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Springtime in Paris
Here is the start of the 1st story in my four part series of Cecil/Alexis stories, just give it a chance.
Cecil Colby had always enjoyed trips to Europe, as a boy he had fond if slightly faded memories of grand vacations. Of accompanying his mother and spinster aunt on huge liners across the sea, playing hide and seek with his siblings around the first class deck and getting into all sorts of mischief. Then days and nights spent in grand old hotels with polished brass everywhere and liveried doormen and porters who would wink in amusement at the young children.
It seemed back then as if the summers would stretch forever.
Days in London’s Hyde Park watching the colourful soldiers, then weeks on the Normandy coast followed by a trip down to the family villa in Tuscany when it was often so hot the boys were allowed to sleep outside. However years passed and such holidays became a thing of the past. Time not spent at school was spent interning in the family business, learning the ropes from the old man himself.
Then war came and perhaps it was fear or cowardice, but even after peace had been declared the Colby Clan stopped vacationing in Europe after that preferring the delights of New England or Cape Cod to the rugged beauty of the old country.
Now it seemed the only time Cecil made it over to Europe was for flying visits, business meetings with busy executives, deals made in secluded hotel suites that kept out not only prying eyes but also the magnificent scenery. It was a successful if somewhat sterile experience.
Well today Cecil had broken with tradition, he had defied his father’s directive of business first…Well actually he had missed his plane because a business meeting had overran and rather than stay in the airport Cecil had declared himself a dividend. Another afternoon and night in Paris, this one not hampered by business discussions but given over to whatever whim struck his fancy.
So it was giddy as that adventurous boy he just about remembered that Cecil set out into Paris with no firm plans as to his itinerary. He wandered across the Seine’s many ornate bridges, he visited the Eiffel Tower even though it was such a tourist thing to do but it was one thing his parents had never permitted whenever they paused in Paris and as child he had sworn to return and climb every single step.
In fact Cecil was just about to continue his exploration away from the beaten track when the heavens suddenly opened and he was forced to endure another of Paris’s famous attractions, the rain! Cursing his own lack of foresight about bringing an umbrella when it had been somewhat overcast all day, sometimes it was worth being weighted down if it meant not being soaked to the bone.
His gaze darting about the mainly residential street Cecil looked for a café to nip into until the downpour stopped. Yet there only thing about seemed to be a bijou looking gallery on the opposite corner. Deciding that being forced to endure modern art and maybe talked into buying something he actually detested was worth not catching a cold Cecil darted across the street, avoiding the puddles that had sprung up out of nowhere.
Pushing open the door Cecil was relieved to find that the gallery was open and he stepped inside shaking off the worst of the rain from his coat much to the open distaste of the young man who was clearly the proprietor.
“Sorry I don’t speak…” Cecil rummaged in the back of his mind for the French drummed into him by that vile little tutor his parents had hired. But languages had never been easy for him, and as a boy Cecil had seen little point when they very rarely left the states in any case. “Urhhh Parlez-vous anglais?”
“Non.” Was the abrupt reply and Cecil didn’t need a translator to work that one out.
Still it was still pouring down outside and this wasn’t the first rude person he had come across in his life. “I’ll just take a look around…Je regarde…” Cecil offered taking the man’s shrug as an answer.
The main body of the gallery was as he expected, avant-garde rubbish that was over priced and that Cecil wouldn’t hang in his stables. Still there had to be something in this entire place that was worth looking at and Cecil had always enjoyed a challenge, so he wandered deeper and deeper into the gallery surprised by the size as from the outside it looked little more than a corner shop.
Turning corners and climbing stairs Cecil was intrigued by every new nook he uncovered, it wasn’t until he had found a back staircase that led him back down to the ground floor that he even considered the fact he was completely lost. This back corridor was devoid of any paintings and clearly wasn’t for public view but Cecil had no desire to retrace his steps and so finding a door that opened stepped through into a large open space that normally would flooded with light from the windows set into the sloping roof. Instead they amplified the noise of the rain still hammering it down outside.
Just looking at the foul weather made Cecil shiver and dread stepping back out into it, his still damp hair an unpleasant reminder, if he stepped back out there Cecil was certain to catch his death. The sudden loud sneeze that followed was merely confirmation of this fact.
“Qui est là?” A strong feminine voice demanded from behind a large canvas screen and Cecil blushed awkwardly at being caught where he shouldn’t.
“Excusez-moi…Urghhh the rain…la pluie…I got lost... J'ai perdu…” Cecil began apologetically only to stop his excuses in his tracks as a familiar face appeared out of the gloom causing Cecil’s heart to suddenly pound in his chest.
How could she be here?
Yet Cecil’s poor brain couldn’t even begin to formulate an answer as it was too busy processing the fact that here standing a few feet away was the only woman he had ever loved. The only woman he had even considered breaking his boyhood vow for, the woman he had once wanted as his wife and mother of his children despite his bitter promise made in anger to never marry or bare offspring of his own lest they turn out as treasonous as his father or snake of a brother.
The lady in question whilst surprised by his presence clearly wasn’t struck dumb as a smile lit up her beautiful face, warming Cecil faster than any roaring fire could accomplish.
“Well well well, Cecil Colby as I live and breathe, what in the world are you doing here?”
Swallowing down his emotions just as he had done all those years ago in Denver Cecil forced a polite smile to his face accepting the hand that she offered but instead of shaking it, he brought it to his lips and pressed a kiss to her knuckles. His answer as flippant as he was affected by the softness and scent of her skin.
“Alexis Carrington I could ask you the same question.”
“So this is where you have been hiding these past two years?” Cecil couldn’t contain his question any longer.
It had been burning inside him at the gallery. It had been sitting there on the tip of his tongue as they made their way in a not uncomfortable companionable silence, huddled under Alexis’s umbrella, down the road where there was hidden a wonderful little café that had hand roasted coffee and lovely patisseries from the shop just further down the street.
Just what had Alexis been doing since that sudden departure from Denver?
The particulars of which Cecil was still foggy on, yes Blake had caught her cheating and had insisted on divorce and knowing the brute that Blake Carrington was there were probably threats exchanged. Yet Alexis had always struck him as a devoted mother, for her to simply vanish had struck him as odd at the time and now he had an opportunity to find out why it was too good to pass up.
“I haven’t been hiding Cecil.” Alexis answered coolly staring down into her glass of excellent red wine, the coffee long ago having been abandoned for something more substantial.
“You haven’t been back to Denver.” Cecil countered his blue eyes narrowing. “In fact I haven’t heard even a whisper about you, I mean I know the children are not as close to Jeff as they were before, boarding school will impose that distance but…”
“Boarding school?” Alexis bit back her emerald eyes snapping up from her drink to stare at Cecil in horror. “But they’re only babies what is Blake thinking…”
“I assumed you knew.” Cecil answered awkwardly. “I’m sorry.”
“No I’m sorry.” Alexis answered softly tearing her eyes away to stare once more at the tabletop. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you, it’s not your fault Blake is a bastard.”
“That is certainly one way of describing him, although I am surprised to hear you say it.”
“Well why shouldn’t I?” Alexis muttered back her tone bitter. “The man exiles me from my children and then doesn’t even have the decency to raise them himself he sends them off and pays other people to do it for him. If he couldn’t be bothered to do it why didn’t he let them come and live with me? But no that was his way of punishing me. Just like refusing to let me talk to them or write to them or even bothering to let me know how they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blake chose to keep them from me even if one of them were dying!”
That had never occurred to Cecil in his wildest dreams. Oh he knew Blake Carrington was capable of almost anything in his need to win but to hurt not only his ex-wife but to use his own children to do it. Blake and Cecil’s own father clearly were a matching pair, a pair of bastards.
“I am sorry.” Cecil answered softly unable to quell the urge to reach out to this fragile creature before him, his hand covering hers and squeezing. In some ways she was the Alexis of old, the fire and temper were still there but in place of the light heartedness that had drawn him to the seventeen year old beauty there was a cynicism and bitterness that sharpened her features. Oh she was still the most beautiful of women but she had lost that naivety and joie de vive that had been so refreshing for an already jaded Cecil Colby.
“Why should you be sorry?” Alexis muttered softly. “You tried to warn me, you might think I had forgotten but I hadn’t not really. You don’t know how many times I have looked back over the last two years and wished I had taken your advice…At the time I was just so swept up in the whole whirlwind romance I didn’t stop long enough to really get to know the man I was about to marry…and I thought at the time you were just jealous and wanted to stop the wedding…”
“Oh I was jealous.” Cecil admitted smiling a little at the surprise on Alexis’s face, her emerald eyes widening slightly at his confession. “Wildly jealous actually, I wanted you for myself but that didn’t mean I wasn’t sincere when I told you Blake would try and own you.”
“Well thank you for trying if not succeeding.” Alexis answered glibly a flicker of her former humour in her voice.
“Now let’s not talk about Blake Carrington any more, he has ruined quite enough of my life already without inviting him to the rest of it.” Alexis added shaking off her melancholy as easily as she shook off her coat. “What are you doing in Paris?”
“Working.” Cecil answered with a sigh. “When am I not working?”
“Really you often conduct business in art galleries?” Alexis countered tartly causing Cecil to snort in amusement.
“No the rain is to blame for pushing me into you.”
“Well then here’s to the rain.” Alexis answered lifting her glass in toast, one in which Cecil joined taking a deep sip of the excellent burgundy.
“Well what have you been doing the last two years?”
“Oh a little of this, a little of that.” Alexis answered vaguely, deliberately vaguely Cecil could tell but if she had no desire to confide in him the particulars then he had no right to push “I have been painting though.”
“No I only come to Paris to help set up for some of the spring exhibitions. I belong to a group of artists based down near St Tropez, I spend most of my summer there, then autumn in Italy and winter in Mexico.”
“The life of the jetsetter?”
Smiling over the rim of her glass Alexis muttered. “Something like that.”
“It sounds exciting.”
“It keeps me occupied.” Alexis answered before her emerald eyes lit up. “Now tell me about you, tell me about Jeff, he must be almost a young man by now!”
Laughing and relaxing Cecil allowed her to change the subject, signally the waiter for another bottle of wine. This hadn’t been the way he had expected to spend his afternoon but snuggled in the back of a cosy café, with good wine and food and the company of a beautiful if somewhat cryptic young woman from his past was certainly turning out to be the highlight of his little adventure.
Laughter and too much good wine and entertaining attractive company Cecil felt giddy almost light headed. Although that also might have been the altitude…
“How many more flights is it?” Cecil wheezed a little cursing that rich dessert that was undoubtedly at fault. When he had gentlemanly offered to escort Alexis to her door, unwilling to allow a beautiful woman to wander through the dark Paris streets unprotected, Cecil hadn’t realised it would involve mountain climbing.
“Oh honestly it’s only been two flights of stairs.” Alexis’s laughter echoed around the grand cavernous staircase, bouncing off of the polished marble. “There is only one more Cecil, besides I should be the one complaining, these heels were not made for actually walking miles in.”
Snorting as he slumped down at the top of the next mezzanine Cecil smirked as his gaze wandered down Alexis’s shapely calves to the heels in question, which did look rather high and pointed. “Well why do you wear them if they are so uncomfortable?”
“Normally I don’t walk so much I take a taxi or Pierre from the gallery drops me home.” Alexis answered simply, not adding that Pierre liked to use such an opportunity to hit on her in the hopes Alexis will finally relent to his dubious charms and invite him upstairs, a strategy that had failed every time.
“So remind me why we walked again?” Cecil spluttered remembering the long meandering walk from the gallery, along and across the Seine to the fashionable district where Alexis owned her apartment.
“You wanted to talk, the fresh air was nice and I was enjoying your company too much to object.” Alexis answered charmingly and feeling compassionate she offered Cecil her hand. “Come on now it’s only one more flight of stairs, you wouldn’t want to let little vulnerable me walk all that way on my own?”
Scoffing Cecil rolled his eyes at her delicate flower act, of all the women he had met in his life Alexis was the one most capable of taking care of herself but part of him was flattered she clearly didn’t want him to leave just yet. Accepting her hand Cecil allowed her to help him to his feet, before placing it in the crook of his elbow.
“Once more unto the breech dear friends…” He joked earning a poke in the stomach from Alexis.
“Hmmm well considering you spend all day behind a desk it’s not too bad!” She teased causing Cecil to wince slightly as her pointed fingernails made contact with the slightly softened belly.
Catching her wayward fingers in his other hand Cecil brought them playfully to his lips, kissing the tips. “I am merely getting older Alexis.”
“Oh does that mean I am getting old too?” Alexis feigned affront her beautiful full lips pouting in outrage.
Yet Cecil knew her well enough to see through such pretence for what it was, Alexis fishing for a compliment. “You my dear are still Venus incarnate, the passage of time does nothing but add to your beauty.”
Amused and charmed by Cecil’s reply Alexis couldn’t help but roll her eyes at his dramatic delivery. “Flatterer.”
“Me?” Cecil gasped in mock horror, before clutching their joined hands over his heart as he would before pledging allegiance, this time his expression was surprisingly serious. “I swear on my life…No on Colby Co it is infinitely more valuable…You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and you are even more stunning now then you were at seventeen when you captivated me completely from the first glance.”
For a moment Alexis didn’t answer, glancing up at him from under her lowered lashes she answered softly. “Do you really mean that Cecil?”
“Yes.” Cecil’s answer was immediate and definite and caused a pleased blush to appear on Alexis’s cheeks as they finally reached their destination.
“Thank you.” Alexis’s answer was soft and throaty and Cecil knew it was for more than just escorting her home. Standing on her tip toes Alexis reached up and pressed a kiss to his cheek causing Cecil to blush like a school boy as he inhaled her perfume and felt the brush of her lips against his skin.
Unable to resist the impulse Cecil reached up and lightly stroked Alexis’s alabaster cheek, imprinting this moment in his memory.
“No thank you…today has been magical.” He answered gravelly unable to contain the longing that flooded his entire being, having Alexis here so close had been wonderful and now the thought of leaving her left him suddenly bereft. It made him question if he was really seeing the invitation in her eyes as she leant into his light caress.
It wasn’t until Alexis opened those damned tempting lips and whispered softly, her emerald eyes glinting up at him. “It seems a such shame to end it now…” Her words causing Cecil’s heart to jump in excitement.
Sliding his hand into her hair Cecil tilted her face, pulling her plump lips to meet his own hungry ones as he leant down to kiss her. Slowly drinking her in Cecil all but sighed in contentment as Alexis slid her hands up around his neck; his free hand now circled her waist pulling her closer until her warm body seemed to melt into his own.
Finally breaking the kiss to breathe Cecil’s excitement only grew as Alexis took his trembling hand in her own delicate one, leading him over to her door as she fumbled for the key in her purse. When the door was open she tugged him inside and Cecil was more than happy to follow…It seemed that the highlight of his Paris adventure was still to come.
He didn’t want to leave.
The thought struck him suddenly and to the quick and Cecil almost stopped dead mid stride as he followed the bellboy who was taking his luggage down to the car waiting to take them to the airport.
“Cecil what’s wrong?” Alexis’s voice was low and full of concern as her previously chatty and charming companion’s face suddenly clouded over.
“I just…I wish I didn’t have to run off like this.” Cecil confessed a slight blush staining his handsome features. “I feel like the worst sort of cad, we should be able spent the day together…”
“As I recall we have spent most of the morning together.” Alexis replied suggestively her emerald eyes sparkling with mischief. “I had no idea you had such stamina Cecil but the whole day I am not so sure even I could last that long!”
“I didn’t mean like that.” Cecil insisted his blue eyes serious as he caught Alexis’s elbow and pulled her with him into the lift which was fortunately empty.
“Oh so you didn’t enjoy your morning?” Alexis feigned hurt before allowing Cecil to kiss away her pout.
“I loved every second of this morning, it was incredible, you are incredible.” Cecil reassured her softly. “But I enjoy your company in and out of bed Alexis; I wish I had time to take you to lunch and then spend some time together this afternoon, doing something or nothing it wouldn’t matter as long as it was with you.”
Clearly touched by his unexpected tenderness Alexis blushed lightly her hands sliding up around Cecil’s neck. “I would have enjoyed that…But if you really can’t stay any longer?” She asked lightly yet Cecil could tell she wasn’t as unaffected as she pretended.
“I have a meeting in New York in a few hours that I can’t miss.” Cecil answered sadly as the elevator doors opened and the pair had to pull apart and step out into the lobby. Side by side they made their way out slowly to the waiting car Cecil awkwardly debating just what he should do, part of him wanting to kiss her goodbye and to hell with the audience, the other half of him not wanting to let her go a second before he really had to.
“Well I guess I should be…”
“Come with me…” Cecil blurted out at the same time causing Alexis to look at him in strangled shock.
“To the airport.” He clarified watching in confusion as a look akin to disappointment fluttered across Alexis’s face.
“Unless of course you’d rather not…I know you probably have a hundred things to do that I am keeping you from but I would rather not let you go until I have too…The car will take you back from the airport wherever you need to go…”
“Alright.” Alexis’s soft almost shy reply surprised Cecil as did the way she slipped her gloved hand into his. The ride to the airport was equally as fraught with the same tension and Cecil found himself gripping Alexis’s hand as if afraid she might suddenly vanish.
He kept his hold on her constant for the whole drive, even when he went to check in he released it grudgingly to hand over his ticket and passport before taking it back just as quickly. Finally checked in and baggage relinquished the pair wandered slowly down towards the security gate.
“Well I guess this is goodbye then.” Alexis spoke breaking the melancholy mood that had descended.
“Yes….” Cecil answered his heart in his throat as Alexis reached up to politely kiss his cheek.
“Have a safe trip.”
“Thank you.” Cecil added the pain in his gut only increasing as Alexis tugged her hand free and stepped backward. “Alexis…”
Swallowing as he wracked his brain to find a worthy excuse to delay her further Cecil had a sudden epiphany. “I was wondering…if you wanted me too that is…I could pass a message on to Fallon and Steven…only if you thought it would do any good.” Cecil added quickly on catching sight of the stunned and somewhat stricken expression on Alexis’s face.
Blinking back tears Alexis’s voice was rough with emotion. “You would really do that for me?”
“I would.” Cecil answered simply and honestly himself too surprised to react when Alexis suddenly stepped forward and flung her arms about his shoulders, her lips claiming his with a savage like intensity.
Kissing her soundly, Cecil savoured the feel of her warm body in his arms. Breaking for air he rested his forehead against hers staring deep into emerald eyes that glittered like brilliant jewels from unshed tears.
“Tell them I love them, that I never…I could never stop loving them and that I miss them, they are always with me, in my thoughts every day. That without them a part of me is missing and I would give anything to be able to see them.”
Nodding Cecil kissed her once more, assuring her with every caress that he would find a way to pass her message along. Finally though the sound of the tannoy pulled them back to reality.
“You should go you’ll miss your flight.” Alexis insisted pushing a reluctant Cecil back a pace before reaching up to remove the pink lipstick that had marred his lips and smoothing down the lapels of his suit jacket.
“I know.” Cecil answered he didn’t feel the need to add that he only wished he could.
“Perhaps we might bump into each other again some day? Fate intervened this time…”
“If we are lucky. You take care of yourself.” He added not caring about his appearance as he pulled her close again this time his lips conveying his still unsatisfied hunger he felt for her, if it were not a public place Cecil might have found another way to prove that to her.
Instead he had to satisfy himself with the slightly glazed look in Alexis’s eyes, her thready breathing and the bruised appearance of her full lips. Pulling away Cecil backed towards the security gate, keeping Alexis in his sight until the very last second, when her sudden absence felt like a bright light going out.
Perhaps fate would be kind and throw them together once again? Yet Cecil had always prided himself on being a man who controlled his own destiny. So perhaps it might be prudent if he found a way to give fate a helping hand?
The End....Next Installment Summer in St Tropez
Really like that you're exploring this relationship...great read.
Nice to see Cecil as something other than a jerk. Is this going to be an Alternate Universe, where he and Alexis get together earlier? Or are you going to stick with canon?
Cool! This should turn out to be quite interesting.