23 / goodbye - part two

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Silence fell, and it kept falling

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Silence fell, and it kept falling. Ishaana felt her heart jump into her throat when she heard the two words that she had never guessed would leave Priya's mouth, two words that had an instant resonance with Bishop. He gripped the phone in his hand, devastation riddling his features as he read the story that confirmed what Priya had just told him. Ishaana leant against him, her heart pounding as she read over his elbow.

Casey Watts, 24, was found dead in his Birmingham hotel room at 6:20pm last night, of a suspected overdose. Police have called his death unsuspicious. His family have been notified. Watts formed one half of the indie-pop band Two Degrees, which split last year after four years together. After opening for boyband sensation, South Season, Two Degrees secured a series of gigs around the country and in the United States but in May of last year, they announced their break-up on Twitter. Watts was pursuing a solo career after the band's dissolution, though he was blighted by drug and alcohol addictions. His death will come as a shock to many fans.

­Above the article was a photo of Casey; beside that, a snapshot of him and Bishop on stage together. In the middle, a picture of the hotel where he had been found dead. Ishaana instantly recognised it, the hotel where they had shared their first night together after the concert, and her stomach churned. Her hand gripped Bishop's skin, her fingers tightening around his forearm.

"I'm so sorry," Priya said, her voice quiet and shaking. She brushed away a tear that leaked out of the corner of her eye, spilling over when there was only so much that she could hold back her emotions. She was one of those fans, waiting on a solo album when she had known nothing of the truth behind the band's split. Bishop had always assured her that it was a mutual decision, best for the both of them, and she had spent a year begging him to go back to music.

"Who's died?" Sunita asked, confusion setting into her features, and Saffiya took it upon herself to answer when nobody else seemed to be in a position to respond.

"Casey," she said softly, leaning across the table to her mother. "He was Bishop's bandmate, last year."

Sunita's pupils dilated, her hand going to her mouth. "Oh my goodness," she said and when she stood to do what she could to console, it was Priya who folded into her arms, stifling a sob against her aunt's chest. Ishaana was rooted to the spot, gripping Bishop as she waited for him to react. The news had hit her like a punch, Priya's blunt words coming as a shock, but as that wore away, she was left with nothing but the bitter taste of the anger she had harbored towards Casey, even after so many months apart. Rage coated her tongue, reigniting the hatred towards him that had inflamed each time last year had haunted her, pushing her away from Bishop.

"Bishop," she murmured, breaking the stony wall that had gone up around him as he tried to process what he had heard. She slipped her hand into his, lacing their fingers together, and she didn't know what to say as she gazed at him, her mouth hanging open. Sorry was the word, she thought, but she couldn't bring herself to say that when it was impossible to ignore the pain that Casey had inflicted on her, the lasting damage his words had had.

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