By Angel Dollface at
Chapter No I: Arriving.
The engines rumbled, the aeroplane shook. Sophia was coming into Paris on a flight from New York City. The flight had taken seven hours and she just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep. The sun had just set and she could see the sun's last dying rays through the window of the aeroplane. Her boss had sent her to write a piece on Paris Fashion Week starting tomorrow and she wanted to be sharp and be able to write something interesting. There was slight bump as the aeroplane touched down. Half an hour later, she was sitting in a taxi on her way to the Ritz hotel. She had a special connection to Paris. Having been raised there and having grown up there, she knew the city but felt unsure about returning there after four years of living in New York City. She had moved to America when she was eighteen and being of American and French descent, New York had offered itself to her as a place to settle down in for some time and gain some experience. An hour later she arrived in her hotel room. She undressed, had a shower, and passed out as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Chapter No II: Galavanting.
The next day, after attending some truly riveting shows, she was on her way back to the hotel but decided to take some detours around the prettier, more fun districts of Paris. Having grown up there, she knew all the stylish parts of Paris but also the not-so-nice, as well as, the more party-oriented districts. Right now, she went down a large street that was littered with bars and clubs on either side and had a big hotel at the end of it before heading off onto a large multi-lane road along the Seine.
She wasn't in any rush, so she took her time. She walked by a small hole-in-the-wall café, that she used to frequent shortly before she left the city for New York. The front of it was white and didn't have any discernible framing. Above the entrance which solely consisted of a glass door was neon writing that said Sex, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll. She knew the owners well, and thought of the time she and her girlfriends her and her girlfriends stayed there nearly the whole night and drank themselves to oblivion. They had a lot of fun that night. It was only after a shattered glass table and a quite a few broken glasses that they were politely ushered out of the establishment. Mrs. Bernier hadn't taken it too badly, though, knowing Sophia quite well.
She walked on. She didn't only like this part of the city for the many cute bars and clubs it had but also for the sense of freedom one got when conducting one's affairs in that part. The people were always interesting, there was a lot of street art and being host to the LGBTQ hotspot of the city, one always saw interesting characters there.
She remembered being on a date with a girl once and walking along the very same street at dusk and stopping to look at all of the street art that was around them. The artwork that caught their attention that day were two girls kissing and words describing different emotions flowing between their mouths. She could remember finding it quite cheesy at the time but also something she secretly desired very much but was too proud to say at that particular moment in time.
She thoughtfully stopped in front of the same artwork that had remained as the only one among all the others which had changed. She took out a packet of Camel Blue and lit a cigarette. She stood there for a while and thought about times past. Then she walked on.
Chapter No III: Remembering.
Finally, she got to the end of the street. Although she had a hotel of her own, she entered the Le Grand Amour's Lobby. She had stayed there many times before when she had had too much to drink and couldn't get home. She smiled at the girl at the desk. The girl smiled back. She sat down in a satin chair that stood next to a small table. A concierge came to her the minute she sat down. "What may I do for you?", the concierge asked her stiffly. "I would like a drink.", Sophia answered cooly. "Certainly, Ma'am. What may I bring Ma'am?", he asked. "A Vodka Martini, stirred, not shaken, sounds about right.", Sophia ordered. "Will Ma'am be requiring anything else?", the concierge inquired further. "Yes, is Jacques in?", Sophia quizzed the concierge. "Does Ma'am know him well?", the concierge asked her, slightly surprised. "Yes, in a matter of speaking.", Sophia replied. "I will see what i can do.", the concierge said and left. Sophia thought how weird it was and how stiff everyone seemed. She could remember how easy and relaxed, and most of all, helpful the staff had tried to be when she was still living in Paris.
Presently, a tall bald man in a casual suit brought Sophia her cocktail. He smiled at her and sat down in the chair opposite of Sophia. "I hope they didn't keep the Vodka warm, as they did the other day.", the tall man said and smiled apologetically. "I should hope not.", Sophia answered smiling and winking at him. "So how have you been, Jacques?", she continued. "A lot has changed since you last visited us and stayed here. Are you still in Paris or have you moved out? And what brings you here?", Jacques inquired. "No, I moved out. I'm here for Fashion Week, I work at Vogue now.", she explained and sipped at her cocktail. The vodka wasn't warm. Not that it mattered to her anyway. "Wow, I'm impressed! How so?", Jacques confessed. "Well, aside from my sexual shenanigans of which you know only too well, I wrote a lot while I was still at school and published some books. The editor-in-chief read my latest novel and wanted to interview me. She wanted to know whether I wanted to work for her. Obviously I accepted. But tell me, what changed?", Sophia inquired. "Where to start? For one thing, I've become this hotel's general manager. The other thing is that when you used to be a regular here, there were other bohemians like you here.", smiling at Sophia, "That's changed now. The only kind of customer we get here now are rich people who have zero taste and don't know anything about living within one's means discreetly but also showing some panache. Most of them are vulgar. Then we have the middle-class people who fancy themselves as rich but are just as vulgar. This entire street's clubs and bars are full of hoodlums and low-class trash. You did well to get out of Paris because it isn't only this street, it is the whole city. But you know me, smile, wave, and keep a touch of the old dering-doo alive." Jacques explained. "C'est la vie.", Sophia mused and took another sip from her cocktail.