It had been another rough night. Then again, it always was.
I muffled my scream with my hand, taking a deep breath in and out, quietly letting out a sob. I replayed the images in my mind, of Erin, of school. That had been my school, that had been where I belonged. Not the hell that was St Alexanders.
I removed my hand and gasped, breathing slowly, closing my eyes while the silent tears rolled down. I knew I would stop, on the outside anyway, soon. It was just a matter of time before I ran out of tears to cry.
Rolling over to turn off my shrill, piercing alarm, I pulled myself up, blinking from head rush. My mind was spinning, my heart pounding. I wiped my face with my sweaty palms, only to hear my Mum yelling from downstairs.
"Lucy, are you up?"
I knew that if I answered yes, it would be a request to sort out one of my little brothers, make breakfast, dress them, entertain them, make sure they were ready for school. I couldn't face Caleb, Isaac, or Ed. Not now.
Instead, I let her continue to shout, and padded softly across my room towards the light switch. The sudden brightness blinded me temporarily, but when my tired and swollen eyes managed to focus I stared at myself in the dirty mirror. I knew I wasn't fat, like I was told frequently, but I still lifted up my top to stare at my stomach, just to give me a reason to despise my looks and every other thing about myself. My eyes moved to look at themselves. They were a deep blue, almost violet, but this morning they looked bloodshot and sore.
This morning. Who am I kidding. Every morning.
I ran my hands through my hair. It felt broken, and burnt. My fringe that covered one eye, just like the style every other girl seemed to have, and the ends that now appeared permanently crimped. I let out a sigh, and flipped open my laptop. My Mum was still shouting.
"Lucy-Rose Parker, I know you can hear me!"
My voice came out cracked and strained.
"Yes Mum, I'm on my way."
I waited for my desktop to slowly load up. It happened every day. Looking at the comments on that page. I couldn't help myself - it made me feel more depressed, but I was addicted to watching the screen, and seeing more and more hateful comments pop up. At first, it hurt, but then my mind kind of adjusted to it, and it came into a kind of rhythm.
With a few clicks, the page was up. 1,758 likes and counting. Some people, that didn't even know me, had 'liked' the page to join the group, simply because they could.
My own hate club.
I discovered 'We Hate Lucy-Rose Parker' a while ago now. It used to affect me a lot, and I'd try not to think about it, block it out of my mind. But it kept coming back, the scabs picked at, and opened up again, bleeding. I scrolled down to the most recent post:
'Comment your opinions on this ugly little sket Lucy-'Rose'.'
Sket. That was a new one.
52 comments. I laughed dryly, sadly almost, at how many insults they could throw my way. I noticed one in particular because it was a name I recognised. Jessie Horler. One of my friends at Alliston. I remember going to her birthday party right up to when we were 11, but she wouldn't admit that anymore. No-one would.
'Urgh she needs to grow up and get a life, what a stuck-up slag, thinking she's better than us cause she has a modelling contract. She's fugly anyway, who does she think she is, fucking up Erin's life?! What a skank.'
The last part hurt. A lot. Whenever anyone mentioned the accident, my whole body screamed inside with pain. There was more, but I turned the damn thing off. That comment alone was enough for one day.
"Lucy, you're obviously not 'on your way' are you?! Come on, I need your help please!"
I choked back some tears.
"Yes Mum." Turning my crimpers on and rolling up my sleeves, I ran a finger over the red marks. They weren't that noticeable were they? They looked a little strange today, going a deep purple colour and scarring in some places. I shook my head. It was worth it to relieve the pain.
"5 minutes Mum..." I yelled.
And so the day began. I picked up the red-hot crimping iron and placed it on my wrist.