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Meet Antoinette

Her name was Antoinette Amboise, or so she said. Somehow, they became friends. Somehow, because it never made sense. Maybe Axel’s embarrassment that night allowed her to share glimpses of fragility, something she’d never reveal to a client, not even Lucien. Over the coming months, she and Axel never traveled together more than five or six blocks from Pigalle, and yet, they went in so many directions. She nurtured surprise, welcomed doubt, and merged love and fear. She was young and old. All of it enveloped him with delight and fright. 

He had never slept with a woman before. She permitted him to explore. But even more, to be touched. To close his eyes and disappear under her spell, to trace her breath up his leg, then to be consumed by her.

Yet she wasn’t about to let him or anyone get too close. “My body’s my mask,” she declared with an exaggerated wink like an actress over drinks with Lucien and Axel at La Joconde.