At the end of October I went to Paris, and though I took hundreds of photographs, the following is one of my favourite shots and the inspiration for the short story I wrote to capture the romance of the great city.
Harry blinked against the glare of lights, dropping his gaze to catch the reflection in the surface of the fountain. But he didn’t notice their glow, or the building they caressed with their ambiance, he only saw the woman at his side.
The first glimpse of her took his breath away, a reaction he knew would never wane. She was like the pretty lights dancing around her reflection in the water. Her beauty was a beacon, illuminating his way on the darkest of nights and the brightest of days.
He felt his heart race as her gaze found his in the mirrored surface and he had to blink several times against a wave of emotion. It was hard to fathom that one so lovely could belong to him, but she did, the light shining back at him was proof of their connection.
Pausing in his tracks, he applied gentle pressure to her hand and she turned instantly, her pretty eyes alight with mischief, something he’d missed in the reflection, a poor facsimile of the power they held over him.
Bringing their joined hands to her lips, Lucy brushed a kiss against his skin, making him shiver. “What’s on your mind, mon chou? You’ve been stuck in your head for a while.”
“I…” He shook his head, trying to formulate the words circling his brain. “Marry me.”
Her smile was resplendent, the sight of it made him giddy. “I think I answered that well enough forty years ago.” She held up her left hand, wiggling her fingers so her rings glinted in the light. “Smartest thing I ever did, saying yes.”
He knew she felt that way, but it soothed his nerves, nevertheless. “Again. Marry me again. I want to celebrate the last forty years. I want to stand before witnesses and share the wonderful life we’ve had, while pledging the rest of eternity by your side.”
“This is why you brought me back to Paris,” she whispered, her eyes overflowing with tears. “This is almost the exact spot you proposed.”
Harry turned his head, following her gaze. As he did, he saw a young couple silhouetted in the spray of water and the years fell away. “God, I was so nervous! I had a whole speech prepared and I couldn’t remember a damn word of it.”
“I didn’t need to hear the words because I saw everything you wanted to say. I always have.”
He turned back to her, leaning down to steal a kiss as he had then. “I’m sorry I didn’t bring you back sooner.” They had travelled the world together, had returned to France many times, but never Paris.
She shook her head. “I’m not. This is perfect. Like everything else in our lives. It’s all about the timing.”
That made him laugh. God, but he loved her. Had loved her since the day she’d bounded into his life at eighteen, full of fire and female indignation as she declared her sister wasn’t going anywhere in his ugly, four-wheeled monstrosity. Harry had been so lost in her mesmerising beauty, that her words didn’t even register until her brother elbowed her aside and told her to stop embarrassing him. At witnessing that, Harry had felt a wave of anger so strong his hand had reached for the door handle before he registered that he wanted to pound on his friend. Not that Lucy needed him to rescue her. She’d simply wacked her brother at the back of the head and told him he did a good enough job of it without her help. Then she’d bounced back up the drive and disappeared around the side of the house.
“You’re thinking about the day I made a fool out of myself, aren’t you?” she said, her light laugh ending on a groan as she covered her face with her free hand.
“That’s not how I remember it.” It was the day he’d fallen completely under her spell. “I thought you were the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.” He gripped her wrist and pulled her hand away from her face. “I still do.” Nobody compared to his Lucy.
She closed her eyes briefly, cherishing his words. “And I was crushed when I thought you were there to pick up Stella, because despite that contraption you rolled up in, I knew there was something special about you.”
“You love that contraption as much as I do,” he said, grinning.
Her eyes twinkled, hundreds of memories playing out for him to see. Harry had kissed her for the first time in that car. Had driven hundreds of miles to visit her at university. It formed part of their beginning and was the reason he lovingly maintained it.
She squeezed her thumb and index finger together, laughing lightly when he pulled on her hand and brought her flush against his body. “You still haven’t answered my question,” he said, enjoying the way her eyes had dilated.
“My answer hasn’t changed. I want nothing more than to spend an eternity with you.” She laid her head against his chest, right over his heart. “Yes. It will always be yes.” When she shifted again to meet his eyes, the mischief he loved so much was back. “As we’re taking a trip down memory lane, does that mean we’ll be celebrating in the same way we did-”
Stepping back, he took hold of her hand and resumed their walk across the square. Only this time he wasn’t thinking about anything but showing his wife exactly how he felt about spending the rest of his life with her. And like the first time, he planned to do that thoroughly.
The sound of her musical laughter was a perfect backdrop to the lights and magic of the city, and the love in his heart.
Thanks for stop by