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 The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)

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Jacques Clement
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PostSubject: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:25 pm

The Clement Christmas Ball had, as always, been a very entertaining evening. The people, the food, the drink, the entertainment, it had all been out of this world. Jacques had danced with so many young women he'd lost count, spoken to so many families he could barely remember all of their names. But, most importantly, he'd had fun.

However, as he'd caught his Maman's eye throughout the evening, Jacques could see the faintest trace of worry as she looked to him across the room. The small smile he'd given her each time hadn't been enough to remove the look from her eyes, and Jacques knew in that moment that he could not hold on to the information for longer than was necessary.

So, after something of a lie in that morning -- Jacques has really wanted to roll back over in his four poster bed -- he'd resigned himself to the fate he'd made for himself. Getting out of bed, the Clement heir had showered, and dressed in a shirt and trousers. Whilst he had no plans of leaving the Palace that day, they did have guests waking, breaking their fast, and then leaving the Palace. To be seen in nothing less than impeccable style would be frowned upon.

Jacques ate in his room, before brushing his teeth and combing his hair. For a moment, the young man stood before the mirror, taking slow breaths. Lying to his Maman -- even by omission -- was not something Jacques had enjoyed for the past month. He'd never lied to his Maman, or kept vital information from her, and the guilt... the guilt had built upon him in the days since he'd left America for university once more.

Still, everything he'd done had been for the right reason, and though he'd kept the information to himself, what he'd done had not been wrong.

His Valet came back in that moment, announcing that the Lady Clement had just retired to her withdrawing room. With a soft thank you in the man's direction, Jacques moved from his room, down to the ground floor of the Palace, and along to his Maman's withdrawing room. Where a footman moved to open the door, Jacques shook his head. The man paused, uncertain, but Jacques ushered him away. Once the man's steps had retreated, Jacques knocked carefully on the door three times, paused, and then opened the door.

"May I interrupt, Maman?" Jacques asked, waiting just inside the door in that moment. If she sent him away, Jacques would, of course, understand. But, he ha a feeling that this would not be the case.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:54 pm

The moment The Lady Clement had received a letter from her son stating they needed to talk, a knot of worry had begun to grow inside her. What could it be that was not worrying yet demanded a preface such as that from Jacques? The worry had only increased through their trip but there had been little time to address it when they had returned to Versailles just in time to host the annual Christmas Ball. Throughout it all, Louis had noticed something amiss but had probably assigned it to his lady wife being tired. After all, mergers and acquisitions were taxing work, and despite how they looked, the Lord and Lady Clement were truly in their fifties and had no intentions of taking a back seat. It had to take a toll on their health.

But the couldn't afford to stop now, Vanessa had reflected as she'd watched her beautiful children greet their guests at the Ball the night before. both Elenore and Jacques were resplendent in every way, children even a Clement of the highest standard could be proud of. Mesmerizing in her gown and opulent with her wordsmithery, Elenore could have replaced ehr lady mother without a moment's thought and no one would have known the difference. And Jacques had stood as tall, proud and charming as his father on Louis' best days.

Truly, they couldn't afford to stop now, not for the children who had made them such proud parents.

But throughout the event, she could tell Jacques wanted to have his discussion. Unfortunately he had retired to his bed chambers by the time she returned from the Sept after offering a prayer of gratitude to the gods. The party in the grounds was still going on despite it being considerably past midnight but that too was tradition. The guests in the grounds would be taken care of until they left at around five in the morning just as Vanessa would rise again to greet a new day.

The day after the Clement Christmas Gala was usually one of goodbyes. Guests would come to her withdrawing room one by one, completing the formality of thanking her and Lord Clement for their generous hospitality, commenting on what a spectacular time they had and how beautifully the Heir and his sister had grown before taking their leave. That morning, Vanessa had gone through three goodbyes when the knock on her door came, denoting it wasn't a footmen who would have announced loudly the arrival of a guest.

When it was her son who opened the door, the perfunctory smile on Vanessa's lips was replaced with a genuine one. "Come in, darling. I've just bid Lady Smallwood farewell so I'm sure the hallways are flooded with tears. No one will brave them for quite a while." Rising to her feet, she took in the strapping figure of her eldest child, the child who could do no wrong in the world.

Opening her arms to him, the Lady Clement invited him into a warm embrace, holding him closely for a few seconds to simply take in the fact that he was here, that her family was finally under one roof again. "You mustn't miss your Maman at all when you're away, do you?" she only half jested, letting him go only to gaze fondly at the boy.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:02 am

Jacques smile grew on his features as his Maman explained she'd just said goodbye to Lady Smallwood. The woman was... not Jacques' favourite of women that frequented the Palace, but he knew well enough how to deal with the witch. The idea of her crying on her way out was not one Jacques could say he was surprised with.

"I did wonder why the staff were cleaning puddles from the halls." Jacques replied in jest to that comment.

Shutting the door behind him with the lightest of clicks, the young man relaxed slightly. His Maman was not angry with him for the letter he'd sent, of that much he was sure, but he was still treading carefully in this alien terrain he was in.

The opening of his Maman's arms, though, confirmed that she was not upset, and Jacques moved forth in to her embrace, his arms encircling her slender frame and enjoying the tender embrace from her. He may be nineteen, a man grown, but Jacques was not afraid of showing his Maman that he loved her truly, deeply.

"You mustn't miss your Maman at all when you're away, do you?"

"Distance makes the heart grow fonder, the anonymous poet wrote." Jacques replied softly to his Maman's worries, before adding in a confiding tone. "I've missed you terribly, Maman, but I know you've been busy with Papa." He settled, showing that his own needs, feelings, they were not important when the Family was working on things of great importance. Well, they were important, but Jacques could wait, and he had waited, for his Maman to be free.

Still, he couldn't just go in to what he needed. He may be speaking with his Maman, but Jacques would never be so rude as to cut straight to the issue when she'd only just returned home.

"How was yours and Papa's trip to the Vatican? Greece? Cyprus?" Jacques asked after they'd both settled in to the seats of the Lady Clement's withdrawing room. Hopefully -- and Jacques knew he was being selfish in this area -- the trip had gone well, without too much added stress, so that he wouldn't feel more guilty that he did with the burden he was about to place on his Maman's conscience.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:39 am

"My son the wordsmith," Vanessa assessed her child proudly before meting him go. "No wonder the queue of ladies forming to dance with you yesterday ran far outside the palace gates." A small delighted smile accompanied the statement. Truth be told, both he and his sister had been the stars of the ball yesterday and they both knew it. Watching the sibling duo manage with such grace and charm had only reassured Vanessa hat here was absolutely no need to rush her children into marriage, they together were a force enough to be reckoned with for the next decade.

"Our trips were easier than expected," she confided to the heir as they both took their seats, her smile replaced by a thoughtful expression as it always was when talks turned to business. "I foresaw several complications but your Papa said it would go off without a hitch given these countries' financial crises. And now he's being terribly smug about the whole thing."  

At that, an amused twinkle sparkled in her grey eyes. the idea of Louis holding anything over her far too funny to be spoken with such a serious tone. "Rome was even more tedious than usual, and this is from me who believes in the Gods. I must say the ceremonies get more convulsed every year. How do they expect the people to keep up?" The Catholic Church held a long relationship with the Clements, the family having provided three popes to the church in total, the last of which had done scores to modernize the faith, allowing female priests, allowing divorced individuals the right to communion and even reconsidering their stance on abnormal marriages. Sadly Pope Frances Clement had passed on in 2019 and his predecessor had worked to move the church back to its traditional roots.

"But we were scraping the bottom of the barrel so to speak," she added, her tone back to businesslike. "Greece, Cyprus, Spain, they all had little choice, the challenge starts with the New Year. With countries who feel they have enough leverage to negotiate." Of course, countries being swallowed up left families to be treated the same. By the time Vanessa and Louis Clement were through, how many families would have lost their all powerful status, only time would tell.  

"My main concern throughout the trip was the worrying bit of correspondence you sent me," she finally broached the topic she was certain ehr son had found her today to discuss. "I've yet to tell your Papa of it because you know how he is. The house could be on fire and he wouldn't blink an eye but as soon as I worry, so does he. I saw no reason to alarm him beforehand."

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:29 am

Jacques let out the softest of laughs at his Maman's exaggeration of how many ladies wished to dance with him the evening before. Though, he had to say, there had been quite the number wishing to engage him on the dance floor. "I believe I managed to appease all of them, too." He said with a small look of consideration to that point. "Though, not quite so many ladies wished to dance with me as young men wished to dance with Elenore, she looked... very happy last night." Jacques replied, though he wasn't surprised. Elenore had always looked at ease in such events.

And loath as he might be to admit it, he was glad his sister had been happy, if only for an evening.

The idea that Papa had won on the matter of no problems coming their way due to the financial difficulties of the countries they were attending brought an amused smile to Jacques' features. The Lord Clement had always been sure of himself -- at least in Jacques' impression -- and that moved to ensuring his wife of every decision they were making. He was a strong man, and the Clement power spoke much further than many things in life.

Never, though, had Jacques seen his Papa hold a win over anyone, well, there was one exception, but Jacques knew that a 'win' against the Lady Clement would never count.

"That is the point, Maman, they're not supposed to. Keep them in awe, they never see things coming." Jacques replied to the idea of the common folk not keeping up with the Church's decisions changing so frequently. Though, of course, Jacques did not really need to tell his Maman that much, they both knew how to keep people in line, and it was one of the more beautiful games in their world.

Greece, Cyprus, Spain, all falling iminently in to the control of the Clements. Jacques couldn't help the small, satisfied smile that graced his lips in that moment. They might, as his Maman put it, be classes as scraping the barrel, but they were countries, being taken over by the French, and Jacques couldn't help but feel proud of the work completed by his parents. "Congratulations, Maman, the Lady of France, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and soon... Europe?" The young man replied, almost cheekily as he let out a soft laugh.

He knew the value of all of these countries, and to an extent, he hoped he could help with the work in the coming years. But, that would be a conversation for both his Maman and his Papa. To put his Maman in a position of making the decision on her own was not one Jacques found to be acceptable.

But as the Lady Clement came around to the topic in which Jacques had been stalling, the Clement heir felt his mouth go dry as the smile on his lips faded, and his eyes faltered upon his Maman in that moment. Anyone else in the world would not have been allowed to see the discomfort, but with his Maman, Jacques felt safe in letting his emotions show.

Reaching for his Maman's hands, Jacques held them ever so softly in his own.

"I want to ask for your forgiveness, Maman," Jacques explained, voice soft, and clearly sorry. "I have omitted many things from my letters recently because I was... I believed it better to explain everything to you in person. When you were half the world away, I did not see it fitting to alarm you, and I... I made decisions for our House in your absence."

The respect for his Maman was clear in that moment, head slightly bowed to show he was not proud of himself for what he'd done. He waited for a moment more before he spoke again.

"After the summer... we never truly spoke of what happened. Elenore never apologised, Mimosa... bounced back. I believe we thought the problem had subsided, even if Elenore showed no remorse. But, we didn't do what we should have done. We didn't check what Elenore had said." Jacques continued, though there was no accusation in his voice, he was stating what he believed to be the facts.

"In October, Sebastian and Aiden Harvey-Aquila -- Mimosa's Uncles -- were killed in America." He paused, knowing his Maman had sent the information for him to deal with, but giving the dead a moment of thought before he continued onwards. "I had planned to go to Hogwarts to see Mimosa, to tell her the news myself. To ensure she understood and to console her. But..."

Jacques' right hand moved from his Maman's to the pocket of his trousers, bringing forth the letter he'd received from Mimosa which contained Elenore's poisonous words within. Not daring to read it allowed, Jacques offered it to his Maman, and waited for her to read the contents.

As she drew towards the end, Jacques' eyes noted the slight demise of colour in his Maman's cheeks, and quickly continued on.

"I went to Hogwarts as soon as I received this. I found Elenore, and I told her that this is not acceptable behaviour. That is was to stop." He explained, but it was clear that what he had not said was that he didn't feel he'd done enough.

"Then I went to see Mimosa, she's... alright. She was, of course, very upset, but, I think with enough time, and enough love, she will be back to herself in no time." Jacques explained, and though it might have almost sounded like he had finished, Jacques took a steadying breath.

"And then I went to see Ms. Kent. About Mimosa." Jacques added. "She will be getting the necessary tests completed over the Winter Break to confirm or deny if she is dyslexic. And... from there, we can decide what we're going to do."

By the time he'd finished, Jacques' eyes were on their hands. He should have told his Maman everything in a letter, but he hadn't wished to worry her. The heir had been stuck in two minds for such a long time, but he'd come clean, now, and he would take all the reprimands in the world from his Maman, if that was how she saw fit to continue.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:41 am

An amused smile graced Vanessa's lips as her son declared her the Lady of France, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. Right now she was the Lady of the Drowning Palace if Lady Smallwood would have her way but the sentiment was appreciated. This battle had not been hard fought but future ones would be, and Jacques knew that better than anyone. The smile faded however when the heir began by asking for forgiveness - even though his mother knew there was nothing in the world he could have done to ask for such a thing. Her son did not make mistakes.

Regardless, she let him continue, her grey eyes full of love and concern as he confided to what he had done without her or his Papa's leave. Elenore's responses from school to her parents had been sparse and speckled with formality when they did arrive. And even if they were way from the palace, Vanessa was perfectly aware of the weekly letters that found their way to Maman's withdrawing rooms, letters she was certain were more detailed than the "I am well, thank you for inquiring" notices she herself received.

When he gave her the letter he had received from Mimosa, Vanessa's features turned pale after reading the first few lines. At first, she couldn't comprehend the renewed line of diction, then she realized what must have happened.

How cruelly Elenore had delivered the news to little Mimosa, how crushed the poor child must have been to hear it like this.

"I don't understand... What could the little girl have done to make your sister loathe her so..." Vanessa finally managed, because as difficult as it was to acknowledge the truth, here it was. There was clearly no love lost between her daughter and granddaughter, and as far as the Lady Clement knew, it was only from Elenore's side. "Have you spoken to your sister about why she detests our ward to the extent she does?"

It was clear she was still shaken up but Lady Clement had no qualms going on while shaken. She lapsed into silence once again as Jacques continued his tale of visiting America - a notion that made her flinch visibly - and meeting that awful woman who shared Kit's bed these days.

"But darling," she managed, this time her hands shaking slightly even in his strong, reassuring grasp. "There is nothing wrong with our Mimosa. We all know that. She is a beautiful, intelligent, boisterous child. Why subject her to awful tests and tribulation when she already has to see the healers for her health. And with that woman too, who wouldn't know bedside manner from beastly behavior?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:13 am

"I don't know, either, Maman," Jacques had replied softly, watching his Maman read through the letter he'd received. When she'd finished, he took it back, folding it and placing it back in his pocket, out of sight in case they were interrupted by anyone else in the Palace. "I hadn't asked, my concern was for Mimosa at the time of my visit. It was short sighted of me, perhaps, but I had to ensure Mimosa was okay..."

There was an unspoken apology in that sentence, for not presenting his Maman with all the information possible. But, also, the opening of the unspoken question of what they did about all of this now. They couldn't... they simply couldn't allow this to go on any longer, but how they were going to stop it from happening in the future... Jacques couldn't be sure. Elenore preferred to talk to Grandmere...

His Maman's question of why he'd insisted on Mimosa getting tested, and her insistence that there was nothing wrong was what frustrated Jacques slightly in that moment. He wished, with all his heart, that the Lady Clement was right in that moment, that there was nothing wrong with Mimosa, that the problems Elenore had envisaged were... just things said to try to hurt the child.

But there was too much evidence suggesting otherwise, and Jacques was trying to do the right thing, for Mimosa.

"Maman, I know... I know you want to believe there is nothing wrong with Mimosa. But, I want to know for sure. If she has dyslexia, we can get her the help she needs. We can make everything easier for her, so that she doesn't feel alienated. And, I went to Ms. Kent..." Jacques paused, trying to think of a good way to phrase the next sentence.

"I went to Ms. Kent because I knew I couldn't trust Mr Harrington and Papa to think about Mimosa first. Ms. Kent doesn't have the whole of France watching her at this time of year, either." Jacques added in explanation to why he hadn't asked his Maman.

"I want our family to have everything they need, Maman. Mimosa is going to get everything she needs, Ms. Kent is seeing to that. Now, we need to think of Elenore." He finalised, his thumb lightly stroking the back of his Maman's trembling hands to try to reassure her. They could fix it all, if his Maman kept an open mind.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:39 am

When Jacques admitted he did not know what Mimosa could have done to offend his sister so, the Lady Clement nodded, taking in his answer thoughtfully. Perhaps it was time to simply ask Elenore what the problem was. Jacques was right to bring this to attention however, this could not continue, not in her home. The home she and Louis had fought so hard to build would not get cast asunder so easily.

She would have to speak to Elenore herself about this whole incident 0 if the child found a spare moment from her Grandmere's withdrawing room.

"Do you think it has to do with a gentleman?" she tentatively asked Jacques, her grey eyes further clouded with worry. "Maman suggested earlier this year that Elenore would rather be married and away from here. Do you feel its her wish to get out that's making her act so abhorrently towards Mimosa?"

When Jacques explained why he had gone to that peddling psychic for help, Vanessa's eyes narrowed very slightly at her son. Not in admonishment, simply in slight correction. "I wish you would give your Papa more credit, darling. He has always put his family first." Much like Jacques was doing right now. It seemed the boy was making up or his sister's inadequacies without even realizing what he was doing. The more Elenore's behavior threatened to rip the family, the more Jacques' actions worked to seam it back together.

"You re correct however in saying that all eyes are on us," she conceded with a soft, barely audible sigh. After the events of the summit and then their trip through Europe which had been covered extensively by the news media, the ball was as anticipated an event as any political meeting. Everything had to be perfect here lest they risk all they had worked for.

"Just please reassure me our Mimosa will not be under any duress. I know you would protect her with your life as much as your Papa and I would, but I need to hear you say it Jacques. Especially if the only one watching over her is Kit's... friend."

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:52 am

The question of this having to do with a gentleman made Jacques' features crease ever so lightly with a frown. Elenore... after last night's display at the Ball, the way in which she had happily moved from the arms of one male to the next whilst still looking thoroughly happy throughout the evening...

He'd not seen her eyes settling upon one individual the whole night to suggest there was a suitor the young witch had in mind...

"I... I don't think so, Maman. If Elenore's interests in Mycroft Holmes were genuine in the summer, I don't believe she still harbours those interests now. She danced with Mycroft, and his brother, but I didn't see anything that would suggest she was any more interested in the Holmes brothers than she was in any other male at the Ball." Jacques replied, though he knew in himself that he could not be sure he was reading the situation correctly.

"I don't understand why Elenore would wish to leave the Palace, either, she loves it here." Jacques continued, shaking his head. It didn't make sense, and speculating was not going to give them the real answer. But, so far as Jacques had seen last night, Elenore was not fawning for someone in their circles, at least.

"Papa does put family first," Jacques agreed. "But I wanted to ensure there were no distractions from the problem. Especially when I could deal with it myself."

The final part, though, made Jacques smile softly at his Maman. "You know I would protect Mimosa with all I have in this world, Maman. I couldn't see her hurt. She won't be unduly stressed, and as repugnant as you may find Ms. Kent, she has Mimosa's best interests at heart, like us. I've asked her to forward all of the tests to me when they come through, and I will make sure to see Mimosa in the New Year and make sure she is doing well. But nothing, in the world, is going to hurt Mimosa in any way on my watch.

"You will always have my word on that, Maman." Jacques finalised firmly.

Mimosa was family, after all, and he would not allow any of his family to be hurt.

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PostSubject: Re: The Road to Honesty (Vanessa)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:26 am

When the young man offered his interpretation of Elenore's interest in a suitor, Vanessa had to agree. She had not seen her daughter's eyes coming to rest on any one man in a particular fashion. And truth be told she had been somewhat grateful for it. After the debacle with Mycroft Winston in the summer, it seemed like Elenore s finally herself again. No doubt the imposed punishment of not being allowed to write to the man or see him outside of school related business had cured Elenore of her emotions.

"Very well, I'll speak to her tomorrow once most of our guests have left," she spoke out thoughtfully. "No doubt all will not be gone, some do like to overstay their welcome but enough will have bid us adieu for Elenore and I to have a few moments alone."

When her son hastened to assure her Mimosa would be absolutely safe and well taken care of, the Lady Clement finally let relief wash over her. She had always known Jacques would never take steps that might resulting in hurting the youngest member of this family but the words were soothing to hear regardless. It was only whe  he expaiend to ehr that Ms. Kent had Mimosa's ebst interests at hert that she gazed curiously upon him.

"Tell me, my dear, when did you grow up into the most amazing person I have ever had the pleasure to know?" she asked, the smile returning to her face because she had decided that long ago herself. As had Louis. Whatever their personal differences with the Harringtons and assorted company, they had to admit Mimosa was loved boundlessly on both ends, and the worst thing for the child would be separate her from either of them.

"You will let me know whatever the results are?" she asked carefully, still not willing to knowledge that there was something wrong with her grandchild any more than there was something wrong with her children. Clements didn't have problems, that was not how the gods wrote fates, at least not the gods she prayed to.

"Your Papa and I will be heading to Portugal just after the New Year. Then we'll be continuing on to Estonia, Luxembourg and Bulgaria. We should be home before your Papa's birthday though, to anxiously await both of your returns to the palace." The road ahead would be challenging as there was no rest in the Lord and Lady Clement's future but for now, the international acquisitions would have to be put aside for a much more important cause.

Saving their family.

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