Paris Nights & Eleven Hour Flights

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
I didn't even know her name, but I knew I was hopelessly in love with her.

Submitted: February 21, 2011

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Submitted: February 21, 2011

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Paris Nights & Eleven Hour Flights
~ Dashboard Confessionals: As Lovers Go
 
"Please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for landing," said a chipper flight attendant over the intercom. I shifted in my light leather seat to face the window. The rotund man in an expensive business suit next to me stirred from his sleep. I glanced out the narrow, foggy first class window as I watched Paris fly by underneath me. This was my seventh visit this month, for work of course. I wrote about cars for a prestigious magazine in Singapore. You would expect me to be tall, dark, handsome, and with a five o-clock shadow. I was the opposite at five foot nine I was small for a man, my pale skin and dark hair contrasted, and I had glasses. At least I dressed well with a light blue shirt, sleeves casually rolled up, pressed khakis, and a black tie loosely tied around my collar.
 
The wheels hit the runway making my ears pop and my seat lurch. "Thank you for traveling on Air France. Enjoy your stay!" the captain said into the intercom in a thick French accent. The man next to me yawned and stood up then left our row, I walked out into the blue-carpeted isle and grabbed my small black suitcase. I swiftly walked off the plane and down a long air-conditioned corridor and out into the hectic airport. Pushing through throngs of people I finally made it out of customs, and onto the street. Paris. The smell of fresh bread, cheese, and flowers overwhelmed me as I stepped onto a familiar street, whistling for a taxi.
 
After I hailed the taxi and put my suitcase in the trunk I gave the driver directions, "Avenue de la Bourdonnais, s'il vous plait."
 
"Tu es americain?" the taxi man said laughing to himself.
 
"Actually no I am from Singapore." I retorted sharply.
 
"Oh pardon Monsieur. I don’t usually have people from Singapore in my taxi. This is not your first time in Paris, n'est-ce pas?"
 
"No," I said letting out a sigh, "Seventh this month. My work requires me here a lot."
 
"Ah bon? I figured it was love. People call this the most romantic city on earth. Shame for you mon ami."
 
I let out a bitter laugh. He was right. I was a successful twenty-four year old without a girlfriend. My mother liked to remind me of this often, and that she wanted grand kids.
 
"If only, you know the first time I came to Paris I was sure I would meet the one here." I said in return.
 
"Hey, you never know," the taxi driver said flashing me a grin in the mirror, "today could be the day."
 
I chose not to tell him that I was hopelessly in love with a girl. A girl whose name I didn’t even know. She was beautiful with dark hair that fell in her face occasionally, oh what I would give to just brush away a lock of that hair from her beautiful tan face. She wasn’t French because she had no accent, and deep tan skin. She was exotic, unknown, and breath taking. I was caught up in her with just one look. Maybe that’s why I look forward to my visits here. I come drink in a bar here where I see her bar tendering, and for that one night I get to see her, feel her, cherish her.  
 
The taxis old brakes squeaking to a stop in front of my hotel, I thanked the driver and handed him some euros. I stepped out of the taxi and onto the busy street, pulling my suitcase behind me. I walked into my typical hotel. The bell hop greeted me cheerfully shouting, "Bonjour Monsieur Arsenal!" I mustered up a smile and approached the check in desk.
 
"Ben, I already checked you in." Léa said rolling her eyes at me while handing a room key over the polished, black marble counter.
 
"Thanks Léa." I said smiling. Léa was one of the few friends I had made since my frequent visits to Paris. She was a small, slender girl who had blond hair just below her shoulders in layers with a spunky attitude to match. I originally like her in an intimate fashion, but then I met her, the girl, the girl whose name I didn’t even know.
 
"So Ben since I assume you are still single, I have taken the liberty of setting you up for a blind date at the Café Constant. I pulled a few strings with my friend who works there just to get you a table, so I expect you to at least show up this time."
 
I grimaced. Great. The first time I went on a blind date with one of Léa's 'fantastic' friends I ended up getting punched in the face by her ex-boyfriend. Needless to say I didn’t show up for any more of those blind dates.
 
"Léa! I refuse to do this. Besides, I already have a date." I said. Yeah a date to sit at bar and stare across the room at a beautiful bartender with…
 
"Ben." Léa said snapping her fingers in my face to draw me away from my daydreams. "You are going or I get to go with you on your date." A confident expression fluttered across her face as she put the word 'date' in air quotes.
 
"Fine then." I said, "Meet me in the lobby at seven and where something nice."
 
Léa grumbled under her breath and picked up her phone to call her friend, probably to tell her about the change of plans.
 
I took my room key and walked away down the hallway toward and elevator. I rode up to the sixth floor in silence, listening to that awful elevator music. A ding noise announced that I had arrived and I stepped off heading towards my usual suite. My feet padded against the softly carpeted hallway until I reached room six-forty-two. I turned the key in the lock hearing it click. I opened the broad door and stepped into a spacious, corner room with huge glass windows giving me a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. I set my luggage down and loosened my stiff tie, walking across the room to a tray that had a bottle of French red wine. I poured myself a hearty glass and stood near the window, looking, gazing, and taking in the thousands of people milling around, each a different life, a different story, and different thoughts. I pondered my thoughts with that glass of red wine for two hours, and then realized it was six forty. I hastily changed into a well-pressed suit with black slacks, jacket, and tie paired with a white dress shirt. I glanced in the mirror. I looked nice for a night out in Paris. I left my room, locking the door behind me and heading toward the lobby. Five minutes late I walked into the lobby to see Léa in a stunning black, strapless cocktail dress with a pair of insanely high red heels that complemented her petite frame.
 
Léa smirked, "Finally, I thought I was going to have to charge up to your room and kick in the door with these heels."
 
I just laughed and offered her my arm. We strolled the streets, in a friendly fashion. Finally we arrived at a classy bar called La Clé. Léa and I pushed through the bronze framed revolving glass door and into the dimly lit bar. A faint smell of cigarette smoke wafted through the air and a swanky jazz player was singing softly. I approached the bar with Léa and sat down immediately spying her. I told Léa what I wanted and a bartender came and took our order speaking to Léa in rapid French. Finally, he arrived back with some scotch for me and a martini for Léa, who winked at him. I immediately started the process of getting drunk while gazing longingly at the dark haired beauty that was flirting with some man on the other side of the bar.
 
After two hours and several drinks later Léa asked, "What's her name?"
 
I blearily looked at her with a questioning expression on my face.
 
"Her." Léa said motioning to the girl who I had been relentlessly staring at for a good portion of the night.
 
"I don’t know."
 
"Ben, how can you say that when you have been looking at her like you are in love with her. Let me guess, a one-night stand?"
 
"I wish." I said sighing.
 
"Why don’t you just ask?"
 
"Why don’t you just ask?" I said mimicking her high voice in my drunken state.
 
"Ben, you are wasted."
 
"Really?" I said, sarcasm dripping from my tone.
 
"You are being a jerk, and I'm leaving." Léa said wiping away a tear and gathering her things.
 
I rolled my eyes. I was too drunk to care and chances are if I stood up off my stool I would fall on my face. So I spent the rest of the night trying to sober up and staring at her, our eyes meeting every once in a while. I noticed a small gold chain around her neck. I also noticed an extremely repulsive man trying to kiss her. At four AM her shift was over and as she stood up to leave a noticed the jerk who tried to kiss her had his arm around her shoulder tugging her out the door, as she tried to fight him. I stood up, somewhat sober now, and followed them out the door. I couldn’t see them, but I found a small gold chain that was broken outside the door. It was hers.
 
I spotted them across the street as he tried to push her in his car. I rushed over there and yelled, "Let go of her!" The man laughed and continued to shove her as she tried to fight back. She was strong, but not like him. I ran straight up to the man and growled "Let go of the girl." I punched him the nose, and he staggered backwards. She ran. I walked behind her the gold chain still clutched in my palm.
 
"Hey!" I yelled after her. She paused and spun around I ran and caught up to her, dropping the chain in her palm. I look of relief fluttered in her dark eyes, and a small smile played upon her lips. She turned around and continued to walk down the street.
 
There I was, the coward.Falling in love as she was walking away Until a small voice inside of me made me open my mouth and say, "Wait."


© Copyright 2020 Charlotte Bog. All rights reserved.

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