When I looked up Erica had linked arms, not with Mels but with Ethan, and was already off towards the exit. Melanie was standing there waiting for me to finish fixing the damn thing so we could catch up with them, with a funny expression on her face.
“Yeah, just... Sparx, did you ever go to church, when you were a boy?”
“Not really, no. My parents didn’t really believe in the need to worship their god inside a human building, you know, and to be honest I don’t really think there’s a need to worship him at – “
“You can’t say that in a church!” The funny face had gone and she looked genuinely shocked, almost outraged. We’d never really talked about religion before; I knew she wore a crucifix and that was about the extent of it.
There was a pause, probably a beat too long dammit.
“No, really, I am. I’m pretty rubbish when it comes to being tactful. I’m even worse than Erica,” I tried to joke, pointing ahead at the pair, walking side by side with her arm still linked through his.
“No, it’s alright...”
Okay, that felt unfinished. She’s got more to say, I can tell – biting her lip is a dead giveaway, and that funny expression was back. She has something to say, but is trying to work out what I’ll reply before she even asks. When it comes to comforting I’m lost, but Mels I can read pretty well.
This was weird, walking in a cathedral in France with a girl who I most definitely did not fancy and would not fancy and could not fancy and she wasn’t talking why isn’t she talking? Just chill, she’ll say something...
“What are you thinking?” I can’t believe I just asked that.
“...I’m thinking about how they built this place, how long it must have taken.”
Silent nodding was the only response I could think of; I was relieved she wasn’t thinking about anything more serious, possibly judging me on my beliefs, or lack thereof.
“I never knew you were into architecture?”
“Well, this place is sort of inspiring, you know? A good place to start, you know?”
Either she was spaced out or still hiding something. Or both.
The other two were waiting by the entrance; we weren’t far behind. They both appeared dazed, as if they’d been hypnotized, then had their heads dunked in a bucket of water, then spin dried and carried back to the steps of Notre Dame. Was I missing out on something here?
“Hey look, the rain’s stopped. Does anyone fancy lunch?”
I say less religion and freaky statues, and more steak haché et frites – yeah, a burger and chips would be just right.