Good Bye My Love

Contributor: John Laneri

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Dominique Episode - 1

I initially met Dominique at a party hosted by a business acquaintance. At the time, she was standing across the room conversing with a group of women, the sparkle in her eyes as brilliant as the diamond adorning her neck.

She was wearing designer pants, colorful heels and a stylish silk top, all of which made for a classy presentation. Once she looked my way, I tossed her one of my better smiles and watched her politely ignore it, so I waited.

Moments later, as I had hoped, she glanced back in my direction and acknowledged my presence with a slight tilt of her head, an indication to me that the door between us was beginning to inch open.

Soon, she again looked my way and smiled. And before I knew it, we were looking into each others eyes, our attraction immediate. For most of the next hour, we talked non-stop, pausing only long enough to wonder where we were going next.

Eventually, she said, “As much as I'd like to stay, I really need to leave. I'm due to meet friends at another party. Would you like to walk me to the door?”

Before parting, I suggested dinner. She smiled and asked, “Do you like Paris?”

“I've never been there, but it's on my bucket list.”

Six hours later, I was at thirty-five thousand feet, sitting in first class eating dinner, all on her platinum card. Naturally by then, I was beginning to wonder what I was getting myself into.

For starters, she checked us into the Ritz and headed straight to a suite on an upper floor. Once settled in, she kicked off her shoes, and then playfully signaled that it was time to consummate our friendship.

Later, we went to a bistro on the West Bank that appeared nondescript until we stepped inside and were immediately surrounded by old world elegance and fashionably dressed people, all talking at once.

“Interesting setting,” I remarked, looking about, my senses tuned to the smell of great wines.

She took my arm and directed me to a table. “Their collection is excellent. Feel free to indulge. I need to spend time with Charles while I'm here.”

“I hope Charles isn't your husband.”

She laughed quietly and pointed across the room. “Don't worry. He's my uncle and he's harmless.”

In appearance, her uncle was a smartly dressed, but shriveled, little man who was leaning heavily into a walker, as he slowly shuffled toward a table on the far side of the room.

She touched my arm. “I'll only be a minute.”

Her minute turned into an hour, during which I noticed Charles frequently glance my way as if he was critically passing judgment on my presence. Ignoring him, I ordered a bottle of Margaux and sat back to enjoy the place.

On returning, she settled in beside me and reached for my wine. “Oh, wonderful selection... you do know your wines.” She indicated across the room. “If you're wondering about Charles, he took me in as a child after my parents died. Now, I help him manage his affairs from time to time.”

From there, we dined at a four-star restaurant where we ate dinner as ravenously as we made love. Later, we strolled hand in hand along the streets of Paris, our steps taking us wherever we wanted. By then, I was mellow enough not to ask questions. Perhaps, I was even falling in love.

On returning to the hotel, we promptly resumed where we had left off that afternoon. The experience, I have to say, lasted until dawn and ended up being one for the books.

In all, that was my night in Paris – no Eiffel Tower, no Champs Elysees. Essentially, I spent twenty-four hours indulging food, wine and sex – not a bad combination unless you're into churches, museums and parks.

The next day, she left for Geneva indicating that she needed to attend a business meeting for her Uncle Charles. Feeling lost without her, I returned home late that afternoon. By then, I was exhausted but happy. And, most of all, I looked forward to seeing her again.

The following morning while unpacking, I found one of her make up purses in my suitcase and assumed that it had been left there by accident. Setting it aside, I made a mental note to take it to her when she returned from Europe. Later that evening, and for no particular reason, I opened it, my curiosity eventually getting the best of me.

At first, as my fingers roamed about through her various cosmetic items, I felt foolish until I suddenly spotted several nondescript packets tucked neatly into a side pocket of the purse. Looking closer, I soon realized that each packet contained cut diamonds, which I suspected were of high enough quality to necessitate letting some unsuspecting person like me carry through customs.

By the time she phoned to retrieve the purse, I was torn between confronting her or letting the matter pass. Emotionally, I wanted to believe that we actually shared something special.

We met for coffee. “How was Geneva?”

“Very lonely,” she replied, as she sighed deeply. “I missed being with you.” She touched my hand, letting her fingers linger warmly. “You're quite a man. I've never been so exhausted.”

“You have a remarkable way of bringing out the best in me.”

Smiling sweetly, she asked casually, “Did you remember to bring my make up purse?”

I handed it to her. “You should have told me.”

Her eyes turned to mine where they remained for many long moments until they slowly began to lose their luster. Turning away, she took the purse and looked inside, saying quietly, “You wouldn't have agreed.”

I started to reply, but she stood, kissed me softly then walked away, saying only, “Au revior mon amour".

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit have appeared in several professional journals as well as a number of internet sites and short story periodicals.
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