A Sunset in Paris

A Sunset in Paris by Liz Langdon Read Free Book Online

Book: A Sunset in Paris by Liz Langdon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Liz Langdon
Chapter 1
    Zoe stared moodily off into the distance. She had so been looking forward to this trip and now it just seemed dull and boring – just like home, except she could not understand a word anyone said! Just a few short months ago she would have been over the moon about being in a foreign country with her parents, no annoying elder brother to tease her by belching loudly in public and blaming her (laughing like a troll all the while) or to mess up her carefully tousled style.
    She loved Jeremy, but usually was happy to not have him along on family outings. This trip was going to be different because of Zack. Zack was Jeremy's best friend; both of them were eighteen and had been in the same class all the way through school. Zoe had never considered Zack in any light other than that of annoying brother's equally annoying friend – until earlier this year. Zack had invited Zoe to the school prom, stuttering slightly and blushing whenever he looked directly at her. She had accepted, and the dance had not been a great success – Jeremy and his other friends had ribbed Zack and Zoe mercilessly, following them around constantly so they could barely have more than a word or two of conversation without being interrupted. Eventually, Zack had apologised to her and they had left early. But the few words they had exchanged and the few songs that they had danced to had shown her a different, nicer side of Zack. After that, Zoe had found herself thinking of him all the time, the way his hair curled up in a cowlick, his beautiful hazel eyes and that diffident shy smile that he had aimed at her once or twice, when Jeremy was out of the room.
    After the dance, Zack had not approached her at all, but she did not think it was because he was not interested, she thought it was because Jeremy and Zack were always surrounded by their crowd, a group of raucous, cynical teens, mostly boys, but with one or two tomboyish girls – all of whom would be sure to shriek with glee at anything romantic going on. He had friended her on Facebook and messaged her once or twice, surely showing that he saw her as something more than just his best friend's little sister? When she heard that he was to come on the trip to France she was sure that if they were thrown into each other's company for a whole week, with no entourage to heckle and jeer, that something wonderful would happen.
    Now, remembering her wishful fantasies of gentle kisses and hand-holding in the shadow of the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, she felt hot and cross and angry all over again. Instead of exploring Paris hand-in-hand with Zack, she would be trailing around endless museums and looking at dull examples of this fancy architecture or that while her parents billed and cooed at each other like honeymooners, for heaven's sake. As far as Zoe was concerned, a building was a building, it did not matter how much fancy decoration was added to it! Glumly, she sat down at a small table in the hotel dining room, not wanting to go up and see her parents happy completeness while she was alone and friendless.
    Zoe felt tears prickle and blinked them back crossly, not wanting to spoil her carefully applied atmospheric make-up. She knew if she kept on brooding about Zack she would end up crying, so she turned her interest outward, to the other occupants of the dining room – or salle a manger as the beautiful gilt sign stated. She stared at the sign for a minute, translating the words in her head, summoning up the last vestiges of all the French she had studied for her recent GCSE. 'Room to eat,' she decided, or 'eating room'. Which was about right. Mentally shrugging away her linguistic efforts, she picked up the menu and read through it, delighted and relieved to see an English translation next to each offering. A young waitress approached and asked if she wanted anything. Feeling a little bit hungry but not wanting to spoil her dinner too much, Zoe asked for a cup of tea and a scone.

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