A/N: *pounces* Hello again all!
In case you've been wondering where Linds and Zigs have been, well, we've been very bad. We've forgone updating our current fics *ducks pelting olives* for starting this fuckawesome new collaboration. It's all human. As ever. What did you expect from us? And! It's set in Europe. *le sigh*
Zigs: Why is it called Preludes and Presumptions again?
Linds: We were being witty Zigs.
Zigs: Oh right... Pride and Prejudice, Preludes and Presumptions. Double P's. I get it. I get it.
Linds: I'd pat you on the head right now, but alas, I'm not near you.
Zigs: That's fine, I feel special anyway.
Linds: That's because you are.
Zigs: So are you.
Linds: Oh! We have to remember to thank Annie and Alison!
Zigs: Yes! We do! They were at the bastardly beginnings of this bitch.
Linds: Yes, yes they were.
Zigs: Thanks guys!
Linds: Hmm... So wait, Zigs, how many ongoing fics does this make for you?
Zigs: I don't want to think about it.
Linds: This might not be the right time, but, uh, Zigs? I miss Dr. Dorkman too.
Zigs: *sigh* I know. Me too.
Linds: But we digress! Ladies and (maybe) Gentlemen, please do read on and enjoy LindsayK's and Zigster's newest venture!
Annie: Ehem, excuse me?
Zigs and Linds: Yes Annie?
Annie: Um, yah, will there be smut?
Linds: Annie, half of this bitch is Zigs' baby... what does that tell you?
Annie: Give her like ten chapters and then hold on tight for the ride of your life?
Annie: So... ten chapters?
Zigs: I make no promises.
Linds: Will you look at this conversation!? It's EPIC! Lets get on with the story already!
Zigs: Yes. Sorry. Enjoy bitches! *lix*
I sat on the train and watched as the landscape transformed from the quaint slate-roofed villages and clusters of fieldstone farm houses that peppered Northern France, to the gray industrial towns that lay on the outskirts of Paris. The more graffiti I saw along the train lines, the closer I knew I was getting, and it was for the best, because my body was abound with nervous energy. I was taking it all out on my graduation tassel that was twisted through my fingers. It was the one memento I allowed myself to bring to France from the states for the summer. I had shown it to Gran with pride when I had arrived on her doorstep only a few hours prior. I had graduated from high school and wanted to have something tangible to hold on to for such an accomplishment. A piece of paper was so slight and meaningless to me, and my Gran felt the same way. My tassel was proof of my journey, and I clutched it to me as the train headed steadily south towards my destination.
I was heading to Paris to pick up my sister and closest friend and confidante: Amelia. She had graduated the year before and had taken this year off in order to explore and figure out her options. Mostly she was just enjoying Gran's company. She had been in France for the past two months, studying on and off at the Sorbonne in Paris. She would stay the weeks at Gran's residence in Montmartre, and then would travel back up to Gran's country estate by train on the weekends.
This weekend was special, though; it was the first weekend we'd all be together since the holidays, almost seven months prior, and I wasn't going allow Amelia to slack off in Paris any longer. I was single handedly going to pick her up and carry her back to Normandy by physical force if necessary.
My other sister, Dawn, was supposed to have flown in the same day with me, but had called yesterday morning saying how she had found "the love of her life" in San Diego (I have no idea how she got there considering we attended private school in New England) and insisted that she'd be allowed to stay back in the states for the summer in order to "embrace the moment," and probably her new flavor of the month's cock.
I smiled into the receiver when she had told me the news. I'd give her one month before she'd be on Gran's doorstep in false tears asking to go on a shopping spree to soothe her broken heart.
I was looking forward to it really.
Now, don't think me cold. I loved both my sisters equally, but in different ways. Dawn was a free spirit and refused to sit still. She hadn't taken the death of our parents very well. She was the youngest, after all, and I think she simply regressed into herself, choosing to remain emotionally innocent, as opposed to accepting the hardships Amelia and I had taken on head first. She'd learn eventually, but who am I to tell her that she was living in a fantasy world? Accepting our parents' death and trying to live with the knowledge for all these years was the hardest thing I'd ever done. If Dawn had found a different, albeit immature, way of dealing with it, I wasn't going to judge.
The train lurched to a stop as we pulled into the Gare du Nord station. I smiled out the window at the smoke rising from the wheels and the elegant arched cast iron architecture of the building. I loved the frenetic energy of train stations, with people from all different walks of life running to catch their trains, or to meet up with their loved ones. They had more of a nostalgic feel to them, as opposed to modern day airports, which were streamlined and clean. Train stations were dirtier and filled with fleeting memories. Especially this particular train station, considering it had been bringing people to and from Paris for hundreds of years.
I breathed in the history, along with the slight pollution of Paris, the second my feet hit the pavement. Happy to be back in what truly was my second home. I had taken the Metro to Montmartre in order to freshen up at the old pink house and grab my Vepsa, in order to drive and pick up Amelia. I hadn't ridden my baby in over a year, and I was excited to have the chance again. I walked the familiar cobble stone streets to the pink house with a giddiness that I hadn't felt in months. The entire summer was spread out before me, ripe with new experiences, and at the end of these precious months, I had college to scoop me up and take me further into the next chapter of my life.
Yes, I was giddy and probably looked like a damn fool with my idiotic smile, but dammit, I was happy.
The pink house with its green shutters and front door looked exactly the same as it always had as I approached. I smiled up at the quaintness of it. It was such a quiet, unassuming residence from the outside. Little did anyone know, especially the tourists who took pictures in front of it constantly, that on the inside it was an explosion of color and creativity. My Gran had been collecting art of all kinds for years, and most of it was stored here. She decorated the walls "salon" style, like the old French expositions would, not leaving one inch empty. Every wall was covered in art. I loved it.
Gran was one of those people who had such incredible stories, you wouldn't have believed her until she pulled out the photographic proof, of which she had plenty. She had always run with a very creative and eclectic crowd. She didn't keep journals to remember her travels and adventures; she kept art - and the occasional framed pieces of original poetry or chicken scratch written on a cocktail napkin. It all meant something to her.
She had drank cosmos with Ingrid Bergman in the 40's, gone line for line with Ginsberg in the 50's, hung out with Dylan and Baez in the 60's, and she had gladly opened up her home to the expatriate hippies of the 70's who were on a permanent lost weekend. Andy Warhol had even invited her to his Factory and had created a series of silkscreens in honor of her. She hated them, but indulged Andy, "the child that he was," by taking them all and storing them forever in the attic of the pink house in Paris. Most art historians didn't even know of their existence, which Gran enjoyed.
She was always one of those people who had the ability to help inspire or create art. She still insists to this day that it was she who told Meret Oppenheim to cover the teacup in fur over lunch, not that "fucking Picasso" as she called him, who had actually tried to hit on Gran several times. She told us that each time, she'd simply hand him another drink and push him away. He was such an alocholic he'd become absorbed trying to figure out what was in the glass and lose all interest within the three seconds it took him to realize she had refused his advances.
Stepping into the space brought back a wash of memories from her stories, but I didn't linger in all the art and color; there'd be plenty of time for that later. I grabbed Amelia's prepacked bag by the door, placed there in anticipation of my arrival and our inevitable journey back towards Normandy later tonight, and headed out the front door, no longer than ten minutes after I had entered. I was eager to see my sister again, and even more eager to get on my scooter.
One hell of a bumpy ride later - cobble stones are lovely to look at, but a bitch to ride on - I was leaning against my scooter by a large column on the outskirts of the Sorbonne's main courtyard. There was a slight breeze drifting through the columns and it cooled my flushed skin from my brisk journey through the arrondissements. I closed my eyes and let the fresh air hit my face, enjoying the smells of Nutella and fruit floating over from a crepe cart nearby.
I was perfectly content for all of two minutes, waiting for Amelia to text me when she'd be out of her class, before the sound of expensive handmade leather craftsmanship echoed through the courtyard and interrupted my peaceful bliss.
Dammit. I was having a nice little Parisian moment there.
I opened my eyes to see the source of the offensive noise, and my breath caught in my throat. I actually almost choked on nothing, I was that taken.
The expensive noise making boots belonged to a pair of extremely long legs that led up to a designer clad, statuesque torso. Topping that torso was one hell of a good looking head, draped in cascading piles of blond hair. It was flowing out behind him as the wind wrestled it out of its helpless ponytail. The poor elastic band didn't stand a chance of holding it all in with the amount of energy he was exuding. It was hard to take him all in at once there was so much delectable goodness to look at. There was no way this man was Parisian; he was too tall, too blond, too damn good looking. And he was so carefree. He was running across the courtyard with such a sense of ease and joy, his blue eyes sparkled with the innocence of a five year-old. An innocence I'm sure a man with his good looks had long said goodbye to. The way he carried himself, with his head held high, also spoke of a knowing confidence. I liked that in a man.
He was young, too. Probably no more than 22 or so. Perfect.
I found myself unabashedly staring, fully enjoying the view. He didn't seem to notice in his sprint towards whatever destination that was obviously making him so elated. I couldn't help but smile at him as he ran past. I knew that feeling of freedom the summer brought. I had just been bouncing down the streets in Montmartre with probably the same look on my face.
I jumped and turned to find my sister staring at me with a knowing look. She knew I was checking out Tall, Blond and Handsome. Dammit. I shrugged it off and threw my arms around her, thrilled to see her, once again.
I was late for an appointment with my advisor and didn't even care. I loved that feeling! That sense of complete euphoria that only comes along at the end of something utterly taxing and achingly long. That, which had been this past semester.
I had finished my last exam and handed in my last paper - written entirely in perfect French, as ever - which meant my coursework was officially over. All I had to worry about, academic wise, for the next three months was a writer's workshop that only met every two weeks. Something my father didn't even know about, and never would.
I was essentially free, and it was bloody well blissful.
There was a soft breeze blowing through the courtyard, a natural vacuum created by the architecture of the buildings, and I breathed in the air happily. Smells of fresh crepes from street carts assaulted my senses, and I smiled at the sweet and tangy flavors. There might as well have been a fucking blue bird on my shoulder, I was feeling that happy.
As I sprinted across the ghostly indentations of the courtyard, the pathways made by the crisscrossing of students every which way of the historic grounds for centuries, hearing the echoes of my own shoes ricochetting off the sides of the stone columns, I noticed something new and shiny pop up in my peripheral vision: the sleek retro lines of vintage Italian engineering. I almost halted in my tracks.
Someone dared to bring a Vespa into these sacred academic grounds? How ironically punk rock of them. I smirked involuntarily.
Then, I noticed who had actually brought the scooter into the courtyard. Well, truthfully, I noticed legs. Long, creamy, smooth legs. One rested over the other, and did they look damn fine in contrast to the mint green of the Vespa. My eyes quickly scanned the rest of the girl as I kept running. I wished for a moment that I could stop and introduce myself to her, but my advisor was also sadly my uncle. Word would get back to my father of my tardiness, and that was something I couldn't let happen, no matter how delectable those legs were.
When my eyes met her face, my conviction almost wavered. Shit, she was beautiful - and not in the classically French femme fatale sort of way, but in a fresh-faced way that suggested she was probably a mixture of many different backgrounds. This meant she was most likely an American, and a lovely one at that. Her hair was blond and piled on top of her head in a lazy fashion that let wispy strands gently frame her face in the slight breeze, and her skin was all at one creamy and pale, but her cheeks were sun-kissed and flushed pink. I also noticed that her hair looked natural, and not overly processed or dyed, a look that was annoyingly common amongst other girls nowadays.
Her entire appearance was utterly refreshing.
Except, I couldn't see her eyes. They were closed, and her head rested gently on the column behind her. A lazy smile played on her lips and she looked completely at ease. I was feeling at ease for a minute there too, but suddenly a part of me was springing to attention. Damn teenage hormones. I was nineteen; you'd think being almost twenty I would have overcome the surge finally.
I slowed my sprinting in order to get a better look at her, with the intention of creating a solid picture in my mind of her full physique and attitude for later assessment in private. And also, of course, to be able to describe to my uncle her likeness, just in case he knew who this lovely leggy blonde was. I turned my face and gaze away as I saw her eyes flutter open. I didn't want her to know the loud running man in the courtyard had also been unabashedly ogling her. That wasn't very gentlemanly of me. I did find myself wondering if she was staring as I ran past, or at least if she had noticed me. It took all of my concentration to not turn my head and smirk at her as I rounded the corner, in order to get to my meeting relatively on time.
She probably hadn't been looking anyway. Then again, I was making quite a ruckus with my sprint, and I had been told many a time by many a girl that I wasn't exactly repulsive to look at... maybe she had.
My high from earlier had lessened slightly by the time I had arrived outside my advisor/uncle's office door, but a new sense of excitement was building up in me. I found myself not listening to my uncle's advice at all as I sat in front of him, my eyes slightly unfocused as he droned on about my tally of accumulated credits and the number of prestigious colleges that wanted me as their student. The summer was spread out before me, and maybe the mystery girl from the courtyard would be a part of it. I smirked to myself at the possibilities.
My uncle didn't know who I was referring to when I asked him about the girl with the mint green Vespa outside, telling me he'd never seen her before but wished that he had. I smirked at him. What an old dirty bastard he was. My uncle had his heart in the right place, but was a shameless horndog. Sam and I had often warned our female friends about him, the ones we cared about anyway. I was slightly grateful that he didn't know the mystery girl. It spoke well of her already.
I would ask my sister Pam about her when I got back home. She might have more of a lead on the blonde American who seemed to be attending the Sorbonne for the summer. Hopefully she was society, which would narrow our search even more.
I left my uncle's office with a slight dramatic flourish, wanting to get back to the fresh sweetened air as fast as possible. I also wanted to see if the mystery girl was still in the courtyard, but alas, when I went to check, her creamy legs, natural blonde hair, and lazy smile were gone, along with her Vespa. I was crestfallen, but even more determined as Rasul opened the door of the Rolls for me to step into.
Yes, I was chauffeured around town in a Rolls Royce by a man name Rasul. Yes, it was a bit much, but it was also bloody classic. Sinatra rode around in a Rolls, and you can never deny the class that went along with anything and everything that was quintessentially Sinatra. Welcome to the good life.
As I sat in the back seat on the drive home, watching the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter flit by the darkened windows, I deduced silently what little I knew of the girl.
She was almost certainly American but most definitely not a tourist. There wasn't a map, a guidebook, fanny pack or camera in sight when I dragged my eyes shamelessly over her lean body, committing her to memory.
She owned that Vespa. I was certain of it. It was in mint condition: too nice to have been a rental, and too expensive to have been an impulse buy for a rich brat. Plus, rich brats wouldn't dare muss their clothing by riding a scooter. And this girl knew how to ride that bike, no doubt.
She must be a local or at least have a residence in Paris. She looked utterly relaxed and at home in her environment, confident even. This meant a knowledge and an ease with her surroundings. No outsider would ever seem that calm.
This all boded well.
Now, if only Rasul would drive faster. I needed to talk to Pam.
You thought we left you didn't you?
Well, we couldn't leave you just yet because, we're not done talking. Yes, there is actually more to say.
Linds: Like what?
Zigs: Like mentioning our fuckawesome beta Gallathea, and our equally fuckawesome special guest authors DCWriter16 and Yogagal aka Yoda. Not to mention our surrogate Momma Meads, just for being Meads.
Linds: Yes! DC will be playing the part of our dear Pammy for a POV or two.
Zigs: And the same goes for my Yoda, she will be at the helm of Sam and Amelia's POV's for a few chapters as well.
Linds: Shit, this really will be epic won't it?
Zigs: Yes, yes it will.
Linds: Think we can pull it off?
Zigs: We better.
Linds: Especially since we've been working on this bastard since March.
Zigs: Damn, really? That long?
Linds: I would never lie to you.
Oh and children. Linds and Zigs are being democratic about this and posting this story on both of their sites, because that's really the fairest way. So please, remember to leave your review love equally.
Till next time y'all! Hope you liked it!
What would you ride around town in if you had an American Express black card and a chauffeur named Rasul?