Paris, the City of Love and Chaos

            Emily stares at the wooden block platform in front of her as her eyes shift across the court room into her ex-boyfriend Trevor’s dark green eyes, which are being shined into with the morning sun. Emily was beautiful from her tan, but had her mother’s soft angelic voice and appearance. She was the last person you would think would have to deal with a psychopath ex-boyfriend. Suddenly regaining her thoughts, Emily jumped up as the judge pounded her ancient gavel announcing, “The court is adjourned.” Emily was still saddened because she knew Trevor wasn’t sorry. He never really was, even after all of his pleas for her to just forgive him, one last time.

 Emily’s lawyer, Pat, rubs her shoulder whispering, “I told you that restraining order would be a piece of cake, you’re finally free of him this time,” he whispered. “He cannot be in contact with you or anywhere near you.”’

“I really hope this is the last time; I don’t think I would be able to cope with any more of the pain he brought me. Am I free to go?”

            “Yes, but remember to contact me if you need to. Don’t hesitate to call me or the police. You can start a new chapter in your life now. It really was very nice working with you and I hope your last semester of college goes well for you this upcoming fall.  Have a good one!” Pat waved and he walked away.

            Bursting through the court’s heavy wooden doors Emily found her parents waiting outside for her, with relieved smiles from ear to ear because it was really over. She ran into her parent’s arms, with a sigh of relief, to find them welcoming her with comfort and full of love and joy.

            “Lets’ go to dinner at your favorite French restaurant to celebrate this all being over, shall we?” said Emily’s mother. Her father nodded in agreement, opening the car door  for her and motioning her inside so they wouldn’t miss their dinner reservation.

During their extravagant dinner at Ma Chérie in downtown Tampa, Emily’s parents decided that now was the time to tell Emily the exciting news that they had been planning for Emily’s Senior year of college.

            “Emily,” said her father, “Your mother and I have been talking a lot this past year and want you to know that we are very proud of your grades and how well you’ve been dealing with your struggles with Trevor, we would love to give you the opportunity to study abroad for your last fall semester like you have always wanted to do. That is if you want to, the choice is yours.”

            “Yes!” Emily’s mother sweet voice chimed in, a large smile on her delicate face. “ We know that you’ve always wanted to go to Paris for vacation since we can remember and you always mentioned studying abroad. It would be great for you to get away from all of the drama, just in case Trevor tries to hurt you again, then he really won’t be able to find you.”

            Emily sat with a blank look on her face, she was unsure if she could study a whole semester away from her sorority sisters  and start a new life without someone controlling her every move like she had adjusted all too well. She started to play with the crŹme Brule which was now light brown mush; she looked up with a smile and said, “I’ll do it.”

With that weeks flew by.  The endless hours that she spent at her internship, countless family parties and the scorching hot summer started to fade as the time came for Emily to pack her suitcase and say her goodbyes .She hadn’t encountered Trevor.  She had heard from other people at her high school that he had been asking about her where abouts and how she was doing. Just the thought of Trevor coming back into her life, through threatening words her shiver with fear.

She knew what he was capable of. Despite his number being blocked on her phone and other forms of social media, she felt it was never enough. Before the restraining order he would show up at her house unannounced, climb up the old oak tree that ran along her ridiculously big window where he would sit, refusing to leave. He would beg for her to forgive him for whatever it was, whether that was him cheating on her or yelling at her for things she wasn’t capable of controlling. Ignoring him only made things woese,  until he wanted to make her feel the pain he felt. He attempted strangling her. Luckly, she managed to escape with only a black eye. Little did Trevor know, Emily would no longer keep her silence.  Two days after the incident she told her parents what was really going on instead of covering her eye and neck with makeup now, it was over.

            This restraining order helped Emily to find the strength to look to her bright future in the city of love. The morning of her departure she anxiously hustled into the Tampa International Airport, she had no thoughts of the past stopping her from getting through the gates.  Emily embraced her parents tightly, kissed them goodbye. She promised to call them every day and tell all about her upcoming adventures to come, new acquaintances, and most importantly her classes. Lastly they handed their last surprise to her, first class tickets, with this she jumped up in excitement.

Ten agonizing hours and 57 taunting minutes later her plane had finally landed in the newly modeled La Croix Airport, jetlagged Emily stumbled out of the crowded plane exhausted with jetlag. “Thank God I took five years’ worth of French or I would be so screwed with trying to get anywhere,” Emily mumbled as she read the signs saying “Cabines disponibles par le retrait des bagages.” While walking to the baggage claim she listened to the sweet French dialect surrounding her.  She stood out in the French crowd, due to her American clothes and eager eyeballs wandering every square inch in sight. However, she didn’t even notice because she was too busy thinking about all of the people she would meet and of course possible cute French boys.

Checking into the hotel went surprisingly smoothly,  mainly due to a French boy named Christian whom was heavily fluent in English, however this particular hotel wasn’t exactly made to dorm kids., Emily’s parents had previously stayed here for their honeymoon, so they knew she would love it and it’s closeness to her university.  Emily immediately became captured by Christian. He was very good looking, and very interesting to carry a conversation with.  For a moment Emily had forgotten that she had never met him before. They had continued talking for an hour before she had realized that it was probably time to make her way to her room.  It was evident that there was a connection and it made Emily blush quite a bit and she grew nervous while reaching for her bags with sweaty palms.

            “Oh no Ms. Emily! Let me help you with those! It would be my pleasure, really,” said Christian with his cute accent that she couldn’t resist.

            “That would be great, I enjoy the company,” Emily said trying to not sound like she was putting herself out there as much as she was.

            “So how long will you be here for? Are you here to study or travel?”

            “I’m here for my studies for the semester, so I will be here until mid-December. My parents surprised me with allowing me to study abroad and to stay in this hotel because they honeymooned here and..” she almost wanted to tell him her entire story about how Trevor doesn’t know where she is but she didn’t want to bore him right away, or put herself out there too much.

            He led her down the first floor’s nicely furnished hallway where it was painted a dark red with dark cherry wood frames. He unlocked room 308’s brass doorknob where to her surprise it got even better. A queen-sized bed with a white, fluffy comforter and feather-stuffed pillows just waiting for her to crawl into seemed to take up almost the entire room. The carpet reminded her of freshly cut grass with its green wavy appearance, surrounded by white satin wallpaper which was holding up a wooden engraved ceiling. The room had a marble bathroom attached, a nice sized television placed on a bookshelf cabinet which was next to a wooden desk for her late night studying. The best part was that there was a balcony where she immediately planned on drinking coffee on every morning and stare at the city light. The best part however was that on the far left was the Eiffel Tower.

            For a second she forgot that she was in the midst of a conversation with Christian and he had to clear his throat to get her attention again. “Is there anything I can get for you Emily? That is if you don’t mind me calling you that? We will be seeing each other quite a bit over these next few months….”

            “Oh, of course not. Thank you for your help and making me feel welcome, I will see you most definitely be seeing you around,” she said as she turned and closed the door with a large grin. She found she was blushing when she looked in the mirror. This was the first time she really may have genuinely had a crush on anyone since she had been with Trevor. She couldn’t get over Christian’s personality that she already instantly clicked with; he was truly like no one she had ever met. He actually listened to what I had to say, she thought, Trevor never did that. Not to mention his physical attributes; he didn’t look like how she imagined the French men to look, from how chiseled his cheek bones were, along his soft blue eyes and light brown flowing hair, he instantly took her breathe away. She immediately came to the realization she should probably stop daydreaming and picked up the phone. Emily twisted the buttons on the old fashioned phone and dialed her mother. After 15 minutes of gossiping, the receiver was handed to her father. All the talking about Christian turned to gushing about how she reached Paris safely, and reassuring her father that she’d get to her classes on time the following morning.

Weeks went by and she was just starting to get into the habit of resuming school again. She adjusted to the bike commute to classes and her favorite part of the day was coming back to Christian in the lobby. They started their regular conversations about how her day went, and progressed  to more in depth conversations which required him to sneak during his off hours,  taking her sight-seeing and to all of his favorite restaurants. After about a month and a half of constantly spending time together, they became very close. One rainy day, Christian told Emily how much he loved getting to know her, and if she looked at them as being more than friends. He could tell she was holding back.

            “I really do like you, and after all of the time we’ve spent together I guess I should let you know why I’m scared to really fall for you. I had a psycho ex-boyfriend, Trevor back home that I ended up getting a restraining order from earlier summer. He…abused me and after breaking up with him he ended up stalking me to an extreme that it was impossible to get away from him. And well, you’re the first guy I’ve even relatively talked to since then.” Emily said. She finally felt a weight off her shoulders; after all she had wanted to tell him for quite some time now.

            “I’m not going to hurt you Emily. I may be a few years old than you but we all must go through experiences like this, I’m not Trevor or anyone else in your life that has hurt you, I don’t want to make you feel like he did. I honestly can’t believe anyone could hurt you like that my sweet Emily.”

            Their conversation went on for hours while they gazed at the city lights and stars shining above them, on Emily’s balcony where they laid on top of the bathroom towels, hand in hand. The more intense the conversation got the more she found out that Christian had more to him then she could have even imagined and that he was actually good for her. He told her he had his heart broken by his ex- fiancée because she cheated on him their entire relationship, so he could definitely relate to feeling such intense pain from someone who he thought loved him. He told Emily his story and why he couldn’t ever treat Emily as his past love had treated him which he learned to not base their relationship off of because Emily was not her.

            “There is a point in your life where you have to forget the past and move on with your life Emily. The only time someone can get to you is if they know how, you did the right thing getting a restraining order and hopefully Paris and well… Hopefully I can help you start a new chapter in your life. I never imagined someone so caring, beautiful and who withholds high values would just walk into the lobby of my father’s hotel doors like you did would ever happen,” Christian said with more water in his eyes than usual.

            Emily reached up and put her palm on his face rubbing his man whiskers, “I haven’t ever learned to fully trust someone like I trust you Christian. I feel as if I’m actually someone when I’m with you instead of someone’s toy in their game. I hope you know how much I appreciate your honesty and for believing in me.”

            A month passed bringing the fall leaves pouring down onto the stone streets, as Emily watched them dance onto the ground she realized she was running a little late to class. Swiftly making her way through the hallway, passing the lobby Christian stopped her in the lobby handing her a letter and a kiss on her cheek, but the letter… it had no sender name or an address to send a letter back to. It had only been about three and a half months since she had left so she was curious who it could possibly be from, tearing it opened with curiousness  while walking to class  she was surprised to read the following:

 

Dear Emily,

 I know you’re in Paris studying abroad, I really hope you honestly didn’t think a restraining order could ever keep me away from you. No one in Paris will care about the restraining order; I know you still love me and was doing it because of your parents. You really hurt me by shutting me out of your life an entire summer and by doing this I will make sure that I show you how much I’ve been hurting. By the time you get this letter I will be on my way to find you so we can stay together and I can show you I’ve changed. If you tell anyone about this letter there will be problems.

                                                                Sincerely,

                                                                          T

 

She dropped the letter on the pavement, and the whole world went foggy as she fainted as the words “I will make sure that I show you how much I’ve been hurting” floated through her mind. When she gained conscious she had been carried into the lobby of the hotel sitting with her head placed in Christian’s lap.

“Emily I will stay up with you in your room every night to make sure Trevor doesn’t find you. There is no way that he will get away with this, I will inform the police and you will call your parents. I cannot let anything happen to the woman I love.”

“Christian… I for once have the strength to handle Trevor if he shows up here, enough is enough and I will not let him determine my fate anymore. You’ve shown me that I can trust a man besides my father again and I intend for everything to remain the same, and there is no room in my life for Trevor,” said Emily. “He wants me to feel pain but I will never succumb to his words or actions ever again.

 

© Madeline S. Moore

 

Madeline Moore is a romantic fiend looking to improve her writing skills for her future profession in Public Relations. When not committing time to her sorority, Tri Delta she enjoys playing the violin and trying different coffees. She is currently a junior at SEMO in Cape Girardeau, MO but was born and raised in the Cardinal Nation of St. Louis. Traveling to beaches every summer is what keeps her sane along with reading the Hunger Game series.