Authors: Kate Stayman-London
Bea nodded. “Yes, Sam.” Another kiss. Sam moved to make room for Luc.
“Bea, this week for us was special. But I know there is better yet to come.”
He took her hand and brought it to his lips—he kissed one finger, just as she had when he’d given her that perfect taste of saffron. She couldn’t help but glance at Asher as Luc did this—she saw his jaw was set, his face hard. But there was nothing she could do about that now.
“Bea, you will stay with me another week?”
“I will.” Luc kissed her cheek too.
And then there was just Asher—his lips tight, his posture rigid. Bea tensed up, wondering if they were about to rehash his jealousy of Luc. But as it turned out, he was upset about something else entirely.
“Do you doubt me?” he said. The room went quiet, and the tension level rose considerably.
“I don’t want to,” Bea said truthfully.
“Do you believe I would bring cameras into my home and let you meet my children if I wasn’t serious about this—about you?”
“No.” Bea’s voice was barely above a whisper. “I know you wouldn’t.”
“I hate that men like Jefferson want to hurt you. Bea, I was so angry down there. But I will never give you a reason to believe him. I want you to meet my family. I want you, period. Stay with me, Bea. Okay? Stay.”
Bea couldn’t find words, but she nodded, and Asher wrapped her in a hug and kissed her on the cheek. In his arms, she closed her eyes, allowing herself to forget for just a moment about the other men in the room, the cameras watching them, and all her doubts.
Jefferson Derting <
MoroccanAir Baggage Retrieval Service<
RE: RE: RE: Lost baggage
Hello. After several emails and one two-hour phone call, I am
to hear what happened to my baggage. I flew back to the U.S. five days ago, and you people don’t seem to have any idea what happened to my stuff. I was on
for a month, so
ALL MY CLOTHES
were in that bag, in addition to a
VERY EXPENSIVE VINTAGE BESPOKE BEARD MAINTENANCE KIT
which I purchased
. Can you help me or not? I don’t want to have to Yelp about this, so get back to me, comprende?
MoroccanAir Baggage Retrieval Service<
Jefferson Derting <
RE: RE: RE: RE: Lost baggage
Dear Mr. Derting,
As best as we can surmise, the mix-up occurred during your transfer in Madrid, at which time you boarded a flight bound for the United States. Your baggage, however, continued on to London, then Crete, then Bucharest, and finally Bratislava. At that point, an associate identified it and had it flown to our One Globe baggage retrieval center in Frankfurt. However, due to a storm system in the area, I’m afraid that is where our trail runs cold. It’s possible your bag was received and logged in Frankfurt, but the electrical blackout caused that record to be deleted within our system; or it may simply never have arrived. We’re working on that information and will report back as soon as we can. We thank you very much for your patience, and we would like to offer you complimentary beverages on your next MoroccanAir flight. Have a pleasant day!
Our very best,
Baggage Retrieval Specialist
A Partner of the One Globe Alliance
One globe. One you. One planet.
I WENT TO THAT HOT
After last week’s episode of
, no corner of the Internet was safe from discussion of one topic: French chef (slash International Hot Dude) Luc Dupond and his illicit night with Bea in Morocco. Did they sleep together, or did they
together? Is he on the show for the right reasons? And, most importantly—can the guy actually cook? This reporter braved the Snap-happy crowds at his restaurant, Canard Chanceux (that’s French for “lucky duck”), to find out.
Spoiler alert? The answer is no.
If you’re opening up a restaurant in downtown Manhattan, you’re facing steep rent and stiff competition, which means you have one of two choices: Either you can cook outrageously good food that keeps the crowds coming back, or you can put out plates that look really, really, really good on Instagram. You want to take a wild guess which thing Canard Chanceux is doing?
And yes, I’ll admit, it’s fun to see your lamb lollipops ascend a spiral staircase made of freeze-dried frites while a column of foie-infused smoke (reader, I wish I was making that up) shoots up the middle. But you know what’s more fun?
Eating food that tastes good
In Luc’s defense, this isn’t his restaurant, nor his concept (he was hired by the owners to replace the previous chef after a much-publicized embezzlement scandal). Who knows how well he would do if he were to achieve his dream of opening up his own place—a dream that’s within reach now that he’s become a quasi-celebrity. But one thing’s unfortunately for sure: His fame will no doubt draw even greater hordes to a restaurant where everyone should photograph the food, but nobody, least of all you, should eat it.
Hometown week was the craziest shooting schedule of the season—four cities across America in just six days. Since there was neither time nor budget to go to Normandy to meet Luc’s family this week, Bea was spending an afternoon with Luc in New York City to meet his friends and eat at his restaurant. Still smarting from his behavior in Morocco and questioning his motives, Bea told Alison she wanted to feel tough on this date—like a hot bitch you don’t mess with. They settled on skintight Veda leather leggings paired with a silky black blouse (several buttons undone to reveal the lacy low-cut cami Bea wore underneath), spiky McQueen heels, and a luxe dark Baja East trench coat slung around her shoulders. They finished the look with bombshell waves, smoky eyes, big lashes, and soft, pouty lips—Bea thought it was the sexiest she’d looked all season.
As she stepped into the sleek mirrored foyer of the restaurant, Bea saw that Luc agreed with her assessment. He slipped the coat from her shoulders, letting his hands linger at her waist and slide down over her hips as he kissed her hello on the cheek.
“My God.” His voice was throaty in her ear. “I wish today you were the meal.”
“Then what would I eat?” Bea smiled and swept into the restaurant, leaving Luc to trail behind her.
The dining room was inky and angular, the chairs hard, the ceilings low, the surfaces dark and lacquered. The whole place had a sultry, subterranean feel—it made perfect sense to Bea that this was the sort of restaurant where see-and-be-seen traders and club kids came to drop $1,000 on a Tuesday. At the back of the room, a smoked glass wall gave a murky view of the restaurant’s kitchen, where prep for the evening was well under way; they were filming this meal at 2
. so as not to interfere with that night’s dinner service. Bea was so distracted by the motion, energy, and chaotic order of the chefs and the line cooks going through their routines, and the realization that all these people reported to Luc, that she barely noticed the table of his friends waiting to meet her.
“Everyone, this is Bea,” Luc announced, and three of the most attractive people Bea had ever seen turned to appraise her.
“Bea, I’m Stefania.” A towering brunette with creamy alabaster skin and a crisp English accent rose to kiss Bea’s cheek and clasp her hands as if they were already old friends. “Luc has been telling us about you.”
“All good things, I hope?”
“Of course! He’s absolutely smitten by you. But that’s Luc, isn’t it? Never denies himself a pleasure.”
“I’ve noticed that too.” Bea threw Luc a little look, and he grinned impishly back.
“And this is my partner, Isabeau.”
Isabeau was a Black woman from Paris, and so chic Bea thought she’d be right at home in the fashion world; her flowing silk pants hung low on her hips, and her hair was arranged in swirls of Bantu knots.
—love your blouse.” Isabeau kissed Bea’s cheeks as well.
“Thank you. Your slacks are fantastic.”
“What, these?” Isabeau waved her hand dismissively. “I made them in an afternoon.”
“You’re a designer?” Bea’s eyes lit up.
“No, she’s in marketing, of all things.” Stefania rolled her eyes. “Just much more beautiful and talented than the rest of us.”
“Not more than you,
.” Isabeau grinned and kissed Stefania—Bea liked them both immediately.
The final member of their party was Boaz, who was Israeli and a chef as well. He and Luc came up together at “some shit fusion concept in Flatbush, all pretension, no flavor” (Boaz’s words), but now he co-owned his own restaurant in Cobble Hill, a fact Luc noted with palpable envy.
“You too, soon enough,” Boaz said to Luc, draping an arm about his shoulders and massaging his neck.
“Yes, but you have said this for years,” Luc groused.
“But now you’re a big TV star, eh?” Boaz winked at Bea. “You’re making all his dreams come true.”
Bea pressed her lips together—that was exactly why she was worried.
There was no time to say more about it, though, as servers arrived bearing platters of flaky white fish grilled with lemon and tomatoes, bowls of fresh greens in sour mustard dressing, and an overflowing pot of mouthwatering cassoulet.
“You see?” Boaz said to Luc. “This is what I’ve been telling you. For your place, forget all that Instagram shit.
is your food.”
“This food isn’t on your menu?” Bea asked.
” Luc explained. “For you I wanted to make something more traditional, like what my mother would prepare if she were here.”
“You should see the stuff he cooks here.” Boaz laughed. “Everything a tower, tiny little portions stacked up high. He lets the presentation talk instead of the taste.”
it’s not my menu,” Luc protested.
“Sure.” Bea gave Luc a knowing look. “But even if you’re working at someone else’s restaurant, wouldn’t you rather be somewhere where you can make your own food? Don’t you get tired of always pretending to be someone you’re not?”
“I am not always pretending,” he said softly. An awkward silence fell over the group.
“The fish is scrumptious.” Stefania broke the tension. “Luc, do you remember when we went to that little place in Calais, what was it called?”
“Angelie Sur la Mer,” Luc answered.
“Yes, Angelie by the sea!” she said, translating. “It was the quaintest little place, with a view of the cliffs, and the
” She groaned with pleasure at the memory. “You could barely get Luc and me to leave our room, we hardly saw daylight, but when it was time for dinner, it was on with our things and out the door so fast your head would spin.”