What happens to Bethany during Chapter 15
. 3. An American... Well You Know, In Paris
After the show, Angelique comes up front to see us. That is, after she shares a pretty friendly embrace with a woman in purple. Now I didn't see that much when I, ahem, walked in on that little incident earlier, but I'm pretty sure that that's the woman she was getting it on with. The woman whispers something in her ear before they separate and Angelique comes over to us.
“My…friend Severine and I would like to invite you to the after-show celebration,” she says. “We would be delighted to have the three of you join us!”
I let out the breath I wasn't aware I was holding. No mention of my seeing her. Good.
The Doctor speaks up. “I apologize, Angelique, but I am feeling quite tired after a long day. I think I will retire for the night.”
“Me too,” Emma adds. “Great show, though. Excellent. You’re a good singer and dancer.”
“Thank you very much!” she says, smiling at them. Then she turns to me. “Bethany, would you like to come along?”
“Will there be the possibility of wine?” I ask. God, I get stupid when the situation is awkward.
Both women laugh. “Darling, we are French. There is always the possibility of wine,” Severine answers.
“I like this idea,” I state. “I’ll come along for a while, have a glass or two…or more…” (probably more). I turn to Emma and The Doctor. “You two going back to the TARDIS?” They both nod. “All right. I’ll be back later. Keep the freaky stuff behind closed doors.”
I wink at Emma and she laughs. She and The Doctor head off, leaving me with two attractive French women. This is going to be a fun night.
After a quick stop back stage to say good night to a few of the performers, we head off. Paris is just as beautiful at night as it is during the day, if not prettier. It's surprisingly cold for June, but I have no idea how late it is, since I left my way-too-modern watch back in the TARDIS.
"So when are the others going to join us?" I ask, trying to catch up to the other two women.
"What others?" Severine says, confused.
"The other performers. This is an after party after all, isn't it? Shouldn't you all be meeting up at the same place?" At least that's how I remember it from my high school theater days.
Angelique laughs. "No, none of the others will be joining us. Well, some of them might be going to the same place, but our party is just the three of us."
"Well where are we going, then?" I inquire. Severine and Angelique look at each other, in a way that only people who are trying to hide something do. "Oh, and by the way, you two can quit it with the act, I know you're together."
They both stare at me, horrified.
"But, how did you find this out?" Angelique asks, a scared look in her eyes. Oh crap, how do I explain this? I can't say I walked in on them... well, you know. Because they obviously are unaware of that.
"Honestly, I'm surprised of you. The fact that I was flirting with you earlier at the crêperie wasn't any indication? The smoking said nothing to you? I really thought that we were able to pick out our own kind. I know that I did."
"When did you know?"
"I knew the second you started playing the pronoun game with than Jean Luc guy or whatever his name is," I say. Which is pretty true. Every gay person does this at some point in their life.
"Jean-Claude," she corrects me, snearing out his name.
"Yeah, that guy. Anyway, men are a waste of time, right?" I say, smirking at them. Their faces soften, and they even manage to laugh a little bit. Then Angelique whispers something in Severine's ear, she nods, and they join hands, turning towards me.
"Change of plans. We want to take you somewhere special," Severine says.
"Oh? And where would this be?" I ask.
"You'll see. Allons-y!" Hm. Apparently certain phrases don't translate...
We start walking in a different direction, towards a darker area of the city, and I start getting worried. Shit, they're aliens, and I'm their sacrifice or something. I knew it. They lead me down an alleyway, to a door that looks like it's falling off the hinges. A knock and a password are exchanged. Oh good, it's just a Speak-Easy, I can deal with that.
Once we get inside, it becomes apparent exactly what this place is. The music is lively, the decorations are lush, and there are men and women dancing a tango on the small dance floor. What separated this from a regular bar, however, was one major thing- the men and women dancing weren't dancing with each other. No, the men were dancing with men, and the women with women.
They had taken me to a gay bar.
"So what do you think?" Angelique asks.
"I like it," I say, still a bit in awe. "I like it a lot."
The ladies introduce me to a small group of their friends, who scoot over in their booth and let us in. There are two men, Andre and Percival (I try not to laugh at his name and ask if his last name was Cox), and three women, Clemence, Lisette, and Noemi (again, I have to hold back a laugh and a reference to Showgirls
). After the introductions are made, we order a few bottles of wine. At first, I take it slow, trying to savor it and enjoy it, since it's fine French wine and all. But after the third glass or so, the savoring and enjoyment turned into something more like gulping.
"So, Bethany, where are you from?" Clemence asks.
"Boston," I say, accepting the cigarette that she offers me and allowing her to light it for me.
"You speak French like a true Parisian! However did you learn so well?" Percival asks. Oh yeah, I forgot that to them, I sound like a native speaker.
"My grandfather grew up in France. I speak English and French at home." This isn't entirely a lie, since my paternal grandfather did grow up in a bilingual household. "It's a great asset in America, especially as a writer."
"You're a writer then?" someone else asks.
"Yes, I'm a journalist, I write for The Boston..." quick, Bethany, think. What were the papers in the 1920s? "Herald." I didn't want to use the name of the publication that had let me down, but it was the first thing that came into my head.
We continue talking and drinking for a long time. Andre and Percival go off to dance, and Severine and Angelique go to sit at a more private table, leaving me with the three other women.
"What brings you to Paris? Angelique says you are traveling with two others," Noemi says.
"Yes, The Doctor and Emma. Emma had met him before I did," I say. At this point I notice her: an attractive blonde in a lavender dress. She's watching me. I can deal with that. I look at her, as well, making sure we make eye contact, just so she knows that I know she's doing it.
Percival pokes me. I get up so he and Andre can sit back down.
"Oh, sorry about that, Per. Can I call you Per?"
"Okay Per. Anyway, to finish my story. The Doctor" oh crap, can't say he's a time-and-space-traveling alien, need a cover. "He, uh, recently came into a substantial amount of money, and he decided that he was going to do some traveling. Emma invited me along, after showing up on my doorstep out of nowhere one day."
"And how did you and Emma meet? Is she from Boston as well?"
"No, she's from Atlanta. We'd never met in person before."
"How would that work?" Lisette asks. Oh shit. I'm too drunk for this.
"Sorry, but does this place have a bathroom?" I ask, hoping to get out of answering her. I am directed to cross the room and use the second door I see. I do so, using the bathroom, checking myself out in the mirror, and coming back out to sit at a booth by myself. I didn't need any more interrogations.
I make eye contact with The Mysterious Blonde again, because I can feel her eyes on me as I sit there. She smiles. Then she stands up and starts walking over. Oh god.
"Hi," I blurt out as soon as she gets close enough.
"Hello," she responds, sitting down next to me. "I noticed you came in with Angelique and Severine. Do you know them?"
"My friends and I met Angelique this afternoon, she invited us to her show, and we were introduced to Severine after."
"Where are your friends now?" she asks, crossing her legs very elegantly. I gulp audibly.
"They went back to the, um, the hotel. Yes, the hotel. We're here traveling, so we're staying at a hotel. Well, they went to their room at the hotel, I have my own room there." Keep talking Bethany, maybe you'll say something coherent at some point.
"Ah, they are a couple, then."
She nods, humming to herself a bit. "So you are here with Angelique and her lady-friend, can I assume that you are..."
"American? Yes," I say with a smirk. Finally, something witty. She giggles. "Yes, I am. Feels good to be able to say that, actually. This whole place just feels good. Nice to be in like-minded company."
"Yes, it is good to be around others who are different. Makes you feel like you're almost normal." She picks her drink up off the table, where she had set it, and takes a quick sip. Then she turns to me. "Do you kiss on the first date?" she asks, resting her hand on my knee. I freeze up. This is going kinda fast.
She laughs. "What do you mean, 'what?'"
"I don't know, why not?"
I smile slightly. "Yes, usually I do."
"Well that's good to know," she says, winking at me. I stare at her blankly, until she starts laughing again. I blink a bit, and she backs off, removing her hand from my leg and leaning back in the booth. "Fine, don't kiss me, then."
"No!" I say, flustered. "That's not what I meant. I just find it funny."
"Find what funny?"
"I don't know, the fact that you want to kiss me. I can't say that I'm exactly an expert on this kind of thing," I say sheepishly. This is the truth, sadly. I fail miserably at hitting on people.
"Am I wrong to want to?" she asks, leaning in a little more. Oh my god, she smells like lilacs.
"N-no," I stammer.
"Do you want to?" Her eyes are green. Pretty.
"Yes," I say, swallowing. She smiles. I can feel myself blushing. "Here I am thinking that I want to kiss you, but not knowing if that's a good idea. There you are thinking the same thing." What the hell am I babbling about? I must sound like a complete idiot.
"I didn't think you would..." she trails off, gazing over my shoulder.
"I've been trying to flirt but haven't gotten much of a reaction out of you," she teases, making eye contact with me again and slapping me lightly on the knee.
"Well, that's me, I'm so incredibly oblivious about most things," I say, and I can feel my insides shaking. Why am I so nervous? Probably because I'm drunk. No, who am I kidding, I'm barely buzzed, and I'm this awkward sober, too.
"Well I hope this is clear enough for you," she says, closing the distance between us. Okay then. This is nice. Not what I had been expecting when I came to Paris, but not that I mind, because getting some action's always a good thing. Especially considering the last time I...
"Ow!" she pulls away.
"I... I think you bit me," she says, holding her lip. Oh no, I've screwed this up already. No, wait, she's laughing now. I join her.
"Pretty obvious I haven't done this in a while, huh?" I say, still giggling a bit. "So, uh, wanna try that again?" I ask, arching an eyebrow. I dart my eyes around a bit, then realize that I don't have to worry about anyone objecting, and go for it.
It's much better this time, now that the first kiss is out of the way and we're more aware of what the other is doing, not just being fumbly and weird.
That done and all the awkwardness over with, I ask her to dance. Then I warn her that she's going to have to lead, because I never really learned to dance formally. We attempt... some dance, I don't know the name of it at all. It's awful, I keep stepping on her toes and she half-pulls me the whole time. By the time the song ends, we're both frustrated, so we decide to forgo dancing for the rest of the night. I notice that most of my former party has left. I wonder how late it is.
"What time is it?" I ask. She looks at me kind of funny. I wonder why.
"Il est minuit et demi," she says.
Wait. She said that in French. I'm supposed to hear English. What the hell is happening? Is there a problem with the translation?
"I have to get back. There's a problem." I turn to the mystery woman again. There are tears in her eyes. She looks really confused.
"Pourquoi are you speaking anglais?" Oh that's just lovely. 50% translation. I have to get out of here fast, before we can't understand each other at all. I muster all my sixth-grade French knowledge and ask her an important question, the one I wanted to learn all night-
"Comment vous appellez-vous?"
"Chimere," she says. Such a pretty name. Such a pretty woman. But I have to leave before she suspects any more. "I'm Bethany," I say, kissing her one last time. "I have to leave. I hope you understand."
"Will I see you tomorrow night?" she asks, a hopeful tone to her voice.
"No, I don't think you will. We'll probably be leaving before I have a chance to see you again."
"Where are you going next?" she asks, as I run off.
"Wherever fate leads us!" I yell, turning the corner and finding myself on a street I do not recognize. Each person I meet gets greeted with "Champ de Mars? Tour Eiffel?" A few get "¿Dónde está Champ de Mars? ¡Tengo que ir alli!" I need to get to The Doctor, something might be wrong. Luckily there is a man somewhere who speaks Spanish, and he helps me get back to where I need to be.
As soon as I see the TARDIS, I go running for it, banging on the door as hard as I can. When The Doctor opens the door, I go barreling in, looking around in terror.
"What's the problem? I was out and the translation just started to fade on me. Is there something wrong?"
He takes me by the shoulder, making me stop and look at him. "Nothing's the matter. Are you sure you aren't just very drunk?"
"No, considering the fact that the lady I was getting pretty cozy with couldn't understand me and asked why I was speaking English. I mean, I think that's what she asked me," I sputter out,
"Ah, yes, the Cinderella Effect," he states, placing his book onto the console. "The TARDIS can be a bit of a trickster when she wants to. If someone's doing something she doesn't necessarily approve of, like staying out late, she can... deprive you of certain privileges."
"Such as translation," I mutter.
"Yes, exactly!" he says, annoyingly amused. "Now, let's get you to bed, shall we?" He takes me by the elbow, attempting to lead me back to my room.
"I know where my room is! I'm not that drunk!" I slur at him. Okay, so maybe I am that drunk, but I don't need his help.
He backs off. "Fine, fine, just try not to disturb Emma, all right? She's asleep."
"Yeah yeah, whatever," I say, stumbling off down the hallway. Of course, by the time I reached Emma's room, I had forgotten that, and felt the need to announce an interesting fact about my night. “We really are everywhere!” I yell, knocking on the door. I hear The Doctor yell something like "Oy, keep it down!" and I sneak off to my room, to dream about missed opportunities. Hopefully I forget all of this in the morning.