Author's Note: I should mention that there is a wonderful touring company called Sandemans New Europe that offer free walking tours in Paris, and while the company depicted in this chapter bares some resemblances to the real one, the guide is not based on any actual persons. He is purely a figment of my imagination, as so many things are :)
“They call this breakfast?” Sarah raised her perfectly sculpted eyebrows in disdain as they walked into the small dining hall. Several small, round tables were scattered around the space, each table equipped with a breadbasket holding croissants, a pitcher of orange juice, and a pot of coffee. “Where’s the fruit?”
“Maybe the assortment differs from the hotels you’re used to,” Sebastian remarked and sat down at one of the tables. “In case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t exactly the Ritz,” he made a sweeping gesture around the room to emphasize his point.
“It’s hard to miss,” Sarah grumbled and sat down at another table and poured herself a cup of coffee.
“Maybe we could go someplace nearby to have breakfast tomorrow,” Izzy said as she plopped down at Sebastian’s table, where Lana had also taken a seat. “It’s not like this place is cheap – like six Euros for this.”
“I think this is delicious,” Lana said defiantly and slipped another piece of her buttery croissant into her mouth. “But of course we should try different things – I’d really like a crêpe at one of those crêperies.”
“Did you remember to put that on the itinerary?” Sebastian teased.
Lana discretely stuck her tongue out at him. “Not everything has to be planned for in minute detail,” she said and Sebastian chuckled. They both knew Lana was a planner.
Lana had been the one to plan Sebastian’s ‘Sweet Sixteen’ party. He’d tried telling her that a guy didn’t have that kind of parties, but the glassy look in Lana’s eyes had told him it wasn’t all about him. She’d never have her parents throw her a ‘Sweet Sixteen’, and he’d be damned if she got cheated out of it.
“Okay, on one condition,” he’d said.
Lana had blinked away a tear that threatened to fall and sniffled. “What?”
“That it’s our party – yours and mine. You’re turning 16 in another two months, so what do you say we combine the parties and do it then? We’ll make it the biggest party Mason Falls has ever seen. And you’ll have more time for planning,” he’d added, sealing the deal.
“What are you guys doing today?” Daniel asked as the group was heading out of the hostel after finishing breakfast.
“Well…” Lana said, picking up a map and a printed page, “there are these free walking tours that start at the metro stop of Pont Neuf…”
“Walking?” Izzy’s eyes looked as though they were going to pop out of her head. “I have to change!” she said and darted back inside.
“What did she think? That she was going to be riding around in a horse drawn carriage?” Sebastian rolled his eyes and Sarah sniggered.
Lana, hardwired to defend her friend, glared at him. “I don’t see how that’s any different from you thinking you’d have your own penthouse.”
“I never said that,” Sebastian objected.
“Whatever,” Lana muttered.
“So… a walking tour sounds great, doesn’t it, Sarah?” Daniel said and the blonde sighed deeply.