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  1. #21
    Shades


    Colette wasn’t willing to let Paul simply go away and tell her she owed him nothing. Even if his situation with his employer wasn’t ideal to begin with, she had been involved in the latest problems. And for that, she felt a little guilty, and also grateful. As a chambermaid, she had dealt with a lot of rude customers, but that American man was definitely the worst. And Paul’s respectful and kind demeanor was very much appreciated.


    She didn’t have time to tell the Bodyguard any of that, though. The knocks on the door interrupted her.


    After opening, Colette moved aside, so Paul could take the note. While he did so, she moved close to the balcony to look outside, discreetly.


    The boy shook his head after delivering the note. “A lady, she did not give me her name”, he replied. It was clear the boy wasn’t lying. He was paid to do as he was told, after all. “I’m sorry, sir”, the boy completed.




    **********




    Back at the room where the bellboy had collected the note and tip, a lady sat on the large bed with a suitcase on her lap and a smile on her face. The game was on. She needed to plan her next moves now.


    Picking up a list, the woman crossed a name. That one was taken care of. She was sure that he wouldn’t dare to check out for now. Now, she had to make a few choices to move on.


    Still smiling, the woman stood up and left the room, making her way to another one. The briefcase was left there, and she went downstairs, to the hotel’s cafe. A cup of tea sounded great now.

  2. #22
    Sojourn


    The boy gave the reply that Paul was expecting. Even though he did expect it, he still didn't like it. He folded the note up and put in his front pocket. Paul nodded his head and handed the boy a few francs.


    "I understand, thank you."


    He said and he suddenly felt trapped. He wanted to get out of here, far away from Martin and Rich. When Martin told him he was fired, it hurt but also felt freeing. He could move on with his life and now...If he left, whoever this woman was would expose his secret. It was a dangerous one, not just for him, but the one he loved. Fucking hell, he thought. He looked over at Colette and frowned. He wondered what she was looking at that grabbed her attention.


    ~"Is something wrong?"~


    He asked her.


    ---------------------


    As soon as Martin closed the door to his hotel room, Diane was waiting on the other side of the door. He barely got the door closed before she asked him.


    "Are you really going to just let Paul leave?"


    Martin sighed at his wife.


    "He no longer works for me...us."


    It was hard to remember now it was 'us'. Everything from now on, until death do they part, would be 'us'. That is what they had agreed to when Rich suggested the marriage to them. They both benefited in different ways from the arrangement.


    "He wants to leave and isn't our problem anymore, Diane."


    Diane frowned at Martin.


    "But you and he-"


    Martin held up his hand.


    "It's done and over with. All that matter is us, now."


    Martin said, taking a hold of her hand. It was Diane's turn to sigh.


    "There aren't any cameras in here. You don't have to pretend there is an 'us' right now."


    She replied and he let go of her hand. She was right there wasn't. In the privacy of their room, they didn't have to act like they were in love. Something they would never be but pretended in front of the world. He looked down at the gold band on his finger. She had a matching one of hers. The world thought they were so in love and nothing could be farther from the truth.


    "Let's just put what happened behind us and move forward."


    Martin suggested and Diane made a face.


    "It would be easier to do that with Rich gone."


    Martin's eyes narrowed in annoyance.


    "Not you too."


    He had enough of hearing of what he should and shouldn't do about his agent. He went to pour himself a glass of champagne.


    "Rich is an asshole."


    "I know that but don't waste your breath. I'm not firing him."


    "Why not? You don't-"


    Martin slammed the bottle down on the table as he turned around.


    "Diane, you do remember what happened to Gloria Neal, don't you?"


    Gloria Neal, the up and coming actress that Rich had called a lesbian after she fired him. His lies had gotten her raped and she later killed herself. How could Diane forget? It had been very sad and horrible. Diane sadly nodded her head.


    "Yes, it was horrible and-"


    "And what the fuck do you think would happen to me if I fire, Rich? Is that what you want or for yourself? He'll destroy both our lives, you know that."


    Martin replied and Diane looked down at her wedding ring. She always wanted to be a bride, she just thought she'd be madly in love with the man she married and he would feel the same for her. She never expected this type of marriage or to be married to a famous actor. She had done it for the right reason, she told herself. Even if she had to break up with Shane, a man she really did love, in the process. Diane shook her head.


    "No, you're a good person. I don't want something bad to happen to you."


    "And I don't want something bad to happen to you either. But, it could, if we don't keep Rich around."


    Martin replied. Diane was a nice enough girl and he had no ill will towards her. She was just someone he could never truly love. She would never, ever be his type. Still, as a friend, she was nice to have around. Not a horrible person to be tied to for the rest of his life.


    "Keep your friends close and enemies closer?"


    Diane asked and Martin nodded his head.


    "Exactly."


    Martin offered to pour her a glass of champagne and Diane accepted it.

  3. #23
    Shades


    The boy noticed that Paul was upset with him. There wasn’t much he could do about it, though. The lady had not given her name, and used as he was to things that happened in the hotel, the boy had assumed that they knew each other. So, the only thing he could do was to deal with the fact that he wasn’t going to get a tip.


    The boy was pleasantly surprised when Paul handed him a few francs. He nodded to the man. “Thank you, sir”, he murmured, before scurrying off to go on with his duties.


    Colette, who had been looking out the window out of politeness, turned to Paul when she heard his question. The girl showed a smile and shook her head on a negative. ~“Oh, no. I just did not wish for you to think I was rude for watching your exchange”~, she replied, almost timidly. ~“Is anything upsetting you?”~, the girl completed, a concerned expression now in her eyes.


    *********




    In the other room, on the same floor as all that drama was unfolding, the Lady and the Gentleman were in bed, side by side. The Gentleman was smoking, while the Lady caressed his chest, her head resting on his shoulder. The man looked at her and caressed her still messy hair.


    “I can not believe my luck. Someone up there must really like me to have sent you my way”, he murmured to her, kissing the top of her head.


    The Lady smiled and turned away, pretending to be shy about those comments. “I am just a girl. You are much more fascinating than I am”, she replied, resting her head on his shoulder again. ‘And a lot richer, too - but not for long’, she thought, yawning and stretching. “I wish I could stay, my love, but I must go back to my own room. At least while you are still a married man. We can not flaunt our love, after all”.


    Sitting up, she kissed the man’s lips and stood up to go wash up and get dressed.


    ‘While you are still a married man’, he thought to himself. ‘Not for long, my little rich bird. Not for long’.


    *********




    Down at the hotel’s cafe, a well-dressed lady drank her tea and read a magazine. It was a good day for a shopping trip, she thought to herself. She could go on with her work afterwards. They had only just arrived, and she was sure they weren’t going anywhere, after all.

  4. #24
    Sojourn


    Paul wasn't upset with the boy, just the damn note he had passed on. He didn't blame the messenger boy but he sure as hell wished the kid had gotten the woman's name.


    "You're welcome."


    Paul replied to the messenger boy and saw him out. Paul nodded his head to Colette when she said she just didn't want to be rude. He could tell she was concerned and shook his head.


    ~"Oh, no...I just..."~


    He certainly didn't want to dump his problems on her and shrugged his shoulders.


    ~"I think I might just stay after all. My room is already paid for and I certainly won't get another chance to stay in a place like this again."~


    Even if Martin didn't make it a point to make sure no one hired Paul for security, he knew Rich would. By now, Rich probably woke up and most likely knew who knocked him out cold. The asshole deserved it but...Rich would make it a point to make sure that people who would considering hiring Paul was dangerous. He also might make it a point to let Paul's secret out, even if he protected Martin's. Paul sighed, he'd mostly likely have to move somewhere far away from and start all over again. The life he had been living the last three years as Martin's bodyguard was certainly over.


    -----------------------------


    Martin and Diane drank the champagne and ate the strawberries in silence. They might be married but they were still learning about each other as people. It had been quite a whirl wind romance, stuff the romantics loved, but they truly didn't know each other well enough to have conversations all the time. The phone in their room rang and Diane got up to answer it. It was Rich on the other end.


    "You planning on going shopping later?"


    "Probably, I am in one of the greatest cities in the world, why?"


    Diane asked and rolled her eyes when her former boss replied.


    "Well, I will need to bring gifts home for my ladies. What would you recommend?"


    "Seriously, Rich? I don't work for you anymore. I don't have to do your damn gift shopping."


    Diane hated being involved in that. When she was his secretary, he made her do all his birthday and Christmas shopping for him. Telling her that was part of the job. One nice thing about being married to Martin was that she didn't have to be Rich's personal servant anymore or have to help him manage his personal life.


    "I know but with the wedding and stuff, I haven't had time find a proper replacement for you."


    Diane would be hard to replace. She was smart and knew how to keep secrets. It would take time to replace her. He couldn't just hire some cute young thing off the streets.


    "Come on, Diane, you got great taste. They always loved what you picked out in the past. Please? I'll pay for that roof your parents need on their house, instead of you having to send the money."


    Diane's hand tightened around the receiver. Rich always did know what to say to get her to do what he wanted. She loved her family very much and thanks to her father's 'hobbies', her parents were always hurting for money. Diane tried to help them as much as she could, but something always did seem to come up. She was sure when she returned home, there would something else to take care. There always was with her father.


    "Fine, but this is the last time. When the next birthday hits, you're on your own."


    Rich nodded his head, although Diane wouldn't be able to see him on the phone.


    "You're awesome, Diane."


    "I know."


    She replied with a sigh and hung up. Martin looked at curiously.


    "What was that about?"


    Diane shrugged.


    "To this day, Rich still doesn't know what to buy his wife and kids for presents."


    That didn't surprise Martin much. Rich seemed to know very little about his own family. Martin only knew Mary and their sons in passing. Rich didn't bring them around very much. Always said he wanted to keep work life and personal life separate. At least when it came to the movie business. It seemed that didn't apply to his former secretary, though.


    "Have fun shopping. Bring some nice things home to your folks."


    Martin wasn't that worried about money. He was an in demand actor and had very little down time between movies. Diane's folks seemed like good people. Her mother, especially, looked like she deserved some nice things. The woman was so nice but also appeared stressed. It hadn't escaped Martin that Diane's parents were hurting for money and that her mother was doing the best she could with what little they had. He made sure his own mother was living a good life now. Before he had gotten famous, life had been hard, especially since his father had died when a year before he had graduated high school. With his success, he had able to give his mother the life she deserved. He had no issues helping his in-laws live the same life.


    "Thanks, Martin."


    Diane replied with a smile. Although any presents she bought for Rich, would be spent using Rich's own money.

  5. #25
    Shades


    Colette could feel that Paul wasn’t telling the truth. Not entirely, at least. Of course, she didn’t know him well enough to know what the man was hiding. But she had been working around all kinds of people from all walks of life and all parts of the world to know when someone was upset or not telling the truth. She preferred not to insist, though, feeling that insisting and pressuring for an answer could upset Paul and get him to close up even more.


    Hearing him say that he would stay made Colette smile. That was definitely good news. ~“I believe you should”~, she agreed kindly. ~“Stay a little more, have fun and enjoy the hotel life. I believe you must need some time for yourself, no?”~. It was clear that she was really hoping that he would stay, for some reason.


    ********




    Downstairs, the lady who had ordered tea picked up a magazine and looked at her wristwatch. It was a fine day for some shopping, and she suspected that a few of her targets would go out to shop or at least look around the city.


    She would definitely keep an eye out for all of them.


    ********




    In the room next to the one shared by the Actor and the Wife, the Lady finished her shower and got dressed while the Gentleman watched her with a smile.


    “Will you stay in, my dear?”, he asked, watching every move she made.


    The Lady shook her head on a negative.


    “Not for now. I plan on walking around and doing some shopping, before coming back here. I will probably be here for dinner, if not for lunch”, she replied. “Will you?”.


    The Gentleman also shook his head on a negative.


    “I have to see some people, about business. And if you allow me, I would like to bring you a little something back”.


    The Lady smiled and nodded.


    “I will allow it, love, but you know I need nothing but your affection”.


    The Gentleman smiled back.


    “I know, but I enjoy pampering you”.


    After this comment, to which she replied only with a smile and by blowing a kiss to her lover, the Lady took a careful peek outside and then left the room. They had to be discreet, after all.

  6. #26
    Sojourn


    Paul could tell that Colette was a smart woman. He could see that fact in her eyes. He did appreciate that she didn't push him for information. He wasn't ready to talk about the note at all. Especially not with someone he just met. He smiled at her.


    ~"That I do."~


    Paul replied in agreement, he had spent the last three years worrying about Martin Hayes, he hadn't taken much time for himself. He was in one of the grandest cities in the world, after all. It was an all expenses paid trip, he might as well enjoy the good life a little while longer. He remembered the money Martin had given him for Colette. He handed it to her.


    ~"Here, for you having to listen to endure that asshole's presence."~


    While he would be hurting for money once he left this hotel, he was certain Rich Porter planned to make his life a living hell, he wasn't going to keep Martin's money. Colette could probably use it more then him anyway.


    ---------------------------


    Rich was waiting impatiently for Diane to hurry up. He had promised Mary, Raquel, and the kids presents and he wanted to get that task done as soon as possible. He had more important things to do then bring home some trinkets from Paris. Like make sure everyone knew how totally in love Martin was with his new wife.


    "About time."


    Rich grumbled at Diane when she exited her room. She rolled her eyes at him.


    "You work for my husband, Mister Porter. Get used to waiting on me. You wouldn't want to upset me and have my husband dock your pay."


    She said with her turn of her heel. It would be fun making Rich Porter her personal bitch for the shopping trip. He had treated her like a slave for years, now the shoe was on the other foot. Diane was going to enjoy this. He grumbled at her.


    "Yeah...Yeah....Is Martin coming with us?"


    He asked as they waited for the elevator. Diane shook her head.


    "No, he doesn't feel like shopping. He said he was going to the hotel's café instead."


    Martin told her he was never one to really like going shopping. It had gotten harder and harder to shop once he got famous anyway. He gave her plenty of cash and told her to whatever she wanted. Money was literally no object. Rich shrugged.


    "That's fine."


    Normally, Rich would have wanted Martin with Diane. Especially since they were on their honeymoon but he was okay with Martin skipping this trip. He wouldn't have to explain why he was buying so much stuff. Diane gave Rich a look but shrugged herself. Obviously he didn't want too many people to know about his personal life. Not even his most famous client.

  7. #27
    Shades


    Colette smiled when Paul agreed that he needed some time for himself. She would definitely like to spend some time with him as well. Not that she would ever admit that, naturally. Not for now, at least. She needed to make friends with the man first, and then move on. But it was at the back of her mind that maybe having a fling with him would be fun.


    When Paul handed her the money, Colette hesitated a little. She evidently needed some money, but she still had a job. As for him, he was out of one, and Colette wondered if he was facing financial troubles. She felt torn, and decided that she could let him make this choice, though she thought he would never accept it.


    ~“Hmmm… if… if you need it… you can have it”~, she offered meekly. ~“It won’t be a problem for me”~, Colette completed, not meeting Paul’s gaze with her own. Falling silent, the chamber maid waited patiently for Paul’s response.


    ************************




    In her room, The Lady prepared to go on a shopping trip of her own. She still had some spending money from her latest lover, and she planned on enjoying it. There was more to come from her new flame, after all. And this was a big one. If she managed to trap this one into marriage, she would be settled for life. And she didn’t even need to stay married to him.


    ************************




    In his room, the Gentleman was also thinking about his Lady. She was beautiful, sweet… and rich. Exactly the kind of wife he needed. All he had left was to get rid of the current one. But that was already underway, so there was nothing more to worry about.


    ************************




    Down at the café, the lady who had gotten downstairs a short while ago observed her surroundings under the guise of reading a fashion magazine. She watched Diane and Richard closely, paying attention to see if she could figure out which direction they would take. She needed some fresh air, and some… sight-seeing, after all.

  8. #28
    Sojourn


    Paul had no idea how close of friends Colette wouldn't mind becoming. She was a nice girl but not his type. No woman was but he didn't go around telling people what his type truly was either. That would be plain stupid with how the world worked. Paul smiled at her. While it was true he would need to find another job once he left this hotel, he would rather help her out. It was the least he could do after how Rich treated her.


    ~"I insist. I'll be fine, this isn't the first time I ever lost a job. I'll bounce back on my feet pretty quickly."~


    Although it might be harder to find a job now thanks to Rich Porter. Paul was sure he'd have to start over in a new city, where very few people knew him. This was stuff worry about another day. He might as well enjoy his stay at the hotel as long as it lasted.


    -------------------------------


    Rich and Diane had no idea that there was a lady in the café watching their every move. Diane was just concerned about Rich making an even bigger asshole of himself in Paris. Too bad she couldn't convince Martin and Paul to make up. Paul at least could speak French. Rich would have never heard of it, though. Paul had decked him and Rich would have probably had him arrested, if Martin hadn't reminded him who worked for who. Diane, at least, had taken the time to learn how to say 'Can you speak English?' in French. She wasn't about to try and speak a language she didn't truly know.


    "Remember, English only for you."


    "Yes, ma'am."


    Rich replied in annoyance. He liked it better when she worked for him, not this other way around. Outside the hotel, Rich waved a taxi for them. He wasn't about to walk all over the damn city carrying bags for Diane. He wasn't that much of a gentleman.

  9. #29
    Shades


    Colette was still a little unsure about taking the money. She decided to take it only because she could feel that Paul was not the kind of man who would accept money from a woman. Of course, the money wasn’t even hers yet. But she was pretty sure that in his mind, the fact that it had been destined to her meant that it was hers, as much as though it had been removed from her pocket and handed over to him. With a sigh, she decided that accepting was the best policy. ~“Very well”~, Colette finally agreed. ~“Thank you”~, she completed, placing the money in her bra. It was the safest spot to make sure it wouldn’t go anywhere, after all.


    After making sure her money was safe, Colette turned back to Paul. ~“Please, let me know if there is anything I can do to help”~, she nearly pleaded. Something in her eyes had that expression a woman only had when staring at a man she liked.


    It didn’t last long, though. Shaking her head, Colette resumed her usual behavior. ~“I must go, before I too see myself out of work. Ring down if you need anything, all right?”~. She would wait for some form of response, and then excuse herself, leaving with the now empty plate.




    **********************




    Downstairs, other people had started leaving their rooms. A young Lady with dark hair ordered a cup of coffee while planning her shopping trip.


    The other lady, who had been there before, set her magazine down and asked for her tea to be added to her tab.


    She then moved gracefully across the carpeted area and smiled when a young man wearing a uniform opened the door and prepared to call a cab for her. Long day ahead, after all… and she had no time to lose.


    Someone needed to keep an eye on these two, after all.

  10. #30
    Sojourn


    Paul could tell Colette was unsure about the money. He was glad when she finally accepted it. He was not going to take no for an answer. He might need the money once the trip was over but he would have felt bad taking it from her. Martin had given it to give to her and Paul wanted to make sure it happened. Besides, he wanted as very little to do with Martin's money as possible now.


    ~"You're welcome."~


    Paul told her with a smile.


    ~"I will. I promise."~


    He said and recognized the look on her face. Paul had seen it on other women before. He supposed he was a relatively decent looking man, he never spent that much time worrying about his looks. Other women had told him he was good looking and so kind. It made him attractive and appealing in some women's eyes. The problem was, he wasn't interested in women that way. He liked Colette, as a person and could see her as a friend, but he had no interest in bedding her. He'd have to let her down gently.


    ~"We wouldn't want that to happen. Thank you for the pie. It was delicious."~


    Paul replied, the pie truly had been. Chocolate always made a day a little better. Paul saw her out and unpacked his bags. Thanks to the mystery woman, he wouldn't be leaving any time soon. The pie had been good but he was hungry for something more filling. He decided to check out the café.


    --------------------


    As soon as Paul headed downstairs, he regretted it. He saw Martin there, he wasn't ready to see him yet. Martin, thankfully, had not seen him. Martin was heading for the café as well but it didn't long for him to be stopped. He was very well known back home and they weren't the only American tourists here. He was stopped by a middle aged couple, who had a teenage daughter with them, and was being a gracious person. Martin was signing autographs for the wife and daughter, both who looked at him awe. Not believing they were in his presence. To get Martin's mind off of what happened with Rich, Paul, and the hotel staff, Martin invited the family to come eat lunch with him. It would be his treat.


    'Good old, Martin,' Paul thought. Always being kind to his fans. Too bad he wouldn't get rid of that asshole Rich. It would help his reputation even more. The letter said Paul couldn't check out, it never said he couldn't leave for lunch. He decided to find somewhere else to eat. He headed outside the hotel and asked the doorman, after he helped a lady get a taxi, what would be a good place to go for lunch.


    -------------------


    Rich told the driver, in English thankfully, to take them to best shopping area in all of Paris. He wanted to go where the royalty and nobles went shopping. Diane bit her lip. Martin had told her money was no object, but to shop somewhere a queen would seemed very excessive.


    "Are you sure that-"


    "You married a movie star, Diane. You are American royalty. It's time to start dressing like it."


    Rich replied, cutting her off. If Martin was going to have her on his arm, Diane needed to dress like a queen. Besides, if he was traveling, he wanted to give the most expensive gifts possible to the ones he left at home.

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