Melanie: A Short Lesson

"No, Mels you have to pronounce the accents otherwise it means something entirely different."

"Oh, who cares? If I say je want I'll get the same message across won't I?" Yeah, I was kinda getting a bit sick of trying to learn correct A-level French.

"The accent is key. They'll all know you're obviously a foreigner if you don't even try to pronounce the words right."

Okay, so Sparx's intentions were perfectly well and good but he was getting a little too into things here. We didn't come out here to go back to being schooled one way or another. Thing is there's actually nothing much else to do right now because it's raining. Okay, we could easily walk in the rain to the Louvre or Notre Dame cathedral or wherever. But we don't really want to get wet. Well, I don't. I wish it'd stop raining. Erica is gonna start clawing at the walls before long if this keeps up. Then we'll have to pay for new wallpaper. It is quite nice wallpaper, yellow with floral detail. Its pretty. It's almost the same yellow as my new dress. It's such an amazing dress, and I can't believe it was the last one in the sale exactly in my size. I'd match this room perfectly if I added a flowery detail to my dress. That's on the to-do list. God I'm tired.

"Hey, Mels? Are you listening?"

Wow it really is like being back in school. I stifled a huge yawn and refocused on Sparx.

"Sorry I was just thinking about some things, I get distracted."

"Come, on it's a free lesson here. You could try and pay attention." He put on a reproachful face. He must have picked that up from his teacher. It's one of those looks they must learn when they become teachers. Probably need to perfect it to pass the course. That'd be funny. A course in facial expressions. It'd be so much easier to tell what people were thinking by how they looked too. And I'm doing it again because Sparx is staring pointedly at me... I probably look quite vacant right now...

"She's staring into the distance and blanking you because this is MIND NUMBINGLY BORING." Nice save 'Ca.

"Hey, hey, Erica. It's not like your French is perfect either. I'm just trying to help here."

"My French is just fine thankyou, and I'd much rather be out in Paris using it than in here learning the irregular endings of Faire."

"Your French is not fine! Your accent is appalling and on top of that-"

"Escuzez-moi! Appalling? I'll have you know-"

"Uh, guys?" Ethan raised his hand. It was so... primary school. Ethan with his hand in the air and everyone looking at him questioningly. It's the kind of silence that makes you nervous about saying anything.

"We don't really need to argue about this do we? We've got all the French we'll need to communicate haven't we? And really Sparx, the real French people ignore all those rules on a daily basis anyway. In any case Erica and Melanie are hardly soaking the information up like sponges."

"No, like cats." That kinda just came out of my mouth...


"Because cats and biscuits are both so absorbent...? Haven't seen that on youtube? It's about biscuits and it's really funny." I giggled. Then I laughed. And that was it I was just laughing by myself, rolling on the floor, clutching my sides. A part of me must be prepared for these fits of hysteria by now. Probably. Maybe. No, no, not at all.

Ethan looked totally dumbfounded, which only made me laugh harder.

"Okay okay, breathe Mels, breathe." Erica propped me up and I held onto her until I was back to normal. Or to my approximation of normal.

"Enough French for today. Let's go already." I think I was ready to brave the drizzle before being cooped up any longer.


"In triplicate."

Sparx gave the look of teacherly despair and held up his hands in defeat.

"Fine, but it's your fault if you get funny looks because you have awful accents."

"Actually," Ethan took his information pose. "The French find French with an English accent attractive in the same way we find English with a thick French accent. It's a bit of a cliche but it's actually true."

"Why didn't you tell us this earlier? I would've been out on the town hours ago!" Erica whipped out her leather jacket and boots combo and was halfway out the door in a second. "Let's go! I have an attractive accent! Even if that's the only thing I've learnt it was a fact worth learning about. Thanks Ethan."

Sparx looked torn between downcast depression and mistreated outrage.

"Aww, it's okay Sparky. Just don't pursue a career teaching French, that's all."

The End

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