I have never felt more warmth in my life than lying in the bed with Nathan's arms around me. I let my eyes slowly open and adjust to the light streaming across the hardwood floor and onto the queen-sized bed that I wouldn't mind sinking into. I watched as a bird on the balcony that only extended a few feet, trotted around, pecking at the ground for the search for food. The bird flew to the railing where another bird was waiting for companionship. They flew off together and the spell that they cast on me in that moment was gone.
"You're awake," the voice from behind me murmurs.
"So are you," I grin to myself. Nathan adjusted his arms around me so I would turn to look at him. I let the sheets wrap me up. I look at his messy hair and allowed my fingers to run through his crazy locks as he smiles at me.
"Tell me something, anything," he looks at me. I search my thoughts that seemed so scrambled when we were in close contact. I blurted out what has been on my mind since we made it to his room.
"That was my first time," I regret it as soon as it was out in the open. "Which you could probably tell, sorry-"
"Thank you," Nathan's eyes were so understanding.
"Why are you saying that?" I am puzzled.
"I used to think sex was just human nature. It was natural. I never knew the meaning of making love. Last night, you gave me the honor of understanding. You're perfection," his voice made it sound flawless.
"You're going to make me blush," I turn onto my bake to face the ceiling as the blood in my body rushed to my cheeks. There was a knock at the door and he sighed in annoyance, kissing my forehead before leaving the bed. He pulled on a pair of jeans, not bothering to cover his chest which was perfectly chiseled.
"Hey, dude, where have you been. It's eleven!" I hear a guy's voice from beyond the door, obviously American.
"Yeah, we have a full day ahead of us," a different American chimed in. I slid off the bed and threw on his t-shirt that I had ripped off so easily only a matter of hours ago. It dangled halfway down my thigh, so I peaked out the bedroom door.
"Not now, mate," Nathan's back was to me as he addressed his two friends. One of them caught my eye and began to grin,
"You have been quite the busy guy, so it's understandable why you needed to sleep in." The friend who saw me, commented. The other one peaked over his shoulder, catching on.
"We better go. We will call on you later, dude."
"Thanks, you guys," Nathan shuts the door behind them quietly and I hug the door frame, slightly embarrassed about his friend finding out. Turning around, he sees me, "You are a vision." I leaned my head against the wood work, smiling. I watched as he approached me.
"This is so cliché," I say.
"Why do you say that, my darling?" He pushes a blonde curl out of my face.
"Finding love in the city of love, making love in plain sight of the tower of love." I gesture to the Eiffel Tower peaking out above the city.
"I think that's what makes it special," he leans down to kiss me. "I'm going to take a shower and then I will treat you to a late breakfast. How does that sound?"
"Perfect," I smile as he pecks me once more before retiring to the bathroom. I go and lie on the sofa to flip through magazines. I couldn't read them since they were all in French, so I just looked at the color photos of exquisite foods and modern furniture. After a while there was another knock at the door. The shower was still running so I got up to grab it. When I opened it I was surprised to find Louis.
"Louis!" My eyes went wide when I saw him awkwardly shuffling in the hallway. He seemed equally surprised to see me.
"Grace!" His eyes scanned the room quickly, obviously looking for someone other than me.
"Why are you here?" I demand.
"Is Nathan here?" He carefully kept searching.
"Why are you here, Louis..." I asked.
"Look, Grace, you are a great girl. I never meant to hurt you-Nathan!" Louis finally spotted Nathan who entered the room behind me, wearing a towel around his waist. Nathan also seemed shocked to find us together. He quickly composed himself and walked over.
"Grace, why don't you go into the bedroom," he told me.
"No, what's going on here!" I demanded.
"Nathan, I'm sorry but I couldn't accept you money. What I did was wrong and she didn't deserve that." Louis handed Nathan an envelope. "The money is in there. I wish you two the best. I'm so sorry," he suddenly rushed off and left Nathan and I standing in the doorway.
"What money? Nathan, how do you know Louis? What is going on?" I questioned him. Nathan closed the door and opened the envelope where I saw a check with a lot of zeros and the wedding ring that was on Louis' hand the night before.
"You paid him to do that, didn't you..." I feel every ounce of muscle turn into liquid. I wanted to just fall on the ground and give up. "You paid him off so I would come crawling back to you. You purposely waited in that one spot last night, so I would think of you. You tricked me..."
"Grace, it's not as bad as you think."
"What else did you do, Nathan? Was this the only time? Or were there other times?" My words came off as strong while I felt tender to the core. There was a long silence before his words cut them like a knife.
"The boy from the coffee shop in London." Nathan mumbled.
"What did you do?"
"I paid him off so he wouldn't come to meet you..."
"...so you would be the hero to mend my broken heart," I finish for him. I had heard enough. I stormed into the other room, grabbing my clothes and putting them on as he begged for me to stay. Once my dress was zipped I turned to face him. "I'm not a toy in a store you can just buy."
"I know you aren't. I just need you to see me as me and not as the judgmental ass of a man you wrote me off to be that first night," he pleaded.
"I do see you now, Nathan." I step up to him, "You act like such a man, but deep down you are a boy. I could never be in love with a foolish, selfish, greedy boy like yourself. Goodbye." I walk out of his room with my head high, but once in the elevator I let the tears begin to fall.