For this #TeaserTuesday, I thought I’d share the first chapter of LOVE IN B MINOR. Crossing my fingers you enjoy it!
Kneeing a guy in the balls might not be the best idea.
And not because the guy in question is one of those up and coming actors everyone says will be the next Leonardo DiCaprio, but because I don’t want my friend Alisha to get in trouble. This club is new in Paris, but is already considered to be the “it” club. It’s full of important people, and Alisha begged her cousin every single day for the past three weeks to find a way to get us in. He’s DJ-ing and his music is the only part of this evening that doesn’t suck.
“I think Scorsese is going to ask me to play the main role in his next movie. He needs a hero who speaks French. Hello? I’m French.” His voice is way too close to my ear and I scoot away. But he doesn’t get it. “I’ve got to ask for my friend over there.” He points to someone who could be a doppelganger of Justin Bieber. “Do you have another friend or a sister maybe? He’s feeling lonely.”
My heart tightens and my eyes lock on the bottles lined up behind the bar. But concentrating on their bright colors or on the way the bartender manages to pour four drinks at once doesn’t stop the pain from nesting itself deep in my chest.
I had a sister.
“Did I say something wrong?” It seems Bjorn the Actor can be perceptive after all.
I inhale and exhale slowly.
If I lose it, it’s going to be the second time this week. I couldn’t hold back the tears after my ballet company’s director—Igor—yelled at me telling me I should have stayed in New York. Those words resonated in my heart and as soon as I got to my apartment, I plopped myself on my couch, held one of the last drawings my sister did for me and let the tears fall.
Future DiCaprio leans in and his cologne’s too strong, making me want to gag. “You need to cheer up, angel. Can I get you another drink?”
I shake my head, still staring straight ahead, hoping he finally gets the message.
“Come on, beautiful. I’ve heard some amazing things about American girls.” Even his voice is sleazy.
I push his hand away from my shoulder. I really don’t want to know what he’s heard about American girls. Or about Asian girls. Or about black girls. Which I’m sure is going to come next, since he’s already asked me where my parents were from. He probably wouldn’t care that my great-grandparents on my mother’s side came from Japan, and that my grandfather on my father’s side was born in Guinea and played soccer in Ireland, where he met my grandmother. Their relationship was scandalous at the time. Both my parents were born in the US, and when I told him that, he snickered.
His French accent isn’t even redeeming his assholery.
I stand up so fast the barstool almost falls, but I catch it and put on my leather jacket over my silky red halter top, leaving my barely sipped mojito on the counter. One of the perks of being nineteen in Paris. No need for fake ID. Even though tipping isn’t as common here, I leave two euros next to my drink and the bartender nods my way with a smile that doesn’t only say thank you, but also that she knows how annoying this guy is.
“I need some fresh air.” My fake smile must resemble a grimace because he raises an eyebrow, looking confused, but I don’t give him any time to reply. Instead, I shuffle through the bodies crowding the center of the VIP room.
Alisha is sitting in one of the corner booths. Laughing and leaning into Steve, who she met tonight. He’s from Ohio and is apparently the new member of a rock band which is looking to make a comeback after some internal issues. Whatever that means. He’s built like a footballer and is entirely bald—not Alisha’s usual style, but she seems like she’s having the time of her life.
“I’m going to get some fresh air,” I whisper in her ear and she jumps up, shrieking so loudly heads turn our way. Even Bjorn the Actor. Crap.
“I didn’t see you coming!”
“You did indeed look quite busy there.” I smile at Steve, who grins back, showing one dimple. If his band makes it to the top, Alisha’s going to have to deal with a bunch of groupies. She’s usually a boyfriend type. Her last relationship lasted eighteen months and it’s the first time she’s been out since it ended. “I’ll be back, I swear. I only need to escape Douchey McDouchey.”
She frowns and glances at the bar, where Bjorn sits. He’s looking for someone and I sure don’t want to be found. “You can sit with us.” She taps the seat next to her, but she and Steve seem way too cozy for me to impose.
“No. I’ll be fine. The girl sitting behind us has been shooting me death glares ever since he bought me a drink. I’m pretty sure she’s about to make her move, and I’m pretty sure he’s not going to refuse.”
“You’re going to be cold.” She eyes my opened jacket, which is more a fashion statement than anything else. I checked my big winter coat at the entrance.
“I’ll only be five minutes.” I step away. “I’ll be right back, I promise.”
She purses her lips, as if she’s thinking really hard about what she should do. “I promise,” I repeat and step away from them, hurrying to the exit door. I get my hand stamped and slide past the bouncer.
I breathe in the air of Paris. It’s not something specific about the city but ever since I arrived, I feel like I’ve been transported into this new world, this old world: the cafés on the street, the people rushing around like in New York but then still taking the time to live and argue and love. And the buildings fascinate me. Mom used to tell me stories about the architecture in Paris like she would tell me a goodnight story—full of whispers and enthralled in the legends. She loves the big avenues like this one, where the buildings have balconies wrapped around the third and sixth floor. All coming from the time Napoleon decided to redesign the city. And I could spend hours looking at them. I stroll down and turn into a side street. There the buildings appear older, a bit more cramped together. They look like they’ve seen it all. And they probably have. My eyes search for a possible inscription on the building in front of me. I’ve been taking pictures of every one I see. Like by my apartment, there’s one mentioning a soldier who died during World War II and another that references a writer who lived in that house during the 18th century. I glance up at the small balcony, wondering what the history of this particular building is, who lives there, who lived there before. Anything to let go of the annoyance and sadness rippling through me.
“Bah alors t’es toute seule?”
I turn my head to the right. One guy approaches, but his smile is not friendly or flirty. His smirk has me shivering from fear instead of the cold, and my entire body tenses. I’ve ventured a bit far from the club and there’s no one around.
I open my mouth, ready to scream, but there’s a flash in the dark. The moon reflects on the blade of a knife and I freeze. I can’t move. All I can think is that my parents shouldn’t have to lose another daughter.
That I need to call them, talk to them, tell them how much I love them.
That I don’t want to die.