There was a knock on the door, but Sydney did not move to answer it. She did not feel like leaving her bed, her room, or her house for that matter. No, she preferred staying in bed until the images of Anderson kissing another woman were removed from her memory. Her heart still throbbed painfully when she recalled that unpleasant moment. Unwanted images of how he had flung his arm around that woman, how he had held her close to his chest, how he had kissed her so passionately crossed through her mind, and she felt a lump building in her throat. Shaking her head to clear the images, she sank into the covers and continued to look out into space. The knock came back again and still she ignored it.
“Sydney, please open up.” It was Kari.
“Kari, come back later.” Sydney groaned while tucking an arm under her head.
“I can’t. We have to leave now for Paris if you do not want to miss the premiere of your movie.” Sydney heaved a sigh, after her PA reminded her of the movie premiere. Gosh, she could not postpone it anymore. After asking her manager twice to move up the date because “she was going through some personal stuff”, she did not think he would change it again if she asked. “The premiere comes off tomorrow morning and you have to be in Paris latest by tonight.” Kari’s voice came back, drawing Sydney out of her thoughts. There was no escaping now, Sydney thought. She would have to leave her house and face the media. Everyone was probably waiting for her to leave her house, so they would pry her until she revealed the real reason why she had cried at the after party three nights ago. She doubted they even wanted her to explain herself. They undoubtedly only wanted her to confirm their theories that she cried because she had seen her ex-fiancé, Anderson Niles at the party with his girlfriend. Yes, they were right she cried because she saw him, but she was not going to admit it. Moreover, the reports she had seen were already hurtful enough. Some tabloids called her a drama queen who only wanted attention, while others named her a jealous bitch who just realized what she lost after seeing him living happy without her. Well, they were right. It hurt her that he was living happily without her, but she was not the least bit jealous of that slut called Anderson’s girlfriend.
“Sydney, please tell me you are out of bed.” Kari spoke again.
Kicking the covers with her feet, she got out of bed and moved to unlock the door. Kari visibly released a breath upon seeing Sydney. “Oh, good. I thought you had drugged yourself or something.”
Sydney rolled her eyes. Kari was such a drama queen. Yes, she was hurt, but not stupid. Turning around, she returned to her bed, Kari following into the room. “How are you feeling?” Sydney shrugged, not knowing how to respond to that. “Good, this is how I want you to be in Paris. No moody and grim-faced Sydney, no. I want the “I don’t give a fuck Sydney”, okay?”
A few hours later, they were in the car heading to the airport. Sydney sat in the corner, looking out the window. She was deep in thought and forgot that was with her. Therefore, she became startled when Kari spoke. “As expected, the paparazzi are at the airport.”
Sydney glanced at her PA, waiting for her to find a way out of this. She was not ready to meet any paparazzi and she definitely was not dressed for any pictures. Maybe, she should have just walked away with Kari when she had asked them to go that night. If she had only walked away, she would not have seen that kiss and probably would not have cried in front of so many people and have the paparazzi take pictures of it. Now, she was upset with herself. She hated scandals.
“I guess you will have to brace yourself for the media.” Sydney’s eyes flared at Kari’s words. She imagined herself squeezing her way through a sea of people, with cameras flashing, journalists screaming questions at her, people watching her with judging eyes and whispering insults under their breaths. No, shaking her head she turned to her PA and told her it would be better if they hired a private jet than to storm the airport and have everyone watching her. It was not easy being a well-known celebrity. Although she had craved for this attention in the past, now that she had it, it was a headache. One could not do even the simplest things without being watched, even crying upon seeing their ex with another person.
“Get me a jet.” Sydney said.
Thankfully, a private jet was available when Kari phoned. In no time, they were floating in the air. Sydney relaxed in her chair and prepared herself for a long flight. After suspending in the air for only-lord-knows-how-long, they finally reached Paris. A car was at the airport, ready to take them to the hotel, they would be staying. Sydney was too jet-lagged to look out the window of the moving car and admire the city of love. Kari, however, was gaping and gasping as they moved.
“Omg! Sydney, look at the tower!” She gasped.
Reluctantly, she glanced out the window and saw the magnificent structure. It looked beautiful, but she bet it would have looked more beautiful if she were watching it with Anderson. Paris was the destination they picked for their honeymoon. Actually, she picked it because she had wanted to visit the city of love with the person she loved.
“Oh, it’s gorgeous.” There were tears in Kari’s eyes as she admired the tower.
“Yeah, it is.” Sydney sighed, closing her eyes and pulling on her glasses.
A few minutes later, they arrived at the hotel. Sydney and Kari checked into their respective rooms. Sydney’s room was a large suit that overlooked the beautiful city. She stood at the balcony and admired the view for a while before going to take a shower. She had just stepped out of the bathroom, clad in a bathrobe when her phone started ringing. Retrieving it from her bag, she looked at the caller ID before answering. “Gary, how nice of you to call.” She tried to sound as normal as possible.
“How are you doing?” He asked.
“I am fine, just jet-lagged from the trip.” She replied while sitting at the edge of the bed.
“Good, you have arrived.” He was excited. “I would like to invite you to a play tonight.”
“Gary, that’s so nice of you but…”
“No, buts.” He interjected. “Just say yes.”
Sydney heaved a sigh and after careful contemplation, agreed. “Alright, let’s do it.”
“I will pick you up at eight? Have a good day.” With those words, he hung up.
Hours later, Sydney was sitting in the theater with Gary watching a performance. Her mind, however, was not fully concentrated on the ballerinas hopping around the stage, or the rising and falling music of the orchestra, because she felt that someone was watching her. Since she stepped foot in the hall, that feeling had bugged her to the point of being uncomfortable. Was someone really watching her or was she just being paranoid. Dragging her gaze through the audience, she noticed that everyone was fully concentrated on whatever was going on, on the stage.
“Are you alright?” Gary whispered in her ear, catching her attention.
Sydney nodded, moving her gaze to him.
“Are you looking for someone?” He asked when her gaze darted into the audience once again.
“No, I am just…” Sydney did not finish her sentence when she found the pair of eyes that has been tormenting her. They were blue and belonged to the one person she least expected to meet in Paris, Anderson Niles. He was seated a couple of seats away from Gary, with his girlfriend.
“Sydney,” Her gaze returned to Gary. “This is the best part.” He whispered and went back to watching the performance. Sydney, however, was not the least bit interested in it anymore since she knew Anderson was here.
What was he doing here, anyway? She asked herself, and then figured that he was here to watch the performance. But if he was here for the performance, why was he looking at her? Shifting in her seat, she glanced at him from the corner of her eye and found him still watching her. Her heart skipped a beat and she quickly moved her gaze to the stage. No matter how hard she tried to ignore it, she just could not. Anderson was watching her and it was making her feel very uncomfortable. Whispering to Gary, “I will be right back,” she rose to her feet and made her way towards the archway leading to the restrooms. Right before she turned into the hallway, she glanced back at the place Anderson sat and found the seat empty. Her heart started pounding in her chest at the thought that he might be coming after her. She doubled her steps and hurried through the corridor. Before making another turn into the next corridor, she glanced back and saw him coming. Her eyes flared and she hurried into the corridor. Thankfully, the restrooms were a few steps away. She reached the door meant for woman and quickly took the handle. Before she turned the knob, she looked back and saw him fast approaching. She opened the door, entered the quickly locked the door behind her. Drawing deep breaths, she closed her eyes and leaned against the door.
“Why did you lock the door?” The voice caused Sydney to open her eyes. Standing in front of the mirror, applying mascara to her eyelashes, was Kari. Before she could tell her PA how happy she was to find her here or tell her the reason why she locked the door, there was a knock on the door. Startled, Sydney stepped back, hearting pounding in her chest like thousand galloping horses. “Who is at the door?” Kari asked upon seeing Sydney’s startling expression.
“Let me in. I want to talk to you.”
Kari’s jaw dropped at the voice. Glancing at Sydney, she said. “Don’t tell me that’s Anderson Niles.”
“It is.” Sydney replied, stepping further away from the door as if, it were a disease that she would contract if she came too close to it.
“What is here doing in Paris?” Kari gasped, closing the cap of her mascara.
“I don’t know.”
“What is he doing here?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why does he want to talk to you now, after three whole years of ignoring you?”
“I don’t know!” Sydney paced the floor, running her hands over her face.
A knock resonated into the room before his voice came back, more demanding this time. “Open the door, Sydney.” A warm feeling suddenly enveloped her at the mention of her name. Sydney, it played in her mind. It has been a long time since she heard him call her name.
“Why… why do you want to talk now?” Sydney’s voice shook and she cleared her throat to rid of the lump. Yes, she wanted to know. Why, after three years, did he want to talk? No, even, why did he want to talk today? After all, today was the first time they are seeing each other after three years. Why had he not wanted to talk the last time, but today? Perhaps has he suddenly realized that he did not hate her anymore? Or he felt compelled to talk to her after he saw the news about her crying incident.
“I just want to talk.” He said.
“Open up and I will tell you why.”
Sydney turned to Kari. “What should I do?”
Kari shrugged. “What do you want to do?” She asked her and Sydney was silent. “First ask yourself, do you want to hear what he has to say? Are you ready to face him again after three whole years? Will what he has to say affect your relation with him, either the past or present?”
Sydney thought about it, but she did not know how to answer all those questions. All she knows she was that she wanted to hear what he has to say. “Have you made up your mind?” Kari asked and she nodded.
“Yes, open it.”
Sydney watched Kari unlock the door and stepped out, allowing Anderson to enter. He closed the door behind him and turned to face her. Their gazes locked and Sydney waited for him to speak. Instead, he stepped closer to her, taking a curl and tucking it behind her ear. His fingers brushed her temple and she drew a sharp breath at the tingles that rushed down her spine. Sydney watched him, admiring the light stubble along his jawline and finally focusing on his blue eyes, which seem to look straight into her soul. The silence in the room, caused goose bumps to rise on her skin and an uncomfortable feeling settled within her. She started to wonder why he was quiet. He said he wanted to talk, so she let him in. However, why was he silent?
“You said you wanted to talk.” She started.
“Yes, I do.” His voice was a low whisper, which sent a shiver down her spine. “I want to tell you things I could not say three years ago.” His eyes narrowed at her while his brows arched into a deep frown.
Sydney swallowed upon seeing it and took a step back.
Anderson grabbed her arms in a firm grip. “I want to tell you how much I resent you. You and your mother ruined my life. She took me away from my real mother and you, broke my heart. Your family ruined mine.”
“Anderson, let me go.” She cried when his fingers started to burn her skin. He was holding her so damn tight, she was sure it would leave a mark. “My family did not ruin yours.” She said.
“Yes you did. You all did, but you ruined me the most.” He said through gritted teeth. “You lied and deceived me, got me to get you where you want and then dumped me. Admit it Sydney, you never loved me.”
“I did.” She snapped, pulling herself away from him. “I did love you and I still love you very much.”
“Then why did you run away!”
“I already told you why!” Tears glistened in her eyes.
“Now, you are crying.” He rolled his eyes. “As if that would gain my sympathy.”
“I am not asking for your sympathy!” Sydney snapped.
“Then why did you cry the last time?” He reached for her elbows, bringing her close to him. “Why did you cry when you saw me? Don’t tell me you regret leaving me.” His lips crinkled into a smirk and she wished she could knock it off his face.
“Yes, I cried because I saw you with another woman. I cried because it hurts me to see you happy without me.” His eyes softened at her words, but his grip remained tight around her. Sydney’s gaze fell to his chest as tears swelled in her eyes and fell on her cheeks.
“Sydney,” his voice was no longer harsh.
“Leave me alone.” She broke from his grasp, pushed him away and moved to the sink. She opened the tap and placed her trembling hand under the running water.
“Sydney,” he called her again.
“Go away!” She turned, throwing water at him. “Go back to your girlfriend, she is waiting for you.” She yelled at him.
“Get out! I don’t ever want to see you again!” Anderson’s eyes turned cold at her words. Turning around, he walked out slamming the door behind him.