Sparx: Retail Therapy...

« Hel-I mean, Bonjourrrr? »
« “Bonjour ma petit fleure, ca va? Oui oui ?  Ah bon, il fait beau ici aussi ! - »

“ You can cut out the deliberately loud talking that I know you are doing; people who hear you can tell you’re English from the accent, so there’s no use pretending. Oh, and you’re not talking fast enough.”

Of course, Melanie completely ignored me, save for sticking out her tongue whilst I heard Erica’s voice spill out of the mobile. I thought I caught a smile before I lowered my head to back between my knees; not quite the foetal position (whilst balanced on a bollard), but certainly approaching the tired stance of a man who can take no more. Browsing, that is.

“What’s that? You’re having a très bon time with Ethan? Yes, that was Sparx you could hear being a total spoil sport- oww cut it out, woman beater!”
– I barely touched her! Well, I don’t think so; I didn’t even bother looking up. Thank god it was Mels and not some random tourist...–
“No it’s been great, wait till you see my new dress it’s to die for!... I know, I’m sorry ‘Ca, but don’t worry we can still shop together, there was this one place where...”

Yeeah, so I tuned out there. Can you blame me? We hadn’t seen a single game store all morning. I’d met French gamers online, they must hide out somewhere round here! Or maybe they were all exiled to the countryside for not being Paris chic. The look that some people gave me just for daring to bare my boxers – not my fault, I forgot to bring a belt...okay, it is my fault. Mels was included in that “some people”; I bet she thought I hadn’t caught her looking at me and sighing in a way that made me feel guilty of simply possessing the Y chromosome and therefore failing to understand her fashion pain.

You want to talk about pain?! I’ve left the only portable gadget I own right back at home; the last time I remember using my phone was to set the alarm, which consequently didn’t go off...stupid, stupid battery! What a great way to start a year of independence, becoming completely dependent on two girls and an Ethan to keep in touch with the world. If I’d saved up and bought that iPhone when I had the chance this would never have happened; you don’t see iPhone owners swanning off around the world without checking the core of their existence was in their pocket first...

Well, it didn’t sound like we were reuniting - or getting any sort of details on the others - for a while, because boy did Melanie have a lot to tell. She’d dragged me down what felt like the longest road in Paris, fulfilled her promise with a breakfast that can only be described as adequate (a ham and cheese foot-long baguette that I demolished in seconds, to her naive astonishment), and then begun the procedure known as “Slow Death by Shopping”.

I mean, apart from trying to avoid staring at those incredibly hot models on the walls for too long, what is there to do when you’re waiting for a girl to come out of a changing room? Which is a lose-lose situation when you’ve promised to pay; you’ve lost your time, or your money...

- How about this one?
- Not in my price range.
- This one?
- Not in anyone’s price range!
- This one...?
- Let’s go Mels.

Even as I thought about it though, this morning seemed further away; literally melted away by the sun as I felt it hot on my back, still, at three in the afternoon.

Melanie was perched on the bollard next to mine, shading her eyes as she looked off into the distance, seemingly through the traffic that surrounded us, filling Erica in on THE bag that was just MADE to match with THE bikini she had bought for the beach in Italy that Erica never, ever shut up about (those last words were mine, not hers). I grinned, remembering that particular shop, even that particular bag; Melanie had been in such awe she could only repeat the words “oh my god” at various speeds, over and over and over. Oh, my god. Oh, my, god! Ohmygod ohmigod omigod!

Tell you what, all that walking and waiting around was worth it for that dress.

 I don’t mean that in a girly, yellow is so your colour, that cut makes your legs look amazing way.

I mean that in a masculine, appreciative way. I don’t really care how designers manage to create clothes that make girls look even hotter - and trust me that’s difficult - I’m just glad that Mel’s temporary sun blindedness means she can’t really tell that someone has noticed how the way she’s sitting with her legs crossed in her new dress makes her look just like a poster girl from the shop she bought it in, or how the sunlight bathing her pale skin (and the arc de triomphe) in warmth was literally changing her in front of, erm, someone’s eyes... Jesus, she could be French if, well, if her accent improved. And there was more than one someone actually; I’ve caught other guys looking already and something tells me that if I wasn’t here then she wouldn’t be sitting alone for long, if you get my drift –

Change your train of thought, now!

Standing up slowly and pretending to stretch, I overheard another stab at the beautiful language I’d attempted to study even further than the others had – to this day the parents believe it would have been more useful than English, which I believe is the language I speak every single day?

“Alors, erm, nous étions mangés, des cream? Yeah, we’ve had an ice cream, and –“
“Psst, Mels,” I leant over so I was blocking her sun, “You just said we’ve were eaten, some ice cream...
“Oh leave us alone Sparky! We’re happy with our franglais! And a bit of personal space would be good too!”
- I wasn’t that close! I just wanted to stage whisper for dramatic effect. Nonetheless I straightened up again, -
“Well, I’m not. Remind me to give you lessons when we get back to the hotel.”
“Erica, we have an offer here for French lessons when we get back! What do you say?”
“When did I mention Erica?”

Even as I raised my eyebrows at her, I had no idea what I was doing. If it did end up just me and Melanie I’d have to ask her to take that dress off first.

And put something else on, that is.

Not when I was in the room, I mean.

Oh shut up Sparx, go sit in a corner before you screw up your gap year.

The End

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