Broken Whispers

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Chapter 8

"You're welcome," Kellan muttered next to her and her hands stilled for a second. She briefly considered apologising but his words from earlier spun around in her head. She decided it was better he thought her a cold bitch and leave her alone than to think her a crazy bitch and still end up leaving her anyway. Faye focused once more on her notebook and pens, also trying to keep track of what the teacher was saying after somewhat of a rude interruption.

Faye gripped her pen tightly as she took notes, almost carving her words into the paper in an effort to resisting glancing over at Kellan. It frustrated her how her eyes seemed to want to drift to him almost instinctively, taking all of her effort to focus on the paper and not on him. It was as if he was physically tapping her on the shoulder, her body insisting she turn towards him.

Her eyes and body won the battle momentarily, floating over to his that were seemingly gazing upon her already. His icy blue eyes knocked the wind out of her and a small gasp escaped. Faye immediately stared back down at her paper as her breath quickened and her skin seemed abnormally tight. Faye ran her fingers through her curls so the side contained behind her right ear cascaded down to cover her face. But it didn't help, just made everything seem even closer. So she quickly tucked it back behind her ear and flicked her hoody up, pulling the sides up to blinker herself.

The teacher sounded as if she was underwater as Faye desperately tried to re-focus on her, ignoring the strange sensation that was rippling over her entirety whilst sat next to Kellan. She refused to look back over to him again, convinced the pull was stronger now because she had caved earlier. She tried to slow her breaths and panicked for a moment that she had forgotten to take her meds the night before. She remembered taking them but the day felt off-kilter? Maybe she had imagined taking them, too wrapped up in Avery. Faye couldn't exactly take them now anyway, unless she wanted to seem like a narcoleptic through the rest of her classes.

"Are you okay?" Kellan enquired from beside her and his voice made her startle a little, her pen catapulting from her hand to the floor in front of her. The teacher once again froze mid-sentence, eyes zeroed in on the pen and then on Faye herself. Faye broke from her gaze as quick as she could before diving clumsily to regain the pen. Never had she wished more than in that moment that she had been a graceful person, but alas she was not. Her foot knocked her chair to the side, the crash echoing around the room. Well, if no-one had noticed her interruption before they most certainly had now. She felt a presence to her side as she grabbed the pen and tried to right herself, turning once again to see the icy blues that knocked the wind out of her chest.

"Jesus Christ would you just back off!" she shouted, watching as shock spread across Kellan's face. Faye stood and decided best to just cut her loses at this point and instead of righting the chair, merely grabbed her bag and walked straight out of class. She had embarrassed herself enough.

"Hey, wait a minute," Kellan shouted after her but Faye refused to give him another second of her time. This entire day so far had been terrible and he had been at the heart of all of it. The one thing that Faye knew was that she had to avoid this guy at all costs.

She relished in the silence of the corridor once the sound of the classroom door slamming shut stopped echoing behind her. Faye crashed through the large oak doors and felt as the sun trickled over her skin and beamed upon her face. It felt warm and refreshing, her limbs eager to stretch out beneath it like a cat but she squashed the sensation. She continued to walk across the courtyard that lay littered with small groups of people, trying to decide what her plan was. She didn't particularly want to go back to her room and dwell on the happenings of this morning. She didn't exactly have anywhere else to go either. Suddenly an image flashed in her mind. An image of sanctuary, of calm, of quiet. Filled with bluebells and her tall oak tree.

Faye contemplated getting the bus there but she felt the need to move and settled on walking. She wasn't going to go to any other classes today and desperately wanted to avoid Kellan at all costs so she realistically had all the time in the world. The sun rewarded her decision, stroking over her arms and the rest of her as she walked. She popped her headphones on and turned her music up so that she could get lost in it as she walked.

The world around her morphed into colours as she moved, the music filling her senses as her feet carried her forward. She turned the music right up so it hurt her ears a little, something she always did when she needed to focus on something outside of her own head.

The hour passed by quickly and before Faye realised it, she had arrived at the familiar path that she knew led up to her sanctuary. The feel of her backpack on her back made her smile grow even wider, happy she could spend the next few hours free to draw and write till her hands ached. She sat down on her dainty little bench that always seemed so much smaller under the giant of an oak tree whose branches cascaded down above her head. Faye lent her head back as she rested her headphones around her neck, closing her eyes as she breathed the tension from her body. It felt as if it trickled down to pool at her feet, the ground beneath her absorbing it and freeing her from it all.

Faye felt better just being able to breathe on her own, the silence helping the noise in her head for now. She opened her eyes as she dropped her bag to the side, unzipping it and pulling her notepad and pencil out. She placed them on the space next to her as she contemplated what she wanted to draw. Icy blue eyes appeared in her mind and she shook her head before berating herself loudly for even thinking of Kellan right now.

"Of course that's what you would think about. Stupid, stupid,"

"Well that's not very nice now is it?" Avery's voice carried over towards where she was sat on the bench and a smile pulled at her lips, spreading across her face before she could fight it. She turned around but still couldn't see him, swinging her head round to the left and right but still coming up empty. If she was being honest with herself she probably picked this place hoping he would show himself.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," she called in a singsong voice and heard Avery's beautiful laughter on the wind. Faye stood up quickly towards where the sound had come from, fluttering the pages of her notepad as she did so. She walked over to the line of trees that lay behind the bench but still couldn't see even a hint of him.

"Still terrible at hide and seek I see," he whispered, seemingly right into her left ear. Faye spun on the spot but only a ripple of air brushed softly past her as if flooding the space he had been in.

"Only because you cheat," she shouted, starting to feel the annoyance growing inside of herself. He seemed to be invisible at times, benefit of being a hallucination she supposed. A hint of sadness crept into her mind at that moment, but before it took hold she saw a flash of blonde hair to her right, disappearing into the bushes.

"Not quick enough that time," Faye muttered to herself before dashing off after him. She ran as fast as she could, brushing the twigs and leaves out of the way as they tried to hinder her approach. They seemed to claw at her, scratching at her hoody and in frustration Faye unzipped it and left it hanging in her wake.

"Stripping off in the forest. Well, this escalated quickly," he chuckled, once again in a completely different direction than where Faye had been heading. Faye growled loudly, throwing her hands up in the air as she leant against the closest tree, refusing to engage further if he was only going to keep cheating. The bark was hard and rough, scratching against her bare shoulders but she ignored it, determined to do the same to Avery too.

"Now, now. Aren't you proving my point by sulking?" Avery said, still hidden from view.

"And you've proven mine by still cheating," she retorted, crossing her arms across her chest. She knew she was terrible at one thing, ignoring Avery. Life would be a hell of alot easier if she could.

"I'm not a cheater," he replied as he walked out from behind the tree Faye was resting upon. His beautiful blue eyes found hers so easily, smile upon his lips as he came to stand right in front of her. Faye didn't move, stayed resting against the tree as Avery lent his right arm above her, bringing his face very close to her own.

"Yes, you are," Faye replied, but her voice came out soft and a little raspy, breathless from his closeness. His other arm came to a rest on her bare arm, the touch of it seeping warmth into her. It seemed to radiate out from where he touched, like little fireworks over her skin or as if flames were flicking across her entire arm. She closed her eyes as the feeling hummed throughout her body and Faye felt as his face danced even closer. Moments like this she wished he would kiss her. She knew it was stupid, he wasn't even real. But it didn't mean that she didn't wish he was. Or if this moment didn't feel very, very real to her. Avery felt real to her.

After a few seconds, she opened her eyes to find Avery in the same position but his eyes were now firmly closed. A moment later he opened them but they seemed filled with a sadness that Faye instantly wanted to take away. She had no idea how though, or if it was in fact a sadness that was deep inside of herself. Faye squeezed her own eyes shut, begging her mind to just be still for a moment. She didn't want to overthink every second she was with Avery. It was exhausting.

"Are you ok?" He asked softly and Faye nodded before opening her eyes, wanting to make sure no tears would fall when she did. He raised an eyebrow at her answer but didn't push, instead taking an exaggerated step back, bending over as he swept his hand out in front of him like she were a princess.

"You're weird," she stated before curtseying herself, laughing as she stood to walk over the bench. He fell into step beside her, his laughter trickling over her like warm water as they made their way into the clearing once more. Faye's hands splayed out without her realising it as her fingertips tickled over the tall grass. She dipped a little to reach the smooth bluebells as they walked, loving the different textures as they flowed across her fingers and palms. Nature seemed to breathe life into her, lifted any sadness that infected her. She really should have chosen a different career path, one that involved the outdoors. Instead, she had been too caught up in trying to solve the mysteries of her own mind she had forgotten to look outside of herself for a moment.

Faye sat heavily on the bench, sending her notebook and pencil clattering to the floor. Avery chuckled as he bent down to pick them up, tucking them neatly back into her bag.

"Hey. I wasn't done with those," she contested.

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