“So, how is married life?” Janine asked Herrold as they waited in the lobby. They were there for a conference held in one of the meeting rooms of Hôtel Napoléon in Paris.
“It’s wonderful,” he replied. “I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
“Good. How long have you been married?”
“Twenty years. We celebrated our wedding anniversary last month.”
“Twenty years? Wow. Hold old are your kids now?”
“Harry is 10 and Henrietta is 8.”
“Twenty years. Ted and I’ve been married for twelve. Well, you’re looking well.”
“Yes, I would say that married life really agrees with you. I wish I could say the same.”
“Aren’t things going well for Ted and you?”
“Well, they were until his mother moved in with us. He and I hardly have time for ourselves and each other. The only time we can spend together is after everyone has gone to bed but that gives us only a couple of hours.”
“Your mother-in-law is living with you?”
“Yes. Ted thinks it would be better for her to live with us rather than by herself.”
“Oh. Is it that bad?”
Janine rolled her eyes. “Sometimes, I’m tempted to leave.”
“Hopefully, things will get better.”
“I guess I should try to be more understanding and accommodating because she is Ted’s mother and our children’s only surviving grandparent.”
“I always find that when things are tough and I pray about it, the situation or crisis becomes manageable.”
“And I find that going on business trips help.”
“Does Ted know how you feel?”
“Yes, he does and he feels badly about it but he doesn’t want his mother to live by herself or in a nursing home.”
“Well, I really hope that you and he are able to sort it all out.”
“I will keep you in my prayers.”
“Thanks. Is this your first time in Paris?” she asked as she sat down facing him.
“Yes. And you?”
“This is my second time. The first time was when Ted and I came for our honeymoon.”
“A honeymoon in Paris sounds wonderful. Mahla and I spent ours on the Amalfi Coast.”
“That’s in Italy, isn’t it?”
“I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.”
“Perhaps you will one day.”
“I’m not sure now that Ted’s mother is living with us.”
“Why don’t you make it a family trip and take her with you?”
She made a face and was about to say something when it was time to head to the meeting room.
After the meeting which lasted the entire day, Herrold hopped into a taxi which took him to the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal where he was staying. He went up to his suite, took a quick shower and changed into a dress shirt and trousers. He had dinner at the hotel and then went for a long walk along the Seine. It was a great way to unwind after a long and tedious day talking business. As he went, he wished that Mahla was there with him. She would have loved this. They would have been holding hands and stopping now and then to smooch.
He smiled at the thought. After twenty years of marriage, they were still madly in love with each other. The head over heels feelings were still there–in fact, they seemed to be getting stronger as time went by. He thanked God for that. Not a day went by when he didn’t thank God for blessing him with an incredible wife and two wonderful kids.
When he returned to the hotel, he went straight up to his suite and after changing into a pair of pajamas, he climbed into the bed and called home. Mahla answered right away.
“Hi, Herrold.” She sounded excited to hear from him although they had spoken just yesterday.
“Hi, Honey. How are you?”
“I’m fine. What about you?”
“Fine. I miss you and the kids.”
“We miss you too.”
“What are you doing?”
“Well, the kids are in bed and I’m in bed, reading Secret messages. What about you?”
“I’m in my hotel room, lying in bed.”
“I wish you were here.”
“I wish I were there too, enjoying your strawberry kisses. The sweet taste of your lips drive me crazy.”
“You think my lips taste sweet?”
“Your lips, your nipples and between your legs all taste sweet.” He closed his eyes as he felt himself becoming aroused.
“You’re getting me all hot and bothered.”
“And I’m very hard right now because I’m imagining that I’m buried deep inside you.”
They were both breathing heavily now.
“How much longer are you going to be away?” she asked.
“I’ll be back on Sunday.” It was Wednesday. Three more days to go.
“I hope the days go by very quickly.”
“Tell me about Paris.”
“It’s a lovely city. It feels more modern than London. There’s one stop sign in the entire city. There’s in a huge sundial in the Place de la Concorde square and the city has a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty.”
“I’ve always wanted to visit Paris.”
“Just tell me when you’d like to come and we will.
“Just the two of us?”
“Yes. The kids can stay with my parents or yours.”
“I like that idea.”
“I thought you would. It will be like a second honeymoon. I will take you for dinner at the Eiffel Tower and then to the top to see a panoramic view of the city. And there, I will take you in my arms and kiss you.”
“You’re such a romantic.”
“You make it extremely easy for me to be.”
“I love you, Honey.”
“I love you too.”
They talked for a while longer and then, ended the call. He settled down to sleep and she finished reading the chapter she had started before calling it a night. They were both eagerly looking forward to being together again.