“I’m afraid all selections are final,” he says, scraping butter over toast. “You’ll have to try again tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. The word swells a little in her chest.

Henry pours, and Addie leans her elbows on the counter, wraps her hands around the steaming cup, inhales the bittersweet scent. For a second, only a second, she is in Paris, hat pulled down in the corner of the café as Remy pushed the cup toward her and said, Drink. That is how memories are for her, past rising into present, a palimpsest held up to the light.

“Oh, hey,” says Henry, calling her back. “I found this on the floor. Is it yours?”

She looks up and sees the wooden ring.

“Don’t touch that.” Addie snatches it out of his hand, too fast. The inside of the ring brushes the tip of her finger, rolls around the nail like a coin about to settle, all the ease of a compass finding north.

“Shit.” Addie shudders and drops the band. It clatters to the floor, rolling several feet before fetching up against the edge of a rug. She grips her fingers as if burned, heart pounding.

She didn’t put it on.

And even if she did—her gaze cuts to the window, but it is morning, sunlight streaming through the curtains. The darkness cannot find her here.

“What happened?” asks Henry, clearly confused.

“Nothing,” she says, shaking out her hand. “Just a splinter. Stupid thing.” She kneels slowly to retrieve it, careful to touch only the outside of the band.

“Sorry,” she says, straightening. She sets the ring on the counter between them, splaying her hands on either side. In the artificial light, the pale wood looks almost gray. Addie glares down at the band.

“Have you ever had something you love, and hate, but can’t bear to get rid of? Something you almost wish you’d lose, because then it wouldn’t be there, and it wouldn’t be your fault…” She tries to make the words light, almost casual.

“Yeah,” he says quietly. “I do.” He opens a kitchen drawer and pulls out something small, and gold. A Star of David. A pendant, missing its chain.

“You’re Jewish?”

“I was.” Two words, and all he means to say. His attention drifts back to her ring. “It looks old.”

“It is.” Exactly as old as she is.

They both should have worn to nothing long ago.

She presses her hand down over the ring, feels the smooth wooden rim dig into her palm. “It belonged to my father,” she says, and it isn’t a lie, though it’s only the beginning of the truth. She closes her hand around the ring, and pockets it. The ring is weightless, but she can feel it. She can always feel it.

“Anyway,” she says, with a too-bright smile. “What’s for breakfast?”

* * *

How many times has Addie dreamed of this?

Of hot coffee and buttered toast, of sunlight streaming through the windows, of new days that aren’t fresh starts, none of the awkward silence of strangers, of a boy or a girl, elbows on the counter across from her, the simple comfort of a night remembered.

“You must really love breakfast,” says Henry, and she realizes she is beaming down at her food.

“It’s my favorite meal,” she answers, spearing a bite of eggs.

But as she eats, the hope begins to thin.

Addie is not a fool. Whatever this is, she knows it will not last. She has lived too long to think it chance, been cursed too long to think it fate.

She has begun to wonder if it is a trap.

Some new way to torment her. To break the stalemate, force her hand back into play. But even after all these years, Luc’s voice wraps around her, soft and low and gloating.

I am all you have. All you will ever have. The only one who will remember.

It was the one card he always held, the weapon of his own attention, and she does not think he’d give it away. But if it is not a trap, then what? An accident? A stroke of luck? Perhaps she has gone mad. It would not be the first time. Perhaps she has frozen up on Sam’s roof, and is trapped in a dream.

Perhaps none of it is real.

And yet, there is his hand on hers, there is the soft scent of him on the robe, there is the sound of her name, drawing her back.

“Where did you go?” he asks, and she spears another bite of food and holds it up between them.

“If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life,” she says, “what would it be?”

“Chocolate,” Henry answers without missing a beat. “The kind so dark it’s almost bitter. You?”

Addie ponders. A life is a very long time. “Cheese,” she answers soberly, and Henry nods, and silence settles over them, less awkward than shy. Nervous laughter in between stolen glances, two strangers who are no longer strangers but know so little of each other.

“If you could live somewhere with only one season,” asks Henry, “what would it be?”

“Spring,” she says, “when everything is new.”

“Fall,” he says, “when everything is fading.”

They have both chosen seams, those ragged lines where things are neither here nor there, but balanced on the brink. And Addie wonders, half to herself, “Would you rather feel nothing or everything?”

A shadow crosses Henry’s face, and he falters, looks down at his unfinished food and then to the clock on the wall.

“Shit. I’ve got to get to the store.” He straightens, dropping his plate in the sink. The last question goes unanswered.

“I should go home,” says Addie, rising too. “Get changed. Do some work.”

There is no home, of course, no clothes, no job. But she is playing the part of a normal girl, a girl who gets to have a normal life, sleep with a boy and wake up to good mornings instead of who are yous.

Henry finishes his coffee in a single gulp. “How do you go about finding talent?” he asks, and Addie remembers she told him that she was a scout.

“You keep your eyes open,” she says, rounding the counter.

But he catches her hand.

“I want to see you again.”

“I want you to see me again,” she echoes.

“Still no phone?”

She shakes her head, and he raps his fingers for a moment, thinking. “There’s a food truck rally in Prospect Park. Meet you there at six?”

Addie smiles. “It’s a date.” She pulls the robe close. “Mind if I take a shower before I go?”

Henry kisses her. “Of course. Just let yourself out.”

She smiles. “I will.”

Henry leaves, the front door swinging shut behind him, but for once, the sound doesn’t make her stomach drop. It’s just a door. Not a period. An ellipsis. A to-be-continued.

She takes a long, hot shower, wraps her hair in a towel, and wanders through the apartment, noticing all the things she didn’t see last night.

Henry’s apartment is just this side of messy, cluttered in the way so many New York places are, too little space to live and breathe. It’s also littered with the remains of abandoned hobbies. A cabinet of oil paints, the brushes gone stale and stiff in a stained cup. Notebooks and journals, most of them empty. A few blocks of wood and a whittling knife—somewhere, in the faded space before her flawless memory, she hears her father humming, and moves on, moves away, slowing only when she reaches the cameras.