Part 98

Part the Ninety Eighth: Hope Reveals Herself to Charity

 

 

Hope turned quickly to look at Charity.  She had to see how close she was to her, what she intended to do now that she admitted she had…

 

Charity had not gotten too close at all.  She was still only half an arm’s length from her, her hands nowhere near her.

 

But her eyes widened and her head snapped back, followed by her taking a step away from Hope.  Hope looked at her hands, wondering if whether she had accidentally lashed out at Charity when she spun.

 

“But of course,” said Charity with a sigh.  “You are terriblement offensé, no?”

 

“I…” Hope started to say, trying to look at her, wishing she did not look as though she had just been struck.

 

“I can see it.  You are offended, and you wish I’d never said that.  In fact, you are so offended that you wish me harm, une mort horrible for saying what I did!”

 

“But-”

 

“You would want to see me taken away with all horrible sinners, condemned by an inquisition, maybe shamed before the crowd before they then have me placed upon a stack of faggots and have me alit-”

 

“Stop it!  Just stop it now!” Hope demanded sharply.  “Do not put anything in my mouth like that!”

 

Charity continued to look at Hope with wounded eyes.

 

“I just…” Hope started to say.  “I mean, when you were a man, and you wooed me with all of those sweetened words and gestures, I was taken.  You did draw me with those ways.”

 

Charity turned her head down a little to sharpen her glance.

 

“Verily, yes, I did appreciate and encourage more such from you.  But I did believe, quite soundly, that it was a man who had shown such interests in me, and for that I was quite-  In any event, I did take your favors, but believing you were a man then.”

 

“Yes, I see,” said Charity, her head nodding.

 

“So when it comes out that you are, well, not Charles, nor ever in a position to be rightly called by the name ‘Charles,’ then of course all such sayings and favors were forfeit.”

 

“Oh?  Comment est-ce que c’est ainsi?

 

“Well, I mean a woman giving affections and tokens to another is just…  I mean, who ever heard-”

 

Charity gave her head a turn to the side.

 

“Yes, right, well.  But consider if you will my own position.  I had never heard of a woman doing… I mean having done that to- for, for another woman, right.  To me, all of that is so… very different from what I know and have seen.”

 

“Is it?  Could you not just replace one partner with another, to make it easier to comprehend?”

 

“I have enough trouble comprehending it with the right two as it is-” Hope blurted out before she could stop herself.

 

“Are you telling me that you never had any serious…” Charity asked while Hope’s face burned like a bonfire.

 

Charity reacted to Hope’s embarrassment with rolling eyes.  “Cela se transforme en plus grand tas de merde!

 

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