The below is an excerpt from MISS D & ME: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis.
I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that the car behind us was a little too close for safety. There were two men in the front and the one in the passenger seat had a camera with a long lens. We were still a few miles form Paris, but the paparazzi had already spotted us.
“Miss D! The car behind us has a photographer!”
“Speed up, Kath! I’m not ready to be photographed!”
Miss D took out her compact and began to smooth her hair as I accelerated, dodging around a few cars to try and lose the car behind us. I did not like driving this fast and was terrified I’d get us into a crash. The car pursuing us swerved into the left lane, then sped up to pull alongside us. I floored it and moved to the right. The car in front of me was puttering along in the slow lane, so I took evasive action and cut across two lanes of traffic to get to the fast lane again. I heard the squealing tires of the other cars as our pursuers maneuvered to catch us.
Miss D was gripping the door rest and had her other hand braced on the dashboard. A glance over at her only increased my anxiety, so I kept my eyes flittering between the road and the rearview mirror. The paparazzi pulled up next to Miss D on the right and I floored it again, speeding quickly up behind a truck before I pulled to the middle lane and accelerated. I had no idea how fast we were going.
A policeman on a motorcycle pulled up alongside me gesturing for me to pull off the road. Oh no, I was not going to allow the paparazzi to get a photograph of a rattled Miss D stopped by the police. I pointed to Miss D. He seemed not to understand why I was gesticulating so dramatically.
“Miss D! Lean over and wave the officer. We need help!”
Miss D leaned forward and waved at the officer. He immediately recognized who she was. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him pick up his two-way radio. He must have called for back-up because within a few minutes another motorcycle officer, and then another and another, pulled up alongside us on the road. They formed a V in front of us with lights flashing and sirens on, we drove into Paris protected by a phalanx of officers and no paparazzi on our tail. As we pulled up to my apartment on the Rue Robert Fluery, Miss D reached over and placed her hand on mine.
“We did it, Kath,” she said. “We made it.”