René still hadn’t found an opening in the medical career.  It worried him, especially as Marielle had had a baby girl, called Merivienne. Marielle told him not to worry but now she was pregnant again.

René checked for jobs every morning but there was still nothing.  He tried to take joy from small things such as a warm fire on a cold autumn afternoon.  He made the fateful decision of lighting the fire in the lounge, then going to the bedroom for a nap.

Unfortunately, the lounge room caught fire, unbeknownst to the sleeping René and to Marielle, upstairs with baby Merivienne.

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It had really caught hold when René woke to the smell of smoke, but was unable to call the fire brigade. Some idiot had put the phone behind the stereo and he couldn’t reach it.  He tried, therefore, to put the fire out himself, but then he caught fire.

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Marielle heard the commotion and came down running.  She saw René in trouble and tried, desperately to extinguish the flames that engulfed him.

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But it was in vain.  He perished. Marielle had no time to mourn him as she fought the remaining flames.

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Then the shock set in and she was grief-stricken. Her grief brought labour on early, and she gave birth to twins, Laurent and Felicienne.

The family were devastated. Claire saw Sebastien break down in tears after a phone call and he broke the news that René was dead. Then Xavier heard the crying and came in upon his inconsolable parents. Xavier, too, was distressed. René had always been a nice person, liked by all.  It seemed unfair that of all the Champignon children, René should be the one to die young.

“Can we bring him back?” asked Claire. Sebastien dried his eyes and thought about it. Only the DeMarr family had the power to do so, as they knew all too well. Generations ago, one of the family had been brought back to life as a zombie, to serve as a servant to the DeMarrs.  “I don’t know” Sebastien wavered.

“I’ll go.” Xavier offered.  He knew Viran DeMarr and could ask the huge favour.  Viran’s grandmother had been a Champignon (although the marriage didn’t last).  Surely, they could help?

Xavier visited the DeMarr house during the day, knowing the vampires would be asleep.  Viran could see his friend was distressed and heard the sad tale.  “I’ll ask my father” he said, but could promise nothing.

The family endured days of waiting before Viran got back to Xavier. He told Xavier that his father didn’t know René and so could not bring him back.  Viran, himself, was not friendly enough with René to be able to request his resurrection from the grim reaper.  Vlad would not let anyone else make the request.  It was devastating news.  Sebastien said they had to help Marielle out with the children if nothing else could be done.

Then Viran called them back to say that his great uncle Radu had also had a phone – the resurrect-o-nomitron.  His widow (still alive) might still have it.  Unfortunately, she had no idea who Viran was, so Viran asked his uncle Radimir to visit her.

Radimir agreed.  He wanted that phone for himself anyway.  He called on Merisha and she agreed to give him the phone.  She had no need of it, happy to be a white witch with her two cats.

The original plan had been for Radimir to give the phone to Viran to pass to the Champignon family, but Radimir knew René and had the ability to resurrect him.  At first he’d wanted to bring René back as a zombie, but the rock god offered him a lot of money to give the grim reaper the maximum amount to bring René back.  Radimir did so.  He wasn’t rich and had a family to support.

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René seemed his old self.  He had memories of his family and had the same desire to be in the medical career.  Radimir let him stay for a few days to check he was ok. During that time, René finally found a job in the medical career.

The family were overjoyed.  Sebastien had been so fearful of never seeing his son again, and had felt anguish for the beautiful young widow and young children.  It had been tragic for her.

René moved back home to Marielle and his children.  Merivienne was now a toddler and René had never met the twins before.  However, he didn’t seem to know his wife at all.  He was attracted to her but didn’t acknowledge her as the mother of his children.

Marielle was saddened but patient.  She encouraged his flirting and returned as much as he was able to accept.  It was a difficult period of wooing, due to the constant demands of the children, who needed feeding and clean nappies.

Finally, with much relief, and a hint of amusement, Marielle accepted René‘s second proposal of marriage.

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They exchanged rings in the snow just before René had to dash off to work.

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Marielle was happy.  Her husband was back, he had the job he wanted, and she had the three children she had wanted.  She made sure the phone was accessible and that fire alarms were installed.  She wanted to grow old with him and not risk losing her love again.

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