“Come on, baby, let’s go!” Jack calls to me as I finish the final touches of my makeup before we begin our Paris exploration.
“Ok, almost done. Someone didn’t let me get much sleep this morning, so I have some dark circles to cover up.”
“Really?” Jack feigns surprise, his reflection nearing mine in the mirror. “That’s odd, I remember being in bed since we arrived.” He plants a juicy kiss on my neck, sending shivers down my spine. His hand trails down the curve of my waist, and arousal drips through my veins. “Maybe I should take you back to bed,” he seductively suggests.
“Rain check?” I say innocently, tugging on his growing erection. “I did drag you all the way to Paris after all, we should probably see more than the four walls of this room!”
“Huhm,” Jack mumbles, shaking his head at my ability to tease. I watch him pout as I dig through my suitcase, deciding what to wear. I settle on my black velvet pencil leg pants and a tight black sweater. I add a pop of color with my scarlet red scarf and throw on my tan walking boots.
The falling snow has suspended, and we walk down the Champs-Élysées to the metro station. We decide to spend our first afternoon checking out all of the amazing historical delights in le Louvre. As we approach the world-famous museum it doesn’t seem all that spectacular. Typical historic European buildings frame the streets, and we walk past them for a few blocks before stumbling upon a stunning glass-constructed pyramid, signaling we’ve found the museum.
Nearly an hour into our cultural exploration, I peer at Jack, intrigued by the great works of art. He looks so refined today, his dark jeans, fitted black sweater, and dark rimmed glasses create an artsy air about him, which he wears quite well. His dark blond hair shines underneath the faint museum lighting, preserving the centuries-old masterpieces. I stride up next to him, and he places his arm around my waist as we both gaze at the Mona Lisa. I slide my arm around his back too, feeling the soft wool sweater, and give him a squeeze. I allow myself to enjoy this moment. My feelings for him grow exponentially with each glance, smile, and touch from him. And, now that I’ve sampled his goods, I’ve validated his beautiful man muscle isn’t just for show. It’s for showing me what sex is supposed to be! I freeze my thoughts for another realization—I’ve never, ever felt this way about someone before. Oh my God. I swallow hard. Is it possible? Could I really be falling for him, uhm, falling in love with him already? My heart radiates with the idea as my brain fills with fear. Be real, Jess, everything seems too perfect. Do you really think that suddenly you can have a perfect boyfriend, with a perfect relationship, and fall in love? In Paris of all places? Damn it! I pull my hand away from Jack, frustration filling me from my own self-doubt. Come on, Jess, you haven’t felt love for all twenty-five years of your existence, why would it fall into your lap now? I want to bitch-slap my hideous inner thoughts, but I can’t help but know it’s true. Even if my unloved self is right, I can’t help but want to finally feel this for someone, and have it returned. But could Jack really be the one to do that?
“What’s wrong, babe?” Jack questions me, reaching his arm toward me.
“Nothing,” I lie, not wanting to share my unfounded insecurity of our relationship. “What time is it? I want to be sure we have time to see the last wing before it closes.”
“4:30,” Jack advises, reading from his phone. I watch a slight furrow form on his brow as his finger swipes across the screen.
“Everything ok?” I question him. The phone distraction continues, and I watch him shake his head as his eyes dart back and forth, reading something on the screen. I stare at him, awaiting a response, and realize that he’s too lost in this to have heard my question. I slide my arm into his and lean in to get a glimpse of his phone.
Remember V day last year? Vail. Hot tub.
Falling snow. Skinny dipping.
Champagne. <3 Miss you.
My eyes try to quickly read the sender’s name: Lela. Jack senses that I can see the screen, and shuts it off. What the fuck? “Everything ok?” I ask, feeling my heart beat through my chest, trying to recall who this Lela might be.
“Yeah, it’s nothing important.” Jack gives me a weak smile, which I don’t return. “Really, babe, it’s nothing even worth discussing. Nothing I even care about, just a stupid distraction.” This time his smile is sincere, and he wraps his arms around me and pulls me close.
“What?” I ask, his stare making me feel uncomfortable.
“Nothing. Can’t I look at my beautiful girlfriend?" I smile and try to push doubts of his insincerity aside, remembering that love requires a bit of faith and even the risk of a broken heart. I move in and elevate myself on my toes so I can lean in and kiss him. His lips are soft, supple, and draped with reassurance of his feelings toward me, which is exactly what I need right now.