And yet, the time between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon is merciless, every second doled out with the care of an old woman counting pennies to pay for bread. Not once does it seem to quicken, not once does she lose track of it. She can’t seem to spend it, or waste it, or even misplace it. The minutes inflate around her, an ocean of undrinkable time between now and then, between here and the store, between her and Henry.

She’s spent the last two nights at a place in Prospect Park, a cozy two-bedroom with a bay window belonging to Gerard, a children’s book writer she met one winter. A king-size bed, a pile of blankets, the soft hypnotic tick of the radiator, and still she could not sleep. Could not do anything but count and wait, and wish that she had said tomorrow, had only to bear one day instead of two.

Three hundred years she’s managed to suffer time, but now, now there is a present and a future, now there is something waiting ahead, now she cannot wait to see the look on Henry’s face, to hear her name on his lips.

Addie showers until the water goes cold, dries and styles her hair three different ways, sits on the kitchen island tossing kernels of cereal up into the air, trying to catch them on her tongue, as the clock on the wall inches forward from 10:13 A.M. to 10:14 A.M. Addie groans. She isn’t supposed to meet Henry until 5:00 P.M. and time is slowing a little more with every minute, and she thinks she might lose her mind.

It has been so long since she felt this kind of boredom, the stir-crazy inability to focus, and it takes her all morning to realize she isn’t bored at all.

She’s nervous.

Nervous, like tomorrow, a word for things that have not happened yet. A word for futures, when for so long all she’s had are presents.

Addie isn’t used to being nervous.

There’s no reason to be when you are always alone, when any awkward moment can be erased by a closed door, an instant apart, and every meeting is a fresh start. A clean slate.

The clock reaches 11:00 A.M., and she decides she cannot stay inside.

She sweeps up the few fallen pieces of leftover cereal, sets the apartment back the way she found it, and heads out into the late Brooklyn morning. Flits between boutiques, desperate for distraction, assembling a new outfit because for once the one she has won’t do. It is, after all, the same one she wore before.

Before—another word that’s lost its shape.

Addie picks out pale jeans and a pair of black silk flats, a top with a plunging neckline, shrugs the leather jacket over the top, even though it doesn’t match. It’s still the one piece she cannot bear to leave.

Unlike the ring, it won’t come back.

Addie lets an enthusiastic girl in a makeup store sit her down on a stool and spend an hour applying various highlighters, liners, shades. When it’s over, the face in the mirror is pretty, but wrong, the warm brown of her eyes cooled by the smoky shadow around them, her skin too smooth, the seven freckles hidden by a matte foundation.

Luc’s voice rises up like fog against the reflection.

I would rather see clouds blot out the stars.

Addie sends the girl off in search of coral lipstick, and the moment she’s alone, Addie wipes the clouds away.

Somehow, she manages to shave off hours until it is 4:00 P.M., but she is outside the bookstore now, buzzing with hope and fear. So she forces herself to circle the block, to count the paving stones, to memorize each and every shop front until it’s 4:45 P.M. and she cannot bear it anymore.

Four short steps. One open door.

And a single, leaden fear.

What if?

What if they spent too long apart?

What if the cracks have filled back in, the curse sealed around her once again?

What if it was just a fluke? A cruel joke?

What if what if what if—

Addie holds her breath, opens the door, and steps in.

But Henry isn’t there—instead there is someone else behind the counter.

It is the girl. The one from the other day, who sat folded in the leather chair, the one who called his name when Henry ran out to catch Addie on the curb. Now she leans against the till, paging through a large book full of glossy photos.

The girl is a work of art, strikingly pretty, dark skin draped in silver threads, a sweater slouching off one shoulder. She looks up at the sound of the bell.

“Can I help you?”

Addie falters, knocked off-balance by a vertigo of want and fear. “I hope so,” she says. “I’m looking for Henry.”

The girl stares at her, studying her—

Then a familiar voice comes from the back.

“Bea, do you think this looks…” Henry rounds the corner, smoothing his shirt, and trails off when he sees Addie. For an instant, a fraction of a fraction of a moment, she thinks it is over. That he has forgotten, and she is alone again, the thin spell made days before snipped like a stray thread.

But then Henry smiles, and says, “You’re early.”

And Addie is dizzy with air, with hope, with light.

“Sorry,” she says, a little breathless.

“Don’t be. I see you’ve met Beatrice. Bea, this is Addie.”

She loves the way Henry says her name.

Luc used to wield it like a weapon, a knife grazing her skin, but on Henry’s tongue, it’s a bell, something light, and bright, and lovely. It rings out between them.

Addie. Addie. Addie.

“Déjà vu,” says Bea, shaking her head. “You ever meet someone for the first time, but you’re sure you’ve seen them before?”

Addie almost laughs. “Yes.”

“I’ve already fed Book,” says Henry, talking to Bea as he shrugs on his coat. “Do not sprinkle any more catnip in the horror section.” She holds up her hands, bracelets jingling. Henry turns to Addie with a sheepish grin. “You ready to go?”

They’re halfway to the door when Bea snaps her fingers. “Baroque,” she says. “Or maybe Neoclassical.”

Addie stares back, confused. “The art periods?”

The other girl nods. “I have this theory that every face belongs to one. A time. A school.”

“Bea is a post-grad,” interjects Henry. “Art history, in case you couldn’t tell.”

“Henry here is obviously pure Romanticism. Our friend Robbie is Postmodern—the avant-garde, of course, not the minimalism. But you…” She taps a finger to her lips. “There’s something timeless about you.”

“Stop flirting with my date,” says Henry.

Date. The word thrills through her. A date is something made, something planned; not a chance of opportunity, but time set aside at one point for another, a moment in the future.

“Have fun!” calls Bea cheerfully. “Don’t stay out too late.”

Henry rolls his eyes. “Bye, Bea,” he says, holding the door.

“You owe me,” she adds.

“I’m granting you free access to the books.”

“Almost like a library!”

“Not a library!” he shouts back, and Addie smiles as she follows him up onto the street. It is obviously an inside joke, some shared, familiar thing, and she aches with longing, wonders what it would feel like to know someone that well, for the knowing to go both ways. Wonders if they could have a joke like that, she and Henry. If they can know each other long enough.