When I got home I logged on and saw Nick was online. I invited him to a game but he turned it down. He said he was busy sorting something else. I frowned at the computer screen, unsure what to do. I opened up the internet and checked Facebook. Michael had posted, saying he couldn't wait for Monday. I liked the comment and turned the computer off. I did homework and then went to sleep.
The next day was mostly quiet, I looked out for Nick but couldn't see him. Was he avoiding me? He wasn't around for the morning class we shared. Break came and went and I didn't hear anything the others were talking about as we entered the drama room.
“Shit,” I murmured. Lewis was sat down in the far corner but even with the low lights I could make out the bruises and swelling. What was he doing in school in that state? It was insane. I walked over and sat down next oh him. He sent me a side-ways glance.
“Can I help you?” he muttered, clearly unhappy with my presence. I glanced at the others, they hadn't noticed yet.
“I just figured I should give you some advice,” I said, turning to look at him; He raised an eyebrow but didn't object.
“Apologise to Michael,” I said. Lewis glared at him and look away.
“That it? I already figured that much. I did when he was still in hospital,” he replied.
“Oh, I figured they wouldn't let you visit,” I murmured, feeling embarrassed now.
“They shouldn't have. The ward staff were a bit dumb there. But he didn't mind. That guy is scary forgiving,” Lewis muttered the last part. Is that why he was letting Quinn and his friends beat him to a pulp? Did he think it was his due after what he'd done? I was glad guilt was hurting him, but at the same time worried. I glanced down at my covered wrists. I could sense Lewis was close to doing something to himself, if he hadn't already. His nature hadn't changed, not really. It just more self-destructive than before.
“Okay, second piece of advice,” I said, aware Zack was watching us. Probably making sure Lewis didn't get angry or something.
“Talk to Zack and work out whatever issue it is you have with him,” I said. Lewis starred at me, genuine shock on his face.
“Like hell-” he started.
“I mean it. Everyone thinks Michael was your target, but we both know it was Zack. I'm not going to ask what problems you have, that's none of my business. But in a few weeks we go to college. And your going to long road like us, right? So I'd suggest sorting this out beforehand. College is meant to be a fresh start, remember?” I rambled, aware he was still glaring at me.
“Just seriously consider it,” I sighed. Then I rejoined the others. Zack sent me a silent look and I nodded, telling him I was fine. Mrs Roberts took one look at Lewis when she walked in and sent him home. Nick entered, saying he was sorry for being late.
“Where were you?” I asked when she started telling us what we were doing that lesson.
“Hospital appointment,” he replied. I wanted to ask what for but I got the sense he didn't want to talk about it.
“I hope its nothing serious,” I said. He smiled and shook his head. I felt rather than saw Amber's glare. Based on the uncomfortable shifting Nick was doing he sensed it to. I glanced over my shoulder and saw she was in the opposite classroom, looking through the door window where me and Nick were sat.
“Your ex really hates me,” he whispered. I blinked at him in shock and we both burst into laughter. Did that mean he knew I liked him?
“Amber hates everyone if that helps,” I replied making him laugh again. I also wondered when he'd figured out that me and Amber had been together? Or maybe Zack had let him know. Either way I was glad he didn't care. Too many people in this school were anti-gay as it was.
“Looking forward to the bowling?” Nick asked, I nodded. It'd be nice to hang out outside of school for once. And maybe I could get Nick alone and actually ask him out. Me and Amber were just friends now. I had no reason to feel guilty for wanting to move on. I recalled Darren's idea, would I still go through with it if Nick decided to be with me? I didn't know, getting some form of payback appealed to me. I knew it wasn't good or nice of me to feel that way but I did. I guess I'd just have to wait and see. The bell rang and we headed off for lunch. I told Nick I'd meet him outside and headed to the bathroom. I paused approached an empty cubicle when the sound of retching reached my ears. I sighed loudly and leaned against the only cubicle in use.
“I thought you were going to stop that,” I said through the plastic door. Amber opened the door and went to the sink, washing out her mouth with water.
“I'm trying,” she admitted when she was done, leaning against the sides, her hands still dripping water. She starred at her own reflection and I wondered what imaginary flaws she was seeing.
“What about you?” she asked. We both knew she was talking about the cutting. I double-checked no one was around, even though we would've seen if someone new had walked in. I lifted my sleeves and showered her.
“No fresh scars. Its … difficult. But I think I'll be okay,” I said. It had bee horribly difficult. My skin itched and yelled at me. But I ignored it, I now had a good group of friends. And dad had promised I'd get to finish secondary school and college here. I had no reason to be sad anymore.
“I'm glad,” Amber said, her smile soft. Her eyes so warm and sincere that instinctively I covered one of her hands with mine.
“I'm stopping. So you need to as well. I don't like the thought of you hurting yourself anymore than you do of me,” I said, tightening my grip on her hand. She turned away from the sink and face me, the smell of her vanilla perfume was pushing itself into my system. I knew any moment now she'd lean in and kiss me. I dropped her hand.
“I should go,” I murmured, looking at the floor. I left quickly, not waiting for a response. I'd forgotten what happened when we were alone. Next time I'd avoid the situation and leave sooner.