christmas cocktail – part 3

by Sharon Santoni

By popular request (to my great surprise!) here is the third part of my little christmas tale.  It’s not great literature, just a piece of seasonal fun.   If you are new to the blog, you may like to catch up on PART ONE and PART TWO before reading this latest episode.  The fourth and final instalment will be published for the  New Year.

 

…oo0oo…

That evening Mathilde hurried home from work; it had been a long day in the emergency department, and she wanted to be sure to have enough time to get ready for the dinner with Frederic.

She smiled at the sight of her bicycle, still attached to a lonely lamp post outside the hospital, while she jumped into a taxi to take her home through the snowy streets of Paris.

As she trotted up the stairs to her flat on the top floor, she had to pass the door to Frederic’s flat on the third floor, and she could hear music playing quietly .  She wondered how he would look in black tie.

She fumbled for her keys in the bottom of her bag, and let herself into her warm, cosy little flat.  Greige, her siamese cat,  was miaowing loudly, so pleased to see her home again, and rubbing herself up against Mathilde’s legs.

Mathilde turned on the lights and let out a little gasp.  On the coat-stand in the hall way there hung a beautiful black evening coat, the top part covered with a silk shoulder protector, on which there was pinned a small handwritten note “darling Mathilde, thank you for our ‘girls’ session yesterday evening, it was such fun to tell you all those stories.    I noticed how heavily it has been snowing all day today, and I wondered if you had a suitable coat to go with the dress.  I used the key you left with me to let myself in, I hope you don’t mind.  Have a wonderful evening,  Francoise de la G”

Mathilde smiled, and said out loud “Madame, you are my fairy godmother!”

She ran a bath and once she had soaked away the fatigue of her day at work, she  wrapped herself in a thick fluffy robe and dried her hair.  Mathilde had beautiful hair, that required little to look good, she dried it quickly then simply twisted it around the brush to turn the ends up neatly.

The LBD that Madame had given to her was just a perfect fit.  With its pretty beading around the neckline, Mathilde needed no jewellery.   She  applied a little make up, dabbed perfume to her wrists and neck, and slipped lipstick into her small black bag.

Frederic  had said the car would come at 8, and at 7.45 Mathilde was slipping on her high heeled black pumps, and checking her reflection in the mirror.

A few minutes later, there was a gentle knock at her door, she opened the door to reveal Frederic, gorgeous in a well cut dinner suit and black tie.  He leant towards her and kissed her on each cheek. She could see the appreciation in his eyes “You look beautiful …”,  he smiled as she picked up her  bag and together they walked down to the front door where the  car was waiting for them.

The taxi sped through the starry streets of Paris, around the place St Sulpice, across the river, then Place de la Concorde before heading up the Champs Elysees and stopping outside Fouquets.

They were greeted with champagne and the  meal was grand; Frederic’s firm had reserved a private suite for the dinner, and in between courses, guests took to the small dance floor.  He introduced Mathilde to his colleagues and partners, and Mathilde was flattered to notice his pride as he announced her as “mon amie”.

As desserts were served the senior partner of the firm rose and lightly tapped his wine glass with a spoon.  Everyone stopped talking and turned to listen,  “Mes amis ,  thank you for coming this evening, hum….  we have achieved great things this year and …hum, and I ….”

Mathilde glanced at Frederic, she wasn’t accustomed to lawyer’s dinners but she had expected more eloquent speeches than this.   The speaker smiled weakly, lifted his glass and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing happened.  A murmur went around the room, guests not sure whether they should be amused or concerned, until quite suddenly the speaker gasped and collapsed to the floor!

There was a moment of panic as diners and waiters tried to assist him.  Mathilde didn’t stop to think.  She leapt from her seat, across the dining room and pushed her way through the confusion.   Without losing a second she was down on the ground with the man.  He was already unconscious; she laid him flat on his back and loosened his tie and his belt.  As she leant over him to start resuscitation she said in a voice that nobody was about to argue with “He’s having a heart attack, leave him space and call an ambulance straight away”

It seemed to take forever for medical assistance to arrive, and by the time they appeared with a stretcher, the patient was breathing and a little colour had returned to his cheeks.   He was quickly whisked away, and his exit brought renewed calm to the dining room but the party was definitely over.

A crowd of guests came up to Mathilde, expressing their surprise, admiration and gratitude for her quick action,  but she was uncomfortable to find herself the centre of attention, and tried to play down her role in the crisis.  The proximity of so many people was beginning to feel oppressive until she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder, and a voice whispered in her ear “Let’s get out of here”.  Frederic took her hand and led her firmly to the restaurant door. He lifted her coat around her shoulders, pushed the door open and they stepped into the cold night air.

Without saying a word they turned and started to walk down the Champs Elysees.  Frederic pulled her arm through his, as he drew her closer to him she could smell his discreet masculine perfume and feel the warmth of his strong arms.  He turned  and looked intently at her “You were amazing in there, you saved his life”

“That’s just my job, Frederic, I’m glad I was able to help…..hey, can we go somewhere else, it’s sort of cold out here”, he laughed and hailed a taxi “Oui Mademoiselle, whatever you say”

Mathilde didn’t hear what Frederic said to the taxi driver, but in no time at all they were walking into a small and chic bar, where they were taken to deep velvet armchairs.  Frederic ordered cocktails  and by the time the waiter had brought their drinks the two of them were lost in quiet conversation.

There was  a wonderful feeling of discovering each other mixed with an easy familiarity.  Before they knew it, it was gone two in the morning and reluctantly they got up to head home.

Back at their address, they slowly climbed the stairs, walking past Frederic’s door and not stopping until they reached Mathilde’s top floor.  As she turned her key in the lock, Frederic took her hand and lifted it to his lips.   “Goodnight Mathilde, thank you, this has been a wonderful evening … I’ll call you tomorrow”

 She watched him turn his back to her and slowly walk back down stairs.  She mouthed “thank you”, then smiling, let herself into her flat and closed the door.  As she fell asleep that night, her thoughts were filled with Frederic and she wondered if he was going to be ‘the one’.

But neither of them could imagine what tomorrow would bring nor how suddenly and unexpectedly events would throw them together……..

…oo0oo…

I hope you’re enjoying this little tale as part of the holiday season.  If you’d like to hear how it finishes, then be sure to read the final part in two days time!

click here for the  christmas cocktail story :

part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4

31 comments

Deborah Carter December 29, 2013 - 10:27 am

Yay, I was excited to see that part 3 was offered. Now I can’t wait for the final episode! You know what the next step after this is? We’ll all be waiting to read the latest offering from Sharon, the novelist!
Happy New year to you!
Cheers,
Deborah from Melbourne.

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Esther George December 29, 2013 - 10:49 am

Hi Sharon you got my full attention not even my son Lucas could distract me, it was like yeh….yeh in a minute or two. Hope your Christmas time went beautifully. Santé…….Happy New Year. Best Wishes Esther from Sydney.

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Vicky Dickens December 29, 2013 - 11:11 am

What a treat to find Part 3 waiting for me on this rainy morning in Georgia! I can’t wait to see how this story ends . . . or will it be just the beginning for this enchanting couple?!

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Kerrie in France December 29, 2013 - 11:30 am

Can’t wait for part four. What a wonderful christmas present you are giving us.
Merci beaucoup

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Laura Newman December 29, 2013 - 12:39 pm

Good Morning Sharon,
I am loving your novelette! I get lost in the story as soon as I begin to read!!
I have just worked seven days straight in my role as RN in a very busy nursing home. Now I have seven days off to visit with my family and friends, relax and read blogs. Your blog is my all time favorite!!!
Merci beaucoup et Bonne Année 2014
Laura

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Barbara Lilian December 29, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Just arrived back home after a wonderful Christmas with my daughter & grand children, now catching up reading part 3 of your lovely tale, it’s so fresh to read a light entertaining love story. I hope your Christmas was peaceful and full of family joy.

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Liz December 29, 2013 - 4:14 pm

I have so enjoyed reading this short story. Such a romantic delight! Can’t wait for the finale. Have a blessed New Year!

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Dee Kirkham December 29, 2013 - 4:34 pm

What a wonderful story! And just having visited Paris this year it was great to be able to recall some of the places you described! I felt like I was there! Thank you and can’t wait for the last part! But I wold be so happy if it was not the last but just the beginning of a great novel! And I got a great novel from Chris for Christmas “Paris” by Edward Rutherford! Happy Néw Year!

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Marsha @ Splenderosa December 29, 2013 - 4:51 pm

My dearest Sharon, how beautifully you weave this tale of Mathilde and Frederic. I’m loving it, and it could actually go on forever, couldn’t it? The snowy photo of your home is absolutely beautiful. It’s cold but sunny in Houston, we had a splendid Christmas, and are now in Vail enjoying the rest of the holiday season. Here’s to a splendid 2014!!!

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Karen December 29, 2013 - 4:58 pm

What a delightful story! I am anxious to read the next installment, but I actually hope it doesn’t end there. You have a gift……… thanks for sharing it with us.
Happy New Year Sharon.

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Linda Quast December 29, 2013 - 6:26 pm

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for this newest installment of your wonderful holiday story. I am loving it. I so enjoyed the reminder of favorite places in Paris and love the photos. I will miss reading more after the final part is published in two days. Maybe you could continue the story??

Christmas here in the Seattle area was special with our adult children and grandson visiting. Much love and laughter filled the house.

Have a wonderful New Years,
Linda

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Mary in Oregon December 29, 2013 - 6:38 pm

I am enjoying immensely learning more about the personalities of Matilde et Frederic! Let the events continue, I want to hear much more about this couple. Merci.

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Carol Preston December 29, 2013 - 7:57 pm

Cannot wait for the finale! Love your blog and wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years!

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Lorrie December 29, 2013 - 9:20 pm

Lovely, romantic, elegant and beautiful pictures to accompany your writing! Anticipating the finale.

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Iracema December 29, 2013 - 9:31 pm

Oi Sharon,

Seu conto trouxe beleza e encanto ao meu dia. Senti sua falta neste período de festas. Mas que bela surpresa ao deparar com a terceira parte de seu conto! Continue a escrever, sou sua leitora assídua.

Feliz 2014!

Iracema

PS. Não sei se consegue entender o que eu escrevo.

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Corinne December 29, 2013 - 11:49 pm

Dearest Sharon, what a lovely story. Your skill weaves an interesting tale. A difficult task for the short story! Will there be more stories in the future? With Valentines day just around the corner I wonder if there is anything else in the offing?

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Denise December 30, 2013 - 12:48 am

Oh Sharon tell me more. This has been so wonderful . My friend you are a great writer.
Enjoyed every word.
Bonne Anne,
Denise

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Lee December 30, 2013 - 12:54 am

I especially love the photos – completing the whole story. Maybe this could continue for awhile, at least until you can add spring flowers to the story?

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Gail December 30, 2013 - 3:07 am

I live in northern California where it has been unusually cold recently. Normally, I visit your site daily but lately what with Christmas and company, I missed it and found myself playing catchup tonight.
Rather than reading it here, I decided to print a hard copy and take it to bed with me. Can’t think of a better way to relax and wander off to dreamland. Thank you!

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Julia Piper December 30, 2013 - 8:29 am

Dearest Sharon, I am totally gripped with anticipation for the next instalment – The way you have written this piece of delightful work has me transported very easily to Paris and into Mathilde’s life….Oh to have a fairy godmother with a closet full of Vintage gowns!!! and a Frederic to go with them!! – What a lovely way to end the year with a gorgeous drop of Parisian romance….

Bonne Annee

Julia

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Jane Kilpatrick December 30, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Hello! Stumbled across part 4 of your little story….. and just had to scroll back and read the rest. Loving it – the story, the pictures, the parisien-ness. Looking forward to the next instalment. thank you!
Jane

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Anita Rivera December 30, 2013 - 4:29 pm

Oh Sharon, Happy Holidays! I was out of state and unable to visit my favorite blogs while in sunny California.

I am in LOVE with your fox terrier! May I “Pin” your photos onto my Pinterest board? If I know who the original photographer is, I always like to ask permission to pin their photos. Let me know if I have permission? Merci. Your home is fabulous, and your tale MAGICAL! Bonne année, Anita

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Emm December 30, 2013 - 5:48 pm

Hooray for Mathilde, smart women save the day! I am so enjoying your novella and its evocations of Paris and Christmas sparkle. Someone mentioned a book — another nice one is Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light, by David Downie. Lovely descriptions and a bit of history, too.

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Julie Messenger December 30, 2013 - 6:14 pm

So happy to find your blog!

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Leslie in Little Rock December 30, 2013 - 10:44 pm

I’m loving your story! Thank you for sharing it with us and I look forward to read more. Your posts have been on the delights of the year!

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karen woy December 31, 2013 - 3:27 am

I’ve enjoyed your story and can’t wait for the final episode!

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Roberta December 31, 2013 - 6:44 am

I’m enjoying your short story…thank you for sharing with us. Smiles…

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Delaine December 31, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Loving your holiday story…It definitely took a surprise turn for me as I was all caught up in the romance of it all! Looking forward (and a little bit sadly) to the finale! Happy New Year from the Mississippi Delta!

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May December 31, 2013 - 1:32 pm

Happy New Year!
A wonderful post to read, thank you

A note…in blogspot reading list the last update on your blog is 5 weeks ago, the welcome post to the new blog.
I didn’t notice until today because I google your blog to read sometimes.

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Sharon Santoni December 31, 2013 - 1:53 pm

Thank you May, you will have to change the listing on your reading list, or subscribe on the blog at the top of this page. The blog moved to a new dotcom address, and it takes a while for everything to fall back into place

happy new year!

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Jeanne....Collage of Life January 7, 2014 - 10:53 am

Deep velvet armchairs…perfect! I have to ask…music playing in Frederic’s apartment? Classical…jazz? Mathilde’s perfume..can’t help but wonder..and the evening coat..perfect.
Can you tell I am excited??..I think I need to move on from tea to wine now. This takes me back..so far back….

Fabulous Sharon…loving every word!

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