Jeff hit the wall and shut his eyes as he slid down it, hissing as the uneven edge of the bricks scraped through his shirt cut into him. "C'mon, Ray, ya know we're not supposed t' hit gals." Jeff had heard all the insults before. His eyes opened, and he covered his face just as he saw a foot swing at him. His head slammed back against the wall, and he groaned as there was a sharper crack. He kept his hands there, thinking there'd be another aim towards his head. Instead, it dipped lower, and he doubled over as Ray's tennis shoe connected with his stomach. He gasped for breath, his eyes watering.
"Don't insult girls, Jimmy." He bent down, his hands resting on his knees. "Ain't that right, fag-face?" Jeff didn't bother lifting his head up. "Hey, you'll look at me when I'm talkin' to you!" He was hit one more time, on the side, and he let himself fall over onto the pavement. Lying there, limply, he let out a tired whimper as he shut his eyes. They laughed, and Jeff heard the footsteps starting to head away.
"Let's go." Jeff waited until he couldn't hear their voices before slowly peeling himself from the ground. He shook and straightened himself, groaning. He throbbed all over, and he was certain he looked like a mess. He knew he shouldn't have taken the shortcut from the grocery store. He sighed as he looked over where the bags lay, chips scattered and broken. They'd popped one of the bags, and it seemed they had taken the other one for themselves.
Jeff picked up the plastic, not wanting to litter, and limped down the street towards a trash can, tossing it in. He wasn't sure how he was going to make it back to Dalton at this rate. It was hard to breath, and he wheezed before doubling over, bursting out into a fit of coughs. He looked down at his hand. Blood. There was a buzz in his pocket, and he pulled his phone out, looking at the text. It was from Wes.
You're late to practice again. This is the third time this month. I understand you have a busy schedule, but it is not only irresponsible but inconsiderate to the fellow Warblers to do this consistently.
He hadn't bothered telling them why he was late before, and he certainly wasn't about to now. Jeff sighed, stumbling backwards and leaning against the wall as he typed out a reply.
Sorry. It won't happen again. I lost track of the time. I'll be there in –
Jeff stopped, biting his lip. There was another ten minutes until he got to school followed by maybe thirty minutes to take a shower, clean off the blood, and change.
- forty-five minutes.
He slipped his phone back in and closed his eyes. His head was starting to get dizzy again. He let out a sigh and swallowed thickly. He just had to make it another few minutes. He sighed, making his way towards the school. He tripped and stumbled, catching himself several times on the wall. His mouth felt dry, and he swallowed thickly, feeling a slight burn. His eyes were slightly blurry, and it was getting painful to breath. They really had outdone themselves this time. Well, soon it wouldn't matter.
Jeff made his way into the school, stumbling through a back entrance close to his dorm. He made sure no one was in the hall before walking to his room as quickly as he could. He caught himself on the dresser as soon as he fell in, and he let himself stand still for a moment, his throat constricting.
"Fuck." This wasn't good. He made his way to his closet, grabbing the clothes he needed. It was getting hard to concentrate. His hand reached to the back of his head, and he pressed his hand up against it. He could feel it was slightly wet. Dammit, usually they were careful not to leave too noticeable marks. He'd have to wash it out and bandage it.
His head rushed through excuses – tripping, falling, getting his by a car because he hadn't paid attention… The last one seemed a bit extreme. Make it a bicyclist. He hadn't used that one before. He nodded and moved to the bathroom, stripping of his clothes and letting them fall to the ground. Lots of blood. He sighed and turned on the water, waiting a moment.
He gripped at the counter, his eyes closing. He hated this. There was no one here that he was close enough to that would care. Jeff was starting to wonder why he even bothered going through it every day. He was invisible. It had never mattered to anyone, and it was stopping to matter to him as well. He stepped into the shower, letting out a sharp hiss as the water washed over his cuts. A dirty red drained at his feet, and he closed his eyes, propping himself up against the cold, tiled wall.
He let the water rush over him for another minute or two before reaching for the shampoo. Shit, it was really going to hurt with the cut. He'd have to be careful. He washed around it as best as he could, and he winced as his fingers scraped against the cut. When he had done that, he looked down, making his way from the bottom to the top, scrubbing where he was dirty or bleeding. The ones on his back were impossible to reach, but he decided not to worry about those.
His stomach clamped, and he leaned over, shutting his eyes. When he turned off the water, he almost slipped, and he had to sit himself down for a moment at the edge of the tub when he got out. He made his way out, moving to his mini-fridge and opening the door. He pulled out a V8, grabbing a glass from the cabinet above him and shakily poured it out. Some of it spilled on his hands and the floor, but he didn't have time to worry about it now.
He took a sip and sighed, closing his eyes. It felt cold, but he would manage. He immediately started to feel his head clear a little. Filled with iron, vitamins, and sugar – all of which help with blood loss – he'd looked it all up ages ago. He reached on top of the fridge, grabbing the pack of Fig Newtons. He pulled one out, nibbling lightly on it before sighing.
Carefully, Jeff made his way to the bathroom. The most obvious cuts on his face were the one at the back of his head and a scratch there as well. There were several bruises that were starting to form as well. A gasp on his back shoulder became apparent when he turned around. Jeff groaned, reaching down to his cabinet and pulling out the alcohol and the bandages.
It took a good while to clean them all out and wrap them up. He was running late, and he still felt a bit dizzy as he finished with his tie. He made his way out of the hall and to the practice, pushing open the doors and holding himself as straight as possible. There was a pang in his stomach, and he doubled over. Shit. He made his way in, slumped instead, and a few head turned towards him.
"Are you alright?" Blaine was at his side right away. He was probably who Jeff would consider the closest to him. Jeff managed a tight smile.
"Fine. Yeah, I got Wes' text and ran to hurry up. Got hit by a bicyclist, and – well – it seemed to actually have the adverse effect." He laughed, though it died as he clutched at his stomach.
Blaine's hand rubbed his shoulder, and he sighed. "You should be careful , okay? We can't have you… You seem to hurt yourself a lot, Jeff. I'm just worried." Jeff nodded, folding his hands in his lap as he walked to a chair and sat down.
"Warbler Jeff," Wes nodded towards him. Eyes seemed to linger on him for a moment before Wes cleared his throat and they continued their discussion.
"I mean, while All You Need Is Love is a traditional song, I don't think it would win over the judges. Besides, that was not one of our strongest selections this year," Trent said, and Jeff let himself zone out. His hand reached for the bridge of his nose, and he squeezed it.
Tonight was the night. He'd been thinking about it for a year, and a few weeks ago he'd picked today. Today's attack seemed to cement it for him. He'd snatched the drugs from his parents. It worked well, really; a gun was too hard to come by, and he didn't fancy the idea of something going wrong. Taking the drugs would be just like falling asleep – easy and painless.
His mother was having trouble sleeping, and to deal with her insomnia the doctors had prescribed Solfoton. He'd looked it up: it was a Phenobarbital that was prescribed to help with seizures, insomnia, and to relieve anxiety. In small doses it was helpful, and overdose wasn't absolutely uncommon. The information had been easy enough to find over Google.
His parents hadn't suspected him for one moment. He'd always been the good kid in class and out. They'd just assumed his mother had misplaced it, and they'd gone to get another one. He'd listened, shaking as his mother turned to him and said, "Honestly, I swear I'm getting worse. First my glasses now this…" She'd laughed at it, and Jeff had heaved a sigh of relief. The bottle was carefully stashed behind his books. He'd made sure to pull them out an even amount so that no one would notice.
He was one of the few people at Dalton who had gotten a single room, but he had been paranoid someone would visit and happen to see. He ran his tongue over his lips. There were a good thirty sixty-milligram tablets, and he figured that should be enough.
"Warbler Jeff, what's your opinion?" Jeff snapped his head up, his brow furrowing.
"I – uh…" He swallowed thickly, looking around. Blaine looked at him, trying to mouth something across the room. It was no use. "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention." Wes looked at him for a moment longer before sighing.
"Very well." Jeff had expected to be yelled at, and he was surprised when Wes simply nodded his head and turned to Flint. "What do you have to say about the song selection?" Jeff groaned, slipping away from the conversation again. He'd managed to avert a crisis this time, and by tomorrow it wouldn't matter anyway.
When Warbler practice ended, he pulled himself painfully out of his chair and began to limp out of the room. He felt someone's hand on his shoulder and froze, turning around. "You hurt yourself pretty badly." Wes stood, staring at Jeff, his eyes narrowed slightly. "Are you alright? I mean… is there something going on? Something you want to talk about?" For a moment Jeff considered telling him everything. He felt his eyes water, and the words started to come up.
His mouth snapped shut as he swallowed, and he pushed back the tears.
"Nothing. Why? Do I seem off?" Wes regarded him for a moment before shaking his head.
"No, no. I just – Never mind." He shook his head. "I was just wondering." Jeff managed a tight smile. If only Wes knew.
"Well, thanks for the concern, but everything's fine. I actually have to go do homework, so…" He trailed off and shifted his weight to his other leg as his right one started to hurt. Jeff wondered whether Wes would even care when he found out.
"Alright. I will see you later then." No.
"Yup. See ya later." Jeff made his way out of the practice, seeing Blaine motion to him but ignoring him. He just had to get this over with as quickly as possible. He made it back to his room, his breathing starting to get heavy. It was still painful and dizzying to walk too long. He locked the door behind him, stumbled over to the bed, and fell down on it. For a moment, he just sat there and catching his breath before scooting over.
His hand reached up, moving his copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray to reveal an orange bottle. He took it out, carefully setting it to the side before pulling himself up with a strained effort. He reached for a glass, going to the bathroom and filling it with water before making it back over to the bed. He uncapped the bottle, spilling the tablets on his bed and staring at them.
Was he supposed to write a letter? Would anyone care? He figured Blaine might for a little while, and maybe his parents… He blinked several times, his brow furrowing. They were the only ones he felt somewhat bad about. They cared about him, but they were never around. Never noticed when he came back bruised and cut. 'Busy trying to make a life for you,' they had put it as. It made him feel guilty. His hand moved out, and he grabbed a pen from the table. Carefully, he tore the edge off of his math homework and brought it to his knee.
It was good enough, and even if it wasn't, it was all he could manage. He could write paragraphs explaining why – how he'd dealt with this for years, and how he'd thought going to Dalton would make it better. How it had followed him here. How he had no friends. What was the point? Why was he bothering with it anymore?
But he didn't have time or the strength in him anymore. Jeff picked up a few pills and stared at them. He spilled them in his mouth and began reaching for the glass when an unfamiliar voice sounded out through the room.