Lorraine's past catches up to her, and is he gorgeous!
Lorraine's anger towards herself was absolute. Two year's time made no difference. The first glance of Philippe brought back every memory she carried of his physical appearance. Like it or not, he was a part of her as she was of him. Philippe's stunning appearance still had the power to immobilize Lorraine. He was now one of the very few men who became more attractive with the appearance of gray hair. In fact, her second look revealed the hair around the temples adapted the color of silver. The contrast against his curly ebony hair only added to his attributes. She felt herself melting every time he displayed his dimpled smile. If these recollections were present, Lorraine was sure the other memories were sure to follow. That part of her life was what she wished to remain entombed forever.
"Philippe," Lorraine said. "What are you doing here?"
"You don't know?" Philippe replied. He kissed her hand then winked at her. The warmth of his smile could melt the North Pole. Even Lorraine's heart wasn't that frigid.
He couldn't have pick a worse time to visit, Lorraine thought. She desired no part of any man outside of business associations. Otherwise, her mind and body would not have the opportunity to recuperate from Gene's attack. She needed time to prepare herself to face Gene in court as his accuser. To fathom Philippe's reason for his appearance would take more time than Lorraine was willing to donate.
"Speechless?" he asked. "This is a side of you I have never seen before."
"Don't let it go to you head," she replied.
"Too late. Am I to freeze out here, or are you going to invite me in?"
"It's not cold, but you can come in."
As Philippe walked into the house, he leaned towards Lorraine for a kiss. She turned her back to him and entered the house. He stood in the doorframe and watched her walk down the hall. One look of this captivating woman told him everything. She still had the fire, high spirit, and passion that allured her to him so many years ago. He couldn't hold back his laughter from her reaction to his attempted kiss. He closed the door, removed his hat and coat and placed them on the Chippendale easy chair next to the door. Philippe followed Lorraine into the living room.
He approached Lorraine's bar, opened a bottle of Dom Perion, and poured two glasses. He moved throughout the room as if he had visited here yesterday. He picked up a glass in each hand and walked to the opposite side of the room. He held one glass out of Lorraine who stood next to the sofa. With a look of disapproval, she accepted the glass.
"Cheers," he said, as they both took a sip.
"I didn't say you could have a drink," Lorraine said.
"Yes you did," Philippe replied. "You gave me permission when you opened the door. Not only did you allow me in your home, but you led me into your living room, too. So, why don't we sit down and have a nice little chat?"
Philippe sat down on the sofa. He smiled as he patted the space next to him. Lorraine sat down on the opposite side of the couch. He gazed as her, giggled, and took another sip of his drink. He studied the room and it contents. The furniture resided in new locations; yet, nothing had been added or removed. "It's been quite a while since the last time I sat here," he said. "Too long."
"Not for me," Lorraine replied.
"Two years' time can do a lot. Wounds can heal. Hearts can mend."
"Maybe. Maybe not."
"That happened a long time ago. Don't tell me that you're still bitter."
"I was never bitter."
"No? You were rather cold when you ended our relationship."
"It was time to move on Philippe. We had nothing more to share together."
Philippe stared at Lorraine as she spoke her lie to him. He found it impossible to conceive that she believed any part of what she said to him. "You've had more than enough time to concoct justification for leaving me," Philippe said. "But for the sake of our intelligence, try another excuse. I don't have the patience for that one."
Twenty-five years had passed since Lorraine and Philippe met. Even with all those years gone, he remembered every moment they shared together. All of the events were as fresh as the day they happened. Even now, he recalled his nervous approach to the bench she sat on and the introduction he stumbled through. Within two months, Philippe was in love with Lorraine. Soon afterwards, he won her heart. Convinced this was the woman for him, he bought an engagement ring. He practiced his marriage proposal a thousand times in his head. He soon discovered all of his efforts would go awry.
A knock at his apartment door drew him to see one of Lorraine's closest friends. She handed an envelope to Philippe with one sentence: "Lorraine asked me to give this to you." She turned around and left without allowing Philippe to call out to her. Instead, he closed the door and opened the envelope to:
There's no good way to say this. I am engaged to marry my childhood sweetheart. We will wed four months from now. I have no words to excuse what I have done to you. I only hope in time, you will forgive me. Although I will never see you again, I will always love you and keep you in my heart forever.
Philippe tossed the note, grabbed his keys, and ran out of his apartment. He was a near-miss accident on several occasions as he raced to Lorraine's house. To his dismay, this was all in vain. Instead of confronting Lorraine, Philippe met Lorraine's father. He instructed Philippe to leave the property without any explanation.
Philippe continued his efforts to contact Lorraine until a final call from her father. He went so far as to hire security to attend the wedding to prevent Philippe from stopping the vows. Not wanting to face a restraining order, he conceded his quest to reach Lorraine. Too devastated to be so close to his beloved without belonging to her, Philippe moved to Chicago.
Unlike most couples, they got a second chance for love. The hands of fate determined that Philippe and Lorraine would reunite.
Like Lorraine, Philippe was the victim of an ill-fated marriage. After his divorce, he searched for ways to release the anguish he obtained while he lived with his wife. He became involved in several relationships, none ever lasting more than six months. None of them offered complete resolution from his ex-wife.
Then he received a call from Los Angeles. Lorraine was spotted by a friend of Philippe's. His friend added that Lorraine was seen in a small upscale community known as Baldwin Hills. Philippe wasted no time in catching the next flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Within three months after locating her, he moved his law practice to Los Angeles. Immediately after relocating, he romanced her and re-won her love.
Assuring their permanent bond in life became Philippe's priority. He shopped for two weeks in the downtown jewelry district before finding the ring that was worthy of Lorraine's hand. Alas, before he proposed to her, destiny intervened and postponed their future.
Lorraine disappeared from Baldwin Hills. In a frantic state, Philippe searched for her. He called everyone in Lorraine's telephone book supplied by Basia, but to no avail. Out of desperation, he hired outside assistance. With the help of a private investigator, Philippe tracked Lorraine to the island of Oahu in Hawaii. After cornering her in a hotel suite, Lorraine told him that their relationship was over.
With his world in ruin for a second time, Philippe returned to his beach front home in Huntington Beach. He shut himself off from the world. Even Oscar had difficulty in convincing Philippe to open the front door. That feat was accomplished only after continuous phone calls for an entire week. Oscar didn't think twice when Philippe finally opened the front door. He shoved his friend's house keys into his pocket and carried Philippe to the emergency room. Recovery came quick to Philippe's physical state. However, the doctors would not allow Philippe to leave until he ate and they were able to re-hydrate him. Yet, as hard as he tried to camouflage, Philippe's heart remained tormented.
"Don't blow me off," Philippe said. "We've been through everything together. We mean too much to each other."
"We meant a lot to each other," Lorraine said. "But that's in the past. We ended our affair."
"Correction. You ended our relationship two years ago. I could accept it if you offered an explanation. But you said nothing. Why Lorraine? Why didn't you tell me that something was wrong?"
Her day of reckoning had arrived. She made the mistake of allowing an audience for Philippe. No matter what she did, he would not leave her home until his demand was met. She had the option to force him out, but that would only prolong the inevitable. Only a reason for her closure of their affair would satisfy Philippe.
"I see no reason to discuss this now," Lorraine said as she turned and faced the front window. "Besides, I'm seeing someone else now."
She had lost count of the times she heard that sigh of disapproval. Wishing that Philippe would believe her lie was something she knew would not come to past. Philippe possessed a talent of reading people. He took advantage of his gift in his profession. Lorraine assumed that Philippe came across people who deceived much better than she. She hoped that he would recognize her attempt to avoid the forthcoming debate. Yet, in her heart, she knew he would not give up until she told him the truth. For that reason, Lorraine turned away from Philippe. One look at her face would divulge to him that this story of another relationship was only that- a story.
"You mean that jobless jock everyone has seen you with?" Philippe asked. "You're going to have to do better than that. Besides, that still doesn't answer my question."
"I'm not obligated to give you an answer," Lorraine replied. "It makes no difference now."
"You know very well that it does."
She's just as stubborn as ever, he thought. She prepared herself to take her stand on this until one of them backed down. This conversation could endure until sunrise. He was not prepared to embark on a battle this evening. "If you don't want to tell me why you ended our affair, that's fine. I'll let it go, for now."
Philippe voiced the words that Lorraine wanted to hear. Yet, her curiosity had been aroused. She didn't doubt the man Philippe referred to was Gene. Finding out about him was not a difficult task. Most tabloid papers in town carried the story. What surprised her was his nonchalant behavior toward her interest in another man. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, she thought. Lorraine saw the opportunity to use Philippe's so-called discovery to her advantage.
"I know many men," Lorraine said. "That's not an issue. If you're referring to my private trainer-"
"Don't insult my intelligence darling," Philippe replied. "You haven't used a trainer to work out in years. From the looks of it, you're doing well all by yourself."
He rested his arm on the back of the sofa and turned towards her. Many would interpret this as a movement towards relaxation. Yet, Lorraine knew better to believe that. Philippe was the only man she knew who could retain this physical state and debate the most controversial topic. His dominant presence was growing and she didn't want to receive its ending state. Lorraine arose and began walking to the front window.
"Too much heat for you?" he asked.
She turned around and frowned at him. "I can take anything you can dish out," she said.
"We both know that's a lie. You proved that when you ran to Hawaii. And you're doing the same thing right now. So before you start playing games I'll win in the end, let's get a few things established. You know how I hate to waste time. Don't tell me how much you're in love with this- trainer everyone sees you with. At best, you're experiencing infatuation."
He set his drink on the table and walked. "There's only one man you have ever loved," he said as he stood beside her. "Like you said yourself, it wasn't your ex-husband, either."
"Really? Who was the man I have given my undivided love to?"
He smiled as he extended his hand around her waist. "Who do you think?" he asked as he pulled her closer to him. She pushed him away as he leaned to claim his long awaited kiss.
"No," she said. "I will not let you do this to me. You can't walk in here as if nothing has happened."
"The only thing that has changed is the date on the calendar. You need to change your order of priorities. You're too old to run around with boys half your age."
"Whom I see is my own affair. For you information, I don't rob cradles."
"That's not what the press thinks. I caught a glance of you and your playmate in a tabloid at the checkout counter. You should practice a little more discretion darling. You make yourself too accessible for the paparazzi."
"I don't exactly invite photographers to follow me Philippe."
"I'm sure. You would've done better to be more discreet about where you went out with your girl toy."
"Two years is a long time Philippe. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship I have now. The fact is I am over you, and it's time you move on, too."
He leaned towards her and smiled. "This is a temporary situation," he said. "Mr. All-muscle and-no-brains is practically out of the door."
She moved closer to the table next to the window. "It's time to face the hard truth," Lorraine said "Gene and I are in love. You and I will never get back together. If you ask me, I think you're jealous because he shares my bed instead of you."
Philippe studied Lorraine as she declared her devotion to Gene. She tapped her finger on the table in a slow, rhythmic manner. Some habits die hard, he thought. As long as she kept hers, he would always know when she was lying.
"Careful," he said. "If you say that enough times, you may convince yourself that's it's true."
"Why would I lie?" she asked.
"For the same reason you disappeared to Hawaii."
Lorraine returned to the coffee table. She picked up Philippe's glass and walked to him. "Here," she said. "You need to finish this now. After that, well, it'll be time for you to leave."
Philippe accepted the glass only long enough to place it on the table. "The time has come," he said, "but not for me. You need to stop playing games. I'm getting tired of them, and you're wasting time."
"You never could take no for an answer."
"That's what makes me a good lawyer."
She reached her limit of tolerance. She had no desire to do battle with one of the top attorneys in Los Angeles. She never won a match of words against him. Any aspiration to engage in a destined defeat was nonexistent. She turned and walked to the door. Her speed had no bearing; he arrived first and blocked the way.
"Move!" she yelled. "I will not have this going on in my house."
"Stop it," he said. "You're using him as a barrier. You failed to put a wedge between us two years ago because I was the only man in your life. I still am. If it didn't work then, it definitely won't fly now."
"That's okay by me too. Now that you've made your point, why don't you do us both a favor?"
Lorraine reached around Philippe and grabbed the doorknob. He took a firm grip of her arm as he stepped away from the door. "Why do you think I'm here?" he asked.
"To do what you do best," she replied. "That is- annoy me."
She once again pushed for the door. "You have no right to do this. This is my house. You have no right to hold me captive."
"Cut the dramatics. I have never held you against you will. Stop being so difficult, and things will go much smoother. All you have to do is stop fighting against what you want most."
"I want you to take your courtroom reasoning and leave."
"Not until you come to your senses and stop behaving like a child. I'm on to you my dear. Except for sex, there's nothing going on between the two of you. Don't get me wrong. I'm not happy about it. The only consolation is you see my face when you're in bed with him. You will always love me. The reason we're not together now is because you're afraid."