The following week Nathalie invited John to come to the other markets with her. She couldn't bear to be apart from him and wanted to introduce him to all her friends and acquaintances. Nathalie had studied design and was now a Home and Fashion Designer. She had her own website and sold a lot of her own designs from that. She liked giving personal advice and had totally revolutionised many of the houses and apartments in the villages. The market stall was her grandfather's idea. He thought she needed to get out in the fresh air and speak to real people. This had inspired her to create more designs and display them on her stand so people could touch them and feel the soft velvets and cool linens. Nathalie loved creating unique spaces to suit the personality of her customers. John sat behind her market stand and watched her with admiration as she chatted to her customers trying to feel what would give them harmony in their lives. He was filled with longing and desire just watching her fingers caress her fabrics, tucking her shiny curtain of hair behind her ear. He 'd loved Rosie and always would, love is not like a switch that can be turned off, but the pain of losing her was now just a memory. What he felt for Nathalie was quite different, an all- consuming passion, just brushing against her at the stand sent electricity through him.
John's mother had guessed immediately that a change had come over her son.
' John dear, I was eight years old when I fell in love in France. There's magic there, I can't explain it, it's something to do with the light. When shall I come and meet her?'
John smiled at his mother's caring anxious tone.
'Come next week with Fiona, Paul and Millie too. There's a sort of French Harvest Festival and they'll be a huge party. Jean- Marie and Bernard will be back then. Be careful with them though Mum, they're quite frail.'
John made a phone call to Mr. Henshaw to tell him he was feeling much better and to apologize for his behaviour.
Mr. Henshaw was delighted to hear from him.
'Actually John I need to ask you something. Our branch in Aix- en -Provence needs a solicitor to deal with expat law . I immediately thought of you but was hesitant until you knew what you wanted to do with your life. The position is yours if you'd like it.'
John felt like shouting with joy.
'I'll think about it Mr. Henshaw and let you know. There's someone I've got to talk to first.'
The gastronomic restaurant was at the bottom of the village and John walked all the way there to clear his head. His head was spinning and he really missed his father. What would he say? He smiled as he imagined him looking at Nathalie and saying ' Cor, John, you're a lucky fellow.'He spoke to the waiter and chose a table then he went to see Nathalie.
The last Saturday in September was always a great occasion in the village perché. Most of the tourists had gone home . The children were back at school and ready to have some fun with their classmates after their long Summer break. Flags and bunting were strung across the streets. The bougainville was still lush and abundant. Nathalie surveyed the tables set out for the grand festival and put the finishing touches to the decorations. Yesterday she had met John's family and they had all taken to each other at first sight. It was meant to be. Her grandfather had watched her with such pride and joy as she made the family so welcome. John's mother had captured their hearts with one scented kiss.
Jean- Marie and Bernard fussed round her all the time and some of the pain that was in her eyes when she arrived seemed to lessen.
John's mother Maggie took Nathalie to one side.
'Thank you for putting the light back in my son's eyes.'
Nathalie thought her heart would burst with all the love that was flowing there.
Just then John came towards her holding on to his little niece, Millie .As he wrapped Nathalie in his arms and kissed her gently on the lips the little girl cried out with a look of sheer delight on her dear little face:)
Oh Uncle John! I told you that you needed kisses and cuddles! You won't hurt anymore now!'