Excerpt from Chapter 21 - Marceline and Rôméo each find Love.

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  "…Sorry, Richard, I'm not embarrassed with your question or anything like that, it's just that the whole Parfait family has that trait; although the men are able to suppress it. Sometimes they use a strong scotch whiskey, it hits them right in the solar plexus, like a low-level punch. Then after some alcoholic reinforcement things settled down. The women just get red in the face and turn away to apply more face powder. Yes, Richard, you could be my prince in shining armor, and to expand my explanation, at this time Darôk is just my business associate. We where put together by chance and the demands of technology in Belize, under direction of my Uncle Phillípe. Our meeting, which was quite impromptu, was based on some whim of my uncle and his intent to exploit my invention and patent."

"Well, thank you for that bit of honesty, my love but I'm twenty-eight; and you are?"

"I'm twenty-two, Richard, but Darôk is also twenty-eight; that's quite a difference in ages and he is from another country and culture."

"You know what they say about forbidden fruit, Marceline, it is more interesting when it is foreign?"

"If I may speak of it Richard, my brother Rôméo was in a similar situation as we are in now, and currently through the grace of God, he has settled down. Now he is going with a girl from Romania and they are steadies; in fact, he has asked her to marry him. We talked about his engagement on Face time, and I think by now, she could be his lovely fiancée, Arianña. She is a lovely girl, and I think Ms. Ceréască will be driving back to France with him in the spring. So, if everyone's luck holds, we will all meet up at our home next year on the Côte d'Azur for the summer's holiday season. He will be racing in the Monte Carlo, Grand Prix in May."

"That was fortunate for him, Marceline, finding a lovely girlfriend and possible life mate while on business. Did he meet her in Romania or in Europe somewhere?"

"Well, Eastern Europe actually; they met a stationary store in Constantça, Romania, when he was looking for high-quality gold-plated ink pens to sign a big multi-year contract for a large shipment of Romanian hardwoods. They have a tradition over there that a big deal requires a formal signing, with souvenir pens for each executive participant.""How unique, and in her case romantic, Marceline. Meeting at an ordinary stationary store and falling in love. I suppose it could happen anywhere on this wonderful planet."

"Even a lumber town like Redwoodville, amongst forest-covered mountains?"

"Why yes of course, Marceline my dear. Even here…I mean… it could happen anywhere."

Marceline, took a chance that Richard understood what she meant by her remark, and kissed him on his cheek. It was a light peck just to say, 'I love you' but not much more than that. Marceline figured that if she was going to be embarrassed and red faced it should be worth something.

Richard kissed her back full on her lips with passions built up from months, perhaps years of not expressing his emotion; just conveying good judgment, metered out cautiously to passing strangers at the Humboldt Inn for their benefit not his. The two impromptu lovers then sank into the realm of love on that settee. They embraced for a time, felt their passions welling up between them and then sat apart, like two young lovers on their first date. As they let their passion cool a bit, Richard broke the silence by saying, "Our meeting here like this, in this semi-evening light with one small luminaire casting deep shadows across the inn reception room, is like Rodolfo and Mimi, getting together over matches and candles in Giacomo Puccini opera 'La Boheme'"

"Oh, you know that opera, Richard?"

"Yes; that music moves me to tears without reason when Mimi sings her aria about her being a poor embroidery worker and what the month of April, as a harbinger of spring and the bringer of flowers means to her. I think that opera is the world's most romantic. I'm glad you like it, Marceline."

"For me it was a three-handkerchief affair Richard; it was a terribly romantic story; she is very frail, and in spite of that makes a large beautiful embroidery for her employer, but soon dies of consumption at the end."    Richard added his bit of understanding about the opera, by saying, "Puccini must have had the purposeful intention of making a very moving opera; either that or he had stock in a worldwide tissue production company."

"That's an interesting angle, Richard, whenever I hear that opera, I will think of my brother and his circumstance of meeting his fiancé while looking for a one-of-a kind writing instrument. Along with very grand pen from a downtown Constantça street, he discovered the love of his life. Her name is Arianña Pasăre, which means beautiful bird in Romanian."

"Now and forever more, Marceline, after this conversation, when I hear La Boheme, I will always think of two modern-day lovers meeting over an ink pen. I also hope your family's plan for the summer holiday is warmly fulfilled and this Arianña is everything your brother needs to fulfill his life..."

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