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From Dusk til’ Dawn

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Edric winced as he walked through the crowded halls, every type of stimuli bombarding him from all sides. He resisted the urge to cover his ears and curl up into a ball. He couldn’t breathe, his lungs felt like there was a metal vice around them.
He could hear every word of gossip all those sob sisters kept tossing in the air like confetti; every snap and pop of bubblegum that made him want to throw those students through the nearest wall; the sounds of wet smacks and tongues pressing against each other from couples deciding this was the perfect place to neck each other. It was too loud, it was too much, he couldn’t take it anymore.
Hands reaching up to cover his ears, Edric dashed for the nearest door fumbling for the handle before forcing his way in and slamming the door behind him.
He sunk to the ground, the noise had already ingrained itself into his eardrums and replayed itself over and over. He rocked himself gently back and forth, hands pressed tightly over his ears. his hands jittered, but he couldn’t bring himself to shake them out. You were supposed to act normal, like a human being, but you can’t even do that for one day. It was only his first day at school but he couldn’t do it.
“Hello?”
Edric looked up but kept his hands clamped over his ears. Where he’d expected to see a teacher, he saw a boy whose dark hair kept falling into his face. He wanted to reach out and brush it away.
Instead, he gulped. “H-Hello.”
The boy sits down in front of him, crossing his legs as he did so. “Are you okay?”
Edric couldn’t bring himself to respond, it felt like his jaw had been wired shut, and opening it even to say hello took effort. Instead of trying to force the words out, he nods again.
“It’s too loud isn’t it?” The boy says.
Edward stares for a moment before nodding.
“I don’t like it either, it’s too much going on.”
Edric and the boy sit in silence for a moment. He didn’t like it, he would rather be back out in the hall than here with someone he didn’t know who was trying to talk to him. Edward starts to give the boy a wary look when he starts rummaging through his bag. What was he going to do? What was he looking for? Edric didn’t know but his thoughts ran all screwy with the hypotheticals.
His mind was so occupied he didn’t notice the boy sitting up on his knees and leaning over until he felt something get placed over his head. Edric flinched and released his ears to grab the boy’s small wrists but he froze as he felt something replace his hands, muffling the noise.
It worked much better than his hands, he could still hear but it wasn’t as intense as before. The boy scooted back, hands where Edric could see them. “Is that a bit better?”
Edward tilted his head to the side, the wire trap holding his mouth shut melting away as the stimuli became a bit more bearable. “Y-Yes.”
The boy smiles “good, I can’t handle the noise either, my headphones help a lot.”
“Thank you…”
“No problem!”
Edric’s rocking stopped after a few seconds, his body relaxing as all he could hear was the muffled white noise. He realized how dark and empty the room was. He found it calming but that didn’t stop his curiosity.
“Where is everyone? Why is this room so empty?”
The boy chuckles. “No one uses this room anymore. I think it used to be an art room before they got a new one. I started hanging out here during lunch or after school in my freshman year. It’s quiet and no one comes here.”
“Ah.”
“In the meantime, don’t worry about it. Take all the time you need.” He says gently.
“Okay…”
Edric looked at the boy, now noticing details that he wasn't able to before. The boy’s wrists were decorated with brightly colored bracelets, Edward was surprised the colors hadn’t caught his eye sooner. His hair was covered by a bright green beanie, which did nothing to keep his hair from falling on his face. Even with his hair covering his face, Edric could tell this boy was quite a sheik.
His clothes were dark with occasional pops of color, consisting of black jeans that faded to white near his ankles and a black shirt with a neckline Edric’s mother would never agree with over a bright tank top the same green as his hat.
That black shirt hung off one of his shoulders, exposing his neck and collarbone and everything that made Edric’s heart pound. His skin was a rich brown with a healthy pinkness in his cheeks and lips, appearing darker against the brightness of the tank top. His neck was decorated with two chokers that Edric wanted to rip off so he could sink his teeth into the carotid artery he could almost see pumping in the boy’s throat. How beautiful would he look with the crimson blood running down his clavicle? Edric shuts his eyes, thankful that the headphones blocked out the sound of the boy’s heartbeat. The exposure of such flesh made this difficult enough, Edric didn’t need that sound of blood rushing through the boy’s body to tempt him into sinking his teeth into a person he’d just met. He was such easy prey…
“Is it still too much?” The boy’s voice cut through the fog of thirst that clouded Edward’s mind. He shook his head. “No, sorry, it’s something else.”
“Oh, alright.” The boy looks back down at his bag.
Edward opens his eyes to look back at him. “Do you not mind me staying here?”
The boy giggles “you say that so proper!”
“Oh, I’m sorry…”
“Don’t apologize, it’s cute! Anyways, no, I don’t mind. This room isn’t mine, I don’t want to keep others from using it.”
“Oh, alright.”
“I just don’t want the teachers to know. I don’t think they’ll take me seriously if they find out why I stay here.”
“I won't tell them.”
The boy smiles “thanks. Anyways, what's your name? I'd like to see you again.”
Edward was taken aback by the boy's bluntness. “You would?”
He nods. “I’d like to get to know you more. You seem like a nice guy.”
Edward chuckles, thinking to himself nice guys don’t imagine you as their dinner. “Thanks. I’m Edric.”
The boy holds out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Edric.”
“Nice to meet you too, um, what’s your name?”
The boy is silent for a moment. “This is going to sound weird, but I’m not sure yet.”
“That does sound a bit goofy, can you explain that to me?”
The boy scoots over and leans against the door. “I don’t know, it’s hard… the name I was born with doesn’t feel right, so I’m looking for one that does.”
“Ah, I hope you find your name then! What should I call you in the meantime?”
The boy thinks for a moment, fiddling with his bracelets. “Kandi.”
“Because you’re such a pile of sugar?” Edric smiles a little.
“No,” he chuckles. “I mean like my bracelets.”
“They’re named after sweets?”
“To be honest, I’m not sure, but they’re pretty and fun to make!”
“Ah!”
Edric found himself relaxing in the presence of the boy. Even if the temptation to gobble him up was great, his longing for a person to interact with without judgment was greater. Kandi made him smile, and Edward could never hurt anyone who filled him with such warmth.