We left the party at around 1 o’clock in the morning. Sebastian yawned as he opened the door to his apartment.
“Pardonnez-moi. Someone has been disturbing my sleep every night,” he said with a wink.
“I’ll be sure to let you enjoy a nice, deep sleep tonight. Sans moi.”
He pulled me onto his couch. “Mmm, I love it when you speak to me in French. You sound incredibly sexy.”
I chuckled and snuggled deeper into his arms.
“What were you and Victoire talking about in the kitchen? I heard him say something about me.”
Sebastian pulled me closer to him. “Oh, it was nothing. He was just asking if you had a sister as pretty as you.”
I laughed and playfully pushed him away.
Later that night as Sebastian was sleeping, his head resting on my chest, Victoire’s words echoed in my mind: Emily sait-il elle encore?
At the time, I couldn't understand what those words meant. I turned them over and over in my mind now, one by one, trying to decipher their meaning. Those four years spent conjugating irregular verbs in high school finally proved their worth. I was finally able to translate what he’d said: Does Emily know about her yet?
I did not sleep that night. I was still awake when dawn stretched her light fingers through Sebastian’s window.
At 6 AM, Sebastian got up and kissed me on the forehead before heading to the bathroom. I lay in bed listening to him sing some French pop song in the shower. I listened, too, to the hum of his electric razor. Then I lay in bed watching as he came back into the room and put on his clothes. I said nothing.
“Today is Friday,” he said, “So the museums will close a little later. I should be back by 8:30 PM. Please, make yourself at home. My house is yours.”
He kissed me on the mouth, his tongue darting in like a fish. I kissed him back, but my heart wasn’t in it.
Sebastian pulled back and stared at me. “Are you all right, ma petite chou?”
I willed away the tears. “Oh, it’s nothing. I was just thinking that I have so little time left here in Paris, with you.”
He hugged me close. “I’ll make these last days worthwhile, my darling. Don’t cry.”
Then he left and I was alone with my thoughts again.
I decided to visit the Champs-Elysées today. I wanted to do some shopping and visit some more landmarks before I left. Maybe take a few photographs. My mother had bought me a new digital camera for Christmas and I’d barely gotten any use out of it, even on this trip.
Sitting on the metro on the way to the17th arrondissement, I turned on my camera and looked through the few pictures I’d taken in Paris so far. I was surprised to find that I had only taken one picture; I could have sworn I’d taken more.
The only picture on the memory card was the one of the Eiffel Tower and me from behind, my long brown hair filling the bottom right-hand side of the frame.
I tried not to remember that day, my first day in Paris. But the memories came, unbidden. Uncaring.
After checking into my hotel, I was still feeling antsy from being cooped up on a plane for so many hours, so I decided to do some walking.
I’d found myself at the Eiffel Tower, pulled to it as if by some magnet.
Not knowing I’d be pulled to him, too.