Li Tian clenches his hand at his side into a fist then orders Mathilde, “Tell that bastard if he wants to continue partnering with me he better bring Song Sara to my suite NOW!”
Mathilde nervously responds, “But… CEO..Navarre…he is catching a plane to Paris, I am not with him.”
“PARIS? Then where the hell is Song Sara? Nevermind, I am fucking calling him myself.” Useless woman! He dials Navarre’s number, no answer..FUCK!
Furious he can’t locate Sara, Li Tian’s chest heaves up and down as he storms into the suite. You think you are leaving with my woman?! He calls the Milan Airport’s Security office believing that would be the fastest way to find their whereabouts.
The Security Chief has just completed the paperwork about the Midnight Lover Necklace and is presently dealing with two American men suspected of smuggling drugs through security. He motions to one of the guards who is closest to his desk to answer the phone.
Li Tian loosens his collar as he paces around the suite waiting for someone to pick up the phone, when the guard answers he angrily spits out, “How dare you let Song Sara leave your office without contacting me!”
The guard helplessly glances over at the Security Chief, “Sir, I don’t know who you are referring to, let me put the Chief on the phone.”
The guard walks over to the Security Chief, “The caller needs to speak to you about someone named Song Sara.”
“Watch these men, the police will be here shortly.”
The Security Chief picks up the phone, “Can I help you.”
“Yes you can fucking help me. This is CEO Li of the Li group, owner of LTJ Milan. Where is my Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and the woman who stole it.”
“Stole it? Your manager from LTJ confirmed the woman, Song Sara had permission and I gave your manager the necklace.” He looks at the document still on his desk, “I have a signed statement.”
Out of patience Li Tian has no intention of explaining anything. “If that woman is not in your office when I get to the airport, you won’t have a job tomorrow.”
The Security Chief veins bulge on his neck as he grips the phone, fucking unreasonable asshole. He restrains his anger and calmly replies, “I have no way to locate them.”
“I have reason to believe they are taking a flight to Paris. Prevent them from leaving Milan. I want you to get them off the plane.”
“So you want the woman charged with theft?’
Li Tian hesitates for a moment, the little thing would get really angry if she was arrested even if I said afterwards it was a misunderstanding.
When Li Tian doesn’t answer the Security Chief becomes more annoyed while looking at the two smugglers , “Well?”
“I want Song Sara held in your Security office, no police involvement. I will discipline her myself.”
The Security Chief wishes he had taken his vacation this week instead of scheduling the days off for next week. This asshole, the two American smugglers, dammit! I can’t mess around with an influential man like the CEO of Li Group. “I will do my best but I can’t guarantee I can prevent them from departing if they are already on a plane to Paris.”
“I’m heading over to the airport now. I will expect you will have the woman waiting for me in your office.” Li Tian hangs up then notices Tang Qiang come out of the bathroom. When he sees him Li Tian is reminded of Long An. Avoiding grandfather’s calls will only anger the old man, I need to solve this problem.“Qiang, why didn’t you send the pictures of Long An to my phone?”
Tang Qiang scratches his chin, “Boss about those pic..” Before he continues Li Tian’s phone rings he quickly answers, “Speak.”
The Security Chief has sweat beads on his forehead, “CEO Li there is a problem. The man named Julien Navarre and the woman, Song Sara, are on a plane that left for Paris eight minutes ago.”
“Have them turn the plane around.”
“That is impossible!”
“Nothing is impossible if I want it done.”
“ To take such drastic action…unless it is an emergency it can’t be done. A more practical solution would be to contact the Paris airport and have them detained when they arrive, then sent back for prosecution.”
Li Tian considers what he is saying, it would be better to not create a huge scene. That would work, having her detained there until I arrive.
“Make the call. I will leave for Paris immediately.”
The Security Chief has a throbbing headache, he reaches in his drawer and grabs some medicine. Taking a gulp of water he swallows then wearily says “Marla, I am going for a smoke, if the police arrive to take these men come get me.”
On the plane to Paris, Sara and Navarre are seated next to each other in First Class. Sara leans back in her comfortable seat, Paris… I haven’t been there since I went with Liza on school break. Sara can barely keep her eyes open, “Mr. Navarre, I am very tired, I am going to try and sleep if you don’t mind.”
“Of course. I want you to look fresh tomorrow. But, before you go to sleep I am curious, how did the Midnight Lover Necklace become broken?”
“You need to ask CEO Li that question, I really don’t think it is my place to say.”
He is very aware of Li Tian’s temperament so he doesn’t press Sara for details,“Very well. Go to sleep.”
Navarre removes the Midnight Lover necklace from a velvet case, he touches the jagged gold holding the pieces while examining it carefully. The necklace appears to have been broken during a struggle. He has a serious expression while he stares at Sara sleeping, as though it was ripped from her neck, did she and Tian get into a lover’s quarrel and he tore it from her neck? He is tempted to take a peek at her neck but she has the sweater tightly pinned. Why would she have her sweater so tightly wrapped around her neck if not to hide something. He can’t resist; he has his finger on the edge of her light blue sweater. Sara feels itchy from his touch and squirms in her seat, finally resting her head on Navarre’s shoulder.
A man recognizes him then stops as Navarre is about to straighten Sara back onto her seat “Navarre.”
Navarre quickly puts the broken necklace in his palm into his pocket. His expression doesn’t reveal his true feelings as he politely answers, “Phillipe.” But as an unpleasant memory surfaces he has a mischievous gleam in his eye as he looks around. I can’t believe you have the balls to approach me after the shit you pulled on me last year. “Where is your lovely wife?
Phillipe’s hand in his pocket clenches into a fist but he maintains a cordial tone,“Still spending my money in Milan, I have to go back to Paris for business.” You actually thought she would leave me? What Chantel loves most is money. He glances at Sara who is curled up leaning on Navarre’s arm, “Who is this?”
Navarre responds, “My new assistant.”
The man’s lips curl up, Sara now has her hand resting on Navarre’s chest, “What happened to Michelle?”
“She still works for me. I heard a rumor this year your son is entering a piece in the Competition?” Or should I say that you bought him a spot.
Phillipe laughs as he adjusts his black diamond cufflink, “On a whim. Since the boy is still studying at Valunette I was against his entering this year but you know Albert he is spoiled by Chantel and strong willed.”
“I look forward to seeing his design.” I wonder what the piece of crap will look like.
“I haven’t seen his latest creation, Albert is very secretive, but I did see your Midnight Lover Necklace in Milan Vogue before it was pulled off the shelves. This year’s Competition should be quite exciting. I look forward to seeing all the young talented graduates and surprises.”
Navarre restrains himself from reacting to the veiled insult. Because of his humble beginnings he is self taught. The designers that compete are usually formally educated and typically won’t share their design before the Competition. “Everyone entered is extremely talented so the designs should be quite innovative and beautiful.”
“Call Albert. He was talking about you the other day.” He was wondering what women would say if they knew the elegant Navarre grew up a poor bastard in the slums of Marseille. If you didn’t have the backing of that pr**k Li Tian I would love to expose you.
“I will.” Only if hell freezes over.
Phillipe has a sneer on his face when he returns to his seat. His friend next to him sips his glass of wine then raises an eyebrow, “The man had an affair with your wife. How can you speak in such a civil manner to him.”
Phillipe doesn’t answer him and finishes his glass of wine as the plane gets ready for its descent.
The plane lands in Paris and Navarre nudges Sara to wake her up, “Miss Song? Miss Song? We have arrived.”
Disoriented from being suddenly awakened Sara rubs her eyes, “Whaaat?”
He smiles looking at her messy hair and unfocused expression, “We are landing.” He puts on a baseball cap and pulls it down. “Here put this hat on, you never know if here will be photographers.”
“We will go directly to my apartment, I have a guest room, or if you aren’t comfortable with that arrangement I can get you a hotel suite. I need to begin repairing the necklace as soon as possible.”
“Your apartment would be fine. To be honest I am exhausted and just want to get some sleep. If you don’t mind I lost my phone could we stop so I can purchase one.”
“I can have my assistant purchase a phone and bring it to the apartment.”
“You can deduct the cost from my pay, thank you.”
When they exit the plane a pretty young woman rushes through the crowd over to Navarre. When she notices Sara walking alongside him her expression changes, speaking French she impulsively asks, “Who is this?”
Navarre introduces Sara, “This is the model I have chosen for the Competition, Song Sara. She doesn’t speak French so please speak English.”
He turns to Sara, “This is my assistant, Michelle Dupont. She will arrange clothes for you and anything you need.”
Sara smiles, “I appreciate your help.”
Michelle has a complicated expression looking at Sara’s disheveled appearance and with the cap pulled down it is hard to see her face. “My pleasure.” Where did Mr. Navarre find this woman? I thought he would use Margot as his model for the extra exposure. She is a world famous super model and they are a couple.
The three of them walk past Phillipe, Navarre ignores him and Michelle nods towards him while smiling. Phillipe’s friend smirks watching Navarre leave then comments, “I wonder where he found that shabby woman, she looks like a homeless refugee.” Phillipe laughs while admiring Michelle’s alluring appearance, “Not his usual taste.”
When they arrive curb outside of the airport Michelle waves to a man leaning on a black Rolls Royce while smoking a cigarette. The driver gets into the car then pulls over. As he places Navarre’s bags in the trunk, Michelle opens the door and Navarre and Sara get into the backseat.
Once seated in the front Michelle turns around, “Where should Alan take Miss Song? The Four Seasons?”
Navarre was looking at his phone, he looks up, “No. She will be staying with me at the Cloisters.”
Michelle speaks in French so Sara won’t understand, “But Mr. Navarre won’t Margot misunderstand if you have this woman stay with you. She has been calling me all day about your arrival time. I think she has a romantic dinner planned for the two of you. She inquired as to your favorite foods.”
Glaring at Michelle, he has a harsh tone, “Since when did you become so friendly with Margot? You are my assistant not a matchmaker. In the future refrain from giving my personal information to any woman.”
Michelles’s face turns bright red, “I..I..thought you would be happy.”
“Don’t interfere in my personal matters again. I don’t want to have to hire a new assistant.”
It is obvious from the sound of their voices they are having a tense conversation so Sara tries to minimize her presence. Leaning on the window she watches beautiful scenery as the car moves through the city. Paris… so beautiful… unable to stay awake she slowly closes her eyes drifting off to sleep.