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Closed space, open conversations


Xavier’s hand replaces mine on the knob as he tries to open it once again.

I take the moment to look around us to find that we have stumbled into a storage room.

Stacks of plain white table cloths fill up the plastic racks that are placed against the walls. Cleaning supplies lie on a corner, leaving barely any space in between.

Taking only two steps across would be difficult in this little area.

A sudden bang takes me by surprise and I turn around to find Xavier thumping his fists on the door almost desperately.

“Hey! Anyone out there?” He screams while continuing his onslaught on the door.

It can only be opened from the outside, thus no point trying to pick the lock.

“HEY! We’re stuck here! Help!” Xavier resorts to kicking.

His voice turns hoarse after a while of screaming while I rummage around the room to find a window or maybe something heavy enough to break the door only to come up with nothing.

“Why aren’t you helping!” This time his anger is directed at me.

I reply calmly. “You’re already shouting so I looked inside for something but there’s nothing that can be used to—hey! What are you doing?”

He pushes me aside and starts to hauling items out of the racks, messing up everything. I notice his neck turning red, the pigment creeping up his face until he resembles a tomato.

“Nothing! There’s nothing here!” He turns to me wide-eyed and clutches my arms, fingers tightening painfully causing me to wince. “How are we going to get out?”

His eyes are on me but I spot the bleary look in them. My own eyes widen at his state.

He’s looking at me but he’s not seeing me. His mind is somewhere else...somewhere dark and painful.

And then he stops.

I watch as Xavier pulls away from me, tugging at his tie until it comes loose. I watch as he slumps on the floor, looking defeated.

With a glazed expression, he stares off into the empty racks, lost in a daze, and breathing heavily. Perspiration starts forming on his forehead.

He looks so...pained. I feel a tug in my chest as my heart hurts for him.

What do I do? What can I do?

My mind whirls with possible ways to help him but when his shoulders slump and he pulls his knees up as his head hangs down, I move towards him without thinking.

Kneeling in front of him, I gently place my hand on his cheek and bring his gaze on mine. He flinches but his grey orbs turn to me as if seeing me for the first time.

“You’re not alone,” I whisper. My thumb brushes his skin softly in a comforting caress. “I’m here. With you.”

His eyes move in and out of focus.

“Do you want to hear about how I know so much about the meaning behind flowers?”

He doesn’t reply but his lips part slightly before closing again so I take it as my cue to continue talking.

“I learned it from my mother. She loved flowers. In fact, she used to go around buying flowers just to decorate her room whenever she could.” My throat closes in and my chest clenches in a dull ache. “She used to tell me all about their meanings whenever she brought any home. I remember her trying to grow them in our garden but she was lazy and quite forgetful.” I chuckle to myself. “All the plants ended up dead in a few days so she gave up and stuck to buying them instead.”

By now, all of Xavier’s attention is focused on me. I look at him straight in the eyes as I speak.

“Why past?”

It takes me a moment to realize he has spoken, his voice hoarse from screaming so much earlier.


“You’re talking about her in the past tense.” His eyes roam my face, drinking in every feature.

Unconsciously, I try to move my hand away from his cheek. Immediately, his hand shoots up to wrap around my small one, keeping it on his skin.

His touch is warm and gentle, engulfing my small hand in his surprisingly soft ones.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

I gulp. “She died. So did my father. Almost seven years ago.”

Grey eyes widen in surprise and his hand loosens its grip. I take the chance to move it away albeit reluctantly.

His gaze penetrates me, trying to uncover my emotions but I don’t give him the opportunity. Instead, I present him with a beaming smile.

“You okay now?”

He blinks. Then looks away and clears his throat. “Yeah.”

I incline my head slightly to observe him but the cold and blank exterior has resumed its position on his face.

For a moment, I find myself being relieved because this is better than seeing him so devastated. I’m used to him giving the cold shoulder to everyone thus his


The doorknob twists beckoning both our attention towards it before Xavier could get any word out. It swings open and a uniformed waiter enters the room, finding us sprawled on the floor.

His eyes widen in a horrified expression. “What are you doing here!”

“We got locked in,” I answer as we both get to our feet.

“This door hasn’t been working properly. It gets locked every time someone closes it.” He explains before terror settles in. “Oh my God! How long have you been stuck here? I’m so sorry—Sir!”

Xavier hurriedly maneuvers his way around the waiter and leaves without a single glance behind.

I continue to stare at the spot where he was just moments ago, ignoring the repeated apologies of the waiter.

He ran away. Again.

I sigh. A broad grin takes over my face despite his behavior. How long can he run? He’ll have to face me someday.

“Um, ma’am?”

“Yeah?” I turn to the waiter.

“You’re, um, smiling to...yourself?”

I widen my grin purposefully. “Yep!”

He probably thinks I’ve lost my mind or something because he starts mumbling to himself about ‘teenagers doing drugs these days’.


What do think? Has Thea really lost her mind after all? ;)

Let me know your thoughts on this chapter.

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