THE FRENCH MILLIONAIRE
Memories of my Youth
I was only eighteen when he saw me in a bar at a fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills many years ago. I was sitting next to the actor Jack Nicolson who had just offered me orange juice because I never liked the taste of any kind of booze. I was wearing my fathers 1940's black cashmere coat that I cherished and still have, a black short dress and high heels and looking around because I knew I was under age. I was there for a friends art gallery opening party and a bit nervous.
He was a lot older then I was and dressed in black leather pants and a beautiful print shirt. He was very healthy, handsome and vibrant and in no way came across like an older man at the age of thirty seven looking for a conquest. When he spoke to me I heard his French accent and then I found out that he had written many successful books on nutrition and was close friends with Lucille Ball. He also ran a celebrity nightclub one day a week on Rodeo Drive for backgammon tournaments, but the stakes were high and some people bet and lost thousands of dollars. He taught me a lot about the game and wanted to train me to work the club and beat people for a lot of money. He found this to be very amusing.
He took me to very nice places and he knew that I was dating other younger boys, but he continued to pursue me for years. One day he took me to a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and all of the women there would not stay away from him like he was an expensive perfume. I was too young to understand and always kept my cool, but things started to get crazy as time went by. He was very known in the Beverly Hills circle and owned a top floor of a building on Burton Way in Beverly Hills. He had an extensive art collection and had received gifts from royalty that he displayed around the building. The first time I showed up there, he answered the door naked and I jumped back because I was truly shocked. Later on I just came to the conclusion that this is what French men do. I was never intimate with this man but we went dancing a lot. I think I may have kissed him a few times over a romantic dinner or two.
I think he was always amused at the fact that I never made a fuss about him and continued to be myself and enjoy the time we had together. Eventually he started to talk about his first wife who was about my age when they met that he never quite got over. He married her when she was very young, but eventually she tired of him and wanted to become an attorney. I saw photos of her and she did resemble me a bit, but I think it was my innocence that reminded him of her the most.
Eventually right before he met me he got mixed up with a young woman who had a very powerful family in the East. One time when I was at his apartment, she kept obnoxiously ringing the buzzer downstairs and crying histerically into the intercom. She would yell his name over and over again and then he would tell me to not worry. He had broken up with her a long time ago and she never got over him. One of the last times I was at his place, she showed up and yelled threats in the intercom about how her family will murder him and that is when I began to worry and stopped hanging out with him.
The last time I saw him we were at a famous club called Pips in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive and he introduced me to Lucille Ball who was drunk out of her mind and cursing like a sailor. I was so disappointed at this meeting because I had enjoyed watching her as a kid especially after my mother died. It was fantastic to escape through I Love Lucy reruns when I was young. She had lost about ten thousand dollars that night on a backgammon tournament and she was not very happy.
He called me for years after that even after I was married and in the press. I would indulge him on the phone and giggle at his accent and eventually he stopped calling. One day I met a circus performer who swallows swords and looks like Marilyn Monroe. Somehow our conversation went to this particular man and when I mentioned his name she told me that he had been murdered years ago. I stood there in silence because I was extremely freaked out and when I asked the question that I already knew the answer too, she said "He was shot dead by a jealous lover a few years ago." I stood still holding a glass of wine and I was in my mid-twenties then. I felt my stomach drop and wondered what really happened and then I decided to just leave it all alone.
Although we were never close like lovers or never had an intimate relationship, he taught me a lot. He once gifted me with a car that I eventually returned after having it for a day or two. He taught me about nutrition and the importance of fasting and self discipline when it comes to healthy living. It is sad to think that things happen like that and that people become so obsessed that they would want to get rid of someone. I was in shock for a very long time and I never got over the fact that "people do very horrible things."