Li Li had wanted to enter the museum through the shopping mall underneath the complex, no doubt hoping she’d be allowed to forego the art altogether, and be left to her own devices among all the boutiques, and teenagers. She’d even taken the trouble to ascertain the existence of a shop that sold discounted gallery passes, along with its collection of snow globes and post cards. But her scheme went awry when Andie announced a desire to see the Jardin des Tuileries, which meant getting off at the Tuileries metro stop and walking above the ground the rest of the way to the glass pyramid entrance.
“Why can’t I go this way?” she pleaded, once they’d finally descended the main escalator. The main atrium underneath the pyramid was brightly lit even on an overcast day, and she tugged on Emily’s arm as the others tried to decide which of the three smaller escalators to choose, each one leading to a different wing of the museum. “Perry can come with me, if you’re worried. I bet he doesn’t want to look at a bunch of stupid paintings all day either.”
“It’s not going to be all day,” Andie said. “Besides, we do things together in this family.”
Emily had been studying the floor plan of the museum this whole time, with one ear cocked to Li Li’s complaint. She glanced at Perry and smiled, and he returned one of those sad puppy expressions that meant, “Please don’t make me go shopping with a teenager,” or something to that effect.
“I doubt Perry really wants to go clothes shopping, sweetheart.”
“Fine. Then I can go on my own. I can find my way around.”
Emily glanced at the floor plan one more time. “How about you and Perry and I go to the Richelieu wing? That’s where they keep all the cool sculpture. I think Stone will prefer to explore the Denon wing, where all the really famous paintings are. Okay?”
Li Li grudgingly assented to this proposition, and Emily had guessed right. It wasn’t the museum she really objected to, but the prospect of having to go wherever Stone wanted, to see and do what he wanted. Emily turned to Stone, and ran her fingers through his shaggy hair, and pulled it away from his face. “Is that okay with you?” He nodded, his eyes a little watery.
Finally, she turned to Andie and Yuki. “We’ll meet here,” she said, pointing to a room marked in red on the plan. “It’s the main hall on the first level. Two hours?”
“Shall we keep Ethan and Jerry with us?” Andie asked, and Emily nodded.
“We’ll be okay on our own.” Emily knew this thought would thrill Li Li, and maybe she deserved some special treatment.