Broken Whispers

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Chapter 6

The first half of the bus ride was uneventful, Faye seated herself at the back right-hand corner just in front of the last row of seats. She put her headphones on before pulling her hoody up over her head, trying to both shield herself from and drown out the world around her. She let the music fill her senses and stared out the window as passing cars and landmarks blurred into a rainbow of colours. She nestled the grey backpack into her left side, hopefully dissuading any new passengers from sitting next to her during this journey.

The bus stopped twice more but Faye barely noticed, absorbed in her music. It wasn't until she felt something brush her left shoulder that her attention was pulled from the now stationary blur of colours outside the window.

"Can I sit there?" a voice asked, half-muffled through her music but she could still make out what had been said. Faye twisted slightly to meet the stranger's gaze, not expecting the bright blue to knock the wind out of her a little. A strange sensation seemed to trickle all over her, like when snowflakes fall upon your skin and melt slowly, a crackle all over her skin. The stranger was ridiculously handsome, his jet black hair styled neatly making his eyes stand out even more against the paleness of his skin. His cheeks were chiselled, chin sharp as if cut out of stone. He looked perfect and Faye shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. As the bus jostled forward she realised the man was still stood, staring at her expectantly. Faye cast a quick gaze around the bus to confirm her suspicion that there were indeed other completely empty rows. He had no need to want to sit with her.

"No," she answered bluntly, forcing herself to break from his gaze and stare again out the window, squeezing her backpack tighter to her side. She could feel his stare but ignored it, instead focusing hard on the undefined shapes as they sped past, morphing in unison. After a minute or so she glanced back to see him seated adjacent to her but gaze still firmly upon her. Faye switched hers quickly to the floor by her feet trying very hard to not let this bother her despite the odd sensation still humming all over her skin.

The rest of the journey consisted of Faye focusing intently on anything other than the stranger. She felt his gaze burning into her as if she were a mere ant and he was the bully with a magnifying glass. Minutes ticked by so slowly whilst Faye could have sworn the bell rung at every single stop. She turned her music up so it hurt her ears a little but atleast that was an added distraction.

When the bus finally came to a stop at the college Faye almost lept from her seat, tumbling slightly down the steps in the middle of the bus. A strong arm cloaked in black caught her before she fell completely and as she turned to thank the person and apologize, the perfect stranger's blue eyes hit hers once more. She pulled out of his grip erratically and stumbled backwards again, sending her grey backpack that was half on her shoulder slamming into an older gentleman's head.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," Faye muttered, barely making eye contact with the greying gentleman as he rubbed his head. She turned and speed-walked off the bus, not wanting to risk going any faster and injuring someone else. The feeling of her white converse hitting the concrete pavement sent a wave of relief through her. She looked up towards the college and the waves of people and for the first time in ages was glad of how busy it was in the morning. She flicked her hoody back up onto her head and walked headfirst into the crowd.

Faye continued through the crowds till she reached the large oak doors that were already open, watching as other students came and went. She focused on the floor beneath her feet, the stone that was worn and muddy as it led up to the doors. The red brick stood out to Faye against the sea of students, it's age showing in its crumbling corners and battered edges. Faye often wondered when exactly this building was built, it held an air about it, whispers of memories from those before her. The bricks felt rough under her fingertips and left a slight dust as she dropped her hand.

"Excuse me," a voice said from behind her and Faye turned, worried it would be the stranger from the bus journey even though the voice sounded feminine. It pulled her from her trance as she apologetically looked at the blonde-haired girl, sidestepping so she was no longer stood halfway in the doorway. After moving she watched as the girl walked through, then followed through the double doors herself, head down once more intent on just making it to class without any more delays.

The deep purple door was shut when Faye arrived, a sure sign that she was already late, something she hated. She could already envisage what was going to happen in the next few minutes. She would have to open the door and everything would fall silent, the classes attention falling on her as she felt the urge to curl into a ball. As her hand tightened around the door handle she felt as her breaths quickened, her palms sweaty as the anxiety grew. She didn't want any of that to happen and suddenly she realised this wasn't school, she could miss one class if she needed. So Faye dropped her hand from the handle instead and backed away from the door and walked back down the hall she had just come from.

The halls were quieter now that most classes were in session. There were a few stray people lingering in the halls, chatting with friends or reading posters on the wall. Faye ignored them as she made her way to the library, determined not to waste this self-imposed free time. She loved the college library, well, she loved most libraries but this library was comforting to Faye for reasons she had yet to grasp. As she walked through the oak wooden doors she relished in the beautiful silence that seemed to echo off the walls. Sat to the left was a small desk that curved so it made a U shape, one side running along the wall. Mrs Keller sat behind it on the high backed blue chair that looked incredibly uncomfortable. Her black hair was scraped up so it sat nearly on top of her head in stereotypical librarian style. Her green eyes were not framed by glasses though and although her face looked stern, Faye had come to realise this past week that she was actually quite nice. Well, she was to Faye anyway. She gave a swift, short smile in Mrs Keller's direction as she passed in front, walking down one of the many aisles of books. The majority of the tables were right at the end of the library, to encourage socializing even though libraries were meant to be mostly silent in Faye's opinion. Right down the end to her right was a free table, the others littered with some other students already. Faye swung her grey backpack swiftly off her back into the chair next to the one she intended to take, a silent conversation to strangers that she didn't want anyone sat next to her like on the bus earlier. It usually worked.

Faye got out her notebook and pens and laid them out in front of her. She didn't exactly know what she intended to write given the fact this was only week 2 of her course. She had no idea what she was even missing and grew more annoyed with herself the longer she stared at the closed notebook in front of her. She should have just interrupted the class, it would have been 2 minutes of awkwardness yet instead she allowed her mind to spiral and now she was sat with nothing to do. She angrily stood from her chair making more noise than she intended, gripping the armrests tightly as the sound seemed to echo through her entirety. She stared at her feet for a moment until the noise had left the air around her before glancing the library to ensure no-one was staring. Faye walked over to a random aisle of books, her fingertips softly stroking the spines.

She walked slowly and absentmindedly, still unsure what exactly she was looking for. She stopped abruptly at the end of the aisle before spinning on her heels and walking back down the way she came, the weird sensation from the bus prickling the hair on her arms and neck.

As she slowly walked back down she caught sight of her table in the corner and tilted her head in confusion as she could see someone was sat in her seat. She stopped at the end of the aisle, staring openly at the stranger from the bus who was clearly in the place she had been earlier. Faye could just about make out her notebook and pens still laid out in front of him as if they were his own. For a brief moment, Faye stayed frozen at the end of the aisle, not really knowing what to do. Should she storm over to him and ask why was he sat in her seat? It clearly had items on it showing him the area was in use. Or should she walk quietly over and calmly collect her things and sit elsewhere? Maybe he had merely sat in the seat and not realised her things were in front of it?

Faye decided that the latter was the best option and the one that would draw the least attention. She tried to calm her breaths and steady her shaking hands as she neared the table, shoving them in her hoody pockets when they refused to stop. As she came closer, Faye had to force her feet to still move forward, suddenly feeling more like blocks of cement than feet anymore. Moments before she reached it, the stranger turned towards her, making her blocks of cement too heavy to move. The same bright blue eyes from the bus ride earlier collided with hers and a feeling of unease crept up her spine.

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