[Wednesday, October 10]: Free Day: Go explore the lengths of the castle and its many perks like the tennis courts, winding gardens or even the bedrooms. Yes, Brielle decided to dismiss the “separate bedrooms” rule for one day but be stealthy about it. Bellamy has no idea and will be fuming if you get caught. But all the more fun…right?

I pushed the door open quietly, poking my head around and peering into the light-flooded room. In the opposite corner, under a pile of dishevelled blankets, I saw Jack’s chest rise and fall as he slept soundlessly.

A grin crossed my face as I tiptoed towards him, closing the door with the quietest click and sliding under the covers. I pressed myself against his back, rubbing my hand gently over his chest. He stirred, yawning as he turned over towards me. Slowly, his eyes opened, and they widened when he saw me.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered, like anyone could hear him. “You know this is breaking the rules.”

“Brielle said it’s okay, just for today.”

He grinned sleepily, throwing an arm over my body and hugging me for a few seconds before sitting up straight, fumbling on the bedside table for something.

“Hey, I got you a present yesterday.”

“Oh?” I asked, trying to peer over his back. He turned to me, pressing something hard into my hand. I opened it to find an emerald-coloured brooch in my hand, glinting in the sunlight.

“It’s gorgeous,” I said, turning it over a few times. “Where did you get it?”

“At those market stalls near that river. The Snake River, or whatever it is... you know, the one that runs through the city? Anyway, one of the guys told me that it used to belong to Maria Antoinette. And it was only a few bucks. He gave me a special price.”

I bit down on my lip, not wanting to tell Jack that no street vendor would ever be selling a vintage piece like that, but he’d looked so earnest when he gave it to me that I just smiled and hugged him, telling him that it was beautiful and I’d wear it whenever I could.

“So, how good is it that we came third last week?” he asked, lying back with his arms behind his head. I pressed my lips together.

“Third... yeah. It’s okay. We can do better.”

“Why? I mean, it’s not like we need the money for our wedding.”

“Of course we don’t. We’re not peasants. But I want to win, Jack. You know how competitive I am.”

He reached up, rubbing his hand across my back. “Yeah. I know.” 

My competitiveness was really the only thing keeping me in the competition. I was missing Figgy, missing Boston, and getting really sick of French people. It’s like, none of them even speak English. How am I meant to navigate myself around this city? All the streets are so windy and there aren’t even that many Starbucks to guide myself by.

“I think we can win this week,” Jack said, interrupting my thoughts.

“I hope so.”

I left his room an hour later, sneaking back down the hall and coming face-to-face with Bellamy, who looked at me with raised eyebrows.

“I, uh... I was looking for the kitchen.”

She rolled her eyes. “It’s down there,” she said, pointing in the direction I’d just come from. “Honestly. I knew you were dumb, but I didn’t know you were that d-”

“Bye!” I called, before she could finish her insult, and turned back on my heel, hurrying away from her.
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