Broken Whispers

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Chapter 10

Avery's face danced a little closer as he waited for Faye's answer. His eyes glistening playfully as he rested his hand on top of hers.

"So? What's your answer?"

He leaned even closer, his lips a hairsbreadth from hers and Faye could do nothing but stare into his eyes, willing him to move that tiny millimetre forward and kiss her. Surely, if he was all in her head then he would do as she wished? Because she controlled him? A laugh escaped her before she could catch it at the irony of her last thought. Avery had never, ever done what he was told. She had no control over him whatsoever. His eyebrow raised in response as he sat backwards, air filling the space where his face and lips had been.

"What's funny?" He asked, releasing her hand as he sat. Faye covered her mouth trying to physically shut herself up, realising quickly that it must sound like she was laughing at him or the thought of her feeding him atleast. She shook her head violently in reply before dropping her hand and attempting to grasp his in hers. But he pulled it from her reach leaving hers empty.

"I didn't mean to laugh. I wasn't even laughing at you, well I kind of was but not like that, not at me feeding you. At you kissing me actually. Not that you've ever kissed me," she rambled, words falling out of her mouth like grenades, exploding in her face.

"So you were laughing at the thought of me kissing you?" He questioned, eyes twisting into the dark blue that told Faye he wasn't seeing the funny side of this conversation. Or even understanding what she was rambling about.

"No that's not what I meant. You didn't listen to a word I just said,"

"That was exactly what you said!" He retorted as he stood, movements sharp as if the anger was literally pulsing through his muscles. He stormed off from the blanket, stopping by a tree as he gazed off into the forest, ignoring Faye completely. She continued to stare at him from her spot on her blanket, unsure whether she should go to him. She didn't exactly know how to explain to him what she meant without expressly saying she had wanted him to kiss her. And frankly, she couldn't think of anything worse than that conversation.

"I thought we agreed not to fight?" She called, fighting the urge to stand. Avery stayed with his back to her, an awkward yet angry silence stretching out between them. The forest seemed to feel the same way, the soundtrack of nature that surrounded them earlier falling silent along with the pair.

"Avery?" Faye sighed, willing him to atleast engage with her so they would move on from this fight over nothing. He was mad at her for the completely wrong reason. Quiet still echoed around them and the longer it went on for the more annoyance crept into her veins, bubbling away in her stomach as the emotion took hold.

"Avery!" She shouted, but instead of turning towards her, he walked slowly away, deeper into the forest. "You are such a child sometimes! You want to walk off and ruin this day more for me then fine! I've had a bad enough morning as it is and if I'm honest I don't need you making it worse. I came here to be alone anyway. So you can disappear for all I care!" She continued, frustration fueling her words, ones she would no doubt regret later. She waited for a few minutes for him to wander back, eyes full of apology. But instead nothing. Anger powered her movements as she stood, stamping towards where he had disappeared from view. But when Faye made it to the tree that had obscured him, there was still only emptiness.

"Seriously? This isn't the time for hide and seek," she muttered to herself, spinning around as she tried to find a hint of him. But there were only the tall oak trees with their multicoloured leaves as they danced in the breeze around her. Greens merged to yellows and browns as the trees fought to keep their colour against the seasons. They would always lose once Autumn took hold, leaves soon falling to litter the ground to make a symphony underfoot.

Faye growled in frustration when her search came up empty. No whispers of wind tickled her neck, no flashes of blue against the deep green bushes.

"Have you seriously just left me?" Faye called out to the air, sorrow quelling the fire in her belly as she walked back towards the blanket. He had just ran away from her when she hadn't done anything wrong. As she made it back to the small clearing she immediately saw that it too was almost empty. There was nothing upon the blanket anymore, the plates and food having vanished just like Avery. Faye stumbled a little, tripping over a small root that was hidden by the undergrowth. Her hands greeted the blanket, relieved when she still felt the smooth fibres beneath her palms. She feared when she crashed upon it that it would vanish like everything else, her hands meeting dirt and grass instead of the soft wool that flowed through the beautiful cloth.

Fate sat there for a moment, alone on the blanket, her fingers drifting across it gently as if trying to reassure herself it was still real. Everything else had vanished so quickly, her mind catching up with the fact that this wasn't reality. Yet the blanket remained. Alone, just like she was.

Her eyes sought out the slight bluish tinge that had seeped into the blanket's surface, still marring its beauty. Her gaze fell upon the stain, it's blue edges merging with the grey as if the start of some beautiful portrait. Her fingertips rubbed at the mark, still slightly wet under her touch.

In silence, Faye stood off the blanket and gently folded it into a neat square. With it in her arms, she walked back over quietly and slowly to the bench and grabbed her backpack. She placed it inside, for a moment considering laying it back out so she could lie down on it to draw. She decided against it, the sadness and confusion from Avery's departure seeping into her entire body so she didn't feel much like drawing anymore.

She pulled her headphones out and placed them on top of her head, the white rim a stark contrast to her red curls. Faye decided that she would catch the bus back to college instead of walking, all motivation evaporating like steam from a kettle. She was glad that the day atleast was shifting into the evening, the blue and white swirls of sky and clouds transforming into oranges and pinks as if a painters canvas, the soft evening hues drifting down with every stroke of the brush.

The chilly bite of the cold wind nipped at her arms so she pulled out her grey hoody, annoyed when everything else she had placed inside wanted to come out along with it. She groaned as she fought with the inanimate objects, pleading silently with them to just do as they were told and to stay inside. After a fair few pencils tried to escape, cascading to the floor, hitting the bench on their way down, Faye won the fight, collecting everything up and shoving them back inside. She zipped the bag up violently, resisting the urge to throw the whole thing into the bushes and leave it there. She knew she would regret that action later so instead tightly gripped one of the straps and walked off with it barely coasting the floor.

Once she reached the bus stop Faye pulled her headphones off as she dropped her bag to the floor, pencils and notebook protesting from its depths as she heard their muffled clatters as it hit the pavement. She focused on the blur of cars as they sped past, eyes fixated on keeping watch for the green bus that was due any minute. The enclosed walls of her dorm room seemed like a dream that awaited her, her body craving a soft mattress beneath it so I could relax away the day's stresses and woes. The outside world at that moment felt awfully loud, the sound of cars racing to their destinations roaring into her ears as she stood. The wind had kicked up a notch as if sensing the tornado of emotions that were swirling in her chest. It rustled the leaves on the trees until it sounded like sandpaper against her eardrums.

Relief flooded Faye the minute the green bus came into sight, almost running onto it when it came to a stop. Her body breathed a little easier when she also realised the bus was empty. A flash of ice blue burnt into her mind for a moment as she made her way to the back of the bus but when she turned to double-check the seat was empty, her mind playing tricks upon her.

The bus continued its way along its route, gliding past many stops as if solely meant to carry Faye and no-one else. Odd for an early evening bus but Faye for once didn't let paranoia grip her already tired mind, squashing the uneasiness before it held her in its clutches like it had a tendency to do.

The whole world seemed to slow as the bus rolled to a stop, one hooded figure waiting in the light covering of darkness that had descended outside the window. Faye glanced briefly towards them before the angle hid them from view, flickering her gaze instead to something far off into the distance on the other side of the road. She looked back when she heard a familiar voice ask for a single ticket, her stomach bottoming out.

"Kellan?" She questioned out loud before she could stop herself, the figure turning instantly towards the sound of her voice. She watched as shock spread across his face before he glanced back at the driver, handing him the money, shoving the thin white paper ticket into his pocket. He walked slowly up the middle aisle avoiding her gaze, before pausing and taking a seat a few places in front of her instead of continuing to the back of the bus.

Faye stared at the back of his head a while as the bus jerked forward, continuing on. Part of her wondered how much coincidence it took before it became a pattern. How could somebody accidentally bump into someone this many times in one day? But what if Kellan was thinking the exact same thing? His shocked expression seemed genuine as if he didn't expect to see her on this bus. And he hadn't tried to sit next to her this time, clearly reading her signals from earlier. Maybe she had been a bit rash with her immediate dislike of him? None of what had happened this morning had been exactly his fault. Yet she had reacted exactly like Avery earlier, exploding like a firework.

She quickly came to the conclusion that maybe her mind had been forcing her to work through the same situation? Showing her that her reaction had been wrong and she shouldn't keep running away from someone that had done nothing to deserve it. This whole afternoon had clearly been her minds way of telling her all this. A vivid hallucination, that was all.

Before she could stop herself she was standing, the bus jostling her footsteps so she gripped tightly to each silver bar as she made her way towards him. She slid clumsily into the seat opposite him, her weight thudding into the blue cushion louder than anticipated. Kellan whipped his head around, a small smile pulling at his lips before it disappeared.

"Um, hi?" She said, the word coming out less of a greeting, more of a question. The smile that had played at his lips moments before now gripped it fully and Faye offered a small one back, relaxing a little into the seat as she placed her bag next to her.

" to apologize. For being a bit of a bitch earlier in class. I hate it when any form of attention is on me and I know you were just trying to help. I don't accept help easily," she continued, trying her best to not ramble. Her eyes flickered over to his, watching as the ice-blue seemed to sparkle as the smile reached his eyes.

"I gathered," he replied, humour in his tone. He shifted his legs around so his body was facing hers and Faye's called to do the same but she fought the urge, dropping her hands into her lap as she absentmindedly stroked the beads of her bracelet.

", I'm sorry anyway. Not the best start to your first day, a random, weird girl yelling at you in front of everyone,"

"I wouldn't say it's ranked highly on my list of greatest days so far but it's not over yet. And it just so happens that I like weird," he smiled, Faye's fingers stilling on bead five as her gaze drifted to his.

"Have you eaten dinner yet?"

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