Noah came awake slowly, and looked up into Paula's face. He was aware of feeling something he hadn't felt for a long time. A sense of belonging, of being home, of feeling utterly safe in another person's company.
He made himself sit up and stretch. "I'm sorry," he said. "I bored myself to sleep. Did I drool?"
Paula laughed. He loved her laughter, the way it lit up her eyes, and chased some somber shadows from her.
"No, you didn't snore or drool."
"But I wasted time I could have spent with you."
"You were with me," she pointed out.
"I mean impressing you, so you'll accept my offer."
"What offer?" she said with a laugh.
He tilted his head and considered her. "I don't think you're quite ready for it yet. I need to woo you some more."
She looked a little sad. "You have wooed me quite completely, Noah. And I'm going to have to go soon."
He heard reluctance in her voice. "No! You can't. We have things left to do." He took out his phone. He powered it back on, and ignored the text message icon—forty-four messages, Manda playing the drama of her love life for all it was worth—and scrolled furiously.
"It says here I can't come to Copenhagen and not see the Tivoli. An amusement park! I haven't been to one in years. Let's go. Please?"
"I hate it when you say please like that."
"Please, please, please?"
Paula felt as if she was becoming like an addict, and Noah Sheridan was her drug. She could not say no to him. She could not get enough of him.
"I'd have to make a phone call," she said. He passed her his phone.
She got up from the picnic blanket and wandered off, looking out at a cruise ship pulling into the harbor.
"Isabella," she said when her daughter answered the phone, "would you mind if I didn't come home for dinner tonight?"
Isabella actually laughed. "Mor, you'd be eating by yourself if you did come home. I'm going to a movie and Emil is over at friend's house working on his science project."
Paula disconnected the phone, wondering when exactly she had begun to make sacrifices for her children that were unnecessary and possibly unwanted.
"The Tivoli it is," she said, passing the phone back to Noah. Within minutes they were in a bike taxi careening through the busy Copenhagen streets. Paula could have sworn the pixie dust was scattering in the air around them.
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