The Parisian Co-Star Who Was Either Going to Murder Me or Have Sex with Me and Honestly I Don’t Know the Difference Anymore



In the fading light, GIRL, an American student, stands in the grassy area of the CHAMP DE MARS park, staring at her camera.

Enter BOY walking along the gravel path, slightly older, spiky pale hair like toothpicks, wearing a black button-up. GIRL doesn’t initially notice BOY. 

(speaks in French)

Oh, uh——no French.

(laughing, his voice accented)
You are American.

I’m studying abroad this summer.

GIRL is lost. BOY knows this. BOY realizes this is the part where he comes to the rescue. BOY never asks GIRL’s name. It’s not his fault. That’s not part of the script.  

In Paris? With no French?

Actually, in London. I’m
just here for the weekend.

BOY changes his understanding of what this movie is about. 

Your last night in Paris?
Lucky for me to have
met you now then.

BOY is tall and nothing but long arms and smiles. GIRL finds BOY stunningly attractive the way most European BOYS assume American GIRLS do. GIRL is right on script with this. GIRL is also afraid, but there is no time in the film to show it. At this part in the film, the light will begin to fade. 

I have a blanket over there. 

He grins. He winks. GIRL looks at her feet. By now it’s almost completely dark out. BOY takes a step closer to GIRL. GIRL remembers her lines, which is easy to do because there aren’t any. GIRL leans in.

We could sit, sip some
champagne, watch the lights
on the Eiffel Tower twinkle?

GIRL looks at her feet. She has forgotten her part. She is so very tired. 

No, no, I really can’t—

BOY doesn’t miss a beat.

I hear you saying no, but I see
in your eyes you want to say yes.
That is just what you should do,
straight from the movies, no?

GIRL is totally off script now. She is walking away. BOY calls after her. He doesn’t understand. He’d read this script a thousand times. He knows how it is supposed to end. He shouts again, but GIRL doesn’t look back. He’ll probably find another movie-star worthy girl in the sequel. GIRL just wants to go home. 

Pardon her French, but BOY doesn’t know jack-shit about what’s in GIRL’s eyes. 

Samantha Edmonds is the author of the fiction chapbook Pretty to Think So, forthcoming from Selcouth Station Press in 2019. Her fiction has appeared in such journals as Mississippi Review, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, The Pinch, Indiana Review, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among others. Her nonfiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Literary Hub, Ploughshares, VICE, Bustle, and more. She serves as the Fiction Editor for Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts and the Community Outreach Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. She currently lives in Knoxville, where she's an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Tennessee.