The rest of the week was spent taking long walks on the beach, fingers linked together, sleeping late and waking up in each other's arms, whispering words of love in each other's ears but most of all rediscovering each other. On Saturday Laurence was in the kitchen pouring herself a glass of orange juice when Elizabeth walked in, carrying her suitcase.
"Well, hello," said Elizabeth, jokingly, smiling at Laurence's embarrassment to be caught wearing only a nightshirt. "You are?" asked Elizabeth, putting her luggage down and walking toward Laurence with her hand extended.
"Laurence…Laurence Glairon," answered Laurence, shaking Elizabeth's hand.
"Elizabeth Jones," said Elizabeth smiling. "Is Chloe here?"
"Yes, she is still sleeping," answered Laurence. "I'll go wake her up, if you want."
"Sure, it's past 9 o'clock…I'm sure she won't mind."
Laurence nodded and left. She hurried to the bedroom and lightly shook Chloe awake. "Chloe." Chloe mumbled and turned around grabbing Laurence's pillow and burying her face in it. "Sweetheart, your mom just walked in."
Chloe sat up suddenly and Laurence had barely time to jump out of the way. "What? You're kidding, right?"
"Sorry, but no."
"Crap," said Chloe, getting up and grabbing her robe. "I didn't think she'd come home before tomorrow."
"Slow down. No need to panic, she didn't catch us in the same bed or anything."
Chloe stopped and looked at Laurence. "Sorry…I…my mom and I aren't very close, and until today she had never even heard your name…sorry."
Laurence swallowed the information and grabbed Chloe's hand, quickly bringing it to her lips. "It's okay. She doesn't have to know if you don't want her to."
"No, I want her to. Especially since I'm moving back to France with you."
"What?" asked Laurence, not believing what she heard. They had not spoken about the issue since Laurence told Chloe to think about it. "When…when did you decide?"
"Last night," answered Chloe, briefly kissing Laurence. "Come on, she is going to wonder what's taking so long."
"Wait, one quick question. What made you change your mind?"
Chloe stopped before opening the door, and turned to face Laurence. "You." Laurence shook her head not understanding. "You fell asleep before me and I watched you for a while. I tried to imagine what it would be like to let you go once more, and every time I got a knot in my stomach. So, if the offer still stands, I’d like to take you up on it," she smiled.
Laurence stepped closer to Chloe, took hold of her face, and kissed her, hoping to convey her answer in this one kiss.
"I was hoping you'd see it my way," joked Chloe after Laurence broke the kiss.
"Come on, your mom must be really wondering," said Laurence, opening the door.
"Hi mom," said Chloe, entering the kitchen followed by Laurence.
Elizabeth was drinking a cup of coffee. "Good morning," she smiled at her daughter.
"I…I'll go shower and get ready for the airport," said Laurence, finding an excuse to get out.
"Okay," said Chloe, lightly brushing Laurence's shoulders. "I wasn't expecting you home before tomorrow," she told her mom while sitting at the kitchen table. "How was Korea?"
"Korea was fine. It was just a false alarm, nothing major happened. Enough about me…now, tell me about Laurence?"
Chloe smiled at her mother. Elizabeth had always been one to ask direct questions. "What do you want to know?"
"Who is she?"
Chloe sighed. "She is the daughter of the family I stayed with in France."
Elizabeth finished her cup and got up to put it in the sink. "I see… what brings her here?"
"She heard I was alone here, and came to surprise me."
"That's simple," joked Elizabeth.
"Well, yeah really. That's the way Laurence is, she thinks of something and does it…not matter what the consequences are." Chloe fixed herself a bowl of cereal and opened the fridge to look for the milk.
"How long have you two been involved?"
Chloe just about dropped her bowl at her mother's bluntness. She was going to argue, but instead smiled. "Over a year. How did you know?"
"First of all, she was wearing almost nothing when I walked in… she looked like a deer caught in headlights," Elizabeth laughed. "You should have seen her…second of all, she obviously didn't sleep on the couch, since there were no blankets there, and she didn't sleep in my bed since things are still the way I left them." Chloe smiled at her mother's deduction. "Oh…and since your bed is a single, I figure you better be really friendly to the person who spends the night with you in such a tiny space."
"I'm busted then," said Chloe, smiling. She was pleased with her mother's reaction.
"Yes, you are. Now tell me more. How did you guys meet? "
Chloe told her mother briefly about their history, leaving Jean's murder out. "You really have no problems with it," asked Chloe once she finished her story.
Elizabeth shook her head. "No, I don't. As long as you're happy, then it's fine by me, and you are happy, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am," answered Chloe, pleased at how true this statement rang.
"Does you dad know?"
"Yes, he came over last January, and I told him."
"I bet he wasn't too happy about it."
Chloe laughed at the memory. "No, he wasn't, but he got over it. Laurence can charm anyone."
"I bet she can," Elizabeth looked up." Talking about her, here she is."
Chloe turned around and smiled at Laurence. Her wet hair had been brushed and hung around her shoulders, she wore a blue navy long sleeved shirt, enhancing the blue of her eyes, and a pair of faded blue jeans to complete her outfit. She smiled at the two women looking at her and sat at the table.
"I'll go get ready," said Chloe, getting up. "We probably need to leave around 1 to get you to the airport on time. Your plane is at 3, right?"
"3:30," answered Laurence.
"Even better, so there is no rush," she smiled and winked playfully at Laurence before exiting the kitchen and leaving Laurence and her mother alone.
Elizabeth watched Laurence from the corner of her eye as she poured herself another cup of coffee. She smiled to herself when she saw how lovingly Laurence looked at her daughter. She sure is a beautiful girl, thought Elizabeth.
Laurence sat at the table, trying to think of something to talk about. After racking her brain for a few moments, she realized that Elizabeth and her had something in common beside Chloe, and it was journalism. "Chloe told me your are a news reporter," said Laurence.
"Yes, I worked for a station in LA. I'm not sure if I like it here yet."
"You used to be in D.C. right?
"Yes, until a few months ago. You have a perfect English."
"Thanks. My mother was American."
"Oh, where was she from?"
"I'm not too sure, she moved to France when she was very young though."
"Interesting," answered Elizabeth, growing intrigued by this young woman. "What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a reporter for a newspaper in Paris."
"So, I guess you and I are colleagues."
"Sort of," answered Laurence. "You do TV, I do print," she continued while taking a sip of the glass of orange juice she had left on the table earlier.
Elizabeth smiled. "Chloe seems to very attached to you." Laurence looked into Elizabeth's smiling eyes, trying to figure out how much Chloe had told her. "I wasn't born yesterday Laurence. I know."
Laurence played with her glass, trying to find something to say after Elizabeth's statement. " I care about her very much too," she said after a few minutes of silence.
Elizabeth nodded. "I believe you. So, what's your specialty?"
"In what?" asked Laurence, not understanding the question.
"Do you do news or entertainment or sports or something else? I do world news. I find the world fascinating."
Laurence smiled at Elizabeth's chatty tone and her ability to change the topic of conversation so easily. "I do mostly news, but I'd love to write for entertainment."
"That must be why you and Chloe get along so well. She loves theater."
"Yes, I know," answered Laurence, surprised that Elizabeth knew this secret part of her daughter.
Elizabeth finished her cup of coffee, and got up. "I should really unpack. I'd love to take both of you out for lunch before you have to go to the airport."
"Sure," answered Laurence, finding a liking in Elizabeth.
Elizabeth looked at her watch. "Okay, it's almost 10. What about we get going in an hour?"
"Great." Elizabeth left a stunned Laurence behind her.
"So, what happened?" asked Chloe as she stepped in the kitchen.
"You know that wasn't very nice," said Laurence playfully.
"Don't play innocent. You know what I'm talking about," smiled Laurence teasingly. She got up and walked slowly toward Chloe. She pushed her against the wall, and stared at her, her eyes playful and loving. "You leaving me in here alone with your mother, when you knew she was going to question me."
Chloe looked at Laurence feigning to be offended. "What are you insinuating?" Her attempt to fool Laurence was unsuccessful, and Laurence started to laugh. Her warm laugh reverberated through the room.
"Maybe you should reconsider going into theatre…your performance wasn't really convincing." She playfully nipped at Chloe's jawbone.
Chloe turned her head toward Laurence's ear and slowly blew in it. As Laurence shivered slightly Chloe whispered. "Remember…I told you I'd get my revenge for you getting me soaked at the beach." She wiggled herself out of Laurence's arms and took off running into the living room.
"You little…" Laurence took off right behind her. As she was getting ready to reach her, Chloe started circling around the couch. After chasing each other for a few moments, Chloe grabbed one of the cushions and threw it at Laurence.
"Oh, you want a pillow fight, missy," laughed Laurence. She grabbed more pillows from the couch and started hitting Chloe with them. In a few minutes, the family room looked like a war field, pillows were thrown all over the place and the coffee table had been moved sideways in an attempt by Laurence to catch Chloe.
"Truce," said Chloe, laughing and holding her sides.
Laurence stopped and tried to catch her breath. Tears were rolling down her face from laughter. "Man, I don't think I've laughed that hard in ages…thanks," she said with a tender smile to Chloe.
Chloe reciprocated the smile and reached for Laurence's hand, bringing Laurence to her with a pull. As she was getting ready to kiss her, Elizabeth stepped in, making them jump to a more proper distance.
"What happened here?" Elizabeth took a look around the room and at Chloe and Laurence's disheveled hair. "You can't be left alone for a minute," she laughed. "Okay, I'm almost ready. Why don't you guys straighten up the room while I finish up." She gently scolded her finger at them and turned around to go back to her room.
Chloe picked up the cushions with Laurence's help and slumped on the couch. Laurence sat next to her. "Did you really mean what you said earlier?" she asked suddenly.
"About moving back with you?" Laurence nodded. Chloe took hold of Laurence's hands and brought them to her lips, lightly kissed the knuckles and released them. "Yes, I did."
A bright smile illuminated Laurence's face. "I promise you to try my hardest to make you happy."
Chloe smiled. "Lo, you make me happy…just don't shut me out. It seems to always be the cause of our problems. Remember what I told you a long time ago. I want to know what's happening in this thick head of yours. I meant it."
"I'll do my best," said Laurence sincerely.
"Then it's what matters." Chloe kissed Laurence, briefly on the lips as if to seal a pact.
"I also have been thinking… I want to be with you, and if being with you means that I have to move to this country with Clément then just say so, because I'll pack in a minute."
"I thought you didn't want to take Clément away from his roots."
"I don't, but he is young…and with both our love, he should adapt." Laurence looked sincerely into Chloe's eyes. "I just want you to be happy. I don't want you to wake up twenty years from now, and realize that you're not where you want to be. We have nothing left in France, your family is here…."
Chloe stopped Laurence by putting a finger on her mouth. "Lo…I really want to move back with you. I like France…I don't care anymore about losing another year of study. You're right, I hate what I'm studying…maybe I can get a degree there, and then we can come back here. We anyway might have to because I can't have a student visa forever. Let's just see what happens?"
"It’s a deal then…you get a degree in France, and we move back here."
Chloe smiled and gently caressed Laurence's face. "Let's just see what happens, okay?" repeated Chloe.
Laurence nodded, understanding Chloe's reluctance to make any long term plans. I haven't reallybeen that reliable so far, she thought. "I'll go get my suitcase, your mom should be out in a minute." She kissed Chloe lightly on the lips and got up. "Chloe, do you think your dad is going to be all right with you moving back home with me?" asked Laurence, uncertainty suddenly seizing her.
"It's not his choice to make…don't worry about it," she winked lovingly at Laurence. "Go get your luggage, come on," she said, waving Laurence away. Laurence smiled and left the room.
Go to chapter VII
copyright (c) 2000 Malaurie Barber
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