A/N: I was just reading through this and noticed that in early chapters she's said to be in year 11, and in later she's in year 12. To clarify it, yes, she is in year 12 with her HSC later this year. Poor, poor girl…Chapter 5
The next morning Alyssa woke to the morning sun shining straight through the window and onto her face, causing her to turn and grumble. Sitting up, she was struck with a strong feeling of jetlag… but lying down, the sun hurt her eyes even when closed, preventing her from resting. Resigned to the cruelty of the gods, she half-climbed, half-rolled out of bed and onto the cream carpeted floor, narrowly avoiding a collision with the bedside table, and dragged herself and some clothes into the nearest bathroom, luckily unoccupied. Thank heaven for small mercies, she thought, looking at her two sleeping companions, neither of whose names she knew.
Half an hour later she emerged, her pajamas replaced by her customary jeans and a white top that showed off her slender figure (though she didn't notice that, she just liked the material), and her hair brushed but somewhat damp. By this time one of the other girls was up, glaring at her for making her wait so long for the shower, but Alyssa couldn't have cared less. Shoving her wallet in her pocket, she bypassed the girl completely and made her way down to the breakfast her stomach was so vehemently anticipating.
As she saw the elevator open it's doors a short while away she started to run, not knowing how long it would be until the next one, and paying so little attention to the world around her, she crashed into another person.
Falling to the floor, she felt half annoyed and half amused, then got up and looked to see who she had so unintentionally tackled to the floor. Grinning at the familiar face, she offered her hand to help him up, finding it impossible not to grin at the incident. "Well well well, fancy seeing you here."
"I do indeed," he said, laughing, and offered her his arm. "Care to accompany me to breakfast?"
"Why thankyou, M'sieur," she replied, taking his arm as they took the next elevator and appeared in the dining room, full of tables covered with all sorts of delicious breakfast foods. Detaching herself, Alyssa grabbed herself a couple of croissants while Daniel got a plate of bacon and eggs, then the two situated themselves next to the window to eat.
Looking out at the people walking by, Alyssa commented, "You wouldn't know we were in France, if it wasn't for the language. They all look just like the English… and the Australians… and the hong kongese…"
"Globalisation, you know," Daniel replied, having studied it extensively in Australian geography, which Alyssa had the luck to miss out on. "They're all becoming infested with American culture." Both shuddered at the thought, then looked at each other and laughed, they were both so…. Countryist.
"Anyway," Daniel went on, "When the teachers get up we'll go explore the actual city, and I'm sure you'll remember we're in Paris by then. I think we're supposed to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre today, which should be fun."
"The Louvre? I've always wanted to see those paintings… I love art, though I wouldn't call myself an artist," Alyssa said, smiling. "I'm really more of a dancer, though my Mum has a dream of making me a singer like her."
"Well, you know what parents are like… my Dad wants me to be a LAWYER, of all things!" Daniel smiled, and rested one hand on her arm while the other moved erratically to convey his ideas. Made Alyssa think he was Italian… though, as he'd told her the previous day, he was bona fide French, though growing up in Australia he hadn't learnt the language until high school. Still, he had a natural talent for it, much like Alyssa herself, and his grandmother helped him with pronunciation. She kept finding more and more things linking them, and it never ceased to surprise her.
Just then Madame Fauchelevant, who had entered and breakfasted with the other teachers while Daniel and Alyssa ate, clapped her hands for attention. "Finish your breakfasts, children – we leave in ten minutes." Groaning at the thought of having to get up and walk around, Alyssa quickly made her way up to her room and grabbed her wallet and camera. You never know what souvenirs there might be around, and she had promised to get some for friends and family, and take a few photos of Daniel for he next letter to Sean. Her best buddy had always been a little protective of her when it came to boys, and she knew he would want to know all about Daniel.
She made it back down to the meeting area just as they were about to leave, Daniel raising one fine eyebrow as he asked, "Where did you run off to all of a sudden?"
In answer, Alyssa took a surprise photo of him standing outside the hotel, the look of shock on his face making her burst into laughter.
"You're not planning on taking any more photos, are you?" he asked, concernedly.
"Of course not," she replied mischievously, both knowing her to be lying, then turned and followed Madame Fauchelevant and Monsieurs Williamson and Rogers down the road towards the Eiffel Tower, leaving Daniel to run to catch up to them. He glared at her for a second, then she disarmed him with an angelic smile and they both stared eagerly at the sights and sounds of Paris.
One thing that surprised Alyssa was the amount of dirt around, and the anglicisation of the typical city buildings. "I thought that Paris was all clean and shiny and beautiful? Apart from the famous sites, it looks just like London… just sunnier."
Daniel laughed. "Haven't we only just had this conversation?"
"Oh… right…" Alyssa said, blushing slightly and making Daniel grin. "You're so cute, Aly… can I call you Aly?"
Lyssa opened her mouth to tell him that everyone called her Lys… then closed it, remembering that everyone had different nicknames for her. Why not him? "Sure, why not," she replied, echoing his grin. "Anyway, the group seems to be running away from us again, we'd better catch up."
They ran after the group, laughing slightly as Monsieur Rogers frowned at them, and continued walking and conversing. The same thing happened many times that day as they got lost in their own world, sometimes almost losing track of the group entirely, though they managed to avoid being run over by any wayward vehicles.
Finally they reached the Eiffel Tower, still in one piece (to the amazement of their teachers), and looked up in awe at the amazing metal construction. It looked much bigger than in the photos, and most of the students, weary from walking all the way in their foolish high heeled shoes, voted to take the lift to the higher levels before walking. However, Daniel, Alyssa, a guy called Nathan from Daniel's school (the year below) and two girls called Yvonne and Steph from Abotsleigh (who seemed to be vaguely human) voted to climb the stairs all the way up and read the information on the construction of the tower.
By the time they reached the top and saw the others people sitting around and having morning tea, Alyssa's legs were feeling the strain of the walking, though she was too proud to show it to anyone. But when Daniel tried to drag her over to look down on the people below them, she balked.
Confused at her reticence, he said, "You came aaaall the way up here, and you're not going to look out? Where'es your sense of fun!" Thus saying, he dragged her arm and practically dragged her to the railing, as she found herself too proud to resist or close her eyes. Damn my foolish pride… she thought… but all that was forgotten as she looked over the edge. Grabbing Daniel's arm tightly, she muttered below her breath, "I don't like heights."
"What?" he asked. "You're not afraid of heights, are you?"
"Not afraid… just slightly uncomfortable." It was true, she didn't have problems with balconies or airplanes… but there was something about old, frail constructions and cliff edges and such that made her want to keep far, far away. Her mother called it a healthy respect for heights… but then, her mother loved heights.
"I see…" Daniel said, then laughed slightly.
"What?" Alyssa asked, grumbling and wanting to back away, but held in place by Daniel's arms.
"The fearless, self-assertive Alyssa Davies is afraid of heights," he said, now chuckling somewhat louder.
"So?" she said, elbowing him in the ribs as he grimaced and rubbed his chest. "That's going to bruise, you know… and I just find it slightly amusing that someone so strong as you is afraid of falling. It's not that high, really."
"If it's not that high, why are all the people ant sized? And you do know that you die falling from ten metres, let alone a hundred."
Smiling, Daniel responded, "Well, to start with there's a railing that wouldn't let you fall… and you've got me to hold onto, you know I wouldn't let you slip. So relax, and enjoy the view."
Sighing, Alyssa let go of her firm grip on Daniel's arm and let his arms wrap around her, looking out over the city of Paris. And it was indeed a beautiful sight, causing her to be glad that Daniel had made her look. Sometimes she could be too stubborn for her own good, leaving Sean eternally having to convince her to try new things just like Daniel now did. "You know, Daniel," she said quietly, "I can't believe I've only known you for two days."
Gazing at the cityscape below and smiling softly at the warmth of the beautiful girl in his arms, Daniel hardly heard her. "Hmmm? What was that, Aly?"
"I said, I can't believe how short we've known each other, silly deaf person," she said, turning around and poking him in the side. "And I see you've already gotten to the state of not listening to me."
"Sorry Aly," he replied, looking slightly ashamed, "I was concentrating on the view." And the sight of you in my arms… "But yeah, I know what you mean, it seems like we've known each other forever." Grinning as he gazed into her beautiful eyes, he added, "I'm sure Trent will be disappointed when we get home and he finds he's been replaced by a girl."
Laughing, Aly replied, "Well, I'm sure I have room in my heart for two guys. I wish you could meet Sean…"
"Sean? Who's Sean?" Daniel asked, worried she had a boyfriend, though he would have thought she would have told him something like that. He knew that he wouldn't want HIS girlfriend in the arms of another guy, even only as a friend.
"Oh, just my best friend," she said, oblivious to his concerns. "He lives back in London, though, so he accepts that I'm going to make new friends. You'll have to come back to London with me one day, so you two can meet and I can show you the sights."
"I'd enjoy that," Daniel said, smiling as much for the information she was single as for the invitation.
"So would I," she said, smiling back and slowly disattaching herself from his arms. "Anyway, I think we're going to the Louvre now, so we'd better catch up."
Daniel followed her willingly as they took the lift back down to the ground and made their way back through the steps of Paris and into the Louvre, where they were to spend most of the day exploring the artworks. This expedition was of special interest to Alyssa, who had always loved art… but when they were separated into three different groups to be quieter in the galleries, Alyssa found herself separated from Daniel for most of the afternoon, leaving both feeling somewhat sad and lonesome while watching the others converse with their friends.
As she was looking at a Picasso, the girl Yvonne asked , "How long have you been going out with Daniel?"
"What?!" Alyssa said, spinning to face the girl. "What do you mean?"
"Well," Yvonne said, smiling, "It's obvious that you to are going out from the way you stood on the tower and how you spend all your time with him. So how long have you been going out?"
Another girl, Natasha, added, "You're a lucky girl, Alyssa, he's really handsome that one."
Lydia, a quiet girl from Barker, said, "I know his younger sister, she never said he had a girlfriend."
Still shocked by the bombardment of conversation from these strangers, Alyssa said, "But… we aren't going out, we only met yesterday!"
"Really?" Yvonne said, frowning. "You two looked awfully close today. I could have sworn he liked you"
"We're just good friends, nothing more."
Shrugging, and annoyed at being denied the opportunity to gossip, the girls returned to their artworks, leaving Alyssa to wonder whether there was any truth in what they said. Could he really like me? No… I'm a friend, but not girlfriend material. And anyway, my heart belongs to Sean.
Assured that there was no possibility that Daniel could like her, let alone after such a short period of time, Alyssa locked the conversation into the back of her mind and had completely forgotten it by the time they met the other groups to go out for a proper French dinner. Still, the knowing glances Yvonne and Steph gave each other behind her back as she teased and joked with Daniel conveyed a sentiment that there was something going on, though the two friends remained blissfully ignorant, ignoring the outside world in favour of their own private reality, so happy that for a while Alyssa forgot about Sean entirely, only wanting to be with Daniel. And Daniel… he was the happiest he had been in his life.