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Chapter Eight

While Stevie wasn’t on a full-out guilt trip, like Lindsey was, her instinct told her that she was equally at fault for their breakup, even though she didn’t know why. Yet, she had allowed Lindsey to go out of his way for her. To do things that she would enjoy. Well, today, there would be no more of that. Today was Lindsey’s day; she would do anything that he wanted.

When he woke up, she was ready to give him his choice of activities, “Good morning, Linds, what would you like to do today?” she asked cheerily as his eyes flickered open.

“Mmm, good morning, you’re up early, what’s up?” He eyed the clock, and then the bright-eyed face next to him.

“Nothing,” Stevie crossed her fingers under the covers. Sure, he would find out soon enough, but she did hate lying to him. “I just wanted to know what you want to do today.”

“Hmm,” he said, considering her question. There was one thing that came to mind, but he quickly tossed the thought aside. “How about going to a museum?” he finally suggested.

“Sounds wonderful.” Stevie responded enthusiastically. “But we’ll need a good breakfast first.” She said, her tone changing to be very thoughtful.

“You’re right.” He leaned over to phone room service.

Stevie caught his hand. “No, no, silly goose.” She laughed. “Stay here.” She got up, returning with two bowls full of oatmeal and two glasses with milk and a dish of brown sugar, all balanced on a tray. Her waitress job did actually come in handy sometimes!

Lindsey caught sight of the tray, “You made us oatmeal?” he tried not to sound like a little kid on a snowy morning.

“Yes. Even with brown sugar.” Stevie handed him a bowl and set his glass on the nightstand.

Before she even returned to her side of the bed, Lindsey had devoured a third of his cereal. Stevie felt very proud of herself. He loved oatmeal, and he hadn’t noticed it was the “instant” sort she had found with the teas and coffee.

Being able to feed Lindsey breakfast just felt right, very domestic like. And even though Stevie knew that they were anything but traditional, it was nice to be, if only for a little while.

After breakfast, they headed out for the Louvre.

Lindsey, the artist that he was, loved it. They examined every gallery, looking at the thousands of creations housed there. He gave every painting an equal amount of consideration and criticism.

“Only Lindsey,” Stevie thought to herself, “Only Lindsey could find something he would change in every single painting.”

By the time they got to the ‘Mona Lisa’, Stevie felt like she had in Tomorrowland, thoroughly bored. This time though, she wasn’t going to say a word.

Lindsey was obviously disappointed with the ‘Mona Lisa’. “That’s what everyone makes such a big deal about?” he stared at the yellowing piece of paper. “It’s so small.”

“How would you do it different?” Stevie asked. She didn’t see anything wrong with it.

“Well, for starters, I would make it bigger. Like this,” he showed the dimensions with his arms. “And I would use more colours, instead of just these dark ones. And…” he created a picture frame with his fingers, looking at Stevie through it. “I’d use a better model. Can’t paint a beautiful woman unless you get to look at a breathtaking one.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Stevie said, tickled at his response.

“Is that meaning that I get Brownie points for when we get back?”

“We’ll see about that.” She winked, lacing her fingers with his.

“How many days is it?”

“Just today and part of tomorrow. We leave at three Monday afternoon.”

“So less than forty-eight hours?”

“About that.” She said, looking at her watch. It had been so hard not to forget that there was a time ahead of them, that had already happened and that would be lost and repeated if they weren’t careful. It was much easier to just be who she felt like she was and enjoy the week.

They went through the remaining part of the museum. Stevie had to try not to be impatient; she wanted to make sure they had plenty of time to get ready for what she had planned for them later.

As they returned to the hotel, Stevie said, “Now, make sure that you wear your nice clothes tonight, I have a surprise.”

“Oh? A surprise?” Lindsey questioned.

“Uh huh,”

“What is it?”

“If I told you, then it wouldn’t be a surprise!” She shoved him playfully.

He shoved her back, gently, “Well, then I guess you’d better get your behind in the shower so I have time to let the hot water return!” They had found out the hard way on their first morning in Paris that the water pressure was nowhere near as good as it was in LA and that the hot water ran out much faster.

“We’ll have time, we need to leave at six-thirty. It’s four right now.”

Lindsey calculated time, two and half hours. That would be enough to do what he needed to. “I’m not taking any chances! I happen to like having a hot shower.” He laughed, “So scoot!”

“Yes, sir!” she turned and marched to the bathroom, stopping only to grab the peach dress with a handkerchief hem and chiffon bell sleeves she had chosen for the night. She knew it was one of Lindsey’s favourites.

He waited until he heard the water turn on and her singing in the shower before he picked up a piece of hotel stationary and a pen, leaving her a short note. Then he snuck out the door.

Stevie lathered up her hair with shampoo, singing the Janis Joplin songs she adored. She hoped that Lindsey would enjoy the special treat she had in line. It was something that he never said he wanted to do, but she was going to take her chances.

Lindsey jumped off the metro, his strides long. He knew he didn’t have much time. Stevie would probably be in the shower for a half hour, and then if he were lucky, she’d dress in the bathroom and maybe do her hair and make-up. Then, he could be back before she got out and noticed his absence. He finally reached his destination, opening the door, bells announcing his arrival.

Stevie rinsed the conditioner out of her hair, she had moved on to sing the songs they left off Buckingham-Nicks. “You are a song for me, melody ingrained in my soul.” Her voice rang out. She had never felt more in love with him than this week in France had her feeling. She considered it everything the voice had said, a chance to really grow closer.

Lindsey looked over the cases, “You don’t have any others?” he asked. The man behind the counter shook his head.

“How long would it take you to make one?”

“Three days.”

“Anyway that you could have it done by Monday?”

“No, three days, must not be rushed.” The man replied in halted English.

“OK, thank you, merci.” Lindsey said, getting up and leaving. He went across the street. There was still one more place he could try, if he hurried.

Stevie let the last few minutes of hot water flow over her body. It wouldn’t matter, Lindsey would have to wait for at least ten minutes after her to have enough hot water for his shower. She sighed when the water suddenly became frigid, shutting it off and wringing out her hair.

Lindsey gave the man his drawing, glancing at the clock on the wall. He had been gone for forty minutes; there was still a sliver of a chance he could make it back on time.

Stevie stepped out of the shower, wrapping a towel around herself. She wrapped another around her hair.

Lindsey arrived at the metro station, there were people milling around everywhere, he looked at the announcement board on the way to his train, it was delayed!

Stevie twisted as much as she could, trying to get her dress zipped up. She had managed to create several pretzels with her arms, but still could not coax the zipper all the way up. No worries, she would just go ask Lindsey to do it for her.

Lindsey decided his best bet was to try and sprint back. He couldn’t remember how far he had come, but it would be better than waiting for the subway.

Stevie opened the door to the bathroom, “Linds, would you help me zip this up?” There was no reply. “Lindsey? Angel?” She stepped out to the room.

Lindsey’s sprint slowed to a quick walk as he realized that there was no way he could run in the heavily crowded streets. He started thinking up excuses for his disappearance.

Stevie spotted the note on the countertop. Picking it up she read it. It was too hard to be mad at him, since he HAD left her a note. She resolved to just sit and wait for him, hopeful that he would be back soon.

Lindsey was only two blocks away and didn’t have a half decent excuse yet, “I could tell her I went to get M&M’s, or ice, or something,” he told himself. “No, I’m all sweaty from running around all afternoon, she won’t believe me for a second.”

Stevie was still waiting; she had been for fifteen minutes. She wasn’t sure what she would do if he were gone much longer. She changed positions in her chair.

Lindsey approached the hotel, wiping his forehead. It had taken him longer than he had anticipated. He took a deep breath before he opened the door to their room.

“There you are!” Stevie exclaimed as he walked into the room sheepishly.

“Hi?” he said weakly.

“Where were you?”

“Oh, uh, I was downstairs.” It came out more like a question.

“Really? What were you doing?”

“Uh, getting some candy from the vending machine.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, you know how those M&M cravings go.”

“I see…”

“Yeah.”

“Why are you all sweaty?”

“Uh, I decided to take a run too.”

“Oh, I see. You should most definitely take a shower.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Ok.”

There was an awkward silence.

“I guess I’ll go do that now, then.” He stumbled over the words. He knew that she didn’t believe him one bit.

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