Chapter 1: Arriving in Paris
Adam Lucas was standing in line to check through customs. There had to be at least thirty people in front of him and it showed no signs of moving along any faster. For a bunch of people who just spent several hours crossing the Atlantic Ocean, you'd think the people at customs wouldn't make them wait any longer than they had to. Yet there Adam stood, sweating his ass off in a suit as he waited for the line to move. Almost as if it could sense his impatience, the line simple refused to budge. As if things couldn't get any worse, his cell phone started to buzz in his pocket. Adam fished it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. It was Jenny. She wasn't home when he had packed and was sure to flip out, especially when she eventually fished all the details out of him. He had to pack and get ready to go without any notice what so ever.
His Dad had called him while he was at the gym, working out before coming down to see him. He always worked out with his cell phone because all his favorite music was on it and also in case his Dad wanted to get a hold of him. When he answered that call, the conversation was a little less awkward than the one he was about to answer.
"Hello." He said as he turned the machine off he was running on.
"Adam, it's Dad." His father called out to him.
"I know it's you." Adam said as he wiped his brow with a towel. "I assigned a specific ringtone to your contact profile. So I knew it was you the moment it rang."
"We have a problem." His father said, disregarding the comment about how awesome cell technology has gotten. "I need you to pack up and fly to France."
"France?" Adam repeated back to him, somewhat confused.
"Yes, France!" his Dad repeated, "Where all the frogs are."
"I know that." Adam said as he sighed. "Why do I need to go there?"
"A client has passed away." The old man replied, "Have you ever heard of Caroline Bouchard?"
"The actress?" Adam asked, somewhat knowledgeable about old movies. She was a star back in the days of black and white classics of the 50s and early 60s.
"The very same," His father said with a tone that suggested he was rather impressed. "She kicked the bucket a few days ago and we need to send someone out there to represent the company."
"I don't get it," Adam said, trying to grasp the situation, "Why do we need to attend the funeral of an old actress?"
"Until a few days ago, she was the owner of Bouchard Enterprises." His father said as he wound up for the punch line. "They own a small company we do business with; L'Auberge Rouge."
Adam stood there at his treadmill in absolute silence. "You're shitting me!"
"I shit you not, my boy." His father said with laugh, "That old bat was the owner of one of the biggest hotel chains in the world, which also made her one of our biggest clients. This is why I need you to fly out there asap and represent!"
"Why aren't you going?" Adam asked.
"I hate to fly." The old man answered, "You know that."
"And when is the funeral?" Adam asked.
"Tomorrow," His Dad replied, "I need you out there yesterday!"
Adam paused for a moment. "All right, I'll go home and pack right now."
"Good, I'll book your ticket." His father said, sound rather happy he wasn't going to have to jet out to do this task.
"Don't you mean tickets?" Adam corrected, "Can't Jen come with me?"
"Absolutely not!" the old man roared back at him. "The entire reason I don't want to go is because I don't want your mother going along and spending a fortune in Paris. The whole point of sending you is to save money!"
"So I'm going to Paris and my fiancé stays home?" Adam repeated back to the old man, hardly believing it himself.
"Unless you want to cover her ticket and let her shop with your credit card." His father said, knowing what the answer would be.
"Thanks Dad," Adam said, "Can always count on you to drive that wedge."
"That's my job," His father replied, "Misery loves company. Now get packing!"
Adam took a hot shower at the gym and was back home before nine-thirty. He was hoping to beat Jen before she left for work but he was too late. This would make things more awkward but Adam didn't care as he quickly packed and made his way back to the living room. As he came down, he was greeted by Jen's mother who was in the living room, watching her morning game shows.
"Hello Audrey." He called out as he came downstairs.
"Adam?" Audrey said, turning around. "What are you doing here?"
"Packing to leave," Adam answered, "Urgent out of town business."
"Where are you going?" she quickly asked, nosy as ever.
"To a funeral." Adam answered, which was pretty much true, "The owner of a big client passed away. Dad wants me to hit the funeral and represent the company."
"I see." Audrey said as she pried further. "Where is that?"
"Don't have time to talk," Adam said as he walked down the hall, "Tell Jen I'll be back in a few days and to call me when she gets back from the school."
"All right." Audrey said as he left before she could ask anything else.
He didn't want Jen to get the details from a third party, so he thought it would be best to tell her when she called long after it was too late and he was already out of town. He knew she was going to be upset but Adam knew if he got her something nice and didn't have too much fun at the funeral, she shouldn't hold it against him. Adam had honestly thought she would have called a lot sooner. No doubt her mother likely called her the moment the lunch hour started, but he was already in the air at that point. He was asked to turn off his phone for takeoff and he just happened to forget to put it back on until they landed. Now the phone was ringing and he had to pick it up.
Adam took a deep breath and then answered it. "Hello?"
"Don't you hello me!" The voice on the other end replied with deliberate hostility, "Where the hell are you?"
"I told your mother," Adam answered, "Dad sent me to a funeral. The owner of a big client just passed away."
"And where is this funeral?" Jen asked.
Adam took a deep breath. "Paris."
"What?!" his fiancé roared back at him, "You went to France without me?"
"I wasn't exactly given a choice," Adam replied, "You know how stingy Dad is with the budget. He booked me economy and my knees are killing me. He wasn't going to pay for you and we're saving money for our own trip in the summer. We've been planning that honeymoon for months and it's going to be ten times more fun. I'm only here for a few days to look at a body and schmooze to the client in the hopes that they don't dump us and cost us millions. I'm not going to have an ounce of fun. None what so ever."
There was no words being spoken out of the other end but Adam could hear Jen breathing on the phone. That wasn't a good sign. She was brewing over the details and getting ready to explode like a volcano.
"You're in the most romantic city in the world." Jen started, "And you didn't even bother to ask if I wanted to go too. Don't bother coming back, we're finished."
Adam wanted to say something but the line disconnected. He looked back at the phone and groaned. "Un-fucking-believeable."
The line finally moved but nowhere near at the preferred pace he'd prefer. Adam paused for a moment and then dialed a number. "Dad, it's me."
"Hey there, Sport." His Dad replied, "How are things in gay Pair-ree?"
"Still in customs," Adam replied, "I need you to send Glenn to the house with one of the trucks."
"What for?" his dad inquired.
"I have a feeling Jen might be tossing everything I own onto the front lawn." Adam answered, "I think we're finished."
"Damn," his father replied, "That's not good. Not surprising..."
"Okay, okay. I'll send someone down."
"Thank you." Adam said as he disconnected the phone. His father never liked Jen and while he never expected her to react that badly, he was sure the old man did this to piss her off. Mission accomplished because she was super pissed.
Finally the line in front of him started to move a bit and he was finally able to get through customs. After that he had to run down to the terminal to fetch his luggage. Despite being in customs for what seemed like forever, Adam was shocked to realize their bags hadn't been unloaded yet. It was frustrating to the umpteenth degree but he took a few deep breaths and managed to compose himself. He was there waiting again for quite some time, but nothing happened. Most of the passengers managed to get through customs before any bags started to come out to be retrieved. While he was waiting for the luggage to come out, there was a text message from his father. He popped open the link to see that it was a video. Glenn had arrived at his house and was standing there, taking video while Jen tossed all his clothing off the second floor balcony. She was tossing all his sports stuff, his game system, even his designing tools off the ledge as well, making a scene in front of the entire neighborhood.
"Oh my gaud." Adam said to himself as he rubbed his forehead.
"What on earth is that?" Someone called out beside him.
Adam turned around to see a young woman with short blonde hair. She had noticed the video on his phone and was curious.
"It's my now ex-fiancé." Adam said with a strained smile. "She's tossing everything I own onto the front lawn."
"Oh dear." the young lady said as she couldn't help but giggle. "I'm sorry, that's just so funny."
"It's okay." Adam said she he couldn't help but chuckle as well.
"What on earth did you do?" the young lady asked.
"Seriously?" Adam asked with a surprised look on his face. "Where are we?"
"We're in Paris..." The girl answered and then she figured it out. "Oh my gaud! You went to Paris without her!"
"I'm not even here for pleasure. It's all business." Adam said as he held up her hands. "But apparently that was all it took to bring everything crumbling down."
"Well, I can see how that might upset some girls." The lady replied, "Paris has that kind of effect on us. The romance, the canals and the shopping! It would be like her taking off for Vegas without you. Would you really believe her if she said it was just for business?"
"I guess not." Adam said as he wasn't in the mood to debate. "But this isn't pleasure for me. I'd rather be in Vegas than here."
"Oh that's mine!" the young lady said as she reached out for her bag. It was very heavy and she was struggling with it. Adam came over and picked it up for her and placed it onto her cart. "Thank you very much."
"My pleasure." Adam said as he continued to wait. He let out a big sigh.
"Try to relax." The lady said as she stroked his arm to comfort him. "I'm sure she'll settle down, especially if you buy her something nice to make up for it."
"Not a bad idea." Adam admitted as it was sound advice. "But right now I'm tired and I just want to get to the L'Auberge Rouge, getting something to eat and take nap."
"You're going to L'Auberge Rouge?" the young lady asked. "So am I!"
"Not surprising at all." Adam said with a smile. "It's a very popular place."
"We should share a cab." She said to him, "Save a few dollars."
Adam's Dad didn't give him much to play with so he was all in favor of saving a buck whenever he got the chance. He kind of assumed that she wanted him to help heave her luggage in and out of the cab, but he didn't care.
"Sure." Adam finally said, "That would be great. I'm Adam."
"Pleased to meet you," The young lady said as she shook his hand, "I'm Fiona."