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    CLJobe
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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ARROW - 240. Chapter 240

This is part 2 of a three-part chapter

Arriving at the Louvre, we stopped at the desk to pay for our admittance. When she saw my credit card, she said she had a letter for me but she had to inform the new director I was here. Colin looked at me. “I don’t know unless Jean left a note for me.”

The new Director was a very young man. Of course, anyone compared to us is a young man. He introduced himself handing me a letter. The letter was from Jean. I told him I would read it later. It was personal and he seemed to understand. Going to the second floor, I stopped at the balcony overlooking the place where we hung Michael. “You and a lot of people stop here, why? There is nothing to see.”

“That wasn’t always the case. When the painters were working on a painting of an Angel called Michael, it was hung here.”

“Where is the painting now?”

“It was a commissioned piece and Jean allowed them to create it in the museum’s basement. At his request it was hung here as it was being prepared for its final installation.”.,

“If I remember it was commissioned for the exterior of a mausoleum. Do you remember who commissioned it?”

“I think it was a man whose last name was Arnaud. If I remember he was dying when he commissioned it. I believe you have his art collection here.”

“Yes, we do on the next floor. He had some excellent pieces by well-known artists.”

“If we have time, I would like to see it. But I understand you have some pieces by an artist called ARROW. I saw one of his pieces when it went on tour.”

“Yes, it’s on the second floor, this way.”

Colin whispered, “You are having fun.” I smiled nodding my head yes.

I knew where Luise was, I grabbed Colin’s hand and he knew why. Of all my paintings, this painting affected me the most. Why I didn’t know unless handing the baby to the Angel was a pre-event of Louise’s death.

Walking into the room where it was on exhibit, “We would like to travel this painting again but we can’t do it without the artist’s approval. There was some agreement reached after the first tour that prevented us from doing it as long as the artist is still alive. Jean knew him but we don’t have his address.”

“If I remember, the artist wasn’t happy about the first time. I don’t think he will agree a second time.”

I stopped and looked at the painting only now I see Louise holding the hand of the Angel. I needed to move on.

The next room had several of my paintings as well as Carl’s. I stopped in front of the girl's paintings from the Home. These paintings brought a smile to my eyes. Our guide “These paintings get a lot of comments. The children are happy and there is a lot of feeling in their eyes.”

“Yes, I can see they would be a favorite.”

As we moved down the wall. there were Carl’s with the bugs. Then more with the bluebirds and finally one or two with his C C logo.

“There appear to be some paintings that have similarities but with different signatures. Do you know why?”

“No, I hadn’t noticed.” Colin started to cough.

“I would like to see the Arnaud collection.”

“That’s on the third floor.”

So we took the steps to the third floor.

The first room contained Carl’s angel. If there ever was a doubt about who was the better artist, one look at the Angel Raphel would solve that. It truly was a masterpiece.

“Have you ever considered traveling this piece?”

“No, I don’t think it will ever travel. Besides the value, many people come here to see it.”

“The artist is quite proficient. I would like to meet him.”

I had to leave for a minute. Colin knew the game I was playing so he started to play it as well.

Leaving that room we enter the room with the Arnaud collection. Now I knew how seriously Christine needed money. Arnaud had some very valuable pieces. Probably one of a kind.

“When I saw this collection the first time there was a painting by a woman who used a bluebird as her signature. I don’t see it now.”

“It was sold to the Tate Art Gallery. He said they had all of her paintings except this one.”

Checking our watches, I thanked him for our tour. Telling him we had arranged a lunch meeting and if we don’t leave we will miss it.”

Colin added, “The last one to arrive has to buy the wine.”

Smiling, we left the museum. “It isn’t the same is it?”

“No, I miss Jean. I don’t think I’ll come back. The selling off of the Arnaud collection tells the seriousness of Christiain’s financial position. If he doesn’t get out of the business, he will lose the house.”

“What about his family? His son is old enough to be on his own and I’m sure his daughter is married. So it is just the two of them.”

“The house may cost them a lot to maintain. I’ll bet they still have the chef and kitchen help.”

“Do you think we should see him before we go?”

“Let me think about it. Look, do you think that is Louis?”

“I don’t know, let’s watch.” The waiter brought out a bottle of wine, a piece e of cheese, and a half loaf of bread. “I’ll bet that is Louis.”

Walking up to the table, I signal the waiter highlighting the lunch on the table. He nodded.

“May we join you, Louis?”

He looked and looked again. Colin sat down and poured himself a glass of wine. Then it seemed as if a ton of bricks fell on him. He jumped up and grabbed me. Sobbing, “I thought I’d never see you again.”

I just held on to not fall. When he got himself together, we sat down. Colin poured him a glass of wine, took a plate added cheese, and waited. He ordered plates of fish and salads. When they came, he added them to our plates, and according to Colin, lunch was ready.

We ate and talked. More talked, except Colin, he had a lunch to conquer.

“Louis, who in the old gang is still around.”

“There are only three of us. The university retired me. I have sold a few paintings and with my pension, I have survived. You remember Allard, He has retired and lives in a one-room flat. I do as well. For one person it is enough. Remember Benoir. He lives in the basement of his nephew’s home. He said the old man stinks.”

“We need to get together, I have an idea. Let’s finish lunch.

So for the next two hours, we ate lunch, talked, and laughed. I missed these people including Jean, Roger, and Arnaud. I missed the people, not the city.

My phone rang, it was Pierre. “Dad, where are you.”

I told him and he said he would be right over. So we continued to chat and drink our wine.

Then I heard 'Dad'. I couldn’t help It I started to laugh. I pulled him onto my lap. “I want to introduce you to an old friend. When we would come to Paris we would meet up. At this restaurant. We would sit here drink wine, and eat cheese and bread. Most of our friends were artists. Louis here taught art at the university. Later I’ll tell you more about how we met. Now we must go and check Louis out of his suite.” I knew Pierre was confused. We helped Louis pack.

Next, we went to Allard’s apartment. We packed up his belongings And finally we windy to Benoir. When we told him we came to move him, he grabbed his jacket and said let’s go. Now in two taxis, we headed to Grandmere’s home. The boys had been there many times.

“Armand, your grandmere is dead. No one lives here.”

Armand smiles, Colin opens the door, and Armand, Pierre start to move the luggage inside. Then as if lightning struck, they began to understand. This would be their new home. We gathered in the living room, Colin walked in with two bottles of wine. We toasted our new tenets. I introduced Pierre as my son who is living in Paris. “He will check up on you gentlemen from time to time. If you have a problem, check with him. Now to sort out bedrooms.”

“Dad, you and Pop will stay with me.”

“There are a total of three bedrooms on the second and third floors. You need to select your bedroom, make your beds, and remember this is home. So shower before going to bed.”

“Pierre, I’ll give you some money to stock the kitchen. They have lived alone for several years but they all were good friends at one time. I don’t expect any problems. Before we go back home, we will stock the larder and they should be able to manage. They can buy bread and cheese from the delicatessen next door.”

Colin came downstairs with our suitcases. “We are going to stay at my son’s home. This will be your new home.”

We took a taxi to Pierre’s cottage. Knowing Pierre, I suspected this cottage would be different and it was. My vision of a cottage was based on the story tales designed for children. This cottage was more like a three-bedroom house.

There were trees in the front, along the front were flower plants, and on the end extending around the corner were peanut plants. “My mom and I planted them the year she died.”

“How did she die?”

“She went skating with my dad. I stayed with Meme. Dad came back and said Mom had fallen through the ice. Grandfather took it hard and two days later Dad disappeared. I asked Grandfather where he went. He said the devil came and took him. That is all I knew. I stayed with my aunts and uncles. Every weekend I’d go and see Grandfather and leave with a new guardian. You and Pop were the last. I wished you were the first. Knowing what I know about a so-called fortune , they took me in hopes of finding mom’s share. They never did and I didn’t know anything about it until recently”

“Don’t worry. You need to show us your home.”

Walking in the front door, we were in the living room. There was a sofa. Marching chair and a lamp between the arms of the chair and sofa.

“Mom and I would sit here in the evening. She would read stories to me while soft music was playing. I just noticed, there was a radio there on the fireplace mantle. It’s gone.”

“We can look around tomorrow they may have misplaced it.”

We sat there for about 15 minutes. I’m not sure what went through Colin’s or Pierre’s mind but I was thinking of a small boy cuddled next to his mother listening as she read him to sleep.

Pierre stood up quickly, “let me show the rest of the house before I fall asleep.”

From the living room, we walked into a small dining room with a large window overlooking the backyard. Colin smiled and I knew he saw the lounge chairs.

The kitchen wasn’t large but it had all of the essentials. A small wooden kitchen table, refrigerator, and cooking stove that once burned wood and was now converted to gas. There was a wooden stand that had drawers for silverware and underneath were pots and pans. I was about to mention no coffee maker when he opened a cabinet door and there was his coffee maker. There was a door that led outside., Colin headed in that direction and the lounges. He said his feet were hurting. I just laughed,

At the far end, there was a building. I asked what that was. He said it is a cover over steps leading to the basement. Looking in the other direction there was another small building.

“That covers the steps to the second floor. There are three bedrooms and a bathroom up there. If you can get Pop up I’ll show you where you will sleep while you are here.”

I went over and whispered, “Pierre and I are going for a glass of wine. Interested?”

He was up and followed us to the second floor. Entering, Pierre pointed out the bathroom. There was a small hall to our right. This my bedroom, opening the door. If you knew Pierre, he didn’t have to tell you. The next bedroom, he said was the children’s room when he married the right person and they have children. Opening the door, there were two bunks bed on one wall, and across from it was a crib. We offered no comments, but I smiled and gave him a wink. The last door was another bedroom.

“You and Pop will sleep here.” Colin went and sat on the bed. He looked at Pierre, and grabbed him in a hug.

“I think you should sleep here. This bedroom is too far from the bathroom for me. We will sleep in your bedroom which is closer to the bathroom.”

So the bedrooms were sorted. Colin left us to return to his lounge chair.

Meme showed up to cook dinner. She didn’t realize she would have kitchen help. “Pierre, where is the crepe griddle.”

“I don’t have one Dad.”

“Don’t worry we will improvise.” I looked at Colin. There will be a griddle in that kitchen by morning.

After dinner, “How much time do you spend upstairs?”

“Only to sleep why?”

“Your kitchen is small enough for two or three people. If I design a larger kitchen would you let me build it?”

“I don’t know. Do you think I’ll need a larger kitchen?”

“If you have more than two children you will need a larger house. Your kitchen and dining room will be the problem. You have the ground, you could extend the cottage without destroying the front. If I get someone to draw up the plans, you can keep them and when you have the money you can do it. At least the plans won’t cost you anything.”

He looked at Mere, she smiled, and he agreed, Colin was off.

“What time do you go to work?”

“My pick-up should be here anytime now.”

“May I ride into town with you? It appears I have three children to discipline. “

“Sure, I can show you where I work and I can show Pop tomorrow.”

I finished my coffee when I heard the car horn. Looking at Pierre, “Your ride?” He nodded yes.

I told Mere to tell Colin I went to check on our children and I’ll be back before lunch.

As we walked to the car, Pierre was nervous. “What is wrong?”

“That young lady driving the car, she and I are dating. I took a peanut, and offered him half. He smiled and hugged me. unfortunately, the young lady saw us.

Approaching the car, he opened her door. She got out,”Colette, I want to introduce you to my Dad.”

She smiled, in a quiet voice, “I’m very glad to have met you. Pierre has told me a lot about you.’

“Colette, may I ride into town with you?”

Looking at Pierre I heard her whisper, “He is good-looking and polite, I like him.”

She got back into the driver seat, I sat in the back and Pierre sat in the front passenger seat.

We chatted. She wanted to know what I thought about the cottage. I told her for two people it was charming but a little too small to raise a family. I must have walked into the middle of an ongoing debate.

“The trick will be to design an expansion while maintaining the charm of the cottage. It can be done and if I am thinking correctly, Pop is already working on it.”

“Who is Pop.”

“He is my other father, Dad’s mate,”

She smiled.

“Dad, do you want to be dropped off at Grandmere’s?”

“No, I’d like to see your office and I can walk there from here.”

She parked the car, and the three of us headed for his office.

Walking into his office was like walking into a noise. I heard some English, some German, French and American English. All at once, it was noise to me.

Pierre took charge, in French. “Ladies and gentlemen I’d like to introduce my father to you. His name is Armand Rowe but his professional name is ARROW. If you want to know more about him, check it out at the Louvre. Now let’s get to work.”

I just looked at Pierre. I was always careful with my name. “Dad, see that guy speaking German, he knew who you were. How he knew I didn’t know. “

I put my arm around Pierre’s shoulder and whispered, “It doesn’t matter anymore, my paintings still sell.”

I left, checking my location, I headed toward Grandmere’s. I walked pass the chapel , grass cut, flowers blooming and there was incense burning. A new grave, it was the old priest. He was buried beside Grandmere’s mausoleum.

As I approached Grandmere’s house it was quiet. Almost too quiet. They were either sleeping or had gone out. I tried the door, it was opened. I entered as silent as I could but they were ib the living room watching me.

When I saw them, I started laughing.They had clean clothes on, they were shaved, hair comb. “Going out gentlemen?”

No. We knew that woman would tell you and we are ashamed how we behaved. This place is way better than our one-room flats. We don’t understand why you let us or even want us here. We don’t have anything. We aren’t talented artist. Street artists made more than we did. And yet here we are.”

“Do you remember when we first met?”

“Armand, I was 16 and now I’m pushing 70. I have a hard time remembering 25 years ago, I have drank to much cheap wine.”

“Armand, we all were in the same boat. None of us amounted to anything. Those no longer with us drank themselves to death on cheap wine.”

“I was a loner in this city, you reached out to me. I now had friends here and over the years as I have returned to Paris, you guys were like family. This will be my last trip to Paris. I am old and the only reason I’m here is my son’s company’s private plane. You are my friends, regardless of whether you are successful or not. You will always be my friends. I have children that may visit Paris and if they do, they will want to stay here, I was hoping if you lived here you could help them. You would be my family in Paris. We ended up in a group hug.

“Now gentlemen, let’s go to the creperie for a late lunch.”

Four old men, slowly walked to the creperie behind a hotel I once stayed at.

Copyright © 2022 CLJobe; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

On 12/7/2023 at 3:19 PM, pickuptoy said:

I love it. Great Chapter!

Armand is a great friend! Maybe the 3 of them will now get inspired and paint some saleable works that they can sell and be comfortable for the rest of their lives. At least be able to drink better wine. LOL!

 

French wine is very good, in fact, the best wines, in my opinion, come from the south of Europe. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter. it was fun writing it.

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On 12/7/2023 at 3:27 PM, Anton_Cloche said:

Other than a few spelling errors, a wonderful chapter @CLJobe.

It seems a circle is drawing to closing (which is a little sad), but inevitable, even in great stories like this. But it is filled with :heart: because of the love and giving spirit of Armand and Colin, which is both a gift and a legacy they have given to ALL their children and families to carry forward.

 Thank you Cal.

🫂

Yes, the story is drawing to the end. Life has a beginning and an ending, and so do stories,. Not all stories end on, "They lived happily"

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On 12/7/2023 at 4:00 PM, weinerdog said:

That was a great gesture Armand and Colin did for the three old men although tinged with little sadness with Armand saying they won't be coming here anymore. 

I guess next will be some kind of confrontation with Christian

Christian will regret his decisions.

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On 12/7/2023 at 4:03 PM, akascrubber said:

Amand attracts and retains friends and family members. He is so generous, He and Colin are taking care of Pierre and his three old artist friends. Their lives are improved and entiched by knowing Armand.Armand and Colin are planing and taking actions for what they think is their last trip to Paris.

This was a rewarding and lovely chapter. You want to be a friend of Armand and Colin.Thank you

You are welcome. I would hope everyone would have a friend like them but I know that is just a wish from an old man. Armand lives for Colin and the children. Colin lives for Armand and the children. Two different men, with the same goals. A marriage I'm sure GG arranged

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On 12/7/2023 at 4:41 PM, drsawzall said:

They have tidied up a couple of loose ends...now to put things to right with Christian...

They have. I wouldn't worry about Christian, there are other forces at work there.

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On 12/7/2023 at 5:31 PM, mikedup said:

All's well bringing the old souls back together, it is almost like bringing things together for the end of their time , but I suppose we need friends who actually mean something to each to be there for each other, now to find Christian, he needs to pay his dues and pay he will, an interesting time in the gallery, I wonder when the guide will realise who he was guiding, interesting times ahead 

That guide was oblivious to who was visiting. He reminded me of a young, immature person with an important position and wanted everyone to know. He will be embarrassed if he ever finds out.

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On 12/7/2023 at 11:56 PM, raven1 said:

Arnaud connecting with old friends and helping them now just shows how little he has changed.  The same applies to Colin as he decides to prepare Pierre's home for a family.  Unfortunately, the problem that is Christian is still ahead of them'

Christian is out of the picture according to Pierre. I can see Christian beating himself up when he realizes Pierre has the fortune, oops you weren't supposed to know that.

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On 12/8/2023 at 12:21 AM, chris191070 said:

A few lose ends tidied up, a few questions still to be answered 

There are many questions to be answered. Maybe the next posting will help

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On 12/8/2023 at 5:15 AM, Jkeeletupelo said:

I haven't commented much on this story, but I have so enjoyed reading of Armand and his family. It seems like it is winding down now, and I'm of two minds. I'm sad to see it end, but know that it must; I'm also happy to see the way You're drawing everything together for the last act. The entire story has been well written, and this is no exception. Thank you for sharing it! 

Thank you for your kind words. The life of Armand and Colin is one of devotion. It would be nice if everyone had a life partner who was devoted to each other ass these two men are. We can pray

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