Chapter 2: Checking In
The ride to the hotel with Fiona was very pleasant. She didn’t ask but Adam was more than willing to help toss her heavy luggage into the cab. Thankfully he packed light and there was enough room for everyone’s stuff. It was clear by how much she had brought with her that Fiona’s trip to Paris was going to be a lot longer than Adam had intended to stay. He couldn’t help but notice it was a very nice day in the city. Lots of people riding around on their bikes and sitting at the parks to enjoy the weather, almost making him want to get out and enjoy it himself. Adam quickly remembered he wasn’t there to enjoy anything and sat patiently while the taxi carried them to their mutual destination. He couldn’t help but notice Fiona was still giggling to herself.
“Are you still laughing about my stuff being tossed out onto the front lawn?” Adam asked as he couldn’t believe it.
“I’m sorry,” Fiona said as she patted him on the lap, “They’ll be other girls, other stuff to have flung out the window.”
“Actually, the guy filming the video was there to pick my stuff up.” Adam informed her, “I guess he wanted to wait until she was done to avoid having something tossed at his head.”
“Sounds like a good plan.” Fiona concurred, “Women will toss things at anyone if they get into the line of fire.”
“Is this coming from theory or practice?” Adam inquired.
“More like observation,” Fiona said as she had another giggle, “I should thank you though. This has been a terrible week for me and I hadn’t laughed like that in quite some time.”
“Glad to be of service.” Adam said as he was thankful someone got a kick out of today’s festivities.
After a few more minutes of silence, the taxi finally pulled up to the main doors to the lobby of the L’Auberge Rouge. It was one of the most prestigious hotels in all of Paris. The first started by Bouchard Enterprises, which eventually led to several other five star hotels that were located in other various cities around the world. The hotel was almost like a castle out of the past. Red carpets, fine doors and many servicemen who were waiting for any chance they could get to help any client with a warm smile. Adam quickly hopped out of the taxi to get the bags for Fiona but she quickly waved him off.
“It’s all right.” She called out, “The bell hops can get it from here. But thanks for your help at the airport and for the laugh.”
“It was my pleasure,” Adam said as he handled his own bags. Since he had packed light, he didn’t need a lobby boy to assist him as he strolled into the hotel lobby behind Fiona and her luggage.
He waited patiently as she checked in and then walked up to check in himself. It took less than five minutes to get all the details out of the way, which was a welcome change since customs had taken so long. He had taken an elevator up to the fifth of seven floors, strolled into his room and tossed all his luggage onto the couch, took off his shoes and jacket before lying down on the large king sized bed. Adam sighed deeply. He should be enjoying himself but all he could think of was poor Glenn being verbally abused by Jen as he tried to pick up all of his stuff off the front yard. What a spectacle it must have been. His father must have be loving it. Almost as if the old man could sense that his son was thinking of him, Adam’s cell phone went off with the specific ringtone that told him it was his old man.
Adam put the cell phone on speaker. “Hey Dad.”
“Hey there champ.” The old man called back.
Oh shit, Adam thought to himself, Dad only called him champ to brace him for some really bad news. “What the hell did she do?”
There was a long pause. “She burned your house down.”
Adam sat up in bed. “She did what?”
“She didn’t do it on purpose,” The old man replied, “At least we don’t think so.”
“What the hell happened?” Adam asked.
“She was trying to toss one of your electronics out the window and the cord was still plugged into the wall,” his father started to explain, “The socket sparked and lit the walls on fire. Because your clothes were all over the place, the fire quickly got really out of control.”
“Oh my gaud,” Adam said as he laid back down, “This is all bad dream.”
“Fraid not, sport.” The old man didn’t sound happy but had this kind of sorry about your damn luck tone as he gave him the news. “The bad news is the bitch and her evil mother got out of the house alive.”
“That’s actually good news,” Adam corrected, “No matter how mean they are, we don’t want them to die in a fire.”
“Speak for yourself,” His father replied. “Look, all of the stuff Glenn managed to save from this fiasco is in my garage. You can crash in the guest room when you get back from gay Pair-ee.”
“Don’t you mean the guest room that used to be my room?” Adam asked.
“The very same,” His father confirmed, “Don’t be a smart ass.”
“Well, thanks for booking the room.” Adam said as he stood up and looked out the window. “It’s really nice.”
“It is?” his father asked, somewhat surprised.
“Yeah,” Adam said as he looked around. “King sized bed, full mini bar, I can actually see the tower from my window.”
There was a long pause. “That’s not the room I booked for you.”
“What do you mean?” Adam asked.
“You were supposed to have the cheapest room in the building.” His father answered, “With a single bed, no added stuff and a view of the dumpster in the alley. I don’t know who upgraded your room but I am not paying for it!”
“Gee, thanks for caring Dad.” Adam said as he walked over to pick up his cell.
“I mean it mister!” his father roared at him, “Don’t you dare touch a single thing in that mini...”
Adam disconnected the line because he already knew was his father was going to say. Don’t touch anything in the mini bar that will be charged to his account. The truth was Adam hadn’t upgrade the room but just in case they were still paying for it he decided to enjoy the king sized bed and not push his luck with the mini bar. He stood by the window and enjoyed the view while he could. A part of him was expecting someone from the staff to show up and admit a mistake was made and the show him to the really shitty room that his Dad actually booked. Adam was so sure something like that was going to happen that he was afraid to unpack. He sat there on the corner of the bed, looking at the tower for several minutes until someone knocked on the door. Expecting it to be that staff member, Adam got up and immediately went to the door. Yet when he opened it, there was a surprise waiting for him on the other side.
“Fiona?” Adam said with a shocked look on his face. “Can I help you?”
“I’m actually here to help you.” Fiona said with a smile. “I was wondering if you’d like to join me for dinner. There is this amazing place just a few blocks from here that is my absolute favorite but I hate going alone. Can you join me so I don’t have to sit at an embarrassing table for one? Pretty please?”
“I’m not sure.” Adam said as he thought about it.
“It’s my treat of course.” Fiona added, quite sure Adam was on a limited budget.
“Oh,” Adam said as he was quite surprised. He was never used to a woman offering to buy him dinner before. “Let me grab my coat.”
“Leave it behind,” Fiona said, “It’s too warm out there for it.”
“Alright.” Adam said as he grabbed his key and locked the door behind him. “This is my first time here so lead the way.”
“Fair enough,” Fiona said, taking his arm as they walked over to the elevator.
As they strolled through the lobby after getting off the elevator, Adam realized he had forgotten his cell phone. But once he thought about it, Adam was all right with leaving it behind. All it did today was deliver bad news. He wasn’t in the mood for anymore of that and was eager to enjoy dinner with this lovely lady. As they strolled down the street from the hotel, Adam was happy that Fiona had chosen to walk to this place rather than take a taxi. Looking at Paris from the ground was just as awing as looking at it from his window. When they finally arrived, the place they were stopping at was a far cry from the hotel they had just left. It was a small building but not a table was empty and Fiona gave Adam’s arm a tight hug.
“I’m so excited.” Fiona squealed, “I haven’t eaten here in a while.”
“You’ve been here often?” Adam inquired.
“I used to come here every summer when I was a child.” Fiona said as she thought about it with fondness. “My Grandparents used to live here. It was great to come down and see them. This was her favorite place too.”
“Your grandmother?” Adam guessed.
“Yes,” Fiona said, “Being here reminds me of good times with her.”
It didn’t take long to be shown a table and when they got to it, Fiona didn’t even need a menu as she ordered everything for them in perfect French. Adam was simply amazed by how well she spoke the language.
“I hope you ordered something great.” He said with a smile.
“You will love this place. I ordered a few glasses of white wine and some appetizers.” Fiona enthusiastically replied, “We’ll order more depending on how we feel after the apps.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Adam said as he tried to stay within his own space without bumping into anyone else. He wasn’t used to any food establishments being so cozy like the one he and Fiona were currently in. When the wine arrived, Fiona took a short smell of it before holding it up to toast.
“Here’s to new friends.” Many cheerfully said.
“To new friends.” Adam said as he raised his glass and softly touched her glass with his own. “Did you know that the origin of the toast was to prevent assassination?”
“Seriously?” Fiona asked as she found it hard to believe.
“I’m not kidding.” Adam said as he sipped his wine. “The custom of touching glasses started as a means to avoid poisoning by touching the glasses together which would cause all the drinks to spill into one another. So if someone refused to drink, they would know that person poisoned one of the glasses.”
“I don’t want to believe it.” Fiona said as she whimpered a bit.
“How come?” Adam asked.
“The idea of the toast having such dark origins depresses me.” Fiona replied as she finished her first glass. “I’m not here to be depressed. I’ve got enough of that.”
“My whole purpose for being here is depressing.” Adam said as he also finished his first glass of wine. “You should run away if you are trying to avoid depression.”
“So what are you here for than that is so depressing?” Fiona asked, “It can’t be that bad if you’re doing it here in Paris.”
Adam sighed and wished his glass would magically fill up. “I’m here for a funeral.”