“So what,” she said, “ain’t you going to embrace your fiancée?”

Lex opened his arms, and she threw herself into them with a force that knocked the pork pie hat off his head. Lex squeezed her tight as he whispered: “Welcome to Paris, baby.” Their lips met, and he felt her tongue on his. Lex heard a wolf whistle, and somebody poked his shoulder. Annoyed, he let go of Linda’s mouth, turned his head and saw a fresh-faced youngster handing him his hat. 

“You look well,” Linda said, holding him at arm’s length, “and the traces of red lipstick suit you, sir,” she laughed happily. With her thumb, she removed the smear from his lips. 

“That may be,” he replied, “but you look gorgeous.” Her long hair seemed darker than he remembered—and longer.  

“Nothing like a few months in the pokey to get the best out of you. I can recommend it,” Linda said with a gloomy expression. 

“Thanks, but no thanks. Now that you’re here, I’d prefer to stay out of the nick.” Lex seized her hand and squeezed it. “Let’s head for home. I can’t wait to show you our apartment.” Her emerald eyes became moist. “What’s the matter?” he asked. 

“Thanks for saying ‘our’ apartment. I’m glad you feel that way. I feared our separation might have changed your mind and that you might have run off with some chic Frenchwoman.”

He held her face in his hands and kissed her lightly on the nose. “You can’t imagine how happy I am that you’re here, and I won’t find any Frenchwoman as chic as you.” Lex picked up the suitcases and guided her towards the exit. 

“Have you won the lottery?” she said when he stopped at the red Renault parked by the curb.  

“The car belongs to my aunt, and I’ve borrowed it while she’s visiting her sick mother in Tel Aviv.”

“Not bad to have a supportive uncle and aunt in Paris.”

“You’ll meet him and his kids tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve accepted an invitation for Sunday lunch?”

“Not at all, as long as it’s nobody but us today. We have a bit of catching up to do,” she said with a sultry expression.  

Lex unlocked the car, squeezed one suitcase into the boot, and the other onto the back seat. He opened the sunroof to get the most out of the mild and bright spring day.

As expected on a Saturday lunchtime, the traffic on the Boulevard de Magenta was moderate. Linda gazed around in delight as they passed the trees along the boulevard, their vivid green leaves glowing in the sunshine, the crowded café terraces, the industrious Parisians and the relaxed tourists.

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