Ma Belle [A Short Story]

Every Christmas, Annabelle's family goes to Paris to meet up with her cousins.
The first year, she met Edgar. He was oh-so charming, so swoon-worthy, he was the one, she thought. As years go by, things change. Hearts get broken. Days grew longer. Everything was different.

This was the last time she was ever going to step foot at Paris before she goes off to college. Will things go back to where it belong before midnight strikes?


3. Chapter three

December 24, 21:00, 2012 


Edgar snatched me by the hand, laughing.

"Calm down, jet lag!" I laughed, he frowned and stopped, looking down at me, he leaned in. During the first year in Paris, I get to meet the most amazing guy ever. We emailed and sent letters to each other for the whole year - I've never been happier to meet him back in person. We've both been so excited. 

"Hop in the back, I'll ride this thing." He said, He placed one leg over the bike and settled on his seat. Once he was done, he looked over at me and tilted his head a little.

"Come on, please? You said you wanted to see more of Paris." He pleaded, his eyes twinkling. I hesitated, my parents were on my tail dragging me away from Edgar. I've always obeyed my parents, doing the littlest stunt would scare the hell out of me. But no one was here to guide me. It was me against the rest of the world. With Edgar. I sighed, his cute Parisian smile snapped me out of my thoughts.



* * *


"Hold on tight, Ma chérie," He whispered against my head. I nodded and wrapped both my arms against his waist. It felt.. Exhilarating.. My chest was pressed against his back, his cool, sturdy back. The roads were bumpy - the excitement filling in my chest was about to explode. Nothing could beat the beautiful cultures of France - the broad, antique cafe down the alley was beyond anything I've ever seen - people everywhere were smooching. As if he read my mind, he glanced back and laughed.

"They don't call it the City Of Love for nothing." I smiled, he came to an abrupt stop . I removed my arms and he offered a hand. 

"Where are we?" He parked his bike near a magazine stand and tipped the person to lookout for it. Muttering in french, he waved goodbye and made his way to me.

"This is my mother's cafe. Restaurants runs in our family - everyone takes part in this tradition of our generation.." He trailed off.

"But... Not you?" I asked. He stared at sky intently, chuckling to himself.

"I was supposed to, but before I did. She left." He sighed. I brought my hands together behind my back and bit my lower lip.

"A divorce?" He looked at me.

"No, she died." His words pierced the air, stabbing my heart with pain. I winced.

"Edgar, i'm sorry. Truly I am." He smiled at me, the hazy vision cleared up.

"Her co-worker who happens to be a good friend of hers took over, he's an excellent chef. And I'd like you to meet him today." He grabbed me by my wrist and pulled me along. As we entered, my stomach growled in anticipation. The place smelled of yeast and musk. Edgar sat me down and went along to the kitchen. I examined the place, there were pictures of women in every pillar - it was all the same person - just at a different age. On the very end, the girl was reaching out for a pan located at the very top cabinet. Following along, she got her very own chef's hat for her - say, eight birthday. As years go by, she attended several cooking contests and has won man awards. Due to her success, she was awarded a scholarship to an outstanding culinary school. Once she's graduated, she met a man who then got her pregnant with Edgar, I presumed. After Edgar was born, his dad sadly passed away - leaving his mother to grieve. Edgar was still a baby, and after a few months, his mom got pregnant again. Edgar never mentioned a sibling though. I darted my gaze toward the kitchen. Edgar was still in a steamy conversation with the chefs, so I made my way around the pillar where the pictures continued. Another baby boy was born. Time fast forward and the most tragic thing happened. When the - I stopped mentally talking to myself, my eyes grew wider and I gaped.


 * * *


"She is trés beau! Very pretty!" Chef Hansel clapped, he was round and cheery and he just reminds me of jolly old St. Nick.

"Oh, this is great! Thank you Hansel," I mumbled with my mouth full of some delightful créme Bule. He boomed with laughter and headed back to the kitchen.

"He's great huh? He's been my guardian for a while now. Love him like my dad." Edgar smiled. I frowned. Wiping my smeared mouth with a napkin, I cleared my throat.

"Edgar, take a sit. Please." Edgar seemed to tense, but he did anyways.

"What's wrong?" He pressed.

"The pictures in these walls. They're your memories, aren't they?" He shifted in his seat uncomfortably and sighed.

"Yes, they are." He muttered. 

"And the first baby in your pictures. That wasn't you, was it?" He looked away, fidgeting with his fingers. "It... it was your sister?" This time he stood up growling.

"Love to chat with you, but I'm not ready to talk about this. Okay?" I stopped him from walking away and he jerked his hand.

"Edgar, please... I really like you and i want to know more about you." The clock chimed the same chime last year. Nostalgia hit me right in the core.

"If you like me enough you wouldn't push me to tell you." He spat. His words slowly dug through me, I flinched. He writhed his hand and jerked away from my grip. I couldn't say anymore, he was almost out the door.

"Edgar, please, wait!" And he did. He stood frozen on his steps. A thousand words formed in my mind, threatening to spill from my lips, but instead, I muttered out the impossible: "Merry Christmas." And as expected, he left without another word.


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