Payback time. Standing in his mother’s kitchen, Sean Collins smiled as he hung up the phone.
He hovered at the phone for a moment, then charged along the carpeted hallway to his bedroom. In a flash, he changed from his T-shirt and jeans into his black pin stripe king-of-the-business-world suit complete with black tie and shiny black shoes.
Finished dressing, Sean jittered at the door and listened to his son talking nonstop to his mother upstairs. His skin tingled and he closed his eyes. At least moving to his parents’ country estate where he had grown up on Cape Cod had been good for everyone.
Breakfast could wait. He grabbed the keys on the counter downstairs, and he called upstairs, “I’m leaving. I won’t be gone long.”
Last year, the school principal had fired him with bogus charges. Sean had sworn on every holy book that he’d been fired because his doctors had discovered cancer in a routine physical exam.
The sickness sucked. But he’d survived. And now he used his vast wealth to get what he wanted. No teacher should be treated so callously. He had taken the job at the time to prove to himself he had more choices than being the chief financial officer of his father’s corporation.
He set his jaw and walked outside to his car, where the smell of freshly cut grass hit his senses.
The moment he stepped outside and headed toward the garage, Sean stared at the vast forested area on the property for a moment and pressed his lips together. Trees made sense. Women never had. His luck with women had been bad from the start. His first girlfriend, Gigi Dumont, had left him for parts unknown, and then later his wife, now his ex, Jennifer, had also left. She’d played with a whole set of loose scruples. But Jennifer hadn’t hurt him, not like Gigi had. Sean rolled his shoulders. Why did everything in his life always seem to go back to Gigi leaving?
He fished out his keys from his pocket. And now Gigi had moved back into the house next door.
Sean opened the garage door. A quick click of a button and the gate lifted.
Last night he hadn’t slept. Today his shoulders were straight. This moment had nothing to do with women and everything to do with justice. His fingers traced the shiny finish of his brother Gerard’s Aston Martin. Without blinking, he opted to borrow the car. He’d be early and outshine everyone else. Gerard had offered to loan it to him specifically for today. Sean licked his lips and turned the key, igniting the engine, and took off.
A daydream flashed in his eyes. Principal Murray’s jaw dropped to the ground in shock the second Sean stepped inside the office with the papers.
Sean clutched the wheel. He intended to twist the knife even further. People like Mr. Murray gave businessmen around the world the reputation of cold, heartless automatons, especially when he claimed the firing had been over “job performance.” Every one of Sean’s students had passed the state assessments.
Now, Sean ran the finances for his parents, his father’s company, and his brothers. The support of his family to get him through cancer treatments had been phenomenal, but what if he hadn’t had that support? What if he’d had no money to pay for treatments? He’d be dead because the principal had fired him due to the insurance increases. Well, now Sean had a better solution.
He sped down the country road for the half-hour trip. During his horrible marriage to Jennifer, he’d worked as a teacher, and his students had achieved both academic and social successes. Jennifer had been the nightmare that drove Sean away from Collins Industries, Collins Enterprises, Collins Investments, and Collins Mutual, to list a few of his father’s multiple companies. Post divorce and cancer, Sean had made the decision to offer employees packages in cases of sickness. Anyone who worked for him would now receive a payoff equal to the job performance done over the years as part of a settlement. Money paid hospital bills.
Sean’s stomach clenched as he gazed at the sign for the Barnstable Charter High School parking lot. Sean parked Gerard’s fancy lawyer wheels that screamed “out to impress” right next to the about-to-be-sacked principal’s BMW sedan. The Aston Martin made the perfect goodbye gesture. Murray had been outclassed.
Sean leaned forward in his seat, refusing to feel guilty. He waited for the school bell to ring and watched students bounding outside.
Unlike most people, his family had money, and normally he wouldn’t like flaunting wealth. His Jeep Wrangler suited him just fine, but today he needed to look like the elite businessman he was. He stepped out a minute later, and in a fast walk, he strode down the halls. Sean winked the second he saw the school guard’s shocked face.
“You had cancer?” asked the older African American lady who coached the wrestling team.
“Yes, I did. I’m better now,” Sean said, smiling.
He inclined his head and passed the security desk then Sean turned right toward the principal’s office.
In his briefcase he carried the school board’s ruling and the proof of sale of the school to Collins Enterprises. Barnstable was a private school that followed school board law. The sale to his company had been finalized, but Sean had insisted on telling Murray in person. The minutes of the meeting would be posted at one that day. Victory waited for him, and justice tasted better than homemade chocolate chip cookies.
In the office, the overqualified secretary, Mattie, dropped her pencil on the floor. Sean made eye contact with her and the older woman smiled back. Then he picked up the pencil in stride, and handed it back to her. She opened her mouth to speak, and he shook his head, placing his finger over his lips to silently request her silence.
She smiled her response and swiveled her chair back to her computer.
He had seen Mattie in action and understood the older woman had known how to treat people more than anyone else in the office.
Outside the principal’s door, Sean straightened his tie into perfect alignment. His heart rate sped up and his entire body became alert then he heard her voice.
Gigi, or should he say, Giovanna Dumont. Her quiet, sweet voice unmanned him, making his palms sweat. Why would she be here? And how could she still steal his breath away?
Chaperoning Paris is a book about second chance and first love. It talks about the value of having a close-knitted family. It talks about forgiveness. And of course, you should have figured this now by its title, it takes us to the mesmerizing beauty of Paris.
The story focuses on two characters, Sean Collins and Giovanna Dumont. They were childhood sweethearts and I think their story started when they were just three years old and a young Sean saw the little Gigi and invited her in their big house.
Sean Collins comes from loaded family. Their big house was situated beside Gigi’s. He was so in love with Gigi that up to now, he still hasn’t figured out the reason why she suddenly left him on his sixteenth birthday. His world had been spiraling down since that day. He then tried to move on and married and had a kid. Soon after, he realized what a shitty decision he’d made. His life sank more when he realized what a fake his wife was. He deferred all that has to do with their family’s business. He became a teacher instead. If there was anything that came out good with his decision, it was his son being born.
Giovanna Dumont has had a very grueling past. She grew up in a household with someone who pretended to be her mother. She was led to believe that she wasn’t loved, that no matter how much she exerted, she won’t be accepted by anyone, because she was unlovable. She was deliberately wrecked by her obnoxious stepmother. She’s lucky to have found a family in the Collins. They accepted her wholeheartedly. But when things got worst in their house and her stepmom did something that was unpardonable, she decided to run away from her happiness to protect everyone she loves. So she chose to escape and bounce from one country to another, but always drawing away from the country she considered as her home.
Years later, the people that wounded her were gone, but even in their tombs, they’re still trying to affect her. She moved back home because of her mother’s will which clearly stipulates specific conditions she should meet so she can get the remaining inheritance she should get. She’s now a French teacher who teaches in the school Sean had bought. Would they get a second chance to rekindle all the old feelings that has resurfaced?
I hate how Gigi had become, thanks to her stepmother. I can’t even bear to think how awful Gigi had growing up. She was so closed off that she repressed everything and she even forgot how to speak and stand up for herself. She had difficult expressing her emotions. She felt like she deserved all the suffering she has had while she was away. So against her will, she stayed away so she can repent.
Paris has a special role in this book because it is where Sean and Gigi found each other again. I love how the author worked really hard on describing the place. I felt tempted to book a flight to Paris and see the place for myself.
As they begin to forgive each other as well as themselves and with the help of Sean’s brothers, they slowly unraveled the countless coincidences regarding all that happened between them and the people they met. They soon realized that they were a part of a conspiracy against them.
Chaperoning Paris is a sweet book about second chances. It’s a story about fate. If something’s really meant to be, whatever it may happen in between, it will still end up the way it should in the end. Moreover, it also says that it’s okay to admit you’re at fault. No one’s perfect anyway. Sometimes, God gives us trials to hone our ability to surpass tougher challenges that will come along the way. Gigi might feel weak but she’s actually the opposite, she just haven’t figured it yet.