i walk to elliot’s house the next morning for school. knocking on the door, i await patiently.
after ten minutes, dread seems to devour me and i chew on my lip in thought. did something happen?
i take a deep breath, and knock again.
then finally, i hear someone. i wait for the door to open, and when it does, it reveals a worried looking jake.
“he’s not here.” is all he says, before trying to close the door.
i quickly step in before it closes, “what?”
i gently close the door behind me, pressing my back against it.
“i checked this morning, elliot isn’t in his room.”
more worry settles over me, and i dart upstairs and into elliot’s room. but jake’s right; his room is empty.
i curse in my head, and hurry back downstairs. “where would he have gone?”
jake only shrugs at this, watching me make my way down the steps.
i leave his house, and suddenly realisation hits. i stop in my tracks and look around- the blue paint staining the wall around me proves jake didn’t manage to scrub it off overnight and my previous attempts made no difference either.
i hurry outside. not knowing where to go, i head to school. if elliot isn’t there, he must be in trouble. i sprint all the way there and my legs ache terribly when i arrive.
my lungs are on fire and i gasp, trying to catch my breath. but i don’t stop; i break out into a jog as i search through the hallways.
“elliot?” i shout, my voice echoing off the walls.
luckily, there aren’t many students here yet, so i can search all i want without the fear of being looked at funny. plus, less students means it should be easier to find him.
key word: should.
i dart about like a madman, peeking into different classrooms as i scour the halls. but i see no sign of him.
i contemplate just leaving, so i turn around and begin to walk towards the exit.
until i hear a distant sniffing.
it’s so quiet, i can barely hear it. but i’m sure it’s coming from a room behind me, which is odd because i definitely checked all the classrooms in this part of the school.
and then it hits me; the bathrooms!
my body doesn’t hesitate to run into the room labelled ‘boys washroom.’ and i heave the door open, my bones suddenly feeling like jelly.
the sniffing noises quickly stop when i enter, and i call out his name once again.
but that’s all i needed to prove that it was, in fact, elliot behind the stall door.
i knock quietly on the only closed door and sigh, resting my forehead against it.
“elliot, it’s me. open the door.” but when nothing happens, i knock again, “please.”
i hear a shuffle of movement for a while, and my mind suddenly fills with all kinds of bad thoughts. what’s he doing?
but then my mind blanks and relief washes over me when the door unlocks.
i push it open, hesitantly.
my heart immediately breaks at the sight in front of me; elliot is sitting on the lid of the toilet, his knees to his chest.
his arms are wrapped around himself tightly, as his tear-stained face looks up at me.
“leo?” i whisper, “what happened?”
he turns his head away slightly, “you.”
when he doesn’t elaborate, i try to think of anything i could’ve done to upset elliot. but nothing comes to mind.
“what do you mean?” i ask him, hoping he’ll answer.
it takes a while for him to respond, and when he does, i realise just how strained his voice is.
“g-graffiti.” he stutters, audibly gulping.
i let my bag slip off my shoulder and i open it, quickly finding my water bottle. i hand it to elliot with concern written on my face.
i watch him carefully as he takes a long drink before handing it back to me. i put it away, and crouch down in front of him.
“graffiti?” i ask, and he nods.
i sit confused for a while before the realisation suddenly hits me. “you think that was me?”
he looks down at me with his eyebrows creased. he nods again, very slowly.
“elliot, that wasn’t me.” i say quietly, unsure if he believes me.
“b-but the blue paint…and you didn’t show up to d-detention.” he says, hiccuping slightly in between words.
when i realise his thought process, i understand why he thinks it was me. it makes perfect sense.
“the blue paint, kai! y-you had blue paint.”
but how do i prove to him that it wasn’t?
word count: 795*edited*please vote!