Chapter 3: Personal Time
Fiona felt bad when Adam informed her of the depressing reason that forced him to be in Paris. She almost felt bad for him but for more than one reason, curiosity was getting the best of her. Before she asked a single question, Fiona waved to the water and asked her for some more wine. She was tempted to order the entire bottle but decided to hold back on that for at least the time being. When their wine finally arrived, she took a quick sip and watched Adam do the same before finally asking a single question.
“So who kicked the bucket?” Fiona finally asked.
Adam’s stunned face was priceless. “That’s not a nice way to approach the subject. I’d like to think this person passed away quietly, without suffering and in the company of her loved ones.”
“I hope so too.” Fiona replied, “This person had to mean something to you if you’re flying over an ocean to attend the service.”
“Truth is, I don’t even know this person.” Adam confessed, “Not personally that is. Though I had always wished I had.”
“That’s very confusing.” Fiona said as she was even more curious. “Please continue. I want to know more.”
“The truth is the person was the owner of a very enormous enterprise that owned several companies.” Adam began to explain, “One of them does business my Dad’s company. This company is one of our most loyal clients.”
“What does your company do?” Fiona asked.
“We design logos and marketing stuff.” Adam answered, “We have a lot of big clients now but back in the beginning when things were tight and a struggle, it was this company that came through for us and helps us ride the waves.”
“What company was that?” Fiona inquired, wanting to know more.
“We’ve already seen it,” Adam answered, “The L’Auberge Rouge.”
“Oh my,” Fiona said, as it was all making sense. “You’re here to attend the service of Caroline Bouchard!”
“I am,” Adam confirmed. “My Dad usually makes trips like this but it was very last minute and he doesn’t do well on flights, so he passed the duty onto me.”
“And how do you feel about flying over for the funeral?” Fiona asked.
“I have mixed feelings.” Adam honestly replied, “Part of me feels awkward attending the service of someone I never personally knew the deceased. But at the same time, Mrs. Bouchard and her husband were very good to us; it would be disrespectful for no one from our side to up and pay our respects.”
“That’s probably true.” Fiona said as she kept listening.
“But a part of me is very humbled to be here.” Adam said as he was trying to think of the right words to say.
“Why humbled?” Fiona asked.
“When I was a young, very impressionable man,” Adam started, “One of the first moves I ever saw was ‘Dancing in the Stars’.”
“I love that movie!” Fiona said in complete agreement. “Didn’t she win an Oscar for that role?”
“She was nominated, but never won.” Adam answered, “But she should have.”
“Oh, for sure!” Fiona agreed, “I can’t get enough of that movie.”
“Neither can I,” Adam concurred, “That was Caroline in her prime, the black and white musical from the 50′s that takes your breath away. I didn’t care how cheesy everyone thought it was; I loved every part of it. I know every song by heart. I’ve seen it dozens of times on the big screen and its true classic in my books.”
“And out of dumb luck, you are here to attend her funeral.” Fiona said as she loved the irony. “That’s so romantic and in Paris of all places.”
“Do you remember her last movie, titled ‘Casting Away Stones’?” Adam asked.
“Yes, isn’t that the one with the lovers who could never be together?” Fiona replied with a question of her own.
“Do you remember the end when her lover passed away?” Adam asked, curious to see if she remembered.
“I do.” Fiona said as she did her best to recall. “She came to the funeral with two roses and ended up placing one in the hand of her lover...”
“And she took the other one home with her to remember him by.” Adam said with a grin. “Another great movie and that’s my plan.”
“What is?” Fiona asked.
“I’m going to hit a flower shop and try to find the most beautiful flowers I can.” Adam started to explain, “I’ll buy just two of them, just like in the movie. I’ll leave one with her and take the other back home with me.”
“That is so romantic.” Fiona said as she just gushed over the idea. “I’m sure she would have loved the gesture.”
“She was one of my icons growing up.” Adam said as he took another sip. “I thought it would be a nice gesture to someone who was a very sweet lady.”
“That is awesome.” Fiona said, loving the idea. “I wish I could be there to see you do it.”
“Well, I can’t see why not.” Adam said with a shrug. “Are they going to kick me out for bring a plus one? I mean everyone else is bringing someone with them, right?”
“I wish I could.” Fiona said with whimper. “But you’re not the only one in town with family business. I’m going to be swamped after today, which is why I rushed to get you here today to try this awesome place. I thought it would be nice to do something fun before we all started our dreary business.”
“And that was very sweet of you.” Adam replied, “Thank you very much.”
Just as he said that the waiter finally arrived with their food. There were small toasted pieces of a baguette pieces with mozzarella cheese that was topped with small tomatoes. Their other appetizer was a warm bowl each of tomato bisque. Despite how simple they both looked to Adam, the food was out of this world. Each bite was a sensual explosion of flavor and these were just the appetizers!
“This stuff is amazing!” Adam said between hearty bites.
“I know, right!” Fiona said as she was eating with no regard for manners.
They had their fill of food until they couldn’t handle anymore. Adam even took a doggie bag, hoping to use it at the hotel to save him from having to order room service when he got hungry later in the night.
Fiona grabbed his arm and gestured to a spot across the street. “There’s a very nice park over there we can stroll through. It passes by the canals. We could just stroll around and walk of some of the kazillion calories we just ingested.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Adam said as he didn’t realize how fatty those foods were. “Lead the way my dear.”
So let him through the park and seeing all the sights, such as the canals, he could hardly believe how amazing it all looked. The movies he had watched over the years clearly did the city no justice. It was colorful, vibrant and even with character. It was like the city was painted by an artist who was a romantic a heart. The streets just oozed with energy as the city was such a breath of fresh air to someone who worked as a drone bee for the majority of his life. He had no idea if he’d be able to do any sight-seeing before he went back home, so Adam was determined to enjoy this day with Fiona as much as he possibly could.
“You never told me what you did for a living.” Adam said as he strolled along side one of the canals.
“I’m an illustrator.” She quickly answered. “I draw pictures for children’s books.”
“Of course you are,” Adam said with a smile. “Seems like an amazing job.”
“It is.” Fiona confirmed, “I enjoy it every day. Do you like your job?”
“I do.” Adam admitted. He would never confess that to his Dad but he was all right telling this to Fiona. “It’s not as cool as your job but it’s also very creative.”
“I believe you.” Fiona concurred, “I’ve seen some of the advertisements that you guy do for L’Auberge Rouge, it’s amazing work.”
“Thank you.” Adam said as he was blown away by her comment. Based on his field, he wasn’t used to getting compliments like that.
It was all so ironic to Adam that considering all the hell he had gone through earlier that day, he could hardly believe he was suddenly having one of the most amazing nights of his life. Fiona showed him so much that night. Adam not only learned what an amazing city Paris was but also the fact that he didn’t need his former fiancé to have any kind of fun. If anything, Fiona proved to him through her charm and kindness that live and possibly love could be so much better than what he had been settling with for the last half a decade. When Adam looked back at her he felt such joy, such happiness. He hadn’t felt this way in a very long time and he didn’t want the moment to end.
For the first time since he left the hotel, he was beginning to regret not bringing his phone along with him. He didn’t miss the calls that were coming from home to remind him how terrible his life was back there. No, instead he was sad that he wouldn’t be able to take a picture of the sights, the food and even of the lovely woman that was showing him such a great time. He wanted a picture to capture the moment, just in case it never happened again. When the L’Auberge Rouge started to become a part of the distant background, he started to dread the next few days that were ahead of him. Like he had told Fiona earlier that day, he didn’t like the duty his dad had forced him to take but he was determined to make the best of it.
When they reached the lift after crossing the lobby, Adam hit his floor and then looked to Fiona. “Which floor are you?”
“Same as yours.” Fiona said with a smile. “Do you like your room?”
Adam looked back at her. “Is there a reason why it’s on the exact same floor as yours?”
“You mean right next door to mine?” Fiona said as she started to blush. “I thought it would be nice, especially considering the awful room you had originally booked. I know some people here who owe me favors so I had you bumped up. I hope you like it.”
“I love it.” Adam admitted to her. “The view is amazing.”
“I know, mine is even better than yours.” Fiona bragged playfully.
“Well then.” Adam said as the elevator opened. “If I can find a minute, I’ll drop by and check it out sometime.”
“I look forward to it.” Fiona said as she walked up to her door. “Also don’t worry about the mini bar. It’s covered too.”
“Thank you very much.” Adam said as he gave her a courteous bow.
“You’ve made what has been a terrible week a little brighter.” Fiona admitted as she opened her door. “It was my way of thanking you. Good night.”
“Good night.” Adam said as he watched her walk inside and the close the door.
He strolled into the room and put his doggie bag into the small fridge. There were a lot of drinks in there as it was fully stocked. He managed to squeeze the food in there and then made more room by taking out a small soda and some whiskey to put into it. The next time his dad called, he planned to tell him everything he took from the mini-bar. In the meantime, Adam thought it would be fitting to let the old man He’ll sweat a bit before telling him that someone else upgraded the room for him and it won’t cost him a penny more. Fair play considering that he was enjoying the tragedy of his break up with Jen just a little too much...