Page 34

Billionaires in Paris Cynthia Dane 2022/8/3 13:56:22

He stops. I pretend I didn’t hear that and keep eating my breakfast.

Forty-five minutes later we’re both dressed and heading outside. The sun is shining bright. There’s a cool breeze bursting through every few minutes that cools me down after running across a large intersection before the light changes. Ian is right behind me. Never at my side or two steps ahead like he sometimes is. The man doesn’t have to wear heels and will sometimes leave me in his dust.

We’re heading straight for the Avenue des Champs Elysées. My wallet’s itching to spend some money. Sure, I could buy a lot of this stuff back home, but this is Paris. For fuck’s sake, I spent my first day here shopping for couture. You think I’m not drooling at the thought of Chanel, Dior, and Louboutin raining upon me? I better buy some Givenchy for Eva, too. He’s her favorite to the point I joke he’s 75% of her closet.

I look back at Ian, who is never farther than a foot behind me. “I’m here,” he says. “Where are we going?”

There’s a Chanel boutique not twenty feet away. Chinese and German tourists are lining up to shop themselves silly. You may think it’s an intimidating line, but I’m Kathryn Alison. I’ve got a pass that says I’m welcome to do some private shopping whenever I feel like. Front of the line, always. A veritable Disney Fast Pass of designer fashion.

My eyes bat in my boyfriend’s direction. He doesn’t roll his nor suck in his cheeks, his usual signs that he would rather go pound some beers while his woman does her thing.

I grow ever more suspicious.

We go to the front of the line. Before the attendant can shoo us to the back, I pull out my black card and ID. Sure enough, we’re shown to a quiet corner of the store where I can shop in peace. If you count shopping with a mother and daughter who also have special privileges and keep squealing over the latest 2016 collection as peaceful.

I spend a long time looking at what’s available. It’s not that I don’t have the money to buy everything. Sure, I could, but I’m a discerning woman. I’ll stand and stare at everything for about half an hour before going That one. There’s a reason my closet isn’t overflowing like other women (cough, Eva) I know. I buy high-end items because they fit well and last a long time, not for the status. So while that mother and daughter are gushing about how popular they’re going to be when they go to their next party wearing a certain dress, I’m sitting here thinking about how much it’s not to my tastes. Instead, I drool over the beautiful, silky handbags.

I don’t know how Ian does it. He barely moves, except to look at a few things out of curiosity. He doesn’t bother me. He doesn’t pull out his phone and dither. He stands nearby without making me feel like I’m taking forever, even though I am. Is he on drugs? What kind of good shit is he getting off the streets of Paris? Where can I get some for the next time I have a panic attack and he’s not around to coddle me or spank me into accepting the cards I’ve been dealt?

When I ask him what he thinks of the latest classic flap bag collection, he doesn’t say a snarky, “How many handbags do you have, again?” What I get is, “The blue one isn’t really you. If you were to get one, it should be the silver or the red.”

I agree with him. I like the dark blue, but it doesn’t match my style. There are silver and red options, and I love both. Yet I know that I would never use both. I usually buy one main bag to use per season. I love Chanel bags because they’re stylish, elegant, and go with anything. I already have a new satchel for this year. I could use a new tote bag, though…

Instantly I gravitate to the red and silver shopping bags. “What do you think?” I ask Ian, holding one on either arm. He’s between both. “Red?” My left arm goes up. “Silver?”

Normally my male companions would say whichever color they like more. In Ian’s case, I know that’s red. “I like the red one,” he says, and I am far from surprised. “It matches the fire in your eyes.”

My left arm goes down. Whaaaat?

“The silver one is more versatile and the one I could see you using more. If I were shopping for you, that’s the one I would get.”

I’m still hung up on the comment about the fire in my eyes. “You like the red one?”

“Like I said…” his lips turn into a well-timed smirk. “It matches your personality. When I think of my lovely goddess, I think of a passionate, burning red.”

I turn and put the red bag back on its mantle. The silver bag stays soft in my other hand as I model it in a mirror. I look at the price tag. $4900, American. Good buy for a bag I’ll use for the rest of the year.