I wasn't sure how to rate this one....
“Etienne,” she said, reading through the letter, “darling, it’s from the convent.” He looked up from shaving.
“Yes?” he called.
“Adele’s being suspended.” Javert popped his head around the door.
“She got into a fight with one of the other girls again.” Sophia rose from her seat in front of her vanity table and handed the letter to him. He scanned through it.
“That’s the third time that girl has got into a fight in the past month," he grumbled, "you'd think she'd know better."
"You'd think so," - she put the letter down on the vanity table- "come to bed soon, darling." She unlaced her silk nightrobe, loosened her blonde hair from its upswept hairstyle , gave it a few deft brushes before pulling back the bedsheets. She laid down on her side, her head propped up by her elbow, and waited for her husband to join her. It was their fourteenth anniversary, quite a miracle given how unmatched the couple were. He joined her and kissed her firmly on the mouth. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he pushed up into her body, which he alone had the pleasure of making love to for fourteen years. One more year and they would have been married for a decade and a half. She let out a little gasp of familiar longing and in his ear, she murmured:
"Happy anniversary my darling."...
Javert looked down at the fifteen year old Sophia, who was sitting on the bed in their one-bedroom flat in Paris.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he barked. She seemed to shrink when he used that tone of voice. 'Barked' seemed apt somehow; he had once been likened to a mastiff by one of his colleagues.
"I was scared," she whimpered, not looking at him, "I didn't want it. I didn't know what to do...I thought I was too young, and I thought you'd make me keep it." Normally Javert had no sympathy when his wife of six months cried, but this was such a different matter. Seeing her cry over this seemed to have the opposite effect. He sat down next to her, wrapping his arms around her.
"You should have told me. I have no desire to be a father, you know that. I would have supported you and you would not had to have gone through the choice and pain alone," he said, stroking her hair, "I know you're young, but you have to tell me these things." Sophia nodded, wiping her eyes. Javert looked at her. So young, so innocent. She knew nothing of the world, and still trying to adapt to the life of the working class.
"I'm sorry," she said softly.
"No more secrets," he answered finally and stood up to leave the bedroom.
"Are you alright Javert? You seem preoccupied tonight," his fellow gendarme, Arceneau, told him the next evening as they stood on a corner, keeping an eye on the street on which a brothel laid.
"I am fine," Javert replied, emotionless.
"My wife miscarried last night," he lied; Sophia had not miscarried...she had gotten rid of the child by going to some old bat, who had given her something to drink to kill the unborn child.
"I'm sorry...how far along was she?"
He had to think before he answered, "seven weeks, we think. She was not sure."...
Javert's eyes snapped open and he looked over at Sophia, sleeping like an angel by his side, smiling in her sleep. He sat up. In the stuffy night air, a light sweat clung to his skin. She stirred, opening one eye drowisly.
"What is it, sweetheart?" she asked, "was it a nightmare?" She sat up and kissed his shoulder. He looked at her perfect face. She looked so understanding.
"Etienne?" He took one of her hands, kissed it.
"It was just a dream. Go back to sleep my dear." He got out of bed, put his nightshirt on before walking over to the window and opening it. He took several heavy breaths.
"Never," she said, scrambling out of the sheets, wrapping her nightrobe around her slight body, "I'm awake now."
Her flat palm of her hand was rubbing his back soothingly, "do you want to talk about it?" His silence gave her the answer. She sighed and settled back down in their bed. As Javert looked out of the window, the world around him seemed to change...
"Bring me prisoner 24601," Javert said. He was 35 years old, a guard in the quarries at Toulon. He'd only spend a year there. He had spent nine months there, knew nothing of the beautiful girl he'd marry in three years time. Two other guards brought a tall man- taller than Javert- forth. Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, about 37 years old. A theif.
"Your time is up, prisoner 24601; your parole's begun," Javert told 24601, "that means you get your yellow ticket of leave." He handed Valjean the yellow passport, which would show the world he was a convict.
"You are a theif-"
"-I stole a loaf of bread-"
"You robbed a house..."
"I broke a window pane. My sister, Jeanne Valjean's child was close to death and we were starving."
"And you will starve again if you don't learn the meaning of the law."...
Sophia laughed as Javert caught her around the waist. She was three months pregnant with Adele. They fell down on the soft grass in their garden. He kissed her on the mouth.
"I love you", he murmured. She giggled. They were in love and they were having a baby. She was lying flat on her back, he next to her. They looked up at the stars.
"What d'you think you'll happen if the stars disappear?" she asked absent-mindedly, twirling a curl of hair around her finger.
"Hopefully, they won't," Javert replied, looking at her with loving devotion, "they fill the skies with order and light. I dread to think what would happen." She laughed and rolled over so she was on her front.
"Are you happy?" he asked, stroking her soft skin.
"Yes. I know now you don't need money to be happy..." she paused a moment, "I've found a grey hair." He rolled over, so he was on his stomach, her on her back.
"Oh really?" he murmured, kissing her softly, "that's a sign I'm..." He tried to think of a witty reply.
Javert opened up Sophia's jewellery box and looked at the diamante hair pins. They reminded him of the stars, but there was one painful memory that hit him...
Sophia was finally sleeping, but Javert was still awake. The dark mark on her face worried him. He traced it gently. He still could not believe he had done that, and to such a sweet girl. He sighed, Sophia's soft blonde head on his chest. They were distant, but she always wanted him near her at night, so she was warm. She mumbled something and looked up sleepily at him.
"What is it?" she asked, yawning slightly. She looked so beautiful, and adorable, but that purple mark on her eye...
"I promise I'll never hit you again," he said softly, kissing her bruised eye. And he did something he had never done before in his life. He broke down into tears.
Javert sighed and sat down on the bed. Sophia took his hand.
"Come on, darling," she mumbled sleepily. He got into bed and as Sophia slept, he thought about the fast changing world, a heavy tonic if you are trying to sleep.