City Lounge: Paris (Book One, Chapter Ten: Simone’s Family)

Chapter Ten: Simone’s Family:

By Wednesday, I learned how serious Simone was about me.

She managed to track me down outside of work. I about jumped when I laid eyes on her.

“Simone!” I said. “What are you doing here?” Her smile reminded me of a fox. The look in her eyes made me feel so small.

“Ready to go?” she asked. I gave her a strange look.

“Go where?” I asked. Simone giggled and grabbed onto my arm. It didn’t take long for her to drag me down the street.

“Hey, wait a minute!” I shouted. Simone laughed as we kept walking.

She took me to this building that stood about ten miles from Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. The pearl white bricks seemed out of place compared to the darker-looking buildings surrounding it. I looked into the pink-tinted window and noticed wooden chairs sitting on top of equally wooden tables. Judging by the bar, jukebox, and cashier, I could tell this was another cafe. I turned to Simone.

“Why are we here?” I asked. “This place is closed.”

“I know,” she said. Simone walked up to the pink-tinted glass door and knocked.  A black girl about thirteen years old poked her head inside from the back and looked around. Her black braids bounced around as she moved her head. The girl looked at the door and walked over.

“Simone?” she asked. “Is that you?” This little girl looked like a mini-clone of Simone herself. Granted, she was skinnier, flat-chested, and black braids, but she looked just like the older woman.

“Of course,” Simone said. The younger girl looked over at me.

“And who’s this?” she asked. I jumped looking around when she spoke. Simone smacked me on the back.

“This is my friend, Will,” she said. The indigo queen turned her attention on me. “Will, this is my little sister, Charlotte.” Charlotte gave me a little wave.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hi,” I said.

“Is Mama in?” Simone asked.

“Yes, she and Emilie are in the back,” Charlotte said. I looked between both girls with a confused look on my face. Wait a minute, I am going to…

“Good, good,” Simone said. “Could you bring them out here?” The younger girl turned and walked back into the cafe. I followed Simone inside as I tried to figure out where this little adventure would lead us. We sat down in front of the wiped down counter. I looked at Simone’s profile under the dim lights.

“Simone,” I spoke up.

“Uh-Hm?” she asked. I shifted on my barstool as I shuffled my feet.

“What exactly are we now?” I asked.

“Excuse me?”

I fiddled with my hands as I looked down at my lap. “Well, meeting the family is a big deal where I come from. Anywhere else, really. We’ve only known each other for three days now and I’m already meeting your family.”

“So?”

“Are we… dating?”

Simone put her finger on the tip of my nose. “That will depend on you.” I stared at her, blinking when we heard footsteps walking into the cafe. I looked towards the doorway and saw two black women staring us up and down. Both of them had braids in their hair like Charlotte’s. One was dressed in a cream-colored powersuit and matching heels. The other woman looked curvier in a brightly-colored floral-patterned dress with pearl earrings and necklace. She narrowed her eyes at Simone.

“So you finally decided to come back home?” she asked. “God knows that you always run off with it’s time to open the cafe. I thought that I would have to send the dogs to track you down.” Simone flipped back her dark indigo hair.

“Yeah, yeah,” she said. “Mama, Emilie, this is my American friend, Will. Will, this is my mama, Marie, and my other sister, Emilie.” Marie whistled when she got a good look at me.

“Is this handsome white boy your boyfriend?” she asked.

“Maybe,” Simone said as she looked up at the white light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. It was than I noticed that she looked much lighter than the rest of her family. I just couldn’t help myself when I opened my big mouth.

“Simone, are you adopted?” I asked. When all four pairs of eyes locked onto me, I broke into a sweat as I realized what I had just said. I frantically waves my hands in the air.

“Uh… Uh… You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to!” I quickly said. “I mean, you are just… just…”

“What?” Simone asked, eyebrow raised. I looked over at the glass door. I finally lowered my head.

“Lighter than your mom and sisters,” I said. I lifted my head when I heard her laughing. Simone leaned in close to my face with a smile.

“No,” she said. “These are my biological family. My papa was white.”

“Huh?” I asked. Marie swayed her hips as she walked over to me.

“I had Emilie when I was eighteen,” she said. “That relationship didn’t last and I met this beautiful white man from Switzerland that same summer. Oh, he was the best lover that I had ever had. Our nights were filled with sleepless passion and he was really good with his tongue.”

“Eww!” Charlotte yelled as she covered her ears. Marie laughed.

“Anyway, I ended up pregnant with Simone. I tried to make it work with that beautiful Swiss man, but in the end, we broke up and he went back to Switzerland. Then, I ran into Emilie’s father again years later. We got married and had Charlotte. That relationship failed again we ended up divorced.”

“Why didn’t it work with Simone’s dad?” I asked.

“We came from two different worlds,” Marie said. “It could never work out.” I looked down at my hands.

“Wow,” was all I could say. In truth, I had no idea how long I stayed talking to Simone and her family. All I knew was that it was one in the morning and I had to go to work in the next seven hours.

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