Most of the island’s residents had become aware of who he was and viewed him as a flamboyant womanizer who didn’t care for anyone or anything outside of his own selfish interests. He knew he had a dubious reputation, but he didn’t care because he could buy just about anything or anyone that he wanted. That was until he met a gorgeous French girl that was beloved by all of the islands residents and whose body he could not buy. She was so strikingly beautiful that he felt he had to have her, but when he tried, she verbally eviscerated him so completely that it would change his life forever.
EXCERPT: She smiled wearily. “Well, Mr. Long, do you think that you are well known for the good things that you do, or is it for the more infamous things that you do?” she asked, in a calm, natural voice.
“I … I’m not sure. I’ve never thought much about it, Simone,” he offered, weakly. He could feel the strength draining from his body as he stood before this beautiful creature.
Her warm smile disarmed him. “What was it that you wanted of me, Mr. Long? What can I do for you, sir?”
He shifted for a moment. “Well, I thought that you might like to come down to my boat and go out for a ride, and perhaps, have dinner with me,” he acknowledged.
She chuckled dismissively. “And do what, Mr. Long, become one of your paid whores for a day or perhaps, a month?”
He was shocked. No one had ever talked to him like that. “Why, no!” he exclaimed. “How could you say such a thing?”
“Come now, Mr. Long. If you didn’t want me to visit your boat for sex, what other reason could you possibly have? Did you want to talk to me about the sick and starving children living in the mountains that die from malnutrition or for the lack of some trivial antibiotic? An antibiotic that you take for granted that is completely out of the reach of a dying little girl. Oh, no, I’m sorry; I know what you wanted to talk to me about. You wanted to talk about the fact that the closest medical clinic to most of the inner island residents is so far away that, with limited transportation, far too many babies die, along with their mothers, in childbirth,” she stated, in a stressful tone.
She shook her head. “What do you do for a doctor when you need one, Mr. Long?” Her voice was harsh and condescending.
She wouldn’t like his answer, so he offered none. “I think that I see your point, Simone.” At this point, he realized that trying to meet her was a huge mistake.
She shook her head. “I seriously doubt it, Mr. Long. You asked me earlier if you were known for good reasons or for bad ones. I think that you know the answer to that question. You just choose not to think about it.”
She turned to walk away, but she abruptly turned back around and looked him directly in the eye.
He cringed at the depth of what he saw in her eyes as she stared at him. They were bottomless pools as black as the night, as reflective, and as shiny as black, shimmering pearls. They were beautiful and alluring, but at the same time, they appeared cold and distant, and he felt as though they could pierce his very soul. He felt uneasy, almost light-headed. He desperately wanted to look away, but he couldn’t.
“When you are on your deathbed, Mr. Long, do you want to be remembered by how many whores you’ve had, or by how many babies whose lives you’ve saved?” she asked, in a calm, soft voice. “Your money, Mr. Long, can buy you almost anything that you want, but it cannot buy me,” she said as she turned and walked away.
Read alsoBack to the Family
Back to the Family is a companion to Art Smith's New York Times bestseller and James Beard award-winning cookbook, Back to the Table. Smith is the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and a contributing editor to O Magazine. This book encourages readers to better understand the importance of valuing the ones you love through…