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While We're Young

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The room is sweltering. Even in shorts and a tank, the back of her shirt is sticking to her skin and, honestly, if Tiffani had known about Europe’s general lack of AC. She would’ve thought twice before getting on that plane.

“Come ooonnn…” Mark-Paul tries to coax, jolting her out of her thoughts and pushing the glass toward her by the stem. “A sophisticated older woman such as yourself can’t handle a little vin?”

By the looks of him—soft smile, gaze slightly out of focus, sweat dampening the neck of his shirt in a way that’s sort of hot but mostly gross—Tiffani doesn’t think he’s doing too well at handling the vin either. She takes the glass anyway, swirls it once like she’s seen in the movies and downs half of it in one gulp. “I’m less than two months older than you.”

He only shrugs in response, forks off a piece of the crepe he ordered—she thinks it’s a savory one with duck or something on the inside—and takes a bite. She glares at his plate. Tiffani hadn’t bothered ordering a meal, just skipped strait to desert. Why come to Paris and attempt to eat something even remotely healthy?

She takes a bite of the Napole—actually, millefeuille as their waiter, a cute guy about their age with the reddest hair she’s ever seen, corrected when she began to order—and closes her eyes in delight. She doesn’t get to eat things like this often but Mark-Paul had wrangled them a few extra days abroad after finishing their press tour and she planned to take full advantage of it in every way. She’d deal with her trainer later.

Tiffani swallows another forkful and puts her feet up on the empty chair beside them. She thinks that’s probably not a very classy thing to do in a French bistro and decides that, to offset it, she’ll drink the rest of her wine in small, dainty sips. The way she imagines a Parisian girl would.

With the glass in one hand and her feet slipping out of the super cool sandals she’d brought just up the street, she feels very European indeed. Tiffani grins and turns to stare out of the window. They’d been mobbed when they first came over, but after all the interviews and surprise appearances, the excitement died down a lot. They’d even been able to walk around and do stupid tourist things like get their picture drawn and go to the Louvre without much fuss.

The bad thing, she thinks, about starring in a hit Saturday morning show is the way people can, like, stalk her because they think she’s Kelly Kapowski. Some good things are that she gets free trips abroad and people let her skip the completely insane lines outside of museums.

Being famous can be annoying, but she doesn’t think she’d ever give it up. Secure with the knowledge that she never will, Tiffani moves to eat the last piece of her desert to find Mark-Paul’s staring. She feels herself blush. “What?”

“Nothing, ready to go back to the hotel?”

“Sure,” then she looks down, deciding whether or not to behave like a lady—the way a Junior Miss America should—and leave the last piece of millefeuille when his hand shoots out, grabs it and pops it into his mouth. She’s shocked silent for a moment. Eyes darting between her empty plate and the boy who made it that way. “Hey!” She finally calls when he stands, hands in his pockets, and calmly walks out.

Tiffani jumps up to follow, almost leaves her purse behind she’s in such a hurry, and quickly walks out into the street. The sidewalks are packed with people and she looks either way but he’s nowhere in sight. She walks left on a whim. “Mark-Paul? Mar—“

Mark-Paul starts to laugh and she hits his shoulder a little less than playfully. “What are you doing, loser? You scared the crap outta me!”

He ignores her anger and nudges her against the wall, uses his body weight to keep her there.  

“How did you even know I’d come this way?” She asks in a whispery voice that’s actually kina sexy and she’s forgetting to be upset. Tiffani’s feeling drunker the longer he looks at her.

“Lucky guess.” Then he cups the back of her neck and leans forward to kiss her. They’ve done this before—on set in front of the director and all their co-stars, in front of Lark and she really doesn’t want to think of her friend now—but here, alone in Paris. Her head fuzzy with wine and some of the best food she’s ever eaten, with the footsteps of passersby just out of sight echoing around them…

He bends his knees a little and she goes up on her tiptoes to get closer as she hooks her arms around his shoulders. Tiffani can taste the alcohol in his mouth. That and her stolen desert and a hint of the crepe he was eating and she stops thinking.

Just let’s herself fall.