“I bought the tickets Maureen, are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes, I can understand how it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you Joey but they were the only parents I knew. I mean, I grew up with mine until I was three but as even they will admit they were too busy trying to start their careers to really be with us. That was my nannys whole reason for kidnapping me. She figured why not since she was raising me anyway and I was young enough to forget. I just..I need to hear more about it. It’s been explained to me I know but…they were good parents Joey and while I hate them for what they did it’s hard because I loved them so much for so long. All I want to do is have one meeting with them to talk. After that I just want you to see where I grew up. I want you to experience the things I did. I think it will be fun. Paris is a gorgeous place”
“Don’t think i don’t understand, I do. You grew up believing they were your parents. I’m just worried about you talking to them”
“Don’t be, I just need to talk straight to them about some things”
“Ok baby, our flight leaves tomorrow evening.”
“lets see my real family before we go. I told them a few days ago where i was going and why”
“Can i ask you somthing without you getting upset?”
“you’re sure this has nothing to do with me asking to marry you? You’ve been weird since you rejected my proposal” Maureen sighed “I just think I need to work out the screwed up lie of a childhood I had before i can commit to marrying you. I love you and as I said then I really dont want you to feel like me saying no means I dont love you. I guess this sort of does. Maybe this trip has everything to do with it.” Joey kissed Maureens cheek “I know you love me Maureen. That’s why i will wait as long as you need me to wait. I wont ask again unless you tell me you’re ready for the question. Granted no wasn’t what i wanted to hear but it didn’t make me doubt your love for me. I could see how bad you felt for saying no. Not that I’m a shrink but maybe it will help to have a real conversation with your kidnappers. Hell I’ll try anything if it’ll get you closer to wanting to marry me”
“I really am sorry” Joey took Maureens hand “I wouldn’t have wanted you to say yes just to make me happy. Marriage isn’t somthing you’re ready for and I’m glad you were honest. Tomorrow night we’ll be on the plane to Paris and if I’m a lucky man you’ll be ready to marry me when we’re heading back home”
She gave him a small smile and stroked her cheek then kissed her. His warmth and love helped ease the guilt a little. They left their apartment and climbed into Joey’s car and he slipped his fingers between hers after he had pulled onto the street. Her parents were happy to see them and even Hunter was over for dinner. Jezelle made them both plates and they sat down at the table. “All packed and ready to go?” Cedric asked then took a bite of his wife’s spaghetti.
“Are you nervous?”
“Yeah, more than a little.”
“Well if they give you any trouble just call me and I’ll fly to France and give them a piece of my mind.” Hunter said, absolutely serious.
“I’ll be fine frere, Joey will be there.”
“Still, I’d fly there in a heartbeat.”
Maureen smiled. “I know, that’s what makes you such a great brother.”
“When’s your flight?”
“Are you two staying over here then since you’re packed? I’m staying” Maureen looked at Joey “sure, we didn’t pack our cellphone chargers yet so we’ll have to swing by our place to pick those up tomorrow but that still gives us most of the day here.”
“why don’t you take my charger? Your phones use the same one as mine and I always leave one here”
“that would be awesome” Hunter smiled “good, now you can hangout longer. I know you’ll be seeing them in a safe area since they are locked up but I can’t help but worry.”
“I’ll try to email you guys every night and I promise to give you guys a call the day I actually talk to them”
“You didn’t say how long you two would be staying there” Jezelle pointed out and Maureen answered “we’ll play it by ear. Joey has plenty of vacation time and theres a lot I want to show him. If it wouldn’t be somthing painful for you three maybe we can go for a week or two in the summer so I can show you guys what I did growing up aswell” Jezelle smiled at her daughter “I’d love that honey” They finished their dinner then Hunter and Maureen helped their mother clean up while Joey and Cedric went to pick out a movie for everyone to watch.
They decided on a Harry Potter marathon that they would finish up tomorrow if they couldn’t stay awake long enough tonight. They needed to watch something they knew they would all enjoy to keep the mood light and relaxed. Joey could see in Cedric and Jezelles faces it was hard on them Maureen was going to go see her kidnappers.
Maureen fell asleep halfway through Chamber of Secrets, her head resting on Joey’s shoulder. He smiled and whispered, “I’m going to take her upstairs, she’s had a long day.”
“Okay hun, we’ll see you in the morning.” Jazelle replied. “I’ll even make her favorite breakfast.”
Joey shifted slowly and lifted her off the couch then carried her upstairs to her old room. He laid her slowly down and undressed her then himself and climbed in next to her. He wrapped his arms around her and the minute he went to pull her into him she jerked awake. “Joey?”
“I can’t believe I fell asleep.”
“It’s okay, everyone understands.”
She felt incredibly sad and snuggled in close. “Do you think mom and dad are upset with me?”
“No, why would they be?”
“Because I’m going to see the people who took me.”
“I think they just don’t like the situation.” He grabbed her chin and tipped her head back. “Mon amour, s’il vous plaît ne soyez pas triste, ça me brise le coeur.”
She couldn’t help but feel that familiar shiver of desire move up her spine when he spoke to her in French. When they were together like this, his voice took on a different tone. “I love you so much Joey.”
He kissed her forehead then over her eyes and down to her lips. “I love you too baby, now rest, you need it.”
“You make it hard to rest when you speak french to me.” he smiled “Je sais que ma douce. Pourquoi pensez-vous que je l’utilise beaucoup quand nous sommes seuls? Bien qu’il m’a échappé alors. Le français est plus à l’aise pour parler. C’était votre première langue et je pense que c’est beau. Il est presque aussi belle que vous êtes incroyable.” Her teeth now exposed in her smile “when we get to our room tomorrow night you’ll have to speak more french for me” Joey kissed Maureen gently “I will, for now lets sleep”
Maureen relaxed in his arms as he held her close and let herself fade. Joey drifted to sleep deeply hoping Maureen would marry him when they got back. As he told her things were the same even though they weren’t married but it was somthing he wanted tremendously and would long for until the day she finally said yes to him. In the morning Jazelles cooking woke them at nearly the same time, that delicious smell creeping through the house.
“Shower?” Maureen asked. Joey kissed her forehead “let me get our bag and we’ll take a quick one. Smells like breakfast is almost ready” Joey ran down and out to the car, grabbing their suitcase and going back to Maureen. Their shower was just long enough to get clean then they tugged clothes on to meet her family at the breakfast table. “morning” Maureen said and they all returned it. Jazelle made Maureen and Joey a plate then asked “we’re continuing our marathon right?”
“Of course, sorry i was so tired” Maureen answered after swallowing. “You were fine honey. It was cute to see Joey carry you off. You two are always so sweet together.”
“I’m really lucky” Maureen said with a glance of adoration to Joey. The words went straight to his heart as he enjoyed his food.
After breakfast they all sat down and started Chamber of Secrets where Maureen had fallen asleep. Today she sat curled close to Joey, his arm around her shoulders. Every now and then he would press a kiss to her forehead so she knew just how much he loved her. They popped in the next movie after the credits started rolling and Hunter decided they should play board games while they watched movies to make their time together more enjoyable. When they all agreed he jumped up and ran upstairs, pulling all the boxes out of the hall closet and coming back down. Joey helped Cedric move the coffee table to the center of the room and they all tossed sofa cushions on the floor and sat down.
They started out with Clue which was one of Maureen’s favorites. They played it for awhile and then switched to Munchkin. Joey and hunter were incredibly good at it and often wound up staring daggers at each other. It made everyone else laugh and Maureen kissed Joey’s cheek, making him smile warmly. Joey wound up winning just as the movie ended and Jazelle put the next one in them got up to make them something to snack on. “I’ll help you mom.” Maureen said and kissed Joey again before getting up.
Even though Joey was probably right about her parents Maureen still had to ask when they were in the kitchen. “mom”
“you and dad aren’t mad at me for wanting to talk to them right?” Jezelle hugged Maureen “of course not. I guess we seem tense but the situation is just hard. I hate what they did is still bothering you so much and we hate we lost your whole childhood. By the time you came back you were a woman. We feel lucky to finally have you back now but its a tough thought thinking of you there with them. I promise we aren’t upset that you need to talk with them”
“I just needed to be sure. I love you two so much. I wish they hadn’t done what they did so I could have grown up here with you two”
“We love you so much Maureen”
“and I love you”
“I really want to go to Paris with you somtime and see what all you did growing up”
“I can’t wait to take you guys” Feeling a million times better Maureen helped her mother prepare a snack then helped Jazelle take everything into the living room “drinks?’ Maureen asked. “tea please” Joey said then Hunter agreed “yeah tea”
“I’ll just have water” her father said then the girls went back to the kitchen. When drinks were all in hand they resumed their family day, Maureen soaking up the love that warmed this household before she dealt with her kidnappers. When it came time to leave Hunter handed Joey the charger and they all exchanged long goodbyes “I’ll keep you guys updated”
“let us know you made it to your hotel safe” Cedric said and Maureen smiled ‘I will, Joey wont let me forget” Maureen took a deep breath in and out as she got into the car with her boyfriend “You ready?” he asked. “as ready as I can be to really close that chapter of my life” Getting on the plane and the flight itself went smoothly. They spent their time listening to music while Maureen laid her head on Joeys shoulder. She was half enjoying him and half thinking of everything she wanted to say to those people and ask them. She wanted to be fully done with them after this. They had been kind and wonderful people to her but that didn’t change the fact they robbed her of her family and Joey. Because of them she may have never found her soulmate.
When the plane finally landed and they were allowed to get off, they quickly retrieved their baggage and hurried out front to hail a cab. One pulled over and they loaded their things into the trunk. Maureen told the driver where they wanted to go then they just relaxed in the back seat. “You made sure to call the prison they’re in right?” Joey asked as he took her hand.
“Yeah, they said they remembered me from the news and could understand why I’d want closure. I asked them to tell my kidnappers I would be around some time.”
“Just remember there’s no rush.”
“I know and now that we’re here I feel even more nervous.”
He kissed her cheek, causing her cheeks to warm and a smile to spread across her face. “Know that I’ll be with you every step of the way, mon amour.”
“Je t’aime Joe Joe.”
“Je t’aime mon chéri” Upon arriving at their hotel they got the keys to their reserved room and headed up with their luggage. They set it down and Joey hugged Maureen “Its lunch time baby, want to order room service and relax a bit from the ride.”
“It doesnt feel like 11”
“It wont take us long to adjust to the six hour difference”
‘sure, lets order somthing. Now that I’m here I’m not sure I’m ready. We’ll go talk to them tomorrow”
“Only if you’re ready then. We can stay as long as you need” she smiled and kissed his neck. “want me to order?”
“Hey, I practice my french all the time. I can do it”
“You practice it mostly romantically” he smiled roguishly, his eyes taking on that seductive nature “Seducing you is my favorite way to use French but we speak it more at home than you realize. It rolls so naturally off your tongue and I love to hear it. You don’t notice because it’s your first language but English rarely fills our home. After we eat though my sweet I plan to use French to charm every bit of clothes off your body” Maureen now resembled a cherry “Hurry and order then” He smiled at her again before finding the menu.
They picked what they wanted then Joey ordered in such perfect French you’d think he was born there if his american accent didn’t linger just a smidge in his words. “You really are great at French” she said praisingly. “perks of being a fast learner and amazing motivation” He sighed “you are so beautiful Maureen”
“and you’re so handsome”
“I’m a nerd”
“My nerd, my incredibly sexy nerd” He smiled with a light chuckle. They playfully talked until their food came. “Oh the room service food is so much better here than in America. So much is better here”
“You miss it?” She could tell by the look in his eyes he meant did she want to live here again so she answered ‘I want to visit this place. Never live here again. I want to be in the states with my family. I lived here without them far too long. Besides, theres still so much there I’ve never experienced.”
“I’ll take you anywhere Maureen, as long as I get to be with you”
“I think thats the definition of taking somone somewhere, you kind of have to be there” he laughed “moment ruiner” she giggled happily “well when your romantic words don’t make sense” Laughter filled their room as they finished their food then Joey pushed it in the hall before calling room service again to take it back.”Maintenant, mon doux, il est temps pour vos vêtements à tomber de votre corps”
Her heart was already thumping as he crossed from the door to the bed she was still sitting on. He framed her face with his hands and let his tongue push gently into her mouth. Slowly their tongues explored eachother until Joey pulled back then slid his cheek against hers to whisper just by her ear “Je veux faire l’amour avec vous jusqu’à ce que vous haletez pour moi et secouez de l’extase je fais en vous” Joey trailed kisses down her shoulder.
He pushed her gently back, his lips trailing over her collar bone as he slowly undressed her. His hands were everywhere, cupping her breasts, sliding down her sides and over her hips to her thighs. His hands moved around to her inner thighs, pushing them apart. He licked from her knee to the apex of her thighs, his tongue sliding over and then in her, finding her spot and lapping at it until she was on the verge of tears. “Joey, I can’t…”
His mouth moved up, his tongue dipping into her belly button so she moaned and shivered. His mouth was at her breasts, his tongue flicking her already hard nipples, his teeth biting down so her back arched off the bed. “Vous etes si doux, votre gout de bonbon.” He whispered, making her skin flush.
He pulled at his clothes, tossing them to the side then pulling her to the top of the bed. His hips rested between her thighs and he moaned at the feel of her pressed against him. His lips found hers, his tongue sliding over her lips and into her mouth to trace her teeth. “Se j’ai besoin de vous, s’il vous plait.” He thrust into her and her loud cry filled the room as an orgasm rocked her body.
“Ma belle Maureen, Je t’aime, je t’adore.” He whispered as he slid in and out of her heat, his words exciting her beyond reason. Her fingers gripped his shoulders, her legs tightening around his waist as her inner warmth clenched around his shaft. “Maureen, mon amour, ma vie.” He leaned back, taking her with him so she was in his lap. He moaned in delight as her insides danced around him again and he thrust harder, making her throw her head back so he could get at her neck. “Je t’aime, Je t’aime.” He whispered against her neck, his hands sliding up her back to grip her shoulders. Their voices mingled together as they both found their release and pressed their foreheads together, panting, their hearts beating quickly in their chests.
“I love you Joey.”
He smiled and kissed her lips. “And I you my beautiful French goddess, never forget it.”
“I should message my parents to let them know we’re here”
“I’ll grab the laptop” Joey said, giving her one more kiss before slowly walking to their bag and setting up their computer. He handed it to Maureen and she sent her parents and brother a group message on Facebook before posting a status so her friends would know. She knew her friends who lived here would be excited. They had all been dieing to meet Joey in person. Being she wasn’t allowed to use computers up until returning to the states she had to ask Joey how to tag her friends in the status. “I’m sorry, you’ve already told me this” she said embarrassed. He chuckled “You’re adorable honey. You just didn’t grow up with computers and you barely use them now. I’m surprised you remembered how to group message on Facebook”
“I’m trying to learn it all”
“You will and you know I don’t mind helping you” Joey shut the laptop down then said “Lets cuddle for awhile then walk around”
“sounds good to me” Joey set an alarm incase they fell asleep then wrapped his arms around Maureen in the blankets. “these are so soft”
“This is a really nice hotel. You didn’t have to book us here”
“I want this to be a nice trip. Talking to your kidnappers is going to be stressful. This gives us a nice place to unwind in.”
“stressful for you too?”
“They took you from me and if I hadn’t spent all my time hunting you I would have had to live my whole life without you and that is just somthing I can’t even think about Maureen. They are monsters no matter their excuse for taking you. I know I’m going to see their faces and want to punch them. I wont though because that will end our visit and you need to talk to them for closure”
“Thank you Joey, for that and for not being angry I turned you down. I feel so horrible about it…I should have said yes”
“We’ve talked about this Maureen. It’s okay. I have the ring and will hold onto it until you’ll marry me”
“I hurt your feelings though Joey”
“I can’t lie and say your answer didn’t make me sad honey but it’s fine, I promise. Just worry about talking to Jackie and Christophe. Let me enjoy holding you without all this sad talk. I could never be angry at you for any reason. I love you and I love you even if you never decide to marry me” she pulled him closer and buried her face in his chest “You’re so amazing”
“Not as amazing as you, it’s a joy having you in my arms. I was so lost without you.” He kissed her forehead and let his fingers drift lazily up and down her arm. He loved how soft and warm she was, found himself entranced by her. She sighed, her warm breath blowing across his chest. It slowed to a steady rhythm and he looked down, smiling at her sleeping face. She jerked awake an hour later when his alarm went off and he immediately grabbed her chin, tipping her head back and kissing her.
“Mmm, I love you too.” She said, a joyous smile pulling at her lips and lighting up her face. She sat up and stretched, the blanket falling in her lap so her breasts were exposed. Joey’s heart slammed hard against his chest and he had to drag his eyes away from her before he pushed her back down on the bed and made love to her again.
He cleared his throat. “So, where are you planning on taking me today?”
“I was thinking we’d go to one of my favorite cafes, get some food and coffee then head to my favorite park and feed the ducks.”
“Sounds good. Why don’t you message some of your friends and see if they can meet us there, they seemed like they really wanted to see you again.”
“It makes me happy you want to know them.”
“What’s important to you is important to me.”
Her eyes softened “you really are wonderful Joey”
“message your friends sweetness” She texted a few she knew would be free this time of day. They started getting ready and soon Maureen had two text messages. She buttoned her jeans then read them before tugging on her shirt “Clarette and Madie are coming. Clarette is bringing her new boyfriend. They are excited to meet you” Joey smiled as he started brushing his hair. They finished getting ready then headed over to Maureens favorite cafe, Café des 2 Moulins.
Joey didn’t seem nervous atall as she held his hand but he seldom was, especially when they were together. It was mainly because Joey carried the attitude of if you like me great if you dont oh well. Maureen wanted to wait and order with her friends so she sent them a text, delighted to hear that both friends were nearly there. “I can’t believe Clarette and Marcel finally got together. I saw that coming for years”
Joey smiled “How?”
“It was plain as day, always is to people around two people in love. Its not fair we rarely see it ourselves”
“People should just say how they feel. I wasted no time with you”
“My brother had to make you”
“He didn’t really”
“still, without his prompt you wouldn’t have so you can’t talk” He smiled again “I guess you’re right ma douce”
“Maureen!” an excited woman called, it was Madie”
“Madie!” Maureen exclaimed as she stood from her chair. They gave eachother a tight hug then Maureen held her hand out as if to present Joey “C’est le petit ami absolument incroyable que je vous ai dit à propos de” Madie hugged him “Quel petit garçon américain adorable. Merci d’être si bon de Maureen. Il est plus facile de savoir qu’elle est avec un homme doux.”
“Son amour est la chose la plus facile que j’ai jamais fait, elle est ma vie et qui ne changera jamais.”
Madie smiled. “Ensuite vous avez ma benediction, mais rappelez-vous si jamais vous lui faire du mal, je vais voler vers l’Amerique et botter les fesses.”
As they finished their conversation Clarette and Marcel showed up. They excitedly greeted Maureen then Joey, giving him the same warning Madie had. Joey just smiled and promised them he would always love Maureen, that nothing would ever pull them apart. They went into the cafe, still chatting excitedly. Her friends loved that Joey spoke French so fluently and when they asked why he was so good Maureen blushed and Joey answered, “Je suis juste une etude rapide.”
“Quick study, right.” Clarette teased, her accent thicker than Maureen’s.
“I’m sure Marcel is just as quick.” Maureen teased back and both Joey and Madie laughed while Clarette turned bright red and Marcel covered his face with his hand in embarrassment.
They stopped their conversation long enough to order coffee and muffins. The young man behind the counter recognized Maureen and smiled happily at seeing her again. When they all had what they ordered they went and sat down next to the window to further catch up.
The coffee helped Maureen and Joey finish kicking off how sleepy they felt as they ate and talked with their friends. Joey already liked them and hoped he’d get to meet more of the people Maureen hungout with while he was searching for her. Since they wanted to feed ducks they road over to Le Grenier à Pain. Clarette bought what they would feed to the ducks and Madie bought them each a pastry to enjoy on the car ride over to the park.
“Je n’ai jamais goûté quelque chose comme ça. C’est incroyable.” Joey said. Maureen smiled ” Les Français connaissent leurs pâtisseries. La plupart des endroits en Amérique juste essayer de faire des choses que pas cher que possible pour plus de profit. Vous aurez probablement comme la plupart des choses que vous mangez ici mieux qu’à la maison.”
“Oui, si la ramener souvent. Nous l’avons manqué tant si nous comprendre que vous aviez à me manquer beaucoup plus longtemps que nous.” Madie said then Joey answered “Nous reviendrons aussi souvent que nous le pouvons, je le jure.” Maureen kissed his cheek, a bit of her pastry sticking to her face so she blushed. He held in his chuckle as he wiped it off then kissed her back. “Si adorable” Madie said.
Maureen rested her head on Joey’s shoulder and gave a contented sigh. He really loved when they got to the lake and Maureen ran with the bread to the ducks. She looked so cute in that moment that he wanted to scoop her up and steal her away from her friends. Instead he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and kissed her cheek. Her friends came up and he just enjoyed being close to her while she threw bread to the ducks. “Je me sens tellement egoiste en ce moment, je veux juste vous emporter.” He whispered in her ear. “Je sens que je dois presenter des excuses.”
“Il me fait plaisir que m’aimes tellement.” She whispered back and he pressed his lips against her neck.
“Get a room.” Marcel said.
“Nous avons deja un.” Maureen shot back.
“Silly girl, pourquoi ne restez-vous pas avec moi.”
Maureen gave a little laugh. “Je me sentirais mal si on vous a mis en place.”
Madie blushed. “Une telle mauvaise fille.”
Maureen laughed “Nous sommes bien dans notre hôtel mais merci pour l’offre. Je ne pourrais pas être bonne compagnie après je parle à Christoph and Jackie”
“Qui s’attendrait à ce que vous soyez. Nous avons tous senti malade à ce sujet quand nous avons découvert qu’ils étaient vraiment ravisseurs et que vos parents étaient à la recherche pour vous. Nous tout ce que vous manquez Maureen mais nous sommes heureux que vous soyez avec votre vraie famille maintenant.” Maureen smiled and they moved on to better topics. At dinner they all went to another one of Maureens favorite places then wished eachother a good night before parting ways. “good luck tomorrow” Madie said “thanks”
In the room Joey asked “when are we heading over?”
“After breakfast I guess”
“You sure you’re ready?”
“yeah, I am”
“If they upset you too much just let me know. We can try again another day”
“Joey, I’ll be okay. Don’t worry so much.” He held Maureen in his arms “Its hard, I’ll be seeing them in person for the first time and it’s hard. I loathe those people. I’m glad they took good care of you but I still hate them”
“everyone does Joey”
“Not as much as me” Maureen kissed his cheek. They held eachother even as they fell asleep that night. The next morning they had room service breakfast then slowly readied for going to the prison. Hand in hand they left the hotel and summoned a cab, it speedily taking them where they needed to go. Maureen felt even more nervous as she walked in. They would soon be face to face again for the first time since their arrest and it was scarier than she fathomed it could ever be.
She was glad they were atleast kind people. If they had beaten her or somthing along those lines she didn’t know if she would have the strength to talk to them. Maureen and Joey were seated in the visitors area and told the people they wanted to talk to would be lead out soon. Joey took Maureens hand and held it tight, she could practically feel his pulse as it raged. “I love you joey” she said to comfort him and herself by his returned “I love you too Maureen”
Unexpectedly the two of them coming into the room made sadness swell in Maureen. She had expected to be furious but they looked to be filled with happiness to see her and for some reason it made her sad. Maybe it was because she would never be able to get fully rid of the love she had grown for her supposed parents or maybe it was because she was naturally a very sympathetic person but Maureen found herself sad as she watched them walk in then sit down in front of her “Adelyn” Jackie said softly and that was already more than Joey could take
“Her name is Maureen! Don’t you dare call her the name you manipulated her into having. She knew her name when you took her.” He said in english since he knew they could speak it fluently. “He’s right, my name is Maureen and I will get up and walk out of here if you call me Adelyn again”
‘sorry” Jackie answered. “why’d you change my name to begin with?” it was Christophe who answered “Make it harder for them to ever take you back. I’m sure it hindered their search you had a new name and Adelyn is prettier”
“I like my real name”
They saw Christophe’s jaw tighten as he clenched his teeth, but he said no more on the issue of her name. “Who is this boy?” Jackie asked.
“He’s my boyfriend.” She squeezed Joey’s hand. “Tell me why you took me away from my family, away from Joey?”
“Ils vous negliges, j’etais celui que vous elever.” Jackie answered.
“Vous n’avez meme pas leur donner une chance.”
“Des gens comme ça ne changera jamais.” Christophe said angrily.
“That was not your call to make.” Maureen snapped. “They love me, they searched for years, they spilled tears of sadness when I vanished and tears of joy when I returned. Joey did everything in his power to find me and he loves me most of all. I almost missed my chance at true happiness.” She felt herself choking up and took a deep breath. “I was confused and angry, I have hated you both for what you did. You broke my heart.”
Joey wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into him. “It’s okay mon amour, everything is okay.”
Maureen wiped at her face. “Merci d’être bon pour moi, mais je ne vais pas reviendrai après. J’avais juste besoin de savoir pourquoi. Au revoir à jamais.” She got to her feet, too angry to talk to them any longer. She didn’t care for their heartbroken faces. Though they had claimed to love her, they had committed the ultimate betrayal by taking her and lying to her without any hint of remorse. Neither had offered an apology of any kind.
Tears ran down Jackies face as Maureen left with Joey. Christophe pulled her into his chest, holding back his own tears. Maureen and Joey went straight back to their room where Joey ordered some wine to be brought up. He leaned against the headboard of their bed and Maureen laid between his legs, her head just over his heart as he held her. “Did you really say all you needed to say? It seemed like there was going to be more than that?”
“There was more questions but they just made me too upset with that whole Adelyn thing, how dare they use that name”
“and Christophe didn’t seem sorry atall”
“well you never have to see them again. Even when they get out of jail we can get a restraining order if they are bold enough to bother us”
“I want that. After that small visit I think it’s best to cut the cord completely”
“You know I have no objections with that” They talked until the wine came. Joey poured them each a glass and said “let me run you a nice hot bath baby”
“That would be good, you’ll soak with me right?”
“Of course baby” Maureen sipped at her wine as she watched Joey shake his hands in the water to make bubbles fill the tub. He looked adorable doing it and somhow just that made her feel better. When the tub was half full they both slipped into the water. They drank and talked, Joey glad he could keep her from crying more over her kidnappers.
Once out Maureen went abnormally quite which bothered Joey “you okay Maureen?”
“Yes, just about these past years together”
“what about them? You’re so quite” She gave him a soft smile then hugged him “Just let me think sweetheart” He kissed the top of her head “okay baby”
“You brought the ring here right?”
“yeah” He said with a hint of excitement “can i hold on to it?”
“Its yours” he walked over to his bag and pulled the ring box out and handed it to Maureen. She opened it, once again taken back by how gorgeous it was. “come on, I want to show you some things” Maureen said then set the ring down long enough to tug some clothes on. Fully dressed she put the ring box in her purse.
Joey found the determined look on her face adorable and could help but smile as he walked with her out onto the street. He took her hand, bringing it to his lips and a warm smile spread across her face. She hailed a taxi and they both climbed in. She gave the driver an address and held his hand between both of hers. When they arrived at their destination, Maureen thanked the driver and she and Joey stepped out. They stood in front of a nice two story house and Joey felt a little confused. “Where are we?”
“This was my home.” Maureen pushed the front gate open, pulling Joey behind her. She let him go when they neared the front porch and moved off to the rose bushes growing to the right of the steps. She squatted down and pushed some of the dirt aside then pulled out a small box. She flipped it open and pulled out a key. “I’m surprised it’s still here.”
“Are you sure no one lives here?”
“Yeah, I looked it up before we got on the plane, it’s been on the market since about a month after I went home.” She looked at the key in her hand then at him. “I need to show you this place, to share my memories with you.”
“Okay, I’m ready when you are.”
She nodded, swallowing the lump in her throat before climbing the steps and inserting the key into the lock. The interior was completely empty so their footsteps echoed as they moved inside and closed the door. Maureen drew in a breath then let it out. “This place holds so many warm memories. Birthdays, Christmases, bedtime stories and lullabies.” She pulled him slowly through the house, telling him stories, making him laugh. She took him upstairs to her room, remembering every drawing she had done there. “I really thought this was my home.”
“No,” she turned to look at him, “my home has always been where you are. I came to France to get answers, to gain understanding and I have. I found what I was searching for.”
“What was it?”
“There is another place we have to go, it’s just up the street.”
“Okay.” They left the house, Maureen sitting the key on the counter before locking up. They walked in silence, Joey feeling unsure of what to expect. They went six blocks and crossed the street to a little community garden.
“This is where I first had the feeling that there was something missing in my life. I was looking at the lilies when I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of loss. I remember sitting down and crying, my heart aching. It was as if someone had stolen something important from me.” She pulled him to a bench and the sat down. “It was right here, but now I think I know what it was.” She took the ring box out of her purse and stared at it for a moment. “I think, no I know it was you Joey. The loss of you caught up with me, not in my mind, but in my heart. I felt so alone that day, so scared, and unsure. I never told anyone until now.” She held out the box and he took it. “Since knowing you and loving you and having you love me, I have not felt that way again. I want to be with you always.”
He smiled, realizing this meant she would say yes if he asked again. Joey kissed Maureens cheek then stood from the bench before kneeling in front of her “Will you marry me so we can be one always?”
“I would love that Joey, yes, absolutely yes mon amour” Joey slipped the ring on Maureens finger then hugged her “when would you like to?’
“Our next anniversary? Think we can put somthing together by then?’
“I know we can. We’ll start planning as soon as we’re back home.”
“Lets book the next flight. I will show you the rest here when i bring my real parents, unless you want to stay longer now”
“No, lets go home baby” Joey pulled back from the hug and stood, taking Maureens hand and tugging her to her feet, right into his arms so he could kiss her. “Je vais vous chérir toujours Maureen”
“et je vous Joey” They walked back to where they were staying and Maureen immediately called her family, knowing they wouldn’t mind how expensive the call would be. Her parents and brother were elated and eager to start talking wedding plans when she and Joey returned. Next she called her friends in the states and let them know before lastly letting all her friends in Paris know. She made sure they all knew how much she would love to have them at her wedding and that they could just come to visit any time they wanted.
By the time her calls were finished Joey already booked a flight “first one isn’t until 7am.”
“want to hangout with any of your friends more then?”
“sure, I’ll see who is available now that we have a flight time”
Madie was available as was Marcel who was working the night shift. Another friend of hers named Cyril was also coming. He was a couple of years older than her, was married, and expecting his first child. She asked them to meet her at the same cafe as yesterday since it would be easier. They left the hotel, walking at a leisurely pace to Cafe des 2 Moulins. Everyone was waiting for them when they got there and Cyril wrapped her in a tight hug.
“C’est si bon de te revoir , tu m’as manqué.” Cyril said then let her go to greet Joey. “Nice to meet you.”
“You too, you don’t sound French.” Joey replied with a big smile.
“I’m not, I originally moved here from New Zealand and learned the language for my wife. So you could say you and I are very much alike.”
“How is New Zealand this time of year?”
“Probably rainy, but beautiful.”
“Maureen and I will have to fly over some time.”
Cyril chuckled. “It’s good she found such an adventurous spirit, Maureen here can be hard to keep up with, more energy than the energizer bunny.”
“Oh he’s got plenty of energy for me” Maureen answered suggestively, causing everyone to laugh. They took Joey to as many places as they could fit in that day and a good portion of that night. Finally they decided it was time to part ways and Maureen promised them she would come back and bring her family for them to meet. Once packed and comfortable in bed Joey took Maureens hand, admiring how it looked with his ring on her finger. She smiled “Thanks for waiting” he kissed her finger just over the ring “You’re worth any wait Maureen”
“when can we start trying to have kids?”
“right now if you want. Nothing says we have to wait until we’re actually married”
“But our anniversary is in five months, I’ll be showing”
“I guess, we’ll wait two months then start trying. You wouldn’t be showing that much by the wedding.” Maureen giggled “okay, I can always have my dress altered a smidge if need be” Joey kissed her hand again then laid on his side to hold her “Will you come to work with me so I can show off your hand?”
“sure” Joey kissed her forehead “I love you always”
“I love you too Joe Joe, lets rest for the plane ride” Laced into eachother they both drifted into a blissful sleep. Maureen confident she would no longer be plagued by the emotions of how she grew up and Joey thrilled they were finally getting married.
~ The End ~