Something was terribly wrong. The police tapes surrounded the whole town, and the crowd was mumbling and whispering, nobody daring to move a muscle. We all hung around like ghosts, just a tight circle of pale faces, waiting to see who would speak up first. Something stirred in the crowd, and one by one, the ghostly faces parted. A pale and grieve face walked through the small opening, and the crowd moved back into their original position, locking him in. I immediately understood why the crowd had parted so quickly. He was from the funeral Chapel. Someone began sobbing.
I spotted an unfamiliar face amongst the crowd; fair features, auburn hair, thick eyelashes that seemed to glow gold in the sunlight. He looked calm, unaffected. He almost looked amused; the corners of his mouth twitching a few times. I felt something rise up in my throat and I swallowed it back down. Our eyes suddenly met; I moved to look away, but I did a double take.
Those eyes, those golden eyes that seemed to glow and burn through my very soul, they took my breath away. When I was finally able to tear my eyes away, I didn't dare glance at him again. I could feel a pair of eyes burn through the back of my head as I pushed through the crowd, searching for Josh and Max. A blur of black shot through my vision, and I blinked. A girl was walking away quickly, short raven hair flying behind her. I held my breath.
"Sidney?" I turned on my heel, startled. Max stood in front of me, his brown eyes gentle and- I shook my head, closing my eyes, and glanced at him again. The cold look in his eyes was back, but I had a feeling that this time he was forcing it.
"Max? Where's Josh?" I scanned the area for a moment, a grin forming on my lips. I turned my gaze back to Max when he didn't say anything, and saw him clutching a bag. Josh's bag. "Max..?" He was breathing slightly faster, trying to hold back something I couldn't quite put my finger on. My mind went blank, and I looked at Max's eyes, and instantly regretted it. His icy blue eyes were wet, and I felt myself trying to piece together the pieces. But no matter how much my mind tried to grasp it, it came up empty handed every time.
"Josh is gone." He whispered, his voice sounding hoarse and detached. He wasn't looking at me anymore. I stared at him blankly, blinking several times. My brain didn't seem to process the words.
"Josh..is..gone?" I repeated, trying to grasp the meaning. But the words were nothing but that; words. They didn't mean anything, but they meant a lot to Max. I didn't understand why he was trying to hold back tears. He glanced up at me, and glared at my dumbfounded expression.
"Yes, Sidney, JOSH IS GONE. Get it through your goddamn head." He threw the backpack at me and stormed away, wiping his face with his sleeve. I looked down at the bag in my arms, my vision blurring. I felt detached from the rest of the world, and suddenly it was just me, on my own, clutching the backpack to my chest and sobbing. Sobbing until the world stopped spinning and the whispers turned into silence.
Sparks flew between them the moment he had set eyes on the boy. He had felt it; it was a connection, words being exchanged without speaking. But the boy had turned away and left without saying a thing. The boy with soft brown hair and gentle green eyes, the boy he wanted to meet. He wanted so see what his voice sounded like. He wanted to see him up close.
A half an hour later, there he was. Perched on the stairs on the library, hugging his bag close and rocking back and forth as if letting go might make the bag disappear. Now might be a bad time, he thought to himself, and turned to leave when a hoarse voice spoke from behind him. It was so scratchy and broken and barely audible that at first he thought he was hearing things, but surely enough, the boy was staring at him when he turned around.
"Breathing is hard," He choked out, his voice barely a whisper. "When you cry so much, it makes you realize that-that-" A sob escaped him, and he didn't try to stop it. When he could speak again, he began from where he left off. "It makes you realize that breathing is hard," The boy glanced down, staring at the bag as he took ragged breaths. "I'm Sidney," He added, when the newcomer didn't say anything, and chuckled dryly.
"I'm Zen." He grinned clumsily.