Wretched Trauma

Avery is an eighteen year old outcast, joining sixth form, for her final year of A Levels, before University. Before she started a new school, she was bullied, both verbally and physically. At her new school, she meets a new outcast, Axel; he's mute. No one knows why he's mute, but nobody cares enough to find out. No one, but Avery. She wants to know everything about him; how it's possible for him to lose his voice; how he became an outcast; but most importantly, he wants to know how to say 'I love you' without a voice. Everyone says love is blind, or maybe it's just silent?

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6. 'What big question?'

   Somehow, I managed to get through the week. It's Friday evening, and I'm doing... nothing. The joys of being a teenager. Then again, I'm technically an adult, but you see my point. The beginning of the week was brilliant, with meeting Axel, Devon and Ethan, but it's gone downhill, just as I expected.

   Monday - absolutely fine, met my new friends, settled in rather well. We went to the park and everything, so that's all fine.

   Tuesday - also quite good, but that Frasier kid kept giving me weird looks. I went over to Ethan's for dinner, I met his parents, and his big brother, who is identical to him, plus more tattoos.

   Wednesday - Axel dropped the bombshell on me that Devon is schizophrenic, and Frasier made a negative comment on my appearance. Axel also attempted to kiss me again, but a popular guy slammed his head into the lockers, so I gave him a colourful taste of my language.

   Thursday - Frasier's minions hate me, and Devon had a meltdown over the voices. We had to calm her down, but she wouldn't listen to anyone, but Ethan, who was absent for some reason.

   Friday - The entire school hates me, except for my three friends. Devon is supposed to be coming over soon.

   It's just wonderful, isn't it? Honestly, I'm forcing myself not to care what anyone else thinks about me, if it's negative. It's only going to hurt, if I let it, so I'm not going to let it. Easier said than done. As for Axel, I don't know what to do with him. He's tried to kiss me twice, but afterwards, he doesn't talk about it, he just gets all moody. Men

   "Your friend is here!" Callum yells from downstairs, and I let out a deep breath.

   "Okay," I mumble back, knowing neither Devon, nor Callum would be able to hear that. 

   There's a soft tap on my door, and I vaguely notice it opening, as I continue to stare blankly at my laptop screen. Devon doesn't say a word as she awkwardly stands in the doorway, so I tear my gaze away from the screen, and- oh. It's not Devon, it's Axel. 

   "Um, hello," I say, instantly closing the lid of my laptop.

   He gives me a forced, crooked smile, with a cute two-fingered wave. Despite him being 6'1, he seems incredibly small as he awkwardly looks at me, waiting for me to say something, ask him why he's here, or offer for him to at least sit down. I'm nervous, okay?

   "Um, hello," I say again, and I physically slap my forehead, "Sorry - you can sit down..." I trail off, realising I no longer have a chair in my room, "On my bed, if you like."

   Nodding once, he obeys, not sitting at the end of the bed like I assumed, but next to me, pulling me into a hug. Softly, he nuzzles my neck, and I stiffen. Why is he hugging me like this? Yeah, when we greet each other there's a small, side hug, but not a full bear hug! Awkwardly, I wrap my arms around him too,

   "Are you okay?" I ask him, my lips brushing his ear.

   After a moment of hesitation, he nods, but only once, refusing to pull back from the hug. A patch of warmth runs down my neck, and I realised, with a quiet sniff, that he's crying. 

   "Baby, what's wrong?" I instinctively ask, pushing him away from me so that I can look him in the eye.

   Shaking his head, he wipes the tears away, with the back of his hand, trying to hide his face from me. He's wearing a black turtleneck, but even from the high collar, I can see purple, bluish stains on his neck. They're in the shape of fingers, as if he's been strangled.

   Tenderly, I take the edge of his collar between my thumb and first finger, tugging it down just slightly. Instantly, his body turns rigid, he grabs my hand, and pulls it away from his shirt. 

   "Axel, did someone beat you up?" I whisper, holding his chin so that he has to look me in the eyes.

   Ironically, he laughs, but doesn't give me an answer. Instead, Devon walks in, her left eyebrow instantly rising in question, as to why Axel is on my bed. I don't say anything, I just chew on the inside of my cheek, my eyes downcast.

   "Um, hello," I say for the third time.

   "Yeah, hi," she pointedly returns, making exaggerated gestures towards Axel. Luckily, he's facing me, trying to make it look like he hasn't been crying.

   "So... I got a new book," I say, holding up my copy of some fantasy fiction I picked up the other day. 

   "That's nice, now, Axel, what brings you here?" Devon basically ignores me, turning to Axel. 

   He shrugs lightly, in a way that suggests he just felt like it. Not believing it, Devon raises both eyebrows, and sits at the end of my bed. Rolling my eyes, I pretend not to be any different than before. I really need to talk to Axel about what's happened with him, but I can't do that with Devon there.

   "Hey, Dev, why don't you go and get Ethan?" I casually suggest, seeing as he lives next door to me.

   "Yeah... Sure..." she says, eyeing me suspiciously.

   The second she walks out of my room, Callum comes in, "Ave, why didn't you tell me your friend was so freaking fit?!" (For anyone who's not from the UK, fit means hot.)

  "Out!" I demand, pointing into the hallway.

   Having a brother who thinks your best friend is hot, is extremely disturbing. Of course I think Devon is pretty, because she is, but Callum and her... No. I'm still shipping her and Ethan.

   "Axel, what's wrong? Why were you crying? Someone hurt you, didn't they? Who was it, I'll get Callum to beat the living-"

   Before I can give out my own array of torture, he presses his index finger to my lips, silencing me. Awkwardly, I stay still, and stop talking, waiting for him to move, but he doesn't. He just stays where he is, his soft, royal blue eyes gazing into mine, as if searching for something.

   I'm fine, he mouths, leaning his forehead on mine.

   I inhale sharply at our sudden proximity, becoming all too aware of how perfect Axel is, even this close. There's not a single pore in his skin, and slight stubble lines his jaw, as if he didn't have time to shave this morning. His hair is dead straight, not a single split end, and the red part of his hair looks fresh; maybe he dyed it again.

   "Axel-" I mumble, but he presses another finger against my lips, as if to tell me to shut up.

   Obeying his gesture, I stay quiet, waiting for him to do something, but he doesn't. Inside, he just continues to study my face, taking in every worthless feature I've obtained. My insecurities bubble to the surface, and I subconsciously lean away from him. Unfortunately, he notices, and his hand slides to my neck, holding me where I am.

   Slowly, I let out a deep breath, realising how dry my mouth has become. My tongue flits over my lips, to moisten them, and Axel watches in interest, chewing on his left lip ring. And let me tell you now - it's sexier than you can imagine. I have no idea if this is a really intense build up to a kiss, if he's genuinely interested in my face, or if he's messing with me. Probably the latter.

   "Axel," I weakly manage to get out.

   In amusement, he raises an eyebrow, in a gesture for me to continue speaking. Swallowing my pride, and trying to ignore the inconsistent stutter of my heart, I give him a reply.

   "W-What are you doing?" 

   Softly, with a really hot smirk, he just shrugs. Frustrated, I grit my teeth, and refuse to feel the pleasure he delivers as he runs his other hand up my back. Might I also mention, that not only is his hand on my back, but it's under my shirt, on my back. Gulping, I squeeze my eyes shut, not letting the intensity of his eyes get to me.

   Subconsciously, I move my hands to his waist, my thumbs digging into his hips as he caresses the back of my neck. I'm so screwed it's unbelievable; I can't even think straight. I have no idea what we're doing, and we're probably going to regret it, but honestly, right now, it just feels right

   I manage to open my eyes, and his eyes, instead of being the royal blue colour they were earlier, are almost navy, darkening every time I hold him tighter. A slight smirk makes its way onto my face, as I purposely move my hands up his sides, my nails scratching his back through the material of his shirt. Right now, I'm incredibly glad he can't speak, or this would get awkward.

   Without thinking, I kiss him, not even lightly, I end up pushing him back slightly. I'm met with the cool silver of his lip rings, followed by the warm, sweetness of his soft lips. Instantly, he kisses me back, his hands freezing on my waist. I don't know what to feel - it's like... I don't know. I just know that I most certainly won't be pulling back anytime soon.

   We pull back for a split second to take in a breath, before returning the contact, one of my hands moving to his shoulder. My eyes are closed, relaxed in the pure bliss it feels like to be this close to Axel. He tastes really sweet, like vanilla, but then there's a slight kick of spices somewhere in there. I don't really care though, as all of my senses are overwhelmed by him.

   "You have a really bad habit of trying to kiss her when we're near," a deep voice interrupts us, making us jump out of our trance.

   "Ethan!" I squeak, my cheeks flushing bright red.

   Giggling, Devon follows him into my room, giving me a cheeky wink. It's been twenty minutes since Devon left to get Ethan, surely it'd only take a minute to get him... I guess that explains why Devon's shirt now happens to be untucked from her jeans, and her hair is slightly messed up. It would probably also explain why Ethan's lips are a darker colour than normal, a bit swollen.

   "Like you've been up to any better," I retort, suddenly noticing how much further away from Axel I am now.

   That silences them both, Devon blushing, and Ethan smirking. 

   "Anyway..." Devon murmurs, "I see Axel's finally asked you the big question. Him and Ethan have been discussing how to ask a girl out, and he even asked me how he should ask you. This was not a part of the plan, but still, I see-"

   "Dev, I don't think Axel has popped the big question yet..." Ethan mutters, noticing how horrified Axel looks.

   It's true, his jaw has dropped, his eyes are wide, he's paler than normal, and he was gesturing for Devon to shut the hell up.

   "Oh... In that case... What big question? Um, he was, er, going to ask you, um, if you wanted to... Uh... help him with his Spanish homework!" she covers up, clearly lying.

   "Yeah, that's what I assumed," I smile sweetly, "Especially since Axel isn't learning Spanish."

   Burn. Awkwardly, the three of them look anywhere but me, as I silently wait for this 'big question' to be asked. 

   Sighing in a mixture of amusement and annoyance, Axel grabs his mini whiteboard from his bag, plus a marker, and writes down a question. Nervously smiling, he holds the board up, so I can read it.

   Avery, will you go out with me? It says, in his fancy, French Script. 

   Ethan speaks up before I can answer, "He wanted to ask you to be his girlfriend but he thinks it's too soon. I recommended a date first. Just saying."

   Silently, I nod, but manage to murmur a small, "Yeah- I'll go out with you."

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