Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Preview of new story Double Indulgence
Mariana Franklin needed a much-deserved vacation, a good two-to-three week vacation from work, a bad break-up, and her family. Her dream destination was Paris, France; she had always wanted to visit there since she was president of her high school’s French club and also an A student her French class. She had finally arrived in Paris after a long flight from Atlanta, her hometown. She arrived with her stamped passport and drove her rental car to a five-star hotel, which she had booked reservations online. As soon as she checked into her hotel suite on the fourth floor and unpacked her suitcase, she checked out the magnificent view of The City of Light; she even checked out the view of The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and The Louvre. She also thought of what she would like to do while in Paris. There was shopping, sightseeing, the art museums, night clubs, and wine tasting, all of which she liked to do. But what Mariana really wanted to do in Paris was to eat French cuisine and enjoy some French pastries. She did her research on French food, restaurants, bistros, cafes, and bakeries online; she even looked up pictures to get ideas and also brushed up on her French. With her very busy, yet stressful life (mother sick with lupus, a deadbeat, cheating mooch of an ex-boyfriend, and long hours from two full-time jobs: office assistant and secretary at a business park) back in Atlanta, she barely have the time to enjoy any food other than breakfast and coffee at home or a stop to nearest Waffle House when she gets off work really late. On her Paris vacation, Mariana wanted to enjoy and savor each bite of food that Paris had to offer. She even wrote down a very large list of foods she wanted to eat and had it categorized into four categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Since it’s her very first day in Paris, she decided on having a spa day to relax after the long flight and also from the stresses that she left from home. She went into Le Spa de Vine and got herself the full vinotherapy wine treatment, which included a wine facial, a wine wrap, a wine scrub, and a wine bath. After feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated, Mariana then returned to the hotel and asked the front desk clerk for dining recommendations for dinner. The clerk then wrote down the phone number for her so she could call for dinner reservations. Once she thanked the clerk, Mariana went to her hotel room and phoned in for her dinner reservation. She got herself ready for dinner and even made sure her table manners were on point. That night, she arrived at the restaurant and made it to her reservation on time. She followed her server to her table and was promptly seated. Mariana looked at the menu and made her selections. In her most perfect French, she ordered the French onion soup for her appetizer, steak-frites for her main entrée, and chocolate mousse for her dessert. She took her time and savored each of her courses; she enjoyed each and every taste of her French dinner. It was her first time dining at a real French restaurant; she even ate her steak-frites with a knife and fork by gathering a few fries with her fork before taking a piece of the juicy, meaty steak. She paid her bill and left a generous tip for the waiter before she left the restaurant. She then went back to the hotel, got into her room, slipped on her pajamas, and went to bed. Early the next morning, Mariana walked on over to the nearby boulangerie (bread shop) and had the perfect light French breakfast of pan du chocolate and a café au lait. She savored her breakfast just like she savored last night’s dinner; she even people watched and thought about what to have for her lunch as she indulged on her pan du chocolate. She took a walk around Paris, shopped, and did some sightseeing after breakfast. While she walked, she then took a look at a magnificent French patisserie (pastry shop). She looked at the window display, which had stacks of macarons, chocolate éclairs, two tall, cone-shaped stacks of croquembouche, and mille-feuilles in various flavors. Not only were her brown eyes seduced by the sights of delicious desserts, her nose had a scentgasm from the alluring scent of butter with hints of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. “If I had all those scents in a bottle and make it into a perfume, I would call it Bakery in A Bottle. I’d be so rich!!!” Mariana thought to herself. After her lovely distraction, Mariana looked at her watch and it was twelve o’clock. She was ready for lunch time, but definitely wanted to come back to the patisserie something very sweet. She then went to this nice café that was a few blocks down from the patisserie. For her lunch, she ordered a croquet monsieur (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich), an avocado farci (avocado stuffed with shrimp and served over salad), and a bottle of Coca-Cola. Mariana took her time and savored her French lunch; she enjoyed each delicious bite of her lunch. She paid for her lunch, tipped the server, and walked back to the patisserie. She was lured by the same seductive scent of butter with hints of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. This time, she went inside the pastry shop. Her eyes lit up as she looked at all the deliciously decadent pastries that filled the bakery windows. There were macarons like the ones by the window (chocolate, vanilla, almond, caramel, strawberry, raspberry, pistachio, etc.), buttery croissants (original, chocolate, almond, etc.), miniature and full-size tarts (apple, chocolate, strawberry, etc.), Napoleons (or mille-feuilles), Saint-Honore cakes, profiteroles (a.k.a. cream puffs), madeleines, caneles, petit fours, and religieuses in both chocolate and mocha. Everything in pastry shop tempted Mariana, even her sweet tooth tingled in delight. She couldn’t decide on which ones to have, let alone how many of them she wanted to try. The whole pastry shop became an orgasm to her mind, nose, eyes, and mouth. She then looked up and saw the baker of these wonderful, drool-inducing, mouth-watering treats. He was tall with dark hair, brown eyes, and skilled hands; he came up to front with flour and powdered sugar on his apron. “Bonjour!” Mariana said to him. “Hello, how may I help you today?” He pleasantly said to her with his perfect English within his French accent. In French, Mariana ordered two chocolate religieuses, a miniature fruit tart, two chocolate croissants, a chocolate-hazelnut mille-feuille, an almond croissant, an apple tart, a chocolate éclair, and a couple of profiteroles. “That is quite a tall order.” He said to her. “Why yes, everything here looked so good, I couldn’t decide which ones I want to try.” Mariana said to him. “Je regrette. Forgive my manners, what’s your name?” He asked as he put her pastries in a pretty box. “Je m’appelle Mariana. Et tu?” Marianna said to him. “My name’s Jean-Baptiste, I’m the owner and baker of this patisserie.” He replied. “Enchante.” Mariana said as she paid for her treats. “I’ve never seen you here before.” Jean-Baptiste said to her. “I’m on vacation here in Paris. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia.” Mariana replied. “I hope you enjoy your visit.” Jean-Baptiste said to Mariana. “Merci.” Mariana replied as she was about to walk out of the pastry shop with her box of treats. “Mademoiselle, how about you enjoy your treats here? There’s a table with chairs outside the shop.” Jean-Baptiste suggested to Marianna. Mariana then sat herself down on the chair, opened her box, and looked at the yummy treats. She decided to try the chocolate-hazelnut mille-feuille first; she took the very first bite and savored it. The chocolate-hazelnut filling made her think of Nutella because she has two or three jars of the delicious yet addictive spread at her Atlanta apartment, that and she would sometimes have it on toast with bananas for her breakfast. The next pastry she had tried was a fruit tart, which had strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and raspberries, for some healthy decadence. As she enjoyed her French treats, Jean-Baptiste stepped outside and approached her tableside. “What do you think of French pastries?” he asked her. “I must say they are very delicious and eye-catching.” Mariana replied with a smile. “I’m so glad you are enjoying them. Do you have any plans for tonight?” Jean-Baptiste said to her as he smiled back. “I’m not sure, to be honest. I’ve yet to think about what to have for dinner tonight.” Mariana responded. “Would you like to have dinner with me at my place tonight? I’ll even cook.” Jean-Baptiste asked her. “Wow, I would love to! I’m staying at a hotel and you can meet me at the lobby.” Mariana happily replied. “Great, I’ll pick you up tonight at eight.” Jean-Baptiste said as he kissed her hand. “See you tonight.” Mariana said as she got up and carried her box of pastries on her way to her hotel room.