Which is difficult when he doesn’t give me enough means to begin with.

“Whatever happened with her and that band?” he asks, changing the subject. “Is she going to be their drummer?”

“Yeah, their first practice is this weekend.”

“It’s that one guy’s band—Sideburns, right?”

St. Clair knows Toph’s name. He’s trying to get a rise out of me, so I ignore it. “Yeah. So what do you have for me?”

“It’s right here.” He hands me a yel ow padded envelope from his desk, and my stomach dances like it’s my birthday. I rip the package open. A smal

patch fal s to the floor. It’s the Canadian flag.

I pick it up. “Um. Thanks?”

He tosses his hat onto his bed and rubs his hair. It flies up in all different directions. “It’s for your backpack, so people won’t think you’re American.

Europeans are much more forgiving of Canadians.”


I laugh. “Then I love it. Thank you.”

“You aren’t offended?”

“No, it’s perfect.”

“I had to order it online, that’s why it took so long. Didn’t know where I could find one in Paris, sorry.” He fishes through a desk drawer and pul s out a safety pin. He takes the tiny maple leaf flag from my hands and careful y pins it to the pocket of my backpack. “There. You’re official y Canadian. Try not to abuse your new power.”

“Whatever. I’m total y going out tonight.”

“Good.” He slows down. “You should.”

We’re both standing stil . He’s so close to me. His gaze is locked on mine, and my heart pounds painful y in my chest. I step back and look away. Toph.

I like Toph, not St. Clair. Why do I have to keep reminding myself of this? St. Clair is taken.

“Did you paint these?” I’m desperate to change the mood. “These above your bed?” I glance back, and he’s stil staring at me.

He bites his thumbnail before replying. His voice is odd. “No. My mum did.”

“Real y? Wow, they’re good. Real y, real y . . . good.”

“Anna ...”

“Is this here in Paris?”

“No, it’s the street I grew up on. In London.”


“Anna ...”

“Hmm?” I stand with my back to him, trying to examine the paintings. They real y are great. I just can’t seem to focus. Of course it’s not Paris. I should’ve known—

“That guy. Sideburns.You like him?”

My back squirms. “You’ve asked me that before.”

“What I meant was,” he says, flustered. “Your feelings haven’t changed? Since you’ve been here?”

It takes a moment to consider the question. “It’s not a matter of how I feel,” I say at last. “I’m interested, but . . . I don’t know if he’s stil interested in me.”

St. Clair edges closer. “Does he stil cal ?”

“Yeah. I mean, not often. But yes.”

“Right. Right, well ,” he says, blinking. “There’s your answer.”

I look away. “I should go. I’m sure you have plans with El ie.”

“Yes. I mean, no. I mean, I don’t know. If you aren’t doing any—”

I open his door. “So I’l see you later. Thank you for the Canadian citizenship.” I tap the patch on my bag.

St. Clair looks strangely hurt. “No problem. Happy to be of service.”

I take the stairs two at a time to my floor.What just happened? One minute we were fine, and the next it was like I couldn’t leave fast enough. I need to get out of here. I need to leave the dorm. Maybe I’m not a brave American, but I think I can be a brave Canadian. I grab the Pariscope from inside my room and jog downstairs.

I’m going to see Paris. Alone.

Chapter thirteen

U n place s’il vous plaît.”

One place, please. I double-checked my pronunciation before stepping up to the box office and sliding over my euros.The woman sel ing tickets

doesn’t blink, just rips my ticket in half and hands me the stub. I accept it graciously and stammer my thanks. Inside the theater, an usher examines my

stub. She tears it slightly, and I know from watching my friends that I’m supposed to give her a smal tip for this useless tradition. I touch the Canadian patch for luck, but I don’t need it. The handoff is easy.

I did it. I did it!

My relief is so profound that I hardly notice my feet carve their way into my favorite row. The theater is almost empty. Three girls around my age are in the back, and an elderly couple sits in front of me, sharing a box of candy. Some people are finicky about going to the theater alone, but I’m not. Because when the lights go down, the only relationship left in the room is the one between the movie and me.

I sink into the springy chair and lose myself in the previews. French commercials are interspersed between them, and I have fun trying to guess what

they’re for before the product is shown. Two men chase each other across the Great Wal of China to advertise clothing. A scantily clad woman rubs

herself against a quacking duck to sel furniture. A techno beat and a dancing silhouette want me to what? Go clubbing? Get drunk?

I have no idea.

And then Mr. Smith Goes to Washington begins. James Stewart plays a naive, idealistic man sent into the Senate, where everyone believes they can

take advantage of him. They think he’l fail and be driven out, but Stewart shows them all. He’s stronger than they gave him credit for, stronger than they are. I like it.

I think about Josh. I wonder what kind of senator his father is.

The dialogue is translated across the bottom of the screen in yel ow. The theater is silent, respectful, until the first gag. The Parisians and I laugh

together. Two hours speed by, and then I’m blinking in a streetlamp, lost in a comfortable daze, thinking about what I might see tomorrow.

“Going to the movies again tonight?” Dave checks my page number and flips his French textbook open to the chapter about family. As usual, we’ve

paired up for an exercise in conversational skil s.

“Yup. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. You know, to get into the holiday spirit.” Hal oween is this weekend, but I haven’t seen any decorations here.

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