December 17, 2010

Frederick - Dinner

Continued from The Other Side of Agnes

"Would you like to join me for dinner?"

She did not respond immediately, but looked at his basket, then at her own, and finally said, “For dinner? Oh, I was planning to have dinner at home...”

“A baguette?” he said.

She told him the baguette was for breakfast and that she had planned to just eat out of the cupboard, a small dinner. He insisted that she needed something much more substantial, and suggested seafood. He immediately had a restaurant in mind, within walking distance. She was enthused, and before she could waver again he took her basket, dumped the contents into his. The cashier ran them through the register and offered to set everything aside for them to collect later.

He beckoned to her to come along, taking hold of her wrist again, noticing how compliant she felt. He nearly had to drag her along to keep pace. He was moving quickly to assure she wouldn't change her mind again. He had been very surprised, shocked actually by her abrupt departure from his apartment last week and wanted to be sure she did not have a chance to change her mind this time. When they stopped for a signal light, he gathered her in more, wrapping her arm around his. "Ah, that’s better. You just need some leadership.”

“I see.” she said, smiling. He spoke half under his breath, “I doubt you do.”

As they walked down the street, it was clear she was taken off balance by his resolve, and seemed to be weighing things in her mind. They did not speak the rest of the way to the restaurant. “Here we are.”

It was an impressive place he knew and his favorite for this kind of first impression. He had cultivated relationships with the maître de and most of the waiters and they knew he was fond of bringing girls here; the whole ambiance of the place was seductive. It had a formality and richness to it, but was also comforting in an at home sort of way. They were taken to a table and two glasses of red wine arrived before they had settled in their seats. He offered a toast, “To a balanced meal.” She repeated his words, with a hearty smile. He returned her smile. They settled into a relaxed comfort and he could tell she had something to say.

She offered an apology for leaving his apartment last week, citing advice from her father. She clearly had a respect and reverence for the counsel of older men. He had noticed that already in her responses to him, although not always positively. He took advantage of her serious reverence, and teased back and forth with her. Finally, she called the game, “Whatever you say, Frederick.” They'd scored about even he thought, but just barely, and he said mostly to himself, “Ah, the girl is trainable.” She asked him to repeat himself, but he busied himself with the wine list, ignoring her question, capping the final move, for this segment of the game.

After a time, he re-engaged her in a discussion, now exploring her feelings, missing friends and others left behind, and her motives for moving to Paris.

"I wanted to get away from the sense of myself that I was a misfit; that I wanted something unattainable.”

“Agnes, I know we don’t know one another well, but I can assure you that you are not a misfit here.”

“You really think so?”


“Well, that is nice to know.”

When the waiter offered menus, he held up his hand and said, "We will both have the salmon." The waiter turned to Agnes to get her confirmation but Frederick spoke again, "And instead of the potatoes we would have green beans." When the waiter looked back at Agnes again she just smiled and settled back in her chair. As the waiter left Frederick looked over at her, saw the smile and could tell she was performing some sort of assessment. He busied himself with dishing out the salad and the bread, and the general presentation of the food, and left her to her musing. When she asked a question, he would answer it, but did not take any bait, nor was he led into any conversations. He persisted in managing the meal, the waiter, giving the impression that the conversations had ended and it was time to enjoy the meal, no more.

Finally when the meal was nearly over, she spoke up and broke the silence. She was dying to know more about Frederick, who he was, what he did, and most interestingly, what he was, because he was definitely not like any man she had known before and she was captivated; but, she was having great difficulty reading him. When she asked what kind of work he did, he said finance, acquisitions, takeovers, those sorts of things. She said she didn't know much about finance and started to say something about her father's advice. He abruptly interrupted her and said, “I am sure your father guided you well, that is plain to see by how you have turned out. But you are a grown girl, and you need guidance in the here and now.”

He was surprised but pleased with the look on her face. He had snapped her out of her daddy's little girl patter, and stricken a chord with her. He had been baiting and teasing her all along and was now pretty sure that he had just set the hook. He grinned to himself, sat back and waited for the coffee and crème brûlée. When it arrived, he took his time; commenting on the smoothness and delicacy of the flavors. He could see she was enjoying the dessert but clearly was anxious to be done in this restaurant. Finally the waiter brought the check, which he paid and took her hand, lifted her out of her chair and helped her put on her light sweater.

Once outside, he slowly walked with her back to the supermarket, having placed her hand on his arm again, and adjusted his gait to her natural pace. When they arrived, they collected their parcel and he said, “I shall walk you home.” At that she stopped walking, and because very quiet and seemed distressed.

He stopped and turned towards her. “Agnes? Is something wrong?”

“Frederick, I don’t really want to go home.”

“Where do you want to go, Agnes?”

She remained silent.

“Where do you want to go, Agnes?”

“With you.”

He said nothing, but abruptly turned the corner and headed down a side street. He noticed that she was again animated and was actually humming a little tune under her breath. He smiled to himself and headed around another corner, into a darkish little alley. She slowed her pace slightly, pulled at his arm, and said, "Frederick, where are we going?"

In response, he turned into a doorway, pulled aside a curtain, and said, "I think we need a small after dinner drink. This is a favorite little bar of mine."

They worked their way past the bar and tables, to a small sitting area in the back corner, with low couches and tables. As they moved past people, several of them said hello to Frederick, and nearly all of them took particular notice of Agnes, some with muttered comments, and even a couple of low whistles. She moved even closer to Frederick and clung to his arm, seeking the comfort and protection of closeness. Frederick accepted her discomfort and moved his arm up around her shoulder, pulled her to him, and when they reached the sitting area, ushered her to a seat on one of the couches and took a seat for himself in a chair off to her left, at a 90 degree angle. He noticed her looking at the space on the couch next to herself, clearly surprised and disappointed he had not sat down next to her. He lit the candle on the table, and when the waitress arrived, ordered snifters of B & B. There was soft jazz music playing in the background, and Frederick felt in his element and was pleased that Agnes was slightly off balance. It gave him both an advantage in the conversation, and a dilemma to solve and salve.

He listened to the music, and watched Agnes look around at the interior of the bar; a bohemian hangout. It seemed to be an oddity to her, many things she was not familiar with and as he watched, he saw more of her naivete showing through. Clearly this was not the kind of place she had ever been. As she looked around and he watched her, the waitress arrived with the drinks. As she bent over the low table, the front of her peasant blouse hung low, offering Frederick a clear and full view of her ample breasts. She noticed him noticing and they exchanged smiles of familiarity. She lingered, allowing him more time to appreciate the view. When she stood up to leave, Frederick looked over to see that Agnes had been watching the interaction. Frederick picked up a snifter, handing it to Agnes and lifted his own in a toast. He dismissed her concern with an off handed comment, "Gretchen is an old friend."

Agnes said, "She doesn't look very old." Frederick smiled, and took a sip of his drink, letting her quip pass for the time being.

"How do you like this place?"

"It is interesting, it is not like any place I have ever seen before, but it is comfortable and relaxed."

"I hope you will become accustomed to it. I come here often. It is a wonderful place to unwind from a busy day, and let go of my tension."

Agnes smiled but did not comment.

"So, if you have never been to a place like this before, what kinds of places did you go to, or did you not drink before I tempted you?" he asked with a wry smile.

"On the occasions when we went out it was usually to a bistro, and we drank wine. Places such as this surely exist at home, but young girls do not typically go there."

As they were talking, Agnes noticed that Gretchen returned and placed a silver serving tray on the far corner of the low table. There was an elaborately carved wooden box on the tray and a glass appliance that looked something like a kerosene lamp, but was something she had never seen before. She flashed a quizzical look in Frederick's direction and he answered, "Water pipe, hashish."

"Did you order this Frederick?"

"No, it is something they bring to all the tables back in this sitting area, but it is not to my liking most times. I can have it removed if it bothers you? I am not interesting in having any of it."

She shook her head.

"So, Agnes, you said "we" go to bistros, do you mean your family, or you and your friends? Or, perhaps young men take you to these places?"

"Well, my friends and I mostly, what you might call a girls night out, and on some occasions I would go on a date with boys and we often ended up at one of the bistros."

"You dated a lot, did you?"

"I wouldn't say "a lot" but sometimes on a weekend a boy would ask me out. I was fairly popular, but certainly not a lot."

Frederick continued to ask her questions about her dating habits, the kind of men she would see and what kinds of activities she enjoyed. He got the impression that she mostly went out with boys she knew from school or from the neighborhood, that they were typically her age and athletes, and that most of her dates were dinner, movie, museums, sightseeing, or combinations of these activities. He discerned that she had never really had any serious relationships, not surprising given what she had said about her father keeping a close watch on her in concert with her obvious daddy's girl desire to follow his will. He suspected she was not a virgin, but that she was pretty naive sexually. She exhibited a good bit of embarrassment and discomfort with some of his more personal questions, but she was forthcoming with answers, wanting to please him, no matter the nature of the inquiry. Probably a habitual characteristic of the daddy's good little girl, transferred to this interaction with another older man, a father figure.

After having a second B & B, he could see she was becoming a bit tipsy, a combination of these drinks and the wine with dinner, and the late hour. He took hold of her hand, and said, "Sweetheart, the night is over. It is time to head home."

Agnes was indeed tired but had enjoyed her time in the bar . . . 


  1. I await the next installment with great anticipation. I enjoy your writing, and can't wait to see where this leads.

  2. Enjoyed your story very much. Looking forward to reading what happens next. In the meantime, I'll check your archives to read the beginning. When will you post the next chapter? More, please. Very soon, please. ;-)

  3. Agnes seems to naturally gravitate to Frederick now. Her hesitation has lessoned and he's playing her like an instrument he's mastered.

    I look forward to the next time he draws in her captivation.

  4. This is fascinating to read. I am curious, if you are willing to share: are the calculations/manipulations in his mind really this explicit, or more innate and only need to be written out explicitly for the telling of the story. Thank you.

  5. Thank you all:

    William - As the destination is yet undetermined, I hope you will savor the journey.

    TemptingSweets99 - Glad you found the rest of the story, more soon, over there first.

    Drenchxoxo - Yes, her resolve is weakening, or his is growing? I also think she is very curious.

    greengirl - Great question, the actions are more innate, described explicitly for the story to make clear his intentions. In encounters like this there is a great deal of attention paid, and there is always sensing and adapting.

  6. Oh! I really like this! Frederick is intriguing. Looking forward to more.

  7. im glad to have "caught" the 2nd chapter. it is a fascinating view "under the hood"...


    Thanks for a great, detailed, pre-erotic story!

    looking forward to more (yes, that was a request, David!, please???)