Laurent watches as Bambi stirs the pot of soup, humming along to the song. “Sing with me Bambi.” He says, getting up and moving over to her. He wraps his arms around her and brings her to him. “Myyyy love, have you ever dreeeeaaamed of candy coated raaaaindrops? You’re the same, my candy raaaain.” He sings loudly and offkey. Bambi winces, a small smile on her face.
“Get off me, Lau.” She says, pulling away and going back to the soup. “I’m trying to finish this.”
“Bambi, I not even hungry. I just wanna dance with you.” He says, moving closer to her.
“Speaking of dance, have you talked to Elisa?” She asks, turning to face him. His face falls a bit and he nods.
“Yes, I talk to her.”
Bambi gives him a worried look. “What did she say?”
“Bambi, you not need worry for-”
“Laurent, what did she say?” She asks, now fidgeting with the ring.
“She tell me if I not in France by next week, I not dance for her anymore.”
Bambi’s mouth drops open and she exhales. “Laurent-”
“But I not care for that.” Laurent looks down at Maka, who had affectionately rubbed his head along his leg. Laurent bends to pick him up. “I want to stay here with you and Maka.” He continues, petting the purring cat. “I not want to go back to France and not know when I can see you again. I hate that so much.”
“But Laurent, you love dance and I know you don’t want to end it like this. What happened to dancing with Larry?”
“Me and Larry can always dance together. He my brother. He not going nowhere.”
“And neither am I, Laurent. Go to France and do what you love. Please.”
Bambi smiles, watching Laurent dance around the stage. “He’s so good.” She coos, petting Maka’s head as the two stare at the computer screen. “Even my baby thinks so.” She says, looking down at Maka.
“I hope he not hurting himself while dancing.” Larry says, folding his clothes and neatly placing them into his suitcase. “And I hope Elisa don’t mind me stealing his shine.”
“I’m sure she will embrace you and your dancing. If not, then Laurent will throw a fit.”
“Bambi… you sure you want to stay here by yourself? I can buy you a ticket and you can come with me.”
“No, it’s okay. I can’t speak any french.”
“We speak some english in France. And besides, I’ll be there for you.”
“And I don’t have anyone who can take care of Maka.”
“Can’t we bring him with us? We gon stay with maman, and she love all animals.” Larry says, and she looks down at Maka. “Maman wanna see you again. Plus, you need to see all of our brothers and sisters.”
“I just not want to leave you here alone.”
Bambi looks down at Maka, the forgotten video finishing. She didn’t know what to do. She missed Laurent and if Larry left, then she and Maka would really be alone. But she didn’t want to drop everything and go.
“Alright.” Bambi says, a small smile on her face. “You sold me at Mama B. But, we have to give Maka to my dad.” Larry nods quickly, a wide smile on his face.
Everyone crowds around her, looking down at the ring. “His taste is good.” Mama B says. “He know how to pick.” Bambi laughs a bit, moving the hair out of her face and she nods in agreement.
“Pretty ring for pretty girl.” One of the nieces say, and she looks down at her.
“Merci Aude.” She responds.
“We try our best to speak english for you, Bambi.” Mama B says, walking over to her and placing her hands on her shoulders. “We not good, but you can understand, no?”
“Yes, I can.” Bambi says, nodding. “And I’ll try to speak as much French for you guys.”
“Maman, I’ll be teaching Bambi french while we stay here, so it’ll be easier.”
“No, no. You not have to do that.” Mama B says, and Bambi looks in confusion. “Bambi, you not have to learn anything.”
“Oh, it’s fine. I need to learn some french if I wanna be here.” She says. “It’s the least I can do. I mean, I’m already imposing on you.”
“She says she’s imposing on us, maman.”
“No, you are not, Bambi. You my daughter now.” Mama B says, looking at the ring. “And I know things you do for me later on.”
“Come on, I’m in France Laurent. Come visit. Maman and our little nieces and nephews.” Larry says, pacing back and forth. “No, Lazare taking his kids tomorrow and then Laure come get hers.”
Bambi looks up from her french book and looks at Larry with a raised eyebrow. She didn’t understand all the words he was saying, but she did catch a little, and heard the names of their siblings, which meant that she would get to meet them.
“Come tonight and stay over until tomorrow. Maman miss you anyway. She say you not come visit her once.” He must have been talking to Laurent, which made a small smile appear on her face. She missed him. Larry looks at her. “Keep reading.” He tells her and she pouts a bit, looking back down at the book. “No, no not you brother. Don’t worry. Just come. You aren’t doing anything. And besides, how are we gonna dance together if you don’t come get me?”
“OH MAH GAWD!” She hears Laurent exclaim, then the rest turns into quickly said french. She chuckles a bit, paying attention to her book once more and trying to tune out their conversation. Larry probably didn’t say anything about her because he wanted her presence to be a surprise to Laurent. She wondered if he’d be happy to see her there. She hoped so.
Larry looks at her. “She with her papa. She not want to come to France.” He lies, closing his eyes a bit. It was hard to lie to his brother, but he was glad it was over the phone and not face to face. Laurent would’ve known if they were standing right in front of each other. “You know she cannot leave Maka.” Bambi looks up at the sound of her cat’s name. They must’ve been talking about her now. Probably talking about how she stayed.
How would he react? Would he be excited, glad, happy? Would he scoop her up into his arms and kiss her? He better.
“So you coming?” Larry asks, sitting next to her on the bed. “Good. Yes, Maman is cooking. Okay. Bye brother.”
Larry hangs up the phone and lays down on the bed next to her. “He says he’s coming.” Bambi looks at him, trying to fight the smile from appearing on her face but failing. “You that excited?”
“Of course.” She says, looking down at the book. “I missed him.”