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The boy with the red eyes and bruised knuckles

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It was a nice and quiet evening. You were working your essay for next week, typing furiously on your keyboard while listening to some music in your sweatpants and a loose t-shirt. You let out a sigh and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere for a moment.

You knew that the students of Blackwell had gone to their parties and weren’t going to drunkenly roam around the streets until two. It was one of the few things you were quick to notice when you first set foot in this prestigious school. You looked at your watch, twelve in the morning. You had two hours before the drunk yelling students were coming out, mostly members of the vortex club.

You rested your back against the chair and looked at the screen as the words needed for this assignment went past you. The assignment needed to be done by next week and since exams are near, you wanted to finish it by today. Blackwell is no place to procrastinate, you worked hard to get accepted into Blackwell and you wouldn’t want to let that go to waste. You didn’t want your Gran’s savings to go to waste.

Suddenly you fell a chill ran down your spine, but you weren’t startled. You knew who this was.

“I’m okay Gran” you spoke softly with a smile and laid a hand on your shoulder. Your grandma has always been a spiritual person, even when she was dying. She promised you that she would check up on you in many forms or energies. After her passing, you found comfort in the little moments that made you feel like your Gran was looking over your shoulder with the knowing smile.

You stretched your arms behind your head and grabbed your mug. One of your first purchases in Arcadia Bay. The crappy tourist shop caught your eye and the mug that had ‘arcadia bae’ printed on. Maybe it was the giggles you got that day or just because it was a good joke, but you couldn't hold your laugh when you saw it. The shopkeeper must have thought you were high that day when you bought the cup.

You sighed deep when you saw that the cup was empty, coffee was your fuel for tonight and without you were definitely going to crash. You looked up and calculated in your head how long it would take to quickly make your coffee and return to your dorm without anyone seeing you. It wasn't that you didn't like the people here, you were just not a social person and didn't need any awkward late-night conversations accompanied with closed-lipped smiles that never seemed genuine.

You've been at Blackwell for about a month and you still haven’t made any friends because of your hermit habits. You weren’t here to make friends you were here to graduate and start a new life. Also, it wasn’t like anyone was really trying to be friends with you. Well, there was only one girl you talked regularly with, your neighbour, Kate but you couldn't say that you were friends. She was kind but always so gloomy and sad. Especially the last few months have been... tough for her. Some sick freak posted a video of her online that showed a different side of her you have never seen before. You were embarrassed to say but you have seen the video and you regretted it deeply.

You closed your laptop and stood up before you opened the door you listened if there were any noises coming from the hallway, after a few seconds of silence you opened the door and sighed relieved when you were greeted with a deserted hallway. You grabbed your key and closed the door heading to the dorm kitchen. When you entered the kitchen, you saw that there was only one girl in the kitchen searching for a late midnight snack. You set down your mug and opened the shelves to grab the pack of coffee.

"We've run out of coffee. Oh, and the machine broke" The girl said.

You let out a big sigh and opened a few more cabinets to see if there wasn't a spare pot of coffee. “Great, just great”

The girl laughed at your whining. “You always could go to the boy’s dormitory to borrow some from them”

You closed the shelves and looked at the girl leaning against the counter while munching on some chips. You believe you have seen her hanging around the halls sometimes. A stereotypical popular cheerleader who would never hang out with people like you.

"Is that allowed? It's already over curfew..." you mused. You had heard about the missing girl and you didn’t plan on being the next one. It was kind of creepy seeing all the missing posters around the school. No one actually looked at them anymore. It shocked you how easy it was for people to ignore or forget it in such a short time... You got pulled out of your thoughts when you heard the girl speak up.

“Most of them are sleeping or at a party, trust me, I’ve been sneaking around there plenty of times and I never got caught.” She said with a smile and took another chip.

You thought about it, you did really need your late-night coffee and finish your work.

“Alright, but if I go missing, know that it's your fault," You said with an awkward smile. The girl nodded unfazed by your threat

“You can thank me later. I’ll see you around y/n" You looked up at her surprised.

“You know my name?” you blurted out. She gave you a knowing smile.

“Of course, why wouldn’t I?” You bit your tongue, you suddenly felt bad for not knowing her name “Thank you for helping…”

"Dana," She said “My name is Dana. If you need anything, my room is 218" you nodded at her and grabbed your mug.

Dana was right, you didn’t meet any creepy guys when on your way to the dormitory of the boys. But still, you were cautious. After all, you were still in your sweatpants, too lazy to change into something else. You started to walk faster.

“This is crazy” You whispered to yourself.

You looked around if the coast was clear and sighed in relief when you were met with dead silence. You tiptoed to the map to look where the kitchen was. Unfortunately, some dickhead had drawn on the map making it unclear where it exactly was located.

After a few confusing minutes, you finally figured out where it was. You walked around the corner to where the kitchen was supposed to be. You just needed to grab the bag of coffee and walk back to your dorm and enjoy the rest of your evening.

You froze when you saw a boy in the kitchen sitting at the table with a cup of tea in front of him. He sniffed and looked up with his red eyes.

“Whatthefuck!” He cried out and almost flipped the table when he stood up. You took a step back. There was a moment of silence between you two until you finally got the courage to speak up.

“I-I’m just here for some coffee, we’ve run out and someone said that I could borrow-"

"I don't fucking care." He said and looked at you angrily, you stared back at him into his blue eyes that were red on the edges, had he been crying?

You always had been the caring kind, whenever someone was crying you had the urge to cry too. When it wasn't for your social awkwardness you would have already asked him, what was wrong, but you were afraid to piss him off even more. After all, you were the one trespassing and didn’t want to get into trouble. The security guard was a scary guy you didn’t want to mess with. You gripped you mug tighter and shuffled further into the kitchen. The boy sat down again and stared into his mug again.

“I’m just going to make my coffee and go” You mumbled and opened the cabinets.

“First shelve on your left, idiot” He spat.

You almost dropped your mug at his helpful remark “Thanks” you bit your lip as an awkward silence fell when you made the coffee and pressed the button, you looked around the room. The boys' kitchen was so much dirtier than you had imagined you could smell the rotting pizza in the fridge mixed with mountain dew and coffee. Your eyes landed on the boy again who avoided eye contact by looking the other way, rubbing his eyes. He looked like someone who wanted to be alone, so you turned your eyes away. The beeping sound of the coffee machine announced your late-night coffee. You carefully poured the coffee into your cup. You grabbed it and turned to the boy who still hadn't said anything. You felt bad leaving him like this. You slowly walked to the exit.

"Wait" You stopped and looked at him expectedly "Can you- just…Can you just stay here for a while? I currently feel like shit but less when I'm with you" A ghost of a smile formed on his lips at her looked at you, a spark of hope flared in his icy blue eyes, slowly melting them. You smiled back at him and nodded.

“Sure, do you want some coffee too?” You asked him and set down your mug across from him.

“Yes, nice mug” He responded nodding at your mug. You laughed, feeling slightly more at ease and grabbed the can of coffee.

“Thanks, do you want me to tell you where I got that?”

A few cups later it was time for you to go back to your dorm. The boy, apparently named Nathan, was walking you back to your dorm since he insisted that it wasn’t safe out there. He seemed pretty sure about it, so you let him walk you to your dorm.

“Wait, you’re a member of the vortex club?” You said surprised.

“Yes, why are you so surprised?” He asked. You sighed.

"I don't know, you don't seem like one of those rich kids who party their life away" Nathan looked at you in a weird way and you suddenly felt stupid.

"You're not from here, are you?" You looked back at him avoiding his piercing blue eyes and his question.

You shook your head “I’m from San Francisco and not really a people person. I prefer actually to be alone it’s less bullshit”

He let out a dark chuckle “I can agree with you on that”

You felt that there was more under it but you decided not to ask any further. He had his secrets and so did you. There was no reason for him to spill his life story to a girl he just met.

You came to a stop in front of your door and turned around. “So, here it is. Thanks for letting me borrow your coffee” you said standing in front of your door not sure what to do. Nathan looked at you smiling, not too bright but it was still a smile and genuine. Suddenly you felt your heart jump as you finally dared to look him in the eyes, you wanted to see him smile again.

"Thanks for the late-night coffee. Maybe we could do that again?" He looked at you and you were just about to say yes when suddenly a door in the hallway opened and the smile on Nathan's face disappeared. A girl with brown hair stepped out and seemed surprised by your presence.

“Oh, I didn’t know you were out here” The girl looked at Nathan and scowled. Nathan glared back at her with the same scowl.

“Yeah, I’m gonna go" He sighed and stuffed his hands into his pockets before heading off

"See you later, I guess?" You asked unsure of his answer.

"Whateverthefuck” He responded coldly and quickly made his way down the hall. You watched him go shocked by his sudden change of character when the girl entered. You looked at the girl who stared at you with a thoughtful look before she finally spoke up.

“You hang out with him?” She asked with a worried look. You shrugged and looked at your mug only to notice that instead of yours you had Nathans mug, he probably switched them. You wondered if it was an accident or if he did it on purpose.

“You’re Y/n right?” She asked. You nodded and eyed her with suspicion “I’m Max, I live a few rooms from you. I see you talking with Kate sometimes” you crossed your arms and looked at Max, she seemed like a nosy person when she told you that.

“What do you want from me?” You asked her in an annoyed tone.

“I’m telling you, Nathan isn’t a great guy. You shouldn’t hang out with him” Max said it with so much hate in her voice you wondered what he actually did to her. Max sighed “Look…just... Whatever he is asking from you. Don’t do it. Good night Y/N” Max said walked off the steps into the night.

When you had returned to your dorm you set down the mug with a sigh on your desk and stared at it. Why does Max hater Nathan so much? And why was Nathan so cold when she walked in on us. You shook your head trying to shake off all these thoughts. You were always an over-thinker. When you looked at the mug again you noticed that there was a piece of paper in it. Curious about what it was you opened it.

Here is my number.

Under it, you saw a combination of numbers neatly written. You smiled and put the number into your contacts. You debated whether it would seem desperate or nice to text him right now. You looked at the clock. Two in the morning! You suddenly heard singing and laughing outside and you groaned. There was no way you could finish your assignment tonight. Tired and grumpy you walked over to your bed and laid down. You yawned and turned off your phone. You should text him tomorrow you thought and with that, you drifted off to sleep.

That night you dreamt. You were running through the woods, panting heavily as you sprinted. Low hanging branches swept across your face leaving stinging red marks, but you didn't care. Heavy raindrops fell from the sky and splattered on your face. You felt the cold water dripping from your face and the wind. You saw animals running past you, fleeing from the Arcadia Bay. The sky split open and you heard loud thunder. Despite all the warning signs you didn't stop moving. Adrenaline was rushing through you that kept your legs running. You felt like you were going to throw up, every muscle screamed out in pain begging you to stop but you didn't.
You just kept going and you didn't know why.