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Chapter 31


all this really necessary, Julien?"
It was hard not to frown and pout about all of this, considering the reason why
I had asked for this nice little outing for the two of us was to get away from
all the other people in the château. Not ask a whole bunch to tag along with
He sighed,
obviously fed up with me and my sulking. Maybe he was right. "You know we
have to be extra careful. I'm not taking any chances, okay? End of story."
I huffed, but got over it. Maybe he was right, but come on… three bodyguards? I
felt like I was the President's daughter or something. Of course I was
grateful, but still.
Ever since I had confirmation my baby was a boy I had been dying to go shopping
for him. I didn't really like spending Julien's money, even though he always
called it our money now, but this was for our child. So that made it a
bit easier.


with all the money that we had to work with… I was like a kid in a candy store.
There were so many online websites dedicated solely to children's clothing
alone, I had a neck cramp from huddling over Julien's tablet.
He asked me to please formally hand in my resignation from my duties around the
estate, and I had to laugh at him. Was all that really necessary? I hadn't
technically worked in weeks, and as lazy as that may sound, it was the truth.
Whatever the case, I wrote up the shortest letter in history, and handed it to
him over dinner.


he read it out loud couldn’t help laughing. "
Dear Monsieur Malveaux- I'm having your baby. You don’t have to pay me
to clean your house anymore, I’ll do it for free... Love, Amira.”


of the maid uniform, into the Mercedes Benz… It wouldn’t have been so bad if we
didn’t have so damn much company. One was driving, one was sitting in the
passenger seat, and one was sitting next to the window. I ended up in the
middle squeezed next to Julien.


wasn’t going to let it get me down. I had too much to look forward to today to
let anything else get in my way.


we got out at our destination, I realized I had fallen asleep for most of the
ride, my head lolling against Julien’s broad shoulder. He had pulled me against
him, wrapping his arm around mine to let me snuggle against him. If it weren’t
for the drool that was escaping the corner of my mouth, it probably would’ve
been cute.


Ma chérie
? We’ve arrived,” he
whispered in my ear softly.


was only late in the morning and I was already waking up from my first nap of
the day. This baby was kicking my butt!


I caught sight of my surroundings, my breath stuttered along in my chest.
Julien hadn’t told me where exactly he planned on taking us—‘
just somewhere in town
,’ was all he’d
said. I thought it had been taking a little longer than normal… But this?


I had not been expecting.


stood right outside of the car door, pulling my purse over my shoulder and
looking up at the not too far off distance. There stood the incredible Eiffel
Tower. Which only meant one thing.




spun around on my heel, looking Julien in the eye and wondering how he could’ve
gotten this past me. He gave me that sexy grin of his and I felt myself

I walked up to the sidewalk we were currently parked next to, taking a look at
the stores on either side of the road. Closest to us was a small boutique that
looked longer than it was wider, called 'Jacadi.'

"Are we shopping for the baby here?" I asked him as he laced our fingers
"I thought we could start here, yes. What do you think? Will this be

Of course the main bodyguard Christian went first. He walked through the doors
confidently in front of us, and we were followed by the others.
Even as we made our way into the clothing store I could still smell to most
delicious baked goods coming from somewhere down the row of businesses.
Wherever it was I was definitely gonna make a pit-stop after this.
The store we were going to itself was small yet cheerful. There were bright
splashes of color here and there, although most of the baby clothes were more
neutral in color than anything else.


you think of pink and blue but there were many different colors that stood out
in different styles that I hadn't really seen in America. I pulled one tiny
jacket closer to me, examining the fur-lined hood that came with it.

"There are so many little things in here," I exclaimed. "I don't
even know to where to begin!"
Julien laughed, as an attendant came to
greet us from the back of the store.
!” The young
woman greeted us, gesturing to me in particular. “
Je peux vous aider
I felt myself blush, not completely understanding her casual accent. The French
could speak so fast.


of course Julien stepped in, always my hero. "
Bonjour! Nous cherchons simplement
I shuddered against him, secretly loving to hear when he spoke in French. When
he whispered sweet nothings to me I could barely contain myself. His words
always seemed to do something to me, and for a moment I wish I could push him
to the back room. Getting control of myself, I tried to concentrate on the
cutest little baby shoes that I had ever seen.


and the salesperson continued their conversation à la French, leaving me to it.
I walked up the aisle further, checking out the beautiful little clothing as I
It sure was fun looking at them, imagining them on our beautiful child. It
still made me mad that we hadn’t come up with a name for our son.

Julien finally caught up with me and the bodyguards spread out throughout the
store, one sticking close by on the other side of the aisle, keeping tabs on me
at all times. I wanted to say something, but I wasn't gonna make a big deal
about this anymore. If this was the price I had to pay to get out and see the
world beyond the estate, I was happy to pay it.
"See anything you fancy?" He asked me, running his fingers along an
infant-sized velvet tracksuit. I raised my brow at him.
"They have a lot to choose from, sure. Some of the stuff is pretty cute,
but some of it just seems, I don't know, a little too grown for a baby if you
ask me. I do like these little sleeper sets though." I pointed to the
furry pajamas that ended in cute little footies with animal faces on them. Julien
laughed and smiled along with me. Even he wasn’t immune to the cuteness.
It took a while, but I ended up draping a few different items over my arm,
slightly disappointed in the lack of baby boy clothes. Julien went up front to
pay for everything while I hung around the front of the store, looking out the
window and people watching.
And it went on like that for the next few hours, going into one store picking
out a few things here and there and moving onto the next. I was starting to
wear out when Julien offered me a little relief.
"Would you like to get some lunch?" Julien asked.
I vigorously nodded my head yes. "Starving, and I’d love to get off my
feet for a few minutes. What should we do about lunch?"
He looked up and down the street, his eyes seeking out something I couldn't
find myself.
"If memory serves me correctly, there is a very good restaurant less than
a block away down the road. They have fantastic food. I used to go there all
the time."
When Julien
says fantastic, he sure means it. When I finally had a menu in my hands there
was no way I could choose… I ended up with the sampler plate, which was full of
small portions from the whole menu. Once I had finished the sampler that
included some of the best shrimp I had ever had, I ordered the blueberry tart.
Combining my love for blueberries and my love for all things tart related. It
was definitely a wise decision, especially once I took that first flaky bite.

I know you're not going to like this, but this is important. I think this might
be the last time you'll be able to go outside of the grounds for awhile.
There's just too much at stake, and Agent Wilson hasn’t exactly inspired
confidence… I would really just feel better if you were to stay inside at the
château, at least until the baby has arrived..."
I thought
about it for a moment, dread fresh in my gut. I knew he was right, but the idea
of staying inside for the next… indefinitely… It sounded almost like a prison
sentence to me.
"While I agree about not going outside of the grounds, do you really
expect me to be able to handle staying inside for months on end?"
"I don't expect it, no. But I don't really see any way around it, do
you?" he asked in earnest.

"I'll stay inside… But we need to come up with a better plan, because you
can’t keep me holed up in a house forever.”
And with
that, I ordered yet another smaller tart to enjoy all by myself. I was in
Paris, and this may have been the last time I would be able to go for a long
time, particularly if Julien had any say about it. As far as I was concerned,
stuffing my face was part of living it up.




Back to Table of Contents


Chapter 32


examined my fingernails, groaning as I realized I had gotten the bright pink
polish all along the skin surrounding them. I would have to take the nail
polish remover and start all over again, and that would be the second time
already. Was I ever going to be able to do my nails as well as Leah could back
at home?
I wondered if maybe it was just the color that was throwing off my game. Maybe
I needed something to better match the changing seasons instead. Although I
couldn’t feel it, I could practically see the chill in the air outside as the
surrounding trees on the mountains began turning vivid shades of red, orange,
and yellow.

As much as I tried to distract myself with silly things like nail polish and
binge-watching TV on the new tablet Julien bought me, I just couldn't shake
this feeling like it was all getting ready to come down on me.


didn't let Julien know, but I had been waking up several times every single


nightmares I had been having—they were a mix of the old and the new. Part of
them revolved around the shooting incident, but part of them revolved around
safety anxiety and the thought of someone coming to get me and the baby. It was
hard enough not to think about it during the daytime as it was. I didn't want
nor need these troubles following me into my sleep.
Julien had caught me a few times, and ended up asking me to talk to Dr. Thibodeau
about taking something to help me sleep better. Call me crazy, but I didn't
want to ingest any pills this late into the pregnancy.
I looked
back down at my nails and scrunched my nose. They were as good as they were
going to get. Thoroughly frustrated, I cleaned everything up and headed back
towards the billiards room, where Julien and Desmond were shooting a few games
of pool while Desmond was on break.
I was trying so hard not to think about it, but the truth was I was feeling
hopeless at this point. Agent Wilson hadn’t given us any good news lately and I
had come to the conclusion that I’d never live a normal life again…


felt like something to be ashamed of, something that no one could ever talk
about. Like in one of those horror stories where they keep the girl locked up
in the attic or basement.


only did I wish I didn't have to live with that, but there was our son to think
Maybe that had been what was causing the nightmares.
I didn't even realize I had knocked into someone until I turned to see Marie's
knitted brows and her brown eyes glaring at me.
Excusez moi
!" She hissed,
her voice shrill. I sighed, not wanting to get on anyone's bad side—least of
all hers.
"I apologize. I guess I'm not really paying attention to where I’m
"I see that," she quipped, getting ready to turn and head back the
way she was going. She stopped for a moment though, inspecting me for
something. I felt so exhausted that I didn’t care. She could give me her dirty
looks all she wanted.
And when the first few teardrops traced their way down my cheekbones I wanted
to scream. I hated crying in front of Marie, she always seems so cold about it
as if she didn't give a crap.
Somehow though, Marie softened her face slightly, looking as if she was wanting
to reach out and touch me.
"There is something wrong,
she asked.
I didn't want her pretending to be genuine and concerned about me, so I
shrugged. All I wanted to do was get back to Julien, but then again… I didn't
really want to seem desperate to be around him as much as I was. Even he needed
his time to himself.
"Yes. But there's nothing I can do about it, so I guess it doesn't
She huffed at that, shaking her head at me. "You have many wrongs
happening to you. Life isn't very… fair…”
"You're right. Especially to me, it seems."
There was something different in her face. She genuinely felt bad for me, and
if I had already made it to this point, that was pretty bad. She pointed to the
red and gold's chaise that was up against the wall, suggesting we sit. I
obliged, at the very least curious about what she had to say to me. I had hoped
that she wouldn't say anything too negative, considering all the crap I had
been dealing with lately.
"Did I tell you when Julien was born . . . no? Of course not. Would you
hear about it?" she asked me, turning to face her body towards me.
My eyes nearly bugged out of my head. Was she kidding? Was she seriously
planning on telling me a story? Something about this whole thing seemed weird,
but the idea of hearing about Julien when he was born was too much for me to
pass up.
"Of course, I'd love to hear that."
She quickly nodded, beginning her story.
"Julien was stubborn, especially
un bébé
. But he was angel. Sabine called him ‘
ange doux,
’ when no one looking. His mother was in labor for almost
two days.
Têtu comme un mulet
. Her
mother had already passed, and I was the one she wanted in room with her. No
to support her. Just me. She was
so tired at the end,
j’étais inquiet.
was angry with Julien, even as baby.”


wasn’t his fault,” I said, letting out a small laugh even as my eyes stopped


it wasn’t… Julien grew to be such a great man… He is an angel to those lucky
enough to receive his love. And you are luckier still, because you bring
another angel into this world."
I thought about it for a moment. I did feel incredibly lucky to have Julien,
and the idea that we would share our love with a child… It was a good feeling.
For a moment there, I almost felt like we could get through anything as long as
the three of us had each other.
"Thank you, Marie..."

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