Vada didn't feel so lost in Paris, anymore.
Maybe it was going out on the thesipis rides with Alo, or just wondering around at the market with him, the museums and, of course, that big tower where everyone had to go.
She didn't go back to Joel's. No, she'd gone back to Alo's and slept in his bed while he slept on the floor. They took turns with the bed, and he turned out not to be such a bad roommate.
The sites and the sounds of the city were overwhelming, yet she couldn't help but smile. She couldn't think of home. She wouldn't think of Dean, not anymore. She would just go on.
Besides, Alo was a good tour guide. He knew the language and was much more responsible than his brother, who slept the days away and went out all night long.
"Don't you ever worry about him?" She asked on their fifth day out and about.
"Worry?" Alo shook his head, no as they were on a walk to find lunch at the market with fresh fruit and bread. Maybe they'd make a picnic of it.
She was still in those jeans, but she wore one of his shirts over her tank. She supposed she might find a place to thrift, but the sun was hot and all she really wanted was fresh fruit.
"Aren't, you worried? Someone worrying about, you, V?" He took her hand to help her through the crowd.
She didn't really want to think about back home. It would have to wait. Yet, she didn't want to wait too long, either.
They found the fresh fruit and Aloe haggled a little with the old man selling the berries. Vada found a vender showing off curtains of his sheer scarves. She reached out and touched a floral scarf blowing in the wind. It would be the perfect souvenier to take home.
Suddenly, she felt so selfish. If only she had money to buy one for Myra and Ren, who were both like mothers to her.
"You, like?" The young Frenchman's grin was ever so sly.
Vada nodded. No way could she speak to him without him laughing, but he said something in French. She didn't understand.
"He thinks you're beautiful." Alo clarified.
The vender handed her a card then. "You like Fashion?"
Vada almost laughed.
"You, come and work for my cousin, aye?" His grin was open then. He pulled down the scarf Vada had been touching. "You, want this?" He carefully put the floral scarf under her hair.
"Um," She looked to Aloe not sure what to do.
Alo wanted to know how much? Evidently, the vender would take what ever Alo would give him.
"Come see me?" He kept smiling at Vada. "My cousin Marco will be happy to see you. He would dress you up in his dresses. I photograph you. We?"
Aloe pulled her away.
"You, wouldn't actually see him, would you?" Alo put his arm around her as if to let the guy know that she was with him.
"I dunno. Maybe ..maybe we could check it out." She kept looking at the card. This guy was a designer of some kind.
"We?" Aloe chuckled. "All right, you know I wouldn't let, you go alone." He was straight lipped as they walked on. They really needed some cheese with the fruit.
Derrick, felt more awake than he'd felt in a very long time. Something about the night air felt like a cold winter at his bare ankles, and the sweet grass of spring was still in the air, and they were all running like it was a marthon.
"Just keep moving!" Rossie ordered. They had company and in the distance he heard it. Gun shots. He wanted to stop in his tracks and drop, but she kept them together. Her pals and some other kids. Derrick turned to see Syreeta next to him.
"What are you doing here?"
She looked so scared and the guy she was with was breathing hard as if he might pass out on her, any second.
"I swear! I've been eating too many french fries." He heaved.
Some boy who might have been a girl was calling 911. The other girl was shivering. Rossie wrapped herself around her to keep her warm.
"We best keep moving. There might be stray bullets." Rossie told them. She reminded them, of the story of the little girl eating breakfast and how a stray bullet killed her.
"Well, my car is back there." Derrick festered a frown. They should have gotten in his car and drove away. But there was a crowd of people.
"Why don't you call, Mitch?" Syreeta didn't see going back to the crime an option. Besides, there were sirens wailing already. Syreeta shook her head.
Derrick pulled out his phone. He was certain, Mitch wouldn't pick up.