“Whoa!” Charlie exclaimed, taking her phone out and running to the center of the platform for a better view. I stood still, gaping at the wonder before me. Behind me, Hugo chuckled deeply.
“You going or what?” He asked, an amused tinge in his voice. I smirked.
“Of course,” I said, grabbing his hand and running to the center of the platform, where everyone was standing.
“Let’s take some pictures!” Charlie yelled. She and Lucas set up a tripod with Lucas’s camera and set it on auto before joining the rest of us in a class picture. We took a few group ones, before we began separating. We took a few single pictures first, doing the famous ‘push the Eiffel Tower’ pose and many others. Then, we began group pictures.
First went Nina and Jeremy. Then Charlie and Lucas along with Antony and Louise followed. Hugo and I went last before the boys were pushed out of the pictures by Charlie for an all girls photo. The boys took one and then each group took one with Mrs. Morano. Then we all took separate pictures with each classmate before separating into our own groups again.
Obviously, the couples went into their own spots, each on one corner of the main square we were standing in, leaving Hugo and I in the middle. We fiddled awkwardly for a few moments before I decided to speak up.
“So...” I started “beautiful, right?” Hugo’s eyes lit up.
“I know right! So romantic!” He said, shuffling again. He seemed so nervous. Maybe I could try to help him.
I looked around, searching for something fun to point at. A few steps below us, by the fence was a couple in a wedding attire.
“Aren’t they cute?” I asked. He looked at where I was pointing, stuffing his hands into his pocket. I glanced down. It looked like he was playing with something inside it.
“They are,” he mumbled. “Ah, listen Adrienne, there’s something I want to tell you.” He blushed.
I, on the other hand, frowned. “Is everything okay? Did I do something wrong?” Hugo’s head shot up and he shook it frantically.
“No! Of course not! But...” he sighed. “I’m failing at this!” I glanced around, noticing that our classmates were shuffling closer. Around that same time, the Eiffel Tower began to light up in the darkening sky.
“Hugo...” I began but he put his hand up to stop me.
“Adrienne, there’s something important I have to tell you. And...” He looked down “...and I know this could ruin our friendship, and you can hate me afterwards, but I really need to tell you.” I frowned.
“Okay...what is it?” I asked. Hugo looked up and hesitantly, he took his hands into mine. I felt zaps of electricity coursing through my body. My face heated up and my hands shook ever so slightly.
“Adrienne” he paused “I love you.” My heart stopped beating. I felt my mouth drop and my knees shake. Did he just say that? Someone pinch me! Please! This can’t be real! My heart began beating again, but faster. Adrenaline pumped through me. I felt my bag slowly slipping from my shoulder as my body slumped.
“Y-You love me?” I asked, thinking it was a dream. I closed my mouth, then opened it again, but no words came out.
“Before you say anything, please let me speak firs,t” Hugo said, softly. I nodded, realizing that people were slowly looking at us. Charlie even had her freaking phone out and a smug smile plastered on her face!
“O-Okay,” I said, squeezing his hands. He smiled at me.
“Adrienne, for the longest time...I’ve had a huge crush on you,” he began. More people surreptitiously crowded around us. “But I was never able to tell you. On the day we got our permission slips, I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t work up the courage to. On the bus too. It-it just never seemed like the right time. But after hearing about you’re cliched dreams as you put it-” I giggled softly and Hugo smiled “-I decided to confess at the Eiffel Tower. I don’t know how you feel about this, and you can reject me if you want, I won’t take any offense, but, I love you!” He sighed. I was silent for a few moments, trying to wrap my head around all this before I finally spoke up.
“Hugo,” I began “I-I love you too.” I watched Hugo’s eyes widen in surprise. Did he really think I didn’t love him? We’re really dense.
“Y-You love me too?” He asked. I smiled wider and squeezed his hands, tears forming in my eyes. Behind us, the Eiffel Tower glowed brightly in the dark.
“Yes. I admit I’ve had a crush on you since eighth grade, but I too was afraid of rejection. Too afraid to lose a friendship I deeply valued. So I didn’t say anything, but day by day, my love for you grew. Not only because of your looks, but because of how you put everyone first. You work so hard for the happiness of others, that you don’t look at yourself! That’s why I love you.” I took a deep breath as I finished, looking up into his eyes. His ocean blue eyes that were filled with love...for me. He leaned closer to me, eyes closing.
“May I?” He asked, his voice a low murmur and his eyes flickering to my lips. I blushed and bit my lip.
“Y-Yes...” I whispered. Hugo smiled and moved closer. All around us, I could feel camera’s and eyes, but I didn’t care. My eyes closed and finally, after years of pining, years of waiting, we finally kissed.
Cheers arouse all around us as fireworks blew up all around the Eiffel Tower. I felt my world disappear as Hugo’s mouth molded perfectly against mine. It felt weird at first, having someone else’s mouth on yours, their saliva on your mouth, but soon it felt good. Really good! I pressed my lips against his, greedy for more. I could feel him smirk as he complied, but I didn’t care.
“Yes! Finally!” I heard Nina yell.
“Get it Hugo!” Jeremy hollered. After a few moments of our cherished kiss, Hugo and I broke apart for the well needed air with a gasp, eyes wide and cheeks and lips red. The cheers continued around us and I suddenly became self-conscious, hiding in Hugo’s shirt. Hugo only laughed and kissed my forehead.
“Mine.” He whispered. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. It was the necklace! The one I saw at the airport. I blushed, letting him clasp the chain around my neck. he had one too, graciously letting me put it on him.
I grinned a stupid grin. I was finally his! I finally got the love of my life with me! I couldn’t be happier! My hear beat so fast and my legs were going to give away, but I didn’t care! Hugo had me.
I guess Maria was right. I really didn’t have to do anything.
“Finally you guys!” Was the first thing I heard as soon as the crowd dispersed (Not without congratulating us). I looked up to see Jeremy and the others grinning at us.
“We were waiting forever!” Charlie exclaimed. She came over and pried me from Hugo’s arms, emitting a soft whine from him.
“Hey! You can’t steal my girlfriend! I just got her!” He complained. I giggled and pecked his cheek.
“I’ll be back,” I said. He pouted, but soon gave me a devilish smirk. He took my hand and kissed it.
“Adieu then, my love,” he said, going down the steps to join Lucas and Antony by the fence. Other young men had surrounded him, probably asking him questions about his confession.
“So Adrienne,” Nina began “looks like you got your romantic confession at the Eiffel Tower”. I sighed happily.
“It was a dream come true,” I murmured. Louise chuckled.
“Just keep the PDA to a minimum please,” she asked. Charlie raised an eyebrow.
“We should be telling you that,” she mumbled. I laughed.
“There were even fireworks Adrienne! The whole Eiffel Tower lit up! Just as you kissed!” Nina exclaimed. My eyes widened.
“Really? I mean, I heard the fireworks and knew the Eiffel Tower lit up, but all the way?” I asked. Nina nodded.
“Yep. It was truly magical!” she said. Charlie swiped through her phone.
“I even took a video,” she said, pressing play on her video.
“Wow!” I said, impressed. “You’ll be a good camera-woman one day Charlie. Can you send it to me so I can send it to Adrien?” She nodded.
“Sure. I bet he and Maria will be so happy for you.” she said.
“You know what, when I was talking to her and Adrien the morning of the trip, Maria told me that I shouldn’t worry. That, maybe Hugo would tell me himself.” I looked fondly at my now boyfriend, who was laughing happily with Jeremy below us. “And she was right.”
“Well, the same thing happened to Adrien, didn’t it? You guys were both so painfully oblivious that your crush liked you back, and they ended up confessing to you,” Louise said. I rolled my eyes.
“I wasn’t that bad!” I defended. Charlie rolled her eyes.
“Yeah. Keep telling yourself that,” she said, turning to take pictures of the statues on either side of the walls surrounding the platform in front of the Eiffel Tower. As we chatted loosely among each other, Mrs. Morano walked up to us and enveloped me in a huge hug. I froze for a moment, still getting used to all this touching, before hesitantly hugging her back.
“Mrs. Morano?” I asked. She looked up at me, pulling away a bit and wiping her eyes.
“Are you crying?” Louise asked incredulously. Mrs. Morano sniffled and nodded.
“I’m just so happy! You and Hugo are one of the sweetest kids in my class and seeing you together now just melts my heart,” she said.
“But?” Nina asked, raising her eyebrow. Mrs. Morano smirked.
“I believe the boys owe us,” she said cheekily. We burst out laughing.
“Gods we were so obsessed with the mushy romance we forgot our bets,” Charlie said, howling with laughter.
“We can get them later. For now let’s just enjoy the moment before Hugo comes and snatches Adrienne from us,” Nina said, giggling. I smiled.
“We have the boat ride anyway. You guys have plenty of time,” I said.
“Girls!” Lucas called, running to us.
“What’s up Lucas?” Charlie asked, leaning over to kiss his cheek. he blushed, reaching into his pocket and pulling a key chain out.
“Is that...?” Nina began.
“An Eiffel Tower key chain?” Jeremy asked from behind her. Nina giggled.
“Yeah. Is it?” Louise asked. Lucas put the blue key chain gently in Charlie’s open palm.
“Yep. We thought it’d be nice to get these for you girls,” he said. Jeremy hooked the key chain on Nina’s ear, emitting a sarcastic laugh out of her before she un-hooked it from her ear and kissed Jeremy’s cheek.
“Thank you!” She said. I looked to my right where Louise was fawning over a purple key chain that Antony had given her.
“Wow! It’s so pretty!” I said, reaching over in Louise’s open palm to inspect it. She frowned.
“Where’s-!” she paused suddenly and gave me a large grin, retracting her hand quickly. Antony suppressed a smile from behind her. I gave her a puzzled look.
“Is everything alright? What’s-oh!” I gasped when a warm hand covered my eyes and a strong arm hooked around my waist, pushing my back into a hard, smooth chest. My face flushed and my knees felt weak again.
“You didn’t think I had forgotten you, did you?” Hugo’s enticing voice murmured in my ear, his voice sending shivers down my spine. With my heart lodged in my windpipe, I struggled to find words to speak.
“I-I-uh-I didn’t-I wasn’t implying-!” Hugo’s deep chuckle shut me and my rambling up immediately. I felt his warm lips press against my earlobe, then down to my cheek.
“Hugo...people are watching!” I said, my voice sounding hoarse. Was that even my voice? I couldn’t see anybody’s expression, or who was looking at us. Hugo’s hand was covering my eyes.
“Don’t worry. it’s only our classmates. Well, Charlie really. Only cause she’s filming,” Hugo said, humor tinged in his voice. Before I could speak again, he murmured low and alluring in my ear “I’ll finish this later,” before he took his hands off my eyes. I whimpered softly and opened my eyes (I didn’t even realize I’d closed them) to be met with a beautiful golden key chain of the Eiffel Tower!
“Hugo...it’s so...beautiful!” I gushed, gently taking the article into my palm and inspecting it slowly. Behind us Charlie snickered.
“You should’ve seen how you looked like. So cute yet so disgusting,” she said. Hugo rolled his eyes and tightened his hold on my waist. Possibly seeing that we’d continue to be ‘mushy’, Charlie left us alone to sit next to Lucas on the steps.
“Do you like it Mon Amour?" He asked. I felt my cheeks grow pink.
He called me my love! I screamed in my head. Sensing my excitement, Hugo smirked and leaned closer to me again.
“I have so many more names I can call you,” he hummed “but first tell me Ma Cheri, do you like it?” I blushed again.
“I love it,” I said softly. Hugo smiled and pecked my lips. I blushed again. God how does he keep making me do that? Where had shy, conservative Hugo gone from before? Cause this one seemed to know exactly what he was doing (not that I’m complaining).
Hugo grinned, loosening his grip on my waist. “Just so you know, I’ll be spoiling you from now on.” Before I could oppose or decline, Hugo kissed me and walked swiftly to Mrs. Morano. Probably to talk about the boat ride.
Leaving me completely baffled and a blushing mess, I stuffed the key chain into my pocket and ran to sit next to Louise, who was gazing at the glowing Eiffel Tower.
“Hey Lou,” I said.
“Hey Adrienne. What’s up?” She smirked. “Finished with Lover boy?”
“Yeah. He gave me a golden key chain,” I gushed. Louise’s eyes widened.
“The golden ones?” She asked. Confusion replacing my smile, I nodded.
“Yeah...why?” I asked. She smiled slowly.
“Adrienne, those are the most expensive kind,” she said. I gasped.
“What?” I burst out. Louise nodded.
“Guess he really did keep his promise on spoiling you,” she said.
“You can’t be serious!” I groaned. She nodded.
“I’m serious. The colorful ones are cheaper.”
“Why does he waste so much money on me?”
“He loves you Adrienne. Let him spoil you a bit.”
“I’ll live with guilt.”
“You didn’t force him to do it. He did it on his own free will. You have nothing to be guilty about.”
“Alright,” I finally conceded. After a while, I snorted.
“What’s so funny?” Louise asked.
“I don’t think it’ll be easy to convince Hugo to let me pay for things, will it?” I asked. She clicked her tongue and nodded, grinning.
“I doubt it. Winning against Hugo is hard-actually, impossible,” she said. I sighed.
“Looks like I’m stuck,” I said, feigning sadness (though I failed completely with my goofy smile). Louise laughed.
“Poor Adrienne,” she teased, patting my shoulder.
“Girls! Come on! We have the boat to go to!” Mrs. Morano called. She and the others were already on the sidewalk, waiting for us.
“When did she call us?” Louise asked as we sprinted over to her. I shrugged.
“I didn’t hear anything. And I wonder what time it is?” I said.
“Ask Hugo,” Louise said.
“Hey Hugo, what time is it?” I asked. Hugo laced his fingers with mine, glancing at his watch.
“Almost ten love. Why?” He asked. I shrugged.
“Just wondering,” I said. We walked down the street and past the corner, the Eiffel Tower gleaming behind the trees.
“Look at that guy!” Lucas whispered, pointing to a man painting on the ground across from us on the street.
“So what? He’s just painting,” Charlie said.
“Unless you like Disney Princesses,” Jeremy chortled.
“No! He has no fingers!” Louise said. I squinted in the dark to get a better look, and realized that Louise and Lucas were right! The man was painting with his palm! And he was a really good painter!
“There’s nothing wrong with that, right?” Mrs. Morano asked, raising her eyebrow at us.
“No! Not at all!” I said quickly.
“It doesn’t matter how he does it. His work is still beautiful,” Hugo added.
“Still, who like’s Princesses?” Jeremy asked disdainfully. Nina glared at him.
“I do!” She yelled. Jeremy leaned away, shrugging sheepishly.
We had to walk a bit further down the street before we cam to a beautiful, long wooden bridge that led to the steps of the harbor. Walking down the bridge, I realized that there were little locks in the shapes of hearts locked onto the metal fencing of the bridge.
“Look! It’s the lock bridge!” I exclaimed, running to one of the bigger locks.
“What’s the lock bridge?” Antony asked.
“Couples who promise to love each other forever come to this bridge. They inscribe their names onto a lock then lock it onto the fence, throwing the key into the water after so the promise is held,” I explained.
“Can we do that Mrs. Morano?” Jeremy asked. Mrs. Morano wavered for a moment, before nodding.
“We have some time, but we don’t have any locks,” she said.
“There’s a guy selling locks down the bridge. We can buy from him.” Nina offered. Mrs. Morano nodded.
“Okay. Take five,” she said. Nina and Jeremy ran down the bridge and soon came back with a handful of multi-colored locks.
“Okay. Got some. He gave us a small knife too, just to write the names,” Jeremy said.
“Pick your color,” Hugo said, jerking his head towards Nina’s open hands.
“Why don’t you pick,” I suggested.
“Nah. You pick. I like your choices” he said. I shrugged, picking a green lock from Nina’s pile. Hugo raised his eyebrow, his lips twitching.
“Why green?” He asked.
“It’s your favorite color,” I said, reaching for the knife. “Consider this payback for making me choose.” He threw his head back and laughed in defeat.
“Alright. Fair is fair Princess.” he said, taking the knife from my hand.
“Hey! I was going to write my name,” I huffed. Hugo smirked.
“Allow me Ma belle. Can’t have you cutting your beautiful hands can we?” He chided, scratching the lock. I sighed.
“You can’t hurt yourself either,” I pointed out. Hugo paused, considering his options.
“How about this, you write my name and I write yours,” I suggested. Hugo thought for a moment again, before nodding.
“Seems fair enough,” he said. It took a while, but soon we’d all written our names on a lock and attached it to the bridge, tossing the brass keys into the murky water below us.
“Ah. Now I’m satisfied,” Charlie said, leaning against Lucas as we walked.
“What do you mean? You weren’t satisfied with your love before?” Antony asked.
“No, I just like the perfect rows we made with the locks. Unlike some other couples,” Charlie said, pointing disdainfully at the uneven rows of locks.
“You’re too picky,” Louise said. Charlie stuck her tongue out childishly at her. Then she raced across the bridge with Louise at her heels. I gave a low whistle.
“Those two,” I murmured, running after them like the Mother Hen I always was.
At some point, we made it to the docks of the boat and moved slowly in the lethargic line. I refrained from tapping my foot this time. Instead, I studied the boat.
It was a small fit. The line wasn’t even a line. Just a bunch of people crowded in blotches. A few posters hung on the walls and police stood at the entry to the seats, taking tickets which Mrs. Morano had handed to us earlier. It was stuffy inside the room, probably because I was squished between Hugo and Nina.
“How much longer in this line?” Nina complained. I shrugged.
“Maybe five minutes,” I suggested weakly.
“Or now,” Hugo said. I looked up and saw Mrs. Morano handing the officer her ticket.
“H-How did the line move that fast?” I asked.
“Talking and walking?” Nina offered.
“In any case, let’s find seats by the steps. It’ll be easier to get off,” Hugo said, handing his ticket.
We walked into the boat, looking around as we picked seats. The first floor was filled, so we went up a few floors to the third floor, which was almost empty, apart from a few couples. Hugo, Nina, Jeremy and I found seats in the first row, which gave a magnificent view of the glowing Eiffel Tower along with any other sites we’d see. I yawned as we sat.
“Tired?” Hugo asked, shoving his bag under the orange plastic seat. I nodded, sleepily pushing my own bag.
“Why don’t you sleep?” Nina said, taking a few pictures of the Eiffel Tower. I grabbed my phone and took a picture, deciding to set it as my home screen.
“I want to see what we’ll see on this boat ride. Besides, I need the pictures,” I said, yawning again.
“Is it just me, or is it cold?” Jeremy asked.
“It’s cold,” I said. Hugo slipped his sweater off and slipped it on my shoulders. This time, I didn’t deny it. Instead, I snuggled into the fuzzy jacket and sighed contentedly.
“Ready to sleep?” Hugo teased. I stuck my tongue out at him.
“How do you have such warm clothes?” I asked instead.
“I don’t know. Emily bought that for me. Or maybe it was my mom... In any case, they think I’m always cold, so they buy me warm clothes,” he explained.
“But you’re literally a walking heater Hugo! How can you be cold?” I asked. Hugo shrugged.
" I don’t know. And what do you mean?” He asked.
“You said I’m a walking heater,” he clarified. I blushed.
“You always radiate warmth! So I just wondered how you’re always cold,” I said. He shrugged.
“I don’t know. I guess...I’m just cold,” he said.
“In more ways than one,” Jeremy muttered. Hugo scowled at him and Nina and I giggled.
“Complimenting yourself? Right Jeremy?” Hugo asked. Jeremy rolled his eyes.
“Whatever,” he mumbled. Hugo leaned back, satisfied as the boat began to move.
“I believe I won,” he said. Jeremy grumbled.
“Yeah yeah you did,” he conceded.
“Look at that building!” I exclaimed, distracting the boys from their petty fight to a beautiful building that looked like a church. It was dark, so I couldn’t see the color well, but I’d bet it was tan. Aren’t they all?
The building had two clocks on each side and looked Victorian. I pulled my phone out and took a few pictures of it, yawning.
“You are tired,” Hugo said, smirking in my direction. I offered him a sleepy grin.
“So I am. It’s almost midnight. I’m exhausted!” I said. Nina yawned as well.
“I’m beat too. We had a long day today,” she said.
“You guys can sleep. We’ll take pictures for you,” Hugo offered. I nodded.
“Yeah-” yawn “-I think we need that.”
“But first...let’s take a selfie!” Jeremy said. We scooted closer and smiled for the camera, the Eiffel Tower sparkling right behind us.
“Oh! I didn’t know it could do that!” Nina said.
“It does every hour or so,” Hugo said. I leaned against his side, my eyes closing.
“Did you guys pay the girls?” I asked, my question directed to Jeremy. Hugo frowned and Jeremy sheepishly nodded.
“Yeah. We did. It was humiliating,” he moaned. Nina giggled.
“Now you know never to bet against your girlfriend,” she said.
“What bet?” Hugo asked. I yawned.
“Nina’ll-tell...you...” I mumbled. All I remember is Hugo kissing my cheek before sleep consumed me.
Okay, so I didn’t fully sleep. In the end, I never really slept. I kept feeling guilt at how I was missing the sights so I ended up waking up, then sleeping again. I caught a few glimpses of bridges and other buildings, but most of my memory from the night was blank. Finally, I got so fed up that I just decided to stay awake. Save my sleep for night.
“Up already Love? We have forty minutes left,” Hugo said, turning when I stirred. I nodded.
“Yeah. I decided to save my sleep for later,” I said. He leaned in and pressed a slow kiss to my lips. I sighed, melting into the bliss. Gaining confidence, he pulled away a bit to nip at my top lip. I jumped, causing him to laugh.
“S-Shut up!” I said, making him laugh harder.
“Your face though!” He managed to gasp. I rolled my eyes fondly.
“Whatever. When did Nina and Jeremy sleep?” I asked instead. Hugo took a few deep breaths to compose himself before answering.
“A few minutes after you,” he said, wrapping an arm around me.
“How come you didn’t sleep”? I asked. He shrugged.
“I couldn’t sleep. Besides, I needed to take pictures for you,” he said. My eyes widened.
“You stayed up...just to take pictures for me?” I asked. He nodded sheepishly.
“Yeah. There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for you. Also, I could’t sleep.” Hugo added. I smiled softly, leaning up to kiss him.
“I really don’t deserve you,” I mumbled into the kiss.
“Me neither,” he mumbled back. We broke apart after a few moments, enjoying the serene silence on the rest of the boat ride. The moon was high that night, shining brightly as couples conversed quietly on the tiny white boat. One of my friends, who just recently moved back to India, showed me a song and it took place here! Right where we were. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could e-mail Rashmi.
“What are you thinking about?” Hugo hummed.
“My pen pal Rashmi. She lives in India and she told me a song that she likes was filmed here,” I said. Hugo nodded.
“Cool. It must be nice to live in India,” he said, watching as the boat docked itself. I shrugged.
“She said it’s okay. She just doesn’t like the driving there,” I said.
“I heard they drive oddly,” Hugo said. He put his arms around me as the boat jolted before stopping.
“Jeremy! Nina! We’re here,” I said softly. Nina stirred, opening her eyes.
“What?” She asked.
“You slept throughout the ride,” Hugo explained, reaching under his seat for his bag.
“What?! I missed all those pictures!” Nina exclaimed. I shook my head.
“Nope. I woke up a little early, just as the boat was doing it’s final lap, so I managed to get some pictures. Besides, even if I didn’t, Hugo was up the whole ride. He took most of the pictures,” I said. Nina nodded and turned to wake Jeremy up.
“Where now?” I asked.
“Now we go to our hotel. It’s pretty late to go anywhere too,” Hugo said. I took my bag from my seat just as Jeremy was roused from his sleep.
“Already time?” He asked. I nodded.
“I’m gonna miss this,” Nina said. I nodded.
“I’m sure one day we can all meet up for a reunion,” I suggested.
“Wait. You guys are going to Spain this year?” Hugo asked.
“Yeah. A little after we graduate,” Jeremy said.
“Send us some pictures, okay?” I said, already feeling as if they were leaving. Nina nodded.
“Of course. As long as you send pics of Italy,” she said. I nodded eagerly.
“Who did this?!”
“How could this happen?!”
“My bag is gone!”
“What do we do?” I asked, looking over the van. It was half past midnight when we’d reached the van. We had almost missed one metro, and the other one was late. When we finally got to the street our van was parked, Charlie and I ran ahead of the others, though we were both exhausted. When we were a few feet away, I noticed something was off.
“Charlie,” I whispered, loud enough to grab her attention. She turned to me, a frown on her face. So she saw it too.
“What is that?” She asked.
“I...don’t know. Maybe we’re just seeing things,” I said, shaking my head and squinting at the drivers window. From where I was, it looked like there was a large crack in the window.
“Maybe you’re right. But still, let’s approach the van with caution. I’m pretty sure our eyes aren’t deceiving us. Especially in the street light,” Charlie said. I nodded and we stealthily crawled towards the white vehicle. My suspicions were confirmed when we looked inside.
A large gap in replacement of what used to be a window stared back at us. On the seat were the shards from the broken window. There was only one answer to this--we had been robbed.
“What happened? Why did you stop?” Jeremy asked. He ran over to us, the initial surprise in his eyes morphing into disbelief and anger.
“Who did this?” Nina asked.
“How could this happen?” Mrs. Morano exclaimed.
“My bag is gone!” I yelled.
“Mine too!” Charlie said. We ran to the trunk and yanked the hatch open. Luckily, the glass hadn’t been broken, but our bags, which were the first ones on the top, had been taken.
“Your bags were taken!” Mrs. Morano asked, worry evident in her voice. I nodded.
“I think it’s just ours. Everyone else’s seems to be here,” I said, counting the bags.
“What do we do?” Louise asked. Hugo hummed.
“We’ll have to go to the police and get a report. I doubt they’ll do anything though, since this happens a lot in France,” he said. Jeremy nodded.
“I’ll come with you, since you have the directions,” he said.
“I’ll go with you boys. Lucas and Antony, watch the girls,” Mrs. Morano said. She and the boys gave the van and us a last glance before running down the street, their figures disappearing in the dark.
“So, now what?” Louise asked.
“Shame shame shame. I don’t wanna go to Mexico no more more more~” I sang, clapping my hands with Charlie. We were sitting on a ledge of a shop, playing a game we’d loved as teens. Lucas was leaning against the lamppost, his arms crossed and brooding, glancing once or twice at the van. Antony was leaning on the wall next to us, occasionally checking his phone. Nina and Louise were sitting a few inches away from us, playing Avocado.
“How much longer are we going to have to wait?” Nina asked.
“Hopefully not too long,” Lucas mumbled.
“But we’ve been waiting for an hour! Where are they?” I complained.
“The closest police station is quite a bit from here. Plus, they’re walking.” Antony explained.
“I can’t believe we lost our bags,” Charlie moaned. I shrugged.
“Yeah, but at least we kept our most important stuff in our backpacks, which we took with us,” I said, gesturing to the plethora of bags next to my feet. Charlie nodded.
“Still, we lost a bunch of our clothes and bathroom necessities,” she said. I sighed, nodding.
“Yeah. But at least we’re all safe,” I said.
“That’s true. Sometimes a few of us would stay in the car. We’re lucky we all went,” Louise said.
“To kill time, how about we try to figure out how the thieves got in,” Lucas offered.
“Well, obviously they broke the window,” Nina starts.
“I’d bet they unlocked the car door from that,” Louise said.
“Then the rest was easy. They opened the door and grabbed the closest bags, which were mine and Charlie’s,” I said. Antony nodded.
“I doubt we’ll get your things back though,” he said. Charlie shrugged.
“On the bright side, we get to pay less going home,” she said, trying to lighten the mood. I stifled a laugh.
We sat quietly for the next few minutes. Nina and Louise began playing a quiet game of I Spy and Charlie and I were lamenting our lost things. Antony and Lucas were playing a racing game on Antony’s phone.
After a while, Mrs. Morano and the other boys returned. As they got closer to us, I realized that something wrapped in pink was cradled in Hugo’s arms.
“Look. When you and Hugo have a baby girl, that’s what the scene will look like,” Louie teased. I rolled my eyes.
“I can wait,” I drawled.
“What did the police say?” Antony asked.
“They can’t do anything about it. They said just file a complaint and get a new van,” Hugo said, kicking the road underneath him. I flinched.
“Well, this was a nice way to end a vacation,” Charlie mumbled. Mrs. Morano sighed.
“I’m very sorry guys. I didn’t want this vacation to go this way. I mean, it’s your last year and this is how you’ll remember your trip?” She asked, getting aggravated with each word. I placed a hand on her shoulder.
“This was one of the best trips I ever went on! Sure, things didn’t go as planned, but we still made the most of it and had fun,” I said.
“We’ll have more memories to share when we’re older and we experienced some things that the other classes didn’t,” Hugo added.
“It also taught us to be mature and responsible in rough times,” Jeremy said proudly, puffing his chest out. Nina giggled.
“Since when are you mature?” She asked.
“Since now. See Mrs. Morano, all that matters is that we had fun, doesn’t it?” Jeremy asked. After a few beats, Mrs. Morano nodded, a small twitch of her lips included.
“I suppose you are right. But what about the bags? I could be fired for not taking care of you properly,” she said, fear highlighting in her eyes again.
“I’m sure Adrien wouldn’t mind if he knows what happened,” I said.
“My mom wouldn’t be too upset too, knowing it wasn’t your fault,” Charlie said. Mrs. Morano didn’t say anything for a few moments, but soon exhaled loudly.
“Alright! Let’s forget all this and head to the hotel. It’s three hours away and it’s already late. We wouldn’t want what happened before to happen again would we?” She asked, a slight smirk in her voice.
“No way! And I’m not getting squished in a bed again!” Charlie exclaimed vigorously.
“This is actually a nice hotel.” Charlie said as we entered the room. It was another Ibis, but this time it was bigger and the shower was in the bathroom.
“It’s the same as the one we stayed in a couple of days ago,” Lucas pointed out, dropping the luggage on the bed. Charlie ignored him and rushed to a small candy bowl, grabbing a handful and shoving it into her pocket. I giggled.
“Come on Charlie we all know you can’t take all of that candy,” I said. Hugo came up from behind me and wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
“Yeah Charlie. You’ll get cavities before summer. And that’s no way to start the break,” he said. Charlie rolled her eyes and pulled some candies out of her pocket, grumbling.
“Sorry Mom,” she said. I rolled my own eyes and went for my luggage.
“Are we doing the same beds as last time?” I asked.
“Yeah. I liked the top bunk,” Charlie said.
“Okay. I call the bathroom first,” I said, raising my hand before anyone else could. Lucas shrugged.
“Fair is fair,” he said.
“But what will we wear? Or use to brush our teeth?” Charlie asked. “In case you forgot my things and Adrienne’s things were stolen.” Hugo hummed thoughtfully.
“Well, there are some spare toothbrushes in the bathroom. Lucas and I have toothpaste that you can use. As for the clothes, I have some shirts Adrienne can use. I would offer to you too Charlie, but I think Lucas would personally murder me if I did,” he said. Lucas glared at him.
“Yeah, I would,” he said quietly. Hugo handed me a spare shirt and I took my things and hurried to the bathroom.One by one, we all filed in and out, brushing our teeth and showering before nestling into our beds, the evenings excitement still having it’s effects on us.
“So...what did everything think of this vacation? Or...field trip?” Hugo asked, one arm draped around my body in our queen sized bunk bed. There was a creak from above and Lucas’ head popped out...as did Charlie’s foot.
“This was a nice vacation. I really liked the glaciers and the Eiffel Tower,” Lucas said.
“I liked peeing on a glacier too. Especially the way the wind froze your butt,” Charlie said bluntly. There was a few seconds of silence, then we all burst into fits of giggles.
“Seriously Charlie? That’s what you liked the most?” Hugo asked, wiping his eyes.
“You didn’t even like the Triumph Arc or the Amphitheater?” I asked. There was another creak and some shuffling, and soon Charlie poked her head from the bed.
“I liked the Amphitheater. What you did to little Tommy was really nice. I also liked the Palace of Versailles,” she said.
“I liked the Eiffel Tower. My parents came to Paris for their honeymoon and my Dad proposed to my Mom at the Eiffel Tower,” Hugo said. He kissed the top of my head.
“And what about you Cheri? What was you’re favorite part?” He asked.
“I loved everything about this trip. Sure, we had some ups and downs, but we were all together and supported each other. That’s what made this trip memorable,” I said. Hugo mocked hurt.
“You didn’t even include my confession,” he pouted. I smiled and reached up to ruffle his hair.
“And of course Hugo’s confession,” I said, my voice deep and serious. Charlie and Lucas howled with laughter above us and Hugo pouted harder. Smiling, I leaned in and kissed him gently on his lips.
“You’ll always be worth remembering to me,” I murmured. He smiled and kissed my fingers.
“Oh gross! Now we have to deal with you guys being all mushy!” Charlie said. “Forget it. I’m going to sleep!” There was loud rustling and a muffled ‘Good night’ before the room became quiet again. I figured Lucas had fallen asleep with Charlie.
“So...” I said awkwardly.
“It’s just us,” Hugo murmured. I laughed softly.
“Yeah, if you count a sleeping Charlie and Lucas above,” I said. Hugo rolled his eyes.
“Adrienne, I love you,” he said.
“You told me already”.
“And I’ll continue telling you that till the day I die,” Hugo murmured. I blushed in the dark, but didn’t want to ruin the moment, so I settled for snuggling into his side, relishing his warmth around me, even if the night was warm.
“I love you too.”
“Well kids,” Mrs. Morano sighed, slamming the door van and handing a lady the keys. “This is it. The end of our trip. How do you feel?”
“Tired. Sad. Excited,” was the majority of the responses. It was the next day and we had just returned the van and were staring at the view of Paris on a small balcony in front of the doors. The Eiffel Tower stood proudly in the distance, the sky clear blue.
“I’m so proud of you,” Mrs. Morano said. “You’ve become exceptional and mature young adults. While I admit this trip wasn’t what it was supposed to be, it became much more of a fun adventure for all of us. And here we are, the end. In a few weeks you’ll be graduating then be going your own ways,” She pulled us in for a group hug and we all closed in on each other, squishing our teacher in the middle.
“It’s sad for us too Mrs. M,” Jeremy said.
“Yeah, you’ve guided us since we were fourteen,” Antony said.
“You’ve been like a second parent to us,” Louise added.
“You’ve taught us to become mature and asses situations calmly,” Nina said.
“We’ll all miss you.” Charlie.
“We hope you’ll have as good of a life as you wish for us.” Lucas.
“You’ve encouraged us when we were down, we can only hope the same for you.” Hugo.
“It’s like a book is ending,” I said. Mrs. Morano smiled and wiped her eyes.
“No,” she said. “Your books are only beginning. Now,” she turned back to the view. “I believe we all have something to say to Paris? Non?”
We smiled. Hugo and the boys went behind us, each boy with his girlfriend and Mrs. Morano in the middle. She held the camera in front of us, as if taking a selfie with the Eiffel Tower and it’s city behind us.
“Ready...Three, Two, One!”
“Au revior Paris!”
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