Broken Whispers

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Chapter 12

Faye allowed herself to be pulled along, head twisting towards the downpour as he pulled her into the night.

"Did you see that? How did the clouds just open like that? So fucking weird," she exclaimed, her brain twisting inside itself, trying it's best to come up with something logical. A familiar, fearful whisper crept slowly from the corners of her mind.

𝘏𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

She looked back towards Kellan when he didn't reply, trying her best not to panic. So far that day, reality had been blurry at best, flickering between feeling tangible, strong enough to grab hold off yet when she tried to do so disappearing as if merely smoke. She needed someone real, someone outside of her own head to reassure her that what just happened, actually just happened. Kellan's eyes looked down into her own, sensing the expectation no doubt that was pulsing out of her in waves.

"Yeah, nature has a tendency to be temperamental. She needed a sharp shock to sober up anyway," he smirked, giving her hand a gentle squeeze as if in reassurance. Faye nodded slightly in agreement, although Kellan's lack of interest in what they had both just seen did little to calm the whispers in her mind. It wasn't as if that had been a natural occurrence. Faye doubted that such a thing had ever even happened before, anywhere in the world. In this day and age, everything made its way into the lives of others, even things that held little relevance. A random, singular cloud erupting like that wouldn't have gone unnoticed and the only time she had ever seen something like that before was inside of a Disney film. A scene from Winnie the Pooh flashed in her mind, making laughter bubble up before she could quell it.

"Tut, tut, it looks like rain," she giggled, the laughter keeping the anxiety at bay for a moment. Kellan looked at her in bewilderment, clearly not understanding the quote.

"Winnie the Pooh?" She continued, watching as the information did little to change the expression on his face. "Come on seriously? You don't know who Winnie the Pooh is?"

"Someone with a rather unfortunate name?"

"Shut up! I don't believe you. You're telling me that your childhood didn't have Winnie the Pooh in it? Oh my god! If you're telling me the truth then that has to be rectified. Like immediately!" Kellan's face softened at the suggestion, his thumb stroking her hand as they both seemed to slow, walking at a leisurely pace together. His touch made her notice they were still effectively holding hands, the realisation making her feel both oddly comfortable yet anxious all at the same time.

"What can I say? I had a rather unconventional childhood. But I'm rather looking forward to seeing this actor on screen now. I bet he carries the pooh surname with pride,"

"Oh. It's not a surname. No, wait? I don't think it is? Come to think of it, I don't know what it is because he's a bear and they don't usually carry surnames," Faye replied, her mind drifting as it tried to work out exactly why Winnie the pooh was called Winnie the Pooh. Unsurprisingly it wasn't something that had ever required much thought before.

"Winnie the Pooh is a bear?" Kellan inquired, eyes smiling with this new but no less confusing piece of information. Faye was still lost in her own head, trying to recollect whether Winnie's back story ever included how he got his name? Confusion flooded her mind, effectively drowning Kellan's question out.

"Hello? Where have you gone?" Kellan pressed, squeezing again the hand he still held. Faye snapped out of her spiral, landing squarely back in the present.

"Sorry. What?"

"Winnie the Pooh? He is a bear?" Kellan repeated, eyes holding hers with a tinge of concern drifting across them before his smile took over, making them twinkle.

"Yes, he is indeed. A bear who wears a red top and no trousers. I'm not selling this very well am I?" She replied, face contorting in confusion once more as she tried her best to describe her favourite character. Out of context, purely with her little tidbits she was sure she wasn't painting the best picture.

"Oh, I'm on the edge of my seat now. I must see this amazing bear that walks around half-naked and likes poo,"

"He likes honey actually,"

"Well, of course, he may be a half-naked bear but he is still a bear," he joked, nudging her shoulder playfully as they walked. Faye quickly realised that they had reached her dorm building already, her footsteps halting at the entrance.

"Well this is me," she said, motioning her head towards the building they were stood in front of. Kellan glanced down at the hand he was holding and softly released it, taking a subtle step backwards. Faye didn't miss the movement, her mind all too quick to inform her what it implied.

"This is you," he repeated, his feet a little restless, shuffling forwards and backwards as his gaze held hers. Silence spread out between them like a blanket, Faye feeling suffocated under the weight of it.

"Yep," she replied, hating how deafening the silence was becoming. Faye wondered if he expected her to invite him upstairs to her dorm room, as some sort of a thank you for rescuing her?

"Well, goodnight," he said, thankfully interrupting her train of thought. His tone was short and sharp but he lingered there for a moment as if not sure what to do next.

"Night?" Faye reached out her hand awkwardly and Kellan looked down at it, eyebrow raised as he hesitantly took it. He shook it softly and slowly, the feel of his hand again shooting goosebumps up her arm.

Faye pulled her hand from his grip, offering him a small smile before spinning quickly, almost crashing into the wooden door that laid behind her. She grappled at the door handle trying her best to be as graceful and fast as she could but failing. She felt the blush creeping across her cheeks as she became more and more flustered. Her hand only stilled when another covered it, turning to be met with Kellan's gaze gently upon hers.

"Allow me," he offered, pulling down on the handle and opening it with ease. "Pretty sure it's a pull door."

"Ha, yeah, I'll try to remember that for future outings," she joked, sliding into the gap Kellan had now made, hand lingering underneath his so it was almost the last part of her left outside.

"Night," he said again before the door cut him off. Faye waited there in the hallway for a second, allowing herself to relish in the moment. She pulled her hand into the other, slowly stroking the skin with her thumb as the humming sensation trickled across it.

The smile grew on her face, making her cheeks crinkle and teeth show a little. She couldn't help the little bounce she felt in her step as she continued to her dorm room, refusing to let any other thought overtake the happiness she was feeling.

Faye slept deep and well that night, the morning sun for once not being an unwelcome intrusion as it crept through her blinds, intent on waking her. She stretched out beneath her purple duvet, hand reaching out instinctively to her phone to check the time. 7:56 am flashed dimly on the screen, a whole 4 minutes before her alarm was due to erupt into the air, shattering the silence she was enjoying. Faye dismissed it before it could, rolling back over, relishing the feel of her soft pillow that cushioned her head.

A pleased hum escaped her as she lay in her bed, refusing to leave it's comfort behind. The minutes ticked by almost silently as Faye recounted most of last night's events in her head, skipping the jarring parts. She was glad she had been brave enough to give Kellan the benefit of the doubt. She had ended up enjoying his company and found herself craving more of it.

She forced herself upright, ready to face the day ahead. If Faye was honest with herself, she hoped to see him again today but she pushed that idea down, unwilling to go all in just yet. Kellan was a bee right now. He had plenty of time to turn into a wasp and she was in no rush to get stung.

Faye readied herself quickly, trying hard to not overthink her outfit like she was some lovestruck teen hoping to impress a boy. She threw on her dark green shirt dress and knee-length brown cardigan, telling herself she wanted to get use out of it before autumn stole her chance. It most certainly, absolutely, wasn't incase Kellan crossed her path that day.

Not even a little.

The crisp, morning breeze ruffled her hair as it spread its icy touch across her arms and legs that lay uncovered. Goosebumps sprinkled across them in its wake as Faye rubbed her upper arms, regretting her choice of outfit already. Autumn must be closer than she thought. She made her way briskly towards the cafeteria on campus to get a cup of coffee. In her rush to get out, she hadn't taken a moment to make one in the safety and calmness of her room. Instead, she had painted herself into a corner, leaving but one option open to her. And that option included social interaction far too early in the morning but she was hoping the reward of coffee would be enough to make it worth it.

The closer she became to the building, the heavier her chest felt, each breath feeling harder to take. Faye tried to quell the uneasiness that threatened to halt her movements all together as she felt the panic wrap around her limbs like invisible vines. As she almost reached the double blue doors, the anxiety threatened to overwhelm her. She stopped for a moment, closing her eyes and purposefully slowing her breaths like Dr Billows told her to do whenever she felt an emotion was controlling her.

Faye attempted to shut out the world around her as she focused on the feeling of every breath she took. The burn that spread across her chest when she held it just a touch too long, the sensation as the air rippled through her lips and across her tongue. Each sensation anchored her, pulling her mind away from the anxiety that swirled like a hurricane as it demanded attention.

"Faye?"

The sound of her name pulled Faye back to the outside world that had continued around her. Kellan was stood in front of the double doors she had almost been brave enough to enter, a brown and yellow cup in each hand.

"Kellan? Hi," she breathed out, running her hand through her hair nervously.

"I was just coming to see you. Coffee?" He smiled, offering her one of the cups he held in his hand. Faye gratefully took it, smile widening as they fell in step beside each other. The movement felt oddly familiar and not just because of their walk last night. Faye couldn't quite fathom why so the thought was fleeting, turning her attention instead to walking and sipping her coffee at the same time.

"What's your first class?" She asked, realising she was accidentally walking in the opposite direction to psychology and she refused to be late to another class.

"Um, I think, nothing? It's not biology right?"

Laughter threatened to bubble up from inside of Faye at the question, almost spitting out a mouthful of coffee. She shook her head and placed her hand on his arm for a brief moment, spinning them both around, heading back the way they came and towards her psychology class.

"You can walk me to mine then. Why on earth are you up so early then if you haven't got a class?"

"Incase you did,"

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