An older woman stands on the sidewalk, closing up, her frame bent over a ring of keys, a large bag drooping from one elbow.

She must hear him coming, because she murmurs something to the dark, something about closing, something about another day. And then she turns, and sees him.

In the glass of the shop window, Addie sees Luc, too, not as he is to her, but as he must appear to the woman in the doorway. He has kept those dark curls, but his face is leaner, sharper in a wolfish way, his eyes deep-set, his limbs too thin to be human.

“A deal is a deal,” he says, the words bending on the air. “And it is done.”

Addie watches, expecting the woman to beg, to run.

But she sets her bag down on the ground, and lifts her chin.

“A deal is a deal,” she says. “And I am tired.”

And somehow, this is worse.

Because Addie understands.

Because she is tired, too.

And as she watches, the darkness comes undone again.

It has been more than a hundred years since Addie last saw the truth of him, the roiling night, with all its teeth. Only this time, there is no rending, no tearing, no horror.

The darkness simply folds around the old woman like a storm, blotting out the light.

Addie turns away.

She goes back to the yellow house on Bourbon Street, and pours herself a glass of wine, crisp and cold and white. It is blisteringly hot; the balcony doors are flung open to ease the summer night. She is leaning on the iron rail when she hears him arrive, not on the street below, as a courting lover might, but in the room behind her.

And when his arms drift around her shoulders, Addie remembers the way he held the woman in the doorway, the way he folded around her, swallowing her whole.

New York City

July 30, 2014


Luc’s mood lifts a little as they walk.

The night is warm, the moon barely a crescent overhead. His head falls back, and he inhales, breathing in the air as if it were not ripe with summer heat, too many people in too little space.

“How long have you been here?” she asks.

“I come and go,” he says, but she has learned to read the space between his words, and guesses he has been in New York almost as long as she has, lurking like a shadow at her back.

She doesn’t know where they are going, and for the first time, she wonders if Luc does either, or if he is simply walking, trying to put space between them and the end of their meal.

But as they make their way uptown, she feels time folding around them, and she does not know if it’s his magic or her memory, but with each passing block, she is storming from him down the Seine. He is leading her away from the sea. She is following him in Florence. They are side by side in Boston, and arm in arm on Bourbon Street.

They are here, together, in New York. And she wonders what would have happened if he hadn’t said the word. If he hadn’t tipped his hand. If he hadn’t ruined everything.

“The night is ours,” he says, turning toward her, and his eyes are bright again. “Where shall we go?”

Home, she thinks, though she cannot say it.

She looks up at the skyscrapers, surging to either side.

“Which one,” she wonders, “has the best view?”

After a moment, Luc smiles, flashing teeth, and says, “Follow me.”

* * *

Over the years, Addie has learned many of the city’s secrets.

But here is one she did not know.

It resides not underground, but on a roof.

Eighty-four stories up, reached by a pair of elevators, the first one nondescript and rising only to the eighty-first floor. The second, a direct replica of Rodin’s Gates of Hell, with its writhing bodies, clawing to escape, takes you the rest of the way.

If you have a key.

Luc draws the black card from his shirt pocket and slides it into a yawning mouth along the elevator’s frame.

“Is this one of yours?” she asks as the doors slide open.

“Nothing is really mine,” he says by way of answer as they step inside.

It is a short ascent, three brief floors, and when it stops, the doors open onto an uninterrupted view of the city.

The bar’s name winds in black letters at her feet.


Addie rolls her eyes. “Was Perdition taken?”

“Perdition,” he says, eyes sparkling with mischief, “is a different kind of club.”

The floors are bronze, the railings glass, and the ceiling open to the sky, and people mill on velvet sofas and dip their feet in shallow pools, and linger along the balconies that ring the roof, admiring the city.

“Mr. Green,” says the hostess. “Welcome back.”

“Thank you, Renee,” he says smoothly. “This is Adeline. Give her anything she wants.”

The hostess looks to her, but there is no compulsion in her eyes, no sense that she has been enchanted, only the cooperation of an employee, one very good at her job. Addie asks for the most expensive drink, and Renee grins at Luc. “You’ve found yourself a match.”

“I have,” he says, resting his hand on the small of Addie’s back as he guides her forward. She quickens her step until it falls away, and weaves through the milling crowd to the glass rail, looking out over Manhattan. There are no stars visible, of course, but New York rolls away to every side, its own galaxy of light.

Up here, at least, she can breathe.

It is the easy laughter of the crowd. The ambient noise of people enjoying themselves, so much nicer than the stifled quiet of the empty restaurant, the cloistered silence of the car. It is the sky opening above her. The beauty of the city to every side, and the fact they are not alone.

Renee returns with a bottle of Champagne, a visible film of dust coating the glass.

“Dom Perignon, 1959,” she explains, holding the bottle out for inspection. “From your private case, Mr. Green.”

Luc waves his hand, and she opens the bottle, pouring two flutes, the bubbles so small they look like flecks of diamond in the glass.

Addie sips, savors the way it sparkles on her tongue.

She scans the crowd, filled with the kinds of faces you would recognize, even though you’re not sure where you’ve seen them. Luc points them out to her, those senators, and actors, authors and critics, and she wonders if any of them have sold their soul. If any of them are about to.

Addie looks down into her glass, the bubbles still rising smoothly to the surface, and when she speaks, the words are barely more than a whisper, the sound stolen by the chattering crowd. But she knows he is listening, knows he can hear her.

“Let him go, Luc.”

His mouth tightens a fraction. “Adeline,” he warns.

“You told me you would listen.”

“Fine.” He leans back against the rail and spreads his arms. “Tell me. What do you see in him, this latest human lover?”

Henry Strauss is thoughtful, and kind, she wants to say. He is clever, and bright, gentle, and warm.

He is everything you’re not,

But Addie knows she must tread lightly.

“What do I see in him?” she says. “I see myself. Not who I am now, perhaps, but who I was, the night you came to rescue me.”

Luc scowls. “Henry Strauss wanted to die. You wanted to live. You are nothing alike.”