Chapitre Trente Cinq
Par Jolie Adam
Jennifer’s dumbfounded expression was the complete opposite of Larry’s composed and unaffected presence. She’d just revealed to him that she was pregnant and he was cool as a stored cucumber in a freezer. She expected many things, many reactions; mainly shock, fear, uncertainty, apprehension, deceit but Larry delivered on none and actually took the news in stride.
“Did you hear me? I’m pregnant!” She exclaimed once more, just in case he thought she was joking.
“Wow, that is amazing.” Larry beamed. He didn’t look bothered in the least and watching his reaction, you’d think someone just told him he’d won the lotto.
“Wait..what? You’re not mad?” Jen inquired, completely baffled.
“Jen, why would I be mad? I’m not stupid… we never used protection, I never pull out when we have sex. I love kids.”
Letting his words sink in, Jen realized she’d never looked at it that way. Both twins were amazing brothers and naturally amazing with kids since they were part of a big family. Obviously, this wasn’t a shock to him or her, if she was being honest, because truthfully she had been careless about contraception when it came to Larry. But in the heat of the moment, and boy did those moments pack a lot of heat, it was the last thing on her mind. However now that they were on the topic, she couldn’t help but wonder if Larry had been doing it on purpose. She looked up hesitantly at him,
“Larry, why haven’t you used protection with me?”
“The first time just happened. I didn’t mean to and I didn’t know that it would happen. But after that, I just didn’t want to. I trust you.”
“I know you do.” She was confident of his trust in her since he hadn’t even asked her if it was his which was reassuring considering his knowledge of her dating history with Laurent. “But I’m not sure if I want to keep it. That’s what I honestly think.”
“Jen, I understand. You’re scared. I’m scared too. But I’m more excited because it’s meant to be or you would not be pregnant. I will be there for you,” He took a pause. “Not keeping it is not an option. It is my child.” His words were ringing in her ears like a malfunctioning bell. There was no hiding, no running away from this situation. And truth be told, she didn’t want to hide. Larry’s confirmation was all she needed. Jen was head-over-heels in love, to the point where her brain was fried with affection. Larry was her weakness and her strength, her secret and her truth. Everything was going so well that she didn’t dare bear the thought of abortion for a second longer. The decision had been made.
“What about your career?” Jen expressed her concern for their career and reputation many times to Em. That had been the most fragile topic to broach.
“What about it? This doesn’t have anything to do with Les Twins. We are dancers, not puppets. I have the right to a personal life; it doesn’t change the fact that we are dancers.”
She grimaced as she explained why she disagreed, “Ok but first, I know girls love you and your fans are dying to meet you at your workshops, behind the scenes, on the streets. Let’s be honest. Most of them want to sleep with you – if they find out you have a kid…” She shrugged playfully before continuing, “Secondly, you and Lau are perfect together. Aren’t you scared it’ll change once he finds out?”
As if hearing the news for the first time, Larry’s face was tight and he looked almost impassive. Perhaps he wasn’t surprised about the pregnancy, or concerned about the impact on his career but he seemed to have overlooked an important piece to the puzzle. He was already having trouble telling Lau the truth about what had happened so far, how was he going to manage to tell him that he impregnated his ex?
“Don’t worry, he’s in St Tropez for…I don’t really know for how long…but long enough to think this through and tell him when he’s back.” Jen said in hopes of distracting Larry’s deep contemplation.
She tried to stay upbeat for the remainder of the meal as Larry threw her appreciative glances every few minutes. At one point, she burst out laughing at the realization that this was their first date and they were discussing pregnancy. Smooth move Jen, smooth move, her conscience rolled her eyes, also finding the humour in the situation.
Ayara looked up at Lau who was lying like a starfish on the plush king-size bed in the spacious cabin inside the luxurious yacht. They were currently cruising peacefully somewhere in the Cote D’azur, somewhere between Juan-les-pins and Cannes. The entire day had been exhausting and relaxing at the same time. Expensive bottles of champagne being disposed like replaceable water bottles, an assortment of gourmet cuisine by an imported Argentinean chef, topping up on a reserved spot on the beautiful beach of St. Tropez. Part of Lau felt like he’d died and gone to heaven yet he couldn’t get rid of the part of him that felt unfazed by all the perks of Ayara’s extraordinary wealth. There was nothing to carry them beyond their amazing bedroom chemistry. So in that aspect, he was glad for all the free champagne, her company was more bearable when they were both inebriated. Try as he might, with every flaw of Ayara he discovered, he missed Jen more. Things were just so simple then, and good – even without all the extravagance of a fully catered yacht. On Sunday, they’d gone on land for brunch when a skinny model-type briefly looked flirtatiously at Lau. Ayara went ballistic, citing his lack of respect for reciprocating the flirtation. Lau had been so turned off by her jealous, overbearing attitude, especially since for once in his life he hadn’t even been looking at the girl she was referring to. He soon realized that it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with Ayara’s searing insecurities. She was accustomed to people delivering everything at her beck and call, including compliments and reassurance. Hanging around her posse and the clique she lovingly referred to as her family, Lau could see through all of their greedy ulterior intentions. Without them, she was an emotionally fragile young woman with an ego as big as the sky – a lethal combination.
Lau tried to refocus his attention on Ayara and her strenuous efforts to excite him but to little avail. His dick was in her warm, wet mouth pulsating against her tongue yet he couldn’t arrive to the point of complete arousal. Her attitude and arrogance was a turnoff, especially when she couldn’t back it up without her posse. Also all the alcohol he’d consumed during the day was catching up to him now.
“Are you going to get it up or what?” She giggled but somehow came off as rude, further turning off Lau.
“Not tonight. I’m tired.” He mumbled, suddenly remembering the time he and Noah had made fun of Larry for pulling that sorry excuse on a girl. But any excuse was better than admitting that he couldn’t get it up.
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” Ayara sat back on her knees, astounded.
“I drank too much, I just want to sleep.” Lau retorted almost inaudibly.
“What? You’d rather be fucking some trashy blonde model who’s all skins and bones?” She mocked, alluding to the girl they’d argued about yesterday.
It took a moment for Lau to remember what she was talking about,
“What are you talking about? What girl? Are you that desperate to be the center of attention all the time?” He was growing irate at her deceivingly low self-esteem and at himself for this was the second time in one night, he was using someone else’s line. Now he knew how Jen felt when she insinuated that he felt the need to constantly hog the spotlight. In one swift move, he was up from the bed and with another brisk walk from the bed to the door, he was out of the cabin, leaving Ayara with her mouth open in shock.
Monday afternoon and Cefran Cable returned at 2:45 on the dot for their interview with the other half of Les Twins. The uber hot television host was also back in a more put-together outfit, looking stunning once again. Although Jen was armed with her trusty extensions this time, she felt bloated and chose to conceal that with a loose, long flowy tunic over tights, draped with an almost equally long beaded necklace which she looped twice on her neck. The interviewer was wearing tight-fitted white ankle jeans with gold pumps, topped with a pink sleeveless sweater that had a dangerously low V-neck. As she retouched her makeup, Jen tried not to let her hormonal moods overwhelm her with envy. She wasn’t even the jealous type but somehow with Larry, she died a little just thinking of him with anyone else. There was no reason for her to be worried but when her imagination went to town; it was very unpleasant and graphic.
Once Larry was downstairs in the living room, the camera crew set themselves in a manner that would allow him to conduct the interview comfortably. Larry was wearing a white graphic t-shirt along with light-blue loose denim jeans complete with his many accessories. He looked hot and casual, letting his twists hang loosely beneath his worn-in snapback hat. His presence was making the interviewer blush but Jen had previously witnessed Laurent having the same effect on her.
“J’ai une demande.” (I have a request) Larry smirked as the perky blonde carefully placed a pillow beneath his foot.
“Bien sur.” (Sure) She replied.
“Je veux que ma copine fasse l’entrevue. Elle est aussi une journaliste et une ecrivaine alors je me sentirai beaucoup plus a l’aise si c’est elle qui le faisait.” (I want my girlfriend to conduct the interview. She’s also a journalist and a writer so I’d feel a lot more at ease if she did it.” Larry stated confidently, leaving the entire crew and Jen in shock, with their mouths open.
“What are you doing?” Jen rushed to his side to inquire. What was he thinking putting her on the spot like that? “I can’t do this.”
“Yes, lissen to your girl-frand,” The host sneered with a heavy French accent, annoyed at Larry’s audacity.
Without paying any attention to Jen’s remarks, he objected, “Soit elle le fait ou je ne le fais pas.” (Either she does it or I won’t)
The presenter visibly aggravated left the sitting area to give a call to the show’s producer. Surely, there was no way he’d allow this. Larry turned to Jen who was standing next to the couch, still looking at him with uncertainty.
“Jen, relax. Remember the questions you had for me before. In the hotel room, the night of the party. Just ask me that.” He claimed coolly as if he hadn’t just thrown a huge curveball into the production’s plan.
“That was for a magazine. This is for TV. That means I have to be on camera! What if I freeze? I’ve never done this before.” She panicked.
“But you have always wanted to, yes?” He rebuked a little almost cockily.
“Well, yes…someday I—”
“Someday is Today! Stop making excuses Jen and just go with it.”
She sighed loudly, “What if they say no?”
A small smile creeped up on the corners of his full mouth, “It’s Les Twins. They won’t say no.”
As he completed his sentence, the presenter walked back over to them and reluctantly announced that the show’s producer had given the green light to proceed with the segment – Larry’s way. So she unwillingly handed the microphone to Jen and one of the crew members assisted her with clipping on the sound emitter. Comparably looking a lot less put together than the camera-ready host, Jen had to work harder to ensure she kept the viewers captivated and more importantly that she didn’t choke. The presenter would’ve preferred to leave since she wasn’t really going to be doing anything but she had a requirement to stay just in case Jen wasn’t able to deliver and on personal note, she wanted to witness any errors the untalented, inexperienced newbie would make.
Grabbing her phone in one hand and the mike in another, Jen took a long deep breath as the cameraman counted down seconds until recording time.
Channelling every broadcasted show anchor she’d ever seen and trying to harness every single ounce of confidence she had, she began with a simple, genuine smile.
“Salut, je suis Jennifer Allen, direct de Cable Cefran et je suis ici audjourd’hui avec une personne incroyable et un danseur super, la moitie du duo populaire Les Twins, Larry Bourgeois. Bonjour Larry!” (Hi, I’m Jennifer Allen, reporting to you on behalf of Cefran Cable and I’m here today with an amazing person and an even better dancer, one half of the popular twin duo Les twins, Larry Bourgeois. Hi Larry.) Jen rushed through the opening, taking a well-deserved deep breath once the camera panned away from her to introduce Larry to the viewers.
“Bonjour Jen!” (Hi Jen!) Larry smiled back, relaxed and obviously at ease.
“Felicitations sur votre victoire recente. Vous venez juste de gagner le titre des meilleurs danseurs de l’annee dans la categorie Hip Hop. Comment est que tu te sens?” (Congratulations on your recent win. You’ve just won the title for best dancers of the year in the Hip Hop category. How do you feel?” She asked into the mic before moving it to his mouth awaiting for his reply.
Jen felt every hair on her body stand and the words were barely making their way out of her throat clearly but she was managing fairly well and luckily hadn’t drop the mic yet. Whenever Larry was answering one of her questions, she almost zoned out trying to focus on manoeuvring the mic gracefully back to her and which question she’d ask next. She was so fearful that if she let herself go for one second, she’d lose track of the interview or get clumsy somehow. Luckily Larry was a great interviewee, using their great chemistry to make her as comfortable as he was. He was so grateful she had accepted the opportunity because as much of a great experience this was for her; it was also a favour to him. It was no secret he hated interviews yet having her deliver the questions made it a lot more interesting.
“Je me sens bien et sur de moi. C’est evidemment quelque chose enorme pour mon frère et moi alors d’avoir gagner, c’etait vraiment incroyable. Nous avons travaille dur pour ca, j’adore la danse, surtout le genre Hip Hop alors c’etait enorme. Merci a tout le monde qui est venu, et a tous les participants.” (I feel good and very confident. It’s a very big deal for my brother and I to have won, it was amazing. We’ve worked very hard for this, I love dance, especially Hip Hop so it was great. Thanks to everyone who came and to all the other dancers.)
Jen referred to the questions she’d written down almost two months ago for the paperback interview that were originally meant for Laurent. She alternated them slightly on a whim, going with the flow of the interview and using Larry’s answers to probe into other questions. She tried to think about questions their fans might want answered while keeping a safe distance from anything too personal such as his dating life or his sprained foot. She already knew the answers to those questions and was certain that if the TV host had been the one in her spot, it would be inevitable to avoid. As more time passed, she loosened up a bit and started paying attention to Larry’s answers and found that for someone who hated interviews, he was doing great. Better than great. He was pleasant, respectful and funny. They’d already shared a few laughs and they were barely halfway through the segment.
During commercial break, Jen took a large sip of water hoping to cool down. The weather was agreeable but her nerves made her feel as if she was wearing a full, thermo suit in a hot oven.
“You’re doing really well.” Larry reassured her.
“So are you!” She smiled in return. When she watched TV which was very rarely, she always felt like commercial breaks seemed to go on and last much longer than they needed to but now that she was on the other side of things, she felt like they went by way too fast. It felt like it’d barely been a minute when the cameraman hoisted his camera up on his shoulders and signalled they were going back on air in 5……4……3…..2…..1.
The remaining segment of the show was a little more playful and personal, focusing less on their dancing and more on the respective twin’s individuality. Jen adhered to the theme and steered clear of anything pertaining to their careers, their futures, their plans or schedule…besides, most of that had already been covered during the first half of the interview.
“Ton artist prefere?” (Favorite artist?)
“Pays d’origine?” (Background?)
“Passe-temps favori?” (Favorite hobby?)
“Combien de frères et soeurs?” (How many siblings?)
“Attend! Je dois compter…” (Hold on! I have to count) Jen and Larry both burst into laughter with Larry completing his sentence dramatically “Beaucoup!” (A lot)
The interview was starting to feel more like two people on a fun date, getting to know each other as quickly as possible.
“Personne prefere?” (Favorite person?)
“Ma copine.” (My girlfriend) Larry smiled at Jen.
She was expecting him to say his mother that his response shocked her – to the point of freezing, unable to proceed with the following question. Completely in awe of him, she grinned broadly at him like a Cheshire cat which must have been unflattering before Larry grabbed the mic from her to continue.
“Je me demande si je suis sa personne prefere…? Car la.. je suis assez curieux” (You’ll have to ask her if I’m her favourite person. I’m pretty curious now.) He taunted her. When Jen failed to answer or even come up with a rebuttal, he announced another commercial breakto give her a chance to gather her thoughts.
Laurent was in a much smaller cabin a short distance away from Ayara. After their big dispute – or rather Lau freaking out on her, he resorted to some private time alone. Watching the soft ocean waves as the yacht lay calmly in the middle of the Mediterranean, he couldn’t run away from his thoughts anymore. He didn’t care about the small altercation with Ayara yet couldn’t help but feel bothered about his last words to Jen. He hadn’t meant to be rude or dismissive but he got so defensive once she admitted she was in love with someone else that it just went downhill from there. He let the hurt get to his chore and although it had barely seeped in then, it was seemingly pouring in now. He felt guilty and the worst part was that he didn’t know why. The tour was a whirlwind of work and debauchery but he was single. She had broken up with him, without reason so dwelling on it wasn’t going to do him any good. He grabbed the remote off the ledge and began switching channels. He stopped when he saw Jen on Cefran introducing herself. On parle du loup, on voit sa queue…(Speak of the devil), he thought as he raised the volume and sat down confused. Shortly after, Larry was in the shot but no one was explaining why Jen was the one interviewing him… He watched in awe as his brother conquered every question she threw him, as Jen nodded along or smiled at him every so often…Larry wasn’t dodging any questions. And Jen was surprisingly pretty good. Even when they cut to commercial, Laurent couldn’t switch channels, he wanted to see how things would fare once they were discussing more personal questions. He’d done the interview on Friday so he knew how the segment was programmed. Things were getting juicy and uncomfortable for him to watch…
“Personne prefere?” (Favorite person?)
“Ma copine.” (My girlfriend) Larry smiled at Jen.
…When Ayara burst into his room uninvited and pissed.
“What the fuck was that all about?” She barked so loud all the fishes in the sea probably ran to find refuge. She turned off the TV in a moment of anger, trying to get his undivided attention. Lau was still watching stunned by his brother’s revelation when she did so, aggravating him even more. Was Jen about to ask him who his girlfriend was? Because he was his twin and he didn’t even know Larry was dating. So he was right after all, that necklace wasn’t for their mom, it was for a girl.
Ayara stood there unanswered and flustered.
“Just calm down, you don’t need to yell.”
“You want me to shut up?”
“Yes. Shut up!” He rolled his eyes.
“Make me!” She instructed.
“What?” Lau asked, baffled.
“I said MAKE ME!” She no longer looked mad, just a little woman lost, trying to get attention from the man she liked. Lau suddenly felt bad because he knew in that moment that she liked him for more than just casual sex. She actually liked him. Otherwise, she would’ve kicked him back to Sarcelles but she kept him around even after their argument. All this time, he thought she was being overly dramatic and insecure; she was just trying to get him to like her. Both of them showcased anger to deal with more intimate frustrations. He’d lost his cool with Jen but only because he cared enough about her to do so. Otherwise, whether she was mad at him or not wouldn’t have the slightest impact on him. Sitting up on the bed, he grabbed her hand and pulled her into him and held her. As he did so, he felt her melting into his arms, losing her intense sexual bravado, her weaknesses and insecurities, her fame and fortune and simply being a woman who liked a man.
Feedback from the show was being posted and updated almost every minute by loyal fans of the Twins on Cefran’s Facebook’s page. They absolutely adored the segment with Larry since he was the more reserved half and they loved Jen for bringing his personality out. The channel had never received so much positive feedback about any of their shows prior to this and definitely liked the touch that Jen’s soft beauty and laid-back attitude brought to the screen. Larry had been cooperative and easy-going with her and even though she was his girlfriend, they could see how her positive attitude could rub off on anyone.
Lying in Larry’s arms in his bed with a hot mug of tea, Jen was still reliving the entire experience. The rush, the fear, the excitement, the nerves, the relief. She’d gotten through her first broadcast and she was proud of herself. No way was she as good as the professional presenter, who stood there annoyed once she realized she really wouldn’t be getting any airtime since Jen wasn’t screwing up, but for someone who’d never been on TV — much less be on television and talk at the same time, it went fairly well. She didn’t make a complete fool out of herself and that was satisfactory enough. And Larry’s revelation was just the icing on the perfect, customized cake that was her day.
“So I’m your favourite person? I’m flattered.” She smiled as her cheek pressed onto his toned chest.
“Who said you’re my girlfriend?” Larry joked. Jen nudged him softly in the ribcage. “You want to hear me say it again?”
“Yes,” She blushed. “I do.”
“Jennifer, you are my favourite person in the world.”
“Really?” She nuzzled her face into his chest to hide the gigantic smile she was bearing.
“Always,” He said softly as he tightened his grip on her, “I love you.” She looked up at him, mouth slightly parted in awe and joy before replying,
“I’ve always loved you.” They stared into each other’s eyes momentarily before Larry continued,
“Even that time when you kicked me out of your apartment?”
She burst into laughter and Larry joined in. She felt so grateful to all the stars, universe and higher power, as she smiled reassuringly convinced that all the supernatural powers in the world were aligning to grant her wish. Larry was hers and she was always, gladly and completely his.