The next thing I knew, we were on a boat on the Seine.
As soon as we were seated, he slapped his forehead. “Oh! Forgive me,” he said. “I haven’t yet introduced myself. Je m’appelle Sebastian Mireux. Enchanté.”
He lifted my hand up to his lips and kissed it. I shivered and wondered for perhaps the hundredth time in the past ten minutes what the hell I was doing allowing a complete stranger to give me a tour of the city. Even if he was devastatingly handsome…
I looked up and noticed he was staring at me expectantly. “Oh! I’m sorry. My name is Emily Nichols. It’s a pleasure to meet you, too.”
“Emily,” he repeated, and I loved how he made my name sound so different.
“And what are you doing so far from home, Emily, and all by yourself, too?”
I sighed. “It’s a long story. Suffice it to say that I needed a break, I had the time and the money, so I decided to fly to Paris.”
“I’m surprised that such a beautiful girl isn’t here with her lover.”
I laughed nervously. “Oh no, there’s no lover. Not anymore.”
“Non?” he asked, cocking one eyebrow.
“Non. No lover. I dumped him last month after I found out he’d been cheating on me with his employer.” As the words escaped my mouth, I wondered at myself. I wasn’t the type to share my life with just anyone, let alone someone I barely knew. It must be jet-lag, I reasoned.
Sebastian did not respond. He took out a cigarette and offered me one. When I refused, he shrugged and turned his back on the wind so he could light it.
I sighed. “I suppose you think I’m mad, to fly across the Atlantic after getting my heart broken. Maybe I am mad.”
Sebastian exhaled a perfect ring of blue smoke and smiled. “Love makes even the sanest person mad. You’re not alone in that experience.”
“So that’s my story. How about you? Do you live in Paris? And how come your English is so good?”
“I’ve lived in Paris my whole life, except for the year when I was an exchange student in London. That’s where I learned to speak English. Tell me honestly, is my English any good?”
I smiled. “Oui.”