Category Archives: Romance

5. Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore -Be Still My Beating Heart

Be Still My Beating Heart

I wake early the next morning, I still hadn’t adjusted to the time difference from Colorado to Paris, but thinking about Frédérico hadn’t kept me asleep either. I was excited and anxious to see the man. I felt giddy like a young teenager on her first date, that’s how he makes me feel. Looking forward to today I search through my limited belongings.  I only packed one suitcase, not expecting to meet the man of my dreams by any means, so not exactly packing for the occasion.   Okay, something simple and yet classy.  That should do it. I dress and go to the local Starbucks to get my Venti Chai tea and to hook up to the available Wi-Fi.  He said he would contact me before he came to pick me up and the Wi-Fi in the apartment just wasn’t reliable.

Ding. Halfway through my chai, I hear the bell. It’s him. I know I’m smiling. He’s on his way, I tell him to meet me here.  We’re going to have a wonderful adventure today, I just know.

His presence in the coffee shop warms me more than the tea and as he leans over to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. His smile makes his dimples deeper and his eyes glisten. This man knows how to smile.  Not one of those fake smiles, but one that fills his whole face to his eyes.

We are close to the Latin Quarter and decide to walk to the Pantheon, I have no clue where that is, but the walk takes us past small interesting shops and he is patient enough to let me window shop on the way. In fact, there are a couple of jewelry shops I just can not resist and have to go in to see the handmade treasures.  I adore jewelry from other countries and always bring home at least one piece when I travel.  I had to remember this shop later.  The piece I had my eye on was an elegant little gold necklace with an aquamarine oval crystal and azure lapis stone dangling close by.   I didn’t want to take my time though buying jewelry when I was with Frédérico, so quickly moved on.

The Pantheon stood before us at the top of the hill, it looked like something I’d seen in Rome with all the columns. I didn’t expect that I suppose I should have with the name but was surprised. I hadn’t thought about the benefits of him being a museum curator, for one, admittance to any museum in Paris is now easy.  We bypassed the lines and got tickets, solely on his employee ID.  He is such a handsome man, and I noticed the girl in the ticket booth flirt with him and bat her lashes trying to get his attention.  He immediately circled his arm around me and asked for two passes.  She looked crestfallen and handed him the passes.  He smiled at me and gave me a wink. “I am yours, mon cher, and you are mine while you are in Paris.”

Having visited the Pantheon, we walked back to Notre Dame and grabbed a bite to eat at a small café.  It’s getting late in the afternoon. I’m exhausted, to tell the truth. I know I walk a lot while I’m visiting countries but having someone show the city to you is so much better and makes the time go so quickly.  The only thing it doesn’t do is ease the pain of the sidewalk on your legs.  I needed to rest.  We walk back to my apartment, Frédérico knows that we’ve had a busy day today but wants to spend more time with me.  I need to rest for a while.  I reluctantly tell him that I have fibromyalgia and that I need to rest for a bit. I don’t like to admit this to most people about having this disease, for one it’s hard to explain because I look just fine, but my body needs the down time and to pace itself, otherwise I hurt — a lot.  He opens his cell phone and googles it. Looks up at me and says “This?  Is this what you have?”  And points to the wiki page about fibromyalgia.  I smile and say “Yes, but I’m better than most, I take care of myself.”  He continues reading and as he gives me a gentle hug, he murmurs in my ear, “Okay, you go upstairs take a nap, I’ll pick you up at dusk to see the sunset and we’ll go to dinner, how’s that sound to you?”  I linger in his arms, not anxious to leave as I inhale the slight muskiness of him and the aroma of his aftershave.  It sounds heavenly!

Evidently, he is not anxious to leave me either, as he holds my hand and walks me up the narrow staircase to my flat. Sometimes it’s so narrow we can only walk one person at a time, yet he still holds my hand.  I need to rest for a couple of levels, but he is patient and kisses me while he waits.  I think he likes those pauses in the darkened stairwell.  Being so tall, he needs to duck when he gets to the top floor, so he doesn’t hit his head, but we finally make it to my door.

I reach for my key and fumble with it, he takes it and smoothly unlocks my door and smiles as he gives me a sideways glance with mischievous brown eyes. Be still my beating heart.

  • The Pantheon, April 2016, Photography by Candace Stauber
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4. Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore -Oz

Over the Rainbow

As I slowly make my way up the five flights and narrow staircase to my tiny Cinderella flat I think about Frédérico, wondering what tomorrow will bring. I still feel his kiss on my lips and smile to myself as I climb, blushing at the indecent thoughts I am having as I go up the dimly lit staircase.

In my small one room apartment, I quickly slip off my shoes and throw my pocketbook, camera and jacket on the fold out table. I quickly rush over to the window overlooking the street to see if I can see him somewhere on the streets below. Will I catch sight of that tall, dark haired man walking through the crowds here in St. Denis?  Not many are as tall as he. But, no.  I sigh. All I see are the hustle and bustle of the evening crowds starting to gather at the Cafe Oz beneath my window. The lights are bright and the Paris city is preparing for it’s party time. The city of lights is coming alive. I truly feel like Dorothy now.  I’m not in Kansas anymore and am definitely over the rainbow.

  • Feature Photo: Notre Dame Gardens, Paris, France. April 2016. Photography by Candace Stauber

3. Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore-Breathless

Breathless

It’s beginning to get late in the evening and I check my GPS on my phone to make sure I know how to get back to my apartment. He asks where I’m staying and I say in the St. Denis area.  He says he’ll walk me to my apartment because it really is near by.  It’s been a busy day and the streets of Paris have exhausted me and confused me enough and I’ve gotten turned around way too many times today in these narrow alleyways, I take him up on the offer.

Where it took me an hour to get to Notre Dame that morning, it only was a few blocks from my apartment and over the bridge.  It was so easy to get to when he took me back.  I chuckled to myself. I had made things so difficult.  Walking through the now bustling district of St. Denis with the outdoor cafes and coffee shops, we pass the Lebanese restaurant and the Sushi restaurant to come to my door.  He says, “It’s been a pleasure, my lady”, as he takes my hand and kisses it gently “I hope I can see you tomorrow, I don’t have to work for the next few days and I would consider it an honor to spend the time with you, I would love to show you Paris. Would you like that? Can I pick you up in the morning?” I smile and say, “I would love it” (are you kidding?  I’m not turning this down!)  He says, “Come here”, as he guides me to the first step to my apartment.  I look at him cautiously.  He tells me to step up. I do, now I stand a little taller, he then holds me firmly at my waist and gently kisses me goodnight. “Bonsoir ma chérie, à demain”, then turns around to leave, leaving me totally breathless.

  • Feature Photo: St. Denis District, Paris, France. April 2016. Photography by Candace Stauber

2.Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore -The Encounter

The Encounter

Immediately I noticed his dimples when he smiled and I have to admit, dimples are one of my weaknesses.  I absolutely love dimples on a handsome man.  I had to look up, he was so tall.  I’m only five foot four inches, this guy had to be over a foot taller than me.  I couldn’t help but smile back, and I’m sure I blushed a little. I know I looked like a drowned dog, wet with rain, my hoodie soaked, my hair sticking to my face because of the wind, camera around my neck.  I must have been a sight. But here he was this man, this handsome, cute, adorable, man, asking me if I wanted to see the best part of Notre Dame?  Wait a minute, is this a scam?  “Well, you know, I don’t usually talk to strangers.  And I’m ok.  I really don’t want to stand in that long line to get into the cathedral.”, I said.  He smiled. “I understand, don’t worry, I’m ok, really, I work for the museums, I am a curator of one of the museums here in Paris, look.”  And he showed me his employee ID. (Like I can read French, really.) But it did look like an official employee id and I did see his name, Frédérico Lucasa, and the name of his museum, the Musée d’Orsay.

I decided I’d take the risk, besides, it’s daylight, there are lots of people around and he’s just so good-looking. Okay, what can I say, I was also very flattered and curious. I was in Paris and a handsome man wants to show me around.  What would you do?

He takes me to the back side of Notre Dame, the gardens. Yes, it is beautiful and you can see the architecture of the building so much clearer.  We walk the gardens and he tells me about his work at the museum, I’m listening to the melodic timber of his voice more than I am his words as I stop occasionally and snap photos of the cathedral.  The rain starts to pick up. “Let’s get a cappuccino and get out of this rain before you get soaked.”, He says and leads me across the street to a small café where we go inside and are seated at a small table in the corner.  It’s so much warmer here and the cappuccino is warm and rich on my tongue, I find myself wanting other things warm and rich on my tongue, and I just met this man. Such a brazen hussy.  I smile, as I control my thoughts and continue the conversation with him. He asks how I like Paris, how long I’m staying, you know all the fair weather, polite talk people do to get to know each other while he reaches for my free hand and covers it with his.  His hand is so large and warm.

  • Feature Photo: Notre Dame Gardens, Paris, France. April 2016. Photography by Candace Stauber

1. Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore – Paris

Paris in Springtime

In all my dreams never did I expect to be walking the narrow streets of Paris this spring.  The air was full of new life; the trees were just budding with fresh leaves. There was still a chill in the air and the streets were wet because of the mist that was falling.  I was people watching as always, running around with their black umbrellas, everyone trying to keep out of the rain, but still trying to see the sights or hiding under awnings of the cafes to keep dry.

I had my hood up on my hoodie, didn’t want to bother with the umbrella, the wind was blowing too hard and I’d seen too many inside out umbrellas that morning. Besides, I was busy with my camera, trying to get that perfect photo of Notre Dame and those wonderful gargoyles.  They were just so many, I walked all around the cathedral thinking, I’d love to go inside, but the queue was all around the building.  Studying the outside, however, occupied my thoughts and I really didn’t care or mind the rain. I was absorbed in the majesty of the building and the architecture.

Suddenly, he was there, “Would you like to see the best part of the cathedral?”, he said in a slight accent and rich deep tone of voice.  I looked up out of my camera lens into a face smiling at me with sparkling brown eyes, with a glint of gold.

  • Feature Photo: Notre Dame, Paris, France. April 2016. Photography by Candace Stauber