This chapter contains self-harm. Read at you own risk! --- I managed to stay away from my laptop and internet until night and then I just couldn’t take it any longer, I had to know what was going on and what people were saying about me. I couldn’t block out the reality forever, I had to face it at some point. I was lying on my bed, debating whether I should log in to Twitter and see what was going on or not when my phone rang. I reached for the pillow on which it was placed and picked it up. “What the fuck, Alex?” Paul’s voice came from the other side of the line not giving me time to even say hello. I sat upright at his urgent tone. I was so worried about the reaction of the fans that had completely forgotten about management. “I think I clearly said no dating!” His voice was so loud I had to hold the phone a few inches away from my ear in order to prevent hearing damage. “Paul, it’s not what you think…” I tried to explain. “Not what I think? You see a picture of two people kissing! What would you think? It is what it is, Alex! You messed up! Couldn’t you keep your hands to yourself for a little longer till the contract expires?” He kept going on and on, not once lowering his voice or letting me defend myself. I was frustrated. I had to yell back for him to hear what I wanted to say and I wasn’t even exactly sure as of what to say. How could I explain that Andrew and I weren’t kissing and it was just because of the angle of the camera that seemed like we were. The other pictures didn’t help either. I remember how the little fucker kept my hands in his, asking me on a date and getting too physically close for my liking. I remember how I was keeping myself from punching him in that pretty little nose of his. Just when I felt defeated and didn’t know what else to say Liam burst into the room with a stern look on his face, obviously having heard my half of the conversation and maybe even some of Paul’s since the man was so freaking loud! He strode towards me and took my phone away from me without a word and then headed to the door. “Hey!” I protested. But he just walked out the room and closed the door with a loud thump. The nerves of that boy! He just came into my room without a single knock on the door and took my own phone away from me. I couldn’t get myself to care anymore. What could he possibly say to make this worse? They were going to fire me already, no need for him mess things up too. Minutes later he came back to my room, no need to say he didn’t knock again. He held my phone in front of me and told me Paul wanted to say something to me. Hadn’t he said enough already? Or maybe he just wanted to inform me that I was fired and I had to pack my things as soon as possible and get the hell out of Liam’s life. All I could think about was finding a new way to pay for my dad’s medical expenses. I took the phone from him but didn’t say a word. Paul however had heard the sound of my shaky breath. “Alex? Do you hear me?” He asked. “Yeah, yeah I hear you.” “Look, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know? Why didn’t you say that you two were just classmates in it was all a mistake?” Like you let me talk Paul! “Anyways, don’t worry! We can’t do anything since the date of the pictures are for after you’d started dating Liam but he has a few interviews in the in the following weeks and he’s gonna clear things up. So just don’t worry about anything, everything’s gonna be alright okay?” “Okay.” I said even though I knew nothing was going to be alright. Liam had left in the middle of our conversation. I didn’t know what he had said or what he had actually done but at least I wasn’t going to get fired. Why did he do that? All he’d ever wanted was getting rid of me. So why now, that he had the chance he didn’t take it? Mary and Nikki called me that day. They asked me about what had happened and told me that they were shocked about what they saw on the news but didn’t believe it. I explained and much to my relief they both understood and believed me. It was a relief to know that my two best friends believed me. My mom called afterwards. She had heard the news from James’ girl friends. It was kind of embarrassing but I managed to explain things as much as I could. She wasn’t sure about this. Not that she didn’t believe me, no. She just thought dating a celebrity was a hard thing to do and she thought we were going too fast in this thing. She thought it was too early for me to move in with my boyfriend. She didn’t mention anything about being alone without dad and needing me but I knew it was an issue for her. it was hard listening to her saying these stuff not being able to tell the truth to her, that I was just doing this for dad. I wasn’t allowed to say anything and besides she wouldn’t let me stay there for a second if she found out. It took a while to assure her that everything was going to be fine. I still had some time to kill before lunch. I tried to read the rest of “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” but I really couldn’t get myself to do it. I couldn’t focus on a word in the book. I tried to do some exercise and practice a few of my katas but my body hurt a lot and besides I couldn’t focus. All I could think about was what was going on and what were people saying about the news. But I shouldn’t, I couldn’t. I knew there would be nothing good and just hate so why would I? But I just had to know. After struggling with myself for a while I gave up and logged in to twitter. There were pictures of Andrew and I all over there, with a lot of harsh tweets. The previous tweets were nothing compared to these new ones. Everybody hated me and I mean everybody. And there weren’t just tweets, there were direct messages and some of them were death threats, death threats! Surprisingly I managed not to freak out and break down until I saw that one direct message. It was from a friend of mine. She told me that she’d always known I was like this and that she hated me. That was when all the other words from other people got to me. Even the few supporters I had had turned against me apologizing to other fans, saying that they were wrong about me that I could not be defended in any way for cheating on their precious idiol. “You don’t deserve to live @AlexBing.” “Why don’t you just go kill yourself?” “I can’t wait for when Liam dumps your sorry ass!” “After all these years you finally showed us your true face, Alex. I can’t believe we used to be friends.” This tweet was from another one of my friends, well apparently ex-friends. A lot of people had retweeted her tweet or replied to it. How could she judge me based on a couple of photos? When I checked my photos I noticed that I had a lot of texts from my old friends and not one of them was good and supportive. They all hated me and told me that our friendship was over. I didn’t reply to any of them. If a bunch of photos made them think of me as a cheater, a terrible person then that friendship wasn’t worth it, but that didn’t mean that their texts didn’t affect mean. Getting hate from total strangers was one thing and getting it from people you once know and considered as your friends was another. I threw my phone on the floor totally frustrated. I paced my room aimlessly. I didn’t know what to do, how to make things right. There was no way to make things right. I’ve never been so alone, so abandoned. It was as if was numb, as if I couldn’t feel anything and I needed to, I needed to feel something, anything, just to get out of this trance. I pulled my hair and let out a stifled scream. I put my head between my hands and tried to calm myself, I needed someone, someone to sooth the pain I was feeling inside, but there was no one. No one knew. I looked at the clock it was lunch time. Yeah I was definitely going to skip that. I headed to the bathroom and locked the room. I looked at myself in the mirror. The girl who was looking back at me was a total stranger. She had messy hair, with a slight bruise on her left cheek and dark hollows under her eyes. Her expression was unreadable, you couldn’t tell what she was feeling, and she wasn’t, she wasn’t feeling anything. I took my eyes away from the mirror and searched the counter for something. I noticed the shake of my hands. I was finally giving up when I found it. I took it and held it in my hands for a moment. I felt the sharpness of the razor. I held it tighter but not tight enough for it to cut my palm. Then I opened my fist and sat on the edge of the bathtub, the very place where Liam had cleaned me up two times. He had hurt me, true, but when he was cleaning up here it was as if he actually cared and I was not going to lie, I missed that, I missed that feeling. I held out my right wrist in front of me and put the razor on it, but not applying enough pressure. Suddenly I felt a thrill, that was something I needed, anything to pull me out of this emotionless state. I dug the razor in my arm and the blood oozed out. It stung a bit but the rush I felt was worth it, the color of blood made me feel like I was alive. The pain made things look real. I made another cut. Maybe I could manage things after all. I heard a knock on the door and jumped in my place. I stood up, looked at the ground and the tub for any places of blood and cleaned it. I went to the sink, washing the blood off the eraser as I answered. “What is it?” “You’ve been there for a long time…” He said awkwardly. I put the razor back in its place and got some gauze and put it on my arms and pulled my sleeves down to hide everything. I walked up to the door and opened it. “I made some lunch, it’s still on the kitchen table, so if you wanna…” Liam said, not looking at me directly. “No, I’m not hungry.” I shrugged. He lift up his head looking me in the eyes. I could tell he wanted to say something but didn’t so I just pushed past him and made my way to my room. --- What do you think?