Chapitre Trente Six
Par Jolie Adam
“That was amazing.” James was still reeling to the hot and heavy romp he’d just finished. Lola was doing her post-coitus ritual of brushing her hair and fixing her makeup when she looked at him through the mirror’s reflection, letting a cocky smile show that she was well aware of her sexual prowess.
“Wanna grab something to eat?” The American Abercrombie and Fitch model asked, famished and sexually depleted. Lola rolled her eyes at the naïve adolescent for she had no intention of pursuing this beyond the bedroom.
“No.” She replied flatly, leaving no room for him to even try to convince or seduce her.
“Well, I’m hungry. A man’s got to eat, especially after that workout.” He flirted boyishly.
“Then eat!” She added impassively with a funny French accent.
James shuffled around in the sheets, too tired to be grumpy. He was in Paris for a Chanel shoot and met Lola on set. While all the other women were fawning over him from a distance, Lola had been the one ballsy enough to approach him and he definitely liked a confident woman. However, seeing her attitude now, he wondered if she was ballsy or just plain bitchy. Looking over at her, she was re-applying some powder and blush and had no interest in making conversation. He rolled over to the bed table in the luxury hotel she made him pay for, wondering if it’d been worth it to splurge this much on a chick who wasn’t the least pleasant except during sex. Grabbing the remote, he fumbled with the buttons marked in French to find the power button. The television was set to one of the more popular French channel, especially with the younger, hip crowd, Cefran Cable. They were re-running some interview with someone he didn’t know. Looking to find the arrows to move to the next channel, Lola turned around ogling the TV. James was dumbfounded – suddenly, she was paying attention?
“What? Is this guy famous or something?” James curiously demanded.
Lola looked as if she was in a complete trance, she wasn’t responding to him – matter of fact, she didn’t even hear him. It’d been a while since she’d seen Larry and she tried her hardest to get over him after confronting him with that stupid American girl. Gosh, she hated the bitch. Watching them both on screen, being cutesy and comfortable made her skin itch in discomfort. It was one thing for Larry to cheat on her, but to see them still together, while he completely forgot about her just didn’t sit right with Lola.
“I’m going to change the channel.” He taunted her, hoping to get a response this time.
Lola turned back to the mirror, having seen enough and for an instant felt like she had something in her eye but realized she was simply trying hard not to cry. Slowly gathering her makeup case and handbag, she stormed out of the room without so much as a word to James, carelessly leaving the door open behind her.
Jen was purposely running late on Friday morning. She figured since it was week’s end, it was as good a time as any to break the news to her mother. There was a six hours’ time difference and she was going to hold off until noon to make the call.
The week had flown by, after her broadcasting debut on Monday; she spent the majority of her workweek gladly catering to Larry. Perhaps he saw breaking his leg as an inconvenience but as far as she could see, it was a blessing for her. Luckily it was just a strain, or else she’d feel really guilty about admitting that she loved spending so much time with him. They were getting to know each other and things felt so organic between them. Because of him, she was staying later after her shifts, having dinner at the Bourgeois house and leaving just in time to get home at a semi-decent hour. Wednesday, they’d spent the entire day watching Secret Story, a French reality-TV show Jen had gotten hooked on. They were doing a marathon and Jen seized the opportunity to spend time with her favourite person in bed, watching TV and playing thumbsies during commercial breaks. They shared a small pint of ice cream and Larry only allowed her to leave the bed to make a salad at lunchtime because he was starving. Jen caught herself smiling at the memory – she was so far gone with him that she no longer tried to repress her feelings for him.
Larry had picked a winner because she’d been reading Gold diggers religiously every free minute she had. The novel was about 500 pages so it was taking her a while to finish which she liked because it gave her something else besides Larry to look forward to. Looking at the clock, it was five minutes until noon so she braced herself as she entered the country code into her phone.
After the third ring, her mother picked up the phone. She was an early riser – always had been, and used the time in the mornings to clean, cook and exercise.
“Hi baby. How are you? How’s everything?”
“Everything is really good. I’m good. How about you?”
“That’s great. You sound good, that’s a relief. Everything here is fine, still the same old. When are you coming back?”
She laughed because that was usually her mom’s first question every time she called home,
“Actually, that’s what I was calling you about. I have news ..”
“What kind of news? Good news?”
“Well, yeah…I mean yeah, they’re good news.” She was smiling into the receiver.
“Well then, what’s the news?”
Not sure what to expect but a little uncomfortable with the silence on the other end, Jennifer continued,
“What’s this about? Are you joking?” Her mother actually sounded mad.
“I’m dead serious. You can finally live out your dream of being a grandmother.” She joked, hoping to lighten the mood.
“I just don’t understand. I didn’t even know you were seeing someone. Is this a one-night stand or something? What have you gotten yourself into?” Her mom began to rant.
“NO. I didn’t say anything because it was a little complicated at first but everything is fine now. I’m keeping it so don’t even ask. Come on mom, it’s me we’re talking about. If everything wasn’t well, would I even be telling you this?”
Jen’s mom thought about it and realized that her daughter was right. Jen was naturally prudent – until she decided to leave everything behind and go to Europe on a whim,
“What changed your mind? I thought you wanted to spend your life alone with your book and your journals?” Her mom mocked.
“I…found someone I love.” Even her mom rejoiced at hearing her daughter’s revelation. It was all she needed to grasp the fact that her only daughter was pregnant.
“That’s what I want to hear. Now spill all the details about this guy. Are you guys planning to get married? Are you staying there? When do I get to meet him? I also –”
“Mom, Mom – relax. I got another call coming in….one sec.”
She pressed the answer pad on her phone to take the other call,
“C’est Jennifer Allen?” (Is this Jennifer Allen?) The male voice asked.
“Euu Oui Bonjour, mon nom est Jacques, j’appelle de la chaine Cefran. Je suis directeur ici pour le programme qui a couru ce lundi avec Larry. Bref, les fans vous ont adore sur le show et nous aimerions savoir si vous etre interesse a une carriere comme presentatrice avec nous.” (Umm, yes Hi. This is Jacques from Cefran Cable. I’m the director for the segment that ran this Monday with Larry. In brief, the fans loved you on the show and we’d like to know if you would be interested in being one of our hosts)
“Uh, juste un instant s’il vous plait.” (Just one moment please)
She returned to the other line,
“Mom, more good news. I’m getting a job offer on the other line. I’ll call you later. Love you, bye.”
“For what job?”
“Igottagoloveyoubye.” She replied hastily before returning to Jacques.
“Desole pour l’attente. Je serais ravie de travailler pour vous.” (Sorry for the hold, I would love to work for you.”
“Parfait! Alors je peux vous rendre compte quand vous seriez la. Pouvez vous commencer ce Lundi?” (Perfect, so I can tell you more about the position once you’re here. Are you able to start on Monday?”
“Absolument.” (Of course)
“Parfait, vous connaissez l’addresse?” (Great, you know the address?)
“Non, mais je peux la trouver en ligne, sur votre site.” (No, but I can find it on your site.)
“Super, alors a Lundi, disons 10 heure et demie.” (Good, see you Monday at 10:30!)
“Merci bien.” (Thank you.)
“Au revoir.” (Bye.)
Jacques hung up before Jen could say bye. She was in awe and a little shocked at the call. How had they even gotten her number? Did it matter? She owed Larry a big one because none of this would’ve been possible without his bold request. She called him next to tell him the great news.
“L’amour a une couleur et un nom – Bienvenue a Cartier.” (Love has a color and a name – Welcome to Cartier). The sign emblazoned on the entrance door read.
Larry was standing in front of the signature store for the famous French jewellery house when the call from Jen came in. Letting it vibrate, he placed it back in his jeans pocket and entered the store. If this week had been any indication of how things could be with Jen, he wanted to stretch it out into the rest of his life. This would be a huge leap, but so was her having his child. His parents were celebrating their 25th anniversary next weekend and he saw no better occasion to pop the question. Greeting back the neatly dressed sales’ assistant, he firmly stated the purpose of his visit,
“J’aimerai regarder les bagues de fiancailles et mariage. Merci.” (I’d like to see your engagement and wedding rings. Thanks.)
“Avec plaisir, suivez moi.” (With pleasure, follow me.) The smartly dressed man guided Larry to their nuptials’ section where there was a wide assortment of sparkly jewels displayed in a lavish manner.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the wide range of diamonds, cuts, colors and shapes, Larry really knew nothing about marriage. He tried to absorb the helpful information being voluntarily dispensed by the sales’ associate but still couldn’t wrap his head around the difference between wedding bands and wedding rings. Maybe there was a reason why women were better off picking these things. He just wanted to be in and out but decided against it since if things went according to plan; this would be the ring Jen would be stuck with…hopefully, forever. Forcing his attention back to the overly cheerful associate, he strived to know more. What was the best value for his money? What was a popular pick? What were the prices like? And his questions resulted in more questions from the salesman. How old was his bride? What was her style? What were her favourite things to do? Once Larry mentioned she was an avid reader and a budding writer, the salesman held his finger in the air as if he’d been struck with the perfect answer. Watching his hand move expertly between the pricey collection of fancy sparklers, Larry watched him as he picked out a ring at the right end corner of the glass table.
“Comme ecrivaine, je la vois simple mais elegante. Discrete et emotionelle. Cette bague lui ira bien.” (As a writer, I envision her simple but elegant. Discreet and emotional. This ring will suit her like a charm.) He boasted.
Larry held the ring between his thumb and index finger admiring how stunning and flawless it was – which perfectly represented Jen in his eyes. It was a marriage between a gold ring and a myriad of tiny diamonds tracing the circular band, topped with a sizeable, glistening square diamond piece in the center. The sales’ associate looked at him in agreement, knowing that his client would be a fool to refuse this gem to the woman he loved. Larry was actually in awe of this tiny piece of jewellery – that somehow signified so much. Smiling happily, he asked the dreaded question,
“Quel est le prix?” (What’s the price?)
Without even referring to the price tag, the devoted salesman responded with a tone of reassurance,
“16,800 euros, Monsieur.”
Looking up at the smiley attendant, he needed a moment to digest that number. The agent seeing that his client obviously wasn’t about to make a hasty decision, even for a diamond that warranted a hurried purchase, offered him some time to think it over.
“Je vous donne un moment a reflechir.” (I’ll give you a moment to think.)
Larry sighed and readjusted his snapback. He was sure of what he was doing but he just needed a moment to really think it through. Even if Cartier’s store policy was refundable with receipt of purchase, he wasn’t planning on returning it. And if he wanted the best odds in his favour, that was the ring for it. Reminiscing quickly, he recounted winning the well-deserved battle at the tournament a week ago, every day this past week with Jen was just so perfect. Even if all they did was sit in bed and watch badly scripted reality TV shows. He was on his way back from the doctor’s to get his brace removed and get secondary x-rays done. Results had come back positive and the doctor reduced his complete recovery time from an additional three weeks to just two, meaning he could walk but not exercise or dance. No severe pressure on the foot for two more weeks.
Before he knew it, the sales’ associate had returned to see if his prospective client was done deliberating.
“Alors, Monsieur a t’il choisi?” (So, has Sir decided?) He asked curtly.
Larry took a deep breath and readjusted his snapback once more as a way to deal with his nerves and keep his hands busy. This was definitely not a small purchase but worth the splurge.
“Oui, je vais la prendre.” (Yes, I’ll take it.) He replied finally in an assertive tone.
Smiling for having completed another sale for the day, the store representative nodded once politely to imply his understanding.
“Voulez vous inscrire quelque chose a l’interieur? C’est gratuit.” (Would you like to inscribe something on the inside? It’s complimentary.”
“Non.” Larry declined the freebie simply because he was nervous enough as it was. He never thought he’d see the day he’d propose to a woman, much less at the ripe age of 23. So long were the days of frivolous fun and licentious girls. If all went well, he’d be engaged in the next week or so. Then he was struck by a memory that made him smile,
“Au faite, oui. J’aimerai inscrire en Anglais la phrase, ‘To my favourite girl.’” (Actually, yeah. I’d like to inscribe an English phrase, ‘To my favourite girl.’) He added, remembering how happy it had made Jen when he announced it during their interview together.
“Ah, c’est une Anglaise?”(Ah, she’s English?”) The nosy salesman asked.
“Americaine.” (American) He corrected.
“Felicitations.” (Congratulations) He continued, handing Larry a luxe shopping bag branded with the Cartier name and logo, which contained a padded red box with the glamorous ring sitting snugly between the slit in the plush ring holder.
“Merci.” (Thank you) Larry replied holding the bag in one hand and taking back his Carte Bleue with the other.
“Bonne chance.” (Good luck) The salesman added as a last exchange as he ripped off the printed confirmation of the purchase, folded it into a glitter encrusted Cartier envelope and handed it to his client.
This was the first time Laurent had slept in Ayara’s bed without doing anything sexual. Now that he knew she wasn’t just using him for sex, he felt a little more sensitive about her feelings for him. Speaking of firsts, it was also the first time he’d waken up first. Watching her sleep, he eased out of the bed slowly and exited the room to use the washroom.
When Ayara woke up about an hour later and saw that Lau was gone, she actually felt a little relieved. She was used to being the first one up. And she had to admit that despite not having done anything, cuddling with Lau had been just as satisfying. There was something about him that she liked, before she’d even met him which is why she asked her manager to make sure he was booked for the tour. His talent was undeniable but above all, she had a crush on him which in itself was very surprising. She was used to being crushed on, not the other way around, and strived so hard to get him to like her. Yet every effort she made just seem to land flat and that just made her want him more.
Lau used the time alone to shower and indulge in a scrumptious breakfast. He’d probably never tire of having a chef in hand if he had the chance to afford one. Sitting on deck, he admired the miles and miles of dark blue waters surrounding the recreational boat. It was hard to be near the ocean and not ponder about life. He counted his blessings while he sipped the freshly squeezed orange juice. Once he returned home, there were a few things he needed to do; apologize to Jen for whatever he’d done to her initially. Be less selfish and show concern over his brother’s health. He was now aware how he’d brushed off Larry’s foot strain as something banal but he didn’t know what he’d do if he had to go a month without dancing. He had lacked empathy in that situation. Deep down, he also knew that he needed to let Jen go – to be free and be with whomever she chose. It certainly stung a bit to accept the fact that she loved someone else. It made him wonder if she ever really loved him. Did he? There was a big difference between appreciating someone’s company, wanting to be with them, caring about them and really loving someone. He could tell she was really in love because she no longer gave him the time of day. But he had no problem forgetting about her and gallivanting around during the tour. Is that what real love entailed?
Disrupting his train of thought, Ayara snaked an arm around his neck as she made her way to the seat next to him. They were on the upper deck which allowed them a bit of privacy from her entourage. She’d showered and slipped on a white terrycloth dress over her bikini. She also chose to forgo her usual full face of makeup for some sheer coverage that let her look more her age and less like a primped up sex icon.
“Morning.” She smiled, stretching her arms out.
“It’s not morning anymore.”
Ayara ordered salmon and a fresh garden salad with lentils.
“Slept well?” She asked Lau.
He laughed at her question and she looked at him puzzled wondering why,
“Yes but I think you slept really well. You were drooling a little.”
She blushed at his comment,
“Awww, it’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. That means you have good dreams. You dream about me.” He winked playfully at her.
“You are just feeling yourself today, aren’t you?” Somehow, the dynamic between them had changed almost overnight. He no longer saw her as this sexually overzealous pop star with the personality of a villain. She was misunderstood and lost herself in the prospect of trying to please everyone else.
“What do you want to do today?” He bypassed her remark.
“Shop!” She giggled.
“Okay, then I take you shopping.”
“What do you mean?” She questioned.
“What do you think I mean? I will take you shopping. I’m gonna give you some style.” He smirked.
“You’re going to take ME shopping? I’m an expensive girl.” She flirted.
“Style doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ll show you.”
She smiled at his offer, looking over at him, cool and smooth in the reclining deck chair. Perhaps they were making baby steps after all. This was the first time a guy wasn’t trying to use her money and she was impressed.
“How old are you?” He asked, out of the blue.
“You’re younger than me. Respect your elders!” He retorted jokingly before slipping his shades on.
They spent the afternoon lounging around and shopping in St. Raphael. Lau kept his word and took her on a shopping spree although she made it easier for him by avoiding any major designer boutique. She appreciated his effort and loved the clothes he’d picked out for her. They were a perfect combination of sexy, edgy, cute and comfortable, leading her to joke that she should hire him as her stylist. They were getting along and Lau secretly admired how despite her youth, she handled fame rather gracefully and was able to switch between what people expected of her and who she was. If he had to dig deep, he’d see that he also felt a little bad for her; because her fame was the reason for her lack of individuality, the negative people sticking around just to further themselves and her lack of freedom.
Once back on the boat, she paid him back with a full-body massage complete with scented oils and candle light.
“You’re really good.” Lau moaned as he felt her fingers dig soothingly into his muscles.
She laughed, “My cousin and I took a massage class once. We were bored.”
The more relaxed he felt, he more aroused he got – until he could no longer manage to lay comfortably on his erection.
“Ok, I’ll switch sides now.” He volunteered.
“Uh…I’m not done on the back yet.” She complained until she saw the reason he could no longer lay on his front. Going with the flow, she straddled him – massaging his chest first, making her way down to the navel applying less pressure as she went south, letting her fingers ‘accidentally’ graze the interior of his toned thighs. Lau had agreed to wear a towel in lieu of boxers to really get the authentic massage experience. Now using this to her advantage, Ayara slipped her expert hands beneath the towel to give him a different kind of massage. Using her right hand to stroke and her left to gently twist, she set into a slow, agonizing routine and she could feel his excitement growing in her hands.
“That feels good.” Lau moaned under his breath. After seeing a sexy smirk etched on her face, he added, “But if you want me to finish, you have to use your mouth or sit on it.”
Taking that as her cue to advance things, she moved her hand to cup his balls as she lowered her mouth onto his hard shaft. No sooner had her lips touched his erection, did she eject it from her mouth,
“UGHHHHH, the massage oil tastes disgusting.” She said as she tried to swallow the bitterness of the slippery gel.
“Sit on me.” Lau groaned, not even taking into consideration what just happened.
Leaning in to access the bedside drawer, Ayara grabbed a condom and rolled it down. Using her hand to guide him into her, she moaned as she slowly sat down on his member.
Without even waiting for her to guide him, Lau sat up to reach for her hair tousled behind her back, twisted it in one motion and used it as a rope to push himself into her. Grabbing his back, she met his thrusts by using her own friction as she straddled him. As if taking her initiative as a challenge, he pulled her hair back slightly firmer giving him full access to her neck. He nuzzled his lips against her neck and kissed its length as he continued to drive forcefully into her without the slightest worry that he might break her. Setting into a frightening rhythm, Lau continue to slam himself into her, not letting go of her strands.
He knew she’d reached her orgasm when she stopped moving, unwillingly clenching furiously around him and the unexpectedness of it all led him to reach his own climax.
“That was the best massage of my life.” Ayara giggled as she climbed off him.