I was completely overcome with the view in the room. Straight across from where we entered was like a large production stage with a long flowing curtain. I assumed behind it was a wall of windows, covered from ceiling to floor with plush burgundy fabrics. As the ambassador pulled each of them aside it revealed I was right. As well as an amazing view of the Paris city line below us. It was breathtaking. I walked right up and stared over the view unable to grasp the reality of the moment. We must be at the top floor. That would mean this is the ... penthouse.
As the thought planted in my mind I looked from side to side of me. The room seemed to go on forever. To my right was a large sitting area with three couches. Count them – one, two three. At home in Canada, I have one couch and an interesting, lumpy love seat that no one wants to sit in for very long. But here, in France, I have three couches in my hotel room! This must be a dream.
Behind the sitting area was a large painting of the Eiffel tower lit up at night. It was eye-catching and mesmerizing in its beauty. To the right of that was an open doorway and then a mirrored bar. It had two high bar stools up against a marbled counter filled with a magnificent display of glassware.
Lining the mirrored walls behind the bar was a shelf of antique coloured glass bottles in many different shapes and sizes. The burgundy colour of the window fabrics was continued throughout with the bar stools coverings and the hand towels on the bar.
When I turned to my left I saw another open doorway and a hallway leading away from the room we stood in. There was a closet along the hallway and many more painted art works. I turned to Quinn, who stood at the doorway with the Ambassador, seemingly unmoved by the grandeur of where we were.
I had to remind myself that this man lives in the most amazing City in perhaps the World. He isn’t from some hick little town like me. I need to assume that this isn’t out of the norm for him.
When he finished with the hotel staff he closed the double doors and turned towards me. His hands slid silently into his pockets and he looked me over very carefully. I was frozen in my spot under his scrutiny. Speechless.
Slowly he sauntered closer to me. “We have a conversation to complete.” His voice rumbled with a low sultry sound. It made my head spin.
“Really? What would that be about?”
“You. And me.” By now he was standing toe-to-toe with me. His eyes glistened with flecks of gold that made my heart dance. “Now tell me, when and where did we meet?”
“I-I, um, am not sure exactly.” It was hard to decipher which made me panic more – his closeness or his probing questions.
“You’re not sure, Cherie?”
I shook my head back and forth.
Quinn placed his finger under my chin lifting my face to a better angle. “I do not remember you when I look at you. But, I feel like I know you when I get close to you.” He paused long enough to bend down and kiss my lips ever so gently. “It makes me wish I did know you Cherie.”
My lips tingled from his. The feeling rippled through my whole body. It nearly made me go weak until he let me go and walked away from me towards the door.
“You’ll be safe here tonight.” His all business voice shocked me back into reality. “The Ambassador assured me there would be a security guard arriving soon.” He opened the door and looked out. “Come, Cherie.” He said as he waved me towards him.
I couldn’t move. Now more than before, I was lost and confused. Nothing made sense.
“Cathie?” Quinn stepped out of view behind the closed side of the double doors and then returned a second later followed by a uniformed guard. He spoke French to the man who kept nodding his head in response. “This is Officer Clemens. He will be posted outside your door all night.”
The man offered his hand to me but I was still stuck in my place. I nodded to him but refused to move anything else. I think Quinn noticed my hesitation because he walked towards me. “Cathie, if you need anything he will help you. He understands English. He can call me ...”.
That was the moment I woke up. Quinn said ‘he’. The man we both just met can call Quinn but he never mentioned anything about me calling him. Suddenly my reverie ended. My legs moved as my heart closed off.
“Merci, Monsieur Clemens. Je m’appelle Cathie.”
Both men looked surprised at my French but I didn’t care. After a gentlemanly handshake the Officer returned to his post and Quinn closed the door behind him. “What’s wrong Cherie?”
“I’d prefer if you didn’t call me that.” Not really the truth, but a good decoy I hope. “Nothing is wrong. I am just feeling tired and jet-lagged.”
Quinn walked towards me and I backed up a step. Understanding registered in his eyes. He stopped approaching me. “I need you to see this from my perspective. I did not know you before tonight. And since I met you, I-“.
I interrupted him again. “You don’t have to explain. I understand that you aren’t invested in this.”
“This? What is ‘this’ exactly?” He rubbed his eyes as if he was tired or frustrated. Probably the latter. “You didn’t let me finish my sentence. Since I met you a few hours ago, your life has been threatened more than once. I can’t stand that.” He stepped closer slowly. “I don’t live like this, Cher-uh, Cathie. I am not some James Bond character in a movie. I might not be able to protect you from Dean.”
“Maybe you don’t need to protect me. Maybe, just maybe, I am here to protect you.” I wanted to cry. It would be so easy to let the tears flow hoping they would wash away the ache that was building. But I can’t. I won’t.
“You are like an Angel from heaven, aren’t you?” Quinn said with a sexy smirk on his lips.
“This isn’t funny.”
“Non. You are correct. It is very serious and you are too involved. Which, is why I must go. Those guns were real and I don’t want you in any more danger.”
“Look, I agree – we should probably not get involved. However those guns were for you. Not me. This room should be for your protection, not mine.”
“Don’t think for a second that Dean would not hurt you.”
“How do you know that? Oh yes, I forgot. You see visions.” His mocking voice echoed in the room. It bounced off the emptiness I was feeling. How ludicrous this must all seem to him. How much lenience would I offer to a crazy person spouting the future that suddenly entered my life? None. Quinn has been far more understanding and receptive than I would be if the tables were turned.
I offered my hand to him in a gesture of normalcy and decorum. “Yes, well I haven’t seen anything new, so... it has been nice getting to know you Quinn. Thank you for your help this evening.”
Quinn didn’t look like he bought my act, but he approached me with his hand extended to meet mine. He gently took my hand in his, but instead of shaking it, he turned it over slightly and then raised it to his awaiting lips. “En chante Cherie. The pleasure has been all of mine. I do hope I will have the honour of meeting up with you again under much better circumstances.”
He held my hand suspended at his mouth for a long second before his eyes met with mine. “Please do not misunderstand my motivations.” Then he released my hand and headed for the door. Without any forewarning or hesitation he slipped out and let the double door close quietly behind him.
NEXT PAGE is here.