Chapter 26

       It was a gorgeous morning in Paris, France. The sun was rising over the horizon, and the aroma of freshly baked bread from a nearby cafe wafted through the crisp morning air. The plane ride across the Atlantic had gone smoothly, and Michael had rented out a private jet for the occasion. Though he had been living a more modest lifestyle, there were still things he splurged on. Since he was never keen on flying, he at least wanted to be comfortable while doing so.

       When Michael and Symphony arrived at the front door of their private Villa, he stood behind her and covered her eyes. 'No peaking,' he chuckled, as he led her to the balcony of the bedroom.

       Removing his hands from her eyes, Symphony blurted, her words trailing off. "Michael. How many more surprises do you have in-store? First the private jet and now thi--"

       Wrapping his hands around her waist, he pulled her body against his and said, "beautiful, isn't it?"

      There, standing before them, as if she could reach out and touch it was the 'Eiffel Tower.'

       "Beautiful is an understatement," she spoke breathlessly, "This is all too much."

       Placing a gentle kiss on her ear, Michael gave her body a small squeeze and said, "It's your birthday weekend, sweetheart, and Christmas is on Tuesday — I want you to relax and be happy. After everything we've been dealing with, I want us to enjoy each other and this beautiful city."

       Turning to face him, Symphony placed her hands on either side of his face, giving him an Eskimo kiss. "Thanks, babe. I really do appreciate all of this. You're an amazing boyfriend. How can I ever repay you?"

       Michael smirked. "Normally, I'd say repayment isn't necessary, but I have a few ideas in mind."

       "Oh? Care to share some of those ideas, Dr. Black?"

       "I'll let you know when the time is right,  Ms. Wilson... Just be ready to hold up your end of the deal."

       Symphony shivered at the sexy and passionate timbre of his deep but gentle voice. She knew Michael was up to something, and she was ready for every ounce of pleasure he was planning to bestow upon her body.

       Lust filling her loins, she kissed his Adam's apple and said, "Oh, don't you worry, sweetheart. I'll even throw in a little something extra."

       Michael chuckled. "Mmm. Now that's what I'm talking about."

      When Michael gripped her ass in his large hands, she swatted his hands away and took off running. "Michael, no! I need a shower, and so do you!"

       Michael shouted after her, "alright, Ms. Wilson, but now you'll have to repay with a little something extra."

       Later that morning, while unpacking her suitcase, Symphony freaked out when she discovered she had forgotten to pack a dress for her performance. She was due to perform with the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday night and had nothing to wear. "Damn it! How could I be so stupid?" she spoke frantically, tossing the entire contents of her suitcase onto the floor.

       When Michael heard Symphony ranting and raving, he immediately ran over to her and said, "what's wrong, Beautiful? What happened?"

      Falling backward onto the floor, Symphony rubbed her eyes and said, "fuck my life! I forgot my fucking dress! Now, what am I going to do? I don't have anything formal to wear for my performance."

       Michael chuckled as he laid down beside her on the floor. "Was it that brand new dress you bought from Ross last week? Because if so, I don't see why you're so upset."

      Feeling a bit annoyed at him, Symphony huffed. "Michael! Now is not the time for jokes, and why would you say that? There was nothing wrong with that dress! I liked that dress a lot."

       "Calm down, woman!" He laughed. "We're in the fashion capital of the world... We'll find you another dress."

       Symphony sighed. "Well, unlike you, I don't own half of a multi-billion dollar company. I just paid my cellphone bill, and my car note is due tomorrow."

        Rolling her on top of him, he touched her cheek lightly and teased. "Well, maybe we can find a Ross here in France."

       "Ugh! I don't believe you right now! I'm having a major crisis, and you're all shits and giggles."

        "You know what? You're right... I'm sorry for laughing, but baby — why don't you just ask me to buy you a dress?"

       "Oh, so you want me to beg? I might not have a lot of money, Michael. But I'll be damned if I beg you for anything."

      "Symphony! I don't want you to beg; you're overreacting. I was merely teasing you."

       Closing her eyes, Symphony became silent. She never asked Michael to buy things for her, and the few times he tried, she turned him down. Sure, small things like dinner, movie tickets, or groceries were fine since they were a couple, but she never wanted him to think she was after his money. It also didn't help that Nicolae's accusations had popped into her brain.

       As Michael placed a gentle kiss on each of her eyelids, he lowered his voice and said, "Symphony, sweetie. Please look at me... Tell me what's going on? I've never seen you respond this way to my teasing."

       Letting out a shaky breath, Symphony spoke quietly. "On the night my band broke up, Me and Nicolae exchanged a few unpleasantries with one another. He was upset the band had broken up and had accused me of giving up on them because you had connections to get me a solo record deal. He also stated that the only reason I'm with you is that you're rich... And oh, how could I forget? He said I was only concerned about sucking your dick."

        His fist balled tightly, Michael pounded the floor forcibly then quickly jumped to his feet. As he paced back and forth across the room, he repeated over and over, "I'm gonna kill him."

       As Symphony stood up from lying on the floor, she ran over to Michael and began to sob. "I knew I shouldn't have told you. I knew you'd be upset. I also just wanted to forget about what Nicolae had said. Between Raven and you getting reprimanded by the President of Peabody, I couldn't take it anymore. I tried to ignore it — I'm tired of dealing with the negativity being hurled at our relationship! I just want to love you, Michael. I don't want anything from you but your love."

      Hugging her tight, Michael spoke gently as he tried to calm her down. Though he was still pissed at Nicolae's disrespect towards her, her well-being came first. He couldn't stand to see her so upset and crying.

       In a gentle but firm tone, Michael placed his arms around her waist and said, "Please stop crying, Beautiful. I know you're not after my money. Trust me — I can spot gold-diggers a mile away. One doesn't spend thirty-three years in Hollywood and not learn a thing or two about shady women. I know you love me for me."

      Pulling away from him, Symphony wailed, "I've ruined our vacation. I've ruined my birthday, Christmas — Everything!"

       Stepping towards her, Michael placed his hands on her shoulders, giving them a light shake. "Symphony! Stop that! Stop that right now! You didn't ruin anything. Let's move on from this, ok? We both need to calm down. I won't kill Nicolae, but if the bastard so much as looks at you incorrectly — best believe I'm going to set his ass straight."

       Later that night, as Michael held Symphony in his arms, tears began to stream down his cheeks. He had finally found the love of his life, but he felt as if the universe were desperately trying to tear them apart.

       "Michael, are you still awake?" Symphony whispered.

      "I am. But why aren't you asleep. You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow," he spoke concernedly.

       "I know, but I can't sleep. Would you mind singing to me? My nerves are still a bit rattled, and your singing relaxes me."   

       Placing a tender kiss on her bare shoulder, Michael smiled and said, "sure, sweetheart."

       As a new surge of hope-filled his heart, a tender smile graced his lips. And though he hadn't written the lyrics to track number 2 from his biggest-selling album, he resonated deeply with its lyrics. Being as that the song was usually sung in a high upbeat tempo, he came up with a more soothing, slowed down, stripped version of the jazzy electro-funk tune.

       Bringing his mouth close to her ear, he sang softly:

[I don't need no dreams when I'm by your side.

Every moment takes me to paradise. Darling, let me hold you.

Warm you in my arms and melt your fears away.

Show you all the magic that a perfect love can make.

I need you night and day, So baby, be mine.

I won't give you reason to change your mind. You are all the future that I desire

Girl, I need to hold you.

Share my feelings in the heat of love's embrace.

Show you all the passion burning in my heart today.

It's never going to fade, So baby, be mine.]

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