The Javerts arrive at Montreuil-sur-Mer....
Sophia had blonde hair and blue eyes, an image of youthful beauty. Her lips were perfect, a rosy pink and her cheeks had a pale pink tone in contrast to the cream of her smooth skin. Her breasts were full and her small, perfectly manicured hands rested on the small bump which carried her first born. Her hair was curled and neatly pinned using gold pins encrusted with small gemstones. The hairpins had been given to her by her mother, before she had died of pneumonia. Dressed in a simple blue satin dress, with a warm fur lined wrap around her, she was still cold. Her hands were in leather gloves.
She looked at Javert but still he said nothing. Most of the time he acted as if she did not exist. She wanted him to love her like any husband would love his wife. She had approached him about that before, but he had called her needy and demanding. She was very much the dominated, mousey wife. His icy gaze met with hers, but she quickly dropped her gaze.
“You are not comfortable, are you?” he asked, not looking at her.
“Why do we have to leave Paris?” she questioned, looking up innocently at him.
“Because I have been restationed at Montreuil-sur-Mer ,” he replied sharply. When he used that tone of voice, Sophia knew she should not question him further, no matter how much she wished to. She had done so once before, just a month after they wedded and he had hit her across the face. She had had a bruise around her eye for several days, and had to stay inside the house. She felt like she could never love him if he would always resent her. She wondered if it was just her age which made him like he was.
The carriage stopped and Sophia looked out of the window. Paris to this, she thought to herself with despair. Javert got out first, and Sophia was about to follow but when her husband ordered something, she had to obey.
“Stay here,” he said sharply.
“I’m reporting to a Captain Beauvais,” Javert answered, “the carriage will take you to our new home.” He shut the door on her. She sat back in the seat and sighed.
Javert walked into the police station, looking around the building. It was well-furnished and he saw the man he was looking for: Captain Beauvais.
“Good afternoon, Captain. I’m Javert, the new police inspector. Here are my orders from the Paris prefect,” he said to Beauvais. Beauvais looked up from his lunch.
“Oh, yes. Hello Inspector Javert. I’ve been expecting you. I’m Captain Beauvais. How was your journey?”
“You haven’t looked at my orders.”
“Oh, I’m sure they’re alright. Have you eaten? Or would you...”
“I’d like you to follow procedure.”
“Well, everything seems... to be in order, Inspector. You are now in charge of the Montrieul-sur-mer police.”
Sophia looked around the empty house in despair once again. She sat down on the bed and tears ran down her cheeks. Javert had not come back yet. She felt even lonelier than before. She had not been allowed to see her friends when they were living in Paris. But now she was in a strange town and knew no one. She wondered if she had the bravery and confidence to ask Javert if she could at least go for walks from time to time. He would probably deny her what she wanted.
As Javert and Beauvais walked along the streets of Montreuil-sur-Mer, the new Inspector looked around the town.
“In Paris, things are miserable. Crime is rampant. The streets are filthy. Conditions here are much better. But I think my wife would disagree.”
“A wife, Javert?” Beauvais asked. He seemed surprised that Javert was married.
“She is young. Sophia seems to hate me for me not speaking to her. To be frank, I’m a busy man.”
“No man can be successful if tied down with a wife...but she prefers Paris? Life in Montreuil-sur-Mer has never been better. It is a good place to raise a family. Shall I take you to our brick factory? That’s our biggest business.”
“Who owns the factory?” Javert asked out of curiosity.
“The mayor; he was one of the workers. But when it went bankrupt five years ago... incredible to think of now...he bought the whole works for less than five hundred francs.”
“I should report to the mayor as soon as possible. Let’s do that first.”
"The mayor seems to be the force behind everything; must be a genius."
"He is extraordinary. But I should warn you, he is also a little eccentric.”
Javert raised an eyebrow, “eccentric? In what way?”
“Well he’s shy. Lives like a hermit. Didn’t even want to be mayor. Tried to refuse the honour but the town fathers insisted. Not ambitious, but he’s successful. He’s a mystery. Some people think he is crazy, but I like him. I like him but I feel sorry for him.”
“You feel sorry for the mayor?”
“Because he is lonely. Here we are.”
“He lives here?” Javert asked incredulously. They had arrived outside a house similar to the ones the workers lived in. Javert had to blink once or twice to make sure he was not going mad.
“Strange, isn’t it? A little better than a worker’s home.”
Days had passed and Sophia, after putting away some clean washing, lay down on the bed, on her side and began crying again. She felt lonely. Too lonely for a girl of her age’s liking. She must have fallen asleep, for when she woke up, Javert had just come in. She sat up and quickly tidied her hair before briskly walking into the small room adjacent to the bedroom where Javert was looking some papers over.
“Etienne, can we make this a fresh start?” she asked softly, sitting in front of him. He looked up from what he was doing.
“A fresh start?” he repeated uncertainly. He did not like the way the conversation was going.
“We barely speak, Etienne. I did not want to move here, and you know it,” Sophia said a little more confidently. She glanced around the room before speaking again, “Etienne...please; we have a baby on the way. We could at least speak to each other a little more. I know you think me naïve but I am young. All I want is for us to have a happy marriage. That is what my papa intended.” She was holding herself tensely. Never before had she spoken so many words to her husband in one go. Javert could see in her eyes that she was hopeful. He sighed, glanced at the time on the clock and got his coat and bicorne hat.
“Where are you going?” she asked, standing up.
“It doesn’t start until ten!” she protested. She stood in front of the front door, arms folded.
“Please stay!” He grabbed her by the wrist and took her aside.
“Sophia...” he begun, “I know I may not be the most easiest of men to live with but just go to bed. I’ll be back at dawn.”
“You can’t tell me what to do!” she said, beginning to cry.
“Oh here we go again. Turning on the water works! Just stop the crying will you?! You are such a spoiled brat. All you do is complain about everything.”
“The only reason I complain, Etienne, is because I am unhappy. I’d like to go out, make some friends. I have been so lonely since I married you! I hate you!” she yelled.
“And you think I don’t hate you?! For God’s sake, just stay here!” She stood there defiantly. He opened the door and slammed it behind him.
“There are more than ever,” Javert commented as he and Beauvais looked on at some prostitutes outside the tavern.
“Oh, Inspector! You startled me,” Beauvais said, turning around, “yes, I have counted four new girls.”
“You see, Captain, when a town grows, crime grows with it.”
“Shall I get the men to make arrests?”
“No. Did you check off the regulars?”
“Yes. And I’ve noticed the new girls.”
“Is it ten already?”
“No. I’m early. I was restless and the wife kept on complaining.”
Beauvais breathed deeply and looked up at Javert again, “forgive me, Inspector, for being forward but maybe you should at least try make her happy.”
Javert gave a false, bitter laugh, “why should I? She was spoiled by her father right up until our wedding day. I never liked Sophia. The only reason I married her was because her father wanted me to discipline her.”
“You are telling me any child of yours you’ll resent?”
“If it’s a daughter, certainly. But if it’s a boy, then I may reconsider resenting Sophia.”
“I’m surprised she hasn’t gone to the mayor.”
“I’m expecting her to any day now.”
Sophia buttoned up her coat, fastened her bonnet around her head and slipped on her leather gloves. Javert had only been gone ten minutes, but it meant freedom as far as she was concerned. She slipped out of the door, locked in, and placed the key deep inside her coat pocket. It was so cold she could see her breath. She walked around Vigau and came across a tavern. Women were standing outside, and she realised they were prostitutes. A couple of drunken punters almost fell over each other as they came out of the pub. They staggered towards her.
“Are you for sale darlin’?” one asked, taking her by the wrist. The other begun unbuttoning her coat.
“Get off of me!” she snapped, slapping him around the face. But the two men got even rougher with her. One forced her against the wall, but she kicked him in his sensitive area, the man doubling over in pain. From the corner of her eye, she could see two shadowed figures nearby. She knew her husband was one of them.
“Should I go, Inspector?” Beauvais asked him.
“No...I’ll go,” Javert snapped and strode towards Sophia and the two men. Sophia hit one of the men around the head, who begun bleeding.
“You slut!” one of the drunks said, and attacked her.
“That’s enough!” Javert yelled and Sophia was thrown to the floor as the two men began to walk away.
“Go home,” he told the men, “and be quick about it.” The men stumbled off and he roughly pulled up Sophia. He thought she was a common prostitute. He did not recognise her at all.
“Take her to the station, Beauvais.”