The Loudest Silence

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Isabella

With my eyes cast downwards, I walk through the familiar walkway of the library as I attempt to get past the crowds of students unnoticed. I hadn’t had contact with Roman since that night we had been out with Rick and his crew, but I knew he was still around. That night had casted Roman in a different light than the one I had been seeing him in. Although Roman had done me a favor by not reporting me to Rick, there was no telling if I could trust him. There could be a chance he wasn’t the enemy at hand, but only time could tell what his true intentions were.

Pulling my jacket closer to my body, I walked towards the back of the library where Mason and I had been the other day. Walking past a wide arrangement of books laid out on shelves, I slowly stopped in my tracks as my eyes landed on Mason. Moving away from his line of vision, I huddled in the corner of the aisle I was in as I studied his figure. His eyes were glued to the papers laid in front of him as he rapidly took notes in his notebook. His locks fell onto his forehead as he ignored the world around him and continued to mindlessly do his work. Though Mason had a rugged and hard exterior, as he sat there staring down at the paper, he didn’t look as serious. The frown lines usually marring his forehead were nonexiesnt, as if they had never been there in the first place and his body language appeared to be relaxed.

I continued to study him for a couple more minutes, knowing fully well I would have to come out sooner or later. For obvious reasons I was hesitant to be around him today seeing as we had already shared an odd encounter earlier this morning. It was unusual to see anyone out that early in the morning and I knew he had questions as to what I was doing out there. I could only hope he wasn’t suspicious about anything seeing as I couldn’t exactly tell him that I had spent all night with Rick sorting through his latest shipment. We had worked until the early hours of the morning and only got permission to leave after Roman reminded Rick that we needed to head back in time for classes. I knew I couldn’t go back to my dorm room knowing Isla would be full of questions, many of which I didn’t have the answers to so wandering around campus seemed like the only solution. Running into Mason along the way certainly wasn’t a part of the plan.

Releasing a deep breath I had been holding in, I straightened myself before heading over to the table where Mason sat. Gently setting down my bag on the table, I took a seat directly across from Mason who looked up as I settled into my seat. Setting down his pen I watched as he pushed his hair out of his eyes as he shot me a smile, “Hey, I was wondering where you were.” He said as I pulled a paper and pen out of my bag.

“Sorry I was running late, my roommate wanted some breakfast.” I lied as I tried my best to appear nonchalant. Truth was, I didn’t see Isla all morning. I decided against returning to the dorm after Mason left and instead headed to the cafeteria where I had spent the rest of my morning.

“Breakfast at 1:30 in the afternoon?” Mason questioned with a raised eyebrow as he glanced down at the fancy watch strapped to his wrist.

Shoot! Had he seen right through my lie?

Staring down at my notebook, I tried my best to act natural as I flipped through my notes. Upon hearing Mason let out a chuckle, my head shot up as I looked at him with wide eyes.

“I was kidding Isabella, no need to be so serious.” He jokingly chastised as he shot me a playful wink. Letting go of the breath I was holding in, I let out a forced chuckle as I continued to pull all my supplies out of my bag. It was silent for a couple minutes as I got settled and as Mason continued to scan the papers in front of him. Pulling out a couple of textbooks I had checked out earlier that week, I also began scanning through various readings as I tried to do my part of the project. Despite my constant urge to sneak a glance at Mason, I strictly kept my gaze on the words in front of me.

I don’t know what it was about Mason that was so alluring but I wanted to know more about him. I knew there was more to him than what he displayed on the exterior but I couldn’t exactly pin point what it was. Regardless of my unwavering curiosity, I knew that I needed to remain cautious. Facing Rick’s wrath was something I needed to avoid because I was lucky enough as it is that after many years confined behind those walls, he had allowed me some freedom.

Pulling a piece of paper out of my bag, I began jotting down notes to the reading. I could feel Mason glancing over at me on various instances , but despite how badly I wanted to meet his gaze, I ignored it and continued with my work.

Resist Isabella.

It’s for your own sake.

I felt my heart lurch in my chest as I heard Mason clear his throat. Slowly glancing up, I watched as he ran a hand through his hair and opened his mouth, but before he could say anything a chirpy voice sounded beside us.

Turning my head towards the sound of the voice, my eyes landed on a beautiful girl standing directly beside Mason. I watched as she twirled the ends of her long brown hair which was pulled into a high ponytail as she grinned down at Mason who had yet to glance her way.

“Hey Mason!” She happily greeted as Mason finally turned away from me to glance at the girl who completely disregarded my presence.

Though it stung a little that she barely acknowledged me, I wasn’t entirely surprised.

I was used to being overlooked.

“Mel, good to see you.” Mason responded as he flashed her a tight smile. Briefly locking gazes with Mel who raised a mocking eyebrow at me, I quickly diverted my gaze back to my notes, not realizing that I had been shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversation.

“I just came here to let you know that there’s a carnival event tonight on campus and that maybe we could hangout there?” She sweetly suggested as she batted her eyelashes down at him.

For some odd reason, my throat suddenly constricted at her words. Maybe it was because she barely acknowledged as a human being in the one place that I thought I could actually feel like a whole person, or maybe it’s because I was envious of her.

Not only was she beautiful, but she was completely confident in herself. I didn’t know her life story, but from the outside it seemed like she had it all.

Or maybe it’s because she’s talking to Mason.

Allowing my hair to curtain over my face, I tried to ignore the stinging insecurities that threatened to consume my mind as I refocused on my notes. I tried my best to ignore their conversation as I distractedly read the textbook.

“So what do you think, Isabella?” I suddenly heard Mason’s voice say as I slowly lifted my head. Glancing between an annoyed looking Mel and smiling Mason, I pushed my hair behind my ear as I spoke up, “I’m sorry what did you say?” I had been so wrapped up in my thoughts that I had actually zoned out of the conversation.

“How do you feel about going to the carnival tonight?” Mason asked with a hopeful look on his face. I could feel Mel’s irritated glare on the side of my face but I kept my gaze locked onto Mason’s.

I could feel my heart racing as I realized that Mason had just asked me out. Though I felt ecstatic that he hadn’t just brushed me off like Mel, I knew that there would be no way that I’d be able to go. Roman would be keeping a close eye on me and there was no telling whether I could actually trust him.

Besides, I would always have that lingering thought about Rick possibly finding out and causing a major ordeal.

Overall, it was in my best interest not to attend.

Softly clearing my throat, my gaze drifted from Mason’s back down to the papers laid in front of me, “I have a lot of homework tonight.” I finally said as I glanced up to see a triumphant Mel and a frowning Mason.

“Not even for an hour?” He pushed as he leaned forward on the desk and placed his on the table in front of us. I could see callouses and scars littering his hand but refrained from saying anything as I simply shrugged off his question.

“Please try. For me.” Mason sincerely said as his eyes bore into mine. His stare was always so intense and always made me more nervous than I should be. It was as if his stare held a thousand hidden messages that I just couldn’t decipher.

I listened in as Mel listed off various details about the carnival before she strutted back towards the exit of the building. I could hear Mason let out a loud sigh as he glanced down at his phone before he began packing his things back into his bag.

“Hey, I’m sorry to cut this short but my roommate claims he’s in a crisis. I should head over and see what he’s talking about.” He said as he stood up from his seat. Though being around Mason brought on unnecessary nerves, I was actually disappointed he was leaving so soon. Before he walked away, I watched as he turned back with a hopeful smile on his face, “I’ll see you later.” He swiftly said before making his way towards the exit.

I could feel a soft smile growing on my face as a result of his persistence as I also began to pack my things. I had yet to see Isla and I knew she was most likely curious about my whereabouts so I needed to head over before she reported me as a missing person.

Slinging my bag over my shoulder, I shoved my hands into my pockets as I made my way out of the warm library and back towards the dorms. As I walked over, I rehearsed a viable excuse that I prayed would satisfy Isla’s unwavering curiosity.

Once I made it to my door, I began to reach into my bag to pull out my key, but barely grazed it as the door suddenly flung open, a wide eyed Isla standing behind it.

Before I could even utter a greeting, Isla pulled me into the room and quickly shut the door behind her as she turned and stared at me with her hands on her hips. Making my way over to my bed, I set my bag down before taking a seat on the comfortable mattress, knowing that I was about to get an earful.

“Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!” She exclaimed as she dramatically waved her hands in the air. Her bright hair was pulled into a top knot and she was dressed in a hoodie and pair of jeans. Despite the slight look of irritation on her face aimed towards me, I felt my heart warm knowing she had actually been concerned about me.

Who would’ve thought the first person to actually care about my wellbeing would be my college roommate.

Pushing my hair behind my ear, I gave Isla an apologetic look, “I’m sorry. My dad came to visit me unexpectedly and I decided last minute to go back home and visit.” I explained as Isla’s shoulders slightly drooped in relief as she made her way to sit on the bed beside me.

“Gosh, you sure do know how to give a girl a heart attack.” She half heartedly said as she jokingly bumped her shoulder with mine.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t really think you’d notice.” I truthfully said as her eyebrows raised in shock.

“Not notice?! For gods sake, you’re my roommate, Isabella!” Isla exclaimed as she stared at me like I was crazy. Holding my hands in surrender, I flashed her another apologetic smile as she playfully rolled her eyes at me, “At least give me a heads up next time or you’ll actually see my angry side.” She joked as she plopped off my bed and made her way towards her dresser where she began rummaging through her clothes.

Curious about what she was doing, I spoke up, “What are you doing?” I asked as she continuing looking through her dresser as she hummed a random tune under her breath. I watched as she happily pulled what she had been looking for before turning to me with a grin plastered across her face, “Found it!” She happily said as she held a top in her hand. I stared at her confusedly as she laid the shirt on my bed before she wandered back over to her dresser and began searching for something else.

I watched silently as she pulled a bunch of clothes out of her dresser and tossed them over on my bed before walking to stand in front of me with a determined look on her face.

“Here are all your options for tonight.” She stated as I furrowed my brows in confusion.

“Tonight?” I questioned as I watched as a mischievous smile grew on her face as she pushed all the clothes to the side and once again took a seat on the bed, “Yes, tonight. We’re going to the carnival.” She happily announced as she began grabbing the tops and holding them up against me as she mumbled incoherent things to herself about what looked best on me.

“But-” I barely even let one word of protest out before Isla held up a hand, “Nope! I don’t want to hear it. You owe me this for nearly scaring me to death.” She strictly said, leaving no room for argument.

Isla was going to be stubborn about this and I knew there’d be no easy way out of this.

It’s okay, Isabella. You’ll go there for an hour, make up an excuse about feeling sick, and then come back to the dorms.

Everything will be fine.

Forcing myself to believe exactly that, I ignored the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t be let off so easily.

Especially if Mason was going to be there.


HI GUYS!

God, where do I even start?

Life has been CRAZY for lack of better word. Not only have I started college, but things have just been hectic.

For starters, I was recently hospitalized on two separate occasions. I am better now, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their patience, private messages, and comments about this book. Trust me, I see each and every one of the comments and try to respond back as soon as I can. As you all know, I am in college now and I am a STEM major so a lot of my classes require a lot of time at home studying and doing assignments before attending lecture so bear with me as I try my best to balance college, writing, and a social life.

With that said, I intend to see you all very soon in the next update, hopefully WITHOUT any injuries this time.

Love you guys!

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