You look like trouble…
I decide this afternoon I need a bit of luxury. I grab the novel I am reading, carelessly drape my new favorite scarf around my neck, venturing out in the direction of the Arch de Triomphe. I thought perhaps the Ritz might be too fussy for my taste today and decide to try a more modern chic hotel lobby. While my bank account doesn’t contain enough Euro to actually stay in one of these chi-chi establishments, I can certainly treat myself to a cocktail in their lobby as I imagine myself a guest, observing the comings and goings of the well-to-do. Even the air smells expensive…perhaps this is the true smell of money.
Settled into a comfy sofa, my feet daringly propped against the stylish low coffee table, I amuse myself with surreptitious rich-people watching. When I tire of the stories I make up about them (she’s having an affair with her decorator who her husband thinks is gay, he’s having an affair with her hair stylist who she knows is gay, and so on), I sink further into the cushions and my book, the hushed voices and click-clack of designer high heels on the marble floors fading away.
I sensed someone taking a seat on the sofa opposite mine, but I am so engrossed in the story I’m reading I don’t bother to look up politely to acknowledge them right away. When I do, my stomach does a little move worthy of a Cirque du Soliel performer. There he is, wearing a dark suit, a ridiculously expensive tie and that disarming, cocky smile. I peer over my sexy reading glasses (oui, I only wear sexy reading glasses, bien sûr) and quickly look back at my book. I am sure the heat I feel rising in my cheeks is visible from the top of the Eiffel Tower. It is disconcerting how he had this effect on me; I am usually the one who has this effect men.
A waiter approaches and quietly inquires if the gentleman would care to order anything. He motions to my glass and says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Again, I look over my glasses and dead-pan “It’s Diet Coke.” Without missing a beat or taking his eyes off me, he says “I’ll have a scotch. And bring the lady a kir royal.” His clipped British accent polished, rich, the slightest hint of rough around the edges.
I’m now smiling slightly, regaining my balance. “You look like trouble,” I say.
“How’d you know my middle name?” Wider grin now. Damn him.
“How do you know I like champagne?” I counter.
“I just do. I also know you like fancy sheets.”
The waiter returns with our drinks and disappears like good fancy waiters do.
I removed my glasses, put the bookmark in place and set aside my book. As involved in it as I was just moments ago, I couldn’t even remember what it was about.
“Really. Does this hotel happen to have…fancy sheets….?”
He takes a sip of his drink, swirls the amber liquid in his glass. The smile is gone, but his eyes still hold mischief. “Very fancy sheets.”
“Hmmm. Too bad I am not actually a guest here, Monsieur Trouble.”
Ah, a little rise of one side of his lips, a half smile, eyes lit up even more. “As it so happens, I am.”
“Imagine that.” A sip of champagne, bolder now, my composure once again in place.
“In fact, my room has a marvelous view. You’ll enjoy your drink more from there, I’m sure of it. I’ll have a bottle sent up.”
I cock an eyebrow. “How do I know you’re not luring me there with the intention of having your way with me?”
“Actually, I was hoping you’d have your way with me.”
*While the Boutique here at The Armchair Parisian is very real indeed, the stories and characters are a product of imagination. Please enjoy them in the adventurous spirit in which they were intended.