After spending a roughly 20 minutes at the top of Arc De Triomphe looking out to the view of Paris and taking photos (along with spending roughly a minute in each other’s embrace), both Xi Men and Xiao You went back down to the ground.
Descending the stairs to the ground is not as taxing as climbing the stairs up to the top.
As Xiao You planned this trip and Xi Men just follows, not that unknown of, he just followed where she goes or plans to go.
Right next to Arc De Triomphe, it is Champs-Élysées.
“Champs-Élysées on a second day?” Xi Men asked, as he walked next to her on the footpath.
Xiao You just smiled, “Since we are at Arc De Triomphe anyway, so, might as well,”
He smiled, lowered his head down to look at her hand tucked inside her chili red winter jacket that she decided to wear today since the weather seems to be colder than yesterday.
And he also had his hands inside his jacket.
Xiao You is seen looking left and right and across the street to look at the brands or names of the shop. And he just let her be.
They stopped once in a while since Xiao You wanted to take photos of the surroundings. Not to mention, they also take photos together.
They walked, and walked, and walked.
As Xi Men followed her, he soon realized something.
She has been passing by so many shops…but why didn’t she go into any of the shops?
Like, not even one?
Xiao You turned to look at him when she heard that. “Hmmm?” she asked.
“Aren’t you here for shopping?” he asked.
She looked at him for a while and she smiled, giving him a brief shook.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Well, first… I am not a hardcore shopper,” she said. “I am not an impulsive buyer,”
“I will buy something for myself from Paris definitely, but we all know how expensive things are at this place,” she said. “Champs-Élysées is filled with luxury shops that sell the most expensive stuffs,”
“I can buy them for you,” he said, walking closer to her, and eventually placed his hand around her shoulder.
“Nah,” she shook.
“It is okay. You are my girlfriend,” he smiled briefly.
She smirked. “Yeah, for the week,”
Upon hearing that, the brief smile on Xi Men’s face fades slightly, “I know,” he said. “But still, you are my girlfriend now,”
“Thank you. But it is okay,” she just smiled. “I am here at Champs-Élysées just to take a look because it is labeled as one of the most famous streets in the world. So, buying things here is not really necessary. I can do shopping in Galeries Lafayatte and somewhere else, or airport…” (*Galeries Lafayette is a famous department store in Paris)
“I know. And it has nothing to do whether you could afford them or not, but I want to get you something,” he said.
Xiao You turned her head to look at him.
“There’s a LV shop right in front, but it is across the road. We can go in and take a look, and get you one of those handbags,” he happened to add.
Her eyes almost popped out of the socket when she heard that, “Xi Men, it is okay. Really,”
“I insist. As a gift for you,” he said. “There are upscale shops as well as other shops here that sell average priced items, but I think LV is a better choice,”
She looked at him, and then she smiled appreciatively, and then she looked straight. “You don’t have to buy me gifts. You are here just to fulfill the one week wish,”
“One week is still a girlfriend. Still a relationship,” he said, turning his head to look at her.
Her steps slowed down, and she turned to look at him.
He smiled, “So, whether you like it or not, and since you have already take up the ‘one week’ and today is already into day 2, I am your wealthy boyfriend for the week,”
She looked at him and smiled.
He smiled back at her.
And he began to notice her smile has slowly turned to become a sweet one, as initially, it felt like a ‘forcefully curved lips’ kind of smile but he soon felt that the smile comes from her heart because he can feel her smile even from her gaze.
“So, let’s go and get that handbag,” he said.
“Umm, no,” she said.
His smile fades completely. “Didn’t I say we are getting it?”
“I mean, I didn’t want to buy anything and brought it along with me to everywhere we may go for the rest of the day,” she said. “Since we will only go back to hotel almost at the end of the day, so… I really want to keep my hands free from holding paper bags and sorts,”
“Oh,” he said. “Well, that… I can accept that reason,” he adds. “We can come back here and shop at the end of the day… or the last day or something,”
“We’ll adjust,” she said. “But I would love to take a photo of the LV building,”
“Sure. We’ll just go along this way, we’ll get to the building,” he pointed the way.
“Alright,” she smiled, and a couple of steps later, she realized something, leading her to look at him. “You actually know your way in Champs-Élysées?”
“What do you mean I know my way?” he asked.
“As in, you know where the LV shop is,” she said.
“Oh. My private chauffeur passes by this road the last time, coming exactly from the Arc De Triomphe roundabout, so I remember seeing it somewhere in the middle and right at the opposite. That is why I know,”
“Ah, now I know,” she smiled.
“That is the famous LV building,” Xi Men said, pointing at a building across the road.
Xiao You looked at where he is pointing. “Really? That is the one?”
“Yes,” Xi Men said. “Look at the logo on top of the building,”
“Oh, right! It is!” Xiao You is so excited now.
Not to buy stuffs, but to take photographs of it.
This is the building she had heard so much of it, now that she gets to see it, she is happy.
“Can you take photo of me with this building?” she asked Xi Men.
“Sure,” he said.
She took her phone out, and passes it to him after unlocking the screen.
Since she didn’t click on the camera application for him, he searched for the application himself.
And she seems to trust him fully that he wouldn’t go and search her stuffs in her phone.
He then took a photo of her.
With the LV building.
“So, is this what you want to buy?”
Xi Men, who is holding a 500ml bottle of orange juice in his hand, turned his head to look at Xiao You standing next to him.
“Yeah,” he answered. “I remember I fancy it so much when I was here at 7,”
“Ah, so that is why we are coming in into Monoprix,” she said. (*Monoprix is a French retail chain/supermarket)
He smiled. “You can get them in other supermarkets, not necessarily in Monoprix,”
“Do you want one too?” he asked.
“Is it nice?” Xiao You asked.
“Based on my taste when I was 7… yeah,”
She chuckled. “Alright, I’ll take one too. I don’t mind giving it a try,”
“Alright,” he said, taking another bottle. “Do you have anything you wanna buy?”
“No,” she shook.
“If you have none, then I’ll go pay for this, alright?”
“Sure,” she smiled.
Xi Men then walked and heads to the cashier to pay for the two bottles of orange juice.
A customer is paying for her stuffs so Xi Men waited for his turn.
He then saw something from her shopping basket.
‘Ah, I need to buy that…’ he thought to himself.
“Hmmm, this tastes good,” Xiao You said, already downed half a bottle of orange juice in her hand.
Xi Men smiled as he is also drinking the orange juice from the bottle in his hand.
Both of them continued walking along the footpath as she looked around.
“You know, since we are using both our phones to take photos of us… we should share these photos at the end of the day with each other, or else… it will take forever to transfer the photos on the day we leave, that is, if we accumulate them,” Xi Men said. “I am sure we will have a lot…”
“I think you are right. Yeah. We should do that at the end of every day,” she said. “Or…”
She wanted to propose the idea of sending the photos to each other after the Paris trip; when both of them had gotten back to Taipei and Toronto, since transferring the photos to the computer and sending them online would have been way easier.
But she isn’t sure if they will still contact each other after the week ends.
Or rather, they shouldn’t. Everything should end in Paris.
They have agreed to go back to their own lives after the week ends. So they shouldn’t…
That doesn’t mean they will completely stop contacting each other, right?
“Or?” he asked.
The word that he asked had snapped her out of her thought.
“Nothing,” she said. “But I wonder how many photos we have to transfer like this and how long it will take…”
He smiled. “It will take a while, of course,”
She smiled faintly.
“So… where are we going after this?” Xi Men asked.
“We shall walk along this way… we will reach Place de la Concorde. Though they say it is a nice stroll from here to there, but it is quite a long walk. Will you be okay with it?”
“I am okay for now,” he said.
“Alright…” she said.
So… there is really nothing to talk about?
“So, wanna furnish me some details about Place de la Concorde?” Xi Men asked, breaking the silence.
“Oh, it is a public square. King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette were publicly guillotined at this place,”
Xi Men’s eyes widened and looked at Xiao You, “Publicly guillotined?”
“Yeah. It is part of history… but umm… I didn’t actually study into it… so… sorry that I can’t furnish you more about that. If you wanna know more… you have to read their history,”
“We are going there to see the guillotine?” he remained surprised.
She looked at him and then she smirked, “Well, the guillotine is not there anymore. I am just going there to take some photos… and when people ask you, you know you can just say you’ve been there,”
“Oh,” he said.
She looked straight again as they walked.
Xi Men then turned his head to the left and looked at the store’s name.
Recalling the item he saw it in the shopping basket of the woman that was lining up in front of him in Monoprix, “Ah,” he suddenly said.
She looked at him, and he is looking at the store about a few feet away from them.
“This store may have what I want,” he said, looking at the store.
She looked at the store. “This store may have what you want? What are you looking for?”
“I just need to find it first,” he walked into the store.
“But this is a female fashion’s store!”
Seeing Xi Men already walked in into the store without waiting for her or replying to her, she somehow followed him.
“Bonjour,” the friendly salesperson greeted Xi Men.
“Bonjour,” Xi Men replied. “Parlez-vous anglais?” (*do you speak English?)
The salesperson smiled, “Yes, sir,”
“Great. I am looking for gloves to keep the hands warm. Do you have them?” Xi Men asked.
“Gloves?” Xiao You asked.
“Yes, we do. Please follow me,” the salesperson said and walked, and Xi Men followed her.
Xiao You followed too.
Instead of going to the shelves, the salesperson stopped at an exclusive-looking glass-display cabinet which seemed like an island in the middle of the store.
“This is our autumn collection,” the salesperson said. “May I know if you are looking for men’s or women’s?”
“For her,” Xi Men said, pointing at Xiao You.
“Ah?” Xiao You is surprised. “For me?”
“Ah, alright… so, for female…” the salesperson twists the key to open the cabinet. “This is our softest and lightweight cashmere gloves. Suitable for autumn and winter,” she pointed at a few colorful pairs of gloves in the cabinet. “Which color do you prefer, mademoiselle?” she asked Xiao You.
“I think black looks good,” Xi Men answered instead, glancing at Xiao You.
Without waiting for Xiao You to say anything, the salesperson takes out the black pair of gloves. “You can touch it,” she said as she puts it on top of the glass panel.
Xi Men touched the black gloves, “This feels very comfortable,” he said and then he takes it up. “Try it,” he passes it to Xiao You. “This one looks beautiful, classy and sophisticated too. If you like it, we will get it. Or you can pick any of the other gloves here,”
“But… why? Why are you getting me a pair of gloves all of a sudden?”
“You need it,”
“No, I don’t need it. I am fine…”
“You forgot to pack your gloves and your hands are always cold. I saw you rubbing your hands all the time, and I have rubbed them for you. I know how cold your hands are. It is just day 2 today and we still have 6 days of the trip left. Temperatures are bound to get lower the next few days because it is approaching winter and not to mention, the temperature goes down even more at night. We went back to room early last night because we are tired so we get to use the heater in the room, which makes us feel that the temperature is okay. But tonight as well as the next few days, we will be out to see the beauty of Paris at night and that means we are truly exposed to the cold. I don’t know how the weather might be at night, but it will definitely be cold. And if you couldn’t stand the weather and temperature in the day, you will freeze at night; you have your jacket to cover your body, yet your fingers are exposed,” he said. “So, I am buying you the gloves because you truly need it in this trip,”
She looked at him, listening to him as he speaks, to finally found out how attentive he is.
“Come on, just try it. I am not asking you to take this without trying. If you don’t like it or none of them here fits you, we will go elsewhere and find one for you,” he said, tilts the gloves in his hand slightly as a mean to ask her to take it.
The salesperson just smiled as she looked at Xi Men and Xiao You.
Xiao You lowered her head down and looked at the gloves in his hand.
With a small smile on her face, she took the gloves from his hand.
The first touch on the gloves has given her the luxurious and warm feeling.
And he is right. The gloves looked classy and sophisticated.
She then puts the gloves on.
It fits her nicely and it is very comfortable.
“So, how does that feel?” Xi Men asked.
“It is very soft and feels very nice,” she smiled.
“So, do you like it?” he asked. “If you don’t like how it feels, you can try some other gloves here,”
She smiled as she lifted her head up to look at him, “I like it,”
The sight of her lifting her head up and smiled at him caught his attention.
At that one moment, it made him feel special, because he could see that she smiled because of him.
Yes, it made him feel that he had made the right choice to buy her a pair of gloves to keep her warm.
Something so simple but yet it felt so meaningful.
Xiao You turned to look at the salesperson, “Do you have this product for men?”
Upon hearing Xiao You speaks, it wakes him up from his thoughts.
“Yes, we do,” the salesperson said, opening the glass cabinet again, “Black one as well?”
“Ummm, any color is fine,” Xiao You replied. “Yeah, probably black,”
The salesperson took the black colored pair of gloves, which is actually placed right next to the women’s, or rather, the one that she (the salesperson) had taken for Xiao You, and placed it on the glass panel.
“You should try it,” Xiao You said, looking at Xi Men.
“Me? I am not a glove person. I hardly wear gloves,” he said.
“Well, did you pack any for this trip?” she asked.
“I think this is a good one for the trip. Who knows you might actually need it,” she said.
“Ummm…” he skeptically looked at the gloves on the glass panel.
“Come on,” she grabbed the black pair of gloves and then shoves it into Xi Men’s hand. “Try it. Then you will know how it feels. And you might actually love wearing gloves now,”
He smirked, as he lowered his head down and then puts them on.
Wow. That feels awesome on the hand.
“So, how was it?” she asked.
He smiled at her, “You are right. It is nice,”
“Let’s get them,” she said.
“Them? You mean for me as well?” he asked.
“Yes, but you’ll pay for it,” she pointed at him as she took the gloves off her hands now.
He laughed. “But I really don’t need one,” he also removed his gloves.
“What if I said… if you are not getting it, I don’t want it as well?” she asked.
He chuckled. “You are not going to win this. I will still demand to get it for you,”
“I am not gonna wear it if that is the case,”
“Sounds like a threat,”
“You can say like that,” she sneered.
He chuckled again. He knew he probably won’t be able to win this and it looks like he really had to buy the gloves for himself in order for her to wear hers. “Well, alright. I’ll keep it in my jacket and if I need it, I’ll use it. How is that?”
“Sounds good to me,” she smiled.
He laughed for a brief while, and after his laughter fades, “So, we’ll take that, alright?”
“Alright,” she said.
Xi Men then turned to look at the salesperson. “I’ll take them,” Xi Men dives his hand into this jeans to take his wallet out.
“Sure, monsieur,” the salesperson smiled as she gathered the gloves. “This way to the cashier, please,” she directed and walked first.
Xi Men walked behind the salesperson, and Xiao You also followed.
“You don’t have to pack. Please remove the tags so that she can wear it now,” he said, passing his credit card to the salesperson.
“Alright,” the salesperson smiled.
Xiao You just smiled. “You are really attentive, huh,” she said.
“Well, thank you,” he replied.
That wasn’t what she had expected to hear. She laughed.
He laughed too.
Both of them looked at the salesperson processing the payment.
“Xi Men, I want to ask,” Xiao You said.
“What is it?” he turned to look at her.
“Why do you think black looks good when there are other colors to select from the display counter?” she asked. “Do you think my hands are fat, that I needed a black one to make them slimmer?” she raised her hands up.
Xi Men chuckled, and then he smiled. “No, you are not fat,” he said. “You brought white, black, beige and red jackets to Paris, I think black gloves will go well with all of them. I don’t think other colors of the gloves can match with your jackets, unless you love to go with color blocking? But that doesn’t look like your style,”
She looked at him, totally surprised. “You… you even consider up to that extent of matching to the colors of the jackets that I brought?”
“Why? Did I get my evaluation wrong? If you want another color, you… well, if they allowed change then you should change now, or, I’ll get you another pair of different color,” he said, causing the salesperson to look at both of them.
“No, no, I didn’t want to change. Black is good,” she said.
“Well, okay,” Xi Men said, looking straight at the salesperson, waiting to approve the transaction.
Xiao You only looked at Xi Men for a brief while, before she also looked straight.
She didn’t expect that at all.