City Lounge: Paris (Book Two, Chapter Ten: Who is Simone?)

Chapter Ten: Who is Simone?:

I watched Simone across the table as we waited for the appetizers. Who exactly was she? Part of me is tilted to peel back to the curtain and see what’s behind the show. But if I do that, the magic will be gone. For days, I have been back and forth about this battle in my head.

Tonight, I didn’t try to hold back.

“Simone,” I spoke up.

“Yes?” she asked. Her voice made me hesitate at first. I slapped myself in the cheeks and shook my head. I must stay focused here. Just come out and ask it without any tripping over myself.

“Who are you, exactly?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“It’s been weeks. I know what your job is and I’ve met your family. We’ve been sleeping together. But who are you exactly?” There, it was out there. I waited to see what spell the witch would spin out with her words. The patrons sat at their tables talking and drinking their wine. Simone took a sip from her glass.

“What do you want to know about me?” she asked. I stared at her with big eyes. Just like that? There has to be a catch somewhere.

“Uh… What was your last relationship like?” I asked. Why did I lead with that question? Simone gave me a little smile.

“I haven’t a relationship,” she said.

“What?”

Simone ran her finer around the top of her glass. “I’ve had many lovers. But, not a real relationship. I did sleep with some of them, but the spark died and I had to let them go.”

“What about me?” I asked. The Indigo Queen tilted her head.

“It’s too early to say,” she said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Simone leaned close to my face. “Why don’t you stick around and see?” The waiter came over to our table with the tray of appetizers. I took a bite into my fromage fort as Simone picked up a porcini mushroom tartlet.

“What else do you want to know about me?” she asked. I about choked on my food. I grabbed my water and took a big gulp.

“You okay?” she asked. I panted and took in a slow breath.

“Yeah,” I said. “You just caught me off guard with that question.”

“I figured that you would be asking more questions. So, let’s just get them out of the way. What else do you want to know about me?”

Okay… “Who’s your dad?”

Simone looked down at her wine. “Mama told me that he was a white man from Switzerland. They were unofficially married for quite some time.” She looked out the window.

“Mama told me that it couldn’t last forever, but he was the best lover that she had ever had. Papa loved to take photographs just like I do. I still have his old camera.” Simone had told me this story before, but hearing it made me see and hear the tenderness when she spoke about him.

“What do you like– besides sex and photography, I mean?” I asked. A chill ran down my spine as she chuckled.

“The night life of Paris,” she said. “Wine, the city life, romance, music.” She looked at me in the eyes. Her next answer was all it took to turn me further into her whirlwind.

“You,” Simone said. I about spat out my wine as my face turned bright red.

“Did you say… me?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“But, you said…”

Simone rested her finger to my lips. “I know what I said. We will see how this goes, but I already like you.” I closed my mouth as I gulped. Who was this woman? The more I try to find out about her, the further she ends up dragging me down her rabbit hole. At this point, I didn’t even want to climb back out.

“Simone? Is that you?” we heard someone ask. We turned to see a curvy woman in a black dress suit flagging us down. Simone’s lips curved into a smile as she waved back.

“Joie?” she asked out loud. The tall lady in the suit skirted around the many tables to get to us. Simone stood up and kissed her on the cheeks.

“It’s so good to see you,” she said. Joie kissed her on the cheeks.

“What do you think of my restaurant?” she asked. Simone broke into a huge grin.

“Spectacular,” she said. “You and your husband have really brought Illuminate to life. Your mother would be proud.” The taller white woman squealed.

“I am so glad that the opening has been a success!”

“Hey now, save the celebration for the next morning.”

Joie pushed her blonde hair from her eyes. “Fair point, dear Simone.” She paused and turned her attention on me. “And who is your friend?” I froze up straight in my chair. My eyes went back and forth between the two women.

“This is my date, William,” Simone said with a cat-like smile. Her words struck my like an arrow to the chest. Date? But earlier she said that it was to early to say. I shut my eyes and rubbed my forehead.

“He’s pretty cute,” I heard Joie say. When I opened my eyes and looked up, she had the look of a woman about to play with a cute pet.

“Uh… Thanks, I guess,” I said. Joie turned back to Simone.

“I have to get back to work,” she said. “Please take plenty of pictures of this place.”

“You know I will,” my Indigo Queen said with a wink. She sat down once Joie worked her way back to the elevator. Simone finished off her wine.

“That’s a great woman,” she said. “She and her husband have been trying to get this restaurant off the ground for five years now.” I looked around the place and saw the people eating and talking again.

“I see,” I said. “Hey, Simone.”

“Uh-hm?” she asked. I shifted in my seat for a little bit.

“You called me your date,” I said.

“Yes,” Simone said. “What about it?” I looked around for a little bit as I tried to form my words.

“So… what exactly am I to you again?” I asked. I prepared myself for another run-around. Simone poured herself another glass of wine before patting me on the head.

“Why do you stick around and see?” she asked. Despite expecting her to say that, I still felt shocked with light pink cheeks.

“Okay…” I mumbled. The waiter returned with the second course.

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