Worry threatens to go wild and explode into all kinds of unproductive directions. What if I hate Paris, when Chris loves it and wants to live here? Even if I convince him to come back to the States, will he feel like I do here? No. No. He likes the States. But still, he wants to be here.
I shake my head. This is nuts. I’m overreacting. Just because I’m not immediately falling in love with Paris doesn’t mean I won’t it in or I won’t like it. I’ll like it with Chris. I’m sure of it. Very sure.
Needing to hear his voice, but knowing that isn’t possible right now, I dig out my phone to text him. That way he can answer when he has a break from his meeting.
Do you eat tartare, aka raw meat?
Hate it, comes his instant reply.
My shoulders relax and I smile at the fast reply and his answer. Snails?
Not a fan.
I’m allergic, I type, not sure I’ve ever told him that.
My phone rings and I feel guilty when I see Chris’s number. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you.”
“You aren’t bothering me. I needed a break from the egos about to blow the doors of the conference room. Where are you?”
“Some restaurant I can’t say the name of. I also can’t read the menu, and I don’t think I’d like it any more if I could.”
“No worries, baby. We Americans living in Paris know all the places to go to get the food we like. It’ll be better when you’re with me.”
He’s right. It will. The part where I’m with him will be wonderful. The rest, though . . . “I know. You’re right.”
There is a brief pause and he says, “You don’t know, do you?”
“You aren’t convincing me.”
“I just don’t love the food so far. It’s nothing more.”
“I don’t love the food, either.”
I watch my brows knit together in the mirror. “You’re so confusing sometimes.” Actually a lot of the time, but I keep that to myself. “If you don’t like the food, why do you want to live here? Food is such a big part of life.”
There is a heavy silence, and then, “Sara—”
He stops at the sound of a male voice speaking rapidly in French. I hear Chris reply to the visitor with a tone that says he’s not pleased, and guilt twists inside me again. I feel shallow and selish for bothering him about unimportant things.
“Sara—” he starts again, but I don’t let him inish.
“I’m sorry. You need to be taking care of business and I’m interrupting you.”
“You aren’t bothering me.”
“I am and I love you, Chris, and I don’t care about raw hamburger. I care about you. Your involvement there means great things for the museum and for your charity. I believe in what you’re doing and in you. Go. Work.”
He hesitates. “You’re sure?”
“I’ll take you to eat someplace you’ll like tonight. Then I’ll take you home and show you how much I missed being with you today.”
Take me home. Oh, how I love those words. Home. Home.
Home. I have one, and it’s with Chris. I smile into the phone.
“Sounds perfect.” Then I toughen my voice. “Now go kick some big egos around, and make them listen to reason.”
“I will.” The relief in his voice tells me he was far more worried about my reaction to Paris than I’d noticed. “I’m not sure what time I’ll get out of here. I’ll call you when I know. I love you, baby.”
We say a quick good-bye and I put my phone away, lean on the sink, and look at myself in the mirror again. This time I see a woman in love, who is eager to explore the world she hasn’t seen with the man in her life. I head back to the table to eat my grilled ham and cheese, which thankfully has no egg on top.
When I glance at the two tables positioned behind my chair, they’re empty and complete with place settings. No one had been sitting there. I silently laugh at myself for my jittery mood.
There was never anyone watching me.
I know why Chris is drawn to Paris when Chantal and I walk through the main entrance of the Hôtel de Ville, or City Hall, a spectacular building resembling a castle that spans several blocks.
This very building and the city itself are a celebration of the art Chris and I both love.
In awe, I step to the side of the doorway and pause to absorb what surrounds me. Everywhere—from the antique furniture and the masterpieces on the walls to the marble loors—there is beauty. What really steals my breath, though, is the spectacular architecture woven with art. White pillars, archways, and inely crafted trim work are frames for intricately drawn paintings on the ceilings and walls.
“This is even more magniicent than the outside,” I murmur. Far more than what I expected of a political oice with a public afairs division.
“There’s a museum here, too, but you have to schedule tours.”
“Really?” I ask excitedly, tearing my gaze from a mural to return my attention to her. “What do you know about it?”
“I hear it has Picassos, but I’m not really into art so I’ve never visited.”
Picasso. I’m in the same building as a Picasso. Just across the city in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa. Oh, yes. I do think Paris can grow on me.
“This way to the marriage license oice,” Chantal says, pointing to an elevator.