Title: Art School Memory
Disclaimer: Joss and Mutant Enemy own all things Buffy. Davis/Panzer and/or others own Highlander. None of it belongs to me.
A/N: This ficlet fulfills two purposes, the 20 Minutes with Joyce challenge, and FFA pairing #896.
1978, Paris, the Sorbonne
Joyce struggled with her imperfect French, as she attempted to buy her lunch. She’d only been in Paris for five days, and she was still getting used to being immersed in a totally new environment. The man behind the counter was looking very impatient. She was just about to give up when a young woman stepped up next to her, let loose a string of fluid syllables, and gestured for the man to give Joyce the sandwich she had been pointing at.
“Merci.” Joyce said with obvious relief in her voice.
“No problem.” The young blonde woman answered. “We have the same one o’clock class, and I know it would be impossible to get through one of those never-ending lectures on an empty stomach.”
Joyce held out her hand and introduced herself. The blonde smiled, “I’m Tessa,” she paused, “would you like to eat lunch together? I’m not sure I really understood some of the material from last week’s class. Perhaps we could share notes?”
Joyce agreed immediately. They found an empty bench, and quickly began exchanging some of their personal history. The conversation revolved around men, and travel, and art, and it had very little to do with classes or the stodgy professor they would face in less than an hour. The time flew by, and Joyce suddenly looked at her watch. Her eyes widened.
“Tessa, class started ten minutes ago! We’ve got to go!” She stood up, hastily gathering up her books. Joyce took three hurried steps, and then turned to her new friend, still sitting on the bench.
“Are you coming?”
Tessa’s hesitant expression needed no interpretation. “I really don’t want to walk in there late.” She bit her lower lip, and then glanced up at Joyce with mischief and a hint of . . . something more. “Why don’t we play hooky? I can show you around the city, and then we go back to my place and talk some more . . . get to know each other better. What do you think?”
Joyce caught her breath, “I . . . I have a boyfriend back home. I mentioned him. His name is Hank, and he . . .”
“He is there.” Tessa interrupted, “And you are here – for three months, yes?”
Joyce forced herself to meet the other woman’s eyes. She felt her heart start to pound, and she could think of only one thing to say.