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 (4 page)

BOOK: Kissed in Paris
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“She’s the maid of honor, Paul . . . and she’s my
sister
. She’s coming early to help out.”

“Well, I still don’t understand why they have to play such a big role in our wedding. You’re an event planner for God’s sake. You can obviously handle this without their input. Even your dad has been calling me with questions I don’t know the answers to. You know the long hours I’ve been putting into the firm lately, and I don’t have the time to deal with his anxiety over every last detail of his flight arrangements and his tux fitting. I can’t believe Angela asked you to take this trip. And even worse, that you agreed. Is this job really worth it to you?”

“We’ve already discussed this Pa—”

“Never mind. What’s done is done. We can talk about your job when you get home tonight.”

My lips froze, paralyzed at the gravity of the situation.

“Chloe? Are you there?”

I snapped back to reality. I couldn’t let Paul know that something was wrong. He was already freaking out about the wedding coming up and my crazy family overwhelming him. I would work everything out. I would go straight to the U.S. embassy and they would help me get home. And as for whatever I’d done with Claude . . . I could only hope that somehow, some way, it would turn out to be a horrible misunderstanding. Surely, even in my drunkest state, I wouldn’t have actually had
relations
with some French man I’d just met when I’m about to walk down the aisle in less than a week?

“Chloe?” Paul’s voice shot impatiently over the line.

“Sorry, I think the jet lag is still wearing on me. I better run though. I need to eat some breakfast and get ready to head to the airport.” I peered over at the clock. It was eight a.m. My flight left at one o’clock.

“I’ll be waiting.”

“Bye, Paul.”

 I listened for Paul to say goodbye, but instead was met with a blaring dial tone.

How could I have let this happen? How could I have gotten so drunk that I couldn’t remember what I’d done with this French guy? Or how I’d ended up in my underwear? I couldn’t worry about that right now though. I had to focus on getting home.

With no other choice in apparel, I slipped the mysterious, short red dress over my head, threw on my three-inch black heels and snatched the room key off the night stand—at least
Claude
had left me that. I ran down the hallway and busted through the closing elevator doors to find a woman in a large red hat and a light-blue sundress giving me the once over before lowering her eyebrows and turning her back to me.

Oh, God. She probably thinks I’m a prostitute.

What a nightmare.

As the elevator let me out on the ground floor, I ignored the heavy stares that trailed me while I charged around the corner toward the front desk of the Plaza Athénée Hotel. Amidst the bouquets of fresh white calla lilies, the tall, creamy pillars, and the Louvre-worthy art on display, two police officers loomed over the desk, speaking with hotel management.

I dashed toward them, but stopped abruptly when I spotted the taller, black-haired officer revealing a large photo to the manager.

I strained to see the glossy picture as it tilted in my direction.

My breath caught in my throat when I made out a woman with long, wavy, auburn hair, holding a glass of red wine and laughing.

It was me . . . from the night before.

Why did they have a picture of me?


La femme s’appelle Chloe Turner
.”

My heart slammed in my chest. Even with his strong French accent, there was no mistake that the police officer had just said my name.

Before I had a chance to process any of this, the hotel manager met eyes with me and nodded in my direction. The police officers swiveled around, then after a quick sideways glance at each other, they marched over to me.

The taller officer flashed his badge as his beady eyes combed the length of my body . . . and the short length of this stupid red dress. “I am Officer Laroche, and this is my partner, Officer Fournier.” He gestured to his shorter, lighter-haired counterpart. “Please follow us, Mademoiselle Turner. We need to ask you a few questions.” They took off down the hallway without giving me a chance to respond.

How did they know my name? And why did I suddenly feel like
I
was the one in trouble? No, that was ridiculous. They were obviously here to help me and to bust this Claude guy. I just needed to tell them everything that happened . . . well, everything I could remember that is, and they would certainly help me get some kind of emergency passport and make it to my flight on time.

I followed the officers into a secluded office at the end of the hallway where they gestured for me to have a seat opposite them. Just as I was opening my mouth to explain what had happened, they slid two photos across the desk.

There I was again. My cheeks flushed, my long, unruly hair let down. But I wasn’t alone. Claude’s arm draped loosely around my shoulders in one photo, and his lips pressed against my cheek in the other.

I felt bile rising in my throat as I realized I couldn’t remember either of those moments actually taking place. But what startled me even more was the distant, off-centered look in my own green eyes in each of the photos. I barely recognized myself.

How many glasses of wine did he get me to drink?

Officer Fournier spoke first. “Tell us how you know this man.”

Tearing my eyes from the photos, I met the officers’ stern glares. “I met Claude last night at the hotel bar. He must’ve convinced me to drink a lot, which I never do, because I don’t remember exactly what happened. But I woke up this morning, and all of my things were gone. My passport, my wallet, my luggage, my clothes. He even took my engagement ring, and then he left me this awful, skimpy red dress. I would never wear this. I would never normally even talk to someone like him. I don’t know what happened, and I really need your help. I have a flight to catch in a couple of hours, and—”

Officer Laroche held his hand up to quiet me. “Yes, we know. You are getting married this weekend. And please, do not bore us with your
histore triste
. We have heard it before—the red dress, the memory loss, all of it. Just tell us the
truth
about how you know Claude Dubois.”

Don’t bore them with my sad story? What? And how did they know my wedding was this weekend? And the red dress? Had Claude done this to other women too?

Gripping the sides of my chair, I forced myself to keep calm. “I’m telling you the truth, Officers. I met this man last night at the hotel bar, and he stole all of my things. You do believe me, don’t you?”

They didn’t respond. Instead Officer Laroche slid a piece of paper across the desk. “Can you explain this to us, Mademoiselle Turner?”

I peered down to find a bank account snapshot with both Paul’s name and mine listed at the top. It was our joint checking and savings. How did they get this? Before I had a chance to ask them, I noticed two highlighted transfers. One for $13,000 and another for $20,000. My stomach clenched as I focused and refocused on those numbers, wishing my eyes were playing tricks on me.

But they weren’t. Those transfers had been made out of our account. Without my knowledge. And certainly without Paul’s.

My hands trembled underneath the desk as I shot pleading looks at the officers. “This is insane. He must’ve tapped into our account. He stole my purse, which had my debit card inside, so somehow he must’ve used that to access our funds. You have to help me figure this out and get this money back.”

Officer Fournier tapped his long, skinny finger against the paper. “Not so fast, Mademoiselle Turner. You may want to take a closer look, because if what you are saying is true, that Monsieur Dubois
just
stole your things last night, then why were these transfers made close to forty-eight hours ago?”

“What? That can’t be . . .” I started, but my voice strangled in my throat when I saw that the date for the transfers was in fact two days earlier.  

“I’m sorry,” I said, my breath quickening, my stomach feeling so nauseated I could’ve been sick right there on the desk. “I don’t understand what’s going on. I didn’t make these transfers. All I know is that I have to get home today. And I have to get that money back. I’m getting married this weekend, and we can’t afford to lose that kind of money!”

Officer Laroche stood abruptly. “I am afraid you will not be going home today, Mademoiselle Turner. You are under investigation for fraud, and you will not be permitted to leave the country until the investigation is complete.”

My eyes jetted frantically back and forth between the two officers, willing one of them to tell me that this was all a huge misunderstanding. A cruel joke they played on unsuspecting foreigners. But they said nothing.

I couldn’t let them do this to me. I had to get home today.

“You’re making a huge mistake!” I blurted as I grabbed one of the photos and shook it in their faces, unable to control myself for a moment longer. “This man, this
con-artist
,
he
is the one who came in here, got me drunk, stole my things and somehow messed with my checking account! You have to believe me. What could I possibly have to do with any kind of fraud?”

The officers raised their eyebrows at each other before turning to face me again.


Calmez-vous
, Mademoiselle Turner,” said Officer Fournier, the sting in his voice making me flinch.

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I don’t think you understand what’s really going on here. I have nothing to do with any of this, and I
have
to get home today.”

“We understand your urgency, Mademoiselle Turner. But
you
clearly do not understand the mess you are now involved in. And if you are innocent, as you
claim
to be, then of course you will have nothing to worry about. Either way, I think you will find it in your best interest to cooperate with us and to refrain from making a scene. For now, you must follow us to the station for further questioning.”

The smugness in his voice made me want to scream.

“I need to speak with my lawyer before answering any more of your questions,” I said.

Officer Laroche turned around, a creepy grin spreading across his thin lips. “Your fiancé is a lawyer, no?”

My gut clenched. How did he know that?

“How would
he
feel about the fact that you allowed Monsieur Dubois up to your hotel room last night?” He let out an obnoxious snort, then turned and filed through the door with Officer Fournier.

My mind raced as I followed the officers back into the hallway, wondering what in the hell was going on and how I’d gone from being an event planner on a last-minute business trip in Paris to a suspect wanted for fraud. We passed by the women’s restroom on our way back to the lobby, and I realized I needed a minute alone to think this through. To figure out what I was going to do, who I was going to call, and how I was going to get out of this mess.

“Excuse me, Officers,” I said in the calmest voice I could muster. “I need to use the restroom.”

They shared another questioning glance.

“Please, I’ll only be a minute. I’m not feeling well.”

Officer Laroche nodded. “
D’accord.
But I will have to accompany you.”

Accompany me? To the restroom?

I opened my mouth to tell him to stop treating me like a criminal, but the severe look in his black eyes made me stop. Instead, I kept quiet as Officer Fournier set off through the lobby and Officer Laroche escorted me back down the hallway of the elegant hotel, my head suddenly so dizzy I wondered if I would pass out before I even made it to the stall.

“I will wait outside the door,” announced my new babysitter.

BOOK: Kissed in Paris
10.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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