Sam slumped into the backseat of a mustard-yellow cab-an atrocious match, he thought, for Mallory's emerald-green dress. "I think I feel up to a drink before I collapse into bed," he said, driven by the spark of a renewed hope to speak. "The Round Robin's down the street."

Mallory raised an eyebrow-a moment's intrigue defeated by practicality. She reached for his loose bow tie and slapped his chin with it. "You wouldn't make it."

"A couple blocks?" He fell silent before he chuckled. "You're right. I wouldn't." He waited for the echo of her laughter to fade before he met her eyes. "How about breakfast?"

At six o'clock, he found her at the Left Bank, drenched in a sunbeam at a table near the window.

Over coffee and croissants, she kissed him. No persuasion necessary.