In Her Own Spirited Way

Contributor: John Laneri

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Dominique Episode - 2

Moments after walking into the Ritz, I spotted Dominique seated at a table with a group of people, all of whom seemed to be enjoying themselves.

From what I could see, she appeared just as beautiful as I remembered. Only this time rather than a diamond about her neck, I noticed a emerald necklace in its place. As best I could tell, it appeared to be an exquisite piece, featuring a series of stones that blended perfectly with her Parisian flair.

At the time, I was in Paris on business, staying at the same hotel where she and I had once indulged in an explosive twenty-four hour weekend.

Back then, I actually thought that I had met someone special until I later learned that she had exploited our relationship and used me to unknowingly transport a cache of diamonds through customs at New York Kennedy.

Fortunately, I survived the ordeal with only a battered ego.

Finally, after waiting a few minutes, I noticed her move away from the table.

Approaching her, I said, “Dominique.”

She turned about, her features registering a brief moment of recognition before saying, “Oui Monsieur?”

Certain she recognized me, I continued, “It's been a long time.”

“And, you are?” she asked.

“You know who I am.”

“Perhaps, you're mistaking me for another person.”

Determined, I pressed on. “I've wondered if we'd ever meet again.”

She started to take a step away then stopped and turned to me. “It would be best to forget we ever happened.”

“True... but we did happen.”

She took another step then again stopped, her green eyes directed to mine. “I shouldn't have used you like I did.”

“No... you shouldn't have.”

Moments later, she hurried to me and threw her arms about my neck. “I've missed you so very much. Please forgive me,” she said, as her lips eagerly sought mine.

Before long, we were seated in a quiet place, unsure as to why our attraction remained so intense. Once the wine arrived, we spent the next hour talking about anything and everything.

Eventually, I asked, “Do you still work for your uncle?”

“I continue to oversee many of his business interests. Why do you ask?”

“Just curious.”

She reached for her wine and took a small sip. “Please believe me when I say, he forced me to use you as a favor to him. After all, I am a member of his family.”

“Do you still smuggle precious stones for him?”

Surprised by my directness, she replied, “Never... You were the one and only time. He was in a bind, and he threatened me.”

“You do understand that I could have been imprisoned.”

She touched my hand, letting her fingers intertwine mine. “He manipulated me too... he always does. It's his way. What I did was awful, but saying I'm sorry is not enough. How can I make it up to you?”

“By answering an honest question about us.”

She again reached for her wine, letting the glass linger near her lips. “I take it that you want to know why we have such an intense attraction to one another.”

“That would be a good start. We seem to experience something very special whenever we're together.”

“To me, our feelings are real and the intensity almost frightening. Perhaps, we should move slowly.”

She did have a point, so I reached for a menu and changed the subject.

After dinner, we explored the streets of Paris, stopping at various places where we immersed ourselves in fine wines and colorful people. At one point, I even bought her a simple gold necklace at a small shop.

Later that night, we came together like never before. The experience, I have to say, was pure, uninhabited ecstasy. It was as if our spirits had once again reunited into one.

The following morning at breakfast, she settled across from me and reached for a croissant. “You're still quite a man.”

Smiling, I said, “And, you continue to bring out the best in me.”

She laughed pleasantly. “I've been thinking.”

“About what?”

“About us,” she replied, as she leaned closer and kissed my lips. “I don't ever want to be apart again. When your work here is finished, I want to go to New York with you.”

“I'd like that.”

She kissed me again and said, “Just being with you makes me so happy.”

For the remainder of the week, we were seldom apart, our passions constantly igniting at the slightest provocation. It was as if we could not get enough of one another to satisfy the lust we shared together.

On returning to the States, we hurried off the plane, eager to begin our life together. Once we reached baggage though, I soon discovered that my suitcase had disappeared somewhere in transit.

At first, Dominique seemed annoyed. I accepted her response as a normal reaction to travel fatigue. A week later, she grew more agitated, her manner leading me to wonder if she had again used me to carry something of value through customs. I confronted her. She tried to deflect the issue by using the word, 'love' for distraction. We argued, and that was it.

My luggage did eventually arrive after traveling to places unknown and eventually spending several months at a storage warehouse in Brooklyn. By then, Dominique had already returned to Paris.

In the end though, when I unpacked the suitcase, expecting to find several packets of high quality stones, I discovered that everything was exactly as it had been when I departed Paris.

To this day, I still miss the intense attraction we shared together. And, I truly regret letting my suspicions control my emotions, but knowing Dominique, I suspect that she simply moved on and resumed living life in her own spirited way.

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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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