As the countdown to the holiday season begins, I wanted to bring you a seasonal piece of fiction. I actually wrote this story a few years ago now, some of you will remember it. I hope you don’t mind me getting it out again, and dusting it off. It is a tale of Paris, of the Holidays and romance.
This tale is in three parts. Parts 2 and 3 will be published in the next two weeks. Thank you for reading my short stories, I hope you enjoy this one.
« But Sophia, I’m willing to give you anything that money can buy !! »
Heads turned, George was talking quite loudly now and they were drawing the attention of the other tourists who had all come on this beautiful December morning to have their picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Sophia smiled a frozen smile, and through clenched teeth, said “please George, not so loudly, people are looking …. I’m cold, can we go and get a coffee somewhere”. They had been talking about Christmas presents, and George was exasperated to hear that she didn’t really need anything in particular.
He sighed, raised an arm in the air, and yelled “Taxi!”. The cab on the other side of the road, swung round and pulled up in front of them.
George opened the door for Sophia and climbed into the cab behind her. “George Fifth”, he grunted.
“Comment? où ça?”, the driver needed to know where to go, Sophia smiled “Excusez-nous monsieur, l’hotel George Cinq s’il vous plait”
She sat back and leaned against George, they won’t understand you if you just grunt you know, “… George grunted in reply and she smiled as she watched out of the window. They left the Champ de Mars and headed down the avenue Bosquet to the river. “Why are there always so many people outside that Ladurée store?” said George as they past the end of Rue de l’Université “I really can’t see the pleasure in coming to Paris just to queue up for a chocolate candy”
“Not candy George, macarons” …
“Yeah… whatever, hey Sophia, after you’ve had your coffee at the hotel, why don’t we shoot over to that Vendôme square and buy you a watch or some fancy earrings, you know I want to give you something special for Christmas”
She and George had been dating for two years now. They had been introduced at a cocktail party on the Upper East Side. He was ambitious, generous and successful. She enjoyed his company and found him handsome if a little heavy. When they met she had just come back from a year in France, where there had been a young artist, Sébastien, gorgeous, moody, romantic but the timing had been all wrong and she had a hard job getting over him.
George loved her laugh and her amusing tales of life abroad. They shared an appreciation of art. After their first meeting he invited her out to dinner nearly every night for a month and had won her over with his whirlwind approach to courtship. They still kept their own apartments, but more and more time was spent at his place, and she could tell from his heavy hints about biological clocks that he was thinking of settling down.
Of course it was great to go out in the company of a man who loved to buy artwork, who was bright and who had the means to give her anything she wanted … but that was the problem, she wasn’t sure if that was what she wanted. It all seemed too easy.
She had grown up in the Midwest, and started travelling on a student bursary award. Her degree in fine art, her natural elegance and her willingness to work hard, had allowed her to climb the career ladder pretty fast and today she adored her job curating a private art collection for a high profile Senator.
When her boss had asked her to fly to Paris for the opening of a new gallery at the end of December, George immediately offered to accompany her and for them to spend Christmas in the City of lights.
Her vision of Christmas in Paris was snow on the streets, white lights down the Champs Elysées, afternoons spent sipping delicious hot chocolate in sweet little cafés. Maybe an evening at the opera, or in a small theatre in the 18eme. Her French was good, and whenever she had been to France, she did all she could to slip into the local scene.
But the trip with George was different. The cute artists loft that she liked to rent was swapped for a gilt suite at the George V; “Hey look hon, they named the hotel after me!”, the hot chocolates in little bistros became glasses of champagne in the city’s swankiest palaces , and the morning trip to the corner boulangerie to buy her croissant was replaced with a full continental breakfast served in their suite on a silver platter.
“So what do you say baby?”
“Hmm? sorry George, say about what?”
“I said, shall we go to Place Vendôme once you are warmed up?”
“But George, I don’t need expensive jewellery, this is already the best present, just being in Paris for Christmas, I told you I was dreaming of this. Instead of Place Vendôme, let’s go to the Picasso Museum, you know it just re-opened.”
In the end they did both. A quick tour of the Museum which was actually too busy to be much fun, and then a couple of hours chez Chaumet where she picked out a pair of simple earrings, and where he waited until she had her back turned ….. then chose a beautiful diamond ring to be delivered to their hotel on Christmas Eve.
As always, thank you for your patience. This is not meant to be great literature, but people have asked for another story for the holidays, this is just for fun!
Part 2 will be published next week.