Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Chuck Manson would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Paris

By Chuck Manson All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

Chapter 1

I remember Elise standing on the platform at Gare Saint Lazare, auburn hair pulled back by a shoelace-thin yellow ribbon. Her eyes scanning the crowd of weekend travelers for a sign of me but I stood next to a newspaper stand, nervously fingering the keys in my pocket and out of her view. Those eyes, green like a willow from Monet’s garden, those eyes that had caught mine so many hours before as I had lied, pulled themselves reluctantly from the crowd to catch the movement of the clock.

She had swept into my life on a quiet Sunday afternoon as I strolled the back alleys of Paris. Dancing to her private music, ubiquitous white earbuds sprouting from beneath her swirling hair. I was watching a bad artiste sketch the middle-aged prostitutes who spent their days sipping wine and smoking cigarettes at a rundown bistro when she appeared from nowhere.

“You are American, no?” she asked over drinks later that night.

Too much swam around my head then, the lights of Paris, the bad singing of tourists infected with too much wine, the flashing of Elise’s eyes as she spoke, half to herself.

“Yes,” was all I could muster.

“I knew it the moment I saw you standing there.” Her nose wrinkled as she giggled. “You looked so serious, so intent on that shit drawing. I thought you had to be either American or blind to what Philippe was scratching out.”

“Yes, he is very bad,” I agreed.

“He is shit,” she proclaimed and raised her empty glass.

I toasted him too. “Shit.”

She was always making such decisions, declaring what she thought of something, an instant impression, and I would be risking my life to disagree with her. Even now, standing on the platform, I could see her beginning to decide what my status was, my value. I watched her leaf through the tickets and maps, ducking back into the shadows when her eyes seemed to sweep towards my position.

I had arrived in Paris two months prior to study the city, the people, the way time had passed yet stood still. Arriving from a small village in the countryside, Elise had seized the city and found her place amongst it’s constant buzz. Somehow we seemed to fit together despite approaching the world from different angles. I lived to make plans and she lived to live, swirling through each moment. For me, everything was part of a puzzle, a grid laid out with the patterns just waiting to be deciphered. She seemed to work it without a key.

“Not everything can be thought through,” she whispered in my ear once as I contemplated purchasing a sketch by Philippe. “Just decide.”

I rankled at the chiding and shoved a few francs into Philippe’s grateful hand. “I can be impetuous when I feel like it,” I reminded her.

She furrowed her brow as she examined the drawing. “You should choose your moments better though, Mon Ami.” Standing on the bed, she pinned it the ceiling of the apartment I was renting, “when the time comes, you will have to listen to your soul.”

“My soul talks to me quite a lot, actually,” I caressed her leg.

She slapped my hand away, “ha, that is not your soul talking now.”

“That is not what I was talking about. My coming to Paris was impetuous, a sudden decision.”

“Yes, yes after you got your passport and your visa and told all your girlfriends goodbye and made sure your plants were watered. Such rashness!”

I pouted, unsure of how much playfulness lay behind her teasing.

From my vantage point in the shadows, I watched her adjust the bag she carried on her shoulder and check her cell phone. There was a flash of irritation across her face as she brushed her hair back and began to realize that I was not coming. Would she try calling before giving up?

That morning we had sat in the courtyard of the apartment building sipping our rosehip tea from chipped, china. My landlady, Mme Durand, insisted we have at least one cup each day though we usually managed to avoid her but that morning’s dose was accepted as it came with two of her freshly baked croissants. Elise had been talking for several days about taking a trip to Venice and she waited till I had the warm bread in my mouth before bringing it up again.

“We should go with Philippe today to Venice. He says that he has friends who can put us up for a few days while he sells some of his works,” her eyes cast down and aside, playing innocent to me.

The tea was tart and gave me a moment before I had to reply, to disappoint her. “You know I can’t go. I have too much still to do here and commitments.”

She sighed and looked up at me, “file your papers from Venice, from the train or anywhere but come with me today. I’m tired of Paris right now.” She dumped her tea into the plants next to her. “I can get us tickets and arrange everything so all you have to do is come to the station.”

“And tell Ruelle what? That I’ve decided to take a sudden leave, that I’m going to be ill for the next week or so?” I shook my head, “it just doesn’t work that way.”

“Bah!” she flicked crumbs at me. “It works anyway you want it to, Mon Ami, but I think you simply do not want to come with me. I thought that perhaps we had broken you of your cautious ways.”

I stole a glance at my watch and stood quickly, smarting from her taunt. “You know I’d want to come with you but I can’t just abandon my responsibilities here.” I slipped my satchel over my shoulder. “Two weeks and I’ll be finished with Ruelle and then we can travel.”

“In two weeks I will be dead or mad,” she pouted, “or both.”

I kissed her head and inhaled springtime. “Call me later.” I left her there in the garden with empty teacups and unfulfilled plans.

My phone vibrated against my chest and brought me back to the station. I peeked out and saw Elise pacing irritably with her phone pressed against her ear. It shook eight times before the voicemail picked up. Three heart beats later, it danced again but this time for only seven times. Five heartbeats passed before it moved again for five times. I reached in to touch it, tempted to pick it up but it stopped before I gave in.

Elise put her phone away and I breathed out empty. I did not think I could hear her voice again and knew if I did I would not be able to lie again.

.She was waiting for me at a cafe near my apartment with tickets in her hand. “I got us two tickets for the seven o’clock train,” she started almost immediately.

“I never said yes,” I pointed out as I sat.

“Don’t start with me, we are going and that is final,” her green eyes narrowed at me, ready for any argument I might conjure up.

“I’ve still got to go to Pigalle and meet with some clients of Ruelle’s in a couple of hours.” In the back of my mind I began to see it all; the trip to Venice, weeks walking along the canals then off to wherever her muse pulls her. She had talked before of Switzerland and of Portugal and I had felt the same temptation each time.

But then what? Where would we settle or would Elise ever settle?

“I can see the wheels turning, Mon Ami. Tell me what you seeing,” her hands reached out to me, soft and warm hands that shook with excitement.

“I don’t know,” I confessed my indecision. “It would be fun to get away but I’m so committed to Ruelle and his projects.”

Her hands squeezed mine tighter. “Say you will come, you will meet me at the station and we will travel with Philippe. Say it and I will believe you.”

So much light radiated from those green eyes that I could focus on nothing but her. She could not be stifled by my denial, her future lay out before her and I knew then that it would not, could not, include me. Paris had been idyll but now was her time to venture past the Cherubim and for the garden to fade for me. I had a life mapped and I was powerless to veer from my course.

“Mon amour,” she whispered hoarsely.

“Yes, yes,” I looked down at the brightly painted fingernails that dug into the back of my hand. “I will meet you at the station.”

I can see her now as she gets onto the train, Philippe waiting at the door for her with his portfolio under his arm. With one last glance back at the thinning crowd, those green eyes lock with mine as she steps aboard the train and I am left behind .

Start writing here ...
Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Chuck Manson
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

tyleroakleyfan: thank you for writing this story I loved it. it was great I enjoyed every minute of it I couldn't stop reading you did a fantastic job. Thanks for killing ron he was starting to piss me off. he was being a dick. I love that you made it a gay love story its about time someone did. love it great job.

Jade Jez: What a wonderful, immersive book from Eliott McKay. It starts with an air of mystery, introducing main character Michaela, the clumsy teenager. From there, it whisks you off your feet and dumps you into a beautifully written world where you can almost smell and hear everything happening. I go...

Jenn Deering: This is a go-to story for when you're needing a little happiness in your life. It's well-crafted, and characters are true to their show-selves. The pace is right, there are minimal grammatical errors, and the plot is fresh.

Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to the author of ''Equinox: Into the Clouds'' for originality in character development as well as scene execution and in addition plot development, A truly original story if I do say so myself, though the spelling in and of itself could use a little work, but other than that a truly orig...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

shawnas26: I knocked it out in one sitting and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks for sharing! :) I'll be looking forward to reading the next in the series.

FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...

More Recommendations

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

Nadine Willard: I loved this story so much! I generally can't stand super girly romance stories, but this one was so relatable! I could not stop reading this, I read it straight through!! I wish this was a series, not just a single story 😊

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
Iosaghar

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."