"Mm," you murmured, resting your head on the Frenchman's chest. "I love you," you said softly, listening to his heartbeat as you closed your eyes.
He chuckled, gently rubbing the small of your back before kissing the top of your head. "Je t'aime trop, (Name). Did you enjoy our anniversary?" he asked.
"Oui," you sleepily replied in his native language, a faint smile on your face. The day had involved Francis's irresistible cooking, candles, many French pet names, and kissing.
Lots and lots of kissing.
He smiled down at you, running his hand up to rest on one of your shoulder blades. "I'm glad, ma chère," he whispered. "I only wish to make you as happy as you make moi."
You wrapped your arms around him, lifting your head up so you could see his face. "Really?"
"Of course. Don't you remember how we met?" he asked, reaching out to push a strand of your hair away from your (Eye Colour) eyes.
And indeed you did.
You leaned over, giving your boyfriend's cheek a quick peck before giggling. "Oh, Arthur, thank you so much for taking me here!" you exclaimed cheerfully. The Englishman, being a gentleman through and through, had decided to take you out to one of the most expensive restaurants in (Home Country). The surprise had caught you completely off-guard, and you quickly rushed to put on your best attire, hoping to impress him.
Instantly, his cheeks flushed, and he gave you a sincere smile. "It was nothing, (Name). You deserve the very best," he told you. You reached out to take his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, which he returned.
"Yo, Artie! I didn't know you'd be here!" shouted an excited voice that could only belong to Alfred. Glancing away from Arthur, you saw the American rush over to your table. With him was his girlfriend Alice, who was reluctantly tugged along, desperately trying to push her glasses back up so they wouldn't slip off her nose.
Arthur sighed, scowling. "Nor did I know you'd be here," he muttered. "Well, what do you want?"
"Aw, are you guys, like...on a date or something?" Alfred beamed, his blue eyes bright with amusement. That smile of his was contagious, and you soon found yourself grinning as well as you nodded. "That's so cute. Hey, Alice, why don't we go on dates like this more often?"
"Because you prefer going to places like amusement parks and bowling alleys," she reminded him, placing a hand on her hip as she observed the various tables in the restaurant. "Although I certainly wouldn't mind coming here more often."
"Nah, this place looks pretty lame. But I'm sure there's a McDonald's we could go to!" he suggested.
At this remark, any hope Alice had of a classic, romantic night seemed lost. "How you can eat that rubbish is beyond me," she told him, folding her arms.
"You're just jealous 'cuz British food is nowhere near as good," he protested with a playful smirk. "So, Arthur, how's Amelia?"
You froze at the unfamiliar name. "Who?" you asked.
"Her name is (Name)!" Arthur practically shrieked, his eyes growing wide as he shot Alfred one of the darkest glares you had ever seen. "(Name)," he repeated.
"Oh, right, um...(Name)," Alfred said. As he shifted his gaze to you, you swore you could see an almost guilty look in his eyes. "Well, I guess we should get back to our table, darlin'," he told Alice.
And with that, the couple had left you and Arthur alone. Arthur, who was refusing to look at you, keeping his focus on the window. He said various words under his breath, some of which were "wanker" and "idiot." Feeling more confident, you decided to interrogate him. "...Amelia?" you asked, your tone perplexed. "Is that, um...someone you know?"
"It was just Alfred being a git, love," Arthur assured you, flashing you an unsure smile. "Don't worry about it, (Name). Let's just enjoy this evening together."
Happy that he had regained his composure, you returned the smile. "Of course, Arthur," you agreed. "I love you."
"And I love you, (Name)."
You sat at the same table that you and Arthur had been at a year prior to the date Alfred had showed up at. Your (Hair Colour) hair had been pulled up into an elegant style that Elizaveta had taught you, and you had decided to wear your best (Favourite Colour) dress. Eagerly awaiting the Brit's arrival, you tapped your fingers impatiently against the table.
To be honest, you were expecting him to propose tonight, and frankly, you dreaded the idea of waiting any longer. Arthur had never failed to make you feel ecstatic when you were together. Yes, sometimes he would drink too much gin and try to do things you weren't at all comfortable with, but thankfully, it wasn't difficult to fend him off. Antsy, you looked at your wrist. He was five minutes late. You gave a slight shrug. Although it wasn't like Arthur to be late, you wondered if perhaps he was picking up a ring at the last minute. Or maybe some flowers. The thought brought a smile to yourself as you continued to wait.
When you realized he was thirty minutes late, you began to worry. You attempted to call him, only getting his answering machine.
When you realized he was an hour late, the waitress offered to take your order, which you politely declined. You would wait for Arthur. It was the proper thing to do, after all.
When you realized he was two hours late, you received a text message on your phone. You clicked the "open" button so quickly you feared that you'd break the device, but the message opened with ease.
And there it was. "Sorry."
That was the only word written. There was no heart emoticon, no "love" tacked on at the end. Just "sorry."
Biting your lower lip, you texted him back: "That's okay, Arthur. When are you going to get here?" you typed out, hitting send as you rested your phone back on the table.
Nothing happened for what seemed like ages, and eventually you asked the waitress for a glass of wine. Leaning back against your chair, you started running through all the reasons Arthur could have decided not to appear at your date. He could have gotten sick, but he would have at least texted you more than "sorry" if he was ill. He could have gotten in a car accident, which made your pulse quicken before you pushed the thought away. No, you would have received some sort of phone call from the police or a hospital if that had happened. But suddenly, it hit you.
The name Alfred had accidentally let slip at that date. The name Arthur had reacted so hastily to. The fact that he refused to talk about her and that no one else had brought the incident up again had bothered you earlier, and now you finally knew why. The bushy-browed Englishman had been cheating on you for over a year now, and you had been blinded by your love for him.
You immediately buried your head in your arms, hot tears escaping your eyes as the mascara you had spent so much time applying ran down your cheeks. How could you have been so foolish? What hurt you the most was that he had decided to have a rendezvous with this Amelia girl on your anniversary. The hope that he might propose to you had been shattered now.
"Desole, mademoiselle, but are you alright?" asked a concerned voice.
Tentatively, you looked up from your arms to see a man with long, wavy blonde tresses, his blue eyes filled with worry. His chin was nearly clean shaven, except for some light stubble that only made him look more endearing. You suddenly felt self-conscious, considering that your hair and makeup was now a mess. "Y-yes, I'm fine," you told him, sniffling. You gave him a weak smile. "P-please...d-don't worry about me, sir."
"Nonsense," he protested, sitting across from you, where Arthur would had been. His French accent was fluid and warm, which made you relax a bit. "I can't just leave a lovely girl like you in such a state." You felt your already flushed cheeks grow warmer, and a wave of guilt washed over you. You had a boyfriend. You shouldn't be with this stranger.
"T-thank you very much, but...I'm very aware that I look dreadful right now," you chuckled, brushing a stray tear away from your face.
He frowned at this. "Non, you look absolutely adorable. It's only your makeup that's been ruined," he assured you. He picked up his napkin, gently running it across your cheeks. The mascara was gone, and he moved the napkin to your lips, removing your lipstick. "There. That's better, oui?"
You nodded, feeling better that the heavy makeup was no longer on your face. Placing the napkin back on the table, his fingers returned to your face, sliding down to rest on your jawline. "Oh, ma colombe," he sighed softly. "What happened to make you this upset?"
You closed your eyes for a moment before silently deciding to tell him what had happened. "Well, y-you see...my boyfriend and I were going to meet here tonight. It's our anniversary," you told him, opening your eyes again to see that he was now smiling.
"Oh, an anniversary!" he beamed. "It seems my timing is magnifique. I adore seeing people in love."
"But that's the problem," you objected. "He...he doesn't love me. At least not anymore." You felt more tears threaten to escape your eyes as you met his gaze. Determined not to cry in front of this man, you bit your lower lip. "He's been seeing another girl for about a year now, and...well, I was too stupid to realize it." You chuckled coldly. "In fact, I think he's with her right now."
He quickly took your hand, startling you a bit as he pressed your knuckles to his soft lips. "Je suis desole," he murmured against your skin.
"I..no, it's...it's alright," you assured him, trying to deny the fact that you enjoyed this treatment. Arthur had never been this careful and loving with you. "Really, I'll just...don't worry."
He released your hand, casting you a sympathetic glance. "Mademoiselle, I know that I can't fix this, but at least let me buy you dinner tonight."
"...Thank you, Mister-" you blinked, realizing you hadn't learned his name yet.
"Francis, ma fleur," he told you, smiling brightly. "Just Francis."
"Francis," you repeated softly, returning his smile.
Dinner turned out to be far more entertaining than you could have expected. Not only was Francis incredibly handsome, but he was also witty and intelligent, two traits that you admired. He told you that he was from Paris, but had traveled all over France, and the rest of Europe, for that matter. This intrigued you; you had always been interested in other countries. Feeling that it was only fair, you began to tell him about yourself. As odd as it sounded, you almost felt more comfortable around Francis than Arthur. Sure, Arthur would listen to you, but you always felt like you had to behave like some sort of royalty around him in order to please him. Francis, on the other hand, had approached you when your makeup made you appear like some sort of deranged clown as if nothing was wrong.
After you had finished your dinner, you glanced at your watch, gasping as you noticed that you had completely lost track of time. "Oh, God, I'm sorry, Francis," you quickly apologized. "But I really should get back home." Thoughts of Arthur entered your mind, and you pondered if he was still with Amelia. "Unfortunately," you added softly, without thinking.
"Well, (Name), you're welcome to stay with moi," he purred, running a finger down the back of your hand.
You felt your face grow warm as you averted your gaze from him. "That's very kind of you, but I couldn't. Arthur still is my boyfriend, after all," you pointed out.
"You still want to stay with him?" he asked, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
"I didn't say that. It's just...well, if I went...off with you," you began, unsure of how to phrase what you were feeling. "It wouldn't make me any better than him. I think it's better that we discuss what should happen, you know?"
"Oui," he mused. "You still love him, don't you?"
"Well, I...we've been together for such a long time, Francis," you admitted. "Perhaps I loved him more than he loved me."
Francis sighed softly, squeezing your hand. "Well, then he's a fool, (Name). He should have treated you like the princess you are," he told you, reaching out to stroke your cheek.
You giggled quietly, giving him a weak smile. "Don't be ridiculous, Francis. I'm not a princess."
"You could be ma princesse," he suggested, returning your smile.
You had to admit that it sounded much better than your current situation with the Englishman. "I'll consider it," you replied playfully.
"Well, if you decide that you do," he said, writing down a combination of numbers in his refined cursive on a napkin. "Or if you simply need to talk to someone, don't hesitate to call me."
You took it from him, clutching it tightly in your hand. "Alright." Pausing, you stood up from the table. "Thank you, Francis. You've made my anniversary...well, much better than I thought it would be."
He stood up as well, taking your hand and giving it a final kiss goodbye. "Bonne nuit, (Name). I wish you the best."
When you had returned home to a half-dressed Arthur and his wavy haired courtesan that evening, you had promptly kicked both of them out of your apartment, ending your relationship with the Brit and allowing him to run off with his dearest Amelia. Afterwards, you had curled up on the couch with a blanket, but you shed no tears. A part of you was convinced that you were going to miss the uptight Englishman, but you pushed the thought away, and with it went your affections for Arthur.
"Francis, do you think Arthur misses me?" you suddenly asked. A bit perplexed by your question Francis sat up, and you shifted your position so that were sitting in his lap. Wrapping his arms around your waist, he leaned forward to kiss your forehead.
"(Name) ma belle, I imagine he wishes he was with you every day," he assured you. "I know I do."
Smiling, you kissed his cheek. "Je...je t'aime, Francis," you said quietly, hoping that your pronunciation was correct.
In response, he caught you by a lock of your hair, pulling you forward into what seemed to be the hundredth kiss of the night.
"Je t'aime trop, ma princesse.