The next morning Germaine met Steven at the French Intelligence offices to meet with Guillaume Leroux for debriefing.
"When do you leave for the States?" Germaine asked Steven as they exited the building after the meeting.
"I have a few days before I have to be anywhere. I was thinking I'd stay in Paris. You could show me around the city," he suggested. Despite the fact she turned him down the previous evening he was not about to give up easily.
"You've been to Paris before," she replied.
"Yes, but I've never had someone who lived here all their life show me around," Steven countered. "We could do all that touristy stuff you would never do because you live here … or you could show me all the places you Parisians hang out. What do you say?"
Germaine thought about it. She knew if she said no she would probably regret it later; extremely good-looking men don't ask to be shown around the city very often. "Okay."
That night found them at the top of the Eiffel Tower. "When's the last time you were up here?" Steven asked her as they stood looking out at the lights of the city.
"I honestly don't remember. It's been a long time," she replied as she looked at him. She was having a wonderful time and her eyes danced. He smiled and bent to kiss her unsure of her response. He needn't have been concerned; her arms found their way around his chest and pulled him close.
They spent the next day at the Louvre at Steven's suggestion. It was obvious Germaine was in a place she loved. She knew her way around the museum and he was amazed at her knowledge of art.
"Where are we? I thought we were going to get a drink," he asked later that evening as they ascended two flights of stairs. They had enjoyed dinner at a tiny bistro she knew of a few blocks and a metro stop away from where they were now.
"We are at my apartment," she answered as she unlocked the door. "I have things to drink here. Is there a problem?"
"No. I'm surprised you're letting me see where you live," he said as they entered her home.
"I've spent most of every day with you for the better part of a week," she answered putting down her purse. "I've read your file. You can see where I live."
"Enough about my file," Steven said shaking his head.
"Have it your way," she responded with a shrug and began to unbutton his shirt.
Afterwards as they lay facing each other in her bed Steven asked, "How did you get that scar?" as his hand idly traced up her thigh, followed the steep curve of her hip and lingered at her waist.
Germaine exhaled as she remembered. "Two years ago I was working in Madrid with an American agent, Michael Malloy. He decided we needed to break into the office immediately instead of waiting for a while, as I suggested. Luckily, they were a bad shot and I just needed stitches."
"What happened to him?" he asked.
"As far as I know he's fine," she said with a touch of bitterness. "I don't keep in touch."
"What made you decide to break your rules with me?" Steven questioned.
"You've been talking to Jean-Marc," she answered shaking her head and then rolled onto her back pulling the sheet to cover the scar located just above her waist on the left side.
"We had to pass the time somehow while you were finding out where the diamonds were," he stated. "So how come?"
"I'm not sure," she replied. "Your eyes, your smile … your incredibly defined abs. I am sure I will probably come to my senses and regret the decision, probably sooner than later."
"Are you serious?" he asked.
"Totally. We work undercover for our governments, we don't know where we'll be next week or if we'll get out okay. Our lives are mostly these stories we make up as we go along. Add to that an ocean between us and how can it be any other way?" she replied surely.
"Germaine stop thinking so much," Steven said and pulled her close. "Just sleep now."
Steven opened his eyes and found himself alone in the quiet, dark apartment. It was very early morning and Germaine was gone. Before he could get up from the bed he heard the door open and a bag being placed down. Seconds later, she appeared in the bedroom.
"I didn't mean to wake you," she said as she saw him lying there eyes open.
"You didn't. Where did you go?" he asked.
"Boulangerie. I have a thing for croissants," Germaine replied and crawled back into bed next to him after stripping down to her t-shirt and underwear.
"You had to go this early?" he inquired with a yawn.
"Yes, and now I am very happy; there are fresh croissants for later and an attractive man in my bed for now," she said as she put her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. They dozed for another hour or two before Germaine woke Steven with nuzzling kisses and wandering hands.
"Are you okay with café au lait and not your American coffee?" she asked as he emerged from the shower.
"The difference being?" Steven inquired as he took the towel she offered.
"Café au lait is hot milk and espresso as opposed to whatever you drink at home," she replied with a shrug.
"What you're making will be fine," he replied.
They sat at the small kitchen table and had breakfast. Germaine pulled the center out of her croissant after breaking it in half. Then she proceeded to methodically pull out and eat the other center as Steven watched. She followed by spreading some strawberry preserves in the remains before she ate them.
"I didn't realize there was a method to eating a croissant," Steven said with a smile and proceeded to take a big bite of the pastry in his hand.
"It tastes so much better when you take the time to really enjoy it. What time does your plane leave tomorrow?" she asked.
"9:30. I should be at the airport by eight at the latest. I'll call you when I land in New York," he replied.
Germaine smiled ruefully.
"You don't believe me?" Steven asked.
"It's not that. I almost convinced myself I'd be able to see you go without a second thought, but I can't. Part of me knew it in Marseilles but against my rules and my better judgment, I got involved," she replied thoughtfully.
"And now you're sorry?" he questioned wanting to know where she stood on their relationship.
"No, not at all. I don't regret any of it," Germaine said surely. "I don't want it to end."
"I didn't start something to walk away like nothing happened," Steven told her.
"So what's next?" she asked him. She was interested in his solution.
"For starters, we trade all contact numbers," he said. "When you're ready I believe Notre Dame was on the tourist schedule for today. Tonight, I'm taking you out for dinner; somewhere nice, I haven't decided where yet. Pack a small bag with some clothes and we'll drop it at my room. Tomorrow morning you can see me off at the airport. Then, I will call you when I land in New York. I'm not sure of anything after that other than I'm not going to let you go as easily as you think."
"You've thought about this," she said.
"You were getting croissants. What was I supposed to do?" Steven told her with a smile and touched her hand across the table. "Are you willing to break your rules and take a chance with me?"
Germaine looked into his dark brown eyes and thought for a minute or two before answering. She wasn't sure if he totally understood what he was asking of her; the invisible walls she protected herself with were quite high. "I'll give you a shot even though it scares the hell out of me," she said honestly and then added with a wink, "I wonder what your file will say about this?"