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“Dani, right?” Rene asked.
“Yes,Rene?” I replied sarcastically.
“Now that we have that out of the way, are you ok? You seem a little lost, can I help you find anything?” he asked politely.
“Actually I am a little lost, well not lost I just don’t know where I’m headed, I need to get a bite to eat, it’s been a while, are there any restaurants or cafés around?” I asked him.
“Yes, there is one just across the square, nothing special to look at, but they have some of the best local food you can find.” He replied and then quickly added,
“I was just headed myself there for some dinner, would you like to join me, it will be on me, kind of a welcome to Paris gift.” He said.
“I would be foolish to pass up a free meal as a student now, and some company as well.” I replied
“Well right this way then, Mademoiselle.” He said as he placed his hand on my back and guided me in the right direction.
I watched him carefully as he ordered his meal in his native tongue, it was quite interesting, the French language has this romantic flow to it. You could probably say something totally ridiculous and it would still always sound better in French.
“Cuisses de grenouilles s'il vous plaît.” He said to the server.
“And for you Mademoiselle?” he asked me.
“I guess I’ll have whatever you’re having.” I replied.
“Faire que deux s'il vous plaît.” He said again to the server. The server nodded.
“Let’s get a seat outside; it’s nice to enjoy meals outside in the evening.” He said to me as he held the door open and motioned for me to go outside. I stepped outside, and with one quick and fluid motion he slid himself in front of me and pulled out my chair for me before I could even get to the table.
“Merci” I said.
“So you do know some of the language.” He said teasingly.
“Well just the easy stuff.” I replied.
“So you’re a student, you said? What are you studying if you don’t mind my asking?” he said with a polite tone.
“Photography, I was given a scholarship to come study here.” I replied.
“Long way from home, you miss your friends and family already I take it?” he pried.
“I’m enjoying the time away so far.” I said to him, not wanting to reveal any personal details. We made small talk for another 10 minutes or so, until our food arrived.
“Looks delicious.” I said as I placed a bite in my mouth. The taste was unlike anything I had eaten before, the outside, fried to golden brown perfection, inside, the meat was tender and juicy, it tasted slightly of dark meat chicken but not entirely, maybe chickens here tasted differently, it had a slight hint of lemon which was refreshing. The vegetables were fresh and crisp. ‘The French really know cuisine!’ I thought to myself. We finished our meal in almost complete silence.
“Did you enjoy your first taste of authentic French cuisine?” he asked me.
“Yes, it was delicious.” I replied.
“May I ask what it was?” I said to him.
“You want me to tell you what you want to hear or the truth?” he said laughing.
“The truth please.” I replied. But suddenly I didn’t think I wanted to know what it really was.
“Frog Legs” he said with a serious face.
“I said the truth, please don’t toy with me.” I said to him in a joking manner. He shook his head up and down as if to say yes, and raised his eyebrows.
“Frog Legs” he said again. I looked at the server and he nodded and said “Oui, Mademoiselle.”
“You are lucky that I am and open minded Simerican.” I said to him sarcastically. We both laughed. We sat there for another hour or two talking about our lifestyles and our favorite things to do.
“I really must be leaving now Rene, I have orientation in the morning, thank you for the wonderful meal and good company.” I said to him
“The pleasure was all mine Mademoiselle, I’m sure we will cross paths again soon, I will talk to you then.” He said with a smirk.
“Good night, Rene it was nice meeting you.” I said to him. And I began to walk back to my dorm. When I noticed him still standing there pointing in the other direction.
“Right! It’s dark, hard to see where I’m going.” I said as I turned around blushing. I could hear him laughing behind me. It made me think of Ari, he always laughed when I humiliated myself. I let out a long sigh. I missed him already.
My first couple of weeks went pretty smooth in Paris, I was studying hard and getting good grades, I had made a few friends and my extra spare time I spent with Rene, who was more than happy to give me the inside tour around Paris.
I was out one night taking a stroll enjoying the warm and fragrant air that always seemed to fill the streets when my phone rang.
“Hello?” I said.
“Good evening mademoiselle.” said the voice on the other end.
“Hey Rene, what’s up?” I said casually.
“Not much, hey I remember you saying you didn’t have class tomorrow so I thought, if it was ok with you, I could take you on a…you know…date?” he said nervously.
“A…a… date…” I said. I could hear my voice crackle. I didn’t know what to say, it threw me off guard a little, I had never been on an official date. I froze for a minute.
“Hello…Dani…are you still there?” I could hear coming from the other end.
“Uh…yeah…I’m…um…still here.” I said slowly snapping out of it.
“Well…” he said.
“A date…yes! That sounds great!” I said back excitedly. And I truly was excited. My first date!
“Great I will pick you tomorrow, does noon sound ok?” he asked, I could tell by his tone he was excited too.
“Sounds good to me.” I replied.
“Awesome, I will see you tomorrow.” He said as he hung up the phone. The excitement suddenly washed away from me as Ari came into my mind. I was really beginning to miss him again. My first date, I was really hoping would be with him. When I realized what I was doing I snapped out of it. Ari had a girlfriend, that he decided not to tell me about, and apparently he didn’t’ tell her about me either. I wasn’t at fault here, and I shouldn’t be doing this to myself.
I put my thoughts of Ari to rest and hurried home to figure out what I was going to wear on my date tomorrow. My date!!!
Rene picked me up around ten after 12 that afternoon, said he was sorry that he was running late and that he was on a business call most of the morning. I didn’t mind. When we finally got to our destination, he grabbed my hands in his and spoke softly.
“I’m very excited to show you my favorite place in Paris, this is the nectary, I come here usually every weekend. I really think you are going to enjoy this!” he said with an extremely excited tone. He seemed very passionate about it, and I liked a man with passion.
“I can’t wait.” I said to him with a smile.
He took me inside to the tasting room, where he began to pour glasses of nectar.
“This is the most extraordinary nectar I have ever tasted.” He said as he concentrated on pouring.
“It’s a 10 year old, Meloire.” He said. He went on and on about this nectar, and I listened intently, he really was passionate about it.
He handed me a glass and taught me how to swirl it around and how to let it sit on my pallet. I never understood all that fancy nectar talk. But when I tasted it. It was so beautiful.
“This is delicious.” I said to him. He smiled at me. I could tell he was satisfied.
“Now the fun part! Drink up and come with me pretty lady.” He said excitedly. I raised my eyebrows in curiosity, wondering what he has planned next.
He grabbed me by the hand and led me outside. When we got around the back of the nectary, my senses suddenly became overwhelmed, the air with thick with aromatics, fruity and sweet. I could see Rene take a deep breath; the smile on his face said it all.
“This mademoiselle…” he said holding his hand out in the air “…is the vineyard. So many different types of grapes and fruits, we are going to pick some and make a bottle of our very own nectar!” he said excitedly.
“Now that sounds fun!” I said with almost the same excitement.
“Go, on take a look around study the fruits, feel them, taste them, smell them, and then pick a few that you like.” He said to me. I looked around the field, it was quite large. I began to sift through the rows and rows of grapes, taking the time to admire all the qualities of each.
“I’m all finished” I said to him as I handed him my basket. I watched him study the contents of the basket carefully.
“Interesting choices.” He said with a smile.
“Now we turn this beautiful fruit into nectar.” He added.
He led me down to the basement of the nectary, and there stood an old machine with a wide wooden barrel. Rene turned to me with a smile on his face. He looked like a little kid in a candy store.
“Now place in the contents of your basket.” He said to me. Then a man came in with a barrel of the same fruits I had collected and he added them as well. I scratched my head.
“You didn’t think you were going to make a bottle of nectar out of that little basket did you?” Rene said as he laughed. He then instructed me to change into my bathing suit I had brought with me, so I would not get anything on my clothes. When we were changed he explained to me what to do step by step, and honestly it didn’t sound like much fun.
“Ok, here goes nothing.” I said as I stepped into the barrel. The fruit was cold around my feet and it smothered underneath me, I could feel the juices and pulp running between my toes, and I have to admit it was a bit refreshing.
I began to stomp and squish the fruit below me, and it was a lot more fun that I initially thought. I could see the wide smile on Rene’s face as he observed me. He then got in the barrel with me and we began to squish the fruit together, it a sweet and romantic moment in an odd kind of way. I was having so much fun before Rene could tell me to pace myself… I was on my butt. Fruit pulp and juices covered almost every part of my body. Rene stood there for a moment studying me before breaking out into a chuckle. I laughed along with him. We stood in there for what seemed like hours, laughing and talking, and stomping fruit. When Rene was satisfied with the consistency we got out and cleaned up, while the machine strained out the pulp and stems. We went back over to the machine and he explained to me what to do to get the nectar juice into the vat for bottling.
“Now you’re going to have to turn the machine on and pull the lever to open the hoses.” He said. I nodded listening intently.
“Then you’re going to have to crank the wheel as fast as you can, this gives us the suction to allow the hose to suck up the nectar juice into the vat. When that’s all done the machine will do the rest.” He explained.
“Got it!” I said excitedly. I turned the machine on and pulled the lever. I began to crank the wheel and I struggled a little, turning the wheel wasn’t as easy as it looked.
I could hear him chuckling a little. He then approached me from behind.
“Here, let me help you mademoiselle.” He said in that perfect French accent. He then positioned himself behind me closely. He wrapped his arms around me and placed his hands on mine, his face was resting on my shoulders and I could feel his warm breath on my neck. He began to crank the wheel, our hands rotating the wheel together in perfect unison. Sure it was a cheesy and clichéd move, but it was sweet and I wasn’t complaining.
When we finished bottling our nectar, Rene turned to me.
“What will you call your nectar?” he said to me.
“Liselle, after my mother.” I said to him as a choked a little.
“Such a beautiful name.” he replied.
“And what will you call yours?” I asked him.
“I will call it ‘Pierre Dani’ so that we may remember this moment for the rest of our lives.” He said sweetly. My heart melted a little.
He walked me back to the dorm later that evening. He pulled me in close and wrapped his arms around me.
“I had a wonderful time, thank you Dani.” He whispered in my ear.
“I had a wonderful time as well.” I replied back to him. He left me with a soft peck on the cheek. I was in heaven, as I made my way into the dorm, I turned around and gave Rene a little wave before closing the door behind me. I seemed to have floated up the stairs and into my room, it didn’t feel as if my feet had touched the ground since he had taken me in his arms and kissed me on my cheek.
The next morning I awoke refreshed and feeling great. I stood on the balcony to take in the fresh air and stretched. The sun had just come up over the horizon; I grabbed my camera, wanting to capture this moment to remember how I felt in this very moment as I stood on the balcony.
I dressed myself quickly and headed to class.
The months seemed to have melted away, with each day the memories of Ari became more and more distant. They didn’t go away, I just locked them up in a safe place away from my heart and mind, I still thought of him every now and then though. I was halfway through my first year in school, Rene and I were quickly becoming closer and closer, he was also a student, a business student and 3 years older than me.
I rummaged through my dresser to find something to wear for our date tonight, it would be the last time we would see each other for 2 months. School was letting out for break and Rene was headed to the states to visit his parents who moved away when he started college. He said they loved Paris but at this time in their life they needed a change in scenery. If I had family to go back to in the states, I would have been on the first flight out of here, since I don’t I will be enjoying my break, alone in Paris. Which isn’t such a bad thing, Paris is amazing. When I finally settled on something to wear I headed out to meet Rene. We spent a quiet day at a secluded pond on the outskirts of Paris. We talked for hours, I made my way over to the swing set, when Rene offered to push me. The more time I spent with Rene, the more I was beginning to like him. The day turned into night what seem like instantly, soon we would be leaving each other, it wasn’t fair, I wanted more time with him. We were hanging out on the swing set and chatting when he turned to me.
“You know Dani, I have become very fond of you.” He said shyly. I could feel my cheeks getting red and hot.
“That’s very sweet of you to say, I have become quite fond of you myself.” I said looking at the ground and fidgeting the earth with my foot. He then got up and walked over to me and bent down in front of me. He put my face in the palms of his hands.
“I want you to be with me Dani.” He said as he swallowed.
“I am with you right now.” I said daftly, still blushing. He laughed I could tell he didn’t mistake my remark as being truly being daft.
“No, I want you to be WITH me.” He said more seriously.
“I enjoy your company very much so, and I believe that you enjoy mine as well. I want you to be with me Dani, with me.” He emphasized.
“Like, as…your…girlfriend?” I asked as my voice crackled. He smiled and nodded. I froze, I didn’t know what to say, or do in the moment. I thought to myself for a moment as I continued to fidget. I really did like him afterall. I looked at him and nodded as I bit down on my lip.
“So that’s a yes?” he said with mild excitement.
“Yes” I replied shyly. He then grabbed my hand and kissed it.
“Magnifique!” he exclaimed.
The sun quickly faded over the hills as the day gave way to night. At this time we had settled onto the bench. As the warm air became cooler Rene lit a fire and placed his arms around me. We sat together in one another’s arms and talked for a little while when suddenly he turned to me and nestled his nose onto my cheek and then softly whispered in my ear.
“Je veux vous embrasser”
No sooner did the words come out of his mouth; did he pull me in closer, placing one arm around my shoulder and wrapping the other around my side, he then leaned into me and kissed me. I was in complete shock. It wasn’t really how I pictured my first kiss, there weren’t fireworks, or foot popping, but I did have butterflies in my stomach, wasn’t sure if it was because I was just nervous, or maybe I felt more for him that I initially thought, either way I kissed him back and the rest didn’t matter. After we pried our lips away from one another he turned to me with a smile.
“Well…that was…um…unexpected.” I said nervously.
“That’s kind of the point.” He said with a smile.
“So what was that you said before you…?” I couldn’t finish the sentence, my cheeks were still flushed. He laughed.
“I said, ‘I want to kiss you.’” He said laughing.
“Guess I need to concentrate on learning French a little quicker.” I said joining in with his laughter. He then took his arm off my shoulder and raised it to my face and smoothed back my hair, he looked deeply into my eyes.
“You know I would really like it if you would join me at my parent’s house for the break.
“He said still looking into my eyes. I didn’t answer him as I tried to process what he was asking.
“It’s getting late.” I said to him
“You still have to pack and get things around for your trip, we should be leaving.” I added.
He walked me back to the dorm and pulled me into his arms and kissed me gently.
“Please think about it at least, I think you would have fun, and I would miss you too much if you were to stay here.” He said to me
“I’ll think about it and let you know tomorrow.” I said reassuringly to him.
“Goodnight my beautiful mademoiselle.” He said, he kissed me on the cheek and left. I hurried up to my room, trying to process all the things that had happened that night. It was almost too much to bare. But one thing I was sure of, I was happy, genuinely happy. I settled in to sleep right away.
I awoke suddenly in the middle of the night, visions of Ari still fresh in my mind. Why all of a sudden was I thinking of him again. The visions of him felt so vivid and real as if they had just happened. Hi s face inches from mine… I pinched myself. “OWWW” I said out loud. I was defiantly awake. I got up and tippie toed into the bathroom trying not to wake the other students. I stood at the sink and ran the cold water and splashed it on my face. I retired quickly back to my room and back to bed. I stepped out on to the balcony later that morning, after a long night of thinking I had finally come to a decision and called Rene.
“Bonjour” said the sweet French accent on the other end.
“Hey it’s me.” I said.
“Dani, sweetie, did you sleep well last night?” He asked.
“I slept ok, thank you.” I replied.
“So about…this trip.” I said cutting off my sentence, I was still a little hesitant
“…I have decided that … I would love to go with you.” I said excitedly.
“Really? That’s great! The flight leaves in 2 hours have your things packed and ready, I will be there in an hour. See you then sweetie.” He said excitedly.
“See you then.” I said as I hung up the phone. I wasn’t entirely sure at that time if I was going because I wanted to, if I was going because I didn’t want to be lonely, or if I was going to forget about Ari, or if I was going so that I wouldn’t let Rene down. I liked Rene so much, he reminded me a lot of Ari, but I didn’t feel that something that I had with Ari, maybe I was just being silly, or maybe my heart was trying to tell me something else, at the same time I kept trying to remind myself that Ari had a partner of his own, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty.
Rene showed up an hour later, I had my suitcases ready to go. He got out of the cab and kissed me hello.
“You ready to go sweetie?” he said to me. I just nodded and smiled at him. He placed the suitcases in the trunk of the cab and held the door open for me.
“After you mademoiselle” he said smiling. I got in the car rested my head on the seat and closed my eyes as the cab slowly pulled away.
Pieces of Me: Chapter 6
Aug 10, 2010 by Nygirl08
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