The year is 1899. A young writer has just arrived in Paris, traveling from London, to find the Bohemian experience of truth, beauty, freedom, and most of all, love. Her name is Eponine Thenardier.
There was only one problem: she had never been in love before. Luckily, just at the moment she sat down in her dilapidated apartment to write the story of ages, a large sleeping man dressed as a German mountaineer fell through her roof. Soon after, a smaller man with a cane arrived to retrieve the man and explained to the bewildered Eponine what was happening.
Joly, the man with the cane, told Eponine that he and Bossuet, the sleeping man, were rehearsing for a play to be performed at the Moulin Rouge. Before she knew what she was doing, Eponine had volunteered to stand in for Bossuet and was arguing with a group of Bohemians about whether or not the mountains in the play represented freedom or not. But as Eponine slipped more of her ideas into the scene, the men around her realized the true talent she possessed. So they told her about the Moulin Rouge.
The Moulin Rouge. A night club, a dance hall and a bordello. Ruled over by Harold Zidler. A kingdom of night time pleasures. Where the rich and powerful came to play with the young and beautiful creatures of the underworld. And the most beautiful of them all was Cosette. A courtesan. She sold her love to men. They called her the “Sparkling Diamond”, and she was the star of the Moulin Rouge.
The plan was to sell off Eponine as a famous writer from London to Cosette and get her on board with the Bohemians’ play, appropriately titled “Spectacular Spectacular”. Donned in an old suit lended by one of the Bohemians named Montparnasse, the group attended the Moulin Rouge to find the Sparkling Diamond.
From the moment Eponine’s eyes first met Cosette’s, she knew there was no one else more beautiful and enchanting than her. Her dark hair billowed about petite shoulders and framed a pure and smooth face. Her cat-like eyes enthralled Eponine, and for the rest of the night Eponine’s gaze would fall only upon the Diamond.
The very same night Cosette was destined to meet Eponine, however, she was also destined to meet another man called “The Duke”. She was to convince this man to produce the Bohemians’ play, and in return she would give her love onto him. Eponine, dressed in the finest clothes and with a figure rather similar to a slim man’s, was mistaken for this Duke.
They met in the Elephant, a private room draped with wondrous fabrics and figures from all over the world. Eponine, though nervous by Cosette, felt the urge to impress her with words. It was not until Eponine confessed her enchantment via poetry that Cosette realized the mistake. And yet, the mistake had been destiny.
Cosette met with the Duke and professed that they should wait until the opening night of Spectacular Spectacular to cement their deal with love. As the show followed production, Cosette in turn drew closer to the London writer.
It was dangerous. In the daytime Cosette played the part of faithful courtisan, but in the night she belonged to no one but her own heart, and she loved no one but Eponine. If anyone would discover their love, it would be downfall. But the price of dancing among the stars with Eponine was worth anything to Cosette.
The weeks drew on, and as Cosette and Eponine’s love grew stronger, so did the Duke’s impatience. Two weeks before the opening night, he pieced together the puzzle that played out in front of him. The entire time, he had been fooled. Angry, he demanded that Cosette give her love to him immediately, and so she was forced. The night of the siring, Eponine found comfort in absynth, and attempted to not dwell on what was being done to her Diamond.
Along with Cosette’s deed, there was yet another obstacle keeping her and Eponine apart: Harold Zidler. He, disapproving of their affair, ordered Cosette to keep away from the writer. Nothing would come good of it, he said. Once again, Cosette was forced to act against her will, and she resisted the strong pull of Eponine.
Eponine bought nothing. She believed in love, but most of all Cosette’s love. Nothing could keep them apart. On opening night, after weeks of not holding Cosette in her arms, she took drastic measures. The play, due to the Duke’s influence, was intended to end with the courtisan, played by Cosette, to remain with her prince and toss her affair with the common peasant aside. But at the last minute, Eponine took the stage.
Cosette silently pleaded no, but in her eyes resided the deepest longing possible. Eponine, dressed as the peasant, took Cosette into her arms and pressed a gentle kiss to her soft lips; and the unbreakable Diamond melted. It was known then that no person could ever have kept them apart for long. Their fates were intertwined, and the universe pulled them together as if with magnets that would never separate.
That was the first and last performance of Spectacular Spectacular. That very night, Eponine and Cosette fled Paris together to live a simple life on the shores of France. They would be together forever, the Sparkling Diamond and the Enchanted Bohemian.
I strongly believe that modern Cosette would honour Jean Valjean’s life after he died by doing everything in her power to have the world see her father the way she saw him.
She’d open up a youth centre in his name- not the name she knew him as, but the one he hid hid from her- the one that was associated with crime and shame.
It would focus on providing a safe place for at risk or troubled kids to go to, with dedicated youth mentors and a crisis centre.
Cosette would be passionate about working with young children who had been in and out of juvenile facilities, and work with pro-bono legal teams to expunge their record and give them a chance at employment and schooling they’d otherwise miss out on
Having the childhood she had before Jean Valjean took her in, she knew the warning signs and red flags of abused youth, and if she couldn’t get them out of the situation she would always make sure they knew she was only a phone call away.
She also provided a place for children after school and on weekends to just be themselves and play and laugh and socialise, with free food provided and no questions asked if you took more than one plate.
It wasn’t just at risk children who benefited. Single parents who had to work two jobs to put food on the table saw the centre as a God sent. They no longer had to choose between risking their children stay at home alone or losing a meal by paying for expensive after school child care.
It was almost impossible for the centre to gain funding, and Cosette had to fund it herself more times then she could count. But she knew it was worth it.
Years of working in the community and doing good paid off. She made sure that when people thought “Jean Valjean” it would be associated with her youth centre. When people heard his name, they no longer thought criminal, they thought salvation.
I also recall a scrap of a scene (probably around the building of the barricade) where Bossuet calls out the window to Courfeyrac, “Why don’t you have an umbrella?”
And Courfeyrac replies (or the narration implies?) that as a Romantic, he scorned umbrellas. (This is a reference to Louis Philippe, who always carries an umbrella about, a bit like a scepter. Umbrellas were also associated with both the bourgeois class and the British.)
Bossuet I think tells Courfeyrac he’ll catch a cold, so he should get an umbrella.
I do very distinctly recall Courfeyrac then declaring “plutôt la mort!”
(i.e. “I would rather die than carry an umbrella.”)
Enjolras and I walked through the streets of Paris hand in hand. We had been seeing each other for a couple of months now, and to say that Enjolras had regained some of his confidence would be an understatement. As it turned out, the blonde haired leader was even more eloquent when it came to telling me how much he loved me than he was during his speeches.
“I’m just saying, Enj, that Ferre likes him!” I say but Enjolras just shakes his head.
“I don’t see it,“
“You didn’t see that I liked you until you asked me out,” I point out and he grins, pulling me closer to him by our interlinked hands and pressing a kiss to my temple.
“But I noticed eventually,” Enjolras argues as we separate again, continuing down the street to the library.
“Only because you asked me out!” The declaration makes Enjolras laugh loudly.
“Okay, fair point, but I still don’t see Ferre liking Courf,“
“Because you’re blind!“ I chuckle.
“Well, if you’re right, we should try to get them together!” Enjolras declares and I nod enthusiastically.
“Genius idea!” I agree as Enjolras pulls me into the library, laughing.
A couple of weeks later and our plan of getting Combeferre and Courfeyrac together was in full swing, Courferyac was grinning and blushing at something Combeferre was saying as they played with each others fingers.
“We did a good thing there,” Enjolras declares, moving behind me and placing his hands on my shoulders, kissing the top of my head in greeting.
“Yeah,“ I agree, “we did,“ I lean back into his touch, relaxing into his loving hold.
I feel his hand go to my hair and start to unpin it. The locks tumble down around my face and I turn to scowl at him slightly.
“I spent ages putting my hair up this morning, Enj,” I groan and he just smiles in response before running his hands through it, untangling the strands.
“I just want to try to plait it, you look so pretty like that,” as he speaks he begins to divide up my hair. I relax into his touch and smile a little.
“Do you even know know how to plait?”
“I asked Jehan,” his voice is quiet and I know just from his tone that there’s a blush adorning his handsome face.
“You’re so cute, Enj,” I laugh.
“I’m glad you think so,”
We sit quietly as Enjolras plaits my hair and I observe the budding romance between Courfeyrac and Combeferre. I feel the smile on my face grow even wider as I see Combeferre put an arm around Courfeyrac, making the man blush and look down before resting his head on Combeferre’s shoulder.
“They’re sweet,“ I finally say, breaking the comfortable silence that had formed between my beloved and I. Enjolras makes a noise of agreement, tying off the first plait.
“Not as sweet as you,” he murmurs, almost without thinking as he begins to plait again.
“That was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard,” I laugh and Enjolras kisses the top of my head again.
“Only for you, sweetheart,“
“I know that you and Jolras helped to get Courf and I together,“ Combeferre says to me one morning, after I had spent the night at his and Enjolras’ home.
“You weren’t going to do it for yourselves,“ I point out and Combeferre nods in acknowledgment.
“Thank you,“ he finally says and a corner of my mouth turns upwards in a smile.
“Anytime, Ferre, you got Enj to grow some balls and ask me out, it was only right for us to repay the favour,“
“I already had balls,“ Enjolras says, coming into the room and I turn to roll my eyes at him.
“Feel free to not show us proof of your masculinity,“ I tease, going over and kissing him. “Good morning,“
“Good morning, sweetheart,” he repeats, his blue eyes still trained on my lips, his golden hair falling into them.
I brush the strands away and kiss him again.
“I love you,“ he tells me, putting his hands on my waist.
“I love you too,”
Our heartfelt moment is ruined by Combeferres announcement: “And I’m going to be sick!“
I’m sorry it’s so bad, but I just didn’t know what to write for a second part, I hope that it was okay :)
just saying I only live around 2 and a bit hours from Andrew Davies and I live very close to where one of the major BBC Hubs is so I could be ready to barricade and storm and fight if they ruin Les Mis