Adrien was silent when his father pulled him into his office to tell him his mother had gone missing.
Adrien was silent when officers came to question his father and search the house. They just looked at him with pity as they walked in and out.
Adrien was silent when he stared at the television as a reporter stated a few facts about "world-famous actress and wife of Designer Gabriel Agreste, Emilie Agreste's" disappearance.
Adrien was silent as photographers and protesters staged themselves outside the gates of their home.
Adrien was silent throughout it all.
Only when Adrien was alone did he make a sound. Shivering, he curled into a ball on the floor of his enormous empty room. He couldn't seem to fend off the cold as he whispered “Maman, hold me. Please.”
He stayed like that all day and night. No one checked on him and Adrien didn’t see his father nor anyone else for a week.
The days after Emilie’s disappearance, the mansion’s temperature dropped despite the warm May weather. The quiet was deafening - no more of his mother’s giggling floating through the halls or her high heels clicking up the marble stairs. No more of her dramatically opening the dining room door to greet her son at breakfast. While Emilie did travel a lot, she would always find time to call her son in between his lessons and send him pictures of the places and people she was visiting. It was the highlight of his day. But his phone reminded silent in his pocket, only adding to his crushing loneliness. Especially because every time, he mindlessly checked it, he saw her face.
Adrien was never close to his father, but Emilie always reassured him that his father loved him very much and would do anything for him. He never minded because his mother was so happy and loving that he never bothered to worry about how little he saw his father - she was always enough. Gabriel Agreste was always so busy that Adrien couldn’t even remember the last time they had shared lunch or even a conversation. What was there to talk about anyway? he thought bitterly.
Gabriel had a marble bust made years ago of Emilie for the garden and at night, when everyone was asleep, Adrien sat in front of it for hours on end. He willed the stone to warm and wrap him in an embrace - maybe then he could feel something besides emptiness and numbness. Even if someone in the household cared to ask, he couldn’t describe his feelings. He almost wished she were dead - then he would know where she was and if she was okay. At least with death, he would know. The not knowing was eating him up inside.
But Adrien didn’t want anyone to worry about him, so he did what he was raised to do: pretend that nothing was wrong and smile. After three days, his lessons resumed and the photoshoots were rescheduled. It all felt wrong. Like everything shouldn’t be going back to the way it was. How can life go on without her?
A month after his mother disappeared, Gabriel finally summoned his son his office. Timidly, Adrien stood waiting for his father to speak. Gabriel was facing the portrait of his wife and Adrien tried to look everywhere besides that wall or he might burst into tears. Only his fear of disappointing his father kept them at bay. “Adrien,” his father said coldly and faced his son. Not that he had ever spoken with much warmth, to begin with, but it sounded like ice.
“I’ve hired a bodyguard. He will accompany you everywhere including your photoshoots. Do not give him or me any trouble.”
After staring at Adrien intently, Gabriel turned back to the portrait and gently pressed his hand against it. Adrien thought he heard him whisper “I’ll make sure he’s safe for you.” Not even looking back to his only child, Gabriel sternly ordered “Go to your Chinese lesson. I don't want to hear any reports about your lack of progress. I’ll schedule a dinner for us next week.”
Fighting back tears again and his desperate need to feel the strong arms of an adult, Adrien left the office.
An hour later, back in his room, Adrien sat on his couch and stared out the window. Nathalie, Gabriel’s assistant knocked on the door.
“Adrien, the photoshoot for this evening has been canceled. Your father would like you to practice your piano for an hour then you may have some free time.” She adjusted her glasses over her neutral expression.
He silently nodded.
Once she had left, he went to his piano and went robotically through the scales. Even though it hurt, he played his mother’s favorite piece, Arietta. The slow rhythm and gentle melody were filled with melancholy as he played the black and white keys. In another life, the music reminded him of a summer breeze or his mother's smile. Before he knew it, the tears ran down his cheek as he played the piece over and over until his fingers were sore and the sobs started to shake him. Why did she leave me here? She left me here alone.
Adrien fell asleep at the piano and throughout the night, he dreamed of a warm place that smelled of cinnamon and vanilla where someone held him when he cried.
The summer was in full swing and as other students were starting their summer break from school, Adrien was in the garden practicing his fencing. He absentmindedly went through the positions and stances as he warmed up before his tutor arrived. His mother’s disappearance left a gaping hole in his life and he threw himself into his studies all to avoid those horrible quiet moments when he could think. He loved fencing the most - the adrenaline and the speed of the scrimmages allowed him to empty his mind and exist in the moment. It was keeping him sane. His bodyguard, M. Gorille wasn’t much of talker but would give him little nods of approval every so often from a bench in the shade.
Pulling off the helmet, the sweat dripped down his face and neck. He almost felt happy and wanted to send a quick selfie to his mom. She would always tell him how smart and talented he was. But that pang of loss always showed up when he least expected it and he instead put his phone away. Taking a short break for some water, he heard it ding.
Curious, he was surprised to see a text from Chloe.
Chloe: Adrikins! <3
Chloe: Talk to me! I'm bored and there's nothing to do! If I didn’t hate going to school so much, I’d have Daddy cancel summer!!!
It brought a small smile to his face. He didn’t have any friends except her. They had grown apart more and more as she attended school and he stayed home with his tutors. In this weird alternative universe, he was living in, it was nice that one thing didn’t change. Pulling one of his gloves off, he typed his response.
Adrien: Summer can’t be all bad. You can go swimming and get ice cream. I’m sure you have tons of friends to hang out with.
She messaged back instantly.
Chloe: As if! The people from school are horrid and utterly unacceptable as friends. Mommy and I are going to summer in Swizterland - at least there it’ll be cooler.
Adrien: Will I at least get to say goodbye before you leave?
Chloe: Adrikins, you can always visit me! I’ll have Sabrina call you tomorrow. -kissy face-
Despite wincing at the emoji, Adrien actually looked forward to seeing Chole. Then he could at least talk to someone his age. He hadn’t seen her since their mothers had planned a gala of his father’s spring collection and for the first time in two months, he didn’t feel as alone.
Two weeks later, he was seated with Chloe on the balcony outside her room. He zoned out a bit as she paced and rambled on about her “utter despicable classmates.” He was enjoying the sound of her voice and wasn't really listening to the words.
“Ugh, and the worst is Dupain-Cheng. She's this awful girl in my class that I've been stuck with for three years now. We better not be in the same class this year. The absolute worst! She’s such as goody-two-shoes and always gets in my way." She glared at him and put her hand on her hips - towering over him. "Adrien, are you even listening to me? Don’t you care about the torture I go through at the hand of these peasants?” She pressed her hand to her forehead in a fake swoon.
While he still liked Chloe well enough, he always seemed to forget how dramatic she could be. “Of course I’m listening. I'm sure they're not that bad. It’s just that I wish I had that. It must be nice to be around...I don’t know other kids.”
Sitting next to him on the lounger, she wrapped herself around his right arm and looked up at him. “Too bad you don’t attend my school, Adrikins. Then I would at least have one friend - Sabrina doesn’t really count anyway.” Dislodging himself from her grasp, he actually thought about it. The reason that he was home all the time was that his mother wanted to be with him. Now that she wasn’t there, why shouldn’t he go to school? This gave him an idea.
“Hey Chlo, what’s the name of your school again?”
“Francoise Dupont. Why Adrikins? Want to spend more time with me?” Chloe batted her eyelashes at him.
“Sure, Chloe,” he responded half-heartedly. You and other kids - maybe make some friends. Adrien felt a genuine smile stretch across his face as he thought of having a friend. Besides these brief hangouts with Chloe, he only knew what he saw on television or in the movies. He figured it would be amazing. Pulling out his phone, he searched the internet for Chloe’s school and saw there was an admissions deadline for next week, then the autumn term would start at the end of August. As Chloe continued to talk about how amazing it would be to have Adrien attend her school, he was daydreaming about it too.
Yeah, that would be amazing.