"Ah, no, chere, or cher, which ever it is, I think you may perhaps have confused decadence with avarice," France says languorously through the cloud of harsh cigarette smoke and sharp perfume.

"You are mine," Desire hisses, bending forward over the table, long painted nails digging into the scratched dark surface of the laquered wood.

France leans back, sips at his wine, and smiles. Up on the stage, the singer in the low-cut red dress comes to the end of her torch song. "A Paris," she informs the enraptured audience, "les amants s'aiment à leur facon."




Footnotes: the lyrics are from an Edith Piaf song, Les Amants de Paris. I am not, in fact, French, nor do I speak it, so apologies for any accidental cultural idiocies. Inasmuch as anyone can own anthropomorphic personifications, these belong to Messers. Gaiman and Himaruya.