We decided not to mention the house to anyone else. We went back to the Hotel after a night of pretending we really were just like every other couple in the world.
The weeks passed too quickly. The last concert before my departure was upon us, and the next morning I'd be boarding a plane back to LA.
News of me leaving the tour had spawned a new set of media ripples, pictures of us on either side of a broken heart was a pretty predominant one. It amused me how they never seemed to get it right.
After the concert finished the guys ushered me into a backstage room where they had decorated it with streamers and balloons. It was reminiscent of a kids birthday party.
Xavier leaned in. “For the 8th birthday that made you feel like you weren't the star.”
Tears sprung in my eyes and I shook my head in disbelief. “How do you remember everything about me so well?”
“Well you see... I'm hopelessly in love with you.” He laughed as he kissed me on the cheek.
Jay walked up and engulfed me. “Hey, stop hogging Scarlett. We're all going to miss her.” He laughed. Cris, Doc and Jace joined in, as well. I would have probably been grossed out by the sweaty mess of boys fresh from a rock concert on any other day, but today, I wanted to hold on to the embrace forever.
“I'm going to miss you guys too.” I managed to whisper.
They released me as Isla walked over with a rainbow frosted cake. I looked at Xavier and grinned, he'd really thought of everything. She stood in front of me and held the cake up, the flames on the candles flicked in the air. “Make a wish.”
I closed my eyes and blew the candles out. I didn't make a wish, it seemed greedy. I already had everything I needed.
Around midnight we all headed back to the hotel. My flight was at 8am, which meant a 5am wake up. Xavier didn't speak, he didn't need to. I could see the sadness in his eyes, and I'm sure my eyes mirrored his. He placed his hands on my shoulders, then slowly let them fall down my arms until his hands were in mine. Tears threatened to surface, so I looked away.
“Don't cry.” He murmured. “Please.”
“Okay.” I replied, my voice shaking with emotion. I looked back up at him, but as soon as our eyes met again I fell apart. “I'm okay. I promise.” I said, sounding anything but okay.
Xavier pulled me into an embrace, my head rest against his shoulder, the fabric of his shirt absorbed the wrath of my tears.
“In three weeks I have a weekend off. I'll fly to see you and we'll talk every day until then.” He whispered his own voice wavering.
Xavier moved his hands to my head and brought my face up to meet his. He was crying too. My heart ached. He kissed me, so slowly it was almost painful, but so raw and real that my entire body melted into him like butter on a hot pan. We moved until I leaned up against the wall, its coolness on my back was a nice contrast to the warmth of Xavier’s body against mine.
He lifted my shirt off and threw it to the side. His lips pressed against my shoulder, sprinkling slow sensual kisses along until he reached my neck. My own hands, which until now had sat lifeless at my side, ran up his back, pulling the hem of his t-shirt up.
I let my fingertips trail along the warmth of his skin, until he pulled back slightly and helped me remove his shirt.
In silence we moved from the wall to the bed. He lifted me, and then somehow gracefully threw me down. The impact had my entire body throbbing for his touch. I locked up at him, and smiled. He didn’t smile back, his frowned deepened and his eyes went dark with lust. Closing his eyes he let out a deep sigh, before placing his long skillful fingers on the buckle on his black jeans. He paused opening his eyes again, his frown dissipated and he shrugged them off, they fell softly to the floor leaving him standing there in tight black cotton boxers.
With ease he wrapped his arms around my thighs and moved me to the edge of the bed. His hands tugged at the top of the tight black leather pants. With some coercion they peeled off me like a second skin and once he was done, he proudly threw them down where he had discarded my t-shirt moments earlier. His hungry eyes traced down my body, from my eyes, to down over my stomach and beyond. He knelt down and placed his hands on my hips letting his fingers hook my black lace panties. “Leather and lace.” He chuckled, amused.
“It worked for Stevie Nicks.”
“It's more than working for me baby.” He groaned in between laying kisses on my thighs. “I'm going to keep this image in my mind while we're apart.”
I felt my face heat up. “Smooth talker.”
“Less talking.” He replied. “More doing.”
Before I thought my body couldn’t take any more of his soft sweet kisses he changed his pace. Rough, like the broody man he could sometimes be he tore the lace to shreds. I let out a gasp, and he murmured. “The first time you stripped in front of me I wanted to do that.”
I let out a breathy laugh. The memory made me flush with embarrassment, not that it mattered now. His fingers brushed against my sensitive naked flesh, sending me into sensory overdrive. It only took mere seconds until I was falling apart under his touch. I heard him grunt. “That’s right baby.” He managed to say as he leveraged himself above me.
His lips caressed mine, changing from soft and sweet to raw and rough. His lips left mine to graze my neck and with a needy thrust he pushed himself inside me. I didn’t remember him removing his boxers, but neither did I care, I couldn’t have wait another second to be with him like this.
We moved together, hard yet slow as we climbed a summit of satisfaction, my fingers caught in his hair, and his in mine. As the height of my climax began to radiate from the inside out I felt Xavier tense, he let out a soft almost breathy whisper. I called his name, unable to stop myself and his kissed me. He held me, and I felt like a feather in a soft wind, as the pleasure ebbed away into exhaustion.
I lay naked in Xavier’s arms, a thin sheet covered us. I already missed the feel of his skin on mine, and I was still here. I pushed away the dread filling my bones and let sleep wash over me.
The alarm woke me at 5:30am. Xavier was already awake, I wasn't sure he'd slept. He was watching me, with sad hazel eyes and a small smile on his beautiful face.
“Did you sleep?” I yawned.
Xavier shook his head and kissed me on the nose. “I couldn't.”
“You should have slept.” I whispered, I could feel my eyes prickle with tears already.
“I thought if I stayed awake, the time would go slower. But it didn't. You'll be leaving soon.”
Tears filled my eyes. After 6 months spending every moment with Xavier, the thought of not being near him was enough to render me an emotional wreck.
“What have you done to me? I never used to cry this much.”
“We fell in love.” Xavier smiled his infectious smile, until all I could do was smile back.
I nodded. “I want to keep falling every day until I die.”
“Me too.” He kissed me on the nose again and wiped the tears from my eyes.
I forced myself from the bed and dressed. The atmosphere was sullen and silent when Xavier and I left for the airport around 6am. We arrived on time for check in. I was surprised to see the others waiting for me.
“You guys didn't have to come. We said goodbye last night.” I exclaimed hugging my brother and Isla at the same time. Isla sniffed and squeezed me tightly.
“Are you kidding? How could we not come?” She exclaimed.
“Thank you. God I'm going to miss you.”
I made my goodbyes to the others small, I was already only holding it together by a shred, and Isla's emotional display wasn't helping things much.
“Oceanic Flight 295 to Los Angeles direct is boarding. Please make your way to Gate 25.”
The loud speaker interrupted us, and suddenly it was all too real. I looked at Xavier and bit my lip. He folded me into his arms. I wasn’t going to cry in front of him not again. I wouldn’t leave if I did.
“Call me when you land.” Xavier whispered, I could feel his breath on my neck.
I nodded, the ball of emotion in my throat was making speech almost impossible. “Okay.”
“We can do this. You said so yourself.”
“I know.” I had said it, multiple times, but being faced with the reality was something different. Now I was being faced with leaving, I wasn’t sure we could do this.
“I'll see you in three weeks.” He entangled his fingers through my hair.
“It'll feel like forever.” I sighed.
Xavier nodded, and then kissed me on the lips, stealing me from the goodbye and taking me into our bubble. I wanted to freeze the moment.
His kiss reinvigorated my strength, I knew I could live without him right there, especially because it was only temporary, but it still didn't make me feel any better.
His lips left mine as I listened to the final boarding call in the international terminal.
“I love you Scarlett.” He said, his voice was cracking… No… please, don’t cry.
“I love you too Xavier.” My voice was little more than a whisper. I was going to cry, I could feel the unshed tears forming. I took a step backwards, out of his arms and already I wanted to pull him back, but instead I forced myself to pick up my bag.
“I don't want to go.” I whispered, tears lined my eyes, and I could feel them threatening to fall.
“You have to do this for you Scarlett, I'm not going anywhere. You and me. We're forever baby.”
I nodded, locking his words inside my heart. I stepped backwards, away from him and everyone else, and turned to face the gate.
The minute I was out of sight I shook with tears, finally allowing my emotion to escape me. Every step towards the gate was a challenge, I was constantly withholding the urge to turn and run back to Xavier. I missed his arms already, his soft lips, the way his eyes set every part of me on fire.
I kept moving until before I knew what was happening I was on the plane, and it was in the air, the earth far below me. There was no turning back now. Now asking to hop off. The distance between Xavier and I increased by miles every second and it was a mind, body and soul numbing thought.
Although I’d slept a little before the flight, I was still exhausted, which helped me to sleep most of the way. When the plane landed at LAX, it was 6am on Sunday.
I called Xavier the minute I was inside the terminal, knowing it was about midnight in Australia.
“Babe.” He murmured, he sounded sleepy.
“I woke you up. I'm sorry.” I whispered.
“You must literally only be walking across the tarmac right now.” He laughed. “And don’t be sorry. I’ve been desperate to hear your voice.”
“Not quite. I've just walked inside the terminal. I wanted to call before it got too late over there.”
“Are you heading home?”
“Yeah, DJ's got me meeting with the Tour manager tomorrow, so I'm going to go spend the night at Mom and Dad's.”
“Alright. I'll call in about 8 hours okay?”
“I love you too.”
I hung up the phone and shoved it back in my pocket. His voice gave me melancholic smile, my mind found it difficult to process how I was happy to hear his voice, but at the same time unhappy he was so far away. This was going to be so much harder than I had anticipated.
I walked from the gate out into the LAX lounge. I saw my parents standing together, huge smiles on their faces. Dad walked over and wrapped me in his arms. “It’ll be nice to have one of you kids in the house again, even if it is for a short time.” He exclaimed.
I relaxed into the hug and tried to smile.
We drove home, and the minute I walked through the front door I had to admit it felt weird without Jace there, and Toni was in the UK.
“DJ mentioned your album drops the same day your promo tour starts.” Mom said as we walked into the kitchen.
“Yeah. We're starting from New York and working our way across. I finish here in about five and a half months.”
“Well like Dad said, even though you're only here for a few days it’s good to see you.”
I nodded and smiled at my parents. “I'm feeling jetlagged, I might go lie down for a while.”
I walked up stairs and into my room, sitting on my bed was a package. I picked it up and looked at the back. It was from Xavier, he had sent it almost a week before hand. I pulled off the packaging and my breathing hitched as I realized what it was. His lyric notebook sat in front of me, I opened it and a photo of us was taped to the inside page. Underneath it he had written.
For all the years I loved you but didn't say a thing, this book got me through. The time apart from you was easier when I could sink into the pages of my book and make music. I want you to have this. So when you miss me (cos you know you will ;p) then you can sink into the pages of our book and make music. I love you xox Xavier.
I hugged the book tight, tears fell from my eyes before I had a chance to stop them. Loving, caring surprising Xavier was different in many ways to the Xavier who'd once hated himself, and it was almost that he seemed so happy now that was making me cry rather than the gesture.
I lay down on my bed and flipped through the pages.
I let my fingers wash over the lyrics to my favorite tunes, singing them as I did so. I reached my song, the one that had first spawned my singing journey, and then better man. It was like reading Xavier’s life on paper.
The pages after that were empty, ready for me to write my own lyrics. I smiled and closed the book then sent a text through to Xavier’s phone. I knew it would still be the middle of the night over there so I closed my eyes and rest for a while.
I must have fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes my phone was ringing and the clock said it was 12pm.
“Hello?” I murmured sleepily.
“Isn't it like midday there?” Xavier's voice woke me up instantly. I smiled and turned on to my back.
“It is, I guess I'm feeling jetlagged. Thank you for the gift.”
“No problem babe. God I miss you.”
“I miss you too.”
I bit my lip and stopped myself from asking about the others. I was barely holding it together as it was, and thinking about my friends as well as Xavier was surely a catalyst for mega tears.
“We’ve got a concert in a couple of hours. DJ’s called a meeting in half an hour to go over protocol for Arabelle’s set.”
I groaned when Xavier mentioned her name. I still wasn’t completely comfortable with her presence. I bit back at the green eyed monster and cleared my throat.
“I bet she is chomping at the bit.” I said finally, sounding surprisingly calm. Xavier laughed in response, I could hear him walking. “That’s an understatement.” He replied. “Hold on, someone is at my door.”
He opened the door and I could hear muffled voices. I strained to listen until I could just make out the discussion.
“Hey, so I was wondering if you wanted to watch me practice. I mean this is all new to me and I could really do with some pointers.” I huffed. I could tell it was Arabelle. Gees, speak of the freaking devil.
“Oh, uh wasn’t that why you came down here early? So you could observe my fiancé?” Xavier replied. I smiled. I doubt he realized that he was bruising her ego by denying her and mentioning me in the same sentence, but I knew it.
“Well yes, but we’re different don’t you think. She’s rough around the edges and her unstructured rocky performance is her biggest draw card… We can’t all live on the edge though can we?” I heard her take footsteps into the room, and my heart pounded through my chest as anger rose in my veins. She hadn’t even waited until the sheets were cool before making her move.
“You and I Vax, we’re on the same wave length. You’re a professional. I trust your experience more.”
Without skipping a beat Xavier replied. “Arabelle, My fiancé is a professional, and she imparted some perfectly good knowledge on you. She knows, more than anyone what it is like to be in the limelight and what it’s like to perform. You should have given her more credit.” He took a deep breath, “Now if you don’t mind I’d really like to be left alone. See you at the concert.”
The sound of Arabelle’s shoes clicked back across, getting increasingly louder as she approached Xavier. She stopped and dropped her voice.
“If you change your mind. You know where to find me.”
I balled my hands into fists. This was my punishment for not telling Xavier about the promotional tour earlier. My replacement really was the devil, literally.
“I won’t. Goodbye.”
The door closed a second later and Xavier let out an amused chuckle before placing the phone to his ear again. “I suppose you heard all that?”
“You know you have nothing to worry about right? Less than nothing.” He said softly.
“Good.” He replied.
We talked for a while longer, but Xavier had to leave for the meeting so I had to let him go. But as much as he said I had nothing to worry about, and as much as I proclaimed I wasn’t worried, I was. Arabelle was dangerous.