Jehan spends hours shaping his poetic flights, polishing each word, each inflection in his mind. In the evenings, after the first ardors are spent, he tries them out in bed. Some phrases make Combeferre redden with stifled laughter, and tickle him till he yelps in protest. Others merit only a smile, so tranquil and so fond that even Jehan’s tender pride cannot smart for long.
A few win him a look of startlement, almost of wonder, and then a long, distracting kiss. Those are the ones he remembers, treasuring them all night, rising early next morning to write them down.