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Chapter 3

  • Chapter Three
  • He pressed a quick kiss on her lips and released her. “See, I do pay attention!”
  • They rushed up the steps and into the church to the lower chapel. They then climbed the narrow winding staircase off to one side of the lower room to the upper chapel—there wasn’t much to see in the lower chapel except for the low ceiling and it wasn’t all that interesting in the dark. The upper chapel had the richest decorations from the floor to the ceiling and strong vertical emphasis that gave it a sense of weightlessness. And even though it wasn’t as sunny as she hoped, it was sunny enough to see the magic as the light played against the stained glass windows.
  • “Now that is mesmerizing,” she muttered, moving to stand under the reflection of the glass so that the colors would fall onto her white winter jacket.
  • Ruiz came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her mid-section and kissing her cheek. “Come on, there is a lot more to see.”
  • There were a number of tourists taking photos and Ruiz, thank goodness, had remembered to carry a camera. He looked exactly how Melody would describe a tourist taking photos and paying attention to the discussions about the Holy Chapel.
  • “Hey, come hear this,” he whispered, waving her over to a plump guy speaking in French accented English about the church.
  • He wasn’t saying anything Melody didn’t already know, but Ruiz was such an excited tourist she didn’t want to ruin it for him. So with a pleasant smile she joined him on the unsanctioned tour.
  • “…it is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. It was built under the commission of Louis the ninth to store over thirty items including his collection of the Passion Relics that included the image of Edessa and the Crown of Thorns laced on Jesus Christ’s head on the day of his crucifixion. The crown of Thorns is considered to be the most important relic from medieval Christendom and Louis bought it and other relics like it from the Latin emperor Baldwin the second.”
  • “He doesn’t mean Aleck Baldwin and no they are not related,” she whispered to Ruiz and he answered with an elbow to her side when those around them who heard chuckled.
  • The wannabe tour guide glared at her for the interruption and she smiled back at him. “Veuillez continuer—continue please.”
  • With a toss of his head he kept on walking and talking and like a herd of sheep they followed him. “The Sainte-Chapelle is one of the surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cité, and though it was restored in the nineteenth century after it sustained damages during the French revolution, it still has one of the most extensive in-situ collections of the thirteenth century stained glass anywhere in the world.”
  • “This guy knows his stuff,” Ruiz whispered down to her.
  • “Pft! Please, he’s just regurgitating what he read on Wikipedia before he came here. I bet he doesn’t even know what in-situ means—ouch!” she yelped, rubbing her arm. “That hurt!”
  • He smiled an indulgent smile that made her stomach clench. “Be nice.”
  • She stuck her tongue out at him as she rubbed more gently to her throbbing arm. “How did you get to my skin through a thick layer of cotton?”
  • He leaned closer and whispered seductively in her ear, “The same way I got to your heart. Through your skin, flesh, and bones.”
  • Melody rolled her eyes. “Oh Romeo, you weaken me with your sweet, sweet words of love. Where have you been all my life?”
  • “Come on,” he chuckled. “We are missing out on the history lesson.”
  • She twisted her face in disgust. “I hated history in school and not much has changed now. Too much to remember, too many dead people to know even though there is no way they’ll ever be coming back to life—”
  • He elbowed her again. “Shh!”
  • She made a face at him then crossed her arms over her chest and bit her lips shut.
  • “…the king himself carried the relics, barefoot and dressed as a penitent to this very chapel. A scene depicted here in the south side of the chapel,” he pointed at the stained window of a man, “the Relics of the Passion window. It’s something non?”
  • “Something doesn’t even begin to describe it,” she whispered in admiration as she moved closer to the window. As the rest of the crowd moved on, Melody just stood there basking in the beauty of the depiction of penitent Louis. She wanted to touch it and yet she was so afraid she would taint it somehow. Seeing this for herself, was a true gift from history. It was beyond beautiful. It was…
  • “Now that’s magical,” Ruiz spoke behind her.
  • Magical…That was exactly what it was. She turned to face the other magical gift in her life. “I’m glad I got to see this with you and not Allan. He has no taste for the arts and wouldn’t have given it the appreciation it deserves.”
  • He wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Neither do I—have an appreciation for the arts that is. That’s Riana’s thing. But I’m glad too that we got to experience this together. Why don’t we head to the Les Invalides next?”
  • She nodded, giving the Relics of the Passion window one more look of admiration before she let him lead her out through the eastern apse. Les Invalides was basically a large Army museum and a church with Napoleon’s tomb. The church was beautiful and Napoleon somehow grew in his death because the tomb was huge—and that was all the interest it held for Melody. Ruiz however loved all the rooms filled with armor, weapons and military clothing. Room after room after room of the same stuff and yet he went ‘that’s so cool’, ‘no way, that’s epic’ several times in each room. Instead of getting bored and ruining it for him, she got her kicks off taking pictures of him doing the silliest things. The pictures would make for great memories, and one day when they were old and grey or telling their kids the story of how they fell in love, they would re-live them all over again as they traveled down memory lane together.
  • Kids, old and grey…yeah she was thinking of the future; had been dreaming about it since she met the man. And truth be told, she couldn’t wait to start on it. All she had to do now was get him to propose and what better place than the city of love, Paris.
  • “What are you smiling about?” he asked, the corner of his eyes crinkling as he narrowed them at her. There was something so dangerously sexy about him when he did that.
  • She smiled at him. “Nothing. How about a late lunch at the hotel then we get dressed up for dinner at Les Fines Gueules?”
  • He took her hand and as always led her out—sometimes he reminded her of her bodyguards. A bodyguard who also loved her—not like psycho Jeb!