Chapter Twenty Nine: Roxy

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I watched him intently all through the talk but he wouldn't meet my eyes. Instead, he kept them fixed firmly on Erica who was droning on about some topic I really couldn't be bothered to listen to. His hand was poised, clutching a pen, over one of the notebooks which had been given out at the beginning of the meeting. So far he hadn't made any notes and this was how I could tell that he wasn't listening to her either. Instead, he appeared to be focusing very, very hard on not making eye contact with me. Well that was too bad.

Wow, I think this might actually be worse than looking after the Drynans! At least we're inside this time, I guess.

I tore the message off of my own notebook and scrunched it into a ball. When I was sure that no one was looking, I tossed it into Brae's lap. He looked down at it in confusion for a moment before unwrapping it and reading, his face expressionless.

Oh. Maybe I should have signed it? But surely it was obvious that it was from me. I twitched my fingers nervously as he continued to stare at the note. What had gotten into me? It was almost as though I cared. But I couldn't. That would be very, very stupid.

I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn't notice the little piece of paper come back until it landed in my lap, making me jump. A broad smile spread across my face as I picked it up. This, in conjunction with my jump, caught the attention of Cin, who was sitting a few seats down from me. He raised his eyebrow, questioning, but I shrugged in response and tried to look casual, keeping the paper balled up tightly in my hand. When he turned his attention back to the Sephan, I opened the note.

It's no more useless than any of the others I've had to sit through so far. I'm beginning to question why we've come here at all.

Oh, that wasn't good. Did he suspect something? Eyes wide, I looked up, only to find Brae staring straight back at me. It was as though he was watching for my reaction. As calmly and quickly as I could, I wrote back.

Surely you must feel as though you've gained something by coming here?

I threw it over to him as a little voice in my head whispered, 'He's met me. Isn't that something?' Even though the thought had been silent, I felt my cheeks heat up and I glanced guiltily from side to side. Bad Roxy.

But the light streaming through the glass wall behind him suddenly caught the silver in his hair, making it shimmer. I felt as though a large knot of flames had been lit in my stomach, making me feel nauseous and excited all at once. Before I could worry about this too much, the note came back.

Not as much as I had hoped.

'Well that suggests he's gained something' the new little voice piped up again excitedly. Trying my best to ignore it, I read on.

There isn't anything you would like to tell me is there?

I thought we were friends.

Well that was confusing. What did he mean by that? He had said that we were friends though. That was... good, I think. Excited little sparks flared at my fingers but I smothered then immediately. I needed to get a grip. Brae was a puppet, a pawn, not someone I could be friends with, or care about.

I should detest him. He was an Arcan. There was no way-

But how was I going to answer? 'We are friends?' Pathetic.

'And anyway, you want more than that' the obnoxious little voice flared up again.

My cheeks burned and I felt like I might be sick. I pushed my chair back and hurried out of the room and away from Brae, trying desperately to ignore the slight ache in my chest as I left his sight. His note was still balled up tightly in my fingers.

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