Framed Hearts: A Journey of love and self Discovery by Ettron Books

Chapter 2: Behind the Lens

Liam Hayes straightened up, holding a few of Emma’s papers in his hand. “I think these are yours,” he said, his voice light with a hint of an unplaceable accent. He had a casual demeanor, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled, a camera hanging loosely around his neck.

“Thanks,” Emma replied, her voice softer than she intended. She took her papers, avoiding his gaze. Liam, with his easy charm and confident stride, was a known figure around the campus – the kind of person Emma usually tried to steer clear of, not out of dislike, but out of a sense of overwhelming difference.

As she organized her papers, Liam glanced at the top sheet, catching a few lines of her written work. “You’re in Prof. Dawson’s storytelling class, right? Heard it’s quite an experience,” he remarked casually, trying not to overstep but clearly curious.

“Yes, it’s… it’s more than just a class for me,” Emma found herself saying, surprised at her own openness. “It’s like living in a world where stories breathe and dance.”

Liam’s expression showed genuine interest, a stark contrast to the nonchalant persona he usually projected. “Sounds fascinating. I’m Liam, by the way. Liam Hayes.”

“I know,” Emma said before she could stop herself, and then, realizing how it sounded, added, “I mean, I’ve seen your photography work around. I’m Emma Sinclair.”

A brief silence followed, filled with unspoken words and curiosity. It was then that Zoe appeared, her arrival breaking the moment. “There you are, Em! Who’s your new friend?”

Emma introduced them quickly, her cheeks flushing with a hint of embarrassment. Liam greeted Zoe with a nod and a friendly smile, then turned back to Emma. “Well, I should get going. Maybe I’ll see you around, Emma Sinclair. Keep weaving those stories.”

As he walked away, Emma felt an unusual stir within her. It wasn’t like her to engage with someone so effortlessly, especially someone like Liam. Zoe nudged her playfully. “Looks like someone made an impression,” she teased.

Emma rolled her eyes, but inside, she couldn’t deny the odd flutter in her stomach. She pushed the feeling aside, focusing instead on the day ahead. Yet, as they made their way to their next class, Emma couldn’t help but steal a glance back in the direction Liam had gone.

Unknown to Emma, that chance encounter was the first brushstroke on a canvas of events that would color her world in shades she never knew existed. As the day unfolded, filled with lectures and the usual routines, Emma’s mind often drifted back to that brief interaction, each time leaving her with a sense of wonder and an unspoken question: what if?

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