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A Strange and Lovely Sound

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She’d been in Paris for over a year and it had been the best year of her life. In a way it was like coming home, even if she always felt deep down in her heart that her home was far away on a farm where the fields were glowing red in the dying sunlight. Where there were people who taught you to mind your p’s and q’s, to earn your keep and be responsible, to love you no matter what you did. That was her true home and she missed it terribly.

But this was her father’s world. This was the world she’d gloried in when she was young, hanging onto her mother’s hand and the mystery that clung to the excitement of travel. She couldn’t really remember those early, happiest times, but she’d always heard her father speaking of it, till the day he died. And so she reveled in this world of culture and society. She learned so much and was reminded how to truly put pen to paper. People over here called her La Fille d'Histoire, which she guessed made it seem more like home after all. Her stories never abandoned her even when it seemed like love and life and the world did.

She hadn’t thought about love for awhile, not since she’d been home for the wedding and seen it in its truest form. It had been a celebration of years of effort, patience, and trials and seeing as how she’d done her fair share to bring it about, she was glad to see it come to fruition. And come to fruition it certainly had, she gathered from letters. Letters she read to herself at night in the quiet of her room, the better to taste their full flavor. She needed more than the culture of Paris; she needed the reality of her island home.

She would graduate soon and her plans after were unsettled. She had job offers from writing to acting to proposals of marriage. The glamorous and the rich seemed to flock to her and she blossomed in their company like an exotic bird finally returned home. But that wasn’t her heart, her heart was far away, eating simple country fare and basking in the glory of picking apples in an orchard. So, she didn’t know what she was going to do. She wouldn’t have given up this experience for the world, but sometimes she wished part of her world could have come too.

She walked along the Seine - where else would she walk - and she pondered her life. Was there more schooling in her future? Should she travel the world? Should she settle into business and fully devote herself to the running of her fortune? Was she to be the wealthy patron of the arts she’d once imagined deep in the night with the snow glittering around her? They were all options, choices, but she found herself dissatisfied with the singleness of each of them. She didn’t want to do any of those things alone.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t had offers, hadn’t had brushes with amour. She was among the most romantic men on the planet, but their overtures couldn’t satisfy her and she was disappointed. Maybe it was because she hadn’t had an epic love story spanning from her younger years like her cousin. Maybe it was because she hadn’t had a friend suddenly bloom into her perfect mate like her other cousin. She hadn’t miraculously found love hidden in the depths of an eccentric personage like her aunt. All of her love stories ended badly and none of them seemed to compare to her first true story. Even if that had ended well, she reflected, it had still ended. Thinking over certain aspects of that story made her hungry.

Time to eat something. She gave up thinking over her future and turned her attention to more mundane pursuits. And she bumped into someone.

“Well, excuse me there. Terribly sorry.”

Her breath caught in her throat and she looked up into his eyes. They widened in surprise.

“Booth?” she asked incredulously.

“Well, howdy there, Miss Sara. Or should I say, Miss Ice Cream? What might you be doing in this here beautiful town?”

“Who says you get to be Pie?” she queried.

His smile brightened considerably.

“Well, I did come up with that particular phrase, you may recall. I get first rights to it.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, it is, Sara. I’m glad to see you.”

“It’s - it’s good to see you.”

“Having left my family home, I’ve been doing a spot of traveling and never did I expect to find you here of all places.”

“I’m in school here.”

“Good for you.”

“Who…are you with?”

“Nothing but myself. Never found anyone else made for me.”

She blushed.

“Oh. I guess, well, me neither.”

His smile got even bigger if possible.

“Well, all that writing we did for awhile there led me to believe big and bright things for you. I’m glad they came true.”

“I hope you’re happy,” she said.

“Can’t complain. Listen, would you care to get a bite to eat?”

“I was just going for some pie,” she said and then blushed again. “Actual pie.”

“The best kind,” he agreed, offering her his arm. She took it gladly, with a surreal feeling. This could not be happening. “Oh, it’s happening,” he said, as if reading her thoughts.

“What?”

“Us. Back in one place. Like normal.”

“Is it really that easy?” she asked. “To just slip back in?”

“You bet your pretty golden head it is. I’ve never found anything so easy in all my life.”

“It is pretty easy,” she agreed. “It’s pretty nice too.”

He slipped his hand from her arm down to her hand and grasped her fingers between his. They mingled together just right, remembering a pattern learned only with gloves before. It was better this way. She stopped walking, looked down at their hands and back up at him.

“That okay, Miss Sara?”

“It’s perfect,” she said and they kept walking.