Lost in Paris

Lost in Paris by Cindy Callaghan

Book: Lost in Paris by Cindy Callaghan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cindy Callaghan
hotel because of the bad weather and I was staying with her.
    I heard Henri’s voice in the lobby on the other side of the wall, so I slid the playing card–size wood chip aside and peeked in.
    â€œWhere have you been?” Étienne asked in French.
    â€œI am doing the treasure hunt for the Shock Value tickets,” Henri said in French, but I understood. I hadn’t realized how much better my French had gotten in just a few days.
    â€œWhy are you doing that? You are probably the only person I know who doesn’t like Shock Value,” Étienne asked, again in French.
    Henri shrugged.
    Ã‰tienne said, “It is the girl, isn’t it? The American. You like her?”
    â€œWe are having fun playing the game. She is not like other French girls I know. She likes sports.”
    â€œAnd you think she is pretty?”
    â€œOui. Elle est jolie.” Henri smiled.
    I knew jolie meant “pretty.” Henri thought I was pretty? And he was playing this whole game, missing work, and running all over Paris in a petmobile with a fluffy dog in a pink bag over his shoulder looking for tickets to see a band that he didn’t even like? For me?
    The birds were awake now, but calm and full-bellied.
    â€œThey talk less when they are calm,” Brigitte said. “This is a good room for them, because there isn’t a lot for them to see or hear.”
    I stopped listening through the wall when Henri came in with sleeping stuff. It seemed like the birds werestill listening, but they weren’t talking. I figured as long as no one mentioned that they were taking a bath, they would be quiet.
    Henri returned stocked with everything we needed to camp out in the old office, including a board game and a white box wrapped in a pink satin ribbon. “Here.” He handed it to me.
    A gift?
    I pulled the silk ribbon, easily untying it. Lifting the lid, I discovered rows of delicate little cookie-like sandwiches. Each one had three layers—the outer two pieces were the same color, and the middle layer was different.
    â€œWhat are these?” I asked.
    â€œHave you never seen a macaron ?”
    â€œYeah. I’ve seen them made with a lot of coconut and dipped in chocolate.”
    â€œAh, that is not a French macaron .” He pointed to one that had two dark brown layers sandwiching a whitish one. “That is espresso and cream.” He pointed to another, which had a dark brown layer between two red pieces. “That’s chocolate and raspberry.” And he went on to name each macaron in the box, lying next to one another, creating a rainbow of colors: peanut butter and marshmallow, white chocolate and peppermint, pistachio and almond, etc. . . .
    I took the cherry and vanilla one—it was about thesize of an Oreo—and bit it. It was crunchy and airy at the same time. “Mmmm. It’s good. I want to try them all.”
    â€œOf course,” Henri said. “They’re little.” He took the other half of the one I’d just bitten. I bit into another, and again he took the other half, until I’d eaten half of a dozen flavors!
    â€œIt’s official. I like French macarons ,” I announced.
    Henri smiled. “Me too.”
    Then we spread the blankets and put the pillows in a circle with enough room for a board game. Henri tossed me the dice to go first.
    I heard voices in the lobby, but since they weren’t bothering the birds, I ignored them and rolled. Double sixes! I was off to a good start.
    Brigitte took her turn; then it was Henri’s.
    â€œWait,” I said. “Listen.”
    â€œIt’s just guests,” Henri said.
    â€œNot just any guests. I know that voice,” I said. “That’s Beef.” I got up from my pile of blankets and walked over to the wood that blocked the pinholes. I slid it aside to see Beef talking to Professor Camponi.
    It was the middle of the conversation. “You really let me down

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