Read Kissed in Paris Online

Authors: Juliette Sobanet

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Humor & Satire, #Humorous, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary Fiction, #General Humor, #Humor

Kissed in Paris (10 page)

BOOK: Kissed in Paris
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I had to find a way to contact him so he didn’t go and wait for me. Paul would be worried sick because there was no way I would ever miss a flight. He would think something horrible had happened to me. And then he would call my dad and my sisters and get everyone all riled up. Maybe I could use someone’s phone on the train and pay them for the international call. But I didn’t have any money. And I couldn’t keep taking Julien’s money. I didn’t even know the man. And, suppose I could use a phone to call Paul, what would I say?

I would have to lie. I could tell him that I had another work meeting tomorrow and that I had to stay or else I would lose my job.

Or I could just tell him the truth.

But since the truth involved me allowing another man to come into my hotel room and the fact that I didn’t remember most of the night after that point, there was no way I could tell him. Especially considering that in six days, we were supposed to walk down the aisle together and promise to love each other forever, for better or for worse.

This was definitely for worse.

In that moment though, sitting alone in a Parisian train station so far away from home, I wished I could call Paul and tell him the entire truth. I wished I could trust that he would help me find a way out of this mess, and that he would be there for me when it was all over.

But I knew Paul. I knew how rational he was, how practical.

I knew if I admitted to him that I was running from the police, about to board a high-speed train with a man I barely knew to collect my passport so I could make it home in time for the wedding, he would be speechless. He wouldn’t even be able to fathom that I, Chloe Turner—the woman who always had the situation under control, the woman whose family had nicknamed her “Just in Case Chloe” because she carried an entire medicine cabinet of drugs and first aid supplies in her purse “just in case” her sisters or her fiancé or her dad or the random passerby in the street needed something—could ever find herself in this mess.

But here I was anyway. In a situation I felt I had absolutely no control over.

And I wished I could just call Paul and ask him to fix this for me, but I couldn’t. I had to fix it myself.

Julien popped down into the seat next to me, interrupting my thoughts.

He handed me a long baguette and two bottles of water. “
Voilà
,” he said with a smile. “This should help.”

“Thank you so much,” I said in all sincerity. I’d never been more excited to drink water in all my life.

I guzzled the first bottle straight down without taking a break, then took a bite of my sandwich.

“It is good? Your sandwich?”

“Yes. Perfect. Cheese and veggies, just what I asked for. Thank you again.”

He smiled. “Good. I am glad. You were getting a little . . . euh . . . what is the word in English? Grouchy?”

I frowned.

“Yes, you seemed grouchy. Food and water will help.”

I didn’t respond. I just kept eating and drinking, slowly wiping out the remainder of my ghastly hang-over. Just as I was finishing up my sandwich, our train pulled into the station.


On y va
.” Julien stood and motioned for me to follow him.

“What does that mean?” I asked as I wiped the corners of my mouth, feeling infinitely better than I had all morning.

“It means
let’s go
.”

I smoothed down the tiny dress that stuck to me like a dryer sheet and brushed a few strands of my ever-frizzing hair off my shoulders, then followed Julien down the platform and onto the train.

Inside the roomy, comfortable train car—which happened to be
much
nicer than the cramped train I usually rode from DC to New York for business—Julien and I plopped into adjoining seats and let out a collective sigh. The minute my head hit the cushy headrest, I felt like I might pass out. I was exhausted.

I slipped my heels off and kicked them under my seat before curling my legs up underneath me. “How long is the train ride to Annecy?” I asked.

“Seven hours,” he responded as he stretched his arms overhead and pushed his feet out into the aisle.

“Seven hours? Where exactly is Annecy?” My panic threatened to return in full force as I calculated the amount of time it would take to get there, find my passport, return to Paris and book another flight.

“It is a small town in the French Alps. There are many small stops along the way, and since we have to go through the mountains, it takes longer.”

“Once we get there, will you know where to find Claude? And my passport?”

“Yes. We will find him, get your passport, and you can be on the first train back to Paris in the morning. This will all work out, Chloe, I promise you.”

For the first time in the last few hours, Julien didn’t smirk or laugh. His brown eyes shot intently into mine—making me feel, against all odds, like I could trust him.

“Thank you,” I said softly.

He gave me a goofy smile before running a hand through his messy hair and stretching further back in his seat.

Another odd feeling tugged at my stomach as I leaned back into the comfy chair and closed my eyes.

It must’ve been from eating all of that food and drinking so much water after not having anything all day, I reasoned. And not to mention the rough night I’d just had.

As I began to drift in and out of consciousness, I thought of my dad and my sisters back home. What were they going to do when they found out I didn’t come home on that plane? The thought of worrying them was unbearable. After all we’d been through years ago losing Mom, I’d remained the strong one. Even through my father’s debilitating bouts of anxiety, Sophie’s foray into recreational drugs, Lily’s incessant string of bad boyfriends, and Magali’s constant need for a motherly figure, I’d been the one everyone in the family had always counted on to keep it together.

And I had kept it together. No one had ever needed to worry about me.

Until now.

I squeezed my eyes tighter, willing the tears away. What I wouldn’t give to have my mom back. Even for just a day. To tell me what to do. To calm my sisters and my dad down, and for once, take the burden off my shoulders.

As my breathing deepened, taking me only seconds away from a comatose sleep, a memory of one of the last moments I’d spent alone with my mother passed through my mind. It was so fleeting, so quick, that I wondered if it had actually happened or if I was just dreaming it up.

She’d taken me to the C & O Tow Path by the Potomac River for a walk, just the two of us. Her belly was so big with my baby sister Magali that she couldn’t walk very fast, but she’d insisted on getting outdoors. She couldn’t stand being cooped up in the house.

“Mom, how did you think of the name Magali for the new baby?” I’d asked as I gazed up at her beautiful green eyes and her flowing auburn hair, a mirror of my own.

She smiled warmly at me as she took my hand. “Before your dad and I were married, I took a trip to France by myself. And I became friends with a beautiful woman over there named Magali, so that’s how I came up with the name.”

 “If you were marrying Dad, why did you go to France by yourself?”

“Sometimes a girl just needs to spread her wings,” she said.

Then she tilted her head up to the sunlight and smiled as she wrapped her arms around my bony shoulders and led me along the sparkling river.

“You’ll understand one day, Chloe,” she said as she gazed down at me with a look that only a mother could give her daughter.

Back in Paris, the train jetted smoothly down the tracks while the memory of my mother’s sweet voice lulled me into a deep sleep.

 

Six

 

As the train rattled me awake, I noticed Julien shoving something in his pocket.

He cleared his throat, then shifted awkwardly in his seat.

“Did you have a nice nap?” he asked.

“Mmhmm,” I said. “How long has it been?”

“I think we have been on the train for about two hours now, but I do not wear a watch, so I am not sure.”

My stomach tightened as I thought of Paul heading to the airport in just a couple of hours.

I rubbed my aching forehead, trying to think of a way I could get in touch with him. I had to call him before he left for the airport and at least ward him off for another day or two before I could get home.

“Do you know if we’re stopping anywhere soon where I could buy a phone card and use a payphone to call home? I have to call my fiancé as soon as possible. It can’t wait any longer.”

Just as Julien opened his mouth to speak, a loud beep sounded from his jeans.

“What was that?” I lowered my eyes to find a small lump in his pocket.

“I think there might be a stop in one or two hours. So you could try to call then. But there won’t be much time,” he said, ignoring my question.

Another beep emanated from his jeans pocket. Julien’s eyes darted around the train car, avoiding mine. It was the first time I’d seen him look nervous all day.

“You have a phone in there, don’t you?”

“I do not know what you’re talking about.”

“You specifically told me you didn’t have a cell phone earlier, remember?”

“Precisely.”

“So then what is beeping in your pocket?”

“There is nothing—”

It beeped again.

Without thinking, I reached across his lap and shoved my hand into his jeans pocket.

“Hey, what are you—”

I pulled out a black phone and glared at him.

“Why would you lie about something as simple as having a cell phone?”

Julien grabbed the phone out of my hands and shoved it back into his pocket. “This phone is for official government use only. I cannot allow you to make personal calls on it.”

“Fine, but why didn’t you just say that before? Why did you lie about it?”

“I can tell you are one of those women who, when there is something you want, you will not stop until you get it. I am right, no?”

When I didn’t respond, he pulled his phone out of his pocket and handed it to me. “I am sorry I didn’t tell you I had a phone. Call whoever you like.”

I turned the phone over in my palm, realizing that talking to Paul was actually the
last
thing I felt like doing right now. “Will my call to Paul be traced or anything?”

“No, it will not be traced,” Julien said, the discomfort in his face evident. “But make it fast. And be careful what you tell your fiancé. He is a lawyer, no?” 

“How did you—”

“Chloe, it’s my job to know these things.”

Shaking my head, I flipped the phone open and dialed Paul’s number before I could change my mind. I shifted toward the window so I could have at least a little bit of privacy.

“Paul Smythe,” he answered after the second ring.

I pictured my fiancé standing there in a light yellow polo shirt paired with khaki pants, his dark hair combed to the side, his lips tightened into a thin line, and his eyebrows knitting together, the way they did anytime he answered a call from an unknown number.

BOOK: Kissed in Paris
3.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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