Alex lives in your “typical French apartment” as he titled it. Google it, he really does. His apartment is the style you will see presented in the Google images, but he has two units and has made them into one home. This is where he lives! For at least four to six months out of the year. I’ve learned that he owns a few businesses, but a lot of his money is “old money”. This apartment specifically, being a gift from his grandmother for his 25th birthday to always keep him coming home.
“I rent it out through Air B&B whenever I can. My grandmother doesn’t know obviously, she would kill me.” He gives me a tour of his apartment, and it’s not short of luxurious. High end appliances and furniture, and decorated tastefully, with chandelier’s made of the finest crystal you’ve ever seen. Alex credits it all to the interior decorator his mom brought in to finish the place off. “How long are you staying in Paris for?”
I take a seat at the kitchen table as Alex places some of the boxes, whose contents he still won’t divulge to me, into the fridge. “An indefinite period of time.” I respond with somewhat of a sigh.
“Well, I leave in three weeks, and your aunt seems lovely, but if you did want to stay here,” he spreads his arms like a showcase of the apartment. “It’s all yours.” I look at him in disbelief.
“You would do that for me? You barely know me.” I look at him defiantly. “What if I’m a thief and I steal everything and pawn it off.”
He laughs at this. “That’s okay we’re insured.” Alex walks towards me as his smile fades and is replaced by a more serious look. “You must be safer than renting it out to random strangers on the internet.”
“Fair point.” I take in the apartment and think about how nice it would be to live here, even if it is only for a while.
Alex turns around and walks back to the kitchen, busying himself preparing lunch. “Plus, it would be nice to know that I can find you, that is, if I needed or wanted too.”
I look at him with a skeptical look, “What do you mean, ‘you can find me’?”
He stops what he’s doing and looks at me, really looks at me. “You’re running from something, that I know. I enjoy your companionship and I feel that if I am to leave the country, you might leave it as well, and then I’d never know where my … my friend was.”
There’s something about the way he says friend that makes me think he means it to be more than a friend, but I don’t push it, I can’t, not now. I really don’t know how to feel at all about what he said because I’m shocked that he could care this much at all so fast.
“I’m not planning on going anywhere right now Alex because I just, I have no plan.” I say with a shrug. “You still have three more weeks. If I say I’ll think about staying here, will you accept that?”
He looks at me for a long moment and then says, “Fine, if you’re actually going to be thinking about it and you haven’t already made up your mind.”
I think he may actually be getting to know me on the inside, because that is exactly what I intended to do, make up my mind to not stay here. But after all his kindness, the least I can do is stay true to my word. “I actually mean it, I will think about your offer.”
He stares at me for a second longer and then nods, turning back around to continue busying himself with making lunch.
In an effort to lighten the mood, I redirect the questioning back to the mystery boxes. “So are you going to tell me what is in the mystery boxes or at least how you jumped the line to get to them?”
Alex looks at me with a slight smile and then sighs. “I will tell you that my last name is Hermé. That is how I jumped the line.”
I sit there in awe for two reasons. One, I didn’t even realize I didn’t know his last name until now. And two, this man is the heir of a pastry shop that has lines for days for some gorgeous ass pastries. “So that’s what you meant by ‘old money’ huh?”
He chuckles to himself, “Yes, that’s some of the old money.”
Some. Wow. How rich is this guy? All I say is, “Interesting.”
I take another look at the apartment, and for a second, just a second, let myself imagine what it would be like living here even if it’s only temporarily. And then, without meaning too, I think what life would have been like if I had been with Alex instead of my ex. I watch him as he moves around the kitchen with ease, cooking for me. Sadness washes over me when I realize, no man that I was seeing has ever cooked for me, pampered me in the way that Alex has pampered me in the last 5 days. And I wonder to myself if I have been selling myself short this entire time.