A fairy came in. He was of medium height, slender, had glitter in his white-blond hair, and his T-shirt sparkled with sequins outlining a rainbow. Even his eye makeup shimmered. I looked for wings and a wand but didn’t spot them.
“Hi. I’m Jules,” he said brightly. “You must be Taylor Manning, celebrated bestselling author.”
I pursed my lips. “I thought you’d be a woman.”
“If you squint a little, I’d pass for one.” He looked around the tiny studio apartment with raised eyebrows. “I see why you need help.”
“I need someone to run errands, fetch groceries, do a little light housekeeping–stuff like that.” I tapped the cast. “Five flights of stairs are hard to navigate with a broken leg. Goddamn building needs an elevator.”
He shrugged. “It’s Paris. You have to pay through the nose for such amenities.”
“I’ll need you for a couple months, two or three times a week.” I named a salary and wasn’t surprised when his mouth dropped open; I was overpaying, and I knew it, but I wanted someone who’d show up regularly. I was on deadline for the next book.
“Do I help you bathe, too?”
I shook my head. “I have a chair.” He gave me a blank look. “In the shower,” I added and saw understanding dawn. “Well?”
He smiled. “I’ll start right now.”
Over the next few weeks, he took care of the shopping and cleaning, and I soon realized how much I depended on him–not just what he did for me but how he lit up my tiny living space with his presence. His sunny disposition and dazzling wardrobe made me smile. I was writing better than ever and would finish ahead of schedule.
* * *
Eight weeks later, Jules accompanied me to the doctor, who removed the cast and pronounced me able to walk again. “No pole vaulting, though, and skip relay races for a while.”
We took the Metro home. “I guess this is my last day then,” Jules said, handing back the key I’d given him.
Much as I’d looked forward to getting the cast off, I’d also dreaded this moment. “I guess.” I gave him his last check.
He took it with downcast eyes. “I don’t suppose….”
“What?” I asked expectantly.
But he chickened out. “Never mind. Good luck with the new book.” He opened the door. “Thanks for everything.”
“Stop!” He turned, painted lips parted in anticipation. “Want to go out for dinner?”
He beamed. “I thought you’d never ask.”
For the second time that day, we went down five flights of stairs, but this time we were holding hands.
“I’m glad you broke your leg,” Jules said.
I knew exactly what he meant. “Me, too.”
We walked to the restaurant at the end of the block. I noticed the trees on the boulevard were budding. Spring in Paris when you’re in love; there was nothing better.
Word Count: 504
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