Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Stories from Le Bar Marché - Jack finds love at the Bar Marchè

Jack settled the children around the flimsy table and hoisted the baby on to his knee. The six -year -old, Emma studied the menu. Since she'd started school she loved to read anything she could get her hands on. Claire had had to cancel her subscription to Cosmopolitan.

Emma would ask Claire loudly in the supermarket 'what makes daddy roar ?'or ' what's a position?'

 The three -year -old twins were busy jabbering away repeating the French words they had picked up.' Bonjour, au revoir 'and their favourite' oui oui.

'The baby stared at the accordion player with the intensity of a record producer about to discover an amazing new sound.

Claire produced a jar from the depths of her huge bag and started spooning the gooey contents into the baby's mouth. Some of it slopped onto Jack's shorts and then onto Claire 's sundress. She rubbed it away with the babywipes and licked the spoon. Jack was still surprised by her carefree attitude to life, her casual nonchalance.
When he was growing up if he had so much as pressed his nose up against the window his mother would have whisked him away and got out her window cleaner in a flash.

The man at the next table moved his chair away from the twins. He glanced at Jack with a frown on his face and whispered something to his companion, smirking.
Jack took in the man's designer clothes, the smart white polo shirt, beige chinos and white moccasins. His hand was on the knee of his beautiful companion. She had a tiny white pair of shorts and a white camisole top. They were both wearing enormous sunglasses and sipping rose wine. Jack imagined them staying at the same hotel as Matt and Flora or on a luxury yacht waking up to the lapping of the waves and stopping for lunch at St.Tropez.  It was a vision of what Jack had had in mind when he was planning his life.

Jack tried to remember who it was that had said ' Life is what happens while you're making other plans'. He was useless at remembering who said quotes. It could have been Che Guevara or Winnie the Pooh.
Whoever it was had got it right.
 His dream had been to wear Armani suits, wine and dine beautiful women in fancy restaurants and have a sleek sports car. He 'd had one foot on the ladder when he got into university to read Law.
 Then his parents had decided they hated each other and at last explained why the three of them had spent the last twenty years sitting in stony silence.
 His father had moved to Cyprus and set up a Marina. His mother had got a job in a girl's boarding school and gone to live in a cottage in the grounds.
 Jack's sense of disorientation was somewhat muted by his amazing popularity at university. He was constantly surrounded by admiriing girls who said he looked like Jude Law and everyone wanted to be his friend. On graduating he got a job at a top Law firm.
 He was just about to buy his first Armani suit when Claire had appeared from nowhere, plucked him out of the throng of leggy beauties, picked him up by the scruff of the neck and marched him down the aisle.
 At least that's what it felt like. He didn't even remember proposing to her.
 Claire never stopped telling him how wonderful he was. She said she was the luckiest woman in the world and was constantly finding amazing and surprising ways to show him. This had resulted in four children in six years. Each one a carbon copy of Jack with their golden brown eyes and curly blonde hair.
He had become engulfed in Claire's large exuberant and enthusiastic family and now worked in a small solicitor's in the town where they lived.
 Claire liked him to be home in the evenings for bathtime and bedtime stories with the children.
 His secretary was a mature, brisk, efficient friend of his brother-in-law.

 Now they were on holiday in his mother- in- law's caravan and they had come to the local market. Claire had bought spices and herbs to take home for her mum who loved making enormous Thai curries and inviting the whole family round to share them.
 Claire's family were always helping each other out.
 Her dad thought nothing of jumping into the car at 4 0 clock in the morning to fetch one of Claire's  brothers from the airport. He actually enjoyed it. He said it gave him a chance to catch up on their news.

Jack tried to catch Claire's eye to tell her about sam's first word, but she wouldn't look at him.
 She  was swaying in time to the busker's music, her eyes half closed and a blissful look on her face.
 He always loved watching her dance. He often came home from work and found her singing away in the kitchen, dishing up the children's suppers, wriggling her hips and playing to her captivated audience.

 Jack looked at the couple at the table, they had started arguing, she snatched her hand away and her mouth became a thin hard line.
 Jack looked across at Claire, a smile was playing on her lips. Her brown hair and eyes were gleaming gold in the sun. She looked warm and soft and inviting. Jack's heart missed a beat as he thought about what she'd done to him last night in the cramped bed in the caravan, he felt dizzy with desire.
'I'd like a Schweppes!' Said the six -year -old loudly.
The twins thought this was hilarious and noisily practised saying the strange new word.'ships, sweeps, sheeps!'
The baby clapped his fat little hands together enthusiastically.
The accordion player bowed theatrically as Claire handed him some coins and said 'merci.'
Then she leant forward and said gently to the six -year- old ,' I'll have a Schweppes  Emma and you can try it, but I think you'll be happier with some lemonade.'
At the mention of lemonade, order was restored. The waiter came forward to take their order.
Jack laid his hand on Claire 's thigh and squeezed it.She immediately covered it with hers and stroked his cheek.
'I'm so lucky.' he said,' I love you Claire.'

Love birds on a betrothal cup

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