December 5, 2023

💜 TALES
OF
The
HEART 💜

🌺 Chapter 22🌺

†Luna†

Art is no doubt my favorite subject, which is why my mood can’t be better as I sit for the art class today.

A smile curves on my lips as I rest my chin on my palm, paying attention to Mrs. Dawson, our teacher, who is explaining some European decorative arts from the Middle Ages in her presentation. I can’t wait to talk to Aiden later about this — we never run out of topics when we talk about art.

When we almost reach the end of the class, Mrs. Dawson ends her presentation and sighs with a smile.

“To make you have a better picture of what we were just talking about in today’s class, I’m very pleased to announce to you that we would be having a field trip this Thursday…” she pauses, making us wonder with curiosity.

Field trip? That’s a good thing, actually. It has been a long time since we had a field trip — the last one was when I was still a freshman. This can be a breath of fresh air.

“To museum The Louvre in Paris,” Mrs. Dawson finishes her sentence.

My eyes widen in surprise, while my other classmates gasp. Some of them squeal in delight, and frantic whispers fill the classroom as they talk with each other in excitement.I know that most of us here have gone to Paris plenty of times, but still, they can’t always have a long vacation due to school works.

But what excites me the most is that we will be able to visit the Louvre, the world’s largest and most visited museum. How I wish that I could bring Aiden too, because then we would be able to stroll around the gallery together. He has once promised me to bring me there, but he hasn’t managed to do so because of his busy schedule.

“Max.” I turn around to face Max, who’s sitting behind me. “This is so cool. I’ve never been to that museum.”

Max doesn’t look as excited as the rest of our classmates, but his eyes glint with amusement when I speak to him with such excitement.

“Yeah.” He gazes at me.

★★

Paris.

We’re here. I can’t believe that I’m now standing inside the Louvre.

When I told Mom, Dad and Aiden about this field trip a few days ago, they were just as excited as I was — they seemed happy that I was that happy.

Well, Dad was a bit skeptical — he kept reminding me to stay among the school crowd.

Please, Dad. As if someone would kidnap me in Paris.

I smile from ear to ear as I travel my eyes around the museum. This place is huge and beautiful — it has a multilevel maze of galleries, passageways, staircases and escalators.

We’ve encountered its famous glorious art — Mona Lisa, and many other collections of masterpieces modified and added to from one century to another.

Thousands of works of art and artifacts are on show, split into eight departments and housed across three wings. What I love the most, of course, are the paintings and sculptures.

While I’m strolling the Grand Galerie, admiring the French romantic paintings alongside the floor, I text Aiden. My fingers move so quickly as I type the message.

📱Me: I found ‘ The Raft of the Medusa ‘ earlier’ !

📱Aiden: Cool! Have you found ‘ The Lacemaker’?

The latter painting is a famous 16th-century one, inspired by a successful novel and film. It depicts a young girl focused on her work. This is the kind of conversation that only the two of us can understand, I suppose.

After sending a reply to Aiden, which says that I’ll let him know once I find another masterpiece, Max’s voice snaps me out of my thought.

“Luna.”
I halt, turning around to face him. I guess that I’ve been too lost in my own world, but the moment I see amusement again in his expression, I guess that he doesn’t have any problem with that.

“Are you free tonight?” he asks.

I’m stunned. Me? Free?
When am I not free?

I’ve heard that some of the girls in my classmates plan to visit the Eiffel Tower tonight, but somehow, a plan with Max sounds…more inviting.

“Yeah, I don’t have any plan yet,” I say.

Max smirks. “Good.”

I shake my head, smiling. I don’t know why the thought of spending time with him tonight can make my heart flutter.

Why?

“What are you planning to do?” I raise my eyebrow.

“Does a dinner sound great to you?”

Dinner in Paris with Max? How does that sound to me?

It sounds really great.
No, it even sounds perfect.
Gosh. Perfect? What are you thinking, Luna?

“Dinner sounds perfect,” yet I blurt it out.
Stupid me.

Since Max didn’t tell me where we would go for dinner tonight, I’ve decided to wear something casual, a fitted off-the-shoulder black top and cropped jeans.

I don’t want to wear my ankle strap heels because I don’t know whether we’re going to walk around the town or not, so I’ve opted for my usual chuck taylor so that I won’t hurt my feet.

Max has told me to wait in the lobby, but when I look around, he’s nowhere to be found. I’m about to take a seat inside when a sports car pulls in, a white Porsche, in which Max is behind the wheel.

“Get in.” He smirks, and I laugh softly, stepping into the car.

Who would have thought that he would bring a car? He might have borrowed it from some luxury car rental in Paris. When we pull out onto the road, I can’t help but glance at him.

As usual, Max looks really good even though he’s only wearing a simple black leather jacket with a white t-shirt underneath it. I quickly look away before I stare at him longer than I should.

I can’t help the smile on my face as I look out the window, admiring the beautiful city of Paris with its night lights. As excitement builds up inside me, I turn my head toward Max again.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Do you mind if we go to the airport for a while?” Max asks, his eyes still on the road. “I have to pick up someone. After that, we can go grab our dinner.”My brows furrow, curiosity filling my mind. I don’t have any problem with that, so I just smile. “Okay.”

While Max and I are waiting at the arrival gate inside the airport, I realize that I might have been too excited to have dinner together with him. We’ll most likely spend the night with whoever the person Max is picking up right now.
Geez, Luna. Who are you to think that you can have Max all to yourself tonight? It’s just a dinner. Nothing romantic. For God’s sake.

No, I’m not disappointed. Not at all. Besides, I’m happy that Max has a friend coming over to Paris too. If it’s a coincidence, that’s too good to be true. Maybe I can be friends with him too.
In short, I’m so curious about who this person is.

A group of people walks out of the arrival gate — some are men and women in business suits, while some others are families and excited teenagers who seem to be on a vacation.

Yet, Max hasn’t shown any sign that he has found the person he’s looking for, still scanning the people coming out of the arrival gate.

“Nevaeh!” he finally calls, shooting his arm up in the air.

Hearing his voice, a girl turns to us.

“Max,” she exclaims, her face lit up the moment he sees Max.

And my jaw drops.

A girl?

The girl seems to be around our age. She strides toward us, dragging her suitcase as her other hand wraps around the strap of her shoulder bag.

She looks so feminine, wearing a pastel off-the-shoulder embroidered midi dress, exposing her beautiful neckline.

Once she halts in front of us, I can even see more of her beauty. Her hair is blonde, long and wavy. She wears a pair of Ɓụťťerfly earrings so pretty that makes me wonder where she got that from.

And her eyes… Don’t ask me about her eyes… They are sky blue, so enchanting and make me want to gaze at them forever.

To say that she’s beautiful is an understatement.

She’s like a Disney princess coming into life. Hello, Princess Aurora? Elsa?

“God, it’s so good to see you here, Max,” she exclaims again before pulling Max into a tight hug, and Max chuckles.
I swallow.

When they pull away, she sighs with a big smile on her face, and Max turns to me.

“Luna, I want you to meet Nevaeh,” he says, while I’m still glued on the spot, speechless. “She’s coming all the way from Texas.”

Nevaeh beams at me, and that sight snaps me out of my daze. I walk to her and plaster a genuine smile.

“Hi, I’m Luna. It’s nice to meet you, Nevaeh.” I offer my hand for a handshake.

To my surprise, Nevaeh pulls me into a warm hug instead. When we pull away, her pretty smile is once again back on her face.

“It’s so nice to meet you too, Luna. I’m so happy that I get to hang out with Max’s friend here.”

Her smile is so pretty, so very pretty that I’m still dazed.

But then she suddenly freezes, as if she can’t believe what she just said, her hold on my shoulders loosened as she steps back.

“Wait.” She squints. “Are you guys…?” she falters, shooting Max and me a questioning look.

Understanding what she means, I abruptly shake my head in denial. “No, no. Max and I are just friends,” I say that so quickly, and in such a firm tone.

Nevaeh gapes at me for a few seconds, before her laughter escapes from her lips.

“Right. I know. Max would have told me. I would be disappointed if he didn’t.” She turns her head toward Max, raising her eyebrows. “Right, Max?”

Max only rolls his eyes, but my heart suddenly feels restless.

What did she mean by that?

A horrible feeling stirs inside me, and I just know that tonight is going to be a long, long night.

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TBC…

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