Sing Me That Lullaby - Chapter Forty

On top of the world and feeling so down.
For the eight foreigners, the city was everything they had hoped it would be. As their hotel shuttle drove them straight to the Eiffel Tower, every single one of them was in awe. None of them thought they would make it out of that town soon enough. Stepping out of the van, Xavier looked up at the massive structure, the gleaming lights, and crowds of people enhancing its beauty. All of them stood on the sidewalk and stared up, capturing the moment in hopes of never forgetting what joy it brought them.

Through the silent moment, Xavier peeked over at Rainey, her eyes glazed over at the mesmerizing sight, also hand in hand with an equally dazed Parker. Xavier looked back up at the tower. What pissed him off the most was the fact that he was in Paris with her and they weren't on speaking terms or even friends. She remained latched to Warren's side as if he were her only lifeline.

Finally, all of them broke from their daze and started moving forward. The people around blasted off many languages, most of their languages Xavier had the privilege of knowing. And all of those people managed to share their admiration for the beauty the Eiffel Tower had to offer. They bought their tickets and entered the last lift available for that night. As they entered, they all huddled close to the glass and watched as the world below them grew tinier and the Paris skyline erupted with lights. His admiration of the world grew with every moment that passed. If this was how Paris was, he could only imagine how other cities in the world would have been like. When they finally reached the top, they vacated the lift and ran toward the fenced area, eager to look more.

Xavier lingered behind them, taking his time to look at the view. The wind grew a bit stronger at this point, blowing through his hair softly. Peeking slowly over at Rainey once more, his insides churned at the missed opportunity. What more was he to do? Walking up to the fence, he looked down at the swarms of people looking back up. Suddenly, an explosion lit up the night sky. All of them didn't bother to hide their fright until they saw the myriad of colors with each boom. Fireworks. Another thing worth mentioning in his list of clich├ęs that only Paris seemed to do so well.

He looked over to the group and saw his brother kissing his life away with Anna. Rolling his eyes, he saw Tarina walking his way, her predatory gaze on hold for once. If he had been utterly honest with himself, she would have been one of the girls he would go for. She was beautiful, a weapon that she seemed to use so well. It was everything else that she did that turned him off, namely her presence. Standing beside him, she copied his pose, leaning up against the railing comfortably, looking out at the world they had yet to explore. The fireworks went on for a few more moments before they died out all together, the crowds cheering at the display.

All of them still stayed there, enjoying the air, and the knowledge that they were probably going to be in trouble when they got back.

"She's only going to break your heart again, Xavier. By the looks of it, you're a jab and a word away from crumbling into nothing," Tarina broke the silence that loomed over the two of them, more than few feet away from the others. Her voice was strong, yet soft enough to show she actually cared about what he was doing.

"You don't know what you're talking about, Tarina." She scoffed and flipped her hair over her shoulder, stray locks blowing back into her face.

"Look, Xavier. The way you're staring at Rainey Bowman is enough to counter a lost puppy. If you haven't noticed, Parker's done something that you haven't. He's saving her with every conversation they have. On the other hand, you are the reason why she needs to be saved. That stunt you pulled Freshman year is probably going to go down in history as the stupidest thing a boy could do." Leave it to Tarina Galton to open old wounds and rub spoonfuls of salt on them.

"What would you know about anything that I've done? You don't know anything about Rainey or I." Gritting his teeth, he looked away from her, remembering where he was.

"I know that I've tried to mean something to you, but it's obvious that I don't. Even there's no comparison, I was trying to fill in for Rainey, while you were trying to get her back. We have no chance, I know that for sure, but I can't help but keep worrying about you, Xavier. Especially when you're setting yourself up for failure." Looking back down at her, she turned back to look at the City of Love. Convenient that the only thing it's done for them within the six hours that they're been there was rehash old feelings. Back in Freshman year, he was aware of Tarina's feelings. He kept leading her on until nearly the beginning of Junior year, playing with her feelings as he had with many other impressionable girls. She never realize that it was just a game to him until it was almost too late. Now, as he stood beside her, shoulder-to-shoulder, he realized that he was such a mess up.

"I'm sorry, I never took account of your feelings." She kept staring forward, biting her bottom lip, deep in thought.

"This isn't about me, it's about why you're doing this when you know it won't work out. I've been there, Xavier. I know what it feels like to act like my heart isn't breaking. Stop pretending that you're an impenetrable wall. No one is." Tarina looked up at him and her face mirrored the feelings that he didn't want to show. Broken. Worried. Just plain stuck.

Bringing up her hand, she pushed his hair away from his face softly. "If you really love her, how about you try letting her go. You might even get her back one day." Her fingers outlined his jaw while he gazed at her face, her dark green eyes locked on his eyes. Before he thought about what he was doing, he leaned in, placing a kiss on her lips. As he pulled away, he looked back at her eyes, now sparkling with tears ready to escape.

"Take account for your own feelings. Don't push yourself into something when you know you're bound to get hurt." She touched his cheek once again before turning and walking back to the group. He stared as she walked away, feeling confused at what that encounter meant. Shoving his hands into his pocket, he looked back at the lights and the view that made him question everything about humanity. What a joke this trip had become. In the distance, he saw the Arc de Triomphe, standing proudly, shadows from the lights gracefully landing on its walls.

"Let's go, Xavier. Tower's closing already." He heard his brother break his reverie, brow furrowing at his voice.

Everyone walked toward the lift as he drew back a bit, following them only when he heard his brother shout again, he looked back at the world below. If only everything was as simple as that day. If only he was able to run away whenever he saw fit and saw the beauty the world had to offer. If only he chose what direction his life took.
Published: 3/29/2014
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