Broken Whispers

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Chapter 13

"Oh," Faye squeaked out, dropping her gaze to focus on the floor beneath her feet. Her heart fluttered in her chest like a trapped butterfly, her steps feeling loud despite echoes of others around her.

"Sorry. That was probably too forward again right? I'm going to end up scaring you away again," he sighed, gaze flicking to her briefly before it fell to his coffee cup, taking a long, noisy sip.

"Is that the vibe I give off?" Faye teased. "Caution, attempts at friendship may spook."

"Catchy. Do you want it crafted into a necklace? Or a banner? You know, so people can see it from far and wide so they don't make the same mistake I did,"

"Necklace sounds great. Gotta keep an air of mystery right?" She replied, coming to a stop next to her psychology class. Faye made sure they stood next to the door, not right in the middle of it blocking other people's paths.

"Absolutely," he smiled, his gaze flickering from Faye to the door behind her. "Don't you have to actually go inside?"

"Oh right, yeah. Best hop to it," she replied, throwing her thumb over her shoulder whilst cringing inside at the ridiculous turn of phrase she had chosen.

"Alright then bunny. I'll see you later?"

"Sure?" Faye replied, the word coming out more like a question. Kellan eyed her, confusion rippling across his face, eyebrow raised.

"I'm going to take that as a yes," he smiled, sipping his coffee. Faye smiled back at him, trying to calm the giddy feeling that had erupted in her chest at the prospect. She nodded her head before spinning, almost clattering into the doorway, arm shooting out as she almost dropped her coffee. Instead of turning back around to see what was no doubt humour across Kellan's face, she stilled herself, calmly and carefully stepping to the side and walked gracefully through the classroom door.

As the lesson started, Faye tried hard to concentrate on the teacher but it was as if her mind was caught in a tornado, thoughts and feelings twisting and turning in a never-ending spiral. Kellan was at the heart of the tornado, his eyes, his smile, all thoughts that spun endlessly in her mind.

Anytime she tried to focus on the gentleman stood at the front of the class, his words felt foreign. Her gaze fell upon him sporadically, eyes narrowing as if looking harder at him would help her understand the words falling out of his mouth.

"Miss Cavers?" The words floated like petals on a soft breeze, barely reaching Faye's ears.

"I said, miss Cavers! Is that not your name?" He repeated, voice louder showing his impatience. Faye still carried on staring, unaware he was actually talking to her. She noticed how his lips suddenly seemed taunt, the slight speckle of a moustache stretching out across his top lip as if it had been drawn on.

Laughter drifted into the air and Faye whipped her head around in confusion. A soft-faced girl stared at her from the left, soft brown curls flowing over her right shoulder. It reminded Faye of an acorn and in turn, a squirrel, a smile spreading across her face as she continued to stare. The girls head seemed to dart forward, eyes flicking to the front of the class.

"Miss Cavers!" The teacher tone was sharp, words this time falling like bullets, shattering the confusion that flooded Faye's mind.

"Yes?" She replied, head shooting back around so her focus fell upon the teacher once more.

"Glad to see you're back from your travels?" The man continued, tone short and heavy but with a tight-lipped smile. Laughter rippled into the air again at the sentence and Faye's brow furrowed in response, tilting her head as she tried to grasp what was going on. The teacher tapped his fingers on the oak desk next to him, the sound pulling her attention to it.

"Off again I see," he continued and Faye shook her head a little to clear it. The laughter grew around her as her shoulders slumped, realisation hitting her that the chuckles were all aimed in her direction. The entire class had seen her zone out. She tried to sit a little lower in her seat, her gaze dropping to the floor by the teacher's feet.

"Alright, enough now. Let's all try to focus from now on,"

Faye tried her best to listen to the rest of it, annoyance creeping in whenever her mind wondered to ice blue eyes. She pinched the bridge of her nose as her head started to pound, the teacher's voice feeling deeper and deeper underwater.

Frustration gripped her, her hand attempting to squeeze the life out of her pen as it carved her notes across the paper. Her gaze danced from the whiteboard to her desk, stark white paper against the deep oak. The questions scrawled across it may as well have been dancing themselves, her eyes able to read them but her mind too full to retain them.

She dropped her head against her hand, fingers gripping her forehead now instead as her own clattered onto the desk. She screwed her eyes shut, desperately wanting to be able to just focus. But it was as if her thoughts were like beams of light, bending and refracting as she tried to grab hold. She took a moment to breathe in and out, like earlier that morning, trying to control the wave of emotions that threatened to overwhelm her. When she opened her eyes she felt a little better, more in control.

Minutes morphed into an hour, Faye finally able to stay on task, immersing herself as if deep-diving into a lake. Faye was leant over her desk, hair flowing freely about her back and shoulders as her hand darted across her paper. She didn't even notice as the people around her shifted to standing as if they transformed into statues. A hand on her shoulder snapped her out of her fixation, turning her head up to see who had touched her. The girl from earlier was standing next to her table, eyes glistening with concern as her beautiful brown hair still tumbled over her right shoulder.

"Class is over," she stated, a weak smile on her face that fell when Faye stared instead of replying, eyes narrowed as she tilted her head to the side. "Um, ok then." The girl continued, before dropping her hand and walking out the door. Faye blinked after her before looking around the now empty room she was in. The teacher was gathering up his papers off his desk silently with his back to her, either not caring she was still in there or not noticing.

"Is class over?" Faye asked a bit bewildered. The teacher stilled before continuing to sort the papers on his desk.

"Guess so," she muttered under her breath as she shoved her belongings back into her bag. She walked out arms crossed, throwing a look of annoyance over her shoulder at her teacher. She doubted he noticed, back still to her which was rude in itself.

She glanced the hallways that were already a little quieter, briefly looking to see if Kellan was waiting for her. Her gaze fell upon a small stream of eyes she didn't know so she threw her backpack over her shoulder and walked towards her next lesson, shoving the disappointment down.

The day passed quickly, Faye's gaze constantly scanning groups of people as she walked to and from classes. Annoyance grew within her every time she came up empty. Mainly at herself, at this sudden obsession for a boy that she had only just met. He had said see you later anyway and it was hardly later already.

When evening crept in, shadows swallowing the light as the sun set, Faye lay on her bed listening to music. Her hand glided across her notepad as drawings seemed to flow from her mind to the page, a flurry of colours exploding. She was lost in the moment, music and beauty spilling out around her when she thought she heard a knock at her door. Sharp, short notes had popped into the air around her and Faye flicked her headphones off her head at the sound. She stilled on her bed, pencil still in her other hand as she listened intently, only silence filling her room. Another knock drifted to her ears, easier now the music wasn't muffling it and she swung her legs off her bed and almost ran to the door.

Faye braced her hand on the dark brown wood as she took a deep breath in, before summoning the courage to open it. The wind tousled her hair gently from the speed she pulled the door back to reveal Kellan stood there in the hallway. Oddly, she had known that the second the knocks had disrupted her drawing, as if she could feel his presence. Or maybe she just hoped.

His eyes sparkled as they met hers, a smile spreading across his face. His outfit had changed from earlier, a dark blue top peeked out from his black hoody, dark jeans hugging his hips.

"Hi," his voice drifted to her ears, the sound pulling her own mouth into a wide smile. Goosebumps rippled over her skin in excitement as her hand gripped the door handle.

"Hi," she echoed. The pair stared at each other in silence for a while, neither offering further conversation. Kellan leaned closer, cocking an eyebrow as Faye's breath caught in her throat.

"You going to invite me in?" He whispered and Faye shook her head, his closeness causing the humming sensation to trickle over her skin. "No?" He asked, stepping back into the hallway.

"No. I mean yes. Yes of course you can come in," she rambled, voice two pitches higher than normal. She took a step back and swept her hand out Infront of her in an exaggerated motion. He bowed in reply as if he were in the presence of royalty, a movement that immediately reminded Faye of Avery. A tinge of sadness prickled beneath the surface but she shoved it down, refusing to let it ruin the evening. She had a real-life boy Infront of her. No point thinking about a make-believe one.

Kellan walked through the doorway and took a seat on her bed. Faye noticed his eyes immediately landing on the latest drawing that covered her notepad and she hurriedly shut the door before running over to the bed.

"Here let me, I'll just move that out of your way," she squeaked, hands attempting to cover the pages as she gathered them up. His hand covered hers, halting her movements. Her eyes flicked up to his, faces now a breadth apart.

"Can I see?" He asked gently, not moving to take it, waiting for her reply. Faye glanced down to the drawings that littered the paper beneath her hands. She wasn't even sure exactly what she had been drawing before he had arrived.

"Um, sure," she mumbled, her hands stiffly releasing the crumpled paper back onto the bed. She took a seat on her white chair, next to her desk so she could painfully watch his reaction.

"Wow. These are really good Faye. How come you're not an art major?" His eyes danced across the pages as he placed them neatly across her purple quilt. A smile pulled at his lips as his fingers stroked an outline of the picture that sat in front of him. Blues and whites twisted across the page, snowflakes falling from the top, spiralling to join the blanket of snow that lay at the bottom. In the middle of the picture was a pair of piercing blue eyes, as blue as the sky but held a sharpness to it, a cold undertone as they stared out from the page.

"They are just doodles," she mused, fighting the urge to jump onto the bed just so she could obscure them from his view. His gaze met hers and she forced a smile to her lips despite her discomfort. She hated people staring at her drawings, always made her feel so open, so vulnerable, like her nerves were on show.

"They are so much more than doodles," he breathed, holding her gaze. His finger touched a snowflake on the page and as he brought his hand away, the snowflake followed, dancing upon his fingers like a spinning basketball. Faye blinked her eyes in disbelief, a smile pulling at her lips at its beauty before worry crept across her features, stealing the joy. Kellan's face mirrored hers, happiness replaced by concern before he looked back at the snowflake, flicking his wrist, the snowflake disappearing as quickly as it had arrived.

Faye looked down at the paper, at the snowflake that was now firmly on the paper like it was supposed to. She rubbed her eyes, confusion swirling inside of her as all words seemed to disappear from her tongue. She looked back at Kellan to see if he had seen what she had but his eyes held only concern.

𝘏𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘶𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

The word once more echoed in her mind, sorrow and anxiety seeping out like an infection as it tried to consume her.

"So, do you fancy dinner?" He asked, a smile on his face that seemed shallow. His voice cut through her turmoil, pulling her back out before she drowned in it. Faye glanced between him and the paper before slowly nodding, grabbing her cardigan and letting it envelop her shoulders as she silently led Kellan out of the door.

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