“Oh, yes. I’m excited to be a part of the art community and the charity events.”
“Of course you are. And charities will be a perfect outlet for your energy, since you can’t work there.”
My heart stutters. “What do you mean, I can’t work?”
“You’d need to have gotten a work visa before you left, and it sounds like you didn’t have time for that; and getting a work permit approved is nearly impossible in France. The job market is poor, the art world competitive, and they’re all about keeping the borders restricted. Of course you have Chris as an insider, but all the red tape still takes time.”
How had I not thought of this? Of course I need a work visa, and now I know that is nearly impossible to get.
Katie continues, “It’s going to be inconvenient to have to ly back after ninety days, then turn around and return for the Louvre Christmas event Chris always does, but I’m self-ishly happy about that. We’d like to see the two of you while you’re here.” Her voice softens. “I worry about Chris, Sara, and seeing the two of you together makes me happy. I wasn’t sure he’d ever let himself connect with another person fully again.”
“Again?” I ask.
“He’s had a lot of loss in his life, Sara. It’s not left him unaf-fected.”
I draw in a pained breath. “Yes. I know.”
“Take care of him, honey. Don’t let him convince you he’s so tough he doesn’t need it.”
“I don’t plan to. You have my word.”
The rest of the conversation is a haze, and when I hang up with Katie, I’m not sure what I feel. I’m thankful to be here, but I wish Chris had prepared me for the work situation.
“Hey, baby,” Chris calls out, walking into the bathroom.
“I’m afraid I just got cornered into a meeting tomorrow morning. It’s at a café across the street from the Musée d’Art Mod-erne de la Ville de Paris, so you could go explore and I’ll join 84
you afterward.” He stops in the closet doorway, gives me a quick once-over, and says, “What’s wrong?”
“You said I could get a job and earn a living here, Chris.”
Understanding washes over his face. “You can, baby. You just need an employer to sign of on your work visa.”
“Katie says jobs are hard to ind.”
“You have two options. I can recommend you, and—”
“No.” I shake my head. “I need to do this on my own.”
“Or,” he continues, “you volunteer where you want to work and prove yourself.”
“And to prove myself, I’ll need to speak French.”
“How am I supposed to earn a living?”
“Sara. Baby. You do realize we have plenty of money, right?”
“We don’t have anything, Chris. It’s your money. I have some money from my sales at the gallery, but that won’t last forever. I have to buy a wardrobe here, and I—”
“Sara.” His hands settle on my legs. “I know how hard it is for you to see my money as your money, and that you see this as depending on me. And I know very well that not only have the people you depended on in life let you down, but I also shut you out after Dylan died. That gave you reason to believe I’ll let you down, too, but you can depend on me. And I fully intend to prove that to you.”
Once again, he’s seen what I haven’t in myself. My old demons are back and they’re breathing ire. They tell me that anyone I count on will simply go away at some point. I shove them down into the deep recesses of who I am and don’t want to be anymore, and focus on what’s important. Present. Not past.
“I trust you, Chris, or I wouldn’t be here. You aren’t like anyone else in my life—but that doesn’t change the fact that earning my own living does help me feel that we’re equals.”
“We are equals. Money doesn’t determine worth.”
“It’s about power. You yourself said that.”
He grimaces. “I hate how your father and that bastard Michael made you feel like their money was a weapon in relationships. It’s not, and it’s going to be part of our life, because I intend to always have plenty of it.” He sighs and shakes his head.
“Look. We have a lot before us. Having money shouldn’t be part of that equation, and your inding a job shouldn’t be, either.
I didn’t talk about the work situation because I knew you’d ind opportunities.
“Since we have money, you have the luxury of volunteering at the museums to work your way up to a full-time job if you decide you want it. Or you can buy and sell highly sought-after art from an oice here in the house. You’d basically be doing what you did for Mark at the gallery, but as a consultant. Hell, you could even sell to Mark. Then we could travel, and you could use the trips to hunt for pieces you want to buy.”
My apprehension quickly turns to excitement. “Would I need some sort of international license for that?”
“We can certainly talk to the attorney about it tomorrow.”
“Yes. Please. I love this idea!”
“I’m glad you do, but remember that it’s only one idea. You can explore your options, and you can’t do that when you’re worried about money. I do what I love, and I want you to do what you love. Believe me, it’s going to take restraint for me to 86