Chapitre Vingt Six
Par Jo Lee
“Hi Jen, it’s Laurent. Just calling to tell you we’re leaving today for the 1st stop of the tour. I miss you and I hope you’re thinking about me. I’m thinking about you. I still have your ticket for the France show so please come. It will be nice to see you outside of home.”
Jen listened to the voicemail on her cellphone and sighed loudly. I miss you too Lau, a brief moment of truth led her to think. It had been 16 days since she’d been drama-free. No Lau, no Larry and thankfully — no Lola. She was getting back into the swing of things, reminiscent of when she first began working for Genevieve, before the twins came back from tour. She had been writing, thinking, enjoying Parisian life, working during the days and walking around town — or sitting in a cafe near the Seine at night. Life had been peaceful and serene, like the break from the real world she’d anticipated when she left home. She still saw them daily when they returned home from practice but by then, she was either leaving for the day or about to end her shift. Genevieve was busy planning her 25th wedding anniversary so that diversion made her unsuspecting of anything that was happening in the house that was unrelated to her anniversary party. That meant she didn’t notice the shift between Jen and Lau nor did she pressure Jen into staying for dinner most nights. In fact Mama Genevieve skipped dinner most nights in favor of dieting to fit into some creation she was hoping to wear on the big night.
Lau made a habit of calling her every other day or so for the first week and eventually resorted to texting once in a while. She appreciated the time he was giving her to truly figure things out between them. Surprisingly, the last she’d seen of Lola was on that rather entertaining night when she almost got her eyes gouged out in front of Larry. Larry on the other hand was definitely staying away which made Jen doubt if anything he’d said to her the last time they were together meant anything. The words still rang clearly in her head and she often thought of them while laying in bed, between the time her head hit the pillow and the moment she actually fell asleep. She remembered his eyes burning into hers as he struggled to find the suitable words. I don’t know what to tell you. But I feel crazy about you. I don’t know why…or how it happened. I can’t stop thinking about you.I want you and just you, all the time. She’d never seen him so real, so genuine…so similar to Lau in his attentiveness. The whole thing’s a sham. How can you even fall for that? He’s obviously forgotten about you. Over two weeks without so much as a text or call.
Her conscience grinned maliciously at her, taunting her for being so stupid under Larry’s spell and being so susceptible to his charm. Everytime she saw him at work, she’d feel his eyes following her, not daring to turn around and face whether they truly were or if it was simply a fragment of her imagination. She wasn’t trying to avoid him but had to admit that life without the twins was boring. And after all the excitement she experienced since the moment she’d met them, she was welcoming this newfound boredom with open arms. To sit on a weekend and read a novel while perched on her window pane, basking in the glorious sunrays. To know that if and when someone knocked on the door impromptu, it would be the mailman or a neighbor, not an invasive twin coming by for sex or to dwelve about their feelings. It was a little rejuvenating to be back to being alone in her head, and her bed. Even if she missed Lau’s tenderness and warmth. And Larry’s dominating kisses and complexity. She missed talking to them and feeling an in, a belonging. But their absence was a small price to pay for the peace of mind she’d been feeling for the past two weeks. The twins were so good at being bad, and being bad was liberating but being bad all the time was just exhausting.
She listened to the message again before pressing ‘7’ to delete it as she silently said a prayer for them. Her only wishes were that they’d murder that performance and get the exposure and recognition they’d so deserved. There was already an article on DailyMail about an upcoming campaign advertisement they were spokesmodels for. The shot was magnificent, exploring the twins in all of their splendor and Jen was certain it was only a matter of time until the rest of the world got Les Twins’ Fever. Their tournament after the Ayara tour was in one week and she was seriously pondering stopping by to see their performance. The arena was predicted to be completely soldout which meant there would be easily about 10,000 people in there to see them, blending in shouldn’t be a problem. Even though the Ayara tour was a huge deal, this tournament was a better portrayal of their unique style of dancing and there would be 10,000+ pairs of eyeballs there to witness it.
Larry and Lau had worked hard to master the choreo for this tournament and regardless of what was going on between them, she wanted to be a part of dance history. She immediately logged online and started googling tickets for the tournament. There was only a limited quantity left. She purchased one, a little sad that she had no one to go with. Two months and a half in Paris and she still hadn’t made any platonic friends. She blamed it on Lau being such a distraction but then again, he had such a fulfilling personality that she had everything she needed when they were together. He was entertaining, a good listener, fun and funny. She never felt the need to find friends because he was above all her friend first, her boyfriend second. Make that ex-boyfriend now. Her phone started buzzing madly and she pondered whether she should pick it up or not. Lau already left a message so if he was calling back, it was probably important. She reached for the phone, quickly viewing the caller ID — it wasn’t Lau. She didn’t recognize the number but it wasn’t local. Perhaps it was her mom calling from another number..
“Jen?” The male voice sounded eerily familiar.
“It’s me, Em.” Oh? Em was Jennifer’s first and only serious relationship besides Lau. She’d had a few flings and flirtations but met Em in 2nd year of college through mutual friends and they ended up dating for two years. Her mom was extremely fond of him which is the only reason why they were still civil.
“Yeah. I got your number from your mom. I hope you don’t mind.” Of course you did.
“No, no. I’m just surprised, that’s all. How’ve you been?”
“Great. I just finished law school so I feel great. How about you? Heard you’ve been slumming it in Paris!” Em laughed which forced Jen to crack a smile.
“Something like that but I’m doing well. Living on my own. Can’t complain.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
“Congratulations on graduating. I know how hard you worked to achieve that.” Jen was somewhat genuine. Em’s parents owned a chain of grocery stores back home so homeboy was bathing in money. But it still took balls to go through law school sane and sober.
“Thank you. Wish you’d been there. Actually, it made me realize how much I miss you.”
“Aw, I miss you too. And I was there in spirit.” Jen giggled.
“So when are you heading back?” Em asked blatantly.
“Um, hasn’t crossed my mind.” Jen answered truthfully.
“Oh, you like it that much?”
“It’s different. I like it for now.”
“Well, that’s cool. You know, for graduation my parents bought me a round-the-world ticket. I was planning to stop by in France. Think I can crash at yours?” He hinted flirtatiously.
“That’s so awesome. How lucky! I would love to have you here but my place is tiny. Literally enough space for one person to breathe here, or else I’d welcome you, no problem..”
Em laughed, “Yeah, I heard, everything is smaller in France.” He continued laughing as if it was some great joke. “Don’t sweat it, I can find a place for the time I’m there.”
“Do you know when you’re coming?”
“Well, now that school is done, there isn’t much to do here so I want to leave Tuesday and hopefully be there by Wednesday!”
“Oh wow, Tuesday is soon.”
“Well, that’s cool. You have my number, give me a shout when everything confirmed. I work during the week but call me after 6 and I’m free. I’ll show you around.”
“Perfect. I’ll email you my flight once I book it.”
“Sounds good. Have a safe flight.”
“Thanks Jen, talk to you soon.”
Jen hung up the phone, a little happy at the prospect of getting a new friend to hang out with. Sure, Em was her ex but they were still pretty cordial, having broken up on good terms. Besides, he had a girlfriend so the thought of him coming to Paris because of her didn’t even cross her mind. She immediately bought another ticket for the tournament for Em, certain he would enjoy the show. He loved dance and watching Les Twins do what they did best would undoubtedly blow his mind. Jen suddenly felt cheerful. She should invite all her friends back home to come visit her, they’d have so much fun in the city of love.
Tired of making the efforts to save his relationship, Lau figured he might as well leave her a message to tell her he was leaving for the 1st leg of the tour and still had her all-access pass to the show. After how close he’d been to sleeping with Ayara, he understood if Jen wasn’t interested in coming however it would’ve meant a lot to him if she did. She was always begging him to dance for her when they were in private and this was a perfect opportunity for her to see him perform professionally. On the other hand, he was glad she wasn’t coming since Ayara was still somewhat tempting her luck with him and he wasn’t sure if she’d behave on stage or not. If she did anything overly suggestive with him, it wasn’t as if he could reprimand her in front of an audience. He’d have to endure it, play along and even after the show, simply pretend like it never happened. So yes, he was disappointed at Jen’s disinterest to come to the show but also relieved that he had one less factor to worry about during his performance. If he wanted to work on things with her, he had to let her work things out with herself, at her own pace — however slow that might be. Besides that fact that it felt like an eternity since he’d had sex, he really just missed the companionship and affection.
Even though he was very popular with girls, Jen always made him feel like the Laurent Bourgeois he knew and was, not the one displayed on websites or overly talkative in interviews or even the Laurent Bourgeois who tore up the stage and the dancefloor. She didn’t make him feel like a duo — he felt singular with her, like everything about him truly mattered. And when you’re a twin, especially when people know you as a twin, it’s that much harder to separate yourself from what they know. He never had to worry about that with her because she knew him. Overthinking about her was the only reason why he hadn’t gone out and strayed yet. He was going on tour and temptation would be made that much more evident and defined. He’d try his hardest to resist this time…for the sake of Jen and their relationship.