City Lounge: Paris (Book Three, Chapter Ten: Strange Wine Shop)

Chapter Ten: Strange Wine Shop:

Simone led me down to this building made of wood. This building… Where the hell did it come from? I looked around at the other buildings on the street. Everything else looked new and modern. But this building…

“Why is it made of wood?” I asked.

“Owner’s choice,” Simone said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because he wanted it that way,” she said. My girl walked up to the glass doors. I couldn’t take my eyes off of this shop. Wooden building. Purple lighting. Hearts on the window. Dolls hanging from the edge of the roof. Dead looking flowers in the front. Is this really a wine shop? It looks so tiny.

“Will? Will?” I heard someone ask. I quickly looked up. Simone stood in front of the open door with her head cocked.

“You coming in?” she asked.

“Huh? Oh!” I said. “Sure!” I jogged up to the doorway. “Sorry about that.”

“I had the first reaction when I saw this store,” Simone said. I followed her into the store. Wait… Is that sitar music playing? I looked around as I could smell incense burning in the air. Simone pushed aside a curtain made of brown and red beads.

“Hello?” she asked. “Hello?” I tried to look through the purple smoke. Across the room sat a figure behind the counter. They lifted their head.

“Simone?” an old man’s voice asked. “Is that you?” Simone walked forward through the thick purple clouds. She dragged me along by the hand. Gradually, I began to see everything around me. So many wine bottle everywhere. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. The bright colors danced around in the dim lighting. They looked so beautiful with their crystal surface. I could hear a fountain behind me. Did Prince design this store? The figure turned out to be an old man with a white jewfro. He pushed up his red-framed glasses.

“How have you been?” the old man asked. His voice was so raspy that I could barely hear a single word he was saying. I raised my eyebrow.

“Good,” Simone said. “I’m here to get Mama a present.”

“Ah!” the old man said. “You’ve come to the right place.” He looked over at me. “And who are you?”

“Oh, I’m Will,” I said.

“American?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “How did you know?” The old man, the store owner, chuckled.

“Your French still isn’t that strong,” he said.

“Oh,” I said.

“He’s getting better, though,” Simone said. “He’s got an effective teacher.” She smiled and winked at the store owner. She turned to me.

“This is Marcus,” she told me. “He’s a good friend of mama’s. He’s known her since she was in high school.”

“Oh, I see,” I said.

“What is your relationship to our dear Simone?” Marcus asked. I smiled and grabbed her by the waist.

“She’s my girlfriend,” I said, bragging. I kissed her on the cheek. Marcus whistled.

“Wow,” he said. Simone cleared her throat.

“Oh,” the old man said. “What are you looking for in a gift for your Mama?”

“Hm…” she said. Simone looked up at me.

“What do you think?” she asked. I shrugged my shoulders.

“What would she like the most?” I asked.

“Wine,” Simone said.

“Of course,” I said. I looked around the store. I could hear that fountain going again. I turned behind and found the source. A silver fountain sat in the middle of the stone on display. Red wine spilled into the bowl through the spouts. I had to walk over and look. The booze flowed out like a rushing river. I stared at it with big eyes.

“Simone, look,” I whispered. My girl walked over and took a look with me. She too couldn’t take her eyes off of this magical fountain.

“What do you think?” I asked in a soft voice.

“Mama would love this,” she said.

“I love it,” I said. “I could stare at this all day.”

“Good choice,” I heard behind my head. I broke out into a sweat and jumped up. When I turned around, I saw Marcus smiling as me with a V-sign.

“Chow,” he said.

“How did you end up behind me?” I asked.

“I just walked up behind you,” the old man said. I frowned at him. Marcus looked over my shoulder.

“Like that little pretty?” he asked.

“Yes!” I said, about jumping into attention. The old man wheezed as he chuckled.

“It’s one of my most popular items in this store,” he said. Simone turned around with big eyes.

“You mean we can…?” she began to ask. The old man slowly nodded. Simone’s face lit up as she raced over and hugged him.

“Thank you so much!” she said.

“Anything for you and Marie,” he said. Marcus looked over at me.

“You have a good eye,” he said. I chuckled as I rubbed the back of my head.

“Thanks, I guess,” I said.

“Do you want it gift wrapped?” Marcus asked.

“Yes,” Simone said. She let go of him and came by my side.

“Coming up,” he said. The old man walked around to behind the counter and reached up to one of the high shelves. He pulled down a big box and wrapped up the package in green wrapping paper. He drew out a fat, long purple ribbon. Marcus’ hands moved as fast as they could with the wrapping. I could barely keep up with his work. Within ten minutes, he handed the package shoved over to us.

“Here you go,” Marcus said. Simone walked up with her wallet out.

“Is there anything else you want to buy today?” he asked.

“No, thanks,” my love said.

“That will be 83.41€,” the old man said. Simone made the payment in cash and Marcus bagged up the present.

“Thank you,” he said. The old man handed back her change.

“Keep the change,” Simone said. Marcus put the change back into the cash register. She turned her attention to me.

“Ready to go?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said. Simone broke into a little smile.

“Let’s go,” she said. I happily followed her out of the wooden shop.

I have an interesting question: What would you say to the scenario of a happily married man having the same dream of a seductive woman trying to tempt him every night?

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