And then the girl steps into the spotlight.

A teenage sprite—a fae thing, Luc would say—in a black baby doll dress and combat boots. Her white-blond hair is piled on her head, done up in twin buns, the ends spiking like a crown. The only color is the slash of her red lips, and the rainbow drawn like a mask across her eyes. The guitarists quicken, fingers flying over strings. The air shakes, the beat thumps through skin and muscle and bone.

And the girl begins to sing.

Her voice is a wail, a banshee’s call if a banshee screamed in tune. The syllables bleed together, the consonants blur, and Addie finds herself leaning in, eager to hear the words. But they draw back, slip under the beat, fold into the feral energy of the Fourth Rail.

The guitars play their hypnotic chorus.

The girl singer seems almost like a puppet, pulled along by the strings.

And Addie thinks that Luc would love her, wonders for an instant if he’s been down here since she’d found it. She breathes in as if she’d be able to smell the darkness, like smoke, on the air. But Addie wills herself to stop, empties her head of him, makes space instead for the boy beside her, bouncing in time with the beat.

Henry, with his head tipped back, his glasses fogged gray, and sweat sliding down his cheeks like tears. For an instant he looks impossibly, immeasurably sad, and she remembers the pain in his voice when he spoke of losing time.

But then he looks at her and smiles, and it’s gone, a trick of the lights, and she wonders who and how and where he came from, knows it is all too good to be true, but in this moment, she is simply glad he’s there.

She closes her eyes, lets herself fall into the rhythm of the beat, and she is in Berlin, Mexico City, Madrid, and she is right here, right now, with him.

They dance until their limbs ache.

Until sweat paints their skin, and the air becomes too thick to breathe.

Until there’s a lull in the beat, and another silent conversation passed between them like a spark.

Until he draws her back toward the bar and the tunnel, back the way they came, but the flow of traffic is a one-way street, the stairs and the steel door only lead in.

Until she cocks her head the other way, to a dark arch set in the tunnel wall near the stage, leads him up the narrow stairs, the music fading a little more with every upward step, ears buzzing with the white noise left in its wake.

Until they spill out into the cool March night, filling their lungs with fresh air.

And the first clear sound Addie hears is his laughter.

Henry turns toward her, eyes bright, cheeks flushed, intoxicated in a way that has less to do with the vodka than with the power of the Fourth Rail.

He is still laughing when the storm starts.

A crack of thunder, and seconds later, the rain comes down. Not a drizzle—not even the sparse warning drops that soon give way to a steady rain—but the sudden sheet fall of a downpour. The kind of rain that hits you like a wall, soaks you through in seconds.

Addie gasps at the sudden shock of cold.

They are ten feet from the nearest awning, but neither of them runs for cover.

She smiles up into the rain, lets the water kiss her skin.

Henry looks at her, and Addie looks back, and then he spreads his arms as if to welcome the storm, his chest heaving. Water clings to his black lashes, slides down his face, rinsing the club from his clothes, and Addie realizes suddenly that, despite the moments of resemblance, Luc never once looked like this.




She pulls Henry toward her, relishes the press of his body, warm against the cold. She runs her hand through his hair and for the first time it stays back, exposing the sharp lines of his face, the hungry hollows of his jaw, his eyes, a brighter shade of green than she has seen them yet.

“Addie,” he breathes, and the sound sends sparks across her skin, and when he kisses her, he tastes like salt, and summer. But it feels too much like a punctuation mark, and she isn’t ready for the night to end, so she kisses him back, deeper, turns the period into a question, into an answer.

And then they are running, not for shelter, but the train.

* * *

They stumble into his apartment, wet clothes clinging to their skin.

They are a tangle of limbs in the hallway, unable to get close enough. She pulls the glasses from his face, tosses them onto a nearby chair, shrugs out of her coat, the leather sticking to her skin. And then they are kissing again. Desperate, hungry, wild, as her fingers run over his ribs, hook in the front of his jeans.

“Are you sure?” he asks, and in answer she pulls his mouth to hers, guides his hands to the buttons of her shirt as hers find his belt. He presses her back against the wall, and says her name, and it is lightning through her limbs, it is fire through her core, it is longing between her legs.

And then they are on the bed, and for an instant, only an instant, she is somewhere else, somewhen else, the darkness folding itself around her. A name whispered against bare skin.

But to him she was Adeline, only Adeline. His Adeline. My Adeline.

Here, now, she is finally Addie.

“Say it again,” she pleads.

“Say what?” he murmurs.

“My name.”

Henry smiles.

“Addie,” he whispers against her throat.

“Addie.” The kisses trail over her collar.

“Addie.” Her stomach.

“Addie.” Her hips.

His mouth finds the heat between her legs, and her fingers tangle in those black curls, her back arching up with pleasure. Time shudders, slides out of focus. He retraces his steps, kisses her again, and then she is on top of him, pressing him down into the bed.

They do not fit together perfectly. He was not made for her the way Luc was—but this is better, because he is real, and kind, and human, and he remembers.

When it is over, she collapses, breathless, into the sheets beside him, sweat and rain chilling on her skin. Henry folds around her, pulls her back into the circle of his warmth, and she can feel his heart slowing through his ribs, a metronome easing back into its measure.

The room goes quiet, marked only by the steady rain beyond the windows, the drowsy aftermath of passion, and soon she can feel him drifting down toward sleep.

Addie looks up at the ceiling.

“Don’t forget,” she says softly, the words half prayer, half plea.

Henry’s arms tighten, a body surfacing from sleep. “Forget what?” he murmurs, already sinking again.

And Addie waits for his breath to steady before she whispers the word to the dark.


Paris, France

July 29, 1724


Addie surges out into the night, swiping tears from her cheeks.

She pulls her jacket close despite the warmth of summer, and makes her way alone across the sleeping city. She is not heading toward the hovel she’s called home this season. She is simply moving forward, because she cannot bear the idea of standing still.

So Addie walks.

And at some point, she realizes she is no longer alone. There is a change in the air, a subtle breeze, carrying the leafy scent of country woods, and then he is there, falling in step beside her, stride for stride. An elegant shadow, dressed in the height of Paris fashion, collar and cuff trimmed in silk.

Only his black curls billow around his face, feral and free.