I’m stil quiet on the street.We cross the same bridge we did that first night—me on the outside again, St. Clair on the inside—and he keeps up the

conversation for the both of us. “Did I ever tell you I went to school in America?”

“What? No.”

“It’s true, for a year. Eighth grade. It was terrible.”

“Eighth grade is terrible for everyone,” I say.

“Wel , it was worse for me. My parents had just separated, and my mum moved back to California. I hadn’t been since I was an infant, but I went with

her, and I was put in this horrid public school—”

“Oh, no. Public school.”

He nudges me with his shoulder. “The other kids were ruthless. They made fun of everything about me—my height, my accent, the way I dressed. I

vowed I’d never go back.”


“But American girls love English accents.” I blurt this without thinking, and then pray he doesn’t notice my blush.

St. Clair picks up a pebble and tosses it into the river. “Not in middle school, they don’t. Especial y when it’s attached to a bloke who comes up to their kneecaps.”

I laugh.

“So when the year was over, my parents found a new school for me. I wanted to go back to London, where my mates were, but my father insisted on

Paris so he could keep an eye on me. And that’s how I wound up at the School of America.”

“How often do you go back? To London?”

“Not as often as I’d like. I stil have friends in England, and my grandparents—my father’s parents—live there, so I used to split my summers between

London and San—”

“Your grandparents are English?”

“Grandfather is, but Grandmère is French. And my other grandparents are American, of course.”

“Wow.You real y are a mutt.”

St. Clair smiles. “I’m told I take after my English grandfather the most, but it’s only because of the accent.”

“I don’t know. I think of you as more English than anything else. And you don’t just sound like it, you look like it, too.”

“I do?” He’s surprised.

I smile. “Yeah, it’s that . . . pasty complexion. I mean it in the best possible way,” I add, at his alarmed expression. “Honestly.”

“Huh.” St. Clair looks at me sideways. “Anyway. Last summer I couldn’t bear to face my father, so it was the first time I spent the whole holiday with me mum.”

“And how was it? I bet the girls don’t tease you about your accent anymore.”

He laughs. “No, they don’t. But I can’t help my height. I’l always be short.”

“And I’l always be a freak, just like my dad. Everyone tell s me I take after him. He’s sort of . . . neat, like me.”

He seems genuinely surprised. “What’s wrong with being neat? I wish I were more organized. And, Anna, I’ve never met your father, but I guarantee you

that you’re nothing like him.”

“How would you know?”

“Wel , for one thing, he looks like a Ken dol . And you’re beautiful.”

I trip and fal down on the sidewalk.

“Are you all right?” His eyes fil with worry.

I look away as he takes my hand and helps me up. “I’m fine. Fine!” I say, brushing the grit from my palms. Oh my God, I AM a freak.

“You’ve seen the way men look at you, right?” he continues.

“If they’re looking, it’s because I keep making a fool of myself.” I hold up my scraped hands.

“That guy over there is checking you out right now.”

“Wha—?” I turn to find a young man with long dark hair staring. “Why is he looking at me?”

“I expect he likes what he sees.”

I flush, and he keeps talking. “In Paris, it’s common to acknowledge someone attractive. The French don’t avert their gaze like other cultures do. Haven’t you noticed?”

St. Clair thinks I’m attractive. He cal ed me beautiful.

“Um, no,” I say. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“Wel . Open your eyes.”

But I stare at the bare tree branches, at the children with bal oons, at the Japanese tour group. Anywhere but at him.We’ve stopped in front of Notre-

Dame again. I point at the familiar star and clear my throat. “Wanna make another wish?”

“You go first.” He’s watching me, puzzled, like he’s trying to figure something out. He bites his thumbnail.

This time I can’t help it. all day long, I’ve thought about it. Him. Our secret.

I wish St. Clair would spend the night again.

He steps on the coppery-bronze star after me and closes his eyes. I realize he must be wishing about his mother, and I feel guilty that she didn’t even

cross my mind. My thoughts are only for St. Clair.

Why is he taken? Would things be different if I’d met him before El ie? Would things be different if his mom wasn’t sick?

He said I’m beautiful, but I don’t know if that was flirty, friends-with-everyone St. Clair, or if it came from someplace private. Do I see the same St. Clair everyone else does? No. I don’t think so. But I could be mistaking our friendship for something more, because I want to mistake it for something more.

The worrying gradual y slips away at dinner. Our restaurant is covered with ivy and cozy with wood-burning fireplaces. Afterward, we strol in a

comfortable, ful -bel ied chocolate mousse trance. “Let’s go home,” he says, and the word makes my heart drum.

Home. My home is his home, too.

There’s stil no one behind the front desk when we get back, but Nate peeks his head out his door. “Anna! Étienne!”

“Hey, Nate,” we say.

“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?”

“Yeah. Thanks, Nate,” we say.

“Do I need to check up on you guys later? You know the rules. No sleeping in opposite-sex rooms.”

My face flames, and St. Clair’s cheeks grow blotchy. It’s true. It’s a rule. One that my brain—my rule-loving, rule-abiding brain—conveniently blocked last night. It’s also one notoriously ignored by the staff.

“No, Nate,” we say.

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