Day 23

Skye has been falling for a long time, but she's fed up of it. She knows it's going to be hard, but she's determined to pull her life back from the brink.
But when Chris gets involved, well, things start going differently to how she planned.
"Why aren't you fighting back goddammit?"
"Because you, Skye Monroe, know nothing about me, about why."

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3. Day Two

Day two:

When I woke up in the morning, for one blissful moment, I forgot what was happening. For that brief moment, I lay in bed, contented, warm, as close as I get to happy, and it was beautiful. Then I remembered. The holidays were over, and I had to face the world again today. And that was not something I was ready to do, having spent the last three weeks hiding in my room.

I dragged myself out of bed hauled myself into the shower so I would at least smell respectable, and dressed in my navy uniform. I stumbled downstairs and into the kitchen, collapsing on a chair in front of an overly sweet cup of tea Mum made for me. I choked it down, chased by a couple of mouthfuls of soggy cereal.

“Skye, hurry up and I’ll give you a lift!” Mum called from upstairs. That was unexpected. Mum never gave me a lift. She reserved that privilege for Rhys, my younger brother, who was too young to walk on his own, or Pansy, the wonder child. I decided to talk advantage of the personality transplant Mum seemed to have had, and rushed upstairs to brush my teeth and grab my stuff quickly, before she changed her mind.

We met by the car, and I chucked my stuff into the back seat before sliding into the front next to mum.

“I’ll only give you a lift this one time, okay? Don’t rely on me to get you to school on time. I’m only doing this because it’s your first day back, after this you get the bus, okay?” Mum said as we were pulling out of the driveway, just to ascertain that she was not being nice every day; that was more than she could bear. No, she was just making this first day back easier to stomach.

I rolled my eyes. “Yep…” I mumbled, resting my head on the seat. Mum leant over and switched on Radio Two, making it clear she didn’t want conversation, as Chris Evans’s voice blasted through the car. Mum never wanted to talk, and I guess while that got me out of awkward conversations about boyfriends (or lack thereof) and emotions, it also meant we couldn’t just talk about rubbish, like what was on TV that night, and stuff that had happened during the day. I sometimes just wanted to talk to my mum, without her insinuating what a disappointment I was compared to wonder child Pansy.

The closer we got to school, the more my stomach somersaulted. It was like I had a whole gymnastics team in there practicing for the Olympics or something. My breathing got more and more shallow and my palms started to sweat. My feet danced in the foot-well and I clenched my fists to stop my fingers twisting around each other. I had no idea why I was scared. It wasn’t like I didn’t have any friends; I had great friends, so I wasn’t worried about being alone, having to face a new term on my own. Maybe I just knew that now I had to go back to pretending. When you’re all alone at home you have no one to pretend you’re okay for, but going back to school, back to my friends, well, the smiles had to come back, the jokes had to flow. It’s funny… despite how I almost always felt, I was known for being the funny one, who made a joke out of everything, despite my jokes being mainly depressing. And now… well things were going to be hard enough for me over the next couple of weeks without pretending I was happy on top of it all. And to make it that little bit harder I knew there was always going to be Jade, my most favourite person in the world (sarcasm intended).

Jade and I had been best friends for three years before she turned most of the year against me. She had always been super enthusiastic and a bit annoying, in her own way, and she usually took offence at something you said, but she was good fun sometimes too. We had a laugh at lunchtimes, and although some of my friends weren’t too keen on her, I always stood up for her against them, and soon enough, most of them stopped making rude comments. Except Kitty. I wasn’t really that close to Kitty, but the others were, so I put up with her. She and Jade really didn’t like each other and were usually insulting each other, but neither of them took it seriously. Or so I thought until Jade sent me a text one Friday evening accusing me of bullying her, and (I kid you not) ‘controlling’ Kitty and making her say rude things. She said I never stood up for her against rude people and (and I quote) I was ‘always making her feel small and belittling her’. And you know what I sent back? Not an angry, super rude reply, although I felt like it. I sent back a calm collected reply politely telling her that I had no clue where she’d got these accusations from. I denied everything she’d accused me of. She argued with me for a bit, and I continued to send back calm replies until I turned my phone off.

On my side of the phone, I was not calm, collected or unemotional. I was a sobbing wreck doing what I do best to get through the night. I hadn’t fully decided on my plan at that point. It was the next day when I turned my phone back on and found texts from most of my year (goodness knows how they got my number) telling me how horrible I was for bullying Jade, who had done nothing to deserve it. I knew it was a bad idea, I knew it was, but I checked my twitter account, and sure enough, there were all the tweets about how horrible I was being to Jade, and how they should all pull together to help Jade through this trying time. How they’d all noticed how horrible I was being and were just too scared to stop me. How bullying wouldn’t be tolerated, and that I should be given a taste of my own medicine.

That’s when I started to believe them. After all, if they’d all noticed it, then it had to be true, didn’t it? I had to be a monster. What they were saying was true, and I was a horrible malicious person who was so used to being rude and horrible that I didn’t even notice I was doing it. I deserved to die. That’s what I thought; that I was such a horrible person that everyone would be better off, happier with me gone. I wrote my suicide note and got out my hidden pills, ready to take them. I was ready.

But no, the universe was against me, because the people who I was trying not to think about, my fiercely loyal friends who I knew would miss me like hell, texted me right then. Well, through Jemima’s phone, but they all signed it. They told me that it was all bullshit, and that I wasn’t being mean to anyone. They said I was one of the kindest people they knew. They told me that it would all die down once everyone realised who was doing the accusing, because Jade was hardly known for speaking the truth.

They lied.

But then they said that I better not do something stupid, and that if I didn’t reply in ten minutes they were calling my home phone to check I was okay. So I replied, and Jemima kept me talking for the rest of the night. But it was far from over. In school on Monday, everyone gave me dirty looks and ignored me, fretting around Jade. On Tuesday, my head of year called me into her office to talk about a rumour going round about bullying. On Wednesday, Jade was called into the head of year’s office to talk about her side of the story. On Thursday, the head of year arranged us a friendship mediation session. On Friday, I stayed home, said I was sick.

There was no point in the friendship mediation session, because our friendship was well and truly ruined. There was no way I was going to be friends with her again after what she accused me of, even if she wanted to be friends. Which she didn’t. The teachers didn’t punish me or anything, because although I wasn’t great at working properly, I had never had any discipline problems, and they didn’t really believe I was the bullying type. Unfortunately, they also didn’t think any worse of Jade, as she was the golden student, who tried super hard in everything and was always so enthusiastic and helpful. They just thought we were mucking about.

The same could not be said for our year, who continued to hate me for being a supposed bully. It wasn’t great. Although open hostility died down, it was obvious they didn’t like me or trust me. But hey, I still had my friends. And it was ages ago, it doesn’t matter anymore.

Mum dropped me off in the car park, and I grabbed my stuff from the backseat. She drove off without saying a word, which was only to be expected from Mum. She wasn’t one for pleasantries. I faced the imposing school building and hurried in, head down.

The heating system in our school was ancient, and there were old metal radiators everywhere, and a hot pipe running around the classroom walls just above the skirting board. In the corner of the room it made a nice seat, and this was where I always sat in the mornings, equally to keep warm and to see out of the door. The corner where the pipes were was right opposite the door, so I could see everyone who came in and passed by. I was hidden by desks, so they couldn’t see me at first.

I threw my bag down on my desk on the back row, one seat away from anyone else, and went to my corner. I was always the first one in. I got out a book and began to read, stopping when Jemima popped her head around the door to say hi on the way to her classroom. I tried to shut out the happy noises of everyone greeting each other and concentrate on the book. I was not a person willing to join in with happiness, especially not with people who hated me. So I didn’t notice how quickly the room filled up until Jade broke my concentration.

“God, Skye, stop moping in that dismal corner. You really ruin the atmosphere of the room. Then again, you do that with a smile on your face too,” she sneered as the rest of the class snickered.

I opened my mouth, but bit back the nasty retort that was on the tip of my tongue. When darling Jade said something mean, it was seen as sticking up for herself against the big bad bully. When I said something mean it was seen as a ruthless attack in my on-going hate campaign.

Jade flipped her curtain of dark hair behind her shoulders and smirked, knowing that there was nothing I could say.

The class scrambled to desks as our teacher burst into the room, late as always.

“Hair, Jade. Spit the gum out Lucy. Sit on a chair please Skye, how many times?” he called as he settled himself in his chair, logging on to the online register. Jade reluctantly tied her hair back in a ponytail as I heaved myself up from the pipe and squeezed past a couple of people to my seat, trying not to touch them in case it was seen as a physical attack.

He took the register and I tried to be as still as possible in my seat, and when he dismissed us, I was the first one out of the door, and was well on my way to English when I remembered that I hadn’t done the holiday homework the teacher set. I flicked through my catalogue of excuses, and settled on saying I must have forgotten to put it in my bag. That was an acceptable excuse early in the term when everyone was a bit all over the place. And even if she didn’t believe me, the teachers were always lenient at the beginning of the term. They were all well rested and in a good mood after the holiday.

Despite the teachers’ supposed good mood, school was appalling. I had done none of the homework due in for that day, and the teacher’s patience was running out. Jemima and my other friends were only in one of my classes that day, so I spent most of the day in silence. I hid in the library during lunch time, and the afternoon was much the same as the morning.

I got the bus home, as usual, and told mum not to worry about picking me up, which I knew she wouldn’t have been doing. I dumped my bag under my bed, ignoring the homework I had to do, and picked my favourite book, The Fault in Our Stars off the bookshelf, ready for comfort reading, although I knew I would be crying like a baby by halfway through, in anticipation of the ending. I just wanted to get away from the world, from my world, and while I was immersing myself in Hazel Grace’s doomed relationship with the utterly hilarious Augustus Waters, I wasn’t me, and I wasn’t sitting curled up in my duvet in my room. I was in the literal heart of Jesus, and on a plane on the way to Amsterdam, and in the Anne Frank house watching two star-crossed lovers kiss, and watching kids play on the Funky Bones. I didn’t have to be me, and I didn’t have to think about anything.

But today, it wasn’t working as well as normal. My feet tapped against each other and my fists kept involuntarily clenching. I just couldn’t get into the book. I slammed my head against the wall behind me, hoping it would focus me, but it didn’t. It wasn’t enough. I knew what I wanted to do, and I knew I couldn’t do it, not yet. I had made It just two days, and I wasn’t going to back down now.

Easier said than done.

But no. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I changed into more comfortable clothes and curled up in bed, trying to will myself to sleep. That way, I wouldn’t be conscious to experience the thoughts in my head. Anything was better than thinking. 

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