Sebastian's friend, Victoire, had an apartment that was at least six times the size of his. Victoire had ebony black skin and his laughter sounded like gold coins falling into a fountain.
“You are more beautiful even than Sebastian told me,” he said smoothly, his mouth lingering on my hand.
“Stop harassing my date,” Sebastian laughed.
The most beautiful people I’d ever seen were at that party. The women were impossibly tall with impossibly long legs. The men had cheekbones that looked as though they were chiseled out of stone.
I felt small and mouse-like in their presence.
Victoire took hold of my elbow and marched me around the room, introducing me as “la copine de Sebastian.” Every time I opened my mouth to correct him, he laughed and marched me off to the next person.
Finally, he released me and I was able to slink into a corner, nursing some abominable concoction made out of vodka and God-knows-what-else in a large tumbler. Sebastian came and found me.
“There you are! Are you OK? Do you need another drink?”
“NO! I mean, no, I’m OK.”
“You look uncomfortable. Do you want to leave?”
“I’m having fun, Sebastian. Thanks for bringing me. It’s a great party. I’ve never seen such beautiful people.”
He looked deep into my eyes and took my hand. “Tu est la file la plus belle ici,” he said.
I looked up and saw Victoire staring at us.
I excused myself and went to find the bathroom. After I was done, I went looking for Sebastian. I didn’t see him in the living room, so I headed to the kitchen. I hoped he wasn’t fixing me another one of those awful drinks.
Pushing open the swing door to the kitchen, I found Victoire and Sebastian in the middle of what seemed to be an intense conversation. I entered just as Victoire was saying something in rapid-fire French, something I didn’t understand: “Emily sait-il elle encore?”
“Somebody call my name?” I asked brightly.
Victoire spun around and blanched at my presence. Sebastian quickly came up and kissed me on the lips.
“I must have called you with my mind. Your name has been on my mind every minute since I met you in front of l’eiffel.”
Victoire’s recovery was as swift as his tongue: “Our friend has la langue argentée – how you say that in English?”
“The silver tongue,” Sebastian translated for him. “And if I have the silver tongue, you must have the gold.”
The three of us laughed at that.