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Lyrics and inspiration are thanks to Sara Bareilles, My Love. This one-shot is dedicated to Kate (Bobby Dazzler) for being a constant inspiration and a wonderful friend. Consider it a slightly late birthday present :) 

 




 
He bends his breath around my name and I am humbled…


I watch him from across the vast space between us. Students mill around, a crescendo of inconsequential chatter building with them, but I do not notice.

I can hardly hope to. For he holds my full attention now, and all attempts to pretend otherwise are in vain.

His hands drum across the wood before him and I think how nice it would be to be that wood. I can scarcely imagine the texture of his fingers dancing a tattoo across my skin. Are they soft? They look soft.

They look as though they have never been lifted to do a hard thing in all their existence. And they probably haven’t.

His face splits then, in a grin of dynamic proportions, and I struggle to catch the strains of his laughter. I miss them though, and I think again how much I would like to sit closer to him. Then I could hear the rise and fall in octave, I could pretend perhaps he laughs for me.

But even I cannot kid myself of such a thing. For he does not see me, he has no cause to.

I sit in my seat across the hall and tune out my world and my reality. I focus on something wholly unattainable. I should be more sensible than that, I know. I should be like my mother, but I do not think I can be. I do not think I want to be.

I want to sit next to him and touch his perfect face, and be a part of something that is not mine. I want to be brazen, I want to be sure.

I want to be so many things.

I look away then, as my brother calls my name and I try to concentrate on his words. But I cannot, my thoughts are elsewhere. He looks at me strangely and I know immediately that I have said the wrong thing.

I always say the wrong thing.






*

 



His fingers are agile. They twirl an onyx quill so nimbly that I think he must have practiced it a thousand times. The weak winter sunlight falls upon his display so perfectly that it almost seems orchestrated. I wish it was though, because then I would not be the only one watching.

But I am. I always am.

I wonder how he does not feel my gaze upon him, searing and urgent as it is. For even his most passing of glances gives me pause.

But he continues twirling, and stops only to run his finger across the delicate spine of the feather. I wonder if he knows what he looks like when he does this. His brow is furrowed in concentration as he listens to the woman standing at the front of the room, giving directives on perfect wand movement.

I should be paying attention, I know, but I am already familiar with the technique and would much rather indulge in my distraction.

His lips are pressed close together, the way they always are when he is concentrating. It is a look that I know I should not recognise. But I can recall it nonetheless. It is the expression he wears when he cares about something, and wants to succeed with it.

I know this because it is times like these, when he thinks no one is watching; that he lets down his façade. He acts like he does not care about a thing. I think he does though, behind it all. I think he cares a lot.

I glance away from him, the glare of his beauty strains my eyes and I feel I need to rest them. I sigh loudly, thinking how much I wish I did not care about him, about how much he does not care about me.

And as I raise my gaze to him once more, my heart stops. My head spins.

He is turned toward my desk, and his mercurial gaze burns my own. I glance away then, knowing that whatever expression is lingering in his eyes is not something I wish to see. I want him to turn away, as though I am not there, as though I am invisible.

But he does not.

He watches me intently and I feel my eyes smart with shame. But I cannot bear to cry in front of him, it would only make the embarrassment worse. And it is potent enough already.

I cannot think why he is looking at me, except to find me lacking, except to find me plain.

The minute hand of a large antique clock ticks over and I am free. I rush from my seat faster than I should have. I know I should have been blasé. I know I should have smiled.





*

 



He looks at me more often now, and I think perhaps he saw something in my gaze that day, something that he shouldn’t have. I know this only because I know the touch of his gaze upon my skin. It is my whole world.

But I do not look at him now. I know that I cannot.

So I savour my quiet moments in the grey space between night and day, when no one matters except me, and my thoughts. Thoughts of him.

In those hours I can lie in my torment, and imagine all the reasons why he might have noticed me. I fear they are better than the truth. But I do not want the truth. I am close to happy without it. I am close to him.






*

 



The end of term has come, so many are happy and yet I am not. Now I must go home. I know I should be excited, I know I should be relieved. But thoughts of my family and thoughts of school work are irrelevant. I will not see him now, for quite a long time.

It is tragic I know: this dependence I have on him. There is no explanation for it, but I have realised that logic does not matter in worries of the heart.

My mother never told me this. She told me to use my brain, because I am so clever. And yet I do not feel clever, not around him. I feel misplaced and unbalanced. I feel confused and I feel unsure.

I am certain he does not feel this way; I am certain that whatever it is about me he finds to stare at will fade. It is only right that it should. I hope that it does.

Because with his gaze upon me I feel more unsettled than I ever have before, the balance has been shifted and I want it back. I want to be able to stare at him again, to absorb his sharp angles and haunting beauty the way I did before.

Before he noticed.

I try hard not to let myself think about these things, but I find little else to distract me. I wonder if my friends have similar thoughts, but I do not dare to ask them. To do so would be to pique their curiosity and they would not stop until they knew.

And they cannot know.

As I board the scarlet engine and load my hefty trunk, I scan the general area for a sign of friends. But I cannot see them anywhere. I do not mind so much though, I think perhaps I need the solitude more than their company today. Strolling through the corridor, I pause at the first empty carriage I find.

Already I feel better as I shut out the medley of excited cries and shrieks of delight from fellow students. The quietness of this small space gives me comfort. It is my sanctuary from prying eyes and unasked questions.

I settle in the plush seat against the window and watch in silence as hordes of students mill around the platform. I am momentarily jealous of their lack of cares, they are my age and yet they look so free.

I should be like them. It is a thought that tears me inside and out. Because I made the mistake of falling for the wrong boy – the one who does not want me, the one I could not have regardless of whether he did.

I did not see him anywhere on the platform before I boarded, and pinpricks of disappointment skitter over my skin because of this. Maybe it is better this way. Maybe if I do not see him before we get to the other end of track, my thoughts will be much better contained.

Because I can feel the anxiety began to bubble below the surface of my calm demeanour. I know why this is. It is because I cannot bear to face my mother, who knows me far too well; for fear that she will read my thoughts clear across my face.

She would ask me questions then, questions that I know I cannot answer.

For the truth would upset both her and my father. No matter how I crave her wisdom, how I yearn for her comfort, I am well aware of the history of my family and his. And I know that little would upset my parents more than thoughts of me with him.

Not that it matters though. Not that he cares.

My fingers drum a listless tune across the worn cover of my book. It sits in my lap though I have yet to turn a page. I have been far too absorbed with the depth of my thoughts and the emerald vision of the world as it passes by my window.

I do not know how long I have been sitting there, caught in my introspection. But I am startled at a creaking noise to my left.

He is there, a vision of seraphic beauty, leaning against the doorway.

And I can scarcely breathe.

His normally clear grey eyes are dark with thoughts I cannot read. His unusually fair hair falls across his brow and appears to catch on his lashes. And I wish I had the right to brush it back across his face, to trace the angles of his cheek bones, the small cleft in his lower lip.

But I do not have that right. And yet he is here, for reasons I cannot begin to imagine.

He says something then, and my mind wrought with the image of him standing barely a metre away, does not process the words. He looks amused at my confusion and gestures to the seat opposite me.

I cannot think why he wishes to sit there, instead of with his friends. But I am hardly one to stop him. I nod jerkily, wishing not for the first time that I had control over of my expression.

He utters words of thanks, and the texture of his voice causes my skin to flush. For hours we sit in silence. My eyes flick erratically over the page before me, but I cannot read the words, not with him there looking out my window.

And then he says my name, and I wonder how he knows it. It is a stupid thought to have, for we share so many classes that it is only logical that he should. But I have never heard his lips form the word, and have never heard the word sound quite so soft.

I swallow, and glance at him questioningly. He looks hesitant and I wonder at the strangeness of such an expression on his face. He raises his hand toward me, as though to brush across my face. But it drops suddenly and he stands and moves away.

My mind swims in confusion; and I think I must have misread his movements. He opens the door, before turning his head and smiling at me. It is only small, almost the ghost of a smile but I catch it nonetheless.

I wonder what it means, before I realize I don’t care. He smiled at me and it was beautiful.





*

 



More hours have passed and darkness has descended upon the vast sky. Small droplets of rain cling to the window and I trace them with my forefinger. The engine slows as it pulls into the station.

I want to freeze this moment, and relive it for eternity. I am content in this small space, where other people and their concerns do not matter. But I know I cannot stay here, I must face the world again.

I pull on my overcoat, shield to the cold outside, and exit my quiet haven. The sounds erupt in my eardrums again, as students farewell their friends and greet their families.

Hauling my trunk across the platform, I scan the many heads for those of my family. A shock of red hair, and a heart shaped face surrounded by brunette curls catches my attention and I smile with relief. My mother wraps her arms around me, and the warmth of her and the scent of her hair make me want to cry.

It feels nice to be here in her arms, to experience the comfort of my family. I know they love me, no matter what.

As she pulls away she scrutinizes my face, and I duck my head the way my father always does. I know she is dissatisfied, but the distraction of my brother calls her attention away momentarily.

I stand in that moment feeling caught in the vortex of colours and sounds around me. And it stops again because I feel his eyes upon me.

I turn around and catch sight of him immediately; he glows in this dark scene.

There is a promise in his eyes, and although I cannot fathom why or how, I decide he must have seen something worthwhile.

And I decide I will not question why.




***

 


Her skin is flushed from the biting cold air, and the thrill of seeing her family. She looks warmed by it, and I cannot help but envy her, as the curly haired woman, undoubtedly her mother, embraces her. Just as I cannot help but envy all of them.

She adores them, I realize. How lucky they are.

I turn away momentarily, to kiss my mother’s cold cheek as she continues discussing holiday plans. I cannot think of that now, I cannot find it in myself to care.

All I can think of his her.

I watch as she tucks her thick dark hair behind her ear, the way she always does when she’s embarrassed, the way she always does when I look at her. Her head is turned, but I can imagine her large dark eyes are lowered so that her eyelashes rest upon pink cheeks.

The image is burnt across my retina from hours of watching her read on the train.

I had planned so many things to say to her, but I could not find the words. She had seemed so content to succumb to silence, that I felt I was intruding.

So I left with words unspoken. But I won't run scared next time.

She turns to look at me then; I think perhaps she felt my gaze upon her. And it reminds me of that first time she caught me staring at her. She had seemed so scared then, but not now.

And I know that I will tell her next time, how much she stops my world.

 


I'm waiting patiently, do you see me now?

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