Muted Messages

All it took was one wrong number.

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4. 4.

 

He's gonna turn around and run now, Alana thought as she watched the Australian before her. 

She had never allowed herself to get close to people because of reasons like this. It's not like she couldn't hear. Because, she could. When she walked down the hallways in school, the cruel high-schoolers didn't even bother to lower their voices because they thought she couldn't hear. But she could, she just ignored them because she was used to it.

She looked through the car window, tears in her eyes that were threatening to flow, and she just looked at him. Looked at how his face was frozen in the same place since he read the message. Watched how he didn't move a muscle yet. Noticed that the only proof he wasn't a statue was the way his chest moved in and out heavily. 

Then, as if he suddenly remembered where he was, she looked on as he snapped up and much to her surprise, continued walking to the car. Now that... she wasn't expecting. 

He opened the car door and jumped in, an emotion in his eyes that she couldn't quite read. He opened his mouth to say something but closed it and started typing at his phone. However, she beat him to it. 

Alana: I can hear you.

He read the message and took a breath before he asked a single question. 

"Why didn't you tell me?"

She took a deep breath and opened the 'Words-to-Voice' app she had, typing away before pressing the button that let her words become a voice that'd never be hers.

"Honestly, I don't know. I was gonna tell you at some point but... I thought I wouldn't have to. I mean, you had a busy Australian life with friends and stuff. I never thought we'd actually meet. I mean, what were the chances? I'm really sorry you had to find out like this."

After the voice played out, all Alana could her was Calum's laboured breathing in her silent car. Reluctantly, she typed, "Are you mad?"

He turned to her, his chocolate brown eyes staring into her crystal blue ones and she felt as if he was scanning her soul, hearing the words she wished she could tell him. There was only silence. Alana refused to look away from his eyes. Finally, he answered.

"No... I mean, how can I be mad?" 

The relief that flooded Alana's system was almost breath-taking. She let out a deep breath she didn't know she was holding and Calum joked, "What'd you think? I would've found out and jumped on the next plane back home?" Now, Alana knew that he was joking, his tone of voice and laughter gave it away, but she couldn't stop herself from tensing up. Calum, who soon noticed the sudden tensing up, stopped laughing, "Wait... you actually thought I was gonna leave you?"

Shyly and slowly, she nodded and she regretted it instantly as she saw the look in Calum's eyes. He was hurt that she would even consider that. "Alana, I'm your best friend. It doesn't matter if you're mute, deaf, straight, bi. It doesn't matter. I like you for you and I'd never leave you, okay?" When she wouldn't turn to face him, he rested her hand on her face, turning it so she would stare into his eyes and asked again, "Okay?"

She nodded, ignoring the tingling feeling that Calum's touch left on her skin. When he pulled away, she typed, "So, to my place?" He shrugged, "I mean, I got a hotel a-" She cut him off, "To mine it is!"

On the drive back to Alana's, Calum told her about the plane ride here. As sorry as she felt for him, she couldn't help but laugh. A nineteen hour flight with some old dude that wouldn't stop snoring sitting next to him and a six-year old kid that wouldn't stop kicking his seat sitting behind him. He got little to no sleep and was ready to fall asleep anywhere now.

They pulled into her driveway and she typed away quickly, "Welcome to my humble abode."

Calum's jaw dropped, "Alana... this...is your house?" She nodded and wondered why he looked so surprised. Her face must have expressed her thoughts because he explained, "It's nothing, it's just... damn, this place is huge." Alana shrugged, not wanting to come off vain. It's not like her house was one of the biggest houses in London because it wasn't. However, it wasn't one of the smallest. Her dad used to be some big CEO in some big company and it had its benefits. She was fortunate in some ways...and a little less lucky in others.

They got out of the car and Alana opened the front door, gesturing to Calum to go in. The look of awe remained on his face as he entered, looking around the living room. Alana yawned, missing the comfort of her bed, and typed, "Hey, you want to stay in an upstairs guest-room or a downstairs guest-room?"  He turned, shrugging, "Doesn't matter.. Where's your room?" She pointed down the hallway. She could've moved to the master bedroom upstairs but that was her parents' room. She could barely walk in the room without tearing up. Staying in there, not a great idea.

He answered, "Then I'll take a room downstairs."

Alana walked down the hall and gestured for Calum to follow (which he did) and she pointed out which one was hers before telling him to pick a room. He was about to enter the room adjacent to hers when she shook her head rapidly, tapping away."No, not that room. Any room but that room." 

The words stayed in her mind even after they left the phone speaker. Calum could stay in any room. He could stay in any guest room, in the living room, the kitchen. Hell, he could stay in her room or her parents' room for all she cared. But he could not stay in Nicki's room. It was completely out of the question. 

He couldn't tell by the monotonous voice of the app but he read the panicked look on her face and could tell that she really didn't want him in that room. The look in her eyes also suggested that it was painful to think about so he left it alone, pointing to another room a little higher up, "Can I stay in there?" 

She nodded, a look of relief plastered on her face. They stood there in silence for a moment before Alana reached out and hugged him, her phone talking for her, "I really am glad you're here." He dropped his duffel bag to his side and wrapped his arms around her waist, snuggling his face into her neck. "I'm glad too."

Enjoying the comfortable silence that Alana rarely got, she stayed in the Australian's embrace for a while before pulling away. "Get some sleep." She said. She pecked him lightly on the cheek, ignoring the tingles on her lips and watched as he smiled, picked up his bag and went into the room.

She went into her room and landed on her bed, checking the time. It was four in the morning and she had to be at school in less than five hours for the last day. Her head hit her pillow and she fell asleep, for what seemed like the first time in forever, with a smile on her face. 

 

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