A Foreign Romance - Part 1
Published Jun 27, 2010

Written By



Page 1 / 33

Jack frequents some of the most beautiful countries in the world whilst getting paid for it, yet he got more than he bargained for when one trip became more - a journey of self discovery. What will he discover and will anything come of it?

I'm glad to finally be back with my new story! I've been working on it slowly over the past month or so when I found the time and I apologise in advance if it takes me a little while to get the next chapters out. They are longer than the chapters in my previous stories, though, so I hope that makes up for it :)

Jack frequents some of the most beautiful countries in the world whilst getting paid for it, yet he got more than he bargained for when one trip became more - a journey of self discovery. What will he discover and will anything come of it?

I'm glad to finally be back with my new story! I've been working on it slowly over the past month or so when I found the time and I apologise in advance if it takes me a little while to get the next chapters out. They are longer than the chapters in my previous stories, though, so I hope that makes up for it :)
Stepping out of the shower with water drops still gliding down his chiseled body, Jack reached for his towel and dried off quickly, surveying his appearance in the mirror as he did so.
Not too shabby, he thought, considering I could hardly sleep a wink last night. This didn’t surprise him as he had been feeling much the same over the last couple of months when a certain someone shared his bed. Whether it was the fact that eighty percent of the time he had the bed to himself, or purely because of the activities which took place when he was not alone, it was frustrating when sleep would not consume him.
He fumbled around in the cup which held the toothbrushes and found what he was looking for: a razor. Although the minuscule hairs framing his jaw line were barely visible, he began to shave as was his daily routine, leaving just his signature goatee untouched.
Patting some aftershave onto his now smooth skin, Jack pulled on a pair of shorts and slipped a clean shirt over his head. He quietly made his way back into the bedroom to pack the remainder of his clothes but found Shauna already sliding out of bed.
“Why are you up already?” she asked, her voice croaky with sleep.
“And good morning to you, too,” he replied. “I told you plenty of times already - I’ve got a flight to catch at ten.”
“Oh, right, trust me to forget!” Smiling seductively, she sauntered her way over to Jack. “I wish you could stay in bed all day with me. I’m sure we could think of something productive to do.”
“Me too,” he lied. “But it’s not possible, I’m afraid.”
She pouted and looked up at him with her baby blue eyes. It would have been convincing had Jack not known she was an aspiring actress. “What about a goodbye kiss, then?”
Jack surrendered and pulled her in for a quick kiss. What Shauna didn’t know was that he, too, could act at the best of times.
Standing outside his house sometime later, Jack’s heart finally began to flutter with excitement. If the day had been gray and bleak instead of warm and bright, it would not have made an ounce of difference to his mood. He looked up and down the street but knew the taxi was not due for at least another ten minutes. Turning his face towards the sun instead, he decided he could at least enjoy the warmth of its rays while he was waiting.
It wasn’t the first time he had been abroad, not at all. But each time he left, the excitement never seemed to lessen. It was the only thing that he looked forward to – losing himself in a culture much different to his own.
While many of his fellow residents at Riverview were suffering a case of Mondayitis, Jack had the pleasure of knowing he would soon be jetting off to the beautiful country of France. With its picturesque countryside, the intimate, little towns scattered throughout its perimeters, the friendly nature of the locals and the way the language of love sauntered through your thoughts, it was hard not to fall in love with this land and Jack never tired of it.
This would be his third visit and even though he hadn’t yet left Australia, he was eagerly awaiting the touchdown of his Qantas flight. The knowledge that he had a long plane trip ahead of him did nothing to bring down his spirits; in fact, he secretly appreciated the time he would have to relax and compose himself before landing in a different time zone.
Arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare, Jack made his way over to the check-in desk and was greeted by a cheerful young woman. This was a pleasant surprise since more often than not he hardly received a smile. She must be new, he thought to himself. No doubt she’ll soon end up irritable like the rest of them.
“Good morning, sir.” Her voice had a lovely trill to it and she smiled, showing all her beautiful, white teeth.
Glancing quickly at her name badge, Jack replied, “And good morning to you, Lila. You know, that smile of yours has just made my day.”
Her cheeks went a shade darker but her eyes instantly seemed to sparkle with more enthusiasm. “Oh, well, I’m glad to be of assistance Mr…” Her eyes darted to the ticket he had handed her. “…Wilson. It was nice of you to say so. If you could just place your bags up here, please….”
He sat sipping a hot, frothy cappuccino in the departures lounge fifteen minutes later, quietly observing the constant bustle of the airport. This was one aspect of travelling Jack could never get used to. Day and night, people always seemed in a rush here. Never mind New York being the city that never sleeps, what about airports around the world?
It shouldn’t have bothered him so much seen as he seemed to slip so easily into the background of the activity around him. Just as a chair sat unnoticed next to him, he became concealed in the flow of bodies gushing through the terminal.
When his flight was called, Jack was grateful to be finally boarding the plane and was soon sinking into his assigned seat – by the window, of course. Closing his eyes and letting his head rest against the back of the seat, he tuned out and let the chatter of the cabin fade away so he could only hear the wheels of his mind turning.
Shauna had constantly been on his mind in recent months and today proved no different. As much as he wished it was for positive reasons, it was not. And seen as he had plenty of spare time over the next twenty-four hours, he decided to delve into his deepest thoughts.
Jack had been twenty-three when he first met Shauna at a bar. She was a year younger than him and caught his eye with her stunning beauty. It made him cringe to think how shallow he was back then but, he reasoned, aren’t all young men at some time or another? To his defense, it wasn’t just her looks that grabbed his attention. She seemed lively, outgoing and happy – the kind of person who would be the life of every party.
It was only a matter of weeks before they ‘hooked up’ and became an item, and it was not uncommon for them to be found partying away into the small hours of the morning. There was no doubt they shared some incredible times together but looking back on their relationship, Jack realized it had all been based on convenience and lust. They had never been in love.
Now, five years on, he and Shauna were on shaky ground. Their relationship had always been a tumultuous one – they had split numerous times following heated arguments but always made up soon afterward – and it was now becoming tiresome. Jack was sick of the same scenario repeating itself over and over.
The problem was, he didn’t trust Shauna. He had grown bored of the partying scene long ago but Shauna was still lured into the thrill of it; she loved the attention she received and had too much of a good time to give it up. He knew for a fact that she had been with several other men during their momentary splits and possibly through their relationship but, whether it be habit or loneliness, he always found himself back with her. Jack had pictured himself with a loving wife and a couple of young kids running around by the time he was twenty-eight but it just hadn’t happened.
Instead, he found himself anticipating his trips aboard with much enthusiasm as it meant he could get away from Riverview and, in doing so, Shauna. It provided him with a much needed escape from the constant attention she demanded and the realization that she had everyone, including himself, wrapped around her little finger. With her platinum blonde hair, barely there outfits, perfectly toned body and manicured nails, she was a product of today’s image obsessed society.
It saddened Jack to see her succumb more and more to this pressure but it only highlighted how different the two of them were. He was only glad they had never taken their relationship to the next level. Officially, they had no ties to each other and could go their own separate ways with a simple ‘good-bye’.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We would like to advise that we have begun our descent into Champs Les Sims. The current temperature on ground is a cool 15⁰C and we will be landing in approximately fifteen minutes. Once again we thank you for flying with us today and trust you have enjoyed your flight.”
The cabin returned to silence as the deep voice of the pilot ceased to resound through the speakers. Jack blinked several times as his eyes slowly awoke and looked out the window where all he could see was a sea of darkness. If he looked further down, he could just make out the faint lights of Champs Les Sims.
Fifteen minutes later, just as the captain had advised, Jack found himself being pushed through the cabin and down the stairs in a sea of bodies eager to have their feet firmly on the ground once again. He underwent the necessary procedures at the arrivals terminal to get clearance to enter the country and soon burst through the doors and sucked a big breath of fresh air in. He was back.
Spotting a taxi making its way down the dimly lit street, Jack waved his arm several times and as it came to a halt before him, he opened the door and lowered himself inside.
He smiled at the driver. “The Riviera Hotel, please.”
Within minutes, Jack had been delivered to the same hotel he had stayed at on his two previous visits. It held a sense of familiarity for Jack and at this time of the morning, he was glad he could fall asleep somewhere he felt comfortable.
He staggered up the stairs and unlocked the door of his room. A sigh escaped his lips as his gaze instantly fell on the large, four poster bed on which an inviting bedspread lay. Before surrendering to the sleep which was threatening to devour him, he quickly scanned over the other furniture in the room. Matching end tables sat on either side of side of the bed, a matching chestnut dresser sat on his right, a comfortable looking armchair was placed against the far wall below the window, and a door at the far right hand side of the room would almost certainly open through to a small bathroom.
Without hesitating, Jack emptied his belongings into the drawers available to him and settled himself on the covers of the bed. With only a few hours left before sunlight began tingeing the horizon, he didn’t go to the trouble of changing into his pajamas or slipping between the warm sheets. He knew he would be awake as soon as the room was bathed in light. By the time he awakened, the sun was high in the blue sky and the quiet voices of locals could be heard drifting through the open windows of his room. He stretched and smiled as he remembered where he was, lifting his gaze to look at the time displayed on the digital alarm clock beside him. 8:20am.
Happy to have slept in later than expected, Jack threw his legs over the side of the bed and sat there for a few moments. He felt his body slowly come to life and before long he was eager to get his day started. He undressed and stepped into the warm spray of the shower but was in there for less than two minutes when he felt a pang of hunger pains. Remembering the Catania Café, he dressed in a fresh set of clothes and set out for the centre of town.
Outside the Catania Café, twenty minutes later, Jack sat eating the most delicious crepe he had ever had. He felt content and incredibly relaxed, calling out ‘Bonjour’ to all the passing locals. Most smiled kindly at him while others returned the greeting. Before he knew it, he was paying for his meal – additionally presenting a generous tip to the gracious waiter – and was walking back out into the sunshine.
As he walked, he spotted a familiar face smiling at him. Golden hair, bright smile; Sylvia. Did that smile ever disappear from her lovely face? Jack didn’t think so.
“Jack,” she said, walking over to him. “What a wonderful surprise.”
They embraced in a warm, friendly hug and Jack replied, “A wonderful surprise it is.”
“I take it you’re here for your work again?” she asked in her perfect English, though heavily accented.
“Yes,” he said, “there’s quite a demand for photos of your beautiful country at the moment, which doesn’t surprise me.”
“I’m sure a fantastic photographer can make it look even better.” She winked.
He laughed. “Well, what can I say? I try my best but the scenery speaks for itself.”
She smiled and touched his arm lightly. “I don’t mean to be rude and rush off but I’ve got to be somewhere, please excuse me. It’s great to see you again and how about I give you a call soon and we can catch up while you’re here?”
“Oh, go right ahead, I don’t want you to be late on my behalf,” he assured her. “And yes, I’d love to catch up when you’re free.”
After spending the day reacquainting himself with the small town, he made his way to a scenic lake situated in the vast expanse of countryside in Champs Les Sims. Besides its beauty, it was also a well known fishing spot and tourists and locals alike often stayed overnight at a permanent campsite that had been set up only meters away. Jack had done this himself numerous times and would be doing so again tonight but the main purpose for his visit was to capture the magnificence of this location in the last minutes of daylight.
He checked his camera and when he was satisfied it was all set to go, placed it in close proximity to him but far enough away from the water’s edge that there was no danger it could fall in. Having known he would have plenty of spare time before sunset, just to be on the safe side, he had brought along his newly purchased fishing rod.
Casting his line into the lake, a ripple formed and traveled over the previously smooth surface of the water. Within a few seconds, the ripple had smoothed out and the only movement in the lake was where the float bobbed silently, waiting for a victim to be lured to the bait.
Jack didn’t have to wait long to feel a nibble on the end of the line. He watched the water carefully and when he felt yet another nibble, he began to reel it in. After bringing the line back to shore, he found a vibrant green frog attached to the hook on the end. Jack’s eyes softened – he couldn’t kill it, frogs were beautiful animals. So, gently removing the hook, he stroked its slippery back and released it back into the water.
Not wanting to injure any more green frogs living in the lake, Jack resigned from fishing for the afternoon. He lay back on the soft grass and watched the clouds move rhythmically through the sky, entrancing him. Soon enough, his eyes slowly began to close despite his efforts to stay awake.
Close to an hour later, his arm jerked involuntarily, stirring him from his slumber and his eyes opened to the most magnificent sky – just what he had been waiting for. He hauled himself up quickly and after orientating himself, found his camera and brought it close to his eye until he was staring at the scene he wanted to capture. Seconds later, the camera clicked and he smiled.
Having taken the first of many photos that were planned while he was in France, Jack sauntered over to the campsite where he had already thrown a few of his belongings into the tent. The sky was now dusky and a chill swept through him. Ducking into the tent, he slipped a jumper over his shirt and returned to the fire pit to cook up a hot dinner.
For a long time after that, he sat and stared at the sky as stars slowly began appearing out of nowhere. He never felt alone when those stars shone so brightly; it was as if each of them were smiling down at him. Managing to drag himself to bed just before ten o’clock, he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
Something vibrating under his pillow was Jack’s wakeup call the next day. Drowsily, he opened one eye and noticed that bright sunlight was filtering through the flimsy lining of the tent. Releasing a yawn, he reached under his pillow where he knew he would find his mobile. Not bothering to check the caller ID because his vision was still hazy with sleep, he flipped it open and pressed it against his ear.
“I woke you, didn’t I?” a cheery voice replied. Sylvia.
Jack stretched, making sure she could hear him. “As a matter of fact, you did. Surely you have better things to do besides depriving a man of his sleep?”
Sylvia laughed. “Hmm….no, I guess I don’t. I suspect you don’t know that it’s almost midday, though, and time to enjoy the beautiful day.”
That got him up quick – he never slept in that late! Stumbling out of the tent, he had to shield his eyes from the bright rays of sunlight.
“Well, wonders will never cease to amaze me,” Jack mumbled, still trying to wake up.
“Now that I’ve got you up, I was just wondering if you had plans for dinner tonight?” Sylvia asked. “I thought I could cook you up some of our local cuisine which you love so much.”
Jack didn’t need to ponder the offer for long. “Sounds fabulous. How about some local wine to complement it, then?”
She laughed. “You read my mind. My place at seven?”
“Perfect,” he replied.
Ending the call, Jack looked down at his half naked body with surprise. In his drowsy state, he had not even given a thought to what he was wearing – or lack of. All the same, he didn’t rush to get dressed again. Feeling the fresh air against his naked skin was quite revitalizing, so much so that he regretted having to dress at all.
After a quick breakfast of toast and jam, he disappeared into the tent and soon reappeared fully dressed. He decided that before going off to the next scenic location he had planned to visit, he would take a trek through the hills of Champs Les Sims.
It was almost seven by the time Jack found himself leisurely riding through the darkened city on a hired scooter. The path before him was illuminated only by the towering street lamps and large, full moon above him. Delicious aromas wafted out from the modest homes he passed, urging him to ride faster knowing he would soon have a meal that smelled just as good in front of him.
Spotting Sylvia’s place nestled between two others, he brought his scooter to a halt on the curb and dismounted. Quickly smoothing down his hair, he made sure he still had the bottle of wine tucked away safely before making his way to the front door.
“Just in time!” Sylvia smiled wide as she opened the door to Jack. Her eyes lowered to the wine bottle in his hands. “Oh, and nice selection. Come on in and I’ll get us both a glass.”
Jack followed her through to her toasty warm kitchen where the aroma he was greeted with was even more delicious than those that had pleasantly invaded his senses during his ride through the streets of Champs Les Sims. By the time he spotted two plates of Sylvia’s specialty - frog’s legs – on the table, he was almost salivating. She knew it, too.
“Geez, you look like you haven’t eaten in months. Are you ok?” she asked, laughing. “Come on, then, let’s “bog in” as you Aussies say.”
Over dinner, there was lots of laughter and chatter and the wine disappeared almost as quickly as it came. It now coursed through their blood, flooding them with warmth and contentment. They both enjoyed being in each other’s company, their conversations flowing easily and without reservations. Sylvia’s soft, brown eyes always made Jack feel like he was home and her easy-going manner put him at ease. He often wondered how she could still be single.
Three hours later, their empty plates still sat untouched, neither of them making a move to clear them and their now empty wine glasses. Jack’s eyes were beginning to grow heavy and not wanting to burden Sylvia with his presence all night, he decided to make a move.
“Well, I better be off,” he said, pushing his chair back as he stood. “You won’t be able to move me soon.”
Sylvia smiled. “It wouldn’t be an inconvenience if you wanted to sleep it off here.”
“No, no. I’ll get back to the hotel, but thanks anyway. I’m paying for the room so I might as well use it. I’ll have to walk home, though, so I’ll leave my scooter out front. I can come back and get it tomorrow.”
“Ok,” Sylvia said, watching him with bedroom eyes. He knew it was just because she was obviously tired, too, but couldn’t help noticing how sexy it made her look. They walked together in silence to the front door and then stopped to face each other.
The only sound that could be heard was their slow breathing - in and out, in and out – and the quiet hum of the refrigerator somewhere in the kitchen. Sylvia scanned his face and instinctively went to touch his hand but decided against it, pulling it back before he realized what she was doing. Averting her gaze from his, she looked down at the floor.
Jack watched her as she went from being comfortable to suddenly nervous in his presence. Her creamy skin looked so incredibly soft now that she seemed so vulnerable and he longed to feel it against his. Without him being conscious of it, his hand came up and stroked her cheek. Instead of flinching, Sylvia seemed to melt into his touch and her eyes once again met his.
Jack could see that her body was coming alive - as was his – and, cupping her delicate face in his hands, he brought his face close to hers. He was met with no resistance and their lips came together with almost crushing force; so much so that they could feel the blood pulsing through them. A muffled whimper escaped Sylvia and she reached up to stroke the back of Jack’s neck.
Pulling away, she said breathlessly, “Why don’t you stay here? It’s too late to get back to the hotel.”
Scanning her face quickly, Jack sighed, looking defeated. “Thanks for the offer, Sylvia, and dinner, too. But I can’t stay, I really should have been gone by now.” He pecked her on the cheek and opened the door, disappearing into the dark of the night.
Sylvia was left standing there, dazed, as the door pushed a gush of wind through her hair. The passion which had been crackling between the two of them had fizzled out as quickly as it had begun.

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ubermanJun 10, 2011

Great story! \:rah\:

FantasyPearlJan 1, 2011

Amazing chapter! I love all your stories - you're great at them! I can't wait to read the next chapter. Good luck and a happy new year!

Nov 22, 2010


jonialOct 12, 2010

very entertaining. \:rah\:

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