As I said early last week, I love some Romantic Exclusive content. Who else here read the Je T’Aime Me Neither book and fell in love? I certainly did, but of course my first reaction after reading it was “Man, I wish I had this before I moved to Paris.”
I’m happy I read it and even way-too excited that another book from the same author will be out soon.
Lily, the Paris-based influential blogger and writer, has almost finalized her next book, which is going to be a novelized romantic memoir.
Her new book’s content is entirely based on reality, but written in a storybook fashion because her Parisian life has slowly become a romance novel with its own set of princes and foe.
So, we got our hands on few chapters of this soon-to-be released book and here’s the second part of the exclusive sneak peek at some of the Vincent’s story that you’ll find in this book. Check out the first part of this story right here.
Excerpts from book: VINCENT (Part II) !
We’d entered August, the traditional month for holidays in France. While the city folk didn’t quite liquidate as much as it had in decades past, most of my friends had already trickled out of the city, leaving me on my lonesome for the week prior to my own departure to Canada on holiday. It looked like I’d be going by Vincent’s bar on the night before my flight toute seule; this was perhaps not such a bad thing, as we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a few weeks, and it would be enough time for me to decide on him. Chatting a bit tonight would help me make that decision.
“Salut, ma belle!” He sweetly greeted with a kiss.
He set me up at a table in the corner and I agreed to his recommendation a glass of crisp white Pouilly Fumé from the Loire Valley. By now I knew this would inevitably come with some cheese. One glass turned into two as I worked away on my cheese plate, with his help when he’d stop by in between serving other clients. It wasn’t very busy that night, so he was spending quite a bit of time at my table.
With the Fromage finished, the other clients were paying up and on their way out, I thought we might actually get to go out for dinner. But just as he was about to close up at 9pm, a couple of regulars popped their heads in the doorway:
“Vous êtes toujours ouvert?”
No! Vincent’s chances with me weren’t going to stay very 'ouvert' if he was going to stay open for these clients. While I knew that he had to please his growing clientèle, I did think it was a shame we wouldn’t be able to have a proper date where I could mentally conduct a proper analysis of our situation.
With these new customers set up with a bottle of wine and plate of cheese, I thought the least Vincent could have done was offer me a glass of wine so that I would stay a little longer. Instead he recommended a dessert. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I declined.
“I might even give it to you on the house!” he added, trying to sweeten the deal. What was this might all about? I really didn’t want it so if he insisted on forcing it upon me, at the very least, he could offer it to me for free.
I smiled and changed the subject. Eventually it came back around to that darn dessert, which was turning into as serious a curse as grapevine disease is to wine-makers. Despite my protests, a piece of thick chocolate cake suddenly appeared in front of me. Really? I was getting a little sick and tired, but it wasn’t from eating the rich cake. I poked at it sparingly with my fork while Vincent nibbled away every time he came over to my table. Since it looked like I’d been obliged to stay longer, I ordered a third glass of wine hoping it might help lift my mood, to little avail.
More clients came in, leaving me a few moments alone for reflection. I was becoming more and more doubtful that I could be the expert vintner required to turn this blend into something worthwhile. What were the grape varietals? :
A hairy back, annoying displays of affection, severe frugality AND an inability to listen. It was like trying to make decent wine with Shiraz, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Not a great combination, at least for me!
I tried to sweep those thoughts under the carpet—or rather into my suitcase. I could revisit them during my trip to Canada. The only decision I made right then was to finish up my glass and head back to my place.
“Don’t leave yet!” Vincent pleaded, seeing that I was starting to gather up my things, he'd immediately whooshed over to slosh some wine into my glass from the bottle he’d just served to the other clients. This compelled me to stay a little longer, sipping slowly away at the small refill as Vincent chit chatted with his new customers. It didn't take me long to finish this new splash of wine and when Vincent freed himself from the other table, I asked him to help me select two bottles of wine to bring my brother who shared my love of bon vin.
“This Saint Emilion is wonderful,” was the first suggestion to come to his lips. I looked down at the price. Yikes! I loved my brother, but I was thinking around ten to twelve euro mark, not thirty and above! Was he trying to get me to buy the most expensive bottle in his shop? I managed to get him down a few notches on the price range and we settled on a more reasonable Côtes du Rhône, which the girls and I had had previously, and a bottle of reliable Languedoc, from the Southwest of France. He then tallied up my bill.
“I guess I’ll leave off the cake and that little top up I put in your glass just now,” he calculated. Was he for real? I hadn’t even wanted the cake and that sprinkle of wine could barely even be considered a half glass. How could someone be so cheap! I certainly wasn’t expecting the bottles of wine for free, however, I thought he might have given me an itsy-bitsy discount. I could have picked some up at my neighborhood wine shop for a good deal less and would have had the freedom to choose without expensive recommendations hanging over me. And, to boot, not even one of the real glasses of wine that I'd had that evening were either free or discounted.
“Are you sure you don’t want to stay a little longer?”
Why? So I can pay for more expensive glasses of wine, then take a thrifty, pinching, hairy beast back to my place? Non merci!
“Sorry, I have to get up early to finish packing,” I said, packing any chances of ever seeing him again into an empty magnum of Pomerol to be tossed into the Seine! There would be no need for ‘further reflection’ while I was on holiday. In all honesty, it might have been better this way. I’d be going back to Canada a free woman where—with any luck—I may even tend to those surprising romantic vines which had been replanted by Viktor back in June.
My holiday voyage would be taking place in two parts. The first would take me to see family and friends in my native province of Ontario (including the delivery of that pricey wine to my brother) and the second leg would take me all the way out to the West Coast of Canada, where I’d be visiting my mother in Victoria and then my dear friend Princess Jessica in Vancouver. Admittedly, I was also hoping to have a reunion with Viktor while I was there. So, as I was leaving for Toronto, I dropped him a line to give him the dates I’d be in town.
Sunday, August 10 2008 12:33 PM
It looks like I will be traveling for work then to Israel and France. Let me know when you are on your way back through. I am sorry to miss you - it truly would have been great to see you. Stay in touch.
Oh - and thanks for the thong.
No, I hadn’t sent him a thong in the mail in a lipstick-sealed envelope! This was back in the early days of Facebook when everyone was ‘poking’, or throwing random chatter at each other. My choice of a virtual thong might have been a touch provocative! But back to the real essence of his message. He would be out of town? AND in FRANCE? How could that be possible? We were swapping countries. Missing each other through revolving airport doors? Woe was romantically me.
Saturday, August 30 2008 10:47 PM
Subject: getting into trouble?
How was Vancouver pretty lady? Getting into any trouble? Bordeaux is wonderful, but would be better if you were here…
This was the message I received turning on my phone as my recently landed plane taxied to the terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport. How could Vancouver have been good when you weren’t there, Viktor?
Getting into trouble?
And now he was taunting me with ‘wonderful Bordeaux’? I jammed my phone back into my pocket and groggily marched off the plane in search of my luggage carousel.
As soon as I got home, in the jet-lagged sleep deprived mind, I flipped open my computer and went directly to the French train company website. I typed ‘Bordeaux’ into the destination box. The prices weren’t extortionate. Sure, I was just getting back from holiday, but the weekend wasn’t too far off. I really was prepared to drop everything and slip down to the Southwest to see him for a few days. I couldn’t very well surprise him though, as I had no idea where he was staying and Bordeaux wasn’t exactly small. So, I sent him a quick email suggesting my spontaneous plan, hit send, and then hit my bed, dreaming of waking up a few days later next to Viktor.
Tuesday, September 2 2008 8:12pm
Too bad - I am back in Vancouver now. I may be back in France next Spring, so perhaps we can plan ahead for then.
Sad to miss you.
Back in Vancouver? Already?? I was tempted to crack open a bottle of Bordeaux to help drown my sorrows when I received a text message:
VINCENT [09/02/08 8:20 PM]
Hello my belle! Back from
your trip yet? I’d love to see you!
Uggh. Vincent. What to do with him… I knew where I could find that nice bottle of extremely expensive sorrow-drowning Bordeaux, but I would not be going across town to Vincent’s shop to get it. I didn’t care if I hadn’t seen Viktor when I was back home to foster the growth of possible romantic fruits in person, and so what if he wasn’t going to be back in France until—hypothetically—next spring? I would definitely not be returning for comfort in Vincent’s furry arms. Could I just not reply to his text message? Would he get the hint and assume I must have fallen in love with someone back in Canada and had decided not to return to France… which I’d actually partially been hoping for?
VINCENT [09/06/08 2:35 PM]
Tu me fais la tete?
Are you mad at me?
I received another message a few days later. ‘Mad’ wasn’t exactly the right adjective. Fed up might have been closer. I was so bad at breaking up with guys and had a nasty track record to prove it. However, it looked like my usual horrible tactic of ‘ghosting’ wasn’t going to work on Vincent. That same night it was Naughty’s birthday party, which she was holding at her tiny flat with a small crew of friends, so I sought out some much needed advice from the girls on how to handle the situation.
“Ghosting is terrible anyway,” scolded Naughty.
“Oh really?” I rebutted.
“The other suggestions you’ve put forth in the past ranged from pretending I was pregnant to fibbing that I'd contracted a rare, contagious skin disease… Is flat out lying that much better?”
“What’s ghosting?” asked The Countess innocently. The things she missed out on by not being on Facebook!
“Ghosting… like disappearing like a ghost. It’s when you don’t write the person back,” clarified the all-knowing Pussycat.
As awful as it was, it usually did work. I thought back to poor sweet Lionel, whom I’d sort of ghosted on, but not completely (I’d pretended to be busy twice and he went away on some work trips and didn’t try again). He definitely deserved better than that. I wasn’t sure if Vincent did, what with his unsavory behavior towards me. Although, it didn’t really seem like I had a choice; he obviously was going to stick around like the aftertaste of a cheap wine. As they were bickering over situations when ghosting might be moderately acceptable, my phone started buzzing.
“Ah! It’s Vincent!” I exclaimed. His ears must have been ringing.
“Answer it and pass me the phone!” offered Pussycat. She’d have no problem telling him where to go.
“I’ve got the pregnancy story ready!” chimed in Naughty, reaching for the phone.
I fought my phone out of their hands and let it go to the answering machine. We waited a minute and the phone started ringing, this time it was my answering machine calling back.
I could tell that Vincent had been drinking and was rather exasperated about not hearing back from me. My response would call for a pro. We beckoned over our French friend Jeannette, she always managed to wrap guys around her finger, surely she’d be adept at flinging them off.
With her astute ‘local’ advice, we crafted a simple message explaining that I was no longer interested, left out any mention of him being a hairy cheapskate with clam claws, and ended it with ‘bon continuation,’ in French for coldly wishing him the best of luck. Hopefully he’d at least make it to the waxing salon before he met the next girl and, with any of that luck we’d sent him, she’d be the thick skinned daughter of a wealthy wine baron.
Emotionally exhausted, I could content myself with being alone for a little while and would dream of next spring which could hopefully blossom brightly with Viktor’s next visit to France.
If you missed the first part of this chapter, please find it here.
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