A/N: The typos are hopefully now fixed, mostly thanks to my lovely readers at ReadWawe, who loved Qws enough to point out my mistakes and to nominate this to StaffPicks despite them.

Quiet which speaks

Part 1 out of 3

We had been studying in the same program for almost three years, but I had never really noticed her. She was quiet and, well, as much as I hate to say it, ordinary. Or it would be more accurate to say that she had seemed ordinary until that night.

We were partying at Paul's house. He was the rich kid, with swimming pool and all, whose parents were never home. Ivy was also there, which was rare enough occurrence in itself, but to be honest I wouldn't probably have noticed if she hadn't been there when I went out to have a smoke.

She was standing there all alone, her gaze focused on something behind the lights of the yard. Watching her from the door, her black dress almost making her part of the night, wind playing in her dark curls and eyes distant, I thought for the first time that she was pretty. For a while I just watched her, and not once did she indicate in any way that she had noticed me. Briefly I wondered if she could indeed see something in the darkness, but decided that the lights were too bright. I cleared my throat and stepped closer. She jumped a little, but her smile was almost relieved even before she saw me. Back then I didn't understand.

"Hello, Alan."

"Hi." I mentally kicked myself for not finding anything clever to say, but she didn't seem to find the following silence awkward. Actually, there seemed to be something almost akin to amusement in her eyes as she watched me to struggle for words. After a moment she presumably took pity on me and broke the silence.

"Go ahead and light your smoke. I don't mind." To be honest I would have taken her as one of those proper girls who stared you down with their disapproving glares from as much as thinking about alcohol or tobacco. I decided I should treat her like any other girl I knew.

"Do you want one?" I asked and cursed myself to the lowest pits of hell as she laughed.

"Gods, no."

I lighted my smoke anyway and tried to look cool. I have always suspected she found it terribly funny, but I never asked and she never told me.

We stood there in silence for a while before I couldn't take it anymore and started making some meaningless small talk about school and people we both knew. I did most of the talking and she seemed content with just making some noncommittal noises here and there. I don't know how long we spent there, standing in the cooling night, but I never even thought about going back in before she said she had to leave.

"I can drive you home." It was out of my mouth before I had a chance to think it through, but for the first time in the whole night she appeared surprised. Then she snorted:

"You came to a drinking party with a car? I think I'm safer if I walk."

I could feel my cheeks heating and hastened to explain:

"I was going to spent the night here, and I only had one drink ages ago, before I came here."

She tilted her head thoughtfully and a smile crept slowly to her lips.

"Alright."

I'm sure I smiled like an idiot in response. Suddenly her smile died and her eyes darted to the darkness.

"Did you hear that?"

I hadn't heard anything, but then, she had had me pretty distracted.

"What?"

"I thought I heard a distant scream."

"Must be some kids playing around." I could say for sure that I had caused many late night screams in my time when I had managed to slip away to play with my friends. She shrugged.

"Shall we go then?"

We started dating a week later. I guess it's safe to say I was completely besotted with her. The way she looked at people like she really saw them and the quiet, amused smiles she gave at what she found entertaining and her clever wit assured that I was never bored with her. If she sometimes seemed little odd I didn't notice. Maybe she was just really good at hiding it or then it simply wasn't distracting back then, maybe an occasional whisper in a empty house in the quiet of the night, which you could write off as your imagination. But thinking back I'm sure it had already begun before that night at the party.