A faint veil of mist hovers over the Seine.

Paris is shrouded in grey, the sun burning bright behind the clouds, offering hope that eventually the fog will give way to a colorful Fall day. Sally and Rick walk along the Left Bank. They’ve decided to start their first working day with an excursion into Paris, to find inspiration, to talk about their story.

They are remarkably quiet, compared to last night. When they do exchange comments and point to sights of interest, they almost whisper, as if they don’t want to break the eerie magic of the morning. Sally feels Rick’s presence next to her, while her mind is hung up on the chocolate mousse last night, the way they fed each other dessert, the intimate and flirtatious exchange. Rick had made her laugh so hard. It’d surprised her. The playfulness. But that’s the nature of surprise, the unexpected, being caught off guard. Sally feels herself recoil. Better focus on their project.

Have you had any thoughts about writing this romance, she asks, her hands deep in the pockets of her red trenchcoat. She’s had plenty of ideas, but this morning, they seem to have evaporated. She can’t think straight. Why was it that this was such a fun idea? Did she really think this would salvage a low point in her love life and writerly career?

Well, I have, and I haven’t. Rick does a 360 degree turnabout, as if taking in the views, measuring up Paris. Everyone goes to Paris for romance, but…he pauses… looks at her, I’m not even sure I think it is so romantic.

Not romantic? Sally stops. Ricks radiant blue eyes seem annoyingly frisky. Can you qualify that?

No. Not yet anyway. And maybe that’s the true experiment, will Paris win me over? Rick chuckles and begins walking again.

Alright. Sally accepts the challenge and hurtles after him. You’re rather arrogant there, but I’m not going to try to convince you that Paris is inherently romantic, instead, let us explore this. It will get us thinking about romance, what it is and is not, and hopefully spark inspiration for story we’re set to write.

She suddenly sees where they are, and eyes an opportunity to cross the street. Come. She pulls Rick by the arm. I have an idea.

She leads them across the little terrasse park and onto Rue de la Bûcherie, to the Shakespeare Company. Voila!

Ricks eyes lights up. Oh, I’ve heard of this place.

I thought so. And if you care to know, they’ve just added the cafe to the place.

Sally takes almost sweet pleasure in surprising him, though he’s not getting away with challenging her or for that matter taking romance out of Paris.

Okay. Let’s enter, we’ll get lost for a bit amongst the books, but I have a task: we’ll each find a book of poetry, pick a romantic poem, and read it to each other. Deal?

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