Plus, she’s afraid.

Afraid to let him walk away.

Afraid to let him out of sight.

Whatever this is, a blip, a mistake, a beautiful dream, or a piece of impossible luck, she’s afraid to let it go. Let him go.

One wrong step, and she’ll wake up. One wrong step, and the thread will snap, the curse will shudder back into place, and it will be over, and Henry will be gone, and she will be alone again.

She forces herself back into the present. Enjoy it while it lasts. It cannot last. But right here, right now—

“Penny for your thoughts,” he calls over the crowd.

She smiles. “I can’t wait for summer.” It’s not a lie. It has been a long, damp spring, and she is tired of being cold. Summer means hot days, and nights where the light lingers. Summer means another year alive. Another year without—

“If you could have one thing,” cuts in Henry, “what would it be?”

He studies her, squinting at her as if she’s a book, not a person; something to be read. She stares back at him like he’s a ghost. A miracle. An impossible thing.

This, she thinks, but she lifts her empty glass and says, “Another beer.”


Addie can account for every second of her life, but that night, with Henry, the moments seem to bleed together. Time slides by as they bounce from bar to bar, happy hour giving way to dinner and then to late-night drinks, and every time they hit the point where the evening splits, and one road leads their separate ways and the other carries on ahead, they choose the second road.

They stay together, each waiting for the other to say “It’s getting late” or “I should be going,” or “See you around.” There is some unspoken pact, an unwillingness to sever whatever this is, and she knows why she’s afraid to break the thread, but she wonders about Henry. Wonders at the loneliness she sees behind his eyes. Wonders at the way the waiters and the bartenders and the other patrons look at him, the warmth he doesn’t seem to notice.

And then it is almost midnight, and they are eating cheap pizza, walking side by side through the first warm night of spring, as the clouds stretch overhead, low and lit by the moon.

She looks up, and so does Henry, and for a moment, only a moment, he looks overwhelmingly, unbearably sad.

“I miss the stars,” he says.

“So do I,” she says, and his gaze drops back to her, and he smiles.

“Who are you?”

His eyes have gone glassy, and the way he says who almost sounds like how, less a question of how she’s doing and more a question of how she’s here, and she wants to ask him the same thing, but she has a good reason, and he’s just a little drunk.

And simply, perfectly, normal.

But he can’t be normal.

Because normal people don’t remember her.

They’ve reached the subway. Henry stops.

“This is me.”

His hand slips free of hers, and there it is, that old familiar fear, of endings, of something giving way to nothing, of moments unwritten and memories erased. She doesn’t want the night to end.

Doesn’t want the spell to break. Doesn’t—

“I want to see you again,” says Henry.

The hope fills her chest until it hurts. She’s heard those words a hundred times, but for the first time, they feel real. Possible. “I want you to see me again, too.”

Henry smiles, the kind of smile that takes over an entire face.

He pulls out his cell, and Addie’s heart sinks. She tells him that her phone is broken, when the truth is, she’s never needed one before. Even if she had someone to call, she could not call them. Her fingers would slip uselessly over the screen. She has no e-mail, either, no way to send a message of any kind, thanks to the whole thou-shalt-not-write part of her curse.

“I didn’t know you could exist these days without one.”

“Old-fashioned,” she says.

He offers to come by her place the next day. Where does she live? And it feels as if the universe is mocking her now.

“I’m staying at a friend’s while they’re out of town,” she says. “Why don’t I meet you at the store?”

Henry nods. “The store, then,” he says, backing away.



“Don’t go disappearing.”

Addie laughs, a small, brittle thing. And then he’s walking away, he’s got a foot down the first step, and the panic grips her.

“Wait,” she says, calling him back. “I need to tell you something.”

“Oh god,” Henry groans. “You’re with someone.”

The ring burns in her pocket. “No.”

“You’re in the CIA and you leave for a top-secret mission tomorrow.”

Addie laughs. “No.”


“My real name isn’t Eve.”

He pulls back, confused. “… okay.”

She doesn’t know if she can say it, if the curse will let her, but she has to try. “I didn’t tell you my real name because, well—it’s complicated. But I like you, and I want you to know—to hear it from me.”

Henry straightens, sobering. “Well then, what is it?”

“It’s A—” The sound lodges, for just a second, the stiffness of a muscle long since fallen to disuse. A rusty cog. And then—it scrapes free.

“Addie.” She swallows, hard. “My name’s Addie.”

It hangs in the air between them.

And then Henry smiles. “Well, okay,” he says. “Goodnight, Addie.”

As simple as that.

Two syllables falling from a tongue.

And it’s the best sound she’s ever heard. She wants to throw her arms around him, wants to hear it again, and again, the impossible word filling her like air, making her feel solid.


“Goodnight, Henry,” Addie says, willing him to turn and go, because she doesn’t think she can bring herself to turn away from him.

She stands there, rooted to the spot at the top of the subway steps until he’s out of sight, holds her breath and waits to feel the thread snap, the world shudder back into shape, waits for the fear and the loss and the knowledge that it was just a fluke, a cosmic error, a mistake, that it is over now, that it will never happen again.

But she doesn’t feel any of those things.

All she feels is joy, and hope.

Her boot heels tap out a rhythm on the street, and even after all these years, she half expects a second pair of shoes to fall in step beside her own. To hear the rolling fog of his voice, soft, and sweet, and mocking. But there is no shadow at her side, not tonight.

The evening is quiet, and she is alone, but for once it is not the same as being lonely.

Goodnight, Addie, Henry said, and Addie cannot help but wonder if he has somehow broken the spell.

She smiles, and whispers to herself. “Goodnight, Ad—”

But the curse closes around her throat, the name lodging there, as it always has.

And yet.

And yet.

Goodnight, Addie.

Three hundred years she’s tested the confines of her deal, found the places where it gives, the subtle bend and flex around the bars, but never a way out.