing glances of his overseers, and of course the sullen silence of the hired hands and tenants quietly taking in every edict.
His father had clapped him on the shoulder after dismissing the group. “Someday they’ll look to you. You’d best make this fact known as early as now,” he said jovially.
“As if they are serfs looking to an emperor?” Enjolras had asked dryly.
The older man narrowed his eyes. “Do not give them ideas, Alexandre. This land has been with our family before your great-great-grandfather was born, and I will not allow it to fall in unworthy hands.”
Enjolras had gritted his teeth as he watched his father walk off; who was he after all to set aside filial duty? He went to the vineyard and stationed himself near the grape press to look over the work there. As he found a bench near the grape press’ entrance, he caught sight of a dark haired figure haggling with one of the more poorly clad masons. He waited for the mason to hand over a few coins in exchange for the bottle in the woman’s hands before he got to his feet. The young woman turned to look at him but she merely raised an eyebrow, and then began walking away quickly.
“Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle Eponine!” he called as he hurried after her.
She stopped before he could reach her, and made an awkward curtsy. “Monsieur Enjolras.”
He was stunned by this unusual formality. “Please don’t. I’m not a prince or nobleman.”
“I know who you are though,” she said as she straightened up. “Monsieur Alexandre Enjolras, only son of Louis Enjolras who is only the richest landowner in these parts. You’re quite the odd swell, I s’pose, but you should not be talking to a girl like me.”
“Who says such a thing?”
“Does anyone need to say a thing for it to be true?”
Enjolras stared at her incredulously. “Have I offended you, Mademoiselle?”
Eponine’s cheeks reddened slightly. “Not you especially. I don’t see what your sort would have to do with mine.”
“Well…” Enjolras looked around, remembering now that there were some tools that needed repair inside the shed. “Does any of your companions know how to repair a grape press?”
“What do you think we are, tinkerers?” Eponine asked as she put one hand on her hip.
“You seem to know a lot more than most,” Enjolras said. “I’ll send one of the men down to ask. Who should he look for?”
Eponine paused for a moment. “Montparnasse. He’s the man you want.”
“I see. Thank you Mademoiselle,” Enjolras said, making a slight bow to her.
“Alexandre!” a voice shouted merrily from outside the grape press. “We’ve been looking for you everywhere!”
Enjolras sighed deeply as he caught sight of Grantaire and several other neighbours. Before he could say anything, he saw Eponine make a bow. “Mademoiselle—-“
“You should go to them. I’ll make sure about Montparnasse,” she said quickly before rushing off.
For a moment Enjolras was left dumbfounded despite the laughter of Grantaire and his companions. “Of all the sorts to dally with,” one of the other young men said with distaste. “What would your mother say to that?”
“I’m not dallying with her. I only sent her on an errand, “Enjolras said stiffly.
Grantaire burst out laughing. “That is always how it begins.”
Enjolras chose not to dignify this response, but even so his gaze wandered for a moment to the vivid green of Eponine’s dress as the girl raced away through the vineyard.