Authors: kate hopkins
From Roses to Thorns
From Roses To Thorn
Copyright © 2010 Kate Hopkins. All rights reserved worldwide.
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From the balcony of the hotel room Hope watched as the sun set. The Eiffel Tower stood out against the orange-golden hue of the sky. As she stood at the railing, she thought back over the past week. The first day of their vacation it rained. Instead of staying inside Ryan bought an umbrella and they spent the day sightseeing and scolding Zoe every time she hopped into a puddle of water.
The rest of the week was spent visiting museums, an amusement park, and a twelve thousand acre park that contained one hundred and fifty miniature French landscapes and monuments, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Hope had read in a brochure that the cathedral had been the inspiration for Victor Hugo's book,
The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
There was one more place she wanted to visit before she, Ryan and Zoe went home and that was the Eiffel Tower. She had saved it for the last because she wanted their last day in Paris to be as memorable as their first.
A pair of strong arms wrapping around her waist brought Hope out of her thoughts. Smiling, she leaned back in Ryan's embrace. "Hello, my love. Is the little one asleep?"
"Yes. I glanced up from the third page and she was out like a light." Ryan brushed aside Hope's long blonde hair and pressed a kiss to her neck. "What were you thinking about when I came out here?"
"Oh, just the places we've been to." Hope turned her head and kissed Ryan's jaw. "Thank you for a wonderful week."
"You're welcome," Ryan said.
Hope sighed contently. "I'm going to miss this place."
"I will bring you back next year." Ryan nuzzled her ear. "We will leave the young one home with Maggie."
Hope brought a hand up and touched his face. "It's a date then. Who were you talking to on the phone earlier? I got out my English and French translator and tried to figure out what you were saying, but you were talking too fast for me to keep up."
"I was talking to the front desk, you little eavesdropper," Ryan said amused. "I asked them to send a car for us in the morning. After we are done with the Eiffel Tower we need to head for the airport."
Hope turned in his arms and gazed at him. "I like listening to you talk in French. Who taught you the language?"
"I met with a lady for an hour every day. I learned for business purposes. I wanted to learn Spanish, but I never found the time to do it."
"Say something to me," Hope said.
Ryan glanced off into the distance for a moment as he thought about what to say. "Vos lèvres sont aussi molles que les pétales roses. Votre coeur aussi pur que l'or. Je suis perdu dans vos yeux. Vous avez capturé mon âme même. Mes battements de coeur plus rapidement chaque fois que vous êtes près. Je marcherais aux extrémités de la terre ne fût-ce que svp à vous cher. Ne m'ayez jamais a senti cette manière au sujet de n'importe qui avant. Je t'aime avec tout mon coeur. Vous êtes tous que j'ai besoin et plus."
"What did you say?" Hope muttered.
"Your lips are as soft as rose petals. Your heart as pure as gold. I am lost in your eyes. You have captured my very soul. My heart beats faster every time you are near. I would walk to the ends of the earth if only to please you dear. Never have I felt this way about anyone before. I love you with all my heart. You are all I need and more."
"Ryan," Hope whispered. "It's a beautiful poem."
"You are beautiful." Ryan kissed Hope on the lips. "Let's go see if we can find a movie to watch."
"The movies are in French," Hope said.
"They have English subtitles," Ryan explained. "I will let you pick it out."
"Will you cuddle with me?" Hope asked.
"If I have to," Ryan said, sighing.
Hope swatted him on the arm. "For that remark you can stay on your side of the bed when we go to sleep." She swept past him and into the room.
Ryan followed her inside and closed the French doors. "You know you can't keep your hands to yourself."
Laughing, Hope slipped off her robe and got into bed. She picked up the remote control and turned on the television. "What kind of movie are you in the mood for?"
"Surprise me," Ryan said, joining her on the bed.
Hope flipped through the channels and finally settled on a comedy drama. She snuggled under the covers just as the movie started. "Don't think about it," she said when Ryan moved closer. "You had your chance to cuddle and blew it."
His blue eyes shining with laughter Ryan pulled her close. "You can't resist me and you know it."
Hope opened her mouth to disagree with him and then quickly shut it. There was nothing she could say. He was right. "Just watch the damn movie."
The next morning Hope rose early and dressed. Once she finished she stepped into the adjoining bedroom to check on Zoe and found the little girl watching cartoons. "Good morning, little one."
"Good morning," Zoe murmured. She pointed at the television. "What are they saying?"
Hope smiled. "I don't know, sweetheart. I can't understand them either. Maybe we should've brought some of your cartoons." She crossed the room and switched off the television. "We're going home today. Do you want to help me pack your suitcase?"
"Okay." Zoe scrambled off the bed and ran to Hope's side.
Together they removed the clothes from the dresser and placed them in the suitcase. "Let's pack Kenny so we don't forget him," Hope suggested, referring to the stuffed turtle she had bought for Zoe when she and Ryan were in Las Vegas on their honeymoon.
"Kenny doesn't like the dark," Zoe said.
"I have an idea. Can I hold Kenny?"
Zoe held out the turtle.
"Thank you." Hope put the toy on top of the clothes and zipped up the suitcase. She left a small opening and showed it to Zoe. "Now Kenny won't be in the dark. When we get on Daddy's plane I'll give him back to you."
"Give what back to her?" Ryan asked, appearing the doorway, running a hand through his tousled hair.
"Kenny," Hope said. "He's in the suitcase, so don't zip it up all the way. He's afraid of the dark."
"Right," Ryan said. "Get to moving, ladies. I ordered breakfast. Hope, don't forget to take your pill an hour before take off."
"I haven't forgotten," Hope told him.
Breakfast was eaten on the balcony. Ryan ordered omelets for him, Hope, scrambled eggs, and toast for Zoe. While they ate, they enjoyed the warm sun on their face. It was such a pleasant morning that Hope hated for it to come to an end. She leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and breathed in the fresh air. Ryan squeezed her hand and she opened her eyes.
"I don't want to rush you, but we need to leave in ten minutes," he said. "Are you all packed?"
A car pulled up in front of the hotel shortly after nine. As the luggage was loaded into the trunk Hope, Ryan and Zoe got in. Ryan told the driver where to go and sat back, checking his watch. The car moved away from the curb and Hope took one last look at the hotel before facing forward. Ryan's promise to bring her back in the future was the only thing keeping her from being sad about leaving Paris.
On the way to the Eiffel Tower Hope read aloud from the brochure, she had received from the concierge. "The tower is made of nineteenth century iron lattice. It's the tallest building in Paris and the single most visited paid monument in the world. Millions of people visit a year. The tower was built as the entrance for the 1889 world's fair. It's 1,062 feet and has three levels."
"I guess it's a good thing I'm not afraid of heights," Ryan said dryly.
On the ground floor of the tower, Ryan purchased tickets and they entered the lift. The operator slid the door shut, pushed a button on the control panel, and the lift slowly began to ascend. At the top, the operator opened the door and they walked out. The view was breathtaking, from the River Seine, to Les Invalides, a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all connecting to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, to The Champ de Mars, a large park that Hope recalled visiting a few days ago.
Hope looped an arm through Ryan's and laid her hand on Zoe's shoulder. Standing there with the two of them, she suddenly thought of her ex-husband Luke and how they had always planned to go to Paris but never did. She turned her head and said softly in Ryan's ear, "I'm so glad I never came here with Luke. I'm glad my first time here was with you and Zoe."
"So am I," Ryan said. "We are going to have a lot of firsts."
An hour later, the small group was airborne. It was going to be a long flight from Paris to Newark. Seven hours and twenty-five minutes it would take to reach their destination. If all went well they would be home before six that evening. Hope had called Maggie earlier to let her know what time to expect them. The housekeeper assured her everything would be ready for their return home.
"How are you feeling?"
Hope who was trying to stay awake jerked her head in Ryan's direction. "Sleepy. Did you slip me a sleeping pill?"
"No," Ryan said with a crooked smile. "The only thing you took was a sedative. Why don't you take a nap?"
"I don't want to sleep," Hope croaked. "I need to be alert in case something goes wrong." It was known to those close to her that she had a fear of flying. After the plane crash that had taken the lives of her family, twenty years ago, she swore she would never fly again. It was only since knowing Ryan that she had taken to the sky in the hopes of overcoming her fear.
"Nothing is going to go wrong with the plane," Ryan uttered in a low voice. "You know before we fly this plane is put through a thorough inspection. It was inspected inside and out. Everything is fine." He reached into an overhead compartment and took down a blanket and a pillow.
"What are you going to do with those?" Hope asked, eyeing the blanket and pillow.
Ryan put the pillow behind Hope's head and covered her with a blanket. "Will you flip out on me if I were to recline your chair?"
Hope glared at him. "What the hell do you think?"
Ryan grinned. "I think I better leave your chair alone."
"Smart man," Hope snapped.
Ryan gave her a quick peck on the forehead. "Try to relax, sweetheart. I'm right here if you need me."
Hope gazed out the window and felt her eyes grow heavy. She blinked several times and gave her head a shake, but nothing would work. Try as she might she just could not keep her eyes open any longer. The last thing she was aware of before sleep claimed her was Ryan reclining her chair.
The alarm clock going off woke Ryan the next morning. Groaning, he rolled over and quickly silenced it. He turned onto his back and ran a hand over his stubble face. Beside him, Hope let out a whimper and moved closer to him. She snuggled up against him and draped an arm across his chest. An unhurried kiss was pressed to his unshaven jaw and she squeezed him tightly.
"Good morning," she muttered.
"Morning," Ryan said.
"We have to get up," Hope said. "The vacation is over. No more lying in bed."