Posting schedule went wonky for a minute there lol
I still don't own Misfits or my bb Simon but a girl can dream.
Introducing another character in this chapter that will remind you of someone. Guess who :)
Lucy sometimes pretends to smoke so she can go outside during non- free time. It's a clever trick, he thinks. Sure, every so often a nurse will come and check on her, but she gets to leave, gets to soak up what few rays of sun they do get before it'll start raining just before free time rolls around. She always goes out when it's sunny.
"You should do it, too," she tells him. Lately her fake smoking has turned into real smoking. Her hair still hides her face, but he'll watch the smoke stream from between her lips and will think about how it will be to kiss her later on, how he'll taste the smoke on her tongue. The smell makes him sick. He's sure if he attempted it, he might vomit. "They'd know I'm lying," he replies.
"That's because you're a shite liar! You simply need some practice."
"I don't want to lie."
"Why not? It's fun." she tosses her cigarette on the ground and stubs it out.
"How do you mean?"
"Okay," she scoots closer to him on the bench. "It's like this: Simon, how did you end up in the unit."
He sighs. "You already know this. I tried to kill myself."
"See, that's boring! And depressing. No one wants to hear stuff like that. You'll scare them off. Here," she turns so she's facing him entirely, an eager flare in her eyes. "Ask me how I got into this shithole."
"Just do it," she bites out.
He rolls his eyes. "How did you end up in the unit?"
"I tried to kill my kid brother, drown him. The annoying little prat was always touching my things... breaking them. So I told him, I said if he did it again I was going to kill him. He didn't believe me. And one day he broke my favorite doll! So when mother left the kitchen, with the sink full of dish water just there, I snatched him up, dragged him over, and shoved his face in it. Oh, if you'd seen the way he kicked and flailed. And I just pushed him down further. I would have done it, Simon, but mother came back and caught me. She sent me here to get help."
He's aware his mouth his hanging open, but he can't help it, really. He's been blind- sided by what she's just told him. "Are you taking the piss?"
"Do you think I'm taking the piss?"
"I- I don't know. You've never told me why you're in here."
"That's the point, Simon. As long as you're giving people something they're satisfied. Does it really matter if you're telling the truth?"
He looks at the ground and kicks at the pavement. "It matters to me."
"If you want a story for why I'm here, there's your story."
"So it's true?"
She scoffs. "No, but you're none the wiser, are you?"
He glances back to her. "Are you ever going to tell me why you're really in here?"
She reaches inside her shirt pocket and pulls out a cigarette, pops it between her lips, quickly lighting it and inhaling deep. "Nope."
They kiss in the dark, heavy breaths and roaming hands and the weight of all the things they never say clinging to them like a second skin. They use their bodies to say it.
Lucy is frenzied and frantic. He learns this by the way she touches him, pushing and pulling and grinding, like she can't get close enough... can't push him far enough away. He always wants to tell her to slow down. He's never got to experience something like this before, something so nice. Those words don't leave him, though.
Lucy is too hot a flame, enveloping him in this burning path that he's too afraid to step out of. Because stepping out means extinguishing the parts of him that actually like this twisted relationship they have.
Fucked up is better than nothing, right?
"Tell me why you're here," she breaths against his ear, moving her hips in that way that makes him wish he actually knew what the hell he's doing.
His hands freeze on her waist, his blood feeling like it's now running cold. "What?"
"In the unit. Why are you here in the unit?"
He goes very still... and very quiet.
"Come on, Simon, don't clam up now." She bites at his ear and he involuntarily twitches. She always knows just what to do to make his body respond to hers. "I know you tried to kill yourself. That's how you got that mark on your neck."
He flinches and pushes at her until she slides off him. He can't think when she's doing those things she does, and he needs his thoughts right now.
"I'm not trying to push you or anything," Lucy quickly tells him. "You don't have to tell me."
"N- no. I want to." He sighs and reaches up, smoothing down his hair as self consciousness takes over. "It's... difficult," he says after a long moment. "I don't like how talking about it makes me feel."
Lucy takes his hand and intertwines their fingers. "How does it make you feel?" And then she laughs. "God I just sounded like our twat therapist."
He smiles. "It's fine. I..." A small lump forms in his throat and the corners of his eyes wet. He hates the way his body betrays him with these actions. "I feel ashamed," he admits, ducking his head. "That I let things get that bad. That I never fought back. And when I tried..."
"Someone hurt you." It's not a question. She says it like she's known it all along.
He nods. "We were friends once. He was the only friend I had, actually. Everyone picked on me, but not him. At least not until he became popular. I was just the weird kid he still hung around. Until he stopped coming around and started being cruel to me. It last for years! And... I never did anything. I told people, but no one helped. And then I tried to burn his house down."
There's the briefest flair that appears in her eyes, like she's excited by this news. "No way!"
He shakes his head, hopes it conveys how bad he still feels about it. He doesn't want Lucy to think that's the sort of person he is. "I'm not proud of it. I just... wanted it to stop. But I couldn't go through with it and I got caught. I'm supposed to start community service when I get out of here."
"It sounds like you got a lot of shit handed to you. It's no wonder you tried to off yourself. I would."
It's not usually the kind of thing that would comfort someone, but her words make him feel better. He looks over at her. "Really?"
"Definitely. What's this twats name?"
Matt's name leaves his mouth in an almost growl.
"Well, he sounds like a right prick." It's funny how much she sounds like Jack as she says this. It makes him smile.
"He is." He licks his lips. "So that's it. That's why I'm here."
She gives his hand a squeeze. "I'm glad you're still here. You're the only real friend I've got in this place."
"W- what about you?"
Lucy inhales sharply. "Me?"
"Yeah, I told you why I'm here. Y- you should tell me."
"Later," she whispers.
"Because I want to kiss you again."
He doesn't try to argue. They pick up where they left off all too quickly, but everything she said to him sits at the front of his mind. They sneak back to their rooms just as the suns coming up and only when he's back in his own room does something dawn on him. She didn't refer to him as anything more than her friend. So why was he hoping, even just the smallest bit, that they might be something more than that?
He's outside all alone and feeling anxious. It's the first time he's had to sit by himself in weeks. Per Lucy's advice, he managed to lie to a point that was somewhat believable enough for him to go outside and have a pretend cigarette. He needs some space to breathe. Lucy won't be joining him, she's currently in her room after yelling at another patient during group therapy, when they threatened to tell on her for sneaking out of her room at night.
Apparently they'd heard her leaving each night, and not returning to her room until early morning. The thought of it all makes Simon nervous, the idea that the girl, being angry she got hit, will tell on them for sure. That he'll be found out, too, and they'll both get in trouble. That he'll have to stay here longer.
"Hey, you got a light?"
Simon startles, turning quickly with thoughts of Jack quickly springing to mind. Sometimes he forgets he's gone. He also forgets he's got a non- smoked cigarette in his hand and it ends up colliding with someone.
He watches the persons hands, bright purple nails, brushing away the burning embers.
"I- I'm so sorry. I-" He looks up and the words catch in the back of his throat.
A pair of bright green eyes look back at him through a spring of curls. Blood red lips curl up to reveal bright white teeth that stand out more against brown skin. "That hurt," the girl says to him, brushing the spot she got burned again.
He clears his throat and opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out and his face heats.
The girl chuckles quietly. "Okay, well, the most you could do after nearly setting me on fire is give me your lighter."
He fumbles to get his hand inside his pocket and pull it out, quickly handing it to her. She reaches for it, and during which, he catches sight of the bandage on her wrist. She yanks her hand back and hurriedly sets the cigarette between her lips, lighting it with fast precision. She's better at it than Lucy. When she goes to hand the lighter back, he tells her to keep it.
"Won't you need it back? For your own smokes?" Her voice is high, almost musical, and makes his stomach flutter.
He glances at the ground and scuffs at it with his shoe, smiling a little. "I don't actually smoke."
She laughs. "I figured."
He looks back at her, eyes wide with surprise. "How?"
"You don't hold your cigarette like a smoker. You hold it very far away from you, like you don't like the smell. Which would explain how I ended up getting burned."
"Am I that obvious? he asks with a small smile. "I am really sorry, about burning you."
She shrugs. "I've had worse."
He watches as she takes a long hit and goes over what he wants to say in his head at least a dozen times before mustering up the courage to say anything. "You're new here."
"Scuse me?" she asks through a stream of smoke.
He swallows nervously and repeats himself. "I noticed, well, you've never been in group. Or around during free time. I just assumed you're new."
"You'd have assumed correct. Just got in a couple hours ago. While we're doing the third degree you wanna ask me what I'm in for?"
"I-" His face is on fire. "That isn't what I was trying to... I didn't mean... I'll just go now." He drops the cigarette that's burned to ash and turns to walk away when she touches his shoulder and makes him freeze. Her hand is so warm.
"Wait! I was just messing about, you don't have to leave."
He wonders why she'd possibly want him to stay. Girls as pretty as her don't talk to guys like him. And here she is, asking him in so many words to stay. "I don't want to impose."
"You do... wait!" Her eyebrows come together and she smiles. "I mean you can impose. It doesn't bother me. Besides, I'm the one who came over to you, so technically I'm the one imposing. I can go if you want."
"No!" He gets embarrassed by his over eagerness and looks down at the ground.
She laughs. "You're turning bright red."
He looks to the ground reaches up to smooth down his hair.
"What's your name?" she asks.
He peeks up at her. "Simon."
"Simon, hm. You definitely look like a Simon. I like it."
He wants to tell her he likes the way his name sounds as she says it, knows he'd never have the courage to do so. "What's yours?"
He stares at her for a few minutes before replying, "I don't know."
"Emma," she quickly answers. "I'm Emma."
"Emma," he repeats. "You look like an Emma."
"You're funny," she says with a small giggle. Then, "How long have you been in here?"
He looks around with a scowl. "Nearly a month."
"Oh, you don't think they'll keep me in here that long, do you?"
"Not if you cooperate, do what they want."
She takes another hit and blows out a few rings of smoke. "And what's that?"
"Talk," he replies, and he can't keep the contempt from his voice. ""Follow the rules, participate." Be everything you're not.
"And I'll get out sooner?"
"So then why are you still here?"
He has to stop himself from visibly cringing, his normal reaction to these sort of questions. He doesn't want her to see that. "I don't... talk," he answers carefully.
"At all? Or you mean to them? 'Cause you're kind of talking to me."
"Oh, do you... do you not want to talk? God, you probably don't! And here I am, chatting your fuckin' ear off. I'm such an idiot."
"You're not!" he's quick to tell her. "I- I don't mind. It's nice... having someone to talk to."
She smiles. "Yeah, it is, isn't it."
A door behind them opens and Simon glances over his should to see a nurse standing there. "Smoke break's over. Get back inside." The door slams behind her as she slips back inside.
"Wow! Pleasant one, isn't she?"
Simon smiles. "That's nurse Donna. She's the resident grouch."
"Thanks for letting me know. I'll be sure to go out of my way to avoid her."
"We should get inside."
She nods. "And then what?"
"Group, dinner... back to our rooms."
"Sounds like a blast." She tells him, rolling her eyes. "All right, then. Lets do this, yeah?" She tosses her smoke on the ground and stubs it out. "Well, thanks for letting me bug you. I'll see you around?"
He swallows hard and nods. "It was nice meeting you Emma." He's rewarded with another smile before she walks past him and disappears inside.
She smelled like apples, he thinks, the air leaving his lungs in a heavy gust as he tries to comprehend what just happened. He'd actually talked to someone, someone who wasn't Lucy. And she said she liked his name. She was nice to him. He has a Cheshire grin on his face all the way to the cafeteria. Nothing can bring him down.
Except maybe Lucy herself.
She sits across from him with her notebook open, face buried in it, the pencil in her hand moving furious and swift on the page. She pays him no mind, and the way she has her lip curled and teeth barred in an almost predatory look tells him it's best not to draw attention to himself anyway. She'd probably yell at him. He even entertains the thought that she might stab him with that pencil she's digging into the paper. A small chill ripples up his spine.
He decides to stay quiet and instead looks around and ends up catching sight of Emma sitting in one of the corners of the cafeteria, next to the window. She's staring out it. He thinks of how lonely she looks. He wonders if she'd come if he called her over to sit with them.
A loud crack makes him jump and look back to Lucy. She's just stabbed her notebook and shattered her pencil, and his now glaring at him through slitted eyes. "What are you looking at?"
"N- nothing." He averts his eyes to the table.
"An extra hour of therapy and no free time for a week! Can you believe that? All because that slag bitch couldn't keep her mouth shut. She'll keep quiet now, I guarantee it."
Simon quickly looks back at her. "What? What did you do?"
Lucy shrugs. "What I had to in order to ensure her silence."
He leans forward, takes a quick look around the room and back at her, whispering, "You hurt her?"
She scoffs and rolls her eyes. "Of course not, mister be- nice officer." She says it with a sneer. "I may have caught up with her in the hallway and merely told her that I'd cut her tongue out if she ratted."
"Lucy! You... you shouldn't say things like that to people."
"Because it's wrong." He finds it ridiculous that this is something he even has to explain to her. Sometimes it seems like she has no conscious about the things she does or says. "And you could get in more trouble," he adds as a reminder.
"Oh, fuck if I care anymore." She slams her notebook shut and pushes it away from her. "All that matters is we can keep doing what we're doing and that bitch keeps her mouth shut."
"M- maybe we should stop for a while."
"What?" she cries. "Why?"
He doesn't mean to, but his eyes flit over to Emma. This doesn't get past Lucy. But then, things rarely do. "Seriously, what are you- She turns and gets quiet as she obviously spots what his sight has been setting on. Turning back to him, she asks, "Who's that."
He glances down at the table. "N- no one. I don't know."
"She doesn't look like a no one. Simon... look at me."
He tries to ignore her demand.
He locks gazes with her.
"Who is that?" she repeats.
He recalls his conversation with Lucy about lying. Be a better liar, she'd told him. "I don't know. Someone new? I've never seen her." He hopes he's managed to sound at least somewhat convincing.
Lucy raises her eyebrows. "Really? Well, perhaps we should call her over and introduce ourselves?"
He tries his hardest to keep his voice calm and smooth, even with his heart hammering in his chest. "If you want."
He has her here. Lucy would never go out of her way to talk to someone new, someone she doesn't know. The only one in this place she talks to is him. "She looks like a whore," Lucy says, looking over at her again.
Simon bites his tongue so hard it bleeds in his attempt not to disagree with her. "Kind of," he says after a moment.
Lucy looks back at him with a satisfied smile. "Well, looks like you're stuck by yourself for a week. Sucks for you."
In his peripheral vision, he catches the quick look that Emma gives him. Maybe not, he thinks, suppressing a smile. "I'm sure I'll manage."
Lucy rolls her eyes and reaches for her notebook. She flips it open, grabs a new pencil, and starts to sketch again, going back to ignoring him.
He manages to get a quick look at what she damaged when she stabbed the paper before. It was a picture of their therapist. She stabbed a hole in her forehead. He shivers at the sight and looks away. He isn't sure whether he likes her more than he's actually scared of her. More than he's scared of himself for getting involved with her in the first place.
The first time he ever talks in group- really talks- more than just the one off words he's said in the past, it's to get into an argument... with Lucy.
The topic they're discussing today, is regret. Everyone has had something to share with the group, something in their life that they've regretted. He's ignored most of what's been said, only paying attention long enough to do his normal routine when they call on him to talk. He keeps his gaze in his lap and pretends he isn't being talked to until they move on to someone else.
That someone else is the girl beside him, a little on the large side with a thick accent that's hard to understand at times. Simon tries his best to tune her out, but a bit of her story slips through. She slept with a lad, one who wasn't very good to her, and she regrets it. She tells the group through tears that if there was ever one thing in her life she wishes she could change, it's that experience.
Lucy sits beside him on the opposite side, and he can hear her becoming annoyed. She doesn't like it when people cry, which he finds a bit hypocritical considering the times she's cried in front of him. Never given a reason, of course, but cried none the less. Lucy sighs and huffs, slinking further down in her chair. He can almost feel how tense she is.
"I just wish I hadn't done it," the girl says, letting out a choked sob.
"Everyone does things they're not proud of," Doctor Jacobs says to try and sooth her. "The thing is-"
That's when Lucy decides to jump in, apparently fed up with it all. "You should have kept your legs closed."
"What?" the girl asks in that thick accent, pulling her tissues away.
"Well," Lucy leans forward in her chair, keeping her gaze locked on her, "if you'd stayed off your back, no one would be stuck in here forced to listen to you blabber like an annoying twat."
Simon balks and turns in his seat to look at her.
"Lucy." Doctor Jacobs says her name like a warning.
"That's not fair," the girl cries out. "You don't know me. You don't know anything about me."
"Oh, sod off," Lucy snaps. "Who cares if you shagged a loser. Everyone has. What makes you so special?"
Instead of answering, the girl ducks her head and starts to cry harder.
This seems to make Lucy even more angry. He can see it in the way her jaw tenses as she gnashes her teeth together. She rolls her head back and looks up at the ceiling for a minute, clenching her fingers into her palm. Simon looks across the room to see Emma staring at him, a disapproving look on her face, one that makes him contemplate causing a diversion before things escalate like he knows they will. They always do. Lucy hates group and has no problem with making that known by being mean to other people in group.
A moment later, something in Lucy's demeanor changes. She leans her head forward, eyes wide. Then, she smiles. "He got you pregnant."
Simon's gaze darts to the girl to find her stiff in her seat, skin pale, staring at Lucy.
"That's it isn't it," Lucy presses. "That's why you feel so bad, you got rid of it. Didn't you?"
"Shut up," the girls says, but the words are quiet and mumbled, like she couldn't muster the strength to put force behind them.
"Lucy, that's enough," Doctor Jacobs cuts in.
"Why?" Lucy fires back. "I thought that's what the point of group was, sharing our feelings. Well, I don't feel very comfortable sharing a room with a baby killer."
"Fuck you," the girl growls.
"You wish, slag. Don't you have more guys to shag and babies to scrape out?"
"Stop!" Simon's eyes widen as the words leave him. He may even shrink back in his seat a bit as Lucy turns to face him.
"L- leave her alone," he tells her. "She hasn't done anything to you." By this point, he can feel everyone's eyes on him, including Emma's. He swallows hard and shifts uncomfortably.
Lucy lowers her eyes into little slits. It makes him think of a snake. "Defending your girlfriend?" she sneers. "How nice of you. Do me a favor and get away from me."
He squares his shoulders and mentally urges himself not to back down, even though he's so worked up over this altercation his legs are shaking against the metal legs of the chair. He's never spoken so much in group before, and now he's in a fight with the only person he's made friends with in here. Though he's not proud in the slightest to call her that right now. "I'm not moving," he tells her. "You... you're mean, Lucy. All the time."
"And you're perfect?" she spits back.
"I'm not perfect. But you're attacking someone for no reason. It's stupid."
Lucy stands up and crosses her arms, staring down at him with a look of utter contempt. "I can't believe you're defending that slag. What's your problem? Looking to get on her good side and earn yourself a piece? Your hand not doing your job these days?"
His face may be blazing hot, but it doesn't stop him from jumping up. The chair beneath him falls to the ground with a loud clatter and a few people gasp. He can feel Emma's eyes on him from across the room, and he wonders what she thinks about all this. Surely they must look mad.
The therapist tries to defuse things, telling them to calm down, but it's pointless. He and Lucy are nearly in each others faces a moment later, him talking with his voice raised, trying to help her understand her error, her screaming and throwing insults.
It doesn't take long for them to both get kicked out of the room, made to sit in the hallway. Simon makes sure to stay as far away from Lucy as possible, and neither says a word. When group finally ends, people file out of the door whispering about the altercation loud enough for him to hear. A twinge of anxiety strikes. There's no doubt in his mind that word has already gotten back to Doctor Lewis, and that only means something new for her to press him about during his private therapy sessions.
When Emma comes out, he sees that she's with the girl Lucy got into the altercation with. Emma's whispering to her as they walk down the hall. He watches her with intense focus, not bothering to care that Lucy might catch him and say something. Before she's gone, she takes a quick glance over her shoulder and gives him a small smile. It's what he holds onto when they're back in the group therapy room listening to the therapist tell them they'll be sitting out of group tomorrow.
"You can sit outside in the hallway and talk through your differences," he tells them.
That won't work, he thinks of saying but doesn't. And there's no need to, really. The look Lucy's wearing speaks loud enough for both of them, he thinks.
"Lucy?" He's practically yelling her name as he runs down the hallway. His chest is screaming in protest but he presses forward. He can't remember the last time he felt so scared. "Lucy!" Turning a corner, he skids to a halt, his breath catching in his throat as he sees her sitting in one of the chairs outside the group therapy room. If he weren't feeling so sick, like he might toss his guts at any moment, he might have been relieved. Jogging the rest of the way down the hall, he stops in front of her and bends down so he's looking up at her.
"Lucy, oh god. I heard... they said..." He has to take a few deep breaths, but his chest feels like it might explode. "Someone... someone said you killed yourself."
She laughs, a breathless sound, but says nothing.
More confused than ever, Simon stands up and sits down beside her, clasping his hands together in his lap. "Talk to me," he whispers, making sure to keep his stare on the blue tiles. "Please. I- I'm sorry about the things I said yesterday. I didn't know you would... what you tried to do..." He swallows hard. It feels like someone's punched him in the throat. "Is it my fault?"
"Don't flatter yourself," she mumbles.
His thoughts go to Jack and his stomach twists. He leans forward, pressing his arms tight against his abdomen as he tries to shove the pain of each memory back down, somewhere deep inside himself like it was before this moment. Before he'd heard from someone in passing that Lucy had slit her wrists. He can't recall a single moment in his life that he's ever run as fast as he did, desperately crying out her name. It was Jack all over again. He was so sure he'd end up in front of her room, watching them wheel her out on a stretcher with that white sheet over her head. She wasn't there, though. He must have ran around the whole building before finding her here.
"What do you think it's like, Simon?" she asks a moment later in a hushed voice. "Dying."
"I don't know," he answers, looking over at her. He's hasn't felt this emotionally drained since the night of his own suicide attempt.
"Is it like this?" Her white- boned knuckles and rail thin fingers peel back the blood stained cotton on the bare of her wrist.
Simon sits back, cringing, but he doesn't look away. It's almost horrific to look at. The cuts are deep, the wound wide open. And the red, so much red- with it's rawness around the edges. Bile creeps up the back of his throat.
"Why?" he croaks, tears filling up his eyes. "Why would you do that?"
"This... this is what my insides feel like," she tells him, running a delicate finger over the marks. "All the time. Every minute of every day since I got into this place. Before that, even." If touching it hurts, she shows no sign of it. She's so calm it scares him a bit. "Twelve stitches," she says. "I tore them out with my teeth." Her burning stare finds his. "Do your insides ever feel like this, Simon? All mangled up? Ruined?"
His eyes go back to her bloodied arm. She's never know just how much or how often he feels like that. And he doesn't quite have the words to express it just now. He nods, instead.
"I can show you," she whispers, in a way that makes his skin crawl. She sounds... excited. She reaches inside the top of her shirt and pulls it down, exposing the cream colored skin beneath. There's a cut there, on her chest, where the razor blade has been biting into the flesh beneath her bra strap. She pulls it out and waves the shiny silver in front of his face. "Give me your hand."
He blinks rapidly, swallows nervously. "I don't-"
"Don't what? Don't want to do it? But how do you know if you've never done it before?" She smiles slowly. "Have you?"
He shakes his head. He's always had a love, hate relationship with blood. He hates it, but it loves him. This is evidence from the scars littered across his skin on his knees and elbows, growing up being a not so balanced child. He was always falling and getting cuts, and the blood would spring up like a stranger he knew to well and it would make his stomach churn. That hasn't faded. No, he doesn't quite like blood. Bruises, however, bruises he's familiar with. A scrap, a cut, those weren't intentional, but the bruises were.
A bruise from Matt, from the boys at school that picked on him... a bruise he would give himself when his knuckles slammed into his legs and arms and stomach as he just tried to make himself feel something, feel anything. The were a badge of honor after the pain. They let him know he was still there.
"Just give me your hand," Something in the way she says it, like she's begging him not to make her go through it alone, it causes something in him to crack. Nearly six weeks he's been in this place, and there hasn't been a single mention of the possibility of him getting out sooner. It's like he's been forgotten, left to rot away.
The thought drains him. He's so tired. Tired of getting up every day and going through the same routines with no end result in sight. Tired of being himself anymore. And then today, hearing people say that Lucy might be dead, remembering Jack all over again and the pain of it like the tearing open of an old wound, it's more than he can take. All of this, this never ending almost insanity... it's exhausting. He feels like he has nothing left to give.
His hand trembles as he places it in hers, resigning his body away for her to do as she pleases. "Now you're going to feel a small poke," she says, smiling darkly at her clever use of the phrase- the one they'd heard from nurses in this place far too often. And quickly she jabs the edge of the razor in his finger.
He'd expected to jump, for it to hurt, to feel something as the blade nipped at his skin, but there's nothing. He doesn't even flinch. Instead he watches as the skin puckers open and the capillaries swell and that first rush of ruby red blood starts to trickle down his finger all liquid warm. He stares in fascination as it slips between his fingers and settles in the indent of his palm, gathering a small pool. This is mine, he thinks. This came from me. But it feels so foreign. Ever so slowly, he tips his hand and lets the blood drip, drip, drip to the floor.
"How do you feel?" she asks.
"Empty," is his quiet reply.
"Then lets do it until you feel full again."
So he does. He lets her jab him ten more times, cut him eight, gather his blood on her fingertips and slip it into her mouth and he just stares... curious, and frightened.
I've lost my mind, he thinks.
"Now you're in me forever," she tells him.
I hate you, he wants to reply. But he's too busy watching the blood seep through his shirt and gather in a puddle on the floor at his feet.
He thinks he finally feels something.
He startles slightly at the clang the drink makes as it's sat on the table in front of him. When he glances up, it's bare brown skin that greets him. He flushes and raises his head entirely to find Emma standing there.
She points to the drink. "Thought you could use one."
He can't help but take another quick glance at her stomach. She's got her shirt tied up in a knot. His voice cracks as he tells her, "Thank you." He clears his throat and tugs the sweat shirt he's wearing further down his arms, hoping she doesn't question why he's not wearing his usual t- shirts. It'd been a small fight, but he managed to convince the nurse that he'd been rather cold lately and wanted to keep his sweat shirt on. Extra garments that have tassles on them aren't really allowed. Nurse Roberts had stared at him for a long time, like she could tell he was lying, but instead made a small comment on his extremely pale skin and that was that.
The time it's taking for the cuts Lucy made to heal seems like forever. Emma's the last person he wants to see that, not when she's got her own afflictions to deal with. Still, the sight of her skin makes him feel much more hot all the sudden, like the extra garment might smother him with it's heat.
"You didn't have to," he adds.
She rolls her eyes. "Just take the fuckin drink, yeah?" Her tone is light and playful, so he isn't too alarmed. "Mind if I sit with you?"
He gestures to the empty bench in front of him. "You may need to ask someone to move over."
A small giggle escapes her and she slides in across from him. "You gonna drink that?" she asks, opening her own drink and taking a long sip.
Simon watches the way her throat moves as she swallows and he forces himself to look away before she can catch him staring. He opens his own can and takes a small sip. It fizzes on his upper lip and he licks them, tells her, "It's good."
She smiles. "Orange is my favorite."
He finds himself making a mental note of this. He's intrigued by her for some reason, more than just the fact that she's beautiful and talking to him. He wants to know more about her.
Emma looks around, idly tapping her nails on her can. They're brilliantly red today. "So where's your girlfriend?"
His eyes widen. "What?"
"You know, mousy brown- haired girl. The one you almost got into a smack down fight with in group over my room mate Sarah."
"She's your room mate?"
Emma nods. "That girl-"
"Lucy," he blurts out, and then quickly wishes he hadn't. Lucy wouldn't like him talking to someone about her. Especially not someone she'd referred to as a whore.
"Yeah, her. Where's she at?"
"Um, she's... she won't be out today." Or the next week, he thinks, taking another drink.
"I saw her glaring at me, you know. Your girlfriend doesn't like me, does she?"
He chokes and splutters. "What?"
"She's not my girlfriend," he says suddenly, blushing. "I just mean... she and I are just friends."
"Oh! Oh, sorry. I only assumed-"
"It's fine. And I don't think she was... glaring."
Emma laughs. "You're adorable. She was totally glaring. Obviously she thinks more of you than you think she does. How did you guys become friends?"
Something in his brain finally clicks as he stares at her and the smile she's wearing. She's too nice. No one's ever been this nice to him, not even Lucy. Emma is beautiful. A beautiful woman would never in her right mind want to talk to him, laugh at the things he says, joke around with him. Not without some sort of vendetta. Something's wrong here. She's being nice and asking personal questions and he's suddenly quite sure this is some sort of trap.
His head starts to pound, the thrum of his heart becoming a ringing in his ears. The words rush out of him. "Why are you talking to me?"
Her smile falters. "What?"
"Why did you come over to me the other day and talk to me? Why are you here now? What do you want?" The words are tumbling out, twisting together before he can stop them, and maybe he doesn't want to stop them. He's tired of opening himself up to people and getting screwed over. He slams his hands on the table, making her jump. "What do you want from me?"
Her eyes well and she quickly looks away. "I just... wanted someone to talk to. You seemed nice." She wipes at her eyes with the back of her hand. "If I gave you any idea... I- I'm sorry. I'll go."
"Wait," he cries out as she stands up. "Just... wait." He sighs. "Don't... don't go. I don't... want you to go."
"But you just-"
"I know," he cuts in. "I lost my head. I'm sorry."
She slowly slides back into the seat. "You don't trust me," she says after a long pause.
He bites his lip and looks down.
"It's okay, I understand. I'm no one to you." He watches as her one hand goes to her wirst. Her normal white bandages are covered in rows of bright plastic bracelets. He wonders what sort of deal she had to work out with the nurses to be allowed to wear those. She twists a few of them around. "Do you ever get lonely Simon?" she asks quietly, peeking up at him. A small tear slips down her cheek.
The answer is on the tip of his tongue. "Yes." He hates himself for saying it out loud. "All the time."
"Me, too," she replies. "I think I was lonely before I even came here. But it's worse now. You looked lonely the other day. That's why I came to talk to you. I thought-" she stops and looks away.
A half smile plays on her lips. "That maybe we could be friends."
He still has his hackles raised in defense and suspicion. "Why?"
She shrugs. "I don't really have anyone else. I mean, I have Sarah but... I don't know, it won't be like that forever, you know?"
He knows it all too well, he thinks. "You don't have friends outside this place?"
She laughs, but it's a bitter sound. "That a question you really want an answer to?" She looks back at him. "Honestly, no. Not since..." She shakes her head and reaches for her drink. There seems to be an equal shock from both of them as he catches her arm in his hand. She looks over to him, eyes wide.
He's quick to let go and apologize, flustered at the fact that he did such a thing. What was he thinking? He's not thinking, can't think straight when she's around. He licks his lips and takes a deep breath. "You have nothing to be ashamed of," he tells her. "We've all got our demons."
Emma lets out a gust of air through a half smile. "Okay, so... there was this guy." She shifts in her seat, looking uncomfortable, and when her eyes fill she looks away.
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want. I don't mind." He looks at her from the corner of his eye and finds that she's looking at him again. No, not him, his throat. There's no way she can see it now beneath the sweat shirt, but there was the time they talked before. Surely she knows it's there.
The bruise is nearly gone, he knows this because he checks every day and watches it fade. Still, it's there, and she knows it's there, and that's enough to embarrass him. "Sometimes it's okay not to talk," he tells her.
Emma shakes her head. "It's... stupid."
His brows come together. "I don't think anything you say could be stupid."
She wipes at her eyes and smiles a bit. "You're sweet, Simon." For a moment, she chews on the corner of her lip before taking a deep breath. "So I was dating this bloke, yeah? We were together for a couple years- good years! I thought we were right happy together. But I find out not that long ago that, for the past six months, he was cheating on me with my mate Jenny. I break up with him, right, and then he and Jenny started telling a bunch of lies and turning everyone against me. Just... ruined everything. And I got sad. Really, really sad. Figured I'd try to make it all end."
"You tried to kill yourself."
Raising her hand, she shakes the bracelets on her wrist. "As if this wasn't enough of a give away."
He ducks his head. "Sorry."
Her response is a shrug. "What 'bout you?"
"Suicide attempt," he answers quietly.
"That bruise on your neck?"
"You wanna talk 'bout it?"
Emma's face falls, as if she's disappointed by his reply. He doesn't like that look, doesn't like seeing her bothered by anything he's said.
"But... maybe someday," he's quick to add.
"Was it bad?"
A dozen memories come rushing back, all the things he's gone through. He nods. "Yes."
She nods, as well. "Do you... do you wish it had worked? Your... attempt."
He contemplates this for a moment. "I used to." A tiny grin tugs at the corner of his mouth. "Not so much these days."
"Me, too," she answers, smiling so wide he swears she lights up even the darkest recesses of this place.
The whistle that calls off their rec time gets blown, and he can't help but frown. For the first time since he's got to this place, he's enjoying having time to himself, time to be around Emma.
"Can we..." He looks up as Emma pulls her lips out from between her teeth and glances at the table. "Could we do this again? Meet up and talk? I kinda like talking with you."
The bench creaks when he leans forward. "I like talking to you, too."
Her eyes find his, the look she gives him so intense his stomach clenches. "Tomorrow?"
He swallows year and gives her a smile. "Tomorrow."
She stands from the bench, and he watches her go, the swing of her hips making him shift in his seat. When she's disappeared, he looks at the soda can she left behind, reaches for it. A ring from her red lipstick has been left around the edge. Simon lifts the can to his lips and presses it against them, imagines its her lips and wonders what it would be like to kiss her.
A moment later he snaps out of it, quickly pulling the can away and looking around to make sure no one's seen him. Then his mind flits to Lucy. This is a dangerous ledge he's balancing on, these sudden new feelings for Emma... his loyalty to Lucy.
He's a freak, Lucy's a freak. There's no place for Emma in their world. So he can't help but wonder why he wants so strongly to invite her in.
Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think