Esme Winters is a 16-year-old who self-harms, is bullied and isn’t very confident until she meets Jay Ripley. As they grow closer, he helps her to beat her depression, and grow more confident. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. During Esme’s battle with depression, she faces hurdles with bullies, self-confidence, and every day stress. Will love be enough to help Esme overcome her worst enemies and herself?


1. Chapter one



The autumn leaves fell all around a girl named Esme as she sat on a bench in the middle of the forest, drawing the scenery around her. She took in a deep breath, breathing in the cool, autumn air. The leaves were an explosion of yellows, oranges and reds. The wind blew softly through the trees, making the branches look as though they were waving to each other, and made the leaves on the floor spin in circles, before softly falling to the floor whenever the wind dropped. It was calm, and quiet. Esme was alone. She had her closed sketchbook on her knees, she sighed, whilst rubbing her fingers over the scars on her bare wrists. Hundreds of thoughts were running through her mind, and she couldn’t stop them. Feelings of not being good enough, thoughts of loneliness, and sadness. She was always alone. The only friends she had were her parents and Mia. She didn’t have the confidence to make new friends.

     She often thought she was mental, or insane. But she wasn’t. She just started to believe what the bullies called her when they found out about her self-harm. They always thought she was a bit odd, as she has always been a shy, quiet girl. Of course, nothing which the bullies said was true, but they chipped away at the confidence until there was nothing left.


*                 *                 *


“Esme, you’ve been gone a while. Where did you go? Are you alright?” My mum asks as I walk through the door.

“I’m fine, I just went for a walk in the woods, and I took my sketchpad with me, the scenery is so beautiful, I’ve wanted to draw it for ages. I guess I just lost track of time, I’m sorry,” I reply, holding my sketchpad up. I look at her, and I see her forehead is wrinkled with worry and concern. Her long, brown hair which is usually perfectly straight looks tousled, as though she’s been running her hands through it. I feel guilty for worrying her, I know I should have called her or something, but when I start drawing, it’s like I’m in my own world, and hours go by in what seems like a matter of minutes.

“Are you sure there’s nothing wrong, honey? You’re not worried about going back to school tomorrow are you?” She hesitantly glances at my wrists, and then looks at my face.

     I hate that she’s always worrying about me. Ever since she and dad found out about my self-harm and took me to the doctors where I was diagnosed with depression, she’s been over protective, she always wants to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and is always getting into things. My dad’s the same, but because he works a lot at his job as a teacher at a university, he’s mostly too busy to notice, but when he does notice, he worries and freaks out just as much as mum does, perhaps more. They both think I’ve stopped self-harming, but I do still sometimes self-harm. I try so hard not to, but sometimes everything gets too much, and I just break down. I hate the way mum keeps looking at my wrists, and I know she’s feeling helpless as she looks at my scars. I pull my sleeves down over my wrists, partly because I feel self-conscious, but partly to get her to stop looking them. I haven’t self-harmed over the six week holidays, though I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to last, because tomorrow I go back to school. Back to all the bullies and isolation. I keep telling my parents that I’ll be OK, that I’m not worried, but I am. Hell, I’m scared to death. I don’t want to go, but I have to.

     “I’m sure mum, I’m fine. I’ll be fine tomorrow as well, it’s just school, and I have Mia. Don’t worry” I try to smile as I speak, but my smile doesn’t fool mum. She opens her mouth, probably about to give me a big ‘it’ll be OK’ speech, but a knock at the door stops her.

“Come in!” I yell. Mum gives me a questioning glance as Mia walks in.

“I asked her to come over, so she can help me pick out an outfit for tomorrow,” I explain. “Is that OK with you?”

“Of course that’s OK with me; I’ll be in the living room if you girls want anything.” Mum takes one last look at me, and then walks into the living room.

     Mia and I walk up to my room. We both go straight to my wardrobe and open it, looking through it for the perfect outfit to wear to school tomorrow.

“So,” Mia says, as she picks out a long sleeved red top with white skulls on it and holds it against me, “are you ready for school tomorrow? And I want you to give me an honest answer.”

“Honestly?” I reply. “No. I don’t want to go back to the bullies and the stress and the tears. You know about my depression, and how things affect me. I can’t deal with it. Oh, and what do you think about these black jeans with that top?” I point to the red top with the white skulls and hold up the black jeans against me.

“It looks great! Now we just need the shoes and a jacket…” she mumbles, looking slightly distracted. She looks me straight in the eyes and says, “And maybe this school year will be different, don’t start the school year with negative feelings, just think about how ready you are, how you can handle things, how this is going to be your year. It’s the last school year before college, make the most of it!”

I have to admit – she’s right. It’s my last year before college, and considering that all my life I’ve been bullied and pushed around, I want my last year of school to be carefree, and I want to finally break free once and for all of my depression. I pick up a pair of white trainers with simple red stars on the side, and a grey jacket, and hold them up

“How about these to finish the outfit?” I ask. “And you’re right, I’m going to try and make this year different.”

“How?” Mia questions.

“I’m going to try and cover up my scars as much as I can, get counseling hopefully from the school nurse, and try to actually talk to someone and make friends with them,” I reply.

“Sounds like a good idea,” says Mia.


*                 *                 *


     After hours of sitting and laughing with Mia, and after she had gone home, I now laid in bed, thinking about tomorrow. I start to quickly take a mental note of who I think I should talk to tomorrow, and soon stop, realizing that this is hopeless and that no way would I be able to even talk to anyone… but hey, it won’t be that bad… will it?

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