Meet Me In Monaco - Flora Ferrari
I walk along Avenue J. F. Kennedy, making my way towards my boat, thinking about taking her out on the water for the afternoon. Looking out at the water, trying to assess the stillness of the sea, making sure the conditions are good, and thinking about what kind of meal I will take with me.
After a long business meeting, there’s nothing better than taking the rest of the day off.
That’s why I’m not looking where I’m going when I literally walk into her.
“Oh!” she exclaims, her voice soft and light, and I instinctively put my arms out to steady her. I grab onto her elbows, stepping back as I hold her firmly upright, making sure I haven’t set her off balance.
I can still feel the imprint of her body against my chest, and a tingle runs through my hands where they connect to her skin. It’s enough to make me stop and look at her, an apology forming on my lips.
And I stop, struck dumb by her.
The first thing I see is her eyes, big and blue, so wide I can hardly believe it. They’re set into a dainty, round face and framed by long blonde hair. The arms I’m still gripping are not so thin and weak I’m afraid to snap them. She feels like a real woman, unlike the models who walk around here most of the time. Like she actually eats three meals a day.
I find my eyes traveling down her body, over a full chest and wide hips that make me want to grab hold of them and pull her closer. She’s wearing a white sundress to mid-calf, modest and yet so alluring, perfectly flattering to her curves. The lacy embroidered pattern at the hem on the neck, arms, and calves offers a further glimpse of skin through the fabric, and I think each line of it might be imprinted forever on my brain.
“Sorry about that,” I say, at last, finding my voice. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“Oh,” she blushes, shaking her head. “No, it’s fine. No harm done.” Her accent is American, which instantly intrigues me but also sends a jolt of fear down my spine. Either she’s wealthy enough to live here, and I’ve never seen her before, which seems unlikely or she’s a tourist. Which means she’s not here permanently, and I will never see her again.
Or there is always the third, and perhaps more awful option, that she’s married to a man who lives here, and he has only just brought his new bride back home.
But why would that be so awful? I’m getting ahead of myself – so unlike me – normally these women can never turn my head…
“Honey, are you alright?”
The male voice interrupts my thoughts, and I instinctively step back as the man comes forward. I release her elbows reluctantly, seeing that she no longer needs my support and besides, he’s putting an arm to the back of her shoulder, checking on her.
Damn. I was right. I didn’t want to be. But, of course, a gorgeous young thing like this would not be here unaccompanied. Of course, some middle-aged man who drives a Ferrari has swept her off her feet.
“Yes,” she says, her cheeks still infused with the most enchanting pink blush. “No harm done. Actually, it was probably my fault. I was too busy looking at this map.”
I look down and realize that she is, indeed, holding a map. The cheap kind that are usually printed by hotels to allow their visitors to find their way around. Monuments are always represented too large by cartoon drawings, and side streets are missed off, and it’s almost impossible to actually get any use out of them.
So, they are tourists, after all.
“If we could just find this darn place,” the man says, shaking his head. I look up at him, taking him in. Now that I look closely, I can see, the clothes he’s wearing are not the kind of thing a resident would wear. His watch is barely worth anything, just some small-brand smartwatch with a rubber strap that will probably disintegrate in the space of months. No, he’s no wealthy resident.
This means the absolute worst-case scenario, she is both married and only here for the moment. It could not be any worse.
“Sorry, Dad,” she sighs. “I just don’t think this map is very good.”
Wait – Dad?
I look between them, my gaze shooting from one to the other. His nose, the same as hers. His eyes and hair