Sing Me That Lullaby - Chapter Forty Three

How reliable is a person's heart?
Taking in the brisk air, Rainey sat at the edge of the cliff, her feet dangling as she looked out into the the sunset above the water. How was it that she always got into these messes? She turned back and looked at Xavier, his gaze stuck on an equally fixated Joelle. Sighing, she looked back at the crystalline water, counting random ripples of the waves. She was worried that Parker had called her parents at this point. If he did, they would never let her go to Miami, and she would kiss her dream school goodbye. Beside her, the rolling grass whispered by a cool breeze. College. It was such a dream to her. Here she was, near weeks from the biggest moment of her life, and every little thought terrified her. She hated the thought of missing everyone she had been annoyed with for the last four years. From teachers, students, and the constant chatter of the restless citizens, Riverton was likely to fall from her good graces if she had even thought about it a year before. Now she fought the burning ache that engulfed her heart at the thought of leaving. Pulling away from her thoughts, she looked out once again at the gorgeous day, the blue sky tainted by dark clouds looming closer.

"Mind if I take a seat?" She looked up at the handsome face of Josh, his eyes sparkling like the water below. She nodded as he plopped down beside her, staring at the view she had just become acquainted with.

"I'm sincerely sorry once again for the mistake we made today. Who would have guessed that would happen?" Josh managed a forced chuckle as Rainey kept looking ahead at the water. "Maybe you should completely avoid kidnapping. I don't know how it works around here, but back home you can go to jail for those kind of stunts." Rainey tried to retract her claws, but at this point, her brain was too muddled.

"I wonder how your boyfriend could keep up with a girl like you. You're compellingly complicated." She looked into his eyes and saw that twinkle of satisfaction that bothered her endlessly, no matter who was involved.

"Unlike you, Parker is the sweetest guy with the biggest heart. He has yet to do something to hurt the others around him." Rainey tossed him an annoyed glare as he smirked. "I hope you look at him the same way you look at that Xavier guy. If the way you look at Xavier is half of the looks you give your boyfriend, then you truly are in love." What did he just say? "I don't think you get it. Xavier and I are barely friends. I hate the guy--" "Are you sure about that? If that's so, the two of you are really riding on that line between love and hate." Rainey rolled her eyes and stood from her spot.

"Look here, Connors. If Xavier and I were in 'love', the last four years of not speaking to each other would make sense. That asshole is not worthy of my love, and for the foreseeable future, he won't ever be." Rainey walked away from him, directly toward Xavier. He stood on the ledge with Joelle, their eyes locked tightly on each other. "Let's go, Xavier. We've spent too much time here as is, and I don't think my parents will like how the story continues if I tell them I also spent more time than necessary with my kidnapper and his starry-eyed sister." Rainey stared Xavier down as he pulled his gaze from Joelle and glared at her. "A few more minutes won't hurt, Rainey." Joelle turned her boring voice to Rainey and she rolled her eyes. While no girl in this normal world looked anything like Joelle Connors, they were just as bad when it came to an attractive boy. Damn the piranhas of her generation. "It's been long enough, Joelle. I want to go back to Paris. Just give us a car or something so we can be on our way." Xavier stood up and pulled Joelle up as well, small whispers exchanged briefly between them as she handed him the keys.

He finally pulled away from the girl and walked toward her. Together, they walked toward the car that Josh had lent them. "You drive." She watched as her stood mesmerized by the car. "Why would you pass up driving a Porsche Panamera? I bet this is going to be the smoothest ride we'll ever get the chance of having." They piled in and he began driving. She knotted her hands together and bit her lip as moments of silence passed between them. Rainey stared down at her hands, hoping the awkward moments would just disappear. "Shit." She felt the car swerve suddenly and looked up to see headlights coming straight toward them. Xavier quickly merged into the other lane, sheepishly noticing his mistake.

"We're in France, they drive on the other side." She felt her heart clanging against her chest and her head alert from the danger."No, more like you drove on a one way street for a couple of seconds there. We're not in Britain smart ass." Heavy thumping of their heartbeats drummed against their chests. "Oh my God. We almost died." Both of them stared at the road ahead, both of them trying to find adequate words to say that would make a difference. Adrenaline coursed its way into their systems, kicking in as their hearts thumped painfully. Suddenly, they both broke out into laughter, a mysterious after effect of shock cocooning them warmly. "I can't believe you just did that!" Laughter bubbled around them.

As their laughter died down, they both smiled widely. "Would you believe me if I told you that I missed this? Both of us hanging out and just laughing, no trace of anger." Quickly, the smile wiped off her face, back to how they were. "I know that you're good at jumbling things up. You don't really feel that way, you just need to let go of some guilt." It was quiet once again, both of them back in their separate worlds, miles and miles apart even though there were only inches separating them. "How are you and Warren?" She rolled her eyes and looked back at him, cool brooding eyes planted on the road. "You really don't want to know, do you?" She watched as his lips upturned into a smirk, his free hand running through his hair.

"I'm trying to make small talk here." Rainey scoffed and shook her head. "Honestly, Xavier. Small talk has never been on your agenda. Especially it has to do with Parker Warren." She rolled down her window and placed her elbow on the opening. The wind rushed through the car as she looked up through the glass roof at the big bright moon. It wasn't different if she looked at it at home, back in cozy little Riverton, or lost in France an ocean away from home. It was still the moon, looming above their world on a nightly basis. "I was just asking." She smirked at his terse words. "I know you were. It's what you do. You ask about things you don't care about for the fun of it. I don't get why, and I doubt that you even know that you do it, but you do." Silence followed her observation, until words seemed to pop up.

"How would you know? It's not like you've talked to me on a daily basis for the last four years." Rainey tried to suppress the eye roll that plagued her, but it forced its was out of her. "It doesn't matter if I haven't talked to you for forty years, you would still do it. It's been a nasty habit of yours since God knows when." Rainey wished she would have been able to hear crickets at the least of it.

No sound flooded the car but the drift of the wind. Memories flew by in each of their minds. She thought of their endless nights at Waverley Meadow, how the world around them wasn't full of complications. He thought of the first moment he played his guitar in front of Rainey, his heart dangling from the strings as he strummed them slowly. She remembered the painful night when she saw him kissing Marnie Stinsen after their eighth grade dinner dance, moments after she told him he was the greatest thing that happened in her life. He reminisced on the rumors of her and Parker making out in the gym only a week ago, only stopping as a horde of athletes poured in. How was it that at such a young age, everything that went wrong felt like the end of the world?

There was an answer for that, one that no teenager wanted to hear. They were gullible, too impressionable and often thought with their hearts when their heads were fully functional. Yet that was the stark beauty of being young. So wonderfully foolish were the youth, they created the meaning of freedom with every step they took. It wasn't complicated. It wasn't even supposed to be thought of. It simply was adolescence at its finest. Both of them could agree that there was a truth to this, but it didn't make anything less complicated. At this point, their worlds wouldn't even coincide to prevent the apocalypse. Young or not, they were approaching uncharted territory when it came to the heart.
Published: 7/5/2014
Bouquets and Brickbats