Sweeter Than Wine (Post 4)
Yves lays his cigar on an ash tray, picks up his financial newspaper and pretends to read. ‘I can’t help noticing she has nice legs,’ he mumbles behind the newsprint. ‘But it doesn’t qualify her as a daughter-in-law.’
I feel like throwing something at him but have nothing convenient at hand. Instead, I glare at the paper. Could we get so lucky? Yet the possibility of Andy and Nicole becoming an item never occurred to me. Silly though it sounds, I think he’s rather afraid of her.
Yves’ ancestry goes back to before the Revolution. He is a captain of France’s major industry, the fifth or sixth (or maybe even seventh or eighth) Ravel to run the Château. His grand plan for Andy’s life is falling to bits and he isn’t happy. The business is an excuse for him to bury his feelings and ignore any of his relatives who do not share his passion.
By mid-afternoon I can see I’ve underestimated the task ahead of me. Behind the mask of politeness, Yves and Georges are arguing in private, yelling expletives at one another and acting like two boys in the school playground. I can’t get near enough to learn what it’s all about. I don’t want to.
Georges Ravel is Yves’ younger, easy-going brother, a partner in the Château. But even he can get pretty fired up when Yves is being obstinate and unreasonable.
I am learning never to underestimate elderly people. If they are forgetful at times it’s because they have more to remember. And they are as willing to accept new technology as their children and grandchildren.
Albert Durand, Nicole’s grandfather, is in his early eighties, tending to overweight and forgetfulness. But he isn’t above joking about it – and maybe he isn’t so forgetful after all.
Then there’s Andy. What more can I say about him except that he isn’t me! [Well, maybe a teeny-weeny bit. Writers can’t help putting a little of themselves into their characters, can they?]
The world has changed a lot since the days when I went to university. One thing that hasn’t changed much is that parents still have no idea what their offspring get up to while on campus. An innocent as an undergraduate, Andy has grown up and at twenty-four, and now a post-grad working on his doctorate, he has a very clear idea what he wants from life.
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