French Coast

French Coast by Anita Hughes Read Free Book Online

Book: French Coast by Anita Hughes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anita Hughes
miniskirts, and yellow makes my skin look washed-out.”
    â€œThe clothes are fine,” Serena replied. “How did you get the cut and bruises?”
    â€œI’ve had the worst afternoon.” Zoe threw her bag on the Aubusson rug and sank into the love seat. “I forgot to put suntan lotion on my neck and got a terrible burn. I almost ran into a group of Japanese tourists on my bicycle and crashed into a wall. Then I let the salesgirl talk me into an outfit that belongs on a prostitute when I really wanted the Lilly Pulitzer belted shirtdress.”
    â€œIt’s a lovely outfit for daytime,” Serena said, twisting her ponytail. “Perfect for the beach.”
    â€œI don’t want to buy clothes for the beach!” Zoe’s voice rose and her eyes filled with tears. “I want to dress to eat in elegant restaurants and go to the theater. I want to walk down the street and hear people whisper, ‘She has style.’”
    â€œWhy don’t you shower,” Serena replied, afraid that Zoe would dissolve into tears. “I’ll lend you a dress and we’ll go to the Carlton Restaurant and order chilled prawns and French champagne. My boss insisted I buy you a five-course dinner. Tomorrow we’ll go shopping and buy you a wardrobe to rival Victoria Beckham.”
    â€œThat sounds lovely.” Zoe wiped her eyes. She stood up, adjusting her tube top and tugging at her miniskirt. “But I can’t eat five courses or I’ll never fit into anything in the boutiques. In France clothes only come in one size: zero.”
    *   *   *
    Serena followed the maître d’ to a round table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The floors were polished marble and the walls were covered in ivory satin. Serena watched waiters in white tuxedos cross the room carrying platters of oysters and baskets of olive bread.
    Serena wore a green silk dress and gold sandals. Her hair was piled into a knot and secured with a gold chopstick. She gazed outside at the yellow-and-white awnings and the twinkling lights and felt almost giddy. She was in Cannes, writing a story about one of the most iconic figures in fashion.
    â€œYou haven’t mentioned that rock on your finger,” Zoe said when the waiter had left them with two embossed leather menus.
    â€œI got engaged last week,” Serena said, and blushed, gazing at the square diamond glittering under the crystal chandelier. She slid her phone out of her purse and flipped to a photo of Chase wearing a crisp yellow shirt and smiling into the camera.
    â€œI wouldn’t dash off to Cannes if I was engaged to him,” Zoe said, and whistled.
    â€œChase is very supportive of my career.” Serena slipped the phone back in her purse. She flashed on Chase picking her up to go to the airport, the delicious afternoon sex in her apartment, and a warmth spread through her chest.
    â€œI’d like a stream of sexy boyfriends,” Zoe said, her eyes suddenly clouding over. “Marriage seems so complicated.”
    Serena ordered a Rothschild Cabernet and a half dozen oysters. They talked about Serena’s job at Vogue and the incredible beauty of the Riviera.
    â€œI could stay here forever.” Zoe sighed, tearing apart a baguette. She wore a navy Stella McCartney dress that accentuated her full breasts and small waist. Her bangs covered her eyebrows and her lashes were coated with thick mascara. “The ocean is as warm as a bath and every night the maids leave Belgian chocolates on my pillow.”
    â€œCan I ask a personal question?” Serena asked, then hesitated. “How does a twenty-five-year-old girl afford a suite at the Carlton-InterContinental? It must cost more than some precious jewels.”
    â€œShould we start with the tomato gazpacho with buffalo mozzarella or the semicooked duck foie gras? They make it with the most delicious cherry juice and a dash of cream.” Zoe

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