A Memory Unchained by Gloria Graham - HTML preview
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Gloria GrahamELDERBERRY PRESS, INC.
Copyright © 2007 Gloria Graham
All rights reserved. No part of this publication, except for brief excerpts for purpose of review, may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of the characters to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Cover art by Kelsy Benedict
ELDERBERRY PRESS, INC. 1393 Old Homestead Drive, Second floor Oakland, Oregon 97462—9506. E MAIL: editor@elderberrypress. com TEL/FAX: 541. 459. 6043 www. elderberrypress. comRED ANVIL books are available from your favorite bookstore, amazon. com, or from our 24 hour order line: 1. 800. 431. 1579
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006939166 Publisher’s Catalog—in—Publication Data A Memory Unchained / Gloria Graham ISBN-13: 978-1-932762-74-7 ISBN-10: 1932762744
3. Christian Romance—Fiction. 4. Fashion Industry—Fiction.
To my Husband, Bob and all my girls who inspired and encouraged this book. Special Thanks To:
Sally Berryman, my Friend and Marketing Mgr.
he delicate old lady with snow white hair sitting next to Pamela counting her prayer beads never missed a beat as the Jumbo Jet broke ground and darted upward. “Oh my,” she gasped. Her wrinkled face grimaced with fear. Pamela reached across the seat and patted the old woman’s shaking hand. “First flight?” she asked, trying to show a great deal of calm herself. The old lady nodded, never skipping a count on her beads!
“Everything will be just fine, try to relax a little.” Pamela’s friendly smile captivated everyone she came into contact with and the shaking little old woman was no exception. She returned her smile a little reluctantly as she asked in her broken English, “Are you Catholic Mon Ami?”
Pamela smiled realizing the old lady was very much a Frenchman. “Baptist,” she answered shaking her head, and smiling again as she said, “Same God.” With that the old lady nodded in agreement and continued her prayers.
Pamela sat quietly looking out the window deep in thought, as New York passed under her and quickly only blue sky was visible.
“Are you visiting someone in my Parie?” the old lady spoke. Pamela turned in her seat to answer her question.
“Not exactly,” she said. “I’m traveling on business. I am a dress designer and I am going to Paris for the new fashion showings.” Pamela shivered as she uttered those words, it was a dream come true.
The Captain’s reassuring voice came over the intercom. They were at altitude and could unbuckle the seatbelts and move about the cabin. Pamela thought how wonderful it was to hear him.
Pamela adjusted her seat back and gave a sigh of relief. The magazine in the pocket in front of her had a beautiful colored picture of the Eiffel Tower on its cover. She smiled as she gently touched the cover. “I’m really on my way and I will see you soon,” she said to herself staring at the picture.
As she closed her eyes she remembered the note her daughter Jill had tucked into her pocket with instructions not to read until she was airborne. She wasted no time in opening it.
Inside the note read, “I love you Mom, have a wonder time. Watch those fabulous Frenchmen!” She added, “Ha Ha. You deserve this trip! Love, Jill”
Leaving Jill was definitely the hard part of the trip. But she was a grown woman now and Pamela hated to admit that. She still liked to think of her as her “little girl.” Jill often had to remind her that she had her own job, her own apartment and doing quite well at college. It hadn’t been long that Jill left for College and the apron strings had to be broken.
Pamela thought of her daughter and the wonderful friendship they had developed since that time. Jill was a young lady with a definite mind of her own. She recalled their conversation just two days before. “Who will keep you in line in Paris Mom if I’m not with you? I think I should go as your chaperone,” she teased. It was a natural thing for Jill to worry about her Mother. She hated her living alone and never doing anything. She knew her Mother was never going to get over the death of her Dad until she began socializing and meeting people again. That’s why this trip to Paris was so important to Jill. This was going to be her Mom’s “coming out again” trip!
“I can’t believe you are actually going to Paris. Maybe you’ll meet some handsome, exciting Frenchman who will sweep you off your feet!” Jill was only half teasing. It was really her dream for her Mom.
“Is that all you ever think about young lady?” Pamela scolded her. She too was only half teasing. Jill was not afraid to tell her Mother her feelings. Pamela had taught her to always be truthful. Jill smiled at her Mother sweetly and replied, “You need to start living again Mom!”
Pamela closed her eyes as the quiet hum of the jet engines filled the air. It was hard to swallow the lump that had developed in her throat as she thought about leaving Jill behind.
“It’s only a month, thirty days, get a hold of yourself,” Pamela thought to herself. It was her “reality” check on herself. She learned that lesson a long time ago from a very famous pastor who reminded her that Jesus suffers when we suffer. He feels our hurts; he knows our thoughts – so talk to him. That was how she had survived this past year without her beloved husband. God came alongside and filled her heart when it was in such pain. Pamela breathed deep and thought, “God is good.” She glanced at the little old lady next to her who seemed to be a little more relaxed. “That’s good,” she smiled.
Pamela jumped as the “fasten your seatbelt” sign went on and the announcement came over the speaker. She felt a few bumps and looked out the window to see a very cloudy sky. Staring out the window Pamela began thinking of how it all happened that she was even on the plane, heading for Paris.
It had only been a few weeks since her boss, J.P. Orland had surprised her with the news of the Paris trip. There had been some very catty remarks going around the office as to why she had been chosen to take this trip. She overheard one of the girls at the copy machine saying, “She’s sleeping with J.P., that’s how she got the trip.” That remark hurt her deeply. She thought she had always tried to present herself in a better light than that!
J.P. was so caught up in his business he wouldn’t give her a second look. She had almost decided to ignore the remark but decided to face it head on. She prayed as she decided just how to approach Sally in a Christian way. This took a lot of prayer on Pamela’s part, she had to get over how she really felt, mad.
The office was the open style with at least 50 desks placed around the room. There was an obvious silence that fell over the room as Pamela walked around Sally’s desk and placed her hand on her shoulder. Sally winced as if she were expecting to be hit.
“Can we go somewhere and talk?” Pamela said in a quiet tone. “I need to clarify something for you and I don’t want to do it out here in front of everyone.” She smiled at Sally.
Sally looked pale but agreed to go with Pamela to the ladies lounge. Pamela could see the pain Sally was going through. She knew what it was all about, that was obvious. It would be so easy to really light in on her, put her in her place, show her who’s boss, but Pamela knew in her heart that would not be right, not the Christian way, not a way she could show she was a Christian.
“Sally,” she said calmly, “I’m so happy to be going to Paris to represent Mr. Orland in this years fashion designs, I know you’re happy for me.” Sally swallowed hard.
Pamela continued, “I don’t know if you know it or not but this was a joyous surprise for me since I hardly know Mr. Orland personally. But I know you know all that. I know how hard it is to keep a secret around here,” she laughed.
Sally laughed a little shyly, dropping her head.
“I would love to bring you something back from Paris, do you like perfume?” she asked.
Sally sputtered as she said, “That would be real nice of you, Miss Pamela.”
“It would be my pleasure, perfume it is. I do hope you will have a wonderful day today, there’s lots to do before I am ready to go. I really appreciate all you do for Orlands and for me especially!”
Pamela leaned close to Sally and whispered in her ear, “The tongue can be a very wicked thing, if not used properly. I really try to remember that.” She smiled at Sally.
“Yes Ma’am, I will remember that too.” She answered sheepishly.
Pamela patted her gently on the shoulder and said, “I will see you when I return.”
Sally was obviously impressed with the way Pamela had taken care of the situation. Tears filled her eyes as she thanked Pamela for understanding.
As Pamela turned and walked away she couldn’t help wonder why J.P. had picked her for this trip. She did have seniority and she was the head of the Fashion Department at Orlands, but J.P. definitely had his favorites and she never saw herself as one of those girls.
Pamela had looked at the ticket she held in her hand that made her trip a reality. She didn’t know why but she was going to the fashion capital of the world, Paris!
Pamela had a few second thoughts as she listened to J.P.’s blistering voice. “Get over there – get the scoop on the fashions for next season! Get us some new ideas! New ideas, that’s what we need,” he spit out the orders never looking around to face her.
Pamela thought to herself, “He wouldn’t recognize me if I ran right into him in the hallway.” She wanted to ask him to turn around but she thought better of it! After all, he was the boss.
She wondered as she began gathering up the things she needed to take with her on the plane how she would ever change J.P.’s conservative ways. She had tried before during this past year as head Fashion Coordinator for Orlands Department Store Chain but it hadn’t worked. He just couldn’t get “modern” and that was really hurting his business. He always laid her ideas aside and took the least line of resistance, staying with designs he was absolutely sure would sell. Now he wanted her to go to Paris and get the “scoop” as he called it. Would he be open to the new ideas she would bring home? She wondered.
The clouds had disappeared and beautiful blue sky was all you could see out the window of the plane. She glanced again at the in-flight magazine and the picture of the Eiffel Tower on the front.
“Are you alright Mon Ami?” The little French lady had been watching Pamela deep in thought. She added quickly, “You are so elegant, your clothes, so lovely. Paris should be honored to have such a guest as you.”
Pamela smiled as the old lady added, “I have never met a celebrity before.”
“Just a very lucky lady,” Pamela answered. She reached over to squeeze the woman’s wrinkled hand that still clutched the prayer beads tightly in them. Pamela had a special feeling for the old lady. It struck her as strange since she just met her. The old lady had a way of making Pamela feel special and a bit important. She had not had that feeling in a long time. Jill always tried, but no one took the place of her late husband.
Tom had a way of doing just that, making her feel special all those twenty-two years. Now, without him so much was missing. She paused and memories began to flood her mind. She felt emptiness, loneliness. She missed having him to depend on. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she sank into her thoughts even more.
She remembered the feel of his warm body close to hers. She loved the salty taste on his lips and shoulders. She felt a knot in her stomach. She hadn’t let her thoughts go back in a long time. Now she quickly wiped away the tears and realized again how much she missed his warm, loving understanding.
She began working with her notebook, shuffling all the papers she had to go over but it seemed to be for no purpose. “Will this terrible feeling ever go away?” She remembered the bible verse Pastor Smith had given her to hang onto, Proverbs 5:3, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your pathway straight.” She sighed, feeling much better. “I have almost worn that verse out. I wonder if God ever gets tired of my repetition?” She knew the answer to that before she said it. He doesn’t.
“Where did that itinerary go anyway?” she muttered to herself trying to get her mind off her memories.
She began to read:
Monday: 9:00 AM – Rex Dupar’s office.
2:00 PM – Lunch at Care Deux-Magets – Left Bank.
“Hum,” she whispered, “Rex Dupar, the most eligible bachelor and most sought after designer in all of Paris and I get to have lunch with him.” Pamela’s pulse raced with excitement. “He has to be very tall, thin and just a touch of gray hair around his temples.” At least that was the picture she had of him in her mind.
As she shuffled her papers, an envelope caught her eye. “Another good-luck message from Jill?” she wondered as she ripped it open. If she hadn’t been in such a hurry she might have realized from the return address that the envelope was from Jeff Desmond!
She began to read: “Good Luck! I’ll be waiting for you. Sorry about everything. Lets start over. I love you, signed Jeff.”
Pamela paused. She read the message over and over. Then she accidentally repeated the message out loud. She shook her head in disbelief.
“Start Over? Not a chance! Who does he think he is anyway?”
Pamela was embarrassed when she noticed everyone turning around to see what the commotion was all about. Her face flushed. She glanced at the little old lady and was glad she had fallen asleep. She quickly pulled the magazine over her face and scrunched lower in the seat, hoping no one would notice her.
“He is so full of himself it’s down right disgusting!” she mumbled quietly to herself. “Count to ten, count to ten,” she reminded herself. “Why am I always counting to ten when it comes to Jeff?” she sighed again, pretending to read the magazine.
It wasn’t long before her thoughts drifted back to their first kiss. Her hands began to perspire as she remembered how powerful, yet sweet and loving that kiss was. Jeff was about the biggest catch of the season. He had looks, money, and was single. Every woman had her eye on the single heartthrob of the year! The gossip columnists had a field day with him.
Pamela closed her eyes and reminded herself that was not what she was looking for. She wanted more, a deep, caring relationship built on faith and trust, a relationship like she had with her late husband. “I don’t think that would ever be possible with this ‘man of the world’,” she sighed.
She tried to push the thought of Jeff Desmond out of her mind. “It’s over, finished!” she whispered. The handsome department store manager was a closed subject.
Pamela began tearing the note in tiny shreds. By this time the little French lady moved her wrinkled hand across the seat and patted her hand. “It will be alright,” she smiled. Pamela realized she had probably heard the sighs and the paper tearing but really needed someone to give her a little comfort at that moment.
Pamela reached across the arm of the seat and gave the old woman a kiss on the cheek. The thought crossed her mind, “A kiss is the same in any language!”
The “Fasten Your Seatbelt” sign came on. People began buckling their belts as the steward announced, “We will be arriving in Paris in a few minutes.” Pamela glanced out the window to see the land appear below. Her heart began to flutter as she anticipated what would be happening next.
She watched as the bags began to circle the ramp. It was a good feeling to see her bags come around. “One, two, three,” she counted. They were all there! “Yes,” she smiled.
As she looked around, nothing looked familiar. The signs, all in French, made her realize more than ever that she was the foreigner in this country. She opened her book to try and translate! This was not a simple task. It seemed to take hours to find out how to say, “where is the…”
Just as she began to feel very frustrated, a very French voice startled her. “Ms. Thornton?” he asked.
“Yes.” She whirled around to see a very tall, handsome Frenchman stood smiling at her.
“Oh,” she said, sounding a bit like a schoolgirl lost on her first day at high school. “Did Mr. Dupar send you?”
“Oui,” he answered. His French accent was very evident. She knew that it meant, “Yes.”
“Thank heavens! I was beginning to feel very lost! I really didn’t know what to do next!” She smiled and he smiled back. She was sure he didn’t understand one word she said!
She pointed to the beautiful aqua bags that were on the ground beside her. “These are mine.”
“This way mademoiselle,” he said as he led the way through the crowded lobby to the exit doors. A maroon limousine pulled alongside the entrance. The chauffeur jumped out quickly and opened the door for her. He turned to look at the handsome Frenchman, “Your car Mr. Dupar,” he said. Bowing a bit.
Pamela looked shocked! “Dupar?” she quizzed.
“Rex Dupar, at your service Chéri.” He bowed slightly too and laughed.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” Her face turned a bright pink which made her blue eyes sparkle even brighter.
“How wonderful, a woman who can still blush!” he smiled.
“I feel so foolish, I never expected a busy man like you to meet me,” she had a perplexed look on her face. Pamela had wanted his first impression of her to be one of elegance and refinement. She knew she had just blown that away.
“Please, do not be embarrassed, it is I who should apologize. It was a little joke, but perhaps not a very good one?” He raised his eyebrows a bit waiting for a response.
“It’s really okay, it was really a good joke on me.” She smiled.
“Mon Ami, you are so very kind. Do forgive my little joke and let me repay it. If you will allow me, tomorrow I shall show you my Paris!” He bowed again.
“That would be wonderful, I can’t wait.” Her excitement was evident in her voice.
“You have not seen Paris until you see it with a French man!” he laughed.
Pamela didn’t feel like going to bed, even though the clock on the wall said it was time. She glanced at her watch and was reminded of the time difference. “Jet lag, that’s what I have, jet lag.” She smiled as she began changing the time on her watch. She was completely mixed up and the excitement she felt finally got the best of her. She whirled around in a circle repeating over and over, “Can this really be happening to me? Paris?” When she finally settled back to the job of unpacking, she thoughtfully thanked God for making all of this possible. “God is so good,” she whispered and then followed it with the saying she had grown up with in church, “all of the time.”
Pamela had just finished hanging the last of her clothes in the closet when there was a knock at the door.
Puzzled, she opened the door. A short, pale-faced man stood holding a huge bouquet of yellow roses.
“Oh, for me?” She said in surprise.
“Oui Mademoiselle.” He handed the bouquet to Pamela waiting for her response.
“Oh yes, the tip,” she sputtered as she tried to find her purse in the mess she had still laying on the bed. She opened her purse and grabbed a handful of coins. She had no idea how much each coin represented. The deliveryman smiled and acted very grateful. As Pamela closed the door she wondered how much she had given him. “I must learn this money,” she muttered. Pamela smelled the roses and pulled the card from the holder.
The enclosure read:
MISS YOU ALREADY!
I WAS FOOLISH.
FORGIVE ME FOR BACK BAY.
“I can’t believe him. He knows how I feel about Back Bay Harbor.” Her jaw flexed as she read the note over and over. She couldn’t imagine how he could stoop so low, to refer to her hideaway overlooking Back Bay Harbor, Maine. Jeff was bringing out feelings of anger, rejection, and disappointment. She had just gotten over all of that but at that moment they came flooding back!
Jeff had shaken her, unsettled her emotions. Emotions that she thought she would never have again. “How can I ever be free to love again?” She sobbed as thoughts of Jeff came flooding back in front of her eyes. She remembered how Jeff held her close in his arms so firm and loving. She remembered the touch of his lips on hers and the warm glow she felt.
Pamela regained her composure and muttered to herself. “Never again! He’s no good for me, I know it!” she began a conversation with herself. “How could I have been so taken in? Didn’t Tom’s memory deserve better?” Pamela felt pangs of guilt sweep over her. She tossed the card into the wastebasket but couldn’t bring herself to discard the roses. Pamela softly touched one of the petals as she thought about Jeff Desmond, a man she needed to forget! She quietly prayed, “Help me God, I’m so weak and he is so handsome!”
The next morning bright and early Rex was at the door. Paris was everything she had dreamed of and with Rex as her guide it was especially wonderful. She had a hard time taking in all the sights as Rex pointed out the different sights. She loved the tree lined streets and all the artists painting along the banks of the Seine. She had seen movies of these places all her life but to be there in person was special.
“Over there,” he pointed to the Eiffel Tower jetting up into the sky. “Would you like to go up inside?” he asked. Pamela hesitated, “Well if it’s all the same to you I would rather not. I am not too good with heights and I am still trying to get my feet on the ground from that long flight,” she smiled.
“I understand completely,” he smiled back. Rex motioned for his chauffer to stop the car so they could get out.
“Let’s walk a while, you can do some window shopping!” Rex knew what every woman wanted, Shopping!
Pamela was in 7th heaven. They walked down the treelined street to the end, not missing a store. She had piled presents up on Rex’s arms so high he couldn’t hold one more. They began to laugh as he bent down to retrieve one of the gifts off the top of the pile.
“I think I’d better quit,” she laughed. “I don’t think there is an empty spot in your car!”
Rex motioned for his limousine to pick them up. The chauffeur had been driving slowly following them as they walked. “One more thing you must do Chéri, toss a coin into the river,” he handed her a coin. “We shall drive to a spot you can do that!” he said, giving the driver instructions.
“I guess you want me to make a wish, right?” She held the coin tightly in her hand thinking of what she should wish.
“One thing for sure, Chéri, once you do that the magnetic love of Paris will bring you back again!” Rex sounded very sure of that fact.
“It’s all so wonderful, like I am having a beautiful dream. I don’t want to wake up!” She sighed.
“We have seen so much today, I can hardly keep it all straight!” She smiled.
“I am afraid I have tired you,” he said as he took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders. “You are having a chill. It gets very cold as the sun begins to set.”
Pamela couldn’t help remember her daughter’s words, “Maybe you will meet a handsome Frenchman!” A tiny smile crossed her lips.
“You are thinking something funny?” he asked.
“Well,” she stammered, wondering if she should really be telling him how she felt.
“You sound a bit uppity,” she paused watching for some kind of expression on Rex’s face. “You know, stuck on yourself.” Rex looked puzzled.
“Oh, as you American’s say, a Jerk!” he smiled.
“Well, yes, I guess that’s what I was trying to say,” she gulped.
Rex broke out in a loud uncontrolled laughter. Pamela stared at him waiting for his next remark.
“Perhaps, a few years ago, Chéri, Oui, - but not anymore. My success has been sweet and rewarding but also very humbling. I learned the hard way that no man is an island and certainly no man becomes a designer without a lot of friends to help him along the way!” He smiled and continued, “I am so fortunate to have many good friends and I feel I have again met another good friend today!” He bowed gently and kissed her hand.
“I feel that way too,” she placed her hand on top of his.
“Tomorrow I have someone I want you to meet. He is a very special friend of mine. Someone who can help you here in Paris!” he said.
“I would consider that an honor,” she replied graciously.
“He’s young, handsome and a very ambitious man. He is also an American in Paris!” He smiled.
“That’s wonderful. When do I get to meet this fellow American?” she asked.
“I shall plan a small dinner party for you, then you shall meet Grant Mondane. He has control of one of the largest chains of department stores in Europe. He is only thirty and is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in all of Europe!”
“Sounds very impressive. Actually, just about right for my daughter!” She laughed. “She just turned 21.” “I know you mentioned your daughter but there is no way you have a daughter 21!” He looked shocked. “My you do know all the right things to say Mr. Dupar!” she teased, making a polite nod.
“All I can say, Chéri, if she is as beautiful as her mother well—ooh lala!” He smiled.
“You are so good for my ego, and I do thank you for the compliment. Jill is truly beautiful inside and out and the love of my life,” Pamela added quickly.
“And your husband, Chéri, is he also the love of your life?” Rex watched her face. Pamela paused and looked down for a long moment not speaking.
“Forgive me, Chéri, I am intruding,” his voice cracked with embarrassment.
“No need to feel that way,” she smiled softly, “My husband passed away last year very suddenly. I was completely devastated. I thought my life was over. This is the first time I have been away since then.”
“I am so sorry, Chéri,” he said softly.
“Jill loved her father as much as I did. The loss was hard for both of us. But, she was young and had an exciting life in college so she has been able to go on. For me it was not so easy. One very good thing came out of this tragedy. My daughter and I have become closer than ever. We are very good friends.”
“How very lucky you are to have her,” he smiled and added, “Will Jill be joining you in Parie?”
“I wish she could but she is very busy with her schooling. She makes sure she comes home on vacations and summer but not often enough for me,” Pamela sighed.
Pamela couldn’t believe she had opened up so quickly to Rex. It was not like her to share her feelings so openly with anyone, especially regarding her late husband. She took a deep breath and waited for Rex to speak.
“You miss your husband very much don’t you Chéri?”
“More than I can ever say. His memory is with me constantly. We were married twenty-three years,” Pamela’s eyes showed the sadness she felt inside. “We were constant companions. It was a very special relationship.” She paused a moment and then continued, “It was an unselfish love. He always wanted the best for me and I wanted the same for him. I do miss him so,” her voice trailed off.
Rex touched her hand softly. His understanding was electric. Pamela felt that electricity and knew she had a new friend in Rex.
That evening Pamela was still remembering the conversation with Rex and how the memories were flooding back even as she had tried to put it all behind her. Just talking with Rex about it made it all seem as if it were yesterday. She felt alone and sad as she sat in the hotel room. Her life had changed so much this past year. She hated it without her Tom.
Where had the years gone? There were so many things left undone, so many things they planned to do together. Pamela slipped into deep thought.
Pamela thought back to the day she married her Tom. It seemed so long ago and yet as only yesterday. Her thoughts reeled as she remembered the day she spotted Tom across the hallway from her design class in High school. She recalled how she always made a special detour so Tom could get a good look and give a wolf whistle so she would look around.
Pam had a special little twist of her hips and a toss of her long black hair that caused the guys to turn around. Tom was no exception. With Tom she always managed to give him an enticing smile.
Tom was on the varsity football team as an end and Pamela was a majorette so when the season started they found themselves together. Tom had been just an average player but Pamela thought he was the only one on the team. Tom spent time watching her as she pranced around, twirling her baton to the music of the school band.
Pamela recalled how she almost gave up on Tom. He was so shy she wondered if he would ever get up the courage to ask her for a date. When he finally asked her out, she about fainted.
Pamela smiled as she remembered that first date. She loved the way Tom always teased about that first date and their courting days. His favorite remarks were, “I was a real nerd I think. Never dated before, a real backward kid.”
Pamela remembered too what a change came over Tom when she got him to go to youth group at the church with her. It wasn’t long until Tom was the favorite of everyone. They shared the same faith and God smiled on them as a couple from the very beginning.
Pamela wanted to stop remembering but the memories just kept coming back. She could see Tom pulling into her driveway for their first date. His cute customized Chevrolet, the one he worked on constantly, made her heart skip a beat.
Her parents liked him right away. “Home by twelve,” her dad reminded them as they went out the door.
“Sure thing Sir,” Tom answered firmly. They were home by twelve she recalled. Pamela realized she was in love before Tom did. It took him a while to realize he couldn’t live without her. Tom didn’t know it but Pamela had her mind made up from the moment she laid eyes on him. He was doomed! Tom and Pamela dated for a year before he asked her to marry him.
Pamela’s eyes were filled with tears of joy when Rex’s voice made her jump. “You have been away in your thoughts, Chéri,” Rex sat quietly in the chair next to her.
“Forgive me,” she smiled.
“What shall we do tomorrow Chéri?” he asked, realizing it was time to change the mood of the moment.
“I would love to see your salon and some of your designs. Is that possible, or do you worry that I’m a spy?” she flashed him a questioning look.
“For you Chéri, anything is possible. We shall have our very own showing of my most beloved designs. Tomorrow it is!” He bent over and kissed her hand softly.
Pamela waved as Rex’s limousine pulled away from the curb. “How lucky I am to have this new friend!” she sighed as she walked toward the hotel steps. A gust of wind caught her skirt and in that very moment she felt a sudden loneliness overwhelm her.
he alarm woke Pamela just in time to hear a loud knock on the door. She grumbled as she headed for the door. She peeked through the small hole to see Rex Dupar standing there, impatiently shifting from one foot to the other.
Opening the door, she began to apologize. “I’m so sorry, I must have overslept,” she yawned, as Rex entered the apartment.
“Jet lag, it’s called,” he laughed. “No need for apologies, just get yourself ready to do the town, Chéri! We are going to need every moment we have in this day for you to take in my Parie!”
Pamela walked slowly out of the room toward the bedroom. “Why don’t you start the coffee, that will save us time,” she smiled. Rex headed towards the coffee pot sitting on the chest.
“Tea, Chéri, Tea! What am I going to do with you? You are in Parie and it’s Tea!” he laughed.
“Okay, okay, Tea. Guess I will get used to this place sooner or later,” she laughed.
Rex began his tour immediately as the limousine left the curb. He pointed out everything as they passed it but Pamela found it hard to keep her eyes open. The jet lag was really taking hold.
“I hope we can re-do some of this tour later when I wake up,” she laughed. “I hate missing anything!”
They pulled up in front of a very ornate building and stopped. Jason, the chauffer, opened the door as Pamela exclaimed, “What a beautiful building!” Jason nodded his head in agreement.
“Come Chéri, I have a surprise for you,” Rex took her hand and they walked up a long, long flight of stairs. “Now you will see where I spend all my time!” he said as he opened the door to his office.
Rex’s office took Pamela’s breath away. His monetary success as one of Paris’ foremost designers was evident immediately. “Oh my, it’s beautiful, absolutely gorgeous,” she sighed.
“Mi Chéri, this is just the beginning. Come sit down and prepare for your real surprise.” Rex ushered her to the plush, velvet Chippendale armchair sitting in a room just off the main office.
The room was beautifully decorated in gold velvet and bright royal blue. There was a runway that filled the center of the room with a small stage at the front. Gold velvet curtains were drawn and the distant sound of music filled the room.
“And now for your surprise, Chéri.”
The curtains parted as Rex announced, “The first showing of my latest creations, just for you Chéri.” He sat down beside her and she leaned close to him and whispered, “I feel so special. But are you sure you trust me?
“You are! And I do!” he smiled.
Runway music began as the models paraded in front of them, each wearing one of Rex’s newest original fall creations. Watching each model glide elegantly across the plush apricot carpeted ramp caught her breath. A very tall elegant model moved toward her. The look on Pamela’s face was one of shock. Her eyes lit up as if she had seen a ghost!
Rex watched her as the girl in the blue chiffon under lace gown swirled in front of her, dipping and twirling slowly. The back of the gown dripped with white sparkling diamonds, each one catching a special color of the rainbow as she walked. It was a dazzling dress, a showstopper.
Pamela watched intently, she couldn’t help but drift off to another time, another day, another chained up memory, a delicate, beautiful memory too long ago, yet as if it were yesterday. As the model swirled around and around, she remembered the time she and her husband Tom celebrated together.
Tom had held her close as they danced. She wore what came to be his favorite dress, the blue chiffon, with sparkling rhinestones shimmering down her back. She had picked it out especially for this special occasion. It was their anniversary.
They had made plans to spend their 20th wedding anniversary in Paris but as the summer came closer it was evident to them both they could not be away from their business that long, so Paris had to wait.
“Sorry Baby,” Tom had said in his very straightforward, loving way. “We’re going on vacation, I promise, somewhere a little closer, maybe up the coast,” he smiled. He looked so pathetic and apologetic that Pamela had agreed quickly.
Pamela sank deeper into her silence of memories as she watched the model glide back and forth across the runway. Even the music seemed the same. She sank deeper into her memories.
The vacation Tom spoke of happened in October of that year. It was a beautiful fall and they were basking in the beauty of New England and it’s masterpiece of colors. Each colorful leaf had seemed to reflect the glow of love they had for each other. It had turned out to be a second honeymoon, not in Paris, but in the small, quaint beauty of the Coast of New England.
Pamela could feel Tom’s nervousness as he turned at the road sign that read, “Back Bay Harbor.”
“Okay baby, close your eyes tight,” he instructed her, “No peeking!” He sounded so excited. Pamela closed her eyes as her heart began to beat a little faster in anticipation.
“Okay, open your eyes,” he said.
Pamela opened her eyes to see a small cottage that sat right on the cliff overlooking the ocean. “Where are we?” she asked, sighing a little as her eyes took in the beautiful view and soft breeze of the ocean hitting her face.
“We’re at our home away from home!” he smiled.
“Don’t kid me Tom, you know I don’t like jokes!” she frowned.
“Well it needs a little work, but it’s ours!” he said, “Happy Anniversary baby!” Pamela’s eyes filled with tears of joy, as she squealed and threw herself into his arms, kissing him continuously on his face and neck.
“Surprised ya, huh!” he laughed. Tom knew this was her dream, to have a place of their own at the beach.
“Come on lets look the place over. See, we are on a cul-de-sac, on this hill with lots of ground,” he pointed to the path that lead to a private beach below.
“It’s perfect, just perfect,” she sighed.
“Wait until you see inside, come on,” Tom had been so excited and now he was getting the joy of watching Pam begin all the plans that would make the little cottage like home.
Pamela remembered all the fun they had fixing up the beach house. They hung wallpaper and painted, purchased new furniture and picked out just the right dishes to match everything. She remembered how much it felt like starting all over again, falling in love again.
The beach house had filled a void in Pamela’s life. She needed something to help occupy her time after Jill left for college and Tom had been busy with the business. The cottage had been just the ticket. She and Tom spent time enjoying their honeymoon cottage overlooking the bay.
As the model glided across the runway to the exit, Pamela remembered the final day following Tom’s death when she closed up the beach house. Tom had been gone a year and life had lost all meaning. The joy of the little cottage was gone and Pamela’s life seemed to be at an end. She left everything just as it was the last time they spent together at the cottage on Back Bay Harbor.
“I know you are definitely in another world my Chéri, but do you really like the blue chiffon that well?” Rex knew she was in another world watching the presentation of the blue chiffon.
Pamela jumped as Rex offered her his handkerchief. “My beautiful blue creation is quite moving but not worth your tears, Mi Chéri!” he joked.
“I will go and get the other gowns organized. Please sit and relax until I return,” he excused himself. The memories Pamela had experienced had not left her mind. She had returned to the beach house. This time it was the very first time they stayed in the beautifully redecorated home. This night was to be a get acquainted party for them at the clubhouse. She had been undecided on what to wear. As usual she had tried on at least three outfits and none seemed right. “What on earth shall I wear?” she finally asked Tom. “Why do you ask me? You will wear the first thing you tried on!” he laughed. Then he yelled back, “Wear that blue one, you know my favorite!”
“That one is a little fancy don’t you think?” She called back.
“Hey, we want the neighbors to see you at your best.”
“Okay, blue chiffon it is!” she said with a lilt in her voice.
Tom had been waiting for her on the balcony when she came down the stairs. He was speechless for a moment.
“You are beautiful, that’s for sure.”
Tom kissed her sweetly.
“My hair, Tom,” she nudged him gently away. “What would you say to staying home tonight?” Pamela smiled. “What will our neighbors think?”
“Who cares?” he insisted. “This is our place, our time together!” He pulled her close and she melted into his arms. She forgot about her hair, her dress, everything except loving Tom.
His kiss stirred up the desire that he always managed to make her feel. The oneness they felt flowed between them. Since a cool breeze flowed into the room, whipping the drapes about.
“It’s like a kiss, the breeze,” he whispered softly.
“Oh yes,” she murmured.
“It’s like my kiss for you, beautiful and unending,” he whispered softly. Pamela felt the winds of love.
As the moon spilled its soft iridescent glow around the bedroom, it had been a new beginning for them. Their love had taken on a new dimension, a second honeymoon. Only this time each one knew what to do to make it special. A gift of love shared by two.
She was lost in those memories when Rex called her name! She flinched. She was back to reality.
“Are you with me?”
She quickly answered him. “They are wonderful, every design is a masterpiece!”
“And especially the blue chiffon I would guess!” He smiled, “I saw the look on your face.” She hadn’t hidden anything from him!
“Just a memory,” she managed to say.
The fashion show Rex had arranged for her was like a professional production! She could have been more attentive, if it hadn’t been for the exquisite blue chiffon gown captivating her thoughts.
“Now let me show you more of my beautiful Paris, outside this clothing department!” Rex took her arm and led her out of his salon to the waiting maroon limousine.
“It’s easy to see why you Frenchmen say you’ll fall in love with Paris!” Pamela pointed to the small sidewalk café with freshly painted tables and chairs and bright colored umbrellas.
“How do you manage to live through this traffic every day?” She caught her breath as three automobiles came directly toward them, dodging and turning abruptly into separate lanes!
“It’s the worse mess I’ve ever seen and no one gets hit!” She shook her head in amazement.
Rex continued their trip around the city.
“And this is the Louvre, we shall tour it next,” Rex pointed to the very drab gray but ornate building ahead.
All the buildings began to look alike to Pamela. Every building had its huge columns adorning an endless climb of stairs and more stairs!
After hours of walking, Pamela’s feet felt as if she had walked a thousand miles! Rex was still in high gear as they toured the endless rooms of the Louvre.
“You go ahead, I’m going to sit down and wait for you!” she insisted.
Rex walked on to an area that intrigued him. Pamela watched as a large tour group gathered in front of her. The guide was explaining, “And this room is the room of statues,” he said pointing to the room she was resting in.
The guide’s words jolted her memory.
She heard them the day the real estate agent brought his client to view her beach house. She really had not wanted to sell. But he hounded her, insisting it would bring quite a price! Tom had left her with a small insurance policy making it necessary for her to work.
When the couple arrived with the agent, Pamela agreed to stay out of the way. It wasn’t until the woman commented loudly on the bad taste in wallpaper that she interrupted! They had not been concerned about her feelings. Her temper got the best of her.
She promptly ushered them to the door, informing them the house was no longer for sale! They left with their mouths still hanging open!
It was at that moment the shock of returning to her beach house was gone. Tom’s memory flooded the room. She felt his presence, his love surrounding her, comforting her.
It was a good feeling. She realized that she needed to keep their place and his memory a part of her life.
She would never love any other man, she thought, as she reveled in her memories. The time since Tom’s death had been long and lonely, and not long enough to forget!
The Parisian guide ushered his tourists on. “And in this room..,” he began. Pamela chuckled watching the group of Japanese tourists pass by with all the different expensive cameras. “Just like home!” she thought.
She looked around her. The room was filled with male statues twelve feet tall, of white plaster and without a stitch on! She blushed.
“If Jill could see me now with all these men!” she laughed. Jill had been avid about the recluse her mother had become. “You’ve got to get out, be with people again, start dating! Please Mom!” she insisted.
Pamela knew Jill meant well, but it wasn’t so easy for a woman of forty to begin the dating scene again. “I will, I will,” Pamela promised Jill. “I’ll really try to get out.”
“You know dad would never have wanted you to be this lonely – you know that!” Jill had never mentioned that fact to Pamela before. She was right, Pamela knew it, but it wouldn’t be easy for her to start over. In fact she was scared to death.
For the past year and a half she had buried herself in her work, designing clothes, working late until she fell into bed exhausted, too tired to care about anything!
She thought about Janice Monroe. It had been at her recommendation that she landed her job at Orlands Department Store. She owed her one, she reminded herself!
Pamela smiled and waved as Rex across the huge room in the Louvre. Rex waved as he wandered into another alcove. Rex told her he never got bored in the old historic museum. Each visit always turned up something he had never seen before.
“No wonder,” she laughed. “This place is huge. I’ve never seen anything like it!”
She leaned back against the hard bench. Her thoughts were of Janice again, how she really owed her not one but two. It was her dinner party that pushed her back into the dating world.
When the gold engraved envelope popped up on Pamela’s desk, she had tried to ignore it. When she finally opened it, the gold words jumped out.
SATURDAY – 8:00 PM.
MONROE ESTATES, EAST BOSTON ROAD. RSVP
Pamela had laughed out loud. “I finally made her list! Well I’ll be!” she thought. It hadn’t been so many years ago Janice Monroe wouldn’t give Pamela Thornton, Designer, the time of day.
Pamela remembered her refusal to take a dress she had designed for her. It made her look fat, she snapped! She had saved their relationship by taking her to the stockroom and letting her pick anything she wanted. She was pleased as punch! Little did she know that there were a dozen more just like it on the rack. From that day on Pamela could do no wrong in Janice’s eyes.
Pamela laid the gold invitation aside. Jill’s words vibrated in her head. “Get out a little Mom, you’re working too hard!”
The weekend before had been hard on Pamela. Entering the beach house again for the first time since Tom’s death, then Jill’s insistence she get back into circulation. She had second thoughts about Janice’s party and had almost decided not to attend when the phone rang.
“Hi Mom, what’s new?”
Jill’s voice always made her day. She missed her daughter. But she would never let her know how much or Jill would move home in a minute. College for Jill had been her dad’s fondest wish.
“How about if I come down this weekend and we go shopping?”
The whole world looked brighter to Pamela. Just the thought of seeing Jill made it that way!
Pamela tried to put Janice’s party invitation out of her mind. But every time she shuffled through her papers, there it was, staring her in the face!
When she told Jill about the invitation, she was delighted. She bubbled with excitement as she began her plans. “You have to go,” she insisted.
“Now,” she said, “You need a new hairstyle, something short and bouncy, and maybe something to cover the little gray hairs. Let me think on it Mom. I’ll figure out something scrumptious for you to wear!” Pamela laughed and agreed to think about it.
She finally decided to go. “Besides, what could she lose at forty? She assured herself.
Pamela had answered the RSVP and Janice gushed with sweetness.
Pamela could still hear the drawl of Janice’s d-a-r-l-in-g!
That night Jill’s call woke Pamela!
“Do you know what time it is young lady?” she yawned.
“Sure Mom, but listen. I have a surprise for you, I’m going to design your dress for the party!” she paused, “On the order of the blue chiffon Dad liked so well, but more modern!” Jill waited for Pamela’s response. Pamela was especially proud of Jill’s design ability. She would be graduating with honors. How could she discourage her now?
“My blue chiffon with rhinestones?” Pamela hesitated.
“We can use the trim off one of your other gowns, or the rhinestones off the blue, you know which one don’t you?”
Pamela knew. She would have preferred to leave that one in the closet, sealed with her memories, but she would never discourage Jill.
“It sounds elegant, I’ll be the hit of the party in my own daughter’s creation!” Pamela beamed with pride already.
“I’m still not sure I should go, but,” her voice trailed off. “You’ll have fun, don’t be an old fuddy-duddy, you hear! Try to have fun. You need it. Now you call for that hair appointment, please!”
Jill had actually made Pamela feel excited about the party. When she hung the phone up she realized she hadn’t ever asked about Jill’s new boyfriend.
Pamela worried about her. She wanted her to find a love like she and Tom had shared, a love built on trust and caring. Jill seemed to be searching for Mr. Right!
Pamela looked around the immense room of the Louvre again. “Yes,” she thought, “If Jill could only see me now.” She was thinking about all the male statues around her when Rex walked toward her. He smiled.
“I know this is the work of the masters, but…” she hesitated. Rex laughed. “You are blushing again Mon Chéri. Enough sightseeing for today!” He laughed again.
“I think so, I could use one of those beautiful sidewalk cafés right now!”
“As you wish, just across the square,” he pointed toward the corner.
“I’ve never walked so much in my life. My legs are killing me!” She rubbed her calves as they relaxed in the small cafe.
Rex laughed as he suggested, “Now, about the party I’m having. Will tomorrow night be alright?” Rex looked delighted with himself.
“What have you got up your sleeve? You look a little devilish!”
“Just a few friends – to meet you!”
“Tomorrow will be fine. I should be able to walk again by then.” She smiled as the waiter placed a delicious smelling bowl of pottage in front of her. Where else but in Paris would a bowl of soup look and smell so delicious!
Pamela had trouble falling asleep. Her sightseeing trip through Paris had been exhausting. She wondered what Rex had planned for the next day. She glanced at the roses on the dresser from Jeff, still blooming beautifully.
It hadn’t been very long ago she had attended Janice’s party. She could replay every moment in her thoughts. Her eyes closed as she remembered that special time.
It had been a perfect evening for a party! The sky was blue, crisp, and clear. Every star sparkled like a faceted diamond. The moon looked like a giant light bulb dangling in the sky. Pamela stood for a long moment at the entrance before she rang the door chimes. She took a deep breath and wondered again if she should turn around and run while she still could.
She remembered how the butler had answered the door before she could turn around. She hesitated as she slowly handed him the gold engraved invitation. Walking slowly into the brightly lit dining room, she could feel the eyes and see the heads turn as she passed by. She felt like her blue chiffon was making a hit! She caught sight of Janice making her way through the crowd toward her. She breathed a sigh of relief seeing a familiar face!
Janice began bubbling all over her.
“Oh, Pamela, how wonderful you look, your cocktail dress, it’s exquisite! I must talk to you later about designing one for me!” She paused just long enough to take a breath. “But now I have too many people I want you to meet, come.”
She took Pamela by the arm, pushing their way through the crowd! Pamela wondered why the buddy-buddy act? Janice acted like they were long lost friends. She followed along thinking, “There is no sense ruining a perfectly good evening. Besides my dress may just gather a few more customers for “Orlands,” thanks to Jill!”
Before Janice wandered on to the next group of important people, she whispered in Pamela’s ear.
“Is that dress your own creation?”
Pamela paused for a moment.
“Well, it’s all in the family,” she said, thinking to herself that Jill wouldn’t mind her omitting a long explanation!
“You must design something for me! It’s utterly sublime.” She was gushing with admiration and envy.
“It would be a pleasure. Please, come in anytime. We should be able to do something very nice for you.” Pamela smiled.
It was gratifying to know she looked good. This outing had cost her a lot of time and money trying to look just that way. Tonight she definitely felt elegant and Jill had seen to that.
Pamela circulated slowly, talking with the different business people she knew and the women she had done fashion creations for. Everyone who was anyone in Boston society was present. Janice had outdone herself. Her parties were always spectacular!
Pamela had been trapped by one of her competitors and was becoming bored with his boastful talk when Janice took her by the arm and rescued her. She pulled Pamela aside and whispered there was someone she wanted her to meet.
“Thank you, anything would be better than old boring!” she laughed.
“Come, you must meet him!”
“He’s been watching you all evening,” she said, whispering softer. She followed Janice toward the terrace to a group of small intimate tables. As they worked their way through the crowd Pamela noticed the very handsome man sitting at the far table. He was definitely worth a second look she thought. She didn’t have time for another look; they were headed straight for his table. Pamela felt her face flush. She wondered if the heat was on or if it was just her? She smiled as Janice introduced her.
“Jeff, this is Pamela Thornton.” Janice smiled and finished her introduction. Pamela felt she was really buttering her up for something.
“Really?” he said in a deep voice. “Maybe I’ll just steal you from Orlands.” His silver blue eyes sparkled as he talked.
Janice ignored his entire conversation and interrupted with, “Jeff owns a string of department stores, Desmonds of New York. How many now Jeff?” she said.
He looked embarrassed!
“Oh, a couple or so, and I can always use another sharp designer!” He smiled at Pamela and took her hand and led her out of Janice’s clutches!
“Well,” he said, “that’s a relief. That woman tends to get on my nerves, money or not!”
They both laughed. Pamela couldn’t keep her eyes off his. They were as blue as the sky with a glint of silver every now and then. When he looked at her she felt as if he could hypnotize her easily!
As the evening progressed they took longer glances at each other, as if a veil between them were being lifted slowly. They danced at a proper distance to every slow dance and talked through the fast ones.
It was becoming evident that Jeff Desmond was interested in her! She couldn’t remember feeling this kind of excitement in a long time. It was a feeling she had tucked away! For over a year she had suppressed the desire for a man but now she had met someone who stirred up that old feeling. It scared her!
“Silly,” she thought. “Only moonstruck teenagers feel this way.” Pamela rubbed her hands, they were perspiring. Her face felt flushed. Had to be a hot flash she assured herself!
By the time the party ended she was more relaxed in his arms as he led her around the dance floor. The proper distance shortened as he pulled her closer to his chest.
His soft voice and gentle personality made her feel comfortable. The evening slipped by too quickly and finally Jeff got around to asking the big question.
“Are you married?”
“Widowed,” she answered with no hesitation, “a year and a half ago. This is actually my first social outing.”
She decided to tell it like it was, even if Jill had warned her not to!
“I admire your honesty!” he said.
“And you?” she asked. “Are you married?”
“Divorced,” he answered. “She left me years ago. Took our son when he was six months old. Left me for a guy with plenty of money, gave her what I couldn’t then!” He hesitated. “I was pretty shook up for a long time,” he paused again, “until this friend of mine took me under his wing.” Pamela listened with interest.
“By the time I got my life together it was too late to find her.”
“Where did they go?” She asked.
“Europe, I was told. I never saw my son after that. I tried to locate them, but I couldn’t afford to hunt them. I had to learn to live all over again. I wanted my son!” his voice dropped.
“It must have been hard to pick up the pieces,” she said concerned.
“Wasn’t easy,” he said quickly. “I had a lot of help,” he smiled.
“What about you? Have you picked up the pieces?”
“I think so, but my daughter doesn’t! She insisted I come to this party tonight. She worries about me like I was the daughter!”
“I’m glad she won,” he said.
“Me too,” she said softly.
“We have a lot in common, don’t we?” he said. “We’re both working hard to overcome something! Looks like we’re surviving!” He smiled and Pamela felt a strange ache in her stomach!
“I think you’re right,” she agreed. Pamela’s heart pumped faster. Had she met a Christian man right out of the gate? That would be too good to be true.
She wondered, should she mention her faith? She decided to omit the subject of religion for the time being.
It had been a beautiful night. “A wonderful way to get back into circulation,” she thought. She didn’t even mind Janice’s overbearing attitude! After all, she had introduced her to Jeff. It was unusual for her to meet a man she could be at ease with immediately. Jeff Desmond was definitely that way! Pamela smiled to herself.
Pamela began her round of thank-yous and goodbyes as the party began breaking up.
Jeff escorted her to the door and then to her car!
“I enjoyed the evening,” he said firmly. “Can we do it again? Soon?”
“I’d like that.” Pamela flashed her beautiful smile over her shoulder as she slid into her car.
“Do you like to fish?” he asked.
“Uh,” she paused, and then laughed. “Not really, I’m a terrible sailor!”
“How about tennis?” he fired back.
“Sure. I’m not very good, but I love to play.”
“Great,” he said. “Saturday at my club. Shall I pick you up?”
“Will it be convenient if I just meet you? Got to get back to the office early Saturday afternoon.” She needed an out, just in case they didn’t hit it off the second time!
Pamela watched him in the rearview mirror as she pulled out of Janice’s circle drive.
He looked so handsome in his white dinner jacket! He waved again. Pamela smiled and said to herself softly, “Thanks Janice, I owe you another one!”
Pamela couldn’t wait to call Jill. It was late, but she promised she would call. Jill was as excited as her mother! “I was hoping you’d call, I wasn’t sleeping,” she said. “You’re a little late getting home aren’t you?” Jill joked.
From her mother’s description of the evening, Jill caught Jeff ’s name immediately!
“Is he good looking Mom?”
“Well, yes, but just a very interesting, well-adjusted man.”
“Jill!” Pamela chided.
“Just kidding Mom, I’m so glad! It’s what I prayed for! Are you going to see him again?” She added with no pause in-between.
“Uh-huh, Saturday, for tennis!”
“Super, It’s just what you need, a boyfriend!”
“Wait a minute young lady! He’s just a very nice man!”
“Okay,” Jill agreed. “But give him a chance, promise?”
“I promise, just for you!” and added swiftly, “whose the mother in this outfit anyway?” Pamela laughed. Jill was definitely her best friend. She loved sharing with her daughter!
Pamela had been euphoric about the whole evening. Meeting Jeff was an added blessing. It was the first time she had even given any man a second look since Tom’s death. Jill’s insistence made that evening possible.
Paris was especially beautiful in the evening. The breeze that blew in her open patio door gave her the idea to just sit outside and relax for a while. She hadn’t had any time alone since she arrived in Paris.
It was a nice feeling. The quiet was pierced only by the sounds of crickets. A sweet aroma from the flowers that surrounded the patio filled the air. She was enchanted with Paris.
Pamela sank back into the soft patio chair.
A familiar sound rang in her ears. It was the sound of tennis players. “Who would be playing at this time of night?” she wondered. It was evident not everyone suffered from jetlag! It was still early for them! She walked to the edge of the court and watched a game in progress.
She was immediately taken back in time to a memory chained in her heart. She thought of her first date with Jeff Desmond to play tennis. It had been a beautiful Saturday, perfect for a game of tennis.
Pamela remembered how nervous she had been. She changed her clothes three times before deciding on a cute navy blue outfit. At least she would look like she knew what she was doing!
Jeff had been waiting for her on the front steps. He waved when he spotted her car.
“Hope I’m not late, traffic was terrible!”
“You’re just on time!” he said as he pulled her door open, beckoning the doorman to park her car!
“Are you ready for this?” he asked, smiling in a very intriguing way.
“I warned you, I’m really rusty. I haven’t played in a very long time!”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before, I’ll just wait and see!” he laughed.
Pamela remembered that day as she watched the young couple on the tennis court in Paris. They were conversing very poorly in French and she couldn’t understand a word they were saying! She did understand their laughter.
That same laughter had filled the courts that Saturday when she and Jeff played tennis together.
It was easy to have fun with him. Pamela had wondered why the gossip columnists portrayed him as such a playboy.
When the match ended Jeff had jumped over the net and shook her hand gingerly.
“You lied! You’re good!” he said out of breath.
She apologized for winning. “It’s really been a long time, honest!”
“I’d hate to play you when you’re not rusty! Guess I’d better practice up for the next match!”
Pamela grinned sheepishly! She felt encouraged he was thinking of a “next time”!
The stars were shining brightly over Paris as Pamela continued to watch the young couple on the court. She knew they were Americans too. They were young and she could tell, in love, and in a foreign country like her.
She walked to the fence as they finished their match. “Hello,” she called.
They were elated.
“You’re American!” the young girl almost screamed. The young man grabbed his jacket and headed for the gate.
“Hello,” they answered. Pamela could feel the happiness they felt at seeing an “American friend.” She had a wonderful time talking about Boston and New York with the couple. They were on their honeymoon, homesick, and eager to share California with her.
As tired as she was, Pamela felt they needed someone to talk with, to feel a relationship of home with.
She watched the couple, so much in love, as they returned to the court.
Her thoughts returned to Jeff and their Saturday together at the tennis club.
Their Saturday afternoon had passed all too quickly. They had gone swimming in the club pool and rested under the shade of the umbrella in the flower lined patio garden.
Pamela had felt definitely attracted to him. He was good to be with and so handsome, she thought.
When the day ended, Jeff made it clear he wanted to see her again, soon. Her heart pounded in excitement. After bidding Jeff goodbye, she barely returned home when the phone rang. It was Jill.
“Mom! Where have you been?” She sounded worried.
“Sorry darling. I should have called! Jeff and I have been playing tennis today! Remember I told you about it?”
Jill sighed, “Guess I forgot when it was. I couldn’t imagine where you were, I was worried when I couldn’t get you!”
Pamela realized how her daughter felt. She had trained her well. Jill had always been considerate of her mother’s feelings and concerns.
She apologized and began to tell her about her date with Jeff. She hesitated when she got to her real feelings. Pamela decided to keep that part of her life her secret, for the time being at least.
Pamela waved to the young couple still playing tennis and decided to call it a day. Her memories of Jeff and Jill had made her homesick.
She had trouble falling asleep. Her prayers were filled with the anxieties she felt inside. She was grateful for her experience in Paris, for Rex, her new friend, and very excited about this new phase in her life.
The harder she tried to go to sleep, the wider awake she was. “Sleep Pamela,” she warned herself, “or you’ll look awful tomorrow!”
he brakes squealed. Pamela clung tightly to Rex’s arm. A look of panic frozen on her face. “This is Parie!” Rex laughed.
“Eight lanes of traffic?” Pamela gulped. “It’s unbelievable!”
She didn’t loosen her grip on his arm as they crossed the main street, the Avenue De Champ Elyses.
“It’s a driver’s nightmare!” she gasped. Cars darted in and out like dots on a video screen.
A brisk breeze lifted the dried up leaves off the sidewalk, pushing them into small clumps around the base of the trees that lined the Avenue. Pamela pulled her jacket around her neck.
Traffic was not a new experience for Pamela, but the traffic in Paris was unlike anything she had ever seen. Rex laughed watching her jerk and jump.
They window shopped, stopping to pick up souvenirs and gifts for her to take home.
Rex watched as she tried desperately to explain the size sweater she wanted for Jill. Pamela’s arms waved and measured as she spoke her broken French.
Finally he rescued her, laughing as he gave the right size to the salesgirl.
“I’m really the foreigner here, aren’t I?” she smiled, tucking the sweater bag under her arm.
“Not to me, Chéri, I’ll take care of you.” He smiled, clasping his hand in hers.
Rex pointed to the other end of the Boulevard where a magnificent arch covered the entire eight lanes of traffic. “It’s the Arc de Triomphe!” She recognized it from pictures of the end of the World War II. “I can just imagine the heartache of the French people when the Germans marched through that arch” She sighed, holding the back of her neck as she looked upward! “It’s truly a masterpiece.” “Oui,” he said thoughtfully.
As they walked past the entrance to the famous Lido de Parie, the nightclub of nightclubs, she remarked how small it looked.
“It’s so obscure! I would have passed right by it! I’d never guess that was the famous Lido!” She shook her head in disbelief.
“It’s beautiful inside, quite compact. If you like we can take in the show before you leave! It’s a tourist trap I must admit!” He said reluctantly.
Rex noticed her slowing down. “When you tire of walking, let me know and we shall ride back to my villa.” “How can I tell you that when I’m receiving the most wonderful tour in town?” She smiled, hoping she had not revealed how tired she was.
“Let’s ride awhile, Chéri, you look exhausted!” Rex walked to the curb, lifted his hand, and within seconds his maroon limousine pulled up alongside.
Rex continued pointing out the interesting tourist attractions as they rode along.
“I’ve never seen a city with so many huge churches in it, seems like every corner has one.” She pointed to the massive brick building covered with ivy.
“It’s the City of Love!” Rex smiled.
Pamela’s eyes were busy taking in all the sights of Paris.
She sat quietly until one particular sight puzzled her. In the center of every block stood a small green receptacle. It seemed to be a very popular place. Each enclosure had a long line waiting to get inside.
“Those,” she pointed, “What are they?”
Rex smiled sheepishly and answered, “Relief stations.”
Pamela thought for a minute, then without thinking blurted out, “Outdoor toilets? How gross!”
Rex laughed. “You are blushing again!!”
“I can’t believe I used that word, ‘gross.’ It’s Jill’s favorite word and I usually detest it. But it really fits the situation!” Pamela turned her neck around to take another look at the relief stations. “Right out on this busy avenue, I just can’t believe that!” she mumbled.
Pamela eased back in the plush seat and smiled at Rex.
“That smile, Chéri, what do you know that I don’t?” He asked.
“You really do enjoy your designer status don’t you!” Pamela laughed.
“Oui,” he answered bashfully.
“Women adore you, how on earth have you stayed single?”
“I have been waiting for you Chéri!”
Pamela laughed and squeezed his hand.
“You do make me feel so special!” she sighed. “Because you are!”
“Be serious now. Why haven’t you ever married?” She paused, realizing her question was an invasion of Rex’s privacy. “Please forgive me, I shouldn’t be so.. personal!” Her embarrassment showed on her face!
“Again, Chéri, you blush!’ His eyes twinkled. “You are my friend, remember? Friends share a secret part of themselves, Qui?”
Pamela felt relieved.
He began to open up. “I fell in love only once, intense and forbidden.” Lines across his brow gave away the hurt he still carried inside.
“It was the wife of my best friend,” Rex paused, watching Pamela’s expression.
“Are you shocked?” he asked.
“Should I be? You must have had a good reason,” she said quickly. “You are a compassionate, loving man. Should I be?” she asked again.
The understanding between them had become so special; she felt she could almost finish his story herself. Rex beamed. “My friend ignored his wife. She turned to me for company.” As he spoke, lines formed on his forehead. “She needed a friend!”
“Did you fall in love?” Pamela concluded as if she already knew the answer.
“Head over heels!” he answered quickly. “She was lonesome, needed someone to lean on. I was there.” Rex looked far away. Pamela listened.
“Her husband didn’t want her, but he wouldn’t let her go.”
“He must have loved her, why else would he try to make her stay?” Pamela waited for Rex to respond.
“Oui. It was for the best. I can see that now. But then…” he paused. “I convinced her of that.”
“And what now?”
“They moved to England. They have a sweet baby girl now. I’m the Godfather.” Rex’s face beamed.
“We are both feeling our loss, my husband and your...” she hesitated.
“My forbidden love,” he said softly.
“Things do happen for the best. We just have to be patient. God is such a wonderful planner.” She smiled. “Oui.” Rex bowed slightly.
“Chéri, I’d like to do something very special for you,” he said.
“You already have, every day!” She smiled.
“Come, let’s have some excitement!” He instructed his chauffeur to drive to the airport.
A slick blue and white Lear Jet with bold letters spelling out “REX DUPAR INT” on the side was being refueled. “It’s yours?” Pamela was overwhelmed.
“We’ll lunch in Monte Carlo, do some sightseeing and be back by tea time! Let’s go!”
It was a world of the fairy princess, fancy cars, chauffeurs, private jets, and lunch on the Riviera.
Pamela took a deep breath. “Am I really alive?” she thought!
She said a quiet prayer as the jet raced down the runway. The whirlwind tour of Monte Carlo was exciting. Rex made sure she didn’t miss a thing.
When they returned to Paris, she laughed and hugged Rex.
“I can’t believe this day!” Her eyes were sparkling. Rex held her hand.
“Chéri, you are so lovely, you enjoy life so.” He smiled and kissed her hand.
“Now, what about tomorrow?”
“Haven’t we done it all?” she said breathlessly. “Not so, Chéri, Don’t forget my dinner party tomorrow evening.”
Pamela leaned across the seat and kissed him tenderly on the cheek.
“I can hardly wait,” she paused. “You are so wonderful. Today will be a very special memory for me, forever!” She squeezed his arm.
“For me too,” he said and waved as his limousine pulled back into traffic.
She walked nonchalantly to the pool area. Only a few people were still there. Pamela pulled up a lounge chair and positioned the back so that she could see the stars. She felt warm and comfortable after being with Rex. She closed her eyes.
Her thoughts rocked back to the night so much like this one, that she and Jeff had their special time together, alone.
As they had dined and danced, a special feeling began to take shape.
“Let’s go somewhere special!” Jeff had whispered and began helping her on with her coat.
“Where shall we go?” she smiled lovingly.
“There’s a small café up the coast, a very special place, good music, a better dance floor, you’ll like it,” he added. “Shall we go?” She nodded in agreement.
She slipped her hand into his as they walked to his car.
The drive along the coast was beautiful at night. Jeff put the top down on his beautiful silver convertible so they could view the stars.
Pamela loved the wind whipping through her hair. “It’s like nowhere else in the world,” she whispered. Jeff leaned closer.
“The ocean, you mean?” he asked.
“Yes, the sea, it has a magic all it’s own, so endless, so steadfast, one of the God’s true masterpieces!”
He smiled. “A little serious aren’t we?” he joked. “Yes, but it’s so special.” She sighed.
The winding road led off the highway to the café overlooking the ocean.
It was just like Jeff had said, cozy, quiet and very romantic. Flickering candlelight lit the room that echoed soft romantic music.
The Maître d’ seemed to know Jeff.
“Your table is ready, Mr. Desmond!”
Jeff held her close as they danced. Then he whispered in her ear, “I wish we could really get to know each other, without all these people!” He kissed her softly on the neck. His eyes were glowing. It was a look she had not seen for a long time!
“My beach house is just up the road, in Back Bay Harbor,” she said softly.
“Sounds wonderful, let’s go,” he was quick to answer. “It’s been closed up, for a long time,” she paused. “The view from the patio is breathtaking,” she added. Her voice trailed off as she said, “I’m just not sure I’m ready to go!”
Jeff didn’t act like he heard the last comment. He was busy gathering up the check and retrieving her coat. When he returned to their table, Pamela had a distant look on her face. He stopped and watched her. “You alright?” His tone commanded her attention. She jumped.
“Where were you? Somewhere besides here,” he joked.
“I’m sorry, forgive me. This coastline holds a lot of memories for me.”
“Your forgiven, let’s go,” he said, helping her into her coat!
As they continued their drive along the coastline, Jeff motioned for her to move closer to him.
She scooted next to him, thinking how she felt as she did on her first date, so long ago!
“You’re smiling, why?” he asked.
“Just reminiscing about my girlhood!”
“Kinda funny how things all come around again, isn’t it?” he smiled, putting his arm around her.
Pamela knew at that moment she had to do some explaining about Back Bay. She hesitated, and then tried to begin.
“This place, my beach house, it’s very special to me,” she paused again.
“I guessed that,” he said.
“But it’s full of memories, beautiful memories,” she paused, hoping at that moment he would turn the car around and head back to Boston.
“I’m not afraid of memories,” he said. “I have some but they are in their proper place, ‘forgotten,’ where memories should be.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t agree. Mine are still very close. I haven’t been back,” she hesitated, “since..” Her voice trailed off.
“Don’t worry. You’ll relax and forget. Wait and see.” His eyes sparkled.
Pamela suddenly felt uneasy. His answer was not exactly what she wanted, but the look in his eyes seemed to show understanding.
She moved back into his arms. The warmth of his body felt good and secure to her. She was meant to be one man’s woman, to be needed and wanted. To share her love and faith with one special man again.
Pamela was not ashamed of those feelings. God had given them to her, hadn’t he?
He kissed her softly on the cheek. Pamela wanted this relationship to be right. Did he understand? She wondered, trying to convince herself he did. She was relying on her impatient feelings, instead of leaning on God to guide her.
The Paris sky was full of stars, no wonder it reminded her of Back Bay Harbor. Same moon, same stars, she reminded herself. Suddenly she wondered where Jill was this night. She missed her so. She couldn’t keep her memories tucked away; they spilled forth, Back Bay, Jeff, that night at the beach house.
“Ahh,” Jeff had expelled as Pamela opened the sliding glass door revealing a view of sparkling Back Bay Harbor.
Perched majestically on the hill across the small cove, stood the Community Church. It’s white spire distinguishable for miles. She pointed. “My church,” She smiled. “Yours? Oh,” he laughed, “you own the place?” “Silly,” she admonished, and added, “I attend when I’m in Back Bay.”
“Oh,” he said flatly with no other comment. She had hoped he would make some kind of statement about his faith. He didn’t.
“It’s just like a painting, a beautiful masterpiece.” He leaned over the railing slightly, catching sprinkles of salt on his lips from the breaking surf below.
“Do you really like it?” she whispered. He whirled around, pulling her swiftly into his arms and kissed her. “Do I like it? I love it like you do!” he smiled. Jeff ’s kiss had taken her by surprise. She caught her breath and began a nervous outpour of words. Somehow the situation, alone, together, made her uneasy. “Look,” she pointed. “The crest of each wave looks like it has a million tiny diamonds riding on top.” She sighed. “It’s so beautiful.”
The moonlight cast its irredescent glow over the water below.
“Yes, beautiful,” he whispered, “like you.”
He pulled her close again and kissed her lovingly. She didn’t resist. She wanted his kiss.
“We can leave anytime you say,” he assured her. He held her close. The moment was real, yet, as if a dream for Pamela. Her desire to love again surpassed her good judgment.
His firm hands slid slowly, but softly, down her back, resting in the very small indentation of her waist. Her breath came faster. She was enjoying his touch. Her skin tingled, like millions of tiny pins piercing gently all over.
The moonlight caught his glistening blue eyes. He pulled her closer into his strong, warm body.
A warning signal reeled through her body. Pamela was torn between wanting to submit to Jeff and her conscience.
This was not the way she wanted to find romance again, recklessly, without the commitment of true love she wanted to share with the right man.
She stopped at the doorway.
Jeff ’s arms were around her leading her to the bedroom she and Tom had shared.
Her eyes filled with tears. She began to shake. “I can’t,” she cried. “I thought I could, but I can’t.” Jeff looked shocked. His smile had vanished. He grabbed Pamela roughly, turning her to face him. “Don’t pull that on me now!” he grumbled. “You’re a big girl. Didn’t you suggest we come here?”
She stood speechless. What had happened to the understanding he had shown earlier. He grabbed her. His eyes flashed. He was angry. Pamela tried to pull away. He pulled her viciously to his chest and kissed her on the mouth. Pamela pushed him away from her.
She felt like someone had pierced her heart. She wanted him to understand, to be the man she prayed he was. Tears welled in her eyes.
“I don’t like playing games!” he said. And added, “I should be used to it by now! You women are all alike!” Jeff turned away from her.
How could she have been so mistaken about him? Pamela watched as he walked slowly to the cottage door. “I’ll take you back to the city,” he said curtly. Pamela gathered her coat and as she started to shut off the lights and close the door she gazed at the window and the lights sparkling on Back Bay. She said a soft, silent prayer. “God help me. I’m so vulnerable now.” The door closed solidly behind her.
The silence between them was awkward. Pamela knew she had disappointed him. She had hurt his pride. He had disappointed her too. She had hoped their relationship would grow.
Jeff pulled up in front of her apartment. She wondered what he would say.
“Can I see you again?” He had been deep in thought the entire drive back.
She was surprised.
“Do you want to?”
“I don’t understand it, but I do.”
“Maybe you just don’t like losing?” she asked. “It’s something else. Can’t explain it, but I sincerely want to see you again.”
“Of course, call me, we’ll try again.”
Jeff was watching as she walked to her door. She could feel his eyes on her. When he smiled, all the pent up feelings and emotions of the woman inside her stirred. Pamela burst into tears the moment she shut the door. Sobbing her disappointment to the Lord, she confessed she had been too eager to have a relationship. It had backfired. She felt silly, like a child again. Then a verse from the Bible came slipping into her thoughts, “Unless you become a a little child you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Pamela stopped crying. She was just a child again, in the world alone. She thought of Jeff again. The verse kept repeating in her mind.
He had seemed so quiet, so understanding. What had happened? Had she given him the wrong idea? Was he really the playboy the gossip columnists portrayed him as? Pamela remembered how frustrated and depressed she felt that following day.
She opened her eyes to view the Paris sky again. She thought of her beautiful day she had spent in Paris, with Rex. She closed her eyes again. He brought only happy feelings to her heart.
The pool area was deserted now, only the sound of television sets in the distant hotel rooms broke the quiet. She smiled. It sounded like a calliope – a whistling, turning calliope.
She held her forehead tightly. “Oh God, will I ever forget Tom? How long will it take, will I ever?” She thought again. “Forgive my impatience Lord, but,” she listened to the calliope sound again.
Her mind reeled with memories of a very special time with Tom.
The calliope on the merry-go-round. He had teased her until she agreed to ride with all the children. She could see him laughing as she made each bobbing circle. She had gotten sick. She was going to have a child.
Tom had been overjoyed and that night had been very special. His warm and tender kisses were loving and passionate.
She belonged to Tom, completely, honestly faithfully. They shared their love and their faith.
She had remembered lying in bed next to Tom that night with Tom and the echoes of the merry-go-round and its mystic whistling organ sound replaying in her head. Her dreams were strong, filled with brightly colored horses as she came closer to reaching the brass ring.
When she snagged the ring, grasping it tightly between her fingers, the brass ring was hers and so was Tom! It was still quiet beside the pool. A quiet voice startled Pamela, “Pardon Mademoiselle.” She jumped. She had a moment of fear grasp her heart.
He said again, “Pardon.”
Pamela looked up to see the bell captain. She was surprised to see the lights around the patio turned off. She felt uneasy until the captain spoke again.
“You were asleep? Oui?”
Pamela felt warmth in his voice.
“Oui,” she said.
“It is not good for a pretty lady to be alone at night in this part of the city.” He smiled.
Pamela immediately felt his concern for her. She smiled and thanked him.
She turned to wave to him again as he watched her enter the hotel lobby safely.
amela felt shaken. She realized if it hadn’t been for the concern of the bell captain, she would have been locked out of the hotel for the night. She called Rex, her friend, for consolation. When she told him of the incident by the pool, he was upset.
“I don’t like it Chéri, you must be in a safer place! Perhaps Mr. Orland didn’t know about your hotel’s location?”
“The incident was my fault. I should have been more careful,” she insisted. “Besides, nothing happened, thanks to the Bell Captain.”
Rex sighed, “Get some rest now and I’ll pick you up early.”
Pamela felt better after talking to Rex. She realized how lonesome she would be without his comforting voice. The incident had disturbed her.
She couldn’t sleep so she pulled out her list of things she wanted to do in Paris. Rex made sure she saw every interesting spot in Paris. Tomorrow would be no exception.
Her prayers were filled with thank yous! Pamela found herself confessing her frustration over Jeff.
Tears streamed down her face again. She wanted God’s help! Now! Patience was not her virtue. She suddenly realized she was saying the wrong words.
“If it be thy will,” she added almost apologetically.
The harder she tried to go to sleep, the wider-awake she was. “Count sheep,” she advised herself. It didn’t work.
She was overcome with memories again. She began remembering.
It had been a lovely Friday night when his call came. Jeff ’s voice caused her heart to flutter. “Let’s go somewhere tomorrow,” his soft voice insisted. Pamela thought instantly about their last outing and hesitated.
“Please, I need company,” he begged.
She felt his need and finally agreed.
“Alright, where are we going?” she said sweetly.
“How about a picnic at the beach?”
“Sounds great. Shall I pack a lunch?” she asked.
“Perfect. I’ll be there early.” He sounded excited. Pamela had wondered if he would ever call again, much less in one short week.
She felt that same old excitement welling up inside her. She found herself praying again, “God, help me! This man has some kind of power over me. Help me! I can’t say no.”
The morning had gone beautifully. Jeff fished from the shore and Pamela watched. She loved the salt air and the crisp breeze off the crashing waves.
“Come on and fish,” he yelled again at Pamela.
“Not me, I hate fish!” she smiled breathing in the fresh air.
The afternoon slipped by quickly. After their picnic, Jeff spread the blanket on the sand and lay back gazing at the sky.
“Full?” she asked.
“Miserable,” he grunted. “You’re some picnic fixer!”
Pamela started cleaning up.
Jeff had been quiet for a time. His eyes followed Pamela’s every movement.
“You’re staring at me,” she said quietly, feeling a little embarrassed.
“Can’t quite figure you out,” he said still watching her.
“I’m not that complicated.”
“Tell me about you. I mean the real you, not the always elegant, beautiful fashion designer.”
“That’s a big order, sir!” she laughed. “I don’t always tell those secrets!”
Jeff hesitated a moment then he pointed in the direction of the church steeple poking out of the trees on the hill.
“Did he go there with you?” he asked.
“My husband you mean?”
Pamela sat down beside Jeff on the beach blanket.
“Always,” she answered.
“It’s a waste of time, religion, going to a church, all that!” he said abruptly.
Pamela caught her breath. She wanted to know his feelings on religion but now she was sorry he spoke.
“Why do you say that?” she questioned, trying to gather her thoughts.
“Nobody ever did anything for me. I did it all myself. Worked from the time I was thirteen. Nobody helped me.” His jaw was set. His silvery gray eyes looked cool and placid. A twinge of a frown crossed his brow.
“You can’t really mean that,” she said in disbelief.
“My parents deserted me. I ran away from the orphanage. Sound like an old movie script?” he said angrily.
“But where did your strength come from, your courage, your abilities. Surely you believe in God?”
“God? Where was He when my parents left me?” His voice echoed bitterness.
“Oh Jeff,” she said, not really knowing where to begin. “The success you have enjoyed. God has had a great deal to do with that!”
Jeff paused. He looked across the hill to the church.
Pamela was silent for a moment.
“It’s hard for me to understand how anyone can look at the majestic ocean or the moon just dipping into the sea and not believe that we have a God handling all things. Even your parents leaving you. Perhaps that’s why you have such strength?”
Jeff took a long look at the sunset.
“We aren’t getting anywhere, are we?” he said apologetically.
“You wanted to know about me and instead I found out about you,” she smiled.
“You are very special, perhaps too special for me,” he said.
“I’m me, just plain and simple. But God is pretty important in my life.” She smiled again.
Jeff didn’t answer. He stared at the sunset and the moon slipping softly into the sea.
“And the man that went to that church with you was special too.” He was speaking softly.
She didn’t need to speak, her eyes said it all. “Yes,” she whispered. She quickly changed the subject.
“It never ceases to amaze me, the beauty of a sunset,” she said.
Jeff spoke quickly, “Guess we’d better go. I hate to end this beautiful day, but all good things must end.” His flippant manner gave Pamela an idea.
“Oh no, not all good things!” she laughed. “How about we take those fish to the beach house and I’ll fix dinner for you, even if I do despise fish!”
“Let’s go,” he said as he grabbed the lunch basket and blanket.
They held hands as they walked along the beach to the car. Pamela tried to hide her disappointment in his ideas about religion but it was there in back of her mind all the time.
The candles flickered on the table as they sat relaxing after dinner, enjoying the view.
Jeff got up. He bent close and kissed her softly on the cheek.
“It’s been a wonderful day,” he said.
“For me too,” she pressed his hand.
“It’s late, should we start back?” he asked.
She hesitated. “We could stay the night,” she stammered. “But things haven’t changed, I mean, I won’t sleep with you. But you could use the guest room and tomorrow you could fish again!”
Pamela blushed. She wasn’t accustomed to making propositions to a man. She felt so out of touch, so foolish. Yet, that was the only way for her.
“I will honor that feeling,” he said. Pamela sighed.
Maybe she wasn’t wrong about Jeff? It was a beginning anyway.
In Paris her memories of Jeff made her even more restless. She had just dropped off to sleep when a loud banging made her sit up in bed. Her heart pounded. She finally realized it was someone in the next room. She was wide-awake again.
She couldn’t shut out the memories of Jeff and that special night in Back Bay. Jeff had honored her wishes. He slept in the guest room and she trembled restlessly in her room.
She had been sleeping in her room contentedly when a loud banging on the door woke her.
“Get up lazy bones. Breakfast is ready!” Pamela had pulled the covers over her head.
The door opened and Jeff stuck his head in.
“Up, up, it’s time to eat! Bacon, eggs, toast, just for you!” He smiled.
“Ugh. I don’t eat breakfast”! She mumbled from under the covers.
“Today you do. Get up!”
“Okay, Okay.” She stumbled out of bed. The smell of bacon frying crept under the door and it didn’t take long for her to get hungry!
“You’ll spoil me along with making me fat!”
“Naw, not one little breakfast. Besides, look at the view, it’s forever!” She bundled up in her robe and headed for the bathroom quickly so he wouldn’t see her in a mess!
She smiled as she entered the kitchen. He looked so cute in her apron turning the bacon over in the frying pan.
“I got the fishing poles out and a bucket filled with sand crabs!”
“What time did you get up anyway?”
“Early,” he said. His face had the glow of boyish charm she couldn’t resist.
“I guess we’ll go fishing,” he smiled.
“I’ll watch,” she laughed.
She thought he looked like a little boy with a new toy each time he pulled in his catch.
He pulled her into the water, teasing and playing as if they were children again, each lost in the beauty of the moment.
The sun felt warm on their bodies as they sunbathed. He kissed her softly as they relaxed on the sand.
I don’t want this day to end,” he said.
“It’s been fun, hasn’t it,” she answered softly.
“Perfect,” he said.
“We need to start back soon, my work you know,” she said.
“If you worked for me you could just stay here forever!” he teased.
“I tried to work for you once, your personnel manager let me know I wasn’t quite ‘Desmond’ material!”
“I’d like to get my hands on that personnel manager!” he grumbled. Pamela smiled in appreciation. He did know all the right things to say!
With the Paris moon shining thru her window she tried to go to sleep but the roses on the dresser from Jeff reminded her, he was still trying to say the right things, even now, in Paris!
She tried to push aside her thoughts of Jeff and that special weekend but the memories kept swarming back in her mind.
She remembered how quiet their drive back to Boston had been. She had felt uneasy, realizing Jeff was deep in his thoughts again. Had she scared him away with her religious talk, she wondered as his silence deepened? Their time together had been revealing, perhaps too much so she thought. Pamela tried to start a conversation but Jeff hadn’t made it easy.
When he kissed her goodbye he held on to her unusually tight. He started to say something but turned and left quickly.
Pamela stood watching him drive away. She could feel something was wrong. She had a feeling she knew what it was.
Pamela’s thoughts were a mixture of Jeff and Rex. She had a warm, comfortable feeling when Rex came to mind.
She closed her eyes and Jeff was there. Her usually stable life, was now a mixed up mess she thought.
A soft Paris breeze slipped through the window. She shivered as she remembered the Monday after she and Jeff spent the weekend in Back Bay. The week that started her restless, uncertain feelings.
It was a typical Monday in Boston! It had been impossible for her to work. Nothing had gone right.
Every time the phone rang, she jumped, hoping it would be Jeff. When she didn’t go out for lunch, her secretary poked her head in the door and asked, “Are you alright, Mrs. Thornton?”
Pamela had just nodded and continued shuffling the papers on her desk.
Her nerves were on edge by the end of the day. The phone had been ringing but no Jeff! By closing time she was depressed and disappointed. He said he would call, she thought. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Their time had been just something to pass the day to him. Didn’t they share something special and real? Pamela was heartbroken.
She cried until she had no more tears. Then every thought she had of the weekend began to make her mad.
“He’s just using me,” she finally told herself. “Believe it you idiot! You’ve been had! He brought up your religion for an out!”
She was mad at herself for letting her guard down, for being taken in by this suave, handsome playboy.
Pamela buried her head in her arms and sobbed. She had forsaken Tom’s memory and for what? She felt she had degraded his memory and replaced it now with feelings of guilt! Tom still had a hold on her life.
All weekend she kept hoping for a call from Jeff. It never came. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying.
The whole episode had hurt her deeply. His rejection had been a tremendous blow to her ego. It was something she was having a hard time dealing with.
The week had gone slow with no word from Jeff. It was Saturday again. Pamela still felt depressed when her phone rang.
Guy Ashland, a coworker, greeted her with, “Hi baby. How about going dancing tonight?”
She sighed. He was a pest! She had refused his offer to go out at least once a week for the past year and he still persisted.
Pamela started to cut him off quickly when she had a second thought!
“Please!” he said in a tone that made her feel sorry for him.
“I guess I am in circulation again,” she thought.
Guy was handsome, fun loving and young! “Too young really,” she addressed herself again.
He asked again, “Just dinner and a little dancing. I’ll be a good boy, I promise,” he laughed.
Pamela finally agreed.
He would pick her up at 8:00 PM. She began to think of what to wear. She reminded herself that she could put Jeff Desmond out of her mind for a while at least!
Guy looked unusually handsome to her. Pamela wondered why. She remembered she had only seen him in his gray uniform in Orland’s stockroom. He was very good looking she thought.
The sign flashed, “BLUE TURTLE,” above the doorway. It was one of the better restaurants in Boston. Guy had reserved a special table in a very private area.
Pamela felt it was a little too secluded to suit her but Guy could care less what it looked like.
She tired quickly of his off color jokes and advances. When he finally suggested they dance, it was a welcome relief.
Guy pulled her close as they danced. Pamela wondered how long she could last!
As the Combo finished the number, Pamela caught sight of a familiar face across the dance floor. It was Jeff. Her heart skipped a beat. She tried not to stare. She didn’t want Jeff to see her looking at him!
“What’s wrong baby?” Guy stopped Pamela on the dance floor.
“Nothing,” she answered abruptly. She snuggled closer into his arms when she realized Jeff had spotted her.
Guy was a show-off and he could dance. He could make anyone look good on a dance floor and she wanted Jeff to notice her.
There was only one problem; Guy instantly got the wrong idea. He pulled Pamela closer during the slow numbers and kissed her softly on the neck. He was making suggestions she didn’t like in her ear when Jeff tapped him on the shoulder.
“May I cut in?” he asked.
Guy looked surprised.
“Do you want to dance with this guy?” he asked.
Jeff stood waiting for Pamela’s answer.
“Sure,” Pamela agreed, “if you don’t mind.”
The Combo slipped into a slow love song as Jeff pulled Pamela close to him.
They were silent for a while. Then Jeff broke the silence.
“I’ve wanted to talk to you, I’ve been busy,” he said.
“I can see that,” she glanced quickly at the blonde sitting across the room.
She quickly added, “You don’t owe me any explanations! I’ve been busy too.” She forced a nice, “I could care less” smile!
“I’ve missed you,” he said.
“She looks a little lonesome over there,” Pamela added, looking at the beautiful young blonde at his table. “My secretary,” he said quickly.
“How convenient,” she said.
“I’m doing her a favor tonight.”
“That’s nice,” she said.
Pamela smiled but she felt very much in control of the situation.
Guy politely interrupted and gathered Pamela close in his arms again.
“Who’s that guy anyway?” he asked.
Pamela tried to explain Jeff off as an old friend but her explanation was undermined with stolen glances at Jeff across the room with his beautiful blonde girlfriend! Pamela felt a jealousy taking hold of her, so much so she was willing to put up with the boisterous advances of Guy Ashland!
The lights dimmed and the soft, slow music gave the room a velvet glow. Pamela glanced quickly across the room to see if Jeff was still watching her. He was. She snuggled closer into Guy’s arms. She hoped Jeff would see her. Her pride was hurt. She was not accustomed to those feelings, she didn’t like them. She knew it was against everything she had always prided herself against. “Pride goeth before a fall,” she thought quickly.
Guy took advantage of her snuggle. He kissed her softly on the earlobe; his breathing came in short, wispy breaths on her neck.
Pamela finally realized what was happening! In trying to make Jeff jealous, she had led Guy on. She felt ashamed.
She pushed him away quickly and headed for their table.
“What’s wrong baby? What did I do?”
Guy looked puzzled. Pamela felt guilty. She had led him on for her own selfish purposes. Could God forgive her? Would Guy?
“I’m sorry Guy, I haven’t been honest with you,” she said humbly. She tried to explain her relationship with Jeff.
Guy didn’t take it well. He began to drink too much and as the evening progressed he became loud and obnoxious.
Jeff hadn’t taken his eyes off her the entire evening.
When she and Guy left the club, she was devastated. The evening had been a total disaster. When she thought about it, she was sure she would never see Jeff again. Her jealous feelings about Jeff and his blonde secretary made her feel ashamed. She prayed again that God would help her in her feelings for Jeff.
Even now, in Paris, Jeff was still on her mind. It wasn’t easy to forget him. He had left his mark on her life that couldn’t be erased easily.
Pamela walked slowly to the dresser, to the vase of wilting roses. She threw them into the trash.
She tried to detour her thoughts to the party Rex was giving for her. “What should I wear?”
Finally, she decided on her black velvet evening gown.
She tossed restlessly in bed that night. Her dreams were filled with a young blonde dancing to the calliope music of a merry-go-round. The blonde held a brass ring tight in her hands.
Pamela awoke crying! She sobbed her prayer again. “Oh God, help me. I’m so disturbed, so distressed about Jeff, so in need of your wisdom. What shall I do?” She begged for an immediate answer. It didn’t come, then…
ex had planned a special party for her to introduce her to the society set of Paris. Pamela was overwhelmed with delight when she opened the box that Rex had delivered to her hotel room. It was the blue chiffon dress, diamond studded, neatly packed inside with a special note from Rex. It read, “You and my gown are made to be together!” Please wear it tonight and show it off! As she held the beautiful gown in front of her, it gave her a chill! Pamela felt honored to be wearing his beautiful blue chiffon gown.
She felt like Cinderella going to the ball. She had always enjoyed lovely clothes, nice places and fashionable affairs, but this was the coupe de grace! She smiled as she remembered how Rex had noticed her admiration of the dress.
The ride to the party in the elegant limousine made her feel very special again. Rex had a way of doing that for her.
She felt nervous as she walked into the room. The party was being held at the most fashionable Ritz Hotel with its magnificent stone arches. Its opulence is said to have created the word “ritzy.” Hemingway once hoped that heaven would be as good as the Ritz. Pamela smiled thinking, “Now I know exactly what he meant.”
The ballroom was breathtaking, a winding staircase, ornately hand carved, had orchids entwined along the handrail. A magnificent crystal chandelier graced the center of the lobby glistening brilliantly. Her eyes couldn’t take in everything. The hum of people talking and laughing in small groups around the room was different from the noisy parties in New York.
Suddenly, the room became quiet. She felt embarrassed, as all eyes seemed to be on her. Pamela swallowed hard and felt her face flush! A familiar voice from the crowd relieved her tension. Rex walked up and affectionately kissed her on the cheek, took her by the hand and led her to the center of the room. Thank goodness she sighed. He was a welcome sight.
“Why is everyone staring at me?” she whispered! “Because, my love, you are the most stunning woman in the room, and because you are wearing my creation!” he laughed.
“Now that’s an ego trip!” she teased. But the compliment was just the right thing to say at that moment.
Pamela felt like her smile was glued on. Her lips were dry, even swallowing seemed to be difficult! Everyone who was anyone in Paris was there. Her limited knowledge of French had to be traded for just a smile. She knew a smile meant the same in any language.
Rex excused himself. “A little business, you know Chéri.” She squeezed his hand in an all-knowing way.
Rex busied himself in the important business of personal relations. His special full-throated laugh could be heard all over the room. Pamela watched him in awe. He was so very special, so sincere and loving. Everyone loved him.
“Study their faces, remember them,” she told herself. “Someday these people will remember me!”
Rex called her from across the room. He didn’t leave her alone with anyone too long. For that she was grateful!
“Finally, Chéri,” he smiled, “I want you to meet my friend, Grant Mondane!”
Pamela turned to face a very broad shouldered young man. He had to be over six feet tall and his clear baby blue eyes were hypnotizing. There was something about him that seemed so familiar.
She sized him up quickly, along with the conclusion he was about the age of her Jill!
Rex introduced them. Grant smiled faintly and then quipped, “So, you are the fabulous American designer Rex has been babbling about!” He sounded a little curt and as the evening progressed his remarks became more on the rude side. He didn’t like her and she knew it!
Everyone had excused themselves from the table with the exception of Pamela and Grant. The silence between them was obviously awkward. She shifted nervously in her chair.
“Have I done something to displease you Mr. Mondane?” she asked, deciding silence would never solve the problem.
Grant was surprised at her question. He stammered, finding it difficult to answer.
“No, not really!” he hesitated.
She knew he was uncomfortable so she tried to ease the tension.
“Rex has taken much too much time entertaining me. I feel guilty that I have dominated so much of his time this past week,” she began.
“No matter!” he answered, looking very embarrassed.
“It would be nice if we could be friends. Is that possible?” She smiled.
He returned her smile reluctantly.
“Why not,” he said, “forgive me. I expected you to be something else.”
Pamela looked a little puzzled. She wondered what he expected. She started to ask him what he expected when Rex interrupted.
“How are you two getting on?”
Pamela spoke up, “Just fine,” she smiled. She knew Rex wanted her to like Grant. She looked pleadingly at Grant, hoping he would go along with her reply.
“Yes,” he said quickly, “Just fine.” He winked at Pamela. She knew then they would become friends.
Rex talked with them for a short while, and then he was off table-hopping again.
This time Grant was not bashful. His soft, low voice captured her attention!
“I own a chain of department stores, ‘Mondane Royal.’ We are fortunate to be located close to the heart of the city. Are you acquainted with my chain?”
“Of course. A very elegant store to be sure,” she answered politely.
“Are you happy where you are?” He didn’t seem to mind asking such a personal question so soon in the conversation.
“For now!” she said. No explanation followed.
“Orlands,” he paused, “the old brick building off Main Street, right?”
“That’s the one,” she smiled. “I can tell you have seen it.”
“Yes,” he nodded. “It’s a long-established department store for sure, a Boston monument! I was on speaking tour last year and visited a few important places. I do remember Orlands of Boston!” Their conversation had turned into a question and answer session.
Pamela could feel his opinion of her changing. They were actually laughing and joking about the crazy design business!
“I must say I do enjoy talking to another American. My French is terrible and very overworked,” she said as she stuffed her French dictionary in her purse.
“When Rex gives a party, he does it up right!” he smiled.
“He surely does,” she smiled. “Tell me, how did you get to be a ‘displaced American’ as Rex calls you?”
“It’s a strange story,” he said.
“Oh,” she paused, “perhaps you’d rather not discuss it.” She waited to see if he was going to elaborate.
He didn’t hesitate. He seemed to want to talk about it.
“My mother came to Europe when I was a baby, married my stepfather, Estaire Mondane, who had been in the department store business for years.” He paused.
“And the Mondane chain was his?” she asked.
“Yes, they didn’t keep me around in those days. I was in boarding schools all my life. They traveled a lot.” He paused, “Besides, he wasn’t my father and he always let me know it!” Grant’s voice trailed off. His face showed the pain of his childhood.
“They were killed in a plane accident. I was nineteen, in a private college and I was sole heir to the estate.”
“You mean you took over this empire at nineteen?”
“Yes,” he smiled looking a bit forlorn. “Never could figure out why Mondane didn’t make sure I didn’t inherit his stores. He never liked me in the least! He didn’t have any children as far as I know anyway!”
She smiled. “You had a huge responsibility for such a young man!”
“It’s done well until this past year!” he sighed.
Pamela suddenly felt a new appreciation of this handsome young man.
“Well, there you have it! My life story!” He smiled.
“I admire you!” She smiled.
Grant looked into the misty green eyes of his new friend.
“How does it feel to be Rex’s chosen one?” he said.
“What do you mean, his chosen one?” She looked bewildered.
“Didn’t he tell you?” Grant looked like he had said something he shouldn’t have. Pamela was still in a state of confusion when Rex came hurriedly up to the two of them.
Pamela looked flushed.
“I must speak with you Chéri, now.” He pulled her quickly from the crowded room onto the terrace. “I have decided!” he said breathlessly. “You are to be my liason in America, to acquaint the American women with my collection! My representative!” He laid out his plans before her, without giving her a chance to interrupt.
Tears welled up in her eyes. The corners of her mouth twitched as she tried to hold back her emotions.
“I’m overjoyed,” she stammered, “to be taking such a prize back to Orlands. It’s the chance of a lifetime for me!” She threw her arms around Rex’s neck and hugged him. Rex held her close for a moment, and then released her.
“Now, my chosen one, let’s get back to Grant. He knows all about it.” Rex smiled.
Pamela suddenly knew what Grant meant by his remark ‘chosen one.’
They walked back into the ballroom. The room seemed much more crowded. The small dinner party had blossomed into a huge affair.
Rex led her to the orchestra platform.
“Where are we going?” she asked nervously.
“Now all my friends shall have a chance to meet you!”
The room was silent as Rex held up his arms and proceeded to introduce her as “His Representative” of his new fall design collection in America.
She blushed as the audience applauded!
Grant made his way toward her. “Well, may I say again, how does it feel to be the ‘chosen one’ of Rex Dupar?”
Pamela smiled. She was on top of the world. It seemed unreal that everything should be going so right!
“I am a very lucky woman,” she answered wistfully.
Grant stayed close beside her the rest of the evening, making sure everyone had a chance to meet her personally.
Pamela thought how wrong she had been in her first impression of him. She actually liked him! He was handsome, attentive, and much too young for her, she reminded herself. She still couldn’t get over the familiar feeling she had about him.
Grant wanted her to meet him the next day. After much persistence, she finally agreed to have lunch with him. When he started to leave the ballroom, he turned back to blow her a kiss.
Pamela took a second look and for a brief moment he reminded her of Jeff Desmond. As she waved she had a glowing feeling. Was it because a younger man acted interested in her or did he remind her of Jeff? She was disturbed by the feelings stirring inside her.
The Paris sky was clear in the crisp air felt good as she arrived back at her hotel. There was a knock on the door and another dozen roses were delivered.
The note read simply, “I miss you, Jeff.”
Lying in bed that night, she wondered why she let everyone and everything remind her of Jeff. Could she be in love with Him?
She had a sharp sense of missing him terribly.
“It can’t be, I won’t let it. He’s not the kind of man I should fall in love with,” she reminded herself. But the memory of their time together at the beach house and his tender kiss taunted her.
Pamela closed her eyes. She could smell the aroma of his aftershave; she could hear his tender, gentle voice! She shivered! Tears streamed down her face. “Stop it!” she demanded of herself. “This is kid’s stuff! I’m too old to be so foolish! Didn’t he kiss and run? You were taken once, don’t be again!” she scolded.
Her dreams that night were distorted, filled with Jeff and a slow chase through Paris in her blue chiffon gown, with Grant Mondane holding her hand and Rex comforting her at the end of the chase.
The next day at lunch, Grant turned on all his charm. He insisted on showing her his favorite places in Paris. He planned their last stop to be at a small intimate café on the banks of the River Seine. The soft glow of candlelight and the strolling troubadour’s music made her feel especially warm inside. Grant took advantage of the moment. He leaned over the tiny table; his eyes sparkled in the flickering candlelight.
“I think I love you!” he said nonchalantly!
Pamela drew back, her smile faded. She pulled her hand away from his. “Do you realize what you are saying? I’m old enough to be your mother! I’m forty years old!”
“Who cares!” he blurted. “What are numbers anyway?”
“You flatter me, Grant. But you are so young,” she hesitated.
“You hesitate, you don’t sound so positive, my Pamela.”
“Please, I do like you, you are very attractive, it could be easy, if,” she paused, “I just can’t let this happen.”
“Someone back home?”
“Well, yes, sort of.”
“Sort of leaves a lot of room you know.” He stiffened up. “This is fair warning. I don’t give up easily.” He kissed her hand lovingly.
They walked in silence to her door. Grant spoke first.
“It was a wonderful day for me.”
“Me too, you’ve been so kind.”
Grant pulled Pamela into his arms, held her just a breath away and whispered, “Whose kind?” as he pressed his soft lips on hers.
His kiss was forceful! He left no doubt in her mind that she had been kissed, passionately, by this young, handsome man.
Pamela leaned against the closed door and sighed. She touched her lips. His kiss lingered there. She closed her eyes, “Oh Grant,” she said regretfully; “you are so young, too young for me.” Sadness filled her heart. Tears welled up in her eyes. She desperately wanted to find love again. He reminded her of her youth, a time long past. Her thoughts were of Tom. Tears streamed relentlessly down her face.
Time plays terrible tricks on us, she thought. “Why did you leave me my Tom,” she cried aloud. “Why? Why? We were so perfect! Why?” She cried. No man ever seemed to be able to compete with his memory! He was always there in every kiss, in every movement.
She buried her head in her hands and sobbed. She whispered a silent prayer, “Help me, I’m so weak, so lonely, help me, O God!”
ex laughed as Pamela walked carefully, but softly, into his office. She brushed her soft petite hand over her forehead lightly as if it might ease her pain!“Not feeling well this morning Chéri?”
Pamela nodded, and then decided that nodding was not the most comfortable gesture to make.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“They warned me not to drink the water.” She placed her full hand on her brow. “Feels so cool,” she half smiled! Her usually vibrant smile was gone!
Rex helped her to one of the soft plush chairs in his office.
“Well, Chéri, this is the day,” he said softly.
“I knew it had to come, it’s been like Cinderella at the ball for me – now – back to reality!” She smiled faintly, moving with the utmost caution.
Rex motioned for his secretary to bring Pamela some cool bottled water, then suggested she take her place at the huge oak desk. Pamela couldn’t help thinking that fun time was over!
“Don’t look so depressed – not yet – Chéri.” Rex’s lilting voice made her feel better.
“It’s just that you don’t know my boss. I’m so afraid ..,” she paused.
“Now, now, think positive! Where is your faith, Chéri?” Rex asked as he gathered his papers in front of him.
“Of course your Mr. Orland realizes the impact this collection could have on the revenue for his store?” Rex questioned.
“I’ve tried to lay the foundation for such a venture. He’s not an easy man to convince!” Pamela looked at Rex, his smile was comforting. He had done so much for her already, and now again, with his reminder of keeping a positive attitude.
She felt ashamed of herself. It wasn’t like her to give up before she began!
Rex’s remark hit home. She straightened up and motioned to Rex to continue.
“Proceed Ms. Collins,” Rex motioned to his secretary.
She began a quick rundown of the designs that would be included in the Dupar collection.
Pamela listened intently, taking notes for her report. She smiled as she remembered the gowns Rex showed her in his salon.
Her heart pounded as Ms. Collins began an entourage of five digit figures.
The final total didn’t surprise Pamela. She barely moved when it was read.
“I expected a figure in that category,” she said. “After all, your collection is number one in Paris! Mr. Orland will surely appreciate that as I do!”
Rex smiled with pride.
Pamela was excited. She was sure that the figure was within Mr. Orland’s budget!
“Kel Orland just can’t refuse that.” A new rush of confidence overcame her. She felt that they would be able to make the deal.
Pamela went over the specifics with Rex. “I can’t wait to call!” She rose to her feet, reached across the desk and kissed Rex on the cheek. “Wish me luck,” she said. “Would you like to call Mr. Orland from here Chéri?” Rex offered her his office and privacy.
Pamela thanked him, but expressed the need to consider the time difference between Paris and the USA. Besides, she wanted to be able to prepare her presentation for Mr. Orland in a very professional manner.
When she finally reached Mr. Orland, she swallowed hard when she heard his gruff voice. He sounded close, as if he was in the next room!
“This is Pamela, Mr. Orland,” she waited for his recognition.
“About time I heard from you! Have you forgotten why you’re there?” His voice was curt!
“I’ve been working, Sir, and today I have exciting news to share. We have been chosen by Rex Dupar. He has made me his …”
Kel Orland interrupted sharply. “I’ll bet he did! And what about the new ideas I sent you for?”
Pamela gasped, paused for a moment, said a quick prayer, then gained control of herself.
“One, two, three,” she whispered! His implications didn’t set well at all. It was a low blow but she held her temper.
“He made me his representative in America!” she continued.
Pamela tried to explain how she and Rex had been fortunate enough to form a beautiful friendship and how he wanted her to be his representative in America.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime for me, and such a wonderful opportunity for Orlands. Don’t you see? We will be the first to offer a Rex Dupar original in America.”
Pamela waited anxiously. Orland’s silence penetrated the long distance.
“Mr. Orland? Are you there?” she asked bewildered. She added, “You haven’t heard the best yet, the price.” There was still silence.
Pamela stated the price quickly and added it included twenty-eight Dupar Originals.
Finally he broke the silence! His loud booming voice caused her to push the telephone away from her ear.
“Way too much! Who does he think he is anyway? Are they all diamond studded?” He yelled.
As Pamela held the receiver away from her ear she prayed for control.
“He’s the most ‘in demand’ designer in Paris. He could sell his designs to anyone. They are standing in line to make him an offer and we have them, you and me!” Kel Orland was not an easy man to convince. She tried her best to reason with him. Her intense desire to show Rex’s collection gave her more tenacity than she usually possessed.
Pamela was beginning to see the stubborn, insensitive man Ken Orland really was.
“I sent you to Paris to gather new ideas – not to solicit every kinky designer in Paris!” he shouted.
That did it. She decided she had to lay it on the line. She didn’t wait, she only hoped he was still on the line.
“Rex Dupar is the greatest designer in Paris. He’s not in the least bit kinky, and his designs are the nation’s leader!”
There was a long pause on the phone. Pamela waited. Had she pressed him too far? She wondered as she waited for his next remark.
“We’ll talk again tomorrow. You’re not rational now!” His voice had mellowed.
“Tomorrow may be too late,” she said quickly and added, “Nothing will change. We haven’t time to wait a day or two. Mr. Dupar is very much in demand!”
Kel Orland couldn’t help hear her anxiety. He proceeded to cut the conversation short.
“We’ll talk again tomorrow Mrs. Thornton!” And the receiver clicked in her ear.
Pamela felt the blood rushing to her face as she stared at the receiver.
“How can he be so blind? So, so, .” she stammered, shaking her head in disbelief. Tears welled up in her eyes. She couldn’t hold back the disappointment she felt inside.
It was happening all over again. Just like all the times before. Every time she had a chance to really prove herself he had turned her down.
She couldn’t control her tears. She buried her head in her arms and sobbed. Through her tears she mumbled a prayer, “I’m only human Lord, what do I do now?” Her tears flowed. Finally she dried her eyes. She knew she was doing the right thing. Rex was opening doors for her. Orland was attempting to close them. “Oh ye of little faith,” she heard the still small voice reminding her to be still and listen to His answer.
Pamela knew she had to call Rex. How could she tell him? What would she say?
She had to tell it like it was. That was her way. She dialed Rex’s number twice and hung up before she got the courage to talk to him.
“I need to talk to you,” she said, disappointment still evident in her voice. Rex picked up on it right away. “Not on the phone Chéri! I’ll pick you up in half an hour. We’ll talk over dinner.”
Rex picked one of the most elegant restaurants in Paris for their evening out. She adored the very old, elegant décor of Paris. Every restaurant Rex had taken her to held a special charm and flavor of its own. This one was no exception. Pamela was extremely quiet. Rex broke her silence. “Now Chéri, what is the matter?”
He placed his hand lovingly on hers. Through the soft candlelight he could see a tear begin trickling from the corner of her eye.
Rex moved his chair close to her and quietly whispered, “A tear? Not my happy faced Chéri?” Pamela had to smile. How tender and caring this beautiful man was. A stranger only a few short days before, now her comforter and friend. She squeezed his hand tightly.
“He did not like my price?” Rex seemed to know the problem.
Pamela tried to wipe her eyes. Rex handed her his handkerchief.
“Not exactly. He didn’t even give me a chance. He wouldn’t listen to me. He hung up on me!” She dried her tears.
“This man – he is your boss?” Rex asked.
“How can I possibly work for a man who is a hypocrite?” she sniffed.
Rex raised his eyebrows. His usually wrinkle-free forehead had vexed lines across it. He didn’t answer, he waited for Pamela to answer her own question.
“I wonder if he planned this farce all along to discredit my abilities!” Tears began trickling down her cheeks again.
“This is silly!” she said as she fumbled in her purse for a tissue.
“Now, now, don’t be so hard on yourself.” Rex caressed her hand.
“I’m being stupid, I know,” she muttered. “But I was so excited.”
“All is not lost, Chéri,” Rex tried to console her.
“I’m so sorry, Rex. You have been more than kind and helpful. I shouldn’t do this to you.” Pamela dried her eyes again and straightened up.
“I was excited about your creations. It’s very frustrating to be so close to my dream.”
“Your career is very important to you, isn’t it Chéri? Is there any chance this Orland will reconsider our offer?”
“I don’t know anything anymore,” she murmured. “I had so hoped this trip was a sign of his trust and confidence in me, now I just don’t know.”
“Come, Chéri, perk up. Perhaps things will look brighter in the morning.”
Rex tried to suggest that perhaps Orland didn’t mean to sound so abrupt. Pamela half-heartedly agreed.
As they dined, it was evident to Pamela that Rex was deep in thought. He was quieter than usual. Pamela began to worry that she had overstepped her bounds with Rex and had overworked his kindness.
“Let’s stroll,” Rex said, grasping her arm gently.
Pamela had to smile.
“Stroll?” she laughed. “Is that the same as walk?”
“Oui,” he answered, “And where, but in Paris, can you str--err,” he stopped, “walk’ along the banks of such a beautiful river in the moonlight?”
Pamela shook her head in agreement and tossed her black hair in the cool evening air, breathing in the fresh air deeply. She held Rex’s arm tightly as they strolled together along the banks of the Seine.
The river glistened with reflections of lights on the water. She thought how much Paris looked like her Back Bay at night. She had drifted off with thoughts of Back Bay, when Rex stopped by a small bench facing the river.
“I’m sorry, Mon Ami, But I too have been deep in my thoughts.” He looked serious. A look she had never seen on his face before.
“I could tell,” she answered softly.
“Who needs him?” he asked.
“Who do you mean?” Pamela looked puzzled.
“Orland!” he answered abruptly. His eyes were flashing as if he truly had a revelation!
“I have an idea – a good one!” He paused. “Do you remember my friend, Grant Mondane?”
“Oh yes, quiet well! I remember he’s young and in trouble – financially. What about him?”
“He’s a wizard in his trade! He knows everyone is Europe and he needs help, like you!”
“I understand that, but what has that to do with Orlands?”
“Forget Orlands. You are my chosen one – my representative – forget Mr. Orland. There is another way! You are the one I want, not Orlands. There are any number of department stores that would welcome my collection – especially with someone as talented as my Pamela to represent it!”
Pamela squealed. “Rex, you mean you still want me?”
“Of course! You are my ‘chosen one.’ I can trust you to show my designs to their utmost!”
Pamela threw her arms around his neck, sobbing her joy all over his shirt.
“Now, back to business,” he said quickly, wiping her eyes. “Grant needs my collection too. He cannot afford the price I must get, much to my sorrow. I long to help my friend and perhaps if we all put our talents together we could meet all our needs – in a style we could soon get accustomed to.”
Rex waited for Pamela’s response to his bombshell.
“But, what about your pay? Grant’s finances?” Pamela didn’t quiet understand what Rex meant! She added, “Kel Orland is out – he would never go for that!”
“Perhaps not, Chéri, but there will be someone who will. We will think on it!”
Pamela hugged Rex again. “You are so special, my friend.” She smiled and kissed his cheek. “How can I ever tell you how special you are to me?” He pressed her hand firmly in his – and squeezed.
“I know,” he said softly.
“The unspoken words are the most meaningful,” he whispered.
“Do you think we can do it?” she said hesitantly.
Rex stiffened up, clicked his heels and said, “An American beauty! – a Paris designer and a young European department store management? How can we lose?” He doubled over in laughter! Pamela joined him. It was a funny combination for sure, but she couldn’t help wonder
- could they really put that kind of a merger together?
The following morning Rex left a message with Grant’s secretary: “Meet us for dinner – 7:00 PM – Pierre’s. Signed Pamela and Rex.”
Grant looked at the message with question but he quickly made arrangements to meet them.
Rex’s maroon limousine pulled up at Pamela’s hotel early. This time he was at her door in person.
“Will you come in?” she asked.
“For just a moment Chéri,” he smiled.
“Would you like something to drink? I have some very American Coca-Cola.”
“A small glass perhaps.”
Pamela poured the soda into a small glass.
“Sorry, my crystal isn’t the best!”
Rex smiled and looked around the room.
“Is this the best your boss could do for you?” Pamela smiled. “It’s alright. I can manage.”
Rex’s face reddened. He walked to the phone, dialed a number and waited. Pamela could only hear his side of the conversation.
“Rex Dupar here,” he said. “I want a suite, fully stocked, immediately. Pick up Mrs. Thornton’s baggage tonight.” He quickly gave the hotel and room number. Then he hung up.
“What was that all about?” Pamela looked surprised.
“Let’s pack your things. You are moving from this – place! You will see.” He started gathering her things.
When the maroon limousine picked them up, Pamela was still in a state of amazement.
Rex smiled in his very special way at her. “On to the business at hand,” he said.
Pamela sank back into the plush velvet seats of his maroon limousine.
“I don’t believe you,” she whispered.
“Believe it, Chéri, believe it. Nothing is too good for my American in Paris!”
At Pierre’s that evening, the maître d’ seated them in a private booth lighted only by candlelight. Pamela caught sight of the handsome young man swaggering toward them! He reeked of elegance and his cloths were immaculate. His stride was solid, as if he were sure of himself! Her heart couldn’t help beating fast as he came closer.
She remembered his passionate kiss and his strong arms around her. She had been so sure of her ideas about a younger man and an older woman – until she met him. He shook her very foundations, the morals she grew up with. She felt unsure of her feelings now.
“He’s the age of my daughter,” she reminded herself, “And soon to be a business partner.” Both situations needed her utmost wisdom. She smiled at him as he came to their table.
“You’re just the man we want to see!” Rex pulled the chair out quickly for Grant to sit down. “Pamela and I have been discussing business, much to my distress – I’d much rather be doing something special with her.” Rex blew her a kiss. She smiled as he joked with her.
Grant smiled too. He knew his good friend, Rex, better than anyone else. Rex enjoyed beautiful women, and Pamela was just another of the many women who adored him. Grant smiled at them in his thoughts.
“Business?” Grant quipped, “On a beautiful night like this?”
They teased and joked until Pamela became restless! Rex realized her feelings and stopped, looked directly at Grant, and proposed their new business idea. Then he sat back in his chair and watched Grant’s expression!
“Are you kidding me! Cause if you are, I’m going to forget we’re friends and sock you in the nose!”
“Not kidding!” he said bluntly! Grant glanced quickly at Pamela.
“Are you ready for this?” he questioned her.
“Are you?” she answered quickly.
Grant cocked his head and said, “The way I see it, all we need is a lot of money, a lot of luck, and millions of Rex Dupar’s designs!”
Pamela burst into laughter. Rex smiled and shook his head.
“We can’t fail!” Grant smiled.
The wire to Kel Orland read:
PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. WILL REPAY FOR PARIS TRIP. REGRETFULLY--
She re-read the wire. Her thoughts were still churning with happiness over Rex’s suggestion to work together. She suddenly felt the responsibility of being his agent. It was a feeling Pamela enjoyed.
Kel Orland left her no alternative. She wanted to be fair – to share her good fortune with him but his attitude had ended that feeling.
Pamela sent the wire.
“That says it all!” she thought. She planned to repay Kel Orland for her trip or she would never feel right. It was the trip of a lifetime and she would always be grateful to Orlands for that!
“Why pay them back?” Jill had questioned her mother on the phone.
“There will be no question of integrity. I’ll just feel better,” she insisted.
“That’s just like you, Mom,” she said, not surprised at her mother’s reasons.
“When are you coming home anyway?” Jill asked.
“Soon darling, soon.” Pamela knew Jill missed her as much as she missed Jill.
The weeks had passed rapidly for Pamela, but now it was time to go home!
She realized the new business venture would take some doing to put together, she needed to go home and take care of her personal life. She missed Jill more than she wanted to admit!
It would be expensive flying home and then back again, but that’s the way it had to be. She would talk it over with Rex at lunch tomorrow, she thought.
Deciding to go home was a load off her mind. She felt good about it! She took a little longer in her nightly beauty ritual! The moisture cream seemed to soak in quickly in Paris, “Funny,” she thought, “never even gave a wrinkle a thought until I turned forty!” Pamela rubbed harder, massaging her few wrinkles seemed more important.
“Not bad enough I can’t see past my nose – now wrinkles!” she muttered as she patted her neck with a firm upward thrust.
She had finished all the messy treatments when the phone ring startled her. Three short brassy rings made the call seem so urgent!
The operator said something very French that ended with, “Mrs. Thornton?” That part she recognized.
“Oui,” Pamela answered. She had learned a few French words but sentences, no!
“Pamela,” the voice on the other end sounded so far away! “I can hardly hear you, bad connection,” he said.
Just then the operator interrupted, spoke a little French, and within seconds the man’s voice came back clearer.
Pamela’s heart pounded. It was Jeff!
“Jeff?” she questioned.
“You bet.” His voice gave her butterflies in her stomach!
“How’s Paris my love?”
“Wonderful, just wonderful!” She felt she was screaming in the receiver.
“Why am I screaming? Can you hear me alright?”
“Like you were here next to me! So how’s New York and Boston?”
“Still here, missing you!” Jeff sounded sincere.
“Oh really,” she paused; her voice a little sarcastic. She didn’t add any other comment, just waited for his next remark.
“Did you get my roses?” He asked.
“They were beautiful. It was kind of you. Thank you! I’ve fallen in love with Paris!” she added.
The phone cracked again.
“In love with who?” He sounded distressed. Now he was doing the screaming.
“Paris, silly, Paris.” Pamela answered almost yelling.
“I was afraid of that – you know New York needs you! I need you too!” His voice was distant again, or quieter, she didn’t know which one it was.
Pamela chose to ignore his last remark. She was disturbed that he would assume everything was alright, like nothing had happened between them.
“We’d better wait and talk at home. I’m leaving Paris next Friday night. For a while anyway. Things are pretty upset…” She paused.
“Upset, how?” his voice was visibly distraught!
Pamela told him briefly about Kel Orland and how he refused to even discuss her proposals.
“The guy’s a lunk-head, letting a deal like that slip by! This Rex fellow, how well do you know him?” His concern seemed a little out of line!
“Well enough,” she snapped.
“Oh.” Jeff ’s voice trailed off.
“Please, don’t mix me up anymore. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. As for Rex, he’s a wonderful friend.” She realized Jeff was putting her on the defensive and she didn’t have to be!
“Let me call you tomorrow, don’t do anything in too big a hurry! You sure did the right thing leaving that jerk Orland!” Jeff sounded very supportive.
She silently told herself. “I’m not a child you know – and I do represent Rex’s collection and that’s quite a calling card.”
She heard Jeff muttering something like, “I should be there with you – next time.”
She wondered if she heard right. The phone began making static again. She heard him say goodbye in the distance. “Had he really said that?” Her heart pounded.. She closed her eyes. She could visualize his smile only half visible under his full moustache. His eyes were so blue she felt compelled to stare at them. She did miss him – and it’s strange, she thought, he never mentioned standing her up for his cute little blonde friend. He did know the right things not to say!
A wave of disappointment swept over her again!
“Why should I care anyway?”” But her heart said she did care. She wanted to share her love with him. She felt guilty about sounding so abrupt .
He had sounded so sweet on the phone. So concerned about her. Why had he called anyway? She wondered. She laid her head between her hands, “Oh God, what am I to do?” She wished she could be in his arms listening to his wonderful voice in person. Now she felt the tug-of-war going on in her heart! How could she think such thoughts! Why wasn’t she remembering Tom’s arms around her? She felt more pangs of guilt! A memory came pounding back, a loving moment like so many, when she promised Tom she would never love anyone else, ever!
It had been one of those many special times for both of them. It brought tears to her eyes.
Pamela fell asleep with a heavy heart. A heart aching for love! A fulfilling kind of love that she knew she could never have with Jeff.
Grant Mondane left word at the hotel desk that he would call the following morning. When the phone rang, she was still in bed.
“Are you up?” he asked, his voice much friendlier than before!
“Grant?” she yawned.
“Have breakfast with me, at La Boheme. I’m in a fantastic mood and I want to make up to you for my bad manners. Please don’t say no!”
He was very persuasive. Pamela didn’t have the heart to turn him down!
She arrived at the restaurant only fifteen minutes late. Grant had reserved a small table in the corner.
“This is a beautiful spot – just like I dreamed breakfast in Paris would be!” She smiled as Grant pulled out her chair.
His manners were as polished as he looked. Every hair was in its place, his jacket impeccably clean and pressed. Yet, he had an underlying mystery about him that made her curious.
After they ordered, Grant could wait no longer--!!
“Well, what do you think about Rex’s suggestion that we try and merge our talents?”
Pamela had spent a lot of time thinking things over.
“There are a lot of things I need to know about you. Rex explained a little about your chain, and the financial problems you are facing. But I want to hear it from you. What can you give to this merger?” She took a deep breath.
Grant opened up. “I’m one of the best business men around and I know it,” he smiled. “The profits don’t show it this year, but I’ve had my hands tied by some cantankerous stockholders!” Pamela listened intently.
“I never had a childhood worth talking about,” he said. “My mother felt it was more important to travel all over the world with Mondane.” Grant’s cheerful, carefree look turned sour.
“I take it you didn’t care for your stepfather,” Pamela interjected.
“You got it. He took my mother from me – left me to grow up in a boarding school. Don’t get me wrong, my mother was good to me financially. But it wasn’t the same.” He paused – his eyes were moist. She could feel the hurt in his heart.
“I grew up without the love of a mother or a father – that simple.”
“But you inherited an empire!” She tried to encourage him to talk more.
Grant continued, he was deep in his recollection of his childhood.
“While the other guys were off fishing and hiking with their fathers, I was studying or reading. The boarding school was OK—but not like having your own parents.”
Pamela sighed, she prayed she would say the right things.
“What about college? Didn’t that help?” She asked.
“Sure, I sowed a lot of wild oats, got a chance to go to America on a spelling tour once, then I stepped into Mondanes department store chain running. It didn’t give me much time to enjoy growing up.”
“I guess not, if you were just nineteen.” She smiled.
“It wasn’t easy at first. Then I realized my future was at stake, so I took hold and made it work for me.” He still looked very serious.
“I’d say you did alright!” She smiled.
“Yeh, but I missed all the fun times – dating, soccer games – the good times!”
He looked like a sad little boy at that moment.
“Have you been in love?” Pamela asked trying to keep the conversation on the lighter plane.
“Once – she was young – not ready for a meaningful relationship!” He didn’t seem to want to elaborate so Pamela dropped the subject.
Grant pondered for a while. His hands were shaking. He continued his story…
“When news came of the plane crash – my mother and stepfather were dead – I didn’t feel anything. I wondered why I couldn’t cry, or feel bad. It took a few sessions on the old couch before I realized I hadn’t lost anything. You can’t loose what you never had!” Grant seemed to pull himself together with that statement.
Pamela took that as a sign to get onto another subject.
She began telling him how much she was intrigued with Paris, the beautiful old buildings and the work of the masters.
She felt Grant’s eyes watching her intently. She had an uncomfortable feeling. Pamela paused several times to gaze into his meaningful beautiful blue eyes. The intensity of his stare, the cute way his mouth curved when he laughed reminded her of Jeff and his undeniable charm.
“Tell me, what are you doing about your financial condition now?” She tried to make conversation. His stare was discomforting. Pamela listened.
“I bought the stockholders out last fall. We’re on the upswing now, but a year like that takes something really great, like Rex’s collection, to pull it out completely.”
“And money!” she added. “As I see it then,” she began, “Rex has given me the honor of supervising his collection and you a place in Europe to market it. Now what we need is a silent partner in America with money! Right?”
“It’s the greatest opportunity of my life,” he said. “If we can swing it.”
She could see the glow in his eyes. He looked like a little boy with his first new bike. It was a charming quality. Pamela caught herself staring at him as he talked. He reminded her of Jeff in so many ways, only younger, much younger.
She watched him spread his notebook all over the table and begin making notes as they talked.
“By the way I love your smile, in fact I love everything about you. Is that OK?” he said bluntly!
Pamela nodded “Yes!” She smiled, shaking her head in disbelief! Grant flashed a very sensuous smile at her.
“With someone who has such energy along with Rex’s magnificent design collection, Mondanes could be out of the red in no time! We need someone who can see what possibilities we really have,” she said thoughtfully.
Pamela sat quietly for a moment.
“Why so quiet?” He interrupted her moment.
Pamela was beaming. She smiled and then, as if a light had been turned on, she couldn’t hide her excitement.
“Go call Rex,” she ordered. “Get him down here. I have an idea that just might work!”
Grant looked at her for a long moment, then decided she was serious and headed toward the telephone booth!
“It won’t be for long Chéri, we shall be together again, in your beautiful country!” he laughed. His eyes sparkled.
“I hope it works!” she whispered.
“I shall miss you,” Rex’s voice cracked.
Pamela turned to face him. “I’ll miss you too!” Their eyes locked for a brief moment.
Then Rex pulled her close and kissed her on the mouth. He had never done that before. His kisses had been sweet gestures on the cheek or hand holding through the streets of Paris, but this was different!
“I’m sorry, Mon Ami, I forgot myself, I wish...” he stopped!
She waited for him to continue.
“Forgive me,” he apologized. “Consider it my goodbye kiss, for a time.”
Pamela was speechless! She took another long look at him. A different kind of look. Had he always been so handsome? Did he always smell this good? Pamela felt that funny twinge in her stomach again. Had something happened these past three weeks and she didn’t even know it? It had been the most thrilling time of her life and Rex was a big part of that feeling!
Beads of perspiration dotted her forehead as she watched Rex seemingly in a terrible hurry. She knew their kiss had disturbed him greatly!
“No sad goodbyes,” he said quickly. “Grant will be here very shortly to see you off Chéri. God be with you!” he said and he disappeared through the revolving glass doorway that led to the street.
Pamela watched him, bewildered by her own disturbed emotions. She wondered why she felt lonesome for him already. As precisely the same time that Rex left, Grant entered the doorway.
“What was his hurry?” Grant questioned. “He didn’t even speak!”
Pamela tried to explain as best she could! “He doesn’t like goodbyes he said”
“Nor do I” he paused, “and we can’t say them, not yet!”
“Why not?” Pamela looked bewildered!
“There’s some kind of trouble with the flight, not too serious I understand.”
“What now?” Pamela shifted from one foot to the other nervously.
“A five hour delay,” he responded.
“You’re kidding! That sounds serious to me!” She looked perplexed.
“Nope, just takes time!” he said.
“You might know it would happen to me! I’m so anxious to get home, to see my daughter.” She sighed.
“Your daughter?” he said in shock. “You – have a baby?” A look of surprise crossed Grants face.
Pamela laughed. The situation didn’t call for laughter, but his remark was the icing on the cake!
“My baby, is about your age, I’m sorry to say.” She smiled.
“That’s not possible,” he responded. “You’re my age!” “She’s twenty-one, and a beauty. The love of my life!”
She watched Grant’s expression intently.
Grant stammered, his jaw set and his eyes flashing. “I’m thirty you know!” He growled.
“Just a baby,” Pamela smiled.
“Not too young!” His tone had changed to one of irritation. The look in his eyes gave Pamela an uneasy feeling
“Five hours is a long time to spend in this airport,”
he said. “Let’s go to my apartment. It’s close by and we
can wait out the repairs!” He added, “I’ll leave my phone
number and they can call if there are any changes.” Pamela couldn’t say no, even if she did feel uneasy. She
would never want to hurt Grant’s feelings.
“Run for it,” Grant instructed as the taxis pulled up
to the curb. The weather had closed in and it was raining
“I can’t believe how quickly this storm came up.” She
dashed for the taxi. Grant laughed as he ducked in beside
“They pass just as quickly!” he brushed his coat off. Pamela shivered.
“You’re freezing and wet!” he said. “Cuddle up and I’ll
get you warm.”
She didn’t resist. His coat and strong arms around her
felt warm and comfortable.
Pamela’s teeth were still chattering as Grant built a fire
in his fireplace.
“I love your apartment. It’s so, so modern!” she smiled.
The real word was “Funky,” but somehow she couldn’t
bring herself to say it.
“Can I pour you some wine?” he offered.
“None, thank you. I’m flying you know!”
“Do you mind if I have some?” Pamela nodded no. They sat warming by the fire. Grant had too much
“You look beautiful in the firelight,” he said softly. She shifted in the chair nervously.
“Thank you,” she answered softly.
“I think I love you!” he said.
“Please, Grant, don’t,” she interrupted. Her voice denoted a pleading tone.
“Come here!” he demanded, then smiled coyly as if he
didn’t believe his own forcefulness! The wine had made
him lose his sense of reality.
She decided it was best to pamper him. After all, she
thought, I do love him, in a very special way! She sat down
on the couch beside him hoping she could make him understand the love she felt for him.
Grant roughly pulled her into his arms, his handsome
face inches from hers.
“I love you, don’t you understand?” he murmured softly
in her ear.
“But – you don’t understand,” she stammered, pushing
him back at arms length.
He pulled her close again and tried to kiss her full on
the mouth again. She stopped his advance.
Pamela knew she had to – but at that moment she
wondered if she wanted to. Her heart pounded. She regained her calm and pleaded with him. “Please,”
she said. “Please stop now before you ruin things for us !”
Her emboldened voice made him stop immediately. “Why – ruin – how?” His eyes were pleading for her
answer. He looked like a little boy who was caught with a
frog in his pocket!
She knew this was her only chance. She had to make
him understand her feelings! It could mean the end of
everything if she damaged their relationship. How could
she let him down easy and not hurt his pride, yet, tell the
She stammered … “It’s me, not you!” she answered
with a pleading tone in her voice again.
Grant poured another glass of wine. His eyes looked
heavy and glassy.
“You shouldn’t drink anymore wine,” she advised.
Pamela knew he was close to the point of passing out.
She sat next to him trying to explain her rejection of his
advances. “I can’t love anyone else, not yet. I’m not free.”
Tears welled up in her eyes.
Grant held her close. Tears rolled down his cheeks.
The alcohol had taken its toll on him. “Not free – from
“Will you love me when you can?” he pleaded. Pamela
knew she had to tell him the truth. But would he remember
She had to tell him that her upbringing wouldn’t let
her fall in love with a younger man – a man who could
be her son.
Grant whispered “Why?” and then closed his eyes.
Pamela sighed pitifully as she watched Grant sawing logs
on the couch beside her, completely oblivious to the world
and her explanation! She knew how sorry he would be
She slipped quietly out of the room and hailed a taxi
to take her to the airport! She hoped he stayed “put” until
he slept off the wine.
She wondered how much Grant would remember of
this evening in the morning. Sadness filled her heart. Pamela arrived on time at Logan International Airport
in Boston. It had been a long, tiring flight and she felt a
Pamela ran when she caught sight of Jill waiting behind
the gate. Jill threw her arms around her mother and they
began to cry.
“Look at us! Our makeup is a mess!” Pamela hugged
Jill again and again.
“You really look tired, Mom!” Jill grabbed her mother’s
heavy carryon luggage from her.
Jill waited to begin her questions until they got comfortable in the car.
“Now, what about the Frenchman?” she smiled. “Is he
cute? And who’s this Grant anyway?”
“Wait a minute darling.” Pamela squeezed Jill’s arm.
“I’ll tell all, but not that fast. We have the whole weekend
together.” Then she added, “Nosey!” swatting Jill gently
on the arm!
Jill hugged her mom again as they walked arm in arm
to their car.
The weekend passed much too quickly but Jill finally
pumped her mother until she got answers to her questions!
Jill listened to her mother try and explain her feelings
for both the men. First Rex, then Grant.
“Sounds to me like you have three men crazy about
you!” Jill smiled smugly. “How about Jeff?” she added. “I feel so frustrated. I just don’t know how I feel anymore. Except I do love Rex in a very special way.” “And Grant?”
“He’s much too young. He’s your age.”
“So what – haven’t you heard about younger men
and older women?” Jill loved to tease her mom.
“Jill!” her mother scolded. “You know better than that!” “Yes, but he sounds wonderful,” Jill sighed. “What on earth makes this collection of Rex Dupar’s so
special?” Jill asked with a serious expression on her face. “I suppose it’s really because his creations are so beautifully simple, anyone can wear them; from the elegant Boston socialite to the New York salesgirl!”
“I can’t wait to see his originals!” Jill interrupted.
“His research is matched by none other in the industry. He knows what women want to look like and he gives them just that look!”
Jill laughed! “Wow – what an explanation! You sound captivated by this Rex Dupar!”
Pamela smiled, “He was wonderful to me, I saw Paris through his eyes! Very special eyes I might add!”
Jill shook her head and grinned like she knew something her mother didn’t know.
Pamela always hated it when Jill had to go back to school, but this time it was easier – she would be back in two weeks for a whole week’s vacation. Pamela knew if she said one more “be careful!” Jill would resent it.
It wasn’t easy for Pamela to keep her mouth shut, except when Jill’s welfare was at stake. Pamela remembered vividly Jill’s heartbreak over Phillip Wesley. Phillip had seemed to adore Jill. They were constant companions. She had teased her on one occasion, “You can’t even use the bathroom without suggesting he stay put!”
Jill had smiled But she knew it was the truth, he always followed her with only inches between them.
“He’s smothering you! Can you breathe?” Pamela had finally asked in a sarcastic way.
“I love him and that’s the way it is.” Jill looked squarely at her mother.
It was the one and only time there had been a wedge in their relationship.
Jill had stayed away for a time. It was her first year in
college, away from home and mother’s watchful eye. Pamela felt the hurt of losing – again. It never occurred
to her that Jill was feeling the terrible hurt of losing her
dad, reaching out to fill that empty spot with Phillip. Pamela remembered how she tried to convince herself
that he would be a good mate for Jill.
His deep brown eyes were magnetic. They seemed
matched to his thick waving auburn hair that never looked
mussed or out of place. He was handsome, polite, from a
wealthy family and studying to be a physician. What more
could a mother want for her offspring?
Pamela remembered doubting that Jill loved Phillip.
He was Jill’s shadow and her escort, but it was obvious
she was not in love. When Jill called in tears to tell her
mother it was over between she and Phillip, Jill sounded
devastated. When she arrived home, Pamela gave her the
gentle love and encouragement she needed to overcome
her disappointed love affair.
Pamela smiled again! Jill had grown up so fast, too fast.
It worried her that she never kept another boyfriend for
any length of time. First one, then another. Phillip had
disillusioned her. Pamela wanted her to experience the
kind of love she and her father had experienced. Jill would never be serious when Pamela asked who
she was dating. “Oh, no one special,” she would answer
Pamela stood for a long while watching Jill’s plane
disappear from sight. For a moment she felt alone, and it
was a feeling she had to deal with every time Jill left. Then
she began making plans for Jill’s return.
“Only two weeks,” she whispered. Pamela smiled. “Thank you Lord for her,” she whispered her silent prayer.
he Boston sky was a yellow gold and a view of the city faced Kel Orland as he sat with his chair facing the window. He never moved as Pamela entered the office. The time had come for her to face him and explain her actions in Paris. She felt she owed him a personal explanation. Her letter of resignation was just a cold formality. She waited silent for a moment hoping Mr. Orland would turn around. Then her patience grew thin!
“Mr. Orland, may I speak to you?” she blurted out. “And what more do you have to say Mrs. Thornton?” He kept his back to her. “Didn’t you say it all in your cable?” He was deliberately being rude.
“Could you do me the courtesy of turning around sir?” she asked firmly.
Kel Orland whirled his chair around abruptly.
“We received your resignation and I have all your papers in order Mrs. Thornton. I assume you have your belongings out of our office by now?”
“Yes,” Pamela stammered, shocked at his attitude about the whole situation. Pamela tensed up.
“You may reimburse this company for your plane ticket.” He turned his chair toward the window again. “Goodbye Mrs. Thornton,” he said coolly.
Pamela felt humiliated. She was crushed. He hadn’t let her explain a thing! He acted like he was letting a stock boy go!
Pamela headed for the door like a whipped puppy. She paused for a short moment. Then it hit her! What am I doing? Should I keep silent and turn the other cheek? She looked at the door ahead. She could really tell him off or just leave without a word. Her Christian attitude was being challenged. She turned around again to look into the face of Kel Orland who had turned to watch her leave the room.
She shrugged her shoulders. Her vibrant smile was gone, replaced with a look of determination. She tossed her head back, in complete control of herself. She smiled at Kel Orland and said softly, “Thank you for everything. I’m sorry things have not worked out for us, but I do appreciate all you have done for me. Please do have a nice day!”
She turned and walked quietly to the door. She glanced back to see Mr. Orland in a state of shock.
It hadn’t been easy for her, but then no one said doing the right thing was the easy way! She muttered a phrase as she walked out the door, “Onward and upward! One down, one to go!” She thought about Jeff Desmond, her ‘one to go’ project!
A smile rippled across her lips as she said his name.
Jeff had been her first idea for a silent backer. Now she was going to see him about that idea. Her heart pounded. She was anxious to see him and for more than business reasons.
Approaching Jeff about the silent backer idea was a long shot. He was a successful businessman already. He had plenty to take care of without a project like this. She swallowed hard as she dialed the phone. “Won’t know till I ask,” she rationalized.
When she heard his voice on the other end of the line, she had that familiar queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“Pamela,” he exclaimed, “when did you get home?” Anxiety reeked in his voice.
“Yesterday, but my time has really been messed up.”
“When can I see you?”
“How about lunch today,” she said. He agreed immediately.
Pamela felt pangs of pride sweep in as she waited for his next words. She hated calling him.
“Great, I’ll pick you up at the office.” His voice filled with anticipation.
“No,” she said quietly. “I’ll be out that way, I’ll meet you.”
They agreed on a restaurant and Pamela left him with her greeting, “See you soon.”
She could tell by the anxiety in his voice he thought this was to be a romantic encounter. Their meeting was not going to be an easy one for her. She still remembered how he dumped her for the beautiful blonde. Even the gossip columns were full of predictions about Jeff and his girlfriend’s future.
Jealousy gripped Pamela as she thought about Mr. Playboy. He was probably between dates so he accepted a lunch proposal! She didn’t like the way she felt.
She quickly pushed aside the churning in her stomach. She really just didn’t care she told herself. This is business, nothing else!
Pamela arrived at the restaurant before Jeff. She could see Jeff enter the restaurant from across the room. Every woman turned to take a look as he passed their chair. Pamela felt another flash of jealousy! Her face flushed.
As he approached her table, she caught her breath. Keep cool, remember, he’s a thing of the past. She kept repeating that phrase as the handsome Jeff Desmond came closer.
Jeff didn’t stop to say hello to anyone, he walked directly to her, bent down and kissed her. He wasted no time trying to explain the beautiful blonde in the restaurant! “You left, you didn’t let me explain,” he said quickly.
“You don’t owe me any explanation!” Pamela replied sharply.
“But I want to explain!” A stern look crossed his forehead.
“Not now, I called you on business. I want to talk to you about that first. Then we’ll get to us.”
Jeff could see she was serious and agreed, half-heartedly.
“Okay, shoot, what’s this all about?”
“Better get comfortable, it’s a long story, but one that I think will interest you.”
“You are what interests me. But go ahead.” He smiled but he caught her chastising look.
“Okay, okay,” he muttered. “I’ll listen.”
It took Pamela a while to get to the real proposition.
Finally, she finished by saying, “It really boils down to this: Grant needs a silent backer, financial help to be more specific, so that he can market Rex Dupar originals in his European chain!”
Jeff had listened intently. Then he asked a question.
“It would seem strange to put money, silent or not, into someone else’s department store and not my own.”
“That’s where I come in,” she said. “I’m the agent for Rex Dupar and a partner of Grant Mondane’s.”
Jeff looked shocked. Then he asked the real question.
“What’s in it for me?”
“Thirty-five percent and a partnership in Dupar’s creations, and exclusive rights to marketing in the United States.”
“Sounds interesting. Who’s this Grant anyway?”
“Are you familiar with the chain ‘Le Mondanes’ of Europe? They are his. He has some financial problems but this venture could cure all that. He’s young and disgustingly ambitious, and wonderful!” She was bubbling over.
“You sound impressed.” Jeff looked at her. The look in his eyes seemed to be filled with questions he wanted to ask.
“So, you’re not going to talk to me about us yet?”
“Not yet, business is business,” she said.
Jeff hesitated but listened to Pamela’s presentation. He liked what she was saying. It was impressive.
“When can I meet these two men in your life? Sounds like you haven’t been lonely in Europe!” he snapped.
“Grant and Rex will both be arriving this week. We can meet Thursday evening. Is that alright?”
Jeff nodded in agreement.
He walked with her to her car.
“You’re not being fair to us, you know, but I’m a patient man.” He grinned. His eyes sparkled. A wisp of hair the wind had caught hung slightly over his forehead. Pamela caught herself staring.
“Goodbye for now,” he said as he turned and walked away.
Pamela watched him. She touched her lips. She could still feel the tingle of his kiss when they met.
“Why couldn’t it be different. He could so easily sweep me off my feet, take me in his arms, carry me away.” She wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.
“If,” she whispered. She wondered why she had been so stubborn. They could have talked. She had been stubborn and selfish.
“I blew it,” she grumbled. “I really blew it this time!”
Pamela sat for a moment. She decided to add Jeff ’s name to her Thursday calendar.
She glanced at the arrival schedule.
Grant – flight 210 – 2:00 PM Thursday
Rex – flight 923 – 2:30 PM Friday
Jill – flight 423 – 2:23 PM Thursday
She wondered how she would manage to meet both Grant and Jill at opposite ends of the airport!
Thursday came quickly and Pamela hurried to meet Grant in the airport lobby. He quickly grabbed her and twirled her around, kissing her on the cheek.
“You did it,” he yelled. “He’s going to meet with us!”
“It’s up to you and Rex now!” She patted his shoulder. She rushed him to the ramp where Jill’s plane was due in.
“There’s Jill’s plane now.” Pamela waited anxiously for her to enter the waiting room.
“I can’t wait to meet your little girl” Grant waited patiently beside her.
Jill waved and ran to hug Pamela while Grant stood by with his mouth open.
Pamela introduced them. “I can’t believe this is your not-so-little girl.” He smiled.
Jill’s face expressed shock when she saw him.
“She’s every bit as beautiful as you said she was.” Grant smiled.
Jill smiled, but she was visibly disturbed.
“Mom, can I talk to you a minute, alone?”
“Excuse us, will you Grant? We’ll be right back.”
He looked puzzled. “Sure,” he said. “I’ll be at the baggage ramp.”
Jill whispered urgently, “I’ve seen him before, Mom. At school. He spoke to the fashion department last year,” she said breathlessly.
“Really, he told me he did some speaking tours, but I never asked where.”
“He’s handsome. I adored him then, I think you’d call it a school girl crush!”
“Well, let’s keep it our secret. Just calm down and be yourself.” Pamela put her arms around Jill.
“He doesn’t remember me, that’s for sure!” Jill retorted.
“Did you meet him in person?” Pamela asked. “I sure did. He dated my roommate! I was very envious.”
“That’s in the past my darling.” Pamela smiled and squeezed her hand. They walked arm in arm back to the handsome, smiling young man. Pamela watched Grant’s face. She wondered if he remembered their last night together in Paris.
Pamela insisted that Grant escort Jill to the baggage room while she checked on the time schedules for the next day.
Rex would be arriving for their meeting on the two o’clock flight from Paris.
When Pamela finally caught up with Jill and Grant they were laughing and talking with each other like old friends.
Jill had put on her most sophisticated, lady-like façade, and Grant was trying hard to impress her, as Mr. Big. Pamela laughed to herself. It would only be a matter of time, she thought.
Jill insisted that Grant stay at their apartment for the night, at least until Rex arrived. Pamela agreed. As the evening progressed, all the false pretenses went their way and Jill and Grant began to relax and show their true selves. It was evident they liked what they saw! The morning passed quickly as they prepared to meet Rex’s plane. Pamela was excited about Rex’s arrival. She felt proud to be his “chosen one.” It was a responsibility that she didn’t take lightly.
They arrived at the airport ahead of time, just in case the plane was early. They waited in vain as the passengers exited the plane.
When he didn’t get off the plane, Pamela went to the arrival desk.
“I’m concerned about one of your passengers we are meeting today. Could you check to see if Mr. Rex Dupar was on board from Paris?” The attendant scrolled the passenger list.
“I’m sorry, he is not listed.” She said.
“Are you sure this is the entire list?” Pamela’s voice was filled with emotion by then.
“Let me check to see our cancellation list.” She offered.
“I’m so sorry ma’am, there was a last minute cancellation from Mr. Dupar in Paris.”
Pamela looked at Grant, then to Jill, she was visibly disturbed.
amela was upset that Rex was not aboard the flight. Her throat tightened, her hands were clammy. Her imagination ran wild. He knew how important this meeting was. He wouldn’t just miss his plane! Her heart pounded as she choked with emotion.
She called Jeff to explain what was happening. “He’s a big boy. Probably missed his plane for some good reason, don’t worry!” He sounded irritated at her concern and not the least bit upset. “Our meeting,” she stammered, “we’ll just...”
Jeff interrupted her quickly. “I’ll meet with the boy – what’s his name – Grant?”
“Yes, Grant. Do you think that will work out?” She hesitated.
“Sure, you come too. We need time to talk privately!” he added.
Pamela agreed as she hung up the phone. A feeling of nervousness and depression came over her. She closed her eyes and paid a silent prayer for Rex wherever he was.
Pamela had to tear Grant away from Jill. Trying to turn his attention from her beautiful daughter to business wasn’t easy!
“Do you think I can present this deal to him?” Grant seemed a bit nervous as he questioned Pamela.
“Just be yourself,” she advised. “Jeff likes ordinary people! Remember, we have something he’s interested in.” She smiled.
Grant expressed how disappointed he was that Rex would not be with him on their first meeting. “I just hope nothing bad has happened or that he has changed his mind!”
Pamela nodded in agreement. Her face was visibly shaken by the absence of Rex on the plane.
In his office, Jeff was an entirely different man. He was not at all the dashing, carefree playboy he appeared to be after hours. He was to the point and very businesslike. He projected the business tycoon that he was known to be in the industry.
His office was immaculate, organized and elegant. Pamela was so impressed. This was her first visit into his business world.
“You like it?” he asked. Jeff had been watching her scrutinize the surroundings.
“I’m overwhelmed,” she responded, looking into his silvery blue eyes that hadn’t left her for a minute.
Grant reached his hand out to shake Jeff ’s. Grant was nervous, but shook his hand with confidence.
Pamela stayed with them just long enough to introduce the two men and to state her position in the pending corporation.
As she spoke, Jeff watched her closely. At times he had a wistful, faraway look in his eyes. Pamela noticed but she tried to ignore it and keep her mind on the merger at hand.
“I must leave you two, but I’ll be back in a couple of hours. I’m going to try and find out what has happened to Rex.” She smiled at the two very attractive men looking at her.
Pamela hadn’t planned on leaving them at all, but she was concerned about Rex and her heart overcame the business venture.
“Will we have time later on?” Jeff questioned her as he helped her put her soft white angora sweater around her shoulders. She looked like something out of Vogue in her burnt orange Shantung dress that clung softly to every curve of her beautiful body. A dress she had designed herself for just such a moment.
“Later,” she agreed and smiled with a promising look. A knot in her breast made her feel she and Jeff were playing a cat and mouse game with each other and she didn’t know why. She calmed her feelings by reminding herself, “God is in control, relax Pamela!”
At the airport, Jill helped her mother search for different telephone numbers to call and check on Rex. Every call ended in desperation. No one seemed to know anything except that he left his office with plans to fly to the United States.
“How far did he get?” she questioned. She was becoming more concerned with each call.
Finally, after a bevy of calls, she reached Rex’s secretary, the woman she met the afternoon Rex had given Pamela her own fashion show. She realized immediately they were not going to be able to communicate. His secretary knew very little English and Pamela’s French was atrocious!
“Say that again.” Pamela thumbed rapidly through her French dictionary. His secretary repeated her sentence slowly – Pamela caught one word – hospital – her heart sank. Rex’s secretary gave her a phone number to call.
Pamela’s hand trembled as she dialed the operator. Jill stood close to her, holding her tightly. Tears streamed down Pamela’s cheeks.
“I’m afraid of what I’ll find out.” Her eyes showed the agony she was in.
The phone number was located in England. Pamela had no idea who she was calling.
Jill squeezed her mother’s hand. “Try the number – you must,” she urged.
A woman’s voice, very clear and audible, came over the line.
“I’m a friend of Rex Dupar’s – in America. Can you tell me anything about him?” Her voice choked up.
The woman cleared her throat. “Yes. I’m his Aunt Lydia. And who are you please,” she questioned.
Pamela tried to explain hurriedly, but had to stop. She was so upset she couldn’t think of the right things to say. She finally made Aunt Lydia understand who she was.
“Pamela Thornton you say?” she asked again.
“Yes, in the United States. I must know, is Rex alright?” Pamela was tired of all the explaining she had done and now she begged for answers! Her voice sounded of irritation.
Aunt Lydia seemed to know who Pamela was. She explained that Rex had been hit by a drunk driver at a stop sign at a busy intersection on his way to the airport. She also explained that she had raised Rex and they were very close.
There were four cars involved in the accident and Rex’s maroon limousine suffered the worst. His chauffeur had been killed and Rex was in a coma, critical.
Pamela choked up. She could hardly speak. She apologized to Aunt Lydia but assured her she would be on the next available plane to Paris.
Aunt Lydia was gracious and planned to meet Pamela when she arrived.
Jill held her mother close and tried to comfort her. Pamela let all her pent up emotions go.
Finally she regained her composure. “I’m alright now, we must hurry,” she said, wiping her eyes.
Jill drove her back to Jeff Desmond’s office. When Pamela entered the room she could tell by the way the two men were talking that Jeff and Grant had hit it off. Jeff quickly announced, “This is some smart fellow! I’m sure we can do business!”
Pamela managed a small half-hearted smile.
“What’s wrong?” Grant’s smile faded!
Jeff walked toward her, his face taunt and full of questions.
“It’s Rex,” she said solemnly. “He’s been in a terrible accident, on his way to the plane, yesterday.”
“Is he alive?” Grant burst in.
“Barely – he’s in a coma – he hasn’t regained consciousness since the accident.”
“How did you find out?”
“I located his Aunt Lydia. Rex had told her all about our plans. She has his power of attorney.” Pamela paused.
Grant interrupted. “Aunt Lydia is a very special person in Rex’s life. I know. I should have realized she would know if anything was wrong.” He looked apologetic. He put his arms around Pamela, consoling her.
Jeff looked bewildered. “Without our designer – what do we have?” he asked.
“He’s critical – not dead!” she answered abruptly. “I’ve got to go to him now!” Pamela’s eyes were red, but set with determination!
The hours that followed were hectic. Grant planned to go to the airport to make their reservations. In his departure he hesitated only long enough to apologize to Jeff. He looked intently into Jill’s eyes and said, “You’ll come with us, won’t you?”
His lips formed a tight line and his brow wrinkled with concern as he awaited her reply.
Jill looked quickly at her mother, her eyes shining with hope.
“Yes, of course,” Pamela answered.
Grant nodded in agreement and quickly disappeared out the door of Jeff ’s office.
Jeff stood speechless, his handsome face marred with a forlorn, helpless look. His blue eyes echoed his sadness.
“I’m sorry,” Pamela quickly added as she faced him. “It’s not what I planned. I’ll call you from Paris as soon as I know something.”
Jeff pulled her close. It surprised Pamela but she didn’t resist this time. She wanted a compassionate friend, someone who cared about her.
“Be careful,” he whispered and he kissed her softly on the mouth.
“I’ll be waiting for your call,” he said. “If you need me, I’m here.” He smiled. Pamela loved the way his moustache twisted slightly when he smiled. She had that same funny feeling in the pit of her stomach. His concern touched her and she was definitely taken aback. Just when she began to wonder if there was no man left in the world with any compassion Jeff ’s concern came through.
Jill watched them, her cute half-grin showing. It was the kind of all knowing smile, like she thought she knew a secret about her mother and Jeff Desmond that they didn’t realize.
Grant met them in the lobby of the airport. “We’re lucky,” Grant called to them as Pamela and Jill came closer to the flight desk. “They had three cancellations on the flight leaving tonight – 8:00 o’clock.” He finished paying for the tickets.
“Tonight!” Pamela gasped. “Doesn’t give us much time, does it?” She sighed.
“I haven’t even had time to unpack yet, have you?” Jill said looking at Grant. He nodded a “no” gesture in disbelief of the whole situation.
“I didn’t pack for Paris but I guess it will do,” Jill smiled.
“And I packed for America!” he laughed, adding, “It isn’t as if we didn’t have the way to get you more clothes! I knew there would be some good reason I owned a department store!” He smiled. His face lit up with pride as he spoke. It was obvious he wanted to impress Jill.
“Come on you two, we haven’t much time,” Pamela called. “Now, let’s see,” she mumbled, “we’ll eat dinner, grab a shower, I’ll pack…” Pamela’s voice trailed off as she headed for the door.
Jill sighed, looked at her mother and shook her head. She winked cutely at Grant.
“Mom’s mind goes a mile a minute,” Jill said as they dodged in and out of the crowd, trying to keep up with her mom.
Jill sat starting out the window of the plane at the glittering lights of Logan International Airport.
“Too bad this trip is not for pleasure!” Grant said, looking at the beautiful young girl sitting next to him.
Jill smiled. “Rex is very important to Mom.”
“To me too,” he added. “We’ve been friends a long time and he brought your mother and me together.”
Pamela heard Grant’s remark. A cold chill ran through her. She wondered if he was remembering their afternoon together! She hurriedly dismissed the thought. Jill was obviously excited about going to Paris with them even if it was on such a solemn occasion.
After the jet was airborne, the seatbelt light went off. Jill turned around in her seat to talk to her mother. Tears were streaming down Pamela’s cheeks.
“He’ll be alright Mom,” she said, “you’ll see.”
“It was such a serious accident. They don’t give him much hope.” Pamela’s voice cracked as she tried to swallow the lump caught in her throat.
“Mom, you’ve always taught me that there is always hope!” Jill waited a few minutes for Pamela to regain her composure and realize again that God is in control.
“Will you be able to show Rex’s collection now?” Jill asked with concern.
“Yes,” she paused. “Aunt Lydia assured me she would take all the necessary steps to give us the rights. She wants us to proceed with our plans, for Rex’s sake.”
“Will you be meeting her right away?” Jill tried to keep her mother’s mind off Rex for a time.
“She’s expecting me. But I want to see Rex first.” Pamela’s eyes were red and swollen.
Grant shook his head in agreement. “Yes,” he said, “we have to see Rex first.”
Pamela knew how much Rex meant to him. He was just better at hiding his feelings than she was.
Grant showed what a magnificent organizer he was. He took charge as soon as the plane landed. He rented a car and they started for the hospital with no delays.
Jill gasped and hid her eyes as he darted his rental car in and out of the traffic. Pamela also buried her eyes behind her hands. “I never got used to this traffic,” she murmured.
“Tell me when we’re there,” Jill said and ducked down in the seat.
Pamela had to laugh at the terrified look on Jill’s face.
“So, how do you like Paris so far darling?” she asked.
Jill smiled weakly! “I can’t look at it now, this ride is so unreal!”
“Gotta drive like the natives do, or you’ll get run over,” Grant said and held on tightly to the steering wheel!
At the hospital Grant explained to the doctor how Pamela came all the way from the United States to see Rex. They finally agreed to let her in.
As she entered the dimly lit room of the intensive care unit, the sound of the heart monitor beeping and making its scratchy marks on the screen gave her a sick feeling inside.
Pamela caught her breath when she looked at him. His usually shining eyes were barely visible. His cheeks were swollen over the bridge of his nose. She would never have recognized him if she hadn’t known it was Rex.
Pamela sat quietly beside him for a long while holding his hand! Grant had promised the nurse she wouldn’t make him talk. Pamela honored that promise.
She prayed silently. God had been good to her by providing this friend. She prayed for his life. “If it be thy will,” she added humbly.
She held back her tears until she left the room, then they came uncontrolled.
“Did you see the doctor?” She looked at Grant and Jill, her sobs interrupted her question.
Grant’s expression held the answer.
“Will he live?” she begged.
“He’s holding his own,” he said blandly.
“Tomorrow, if he gets through tomorrow...” he paused. Grant was shaken, his face torn with grief.
Jill put her arm around her mother.
“He will make it,” she assured her and added, “Come on, let’s get something to eat. We can’t help him here.” She tugged on Pamela’s arm. Pamela hadn’t eaten for a day and Jill was worried about her.
Grant agreed. “We have other things we can do for him now.”
Pamela followed reluctantly, she knew they were right. As they left the hospital she wondered if she would ever see Rex alive again.
Pamela insisted that she talk with Rex’s Aunt Lydia alone.
“Grant will you show Jill some of Paris?” she suggested politely. “I can take care of the business with Aunt Lydia.”
Grant realized from the look on her face that she really wanted to be alone with Aunt Lydia.
“If you’re sure you don’t need us?” he asked.
“Please, Jill must see some of Paris before we leave. We haven’t much time,” she paused, kissed Jill on the cheek and added, “I’ll be fine now, really!”
Jill smiled. She knew her mother’s faith would sustain her. There had been times when she felt her mother was too religious and straight but now she could feel the power her mother was receiving. Jill watched and prayed too. She thanked God for having a Christian mom who showed great strength.
Aunt Lydia was only a phone call away. In a matter of minutes she arrived at the restaurant Deux-Magots. Pamela thought of how only a few short weeks before she and Rex had dined together in the same spot.
Pamela watched the door. She knew she would recognize the very matronly Aunt Lydia when she entered the room.
“Mrs. Thornton?” a soft spoken voice addressed her from behind.
“So sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, but you just look like an American, am I correct?” She smiled graciously.
“Aunt Lydia?” Her tone reflected her surprise.
There stood a tall dark haired woman who looked like a model out of Vogue, elegantly attired and not at all a little old grey haired aunt like she expected.
Pamela apologized and explained why she hadn’t recognized her.
She was every bit as friendly as Rex and anxious to help get the legal documents to Pamela so the “collection showing” could proceed.
She had already called her lawyer and everything would be ready for Pamela the following day. Their meeting was filled with emotion and sadness but both women felt the need to pursue Rex’s interests.
“Rex has mentioned you quite often. Now I can see why. You are as beautiful as he said.” Aunt Lydia spoke with a very French accent which only made her more attractive.
“He is very special to me. We became good friends in such a short time. Something quite unusual these days.” Pamela smiled.
Lydia embraced Pamela. “He is very special to me too. He’s the son I never had. The only child of my sister. I promised her I would take care of him. Now...” Her voice was filled with emotion. “He needs me more than ever.”
She got control of herself emotionally.
“It’s what he would want of me. His designs are his life. We must make sure the “collection showing” goes on.”
Pamela had the feeling she had met another beautiful friend in Paris.
“Now, you must go back to America and begin plans for this gala affair.” She said with a determined tone of voice.
“Just as quickly as I can. I want to see Rex again, but then we will be leaving. May I call you often and find out about Rex? The hospital won’t tell me a thing.”
“I’ll be disappointed if you don’t. Besides, I must know how your plans are going.” Pamela hugged Aunt Lydia and they made an appointment to meet at the lawyer’s office the next morning.
Pamela kissed her new friend on the cheek. “God will be with him, I just know it,” she whispered.
Lydia smiled faintly, “He must be. We must pray positively for this.” It was obvious to Pamela that Aunt Lydia was a Christian. She felt a wave of peace flow through her at that moment.