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It’s a little before 2 when I’m at Chantal’s door. It’s a nondescript wooden door, just another anonymous portal to another Paris apartment. Chantal keeps a low profile to avoid problems with the neighbors and the authorities. Inside is another story, though, and like I said, to me it’s anything but a drab birdcage.

Chantal greets me at the door and takes both my hands in hers and gives me another of those double cheek kisses that are the French way.

“I am so thankful you could come today, chérie.

Her smile always melts my heart. It’s such a warm smile, and Chantal has the kind of lips that you just know are made to make someone feel good. It’s hard to take my eyes from them.

“It’s my pleasure, Chantal. I’m happy to be here for you. And what else would I do today?”

“You’re a funny girl. Une jolie jeune fille in Paris on a warm Sunday afternoon, and she asks what else she could do. Très drôle, mon petit oiseau. Très drôle.”

I smile at Chantal’s gentle mocking, but really I’m serious. Maybe I am more the bird in the cage than she realizes.

During all this Chantal looks deeply into my eyes, searching it seems for something inside me, something perhaps that even I don’t know is there. When she does this it leaves me breathless. That’s when I feel the lover in her coming out, the lover searching for that glimmer in my eyes that would be her invitation to touch, to go further, to cross that unspoken line between us. I don’t suppose she finds it this time, and besides, her visitors will be here soon.

“Come now, chérie, and prepare yourself for the customers.”

There is not much to prepare, really. My role is pretty simple. I’m the girl at the piano, the girl who amuses the customers with her piano playing when they’re not being entertained by Chantal’s other girls, in the ways the other girls know to entertain them. I’m that little bird at the piano off to one side of Chantal’s spacious living room, the deep crimson of plush sofas and decorations of the room designed to stimulate the senses, my piano playing intended to calm them.

Oh, and there is one other little detail you should know. I’m naked when I play the piano.

So as you can imagine, preparation is easy. I step behind the screen Chantal has set up not far from the piano and I slip out of my short summer dress. Even at 16, my breasts are too small to justify wearing a bra. I’m not a big fan of underwear in general, so there aren’t any panties to drop, either. I just slip off my dress, draping it over the top of the screen, and slip out of my street shoes so I can slip into the classy little Cinderella-like crystal heels Chantal has me wear, and I’m good to go, smooth all over and naked as the day I was born.

The piano bench is thoughtfully padded in the same crimson plush covering the sofas, so I can just park my bare bottom on it and not have to suffer warming it up. Actually, that bench is one of the real perks of the job, it feels so good under me, and it tickles and soothes all the right places.

How I came to be a naked piano player in an upscale Paris whore house is kind of a long story. The short version is, Sid had me take piano lessons while we were still in Southern California, mainly to keep me from getting bored when he went off on his little business trips, as he calls them. I had something of a talent for it, and before long I was really doing pretty well. Now I can read music, and some tunes I know by heart and don’t need the music to play.

Sid knew Chantal from his previous trips to Paris – he didn’t need to tell me he was one of her customers – so when he relocated me over here to attend culinary school he set me up with her. Chantal had just the job for me, that’s what she told Sid once she learned of my piano-playing ability. That was good enough for him, didn’t matter what it was, even if it was different than he probably imagined it would be.

So here I am, sitting bare-ass naked on a plush crimson bench at Chantal’s baby grand piano – it’s a really nice piano, a delicious honey-brown color, polished to an eye-hurting shine, and always kept in tune – on a Sunday afternoon in Paris, doing a few warm-up numbers while waiting for the first visitors to arrive. Sometimes you just never know what life holds in store for you.

Chantal has a hands-off rule that applies only to me. The men are welcome to look, but they’re not allowed to touch. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind amusing them in other ways than just tickling the ivory. I’m not exactly innocent, not after all I’ve been through in my life, and I could use the extra cash. And a little diversion. But Chantal says I’m still too young and she doesn’t want trouble with the authorities. Maybe later, when I’m a little older, but not now. The mother part coming out, I suppose. But whatever the source, I respect Chantal’s wishes.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how grown men, men that have come to a place with the specific purpose of getting laid, can sit next to a naked teenage girl, a girl they’re devouring with their eyes and probably would lay down and fuck in a heartbeat, can keep their hands to themselves when that’s expected of them. They’re often naked themselves, sometimes even erect, sitting so close their thigh is touching mine, we could be playing a duet we’re so close, and sometimes we do, but they’re the perfect gentlemen to me.

Now that’s not all of the customers, of course. Some men can’t be content with just looking and have to push the boundaries, but a quick brush of my shoulder and a firm “Non, monsieur,” is usually enough for them to withdraw their hand from my breast or my thigh, whatever little beachhead of flesh they sought to claim. And when it isn’t, there is Chantal to deal with. She’s the ultimate arbiter of when someone has overstepped the limits, and she runs a tight little parlor, I’ll tell you that. And as for the occasional woman who frequents Chantal’s, well, they’re all kissy and huggy and are a lot more all over me than any of the men, though Chantal usually cuts them slack on the look-but-don’t-touch thing. She understands.

Anyway, that’s my job at Chantal’s, and what I’m doing here this particular Sunday afternoon. And most other afternoons and evenings when I’m in Paris. Beats some of the other things Sid might have set me up with, that’s for sure. Chantal pays me well, too, and there are always good tips from the customers. Paris is an expensive city and the money comes in handy. No complaints. It might not be something I’ll put on my resume, but playing the piano in the nude has its perks.

I’m in the middle of the second movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and really getting into it, swaying my body as my fingers swirl across the keys, when the first customers arrive. Chantal, her face all smiles but her voice low and serious, greets them at the door with more of those double kisses. She knows these men, as they know her, and that’s obvious from the familiar tone of their banter. I catch a look at the men, two of them, out of the corner of my eye, and they look a tad more than middle-aged, well dressed, a cut to their hair that says they are used to being coiffed, a touch of gray on the sides. I’m guessing businessmen. Or corporate executives. Or maybe politicians.

Two of the other girls are immediately on them, serving them up kir royales on silver trays. The girls are circumspect, their eyes lowered so they don’t challenge the men, and if truth be told they’re wearing a whole lot more than I am, even as scantily clad as they are in their ice-blue bustiers and lacy panties and muted turquoise garter belts with sheer bluish stockings. That’s Chantal. Every little detail matters to her.

I catch one of the men looking in my direction, pretending he’s not, like men think girls don’t notice when they look at us. He leans over and whispers something in Chantal’s ear. I can see her smile, and shake her head. She says something back to the man I can’t hear. But I know she’s thanking him for the compliment while explaining the “look-but-don’t-touch” rule that applies to me. I’ve already earned my pay for the evening and things haven’t even gotten started yet.

When she turns away from the man, Chantal looks in my direction and gives me another of those subtle smiles that only I can see. I turn back to the keys, futilely trying to conceal the blush that spreads across my cheeks.

There are more knocks at the door and more men arrive. Seven in total now, which is a pretty good number for Chantal’s intimate soirées. The men all have that same look about them, all dressed in dark business clothes, all well tended to. My initial assessment stands: Business men, executives, or politicians. Maybe some of each. I’m hearing a mix of French and English, American English it seems, so this must be an international group. They’ve all been served kir royales, which they hold in their hands, and I’ve caught more furtive glances cast in my direction. I’m playing Mozart now, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t love those furtive looks. I have to be careful I don’t stain the crimson plush under me. Sometimes I do anyway. That’s how much I love them. Chantal’s clientele are the kind of guys a girl doesn’t mind being ogled by.

The other girls are chatting the men up. I know the men are assessing the girls and they’ll be pairing up soon, at least for the first go-around. The financial arrangements are never discussed. They’ve all been taken care of already. The girls are well compensated, and of course the tips will be generous. No one goes home unhappy or even the least unsatisfied from Chantal’s soirées.

I glance out a window at the late afternoon Paris light, soft and gray, betraying the moisture in the air, and somehow this seems incongruous to me. It should be night, the lights glowing through the trees, maybe a gentle rain falling, as men and women prepare to join their bodies, as matter-of-factly as they might attend the opera or hail a taxi. But no, it’s still daylight, barely 3 on a Sunday afternoon, and while those couples grapple under the linden trees across the city, Chantal’s customers and her girls perform a seemingly choreographed ritual to see who winds up in bed with whom, what the pairing of bodies will be. And then, like when the music stops in a game of musical chairs, they all switch up again for the next round. And the one after that.

I don’t even try to guess the pairings. I’ve come to learn that there really is no accounting for taste. I mean, I’m a perfect example of that. I could probably have pretty much any boy or man I want, or any girl, for that matter, and I wound up picking Sid. Not just picking him, but going obsessive crazy over him until I got him. Go figure that one. Proves that mating is more than just a matter of compatibility. Sometimes it’s the incompatibilities that count. Or, like with Sid and me, just meeting the right misfit to match your own misfit self.

Okay, I’m getting carried away here. These pairings today will just be for awhile, an hour or two, maybe three, and then everyone goes back to where they started and no one has to worry about what the other looks like over cereal in the morning or who takes out the garbage or what anyone’s bad habits are, what dark places they have in their hearts or minds or hidden away in their closets.

I finish that piece and shuffle the music and start in on Try It On the Piano by Irving Berlin. Time for something light, and I like the tease in the title. The men notice the change and more eyes, and now some smiles, turn in my direction.

Kir royales are set down and the first pairs of couples start toward the bedrooms, as well as one threesome as two men accompany one of the girls out of the salon. Things are pretty free-form at Chantal’s, and it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of mix and match. Before the evening is over there will be couplings going on right there in the parlor, and as long as no one gets rowdy or breaks the house rules, it’s all good.

The man who first asked about me comes over and sits beside me. He’s still fully dressed, which makes me feel even more naked than I am, if that’s possible. He smiles at me, but abides by the rules. I can tell he’s enamored with me. His eyes tell the whole story as they pore over me. Poor fellow.

“Comment vous appellez-vous, mademoiselle?”

“Je m’appelle Rosie, monsieur. Et vous?”

My fingers continue moving over the keys, not taking my eyes from them.

He detects my accent and replies in English, his own French accent showing through.

“Ah, so you are not French. English?”

“American. Part, anyway.”

“Ah, I see. Je m’appelle Roger. And I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mademoiselle Rosie.”

He pronounces my name “Hrozie,” his own “Hrojzay,” in that throaty French way, that way I find irresistible, that gets me to stain the crimson plush of the piano bench. He’s not bad looking, this Roger, this “Hrojzay.” But I know the rules and keep playing. Yes, poor fellow.

I see Chantal looking in our direction from across the room, those almond-shaped eyes of hers squinted, yet another of those ever-so-subtle smiles on her lips. It’s going to be an interesting afternoon.

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