And in that hour, Vincent pledged his undying love six times, to never leave four times, she was the best lover he’d ever had eight times, and even offered to clean her apartment from top to bottom including beating her area rug any time she so desired. As the time winds down to when Agostina needs to start thinking about returning to work, she cautions Vincent about their situation.
“Yes, Vincent. I care for you, too, but for now, I cannot think about the future. I have certain business partners who must not know about us. If they found out, it might jeopardise the restaurant. I might lose it. This has to be our secret for now.”
“Don’t worry about me. At one time in my life, I took confessionals. I pledge my silence. Does this have anything to do with Monsieur Feneon?”
“I cannot say. Vincent, the less you know, the better. Understand?”
“I will do as you request, but if there’s anything you ever need me to do, if there’s anything I can ever do to relieve you from a situation, please let me know.”
“I will. Now, I have to take a quick nap and get ready for the evening shift.” She sets an alarm clock, “You’re welcome to nap with me. Stay as long as you wish. There is food in the kitchen, whatever your heart desires.”
Vincent lies down beside her and closes his eyes.
An hour later he awakens to the sound of children playing outside the window. Lying beside him is a note.
Don’t worry about anything. Make sure the door is locked when you leave.
Enjoyed your company. Maybe we can talk again next week?
As Vincent is putting on his clothes he looks in a mirror and can’t help but smile. Then, as he is walking to the east towards the Sacre-Coeur Basilica construction site, he smiles at everyone he meets, greeting each and every one. As he turns a corner, he marvels at the view. All of Paris is spread out below him, and he is overcome with an overwhelming sense of well-being. In fact, Vincent’s joy is so great, he stops at a sidewalk café, Relais de La Butte, orders a coffee with croissant and contemplates how wonderful his life has become since he arrived in Paris only seven months ago.
Now, as he studies the red and white checkered tablecloth, his eyes drift upwards, his ears slowly becoming aware of the hustle and bustle of the local traffic, the sounds of people walking to and fro and the whinnying, neighing, and snorting of horses in the street. After a while, he is staring farther afield at the barges and sailboats on the Seine. Then, at the myriad puffs of white smoke coming from steam engines too numerous to count. The coo of a pigeon brings him back, but only briefly as the waiter lays his order on the table, the smell of fresh pastry taking him away, yet again.
The coffee is excellent, strong and black from freshly roasted beans. But the croissant is exquisite- light and buttery with a thousand layers, baked to perfection with a creamy yellowish-white, soft interior, and a dark, honey-brown crust offering only the slightest resistance before quickly melting in his mouth. His luck with women, it seems, has finally changed.
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