At this moment there are 6,470,818,671 people in the world. Some are running scared. Some are coming home. Some tell lies to make it through the day. Others are just not facing the truth. Some are evil men, at war with good. And some are good, struggling with evil. Six billion people in the world, six billion souls. And sometimes... all you need is one. - Peyton Sawyer, One Tree Hill.
Rehaan clutched the blanket over his shoulder, trying to get comfortable. Though the bed was soft and fluffy, the white covered pillows puffed high, he still wasn't able to sleep. All he could think about was her. He couldn't stop thinking about her eloquent smile yet that hint of sadness in her eyes. She would laugh but behind that laughter was a slight murmur of tears... almost as if she was hiding something.
"Raina, what happened to you?" He thought to himself before sighing out of frustration. He sat up, brushed his hair back with the tip of his fingers and shook his head. "Why am I thinking so much about you? Every time I try to close my eyes, there you are, manifesting my dreams." He said out loud. He groaned, smiling at his situation. "See, Raina you got me so crazy that I'm sitting here talking to myself."
He bit his lips, his pearly white teeth indenting faint red marks on his bottom lip. He let out a sigh, knowing that he wasn't going to fall asleep any time soon. He turned around and stared at the clock. Just past one am. If he sat still, extremely quietly, he could hear the tick tocking of the clock going around rhythmically.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick Tock.
Soon, he began to get annoyed by the monotonous tune and leaped out of bed. Only wearing a white t-shirt and black pyjama trousers, he began to shiver, no longer protected from the cold weather by the warmth of his bed. Furiously rubbing his bare arms to get warm, he then stretched, arching his back before picking up his phone from the table and slipping them into his pocket.
Carefully opening the door, he looked out to find it extremely quiet, as most people were asleep. Rehaan quickly locked the door and started to walk out into the communal area. He wondered how to pass the time, before remembering a small coffee bar that he had seen earlier. He wondered whether it was open, at least that would keep his mind from wandering towards Raina. Instantly, he began to hear a soft murmur as he entered the coffee bar. Though many people were asleep, an odd few lounged around onto the sofas, sipping their beverages whilst they emerged in light conversation. Many of them were like him, tourists who were failing to fall asleep, perhaps due to the time difference between their country and Paris.
Queuing up, he glanced over the small menu, decorated in beige and soft pink. "Bonjour, monsieur, can I get you anything?" A petite red-haired girl stood behind the counter as she gave Rehaan a smile. Coming from a poor background, the young girl had to resort to extra shifts and second jobs to help support her family. Still, if it meant being able to live properly, it was good enough for her.
"Can I just get a coffee, s'il vous plait?" Rehaan replied. The girl nodded, picking up a medium sized cup and pouring fresh coffee into it, from the machine. She then, on his orders, dropped a teaspoon of sugar into it and mixed a drop of milk, giving it a creamy texture.
"That'll be five euros," She said as Rehaan dipped his hand into his pocket and took out a crisp note and gave her a hefty tip. She thanked him as he smiled back, sipping the hot coffee. Growing up without a father had been hard, especially since his mother had to look after three children with little to no money. Whilst his mother had to do odd jobs just to get income into the house, many refused to help them, turning a blind eye to the families discontent. Brought up on cheap food, and second hand clothing, Rehaan had promised himself that he would work hard to successful. Flash-forward a few years after, and he had passed his exams with high marks, on the very first path to becoming a doctor. And even know that he has achieved his goals, he didn't want to wish what he went through to happen to another, and would do anything to help them, even if it's a little bit of gratitude.
Rehaan looked around the coffee bar looking for somewhere to sit. And there near the back, he saw a familiar figure, staring deep into space. Raina.
Her eyes were red, swollen from tears. Her cheeks seemed a bit puffy, streaks of dry tears covered her face. Her hair was brushed back, unkempt. Rehaan felt a pang of sadness in his stomach, he knew there was something wrong but he felt bad that he didn't know what - that he couldn't even help her. Without even thinking, he walked towards Raina, who was completely oblivious with his presence. He opened his mouth to speak before quickly stopping himself. His shyness got the better of him, and he didn't know what to say. He closed his mouth, looking away before looking back into her saddened eyes. "Why are you so upset, Raina?" He thought. Mustering up the courage, he cleared his throat, attracting her attention.
"Hey." He spoke. "Do you mind if I sit here?" Raina looked up to see Rehaan with a cup of coffee in her hand. She quickly wiped off the dry tears and nodded, rubbing her eyes as he sat down. She gave him a silent smile, and a moment or two went past where neither said a thing.
"Urm... what are you doing here?" She asked, finding the interaction between them slightly weird.
Rehaan smiled. "I could ask you the same."
"I... I couldn't sleep." She said, almost in a whisper. Her eyes wandered off, as she desperately tried to stop herself from thinking back at her past. "It's all over." She reminded herself. "You?" She looked up at him, sipping her nearly cold beverage.
"I... Erm, same." He replied nervously. "I couldn't sleep." He tried not to meet her eyes, especially since she was the reason he couldn't sleep. Every time he tried to, her image came into his mind.
"Oh... Is everything alright?" She asked, looking slightly concerned.
He nodded nervously. "Urm, yeah. I mean of course." He paused. "It's weird not sleeping in my own bed for once. So yeah, I can't sleep." He lied through his teeth, still trying not to meet her eyes.
Raina's heart sunk at that moment. She knew exactly how that felt. Five years its been, since she last saw her family, since she last slept in her own bed. The anger and wrath had subsided over the years, but all that remained was sorrow. She immersed herself into a group of people, but never really found someone she could call family. You never realise how much you miss something, until that thing is taken away from you. Even Aminah, who was so much like Raina's mother, was still so diverse. She was more like her guardian, someone who protected her and cared for her, but truth be told, she was Raina's family. Her family had been taken away from her in a spurn of lies, deceit and betrayal.
"So, can I know why you can't sleep?" Rehaan asked so innocently that even Raina forgot about her problems for a second. She gave him a neutral look as he trailed on out of nervousness. "Sorry, I'm a Doctor and sometimes I..."
She couldn't help but laugh lightly. "So you feel like you have to take care of everyone even if they might not be ill?"
"I didn't say that!" He smirked, sipping his coffee. "But I suppose, it's something like that."
Raina chuckled, smirking a little at his comment. "It's soo like that!"
"Hey! It's not my fault I like to practice medicine here and there." He tried to defend himself, failing miserably. Raina didn't realise until she was laughing at his actions.
"Oh come on, you would practically sit there reading a big book this thick..." She gestured her fingers at least five centimetres wide. "... and not get bored." She pulled a face before laughing as she drank the last remaining drops of her now cold coffee.
He feigned a gasp. "Like you haven't done that!"
She shook her head. "Nope, never. I would never, ever put myself through so much boredom. Yaawwwn!" She pretended to yawn as he rolled his eyes, trying not to laugh.
"Hey, do you remember the time when both of our Literature classes were put together and that guy in your class fell asleep?"
Raina laughed, remembering the event. It was a few years back but Rehaan's class was merged with Raina's for a day so that the Upper year, his class were able to help the Lower year, her class for an exam topic. Rehaan's teacher had to leave them under the care of Mrs Johnson, Raina's teacher as she was busy with other exam preparations. Mrs Johnson was a very eccentric character; she was a blonde haired, old woman, often wearing glasses on the edge of her nose. Raina distinctively remembered the teacher lecturing them about exams when one of her class mates began to fall asleep, whilst the teacher was completely oblivious. The whole situation had completely left the students full of laughter.
"And he snored so loudly that we all thought Mrs Johnson would find out and shout at him?" Raina said as Rehaan chuckled, nodding.
"Yeah, I still can't believe he got away with that!"
"Well, the teacher was always pretty much oblivious to everything. Though I'm pretty sure she knew what he was doing but still pretended not to notice." He mused.
"Hey, I wonder what even happened to him!"
"Who knows, maybe he's still sleeping at his job?" Rehaan joked.
"Well, at least the dude can sleep!" Raina exclaimed, stretching her arm out a little and trying to yawn. Rehaan smirked as he looked into her eyes. He noticed how much she had changed, since the last time he saw her. Long gone where the long hair, instead it was cut shoulder length with natural curls throughout. Her skin was clear and cleansed as opposed to before. "What?" She smiled. "Why are you looking at me like that?" He smiled back, not wanting to take his eyes off her. "Do I have something on my face?" She instantly placed her hand to her face, rubbing over in case there was something there.
He chuckled lightly. "No." She looked at him confused. "I'm just thinking about how much you've changed."
Raina smiled at him, almost finding his comment pretty much ironic. "Yes, Rehaan. I've changed so much that you wouldn't even believe it." She thought to herself, not finding the courage to tell him straight up. It was strange, she never thought she would be sitting here at one in the morning, talking to the one guy that she hadn't really kept in touch with. She hardly knew him, nor did she even try to make conversation with him apart from those few times. And yet, here she was, with him, having possibly the best fun she had in ages. Somehow, she no longer felt sad, but there was a strange feeling of happiness and warmth in her heart that was missing for a long time.
"I could say the same thing about you, Mr Doctor!" She changed the topic with a joke, still pretty much bemused. "The pristine smart-wear and the rugged look? Seriously, are you trying to impress someone?" She teased him as he gave her a shocked look.
His lips indented into a smile as he blurted out a reply without thinking. "Oh, and what about you Miss Fashionista?" She stifled a laugh. "When did you start wearing make up and dressing up and looking beautiful?" He bit his bottom lip as soon as he said the last line. He closed his eyes and hissed, groaning at the fact that he had said that to her face!
She began to laugh. He opened one eye and then the other to see her holding her stomach, giggling away. He looked down, blushing. "I...er...I should go." He tried not to look into her eyes. "It's getting late." He didn't wait for her response, instead got out of the seat and walked away, fast.
Raina watched behind, smirking as he did. She couldn't believe that he had called her beautiful but the situation was so awkward that she couldn't help but laugh. She glanced at the clock and realised that it was nearly three. She began to yawn, feeling sleepy before throwing her finished coffee into the bin. She walked, smiling, her eyes glistening, into her room. She slowly closed the door before getting into her bed careful not to wake Faiza up.
She closed her eyes, still smiling as she played back the past few moments in her head. How is it that meeting someone who held no importance to her, could make her smile like this? It's true what they say, there are so many people in the world, so many different memories yet in a single moment, there is only one person that'll matter.
That night, she had slept soundly for once. For the first time, she didn't wake up to her nightmares but to a peaceful dream.
Bonjour, monsieur: Hello, Sir.
S'il vous plait: Please.
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