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She is Mine
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I’ve never had to think about money. It’s always been there.
From USA Today Bestselling Author Penny Wylder, this prequel comes before the filthy, full-length novel: The Billionaire’s CamGirl.
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It’s all so last minute, this trip to Paris, but I couldn’t bear to say no to my oldest friend when she begged me to come. Kate and her cousin, Marie-Laure, are opening a restaurant in Paris, and tomorrow is the opening night. I knew it was Kate’s plan to move to Paris and pursue her culinary career here, but the speed at which she accomplished that dream is shocking. I have to admit, I’m envious. Here she is, just a year out of college and already she’s ticked off two major accomplishments from her bucket list. I can’t help but compare my current situation to hers, and I really hate myself for it. This is a trip to celebrate my friend and really enjoy myself before I get to work back in New York, before I step up to my big plan and start to take back my life.
“Gare du Nord,” the tinny voice announces, reminding me that the Paris Metro awaits me first. Just as planned, I stride off the train and onto the platform, my (too) many bags all accounted for and none left behind on the train. I find quiet area to the side of the platform to take in my surroundings and check my phone. I’m not about to spend beaucoup bucks on an international SIM card, so I wait for my phone to connect to the station’s free Wi-Fi network. I know Kate will have already texted me a dozen times. My plane had been delayed a couple of hours, and she was skeptical I could manage my way to Paris with all my luggage on public transportation. Just as I expected, as soon as my phone connects to the network, five iMessages pop up from Kate, each with a few more exclamation points and question marks than the last. The gist is, Are you fucking here yet? I text back, Arrived at Gare du Nord and heading to Air BnB. Paris, baaaaby! Smiling, I tuck my phone back in my purse.
Travelers on the platform bustle around me and I swell with pride that I’ve made it here all on my own! Like Kate, my mother thought it was preposterous that I’d take the train (“The train, Weaver?”) from the airport, but I knew I could do it. Weaver Jones, ever resourceful and independent! Weaver Jones, ever stubborn and alone, my mother’s voice counters in my head. I shake my head and disregard that nagging voice, walking down the platform confidently and following the signs to the Paris Metro. Since when is it a bad thing to have confidence in yourself? Ever since childhood, I’ve strived to do things my own way, and it’s served me well. So what that when I was eight I’d refused to allow my dad to bring my Girl Scout cookies order form to his office and I’d only sold a dozen boxes to my immediate neighbors? It was my responsibility and he wasn’t a Girl Scout. I didn’t mind that Lacy Lockwood had won the grand prize and all I got was a participation patch. I knew her mom had sold most of those boxes and I’d won my patch, however small and really underwhelming, fair and square. What can I say? I’ve always felt most comfortable depending on me, myself and I.
Me, myself and I stop suddenly in the grand station hall. A young man, a teenager by the looks of him, is playing a beat-up accordion. It’s lovely, and it bring my head back to the present: Paris! He’s playing the quintessential French song, La Vie En Rose. By his side is his open accordion case, with a few euro coins thrown inside. And by the side of that is an older looking dog, some sort of shepherd mix, dozing peacefully. The sign propped next to the case reads Toute aide appreciee. Merci. For all my insistence on making my way through the world on my own, I can’t resist helping someone in need. I’m a big believer in karma, so any chance I have to throw some positivity into the world, I take it. I gingerly prop up my wheelie suitcases and root through my purse for a few bucks for the busker. I feel around my passport and credit cards until I find a few bills for him.
As much as I would have love to enjoy the rest of the song, Gare du Nord is too busy to stand around idly with my luggage, so I toss the bills in his accordion case and scratch the sleeping dog’s head. Gathering my suitcases again, I nod to the player. He glances down at his case and his smile is wide and shining. I guess he doesn’t get many tips because mine seems to have made his day. I walk away as he continues to play and shouts a melodic, “Merci belle bienfaitrice.” It was only a few bucks, but if he considers me his “beautiful benefactor,” I’ll take it.