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I Loved Paris
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"I LOVED PARIS"

                   

"Hey! What do you think you're doing?"

The stranger tightened his hold on Jane as she struggled to flee. She was ready to scream when he whispered, "Forgive me." He swept Jane in his arms and kissed her.

"Where'd he go?" Three heavily built men skidded to a stop. "He came this way!" The shortest one saw the couple kissing and growled. "Bah! Lovers! They're all over the nooks and crannies of the Eiffel Tower."

Somebody said, "You're jealous Nick. When was the last time you kissed someone?"

"Aw, shut up." Footsteps faded as someone whistled La Vie En Rose badly.

Jane pulled away in consternation. "Explain to me what just happened Mister,"

"All morning the Grungees and I have been filming adverts. It's for Cola Parisienne. Are you French?" He stared at the lips he just kissed.

Jane glared. "You grab me from nowhere, kiss me forcefully, now you want this conversation? You're crazy!"

"Self-preservation Madamoiselle. Please forgive me." "You were saying something about an advert. What's that?" Her tour bus was due to leave and she regretted starting the conversation.

"In America you call it commercials." He smiled a smile reminiscent of someone familiar. "In England we call them adverts - advertisements." He explained while checking passers-by carefully.

Something familiar in his voice jogged Jane's memory. "You toured America last summer with your lead singer Grunge Tyler! You were on TV last night...your'e...you're him!" Jane's eyes were like saucers; Grunge Tyler's music is admired worldwide.

"Shhh, quiet!" He whispered. I've completed twenty takes of that advert. They were damn good but perfectionist directors never know when to stop. I need rest! I need sleep!"

Seeing wide-eyed schoolchildren parade by, she whispered, "You've made this the best vacation ever! This is great! How many people can say they were mugged by Grunge Tyler?" She smiled broadly.

Tyler liked this girl. He would also like to get away quickly before anyone catches up with him. A sudden idea popped into his head. "Jane Farmer?", Tyler read her nametag, "if you smuggle me into your bus I'll be a friend forever."

"Weston's my last name and Farmer, well, that's what I am." She smiled shyly.

"A farmer? I've never met one before...much less a pretty one." He grinned.

"Thanks. You know, it's easy to smuggle you to the bus but how are we gonna keep your identity safe from nosy tourists?"

"Give me your jacket and baseball cap and I promise I'll look different."

Jane ran away from home once when she was eight and she understood why Grunge Tyler needed to get away. "I'm in." She held her palm high and Tyler slapped it with a high five.

Donning Jane's jacket and wiping off his stage make-up he tucked his shaggy hair under the baseball cap. "How do I look?" He struck a pose.

"Like a NERD!" Jane laughed handing him her sunglasses and rucksack, completing the disguise. "It works! Let's try it on the tourists!" Jane said excitedly. Bracing themselves and feeling mischievous they ploughed through the crowds.

Across the main exits the tour guide waved a red umbrella. "To finish my talk, Eiffel Tower is at the river end of the Champs-de-Mars and was built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel who died in 1923. The tower weighs over 7000 tonnes..." The guide continued as Tyler listened while enjoying his new anonymity. "This is good." He whispered. "We've performed many concerts here in Paris but never had time for this...it's brilliant!" A lady shushed Tyler and he comically pursed his lips making Jane giggle.

The group poured into the bus and no one asked about Tyler. The tour was almost finished and the Guide decided not to fuss about him. It astounded Jane that nobody recognised the Megastar at all.

Eagerly taking the window seat Tyler waved to the Eiffel Tower. "Adieu Grungees, I'll see you later, maybe never!" His two year tour culminated with the Cola Parisienne advert today and had he indulged the director's whims Grunge Tyler might have ended up in a staitjacket. Exhausted but happy he thanked the heavens for Jane who kept busy thinking of a newsheadline for CNN: The man Madonna and Drew were fighting about is with Jane Weston who couldn't afford his Candlestick Park Concert in San Francisco last year! Jane stifled a laugh.

They crossed the Pont d'lena to Jardins du Trocadero stopping by the Palais de Chaillot for photographs; continuing on the Avenue de la New York towards the Avenue des Champs-Elysee. As they neared the magnificent attraction Tyler said, "I starred in a movie where a scene took place right here but filmed entirely at Elstree Studios in England." Tyler and Jane stared reverently at the majestic Arc de Triomphe, happy in each other's company.

"You're an exceptional girl Miss Weston, thanks so much for your help. Here's your jacket and oh, in case you need concert tickets just call my manager." Jane beamed.

"His card is in my wallet. Blimey...where is it?" Tyler searched his pockets. no wallet. His imploring eyes met Jane's. "Guess you're stuck with me tonight. If I phone now they'll come after me. Oh dear, this is embarrassing." Tyler felt annoyed being a nuisance.

Never known to shrink from trials, Jane tackled the problem with aplomb. The youngest of eight siblings, she took care of her parents and the farm long before the others left home. Registering Tyler under her name she handed him his key and fifty dollars. "It's a loan." She prayed that this man better be Grunge Tyler.

"I'll pay you soon as I get hold of my manager. Thanks again." He smiled wanly and took the elevator while Jane finished transactions at the desk.

Jane slept late next morning rather than go shopping with the group. Stretching lazily in bed, she heard a knock on the door. Room Service brought a silver tray of buttery croissants, brioche, muffins, slices of brie, home-made preserves and cafe latte'. In a crystal vase a single red rose with a note saying: Hello Farmer, Let's plough in an hour, my tractor awaits! The Nerd.

They cruised the Boulevard Pheripherique in a white stretch limousine when Tyler handed Jane five hundred dollars to cover his loan. He found the wallet in his waistcoat that morning and promptly took care of finances. His manager also received the message: Grunge will be in touch.

They painted the town red and even managed to shop for Tyler's change of clothes. On Rue Saint Martin They dined on Benoit's cod in cream followed by after-dinner drinks aboard the Baton Mouche chattering like children on a field trip. Jane cancelled her organised excursions and toured with Tyler instead.

Next day they visited Versailles and studied the beauty of the palace. They had tea at La Vieux Chęne and dinner at Lucas-Carton on Place de la Madeleine. Nothing was good enough for Jane whom Tyler found refreshingly guileless; if Tyler scrubbed floors for a living it wouldn't have mattered to Jane.

On his final day in Paris they celebrated with a bottle of Dom at the Brasseire when Tyler said, "You know, I haven't had so much fun since my parents took me to Butlin's at Minehead. I turned seven that day and my Mum promised to take me to France. Do you know what she said about Paris? She said it weaves a spell because Paris is for lovers. I thought it was rubbish until now."

"What do you mean?" Jane's heart raced.

"That we belong together. Can't you see we're in love? Oh Jane, it can be heavenly for us."

Jane raised her loving eyes to meet his. "Tyler, you've given me a glimpse of a world I never knew existed and I can't think of anyone else I'd like to spend my life with; but I live in another world with commitments, to family...our farm business, you know."

"So you will consider my proposal?" His eyes shining with happiness. He reached for her hand.

"Yes." Shyly she looked at her hand in his.

 

Jane watched the television coverage of Grunge Tyler's visit. Has it been a year since Paris?

Ryan, Ivan and Harriet swooned each time Tyler's name was mentioned while teasing their Aunt about the framed photograph of the star by her bedside.

"Auntie, I'll tell him you adore him." Ryan who was twelve fluttered his eyes.

"No, no, no," six - year - old Harriet chirped, "we'll kidnap him!"

Ivan, the quietest one said, "Fat chance meeting him!" The Hollywood Walk of Fame where the Megastar is imprinting his hands and feet at that moment seemed distant as the moon to the children.

"Mr. Tyler, where would you like to do your next concert?" A reporter asked. Tyler looked directly to the camera into Jane's heart.

"Salinas."

The kids cheered.

"What's in Salinas?" Someone sniggered.

A hush fell when Tyler spoke "listen Jane the offer still stands." He then turned to the reporters saying, "That's all for today." The cameras followed Tyler leaving the scene with his three bodyguards.

Jane leaned back and closed her eyes hearing Tyler say, Paris is for lovers. When she opened her eyes three little faces were staring at her in disbelief.

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