"You can't keep doing this, Marcel," Harry says as he holds up our mother's mostly empty Oxycontin pill bottle.
"And why can't I? It's not like Mom doesn't have another prescription waiting at the pharmacy," I say, snatching the bottle back.
"You're going to become dependent on these," Harry sighs.
"I don't care," I admit, holding them in a tight fist. Harry had just recently found out I had been taking these pills on a regular basis and long story short, he wasn't happy. "You're the one who showed them to me. What's the big deal?" I shrug. Ever since Ariel entered my life, I had been trying to block out the bullying and try to change myself for her. I no longer wanted to be the wimpy nerd who everyone looked down on. I wanted to be strong and levelheaded.
"I won't let you do this to yourself," Harry mutters, eyes blazing with fear and worry. But for who? He never once used to care about me so why now? Then it hits me: for Ariel. He wanted to seem sweet and caring so he'd have a better chance of getting into her pants. The thought alone makes me sick and I swallow the bile present in the back of my throat, trying my best to dismiss that thought.
"What's the most it can do? Take my mind off this bullying? That doesn't sound so bad to me," The Oxy had already started working on me since I had taken it twenty minutes before this and only now did I notice my stutter had disappeared like smoke as the drugs started working on my system. I then turned my heel and head to my room, not wanting to take this conversation further.
"Marcel, please," Harry begs, grabbing ahold of my arm. I shake it off, sending him a glare which he discards before continuing. "I don't want to see you doing this to yourself,"
I shake my head at him, walking off with tears in my eyes. These pills were supposed to keep me from feeling so why were tears spilling down my cheeks? I shut my door and sob into my pillow; Ariel would never like me like I've fallen for her. Once she gets more comfortable in the school and makes more friends, she'll forget about me completely. This makes me cry even harder and I clench my hands into fits, knuckles white until I fall asleep.
"Marcel, are you okay?" Ariel asks. We were in gym, our only class together and I shrug at her, looking down at the dirtied floor.
"I've been b-better," I mutter.
"Harry told me what you're going through. He said he thought I could talk some sense into you," I sigh, still not looking up and run a hand through my hair. He had come back to school today and of course he took the first chance he got to talk to Ariel. "You don't have to be dependent on those pills. You have other things--people--that can help you through this."
I shake my head fiercely, somehow finding the courage to look up at her. "Y-You don't get it. I take the O-Oxy b-because it helps m-me not feel a-anything. I-It gets r-ride of m-my stutter a-and takes m-me away from reality for a w-while," Ariel looks saddened by this but I shake it away. "Y-You don't know h-how it f-feels t-to be bullied each d-day and h-having your b-brother and his f-friends defend y-you because y-you can't do it y-yourself," I tell her, tears welling in my eyes.
I grit my teeth, blinking them away not allowing myself to break again. Ariel had seen enough of that. Instead, I walk away, going to the bathroom to break down. As soon as I step into the bathroom, I find Niall, Zayn and Louis standing in front of the urinals, conversing. As soon as I walk inside, their voices diminish and they stare at me. I spin on my heel, about to walk out when Niall grabs ahold of my collar and tugs me back in. "N-No," I mumble, already envisioning my fate.
"Oh yes, nerd. You deserve everything you're about to get," Zayn says, smiling devilishly, a bruise still present on his face from Harry's attack. "Your brother and his friends aren't here to save you now," I struggle against Niall's grip and the three boys chuckle before Zayn balls his hand into a fist and forces it into my stomach. All the air leaves my body and I wince but the pain doesn't stop there. It continues down my whole body as all three of them gang up on me. I'm lying in a heap by the time they're finished, tears sprouting in my eyes and they leave, laughing at me and spitting at the ground beside me.
I lay there and sob for a moment, pain radiating through my whole body, not sure what else to do. Ariel or Harry had no clue where I was and it seemed as if I couldn't move. My breathing comes out in wheezes and I crawl across the filthy bathroom floor to the sinks, trying to use them as a way to stand. Pain pierces through my ribs as I stand and when I look in the mirror, I see a boy I barely recognize. His lip was bruised and bloodied along with his jaw and eye. Looks like I finally have a good excuse for Oxy.
The bell signaling the end of class rings and I limp off to the locker rooms, slowly sliding out of my gym uniform and back into my street clothes. I am swallowed into a sea of students and I get to my locker at a snail's pace. Ariel finds me at my locker, grabbing my books and when she sees my battered appearance, she gasps. "Marcel, what happened?" She whispers, careful not to alarm passing students.
"N-Nothing," I tell her, shutting my locker. I wanted nothing more than to talk to her but if it were about my bullying or if she felt the need to stick up for me, I was done with it. I was tired of being treated like a weakling. By the time school has ended, the pain in my face and side has gotten worse. I can barely get to my locker before my knees give out. Pain flares through my body and I grimace, trying my best to pick myself up from the ground. I whimper with pain when my muscles scream in protest but I get up anyway, shutting my locker and walking home. I wasn't about to get a ride from Harry or take the bus, I didn't want anyone seeing me like this more than they had during the school day.
"Are you going to tell me what happened?"
I sigh with present irritation at the voice and shake my head. "N-No," I tell them, the vibrant red hair a telltale sign for who was now at my side. "I-I don't want to t-talk about it," I admit.
"C'mon, please?" Ariel begs, flicking her hair over her shoulder. She shoots me a dazzling smile but I shake my head, knees trembling from both her beauty and my muscles which were barely able to withstand my weight.
"I can't, Ariel, I'm sorry," I tell her grimly as the two of us walk down the pavement. Silences wanders over us and when I feel my legs give out, I let a low hiss leave my lips. "D-Don't," I tell her, eyebrows furrowing in concentration as I force myself up off the ground. "I-I don't need your h-help. I-I don't need a-anyone's," I then limp away from her, unable to look her in the eye, fixed on my beat up loafers instead of her beautiful face.
"Marcel, please. I don't want you going through this alone," I look back at her, muscles flaring with pain and sigh. I really didn't want her worrying about me. It wasn't worth it.
"Who even cares, A-Ariel? I-I'm not worth worrying about. I-I'm n-nothing. A n-nobody," I tell her, continuing on down the street. She doesn't say much for a while but I know she's still behind me. My bag had become heavier with each step and I grimace at every one. When I make it to my house, turning around to look for her, I find she's still there. "A-Ariel, p-please," I beg. I knew my mother would be angry that I missed half of gym again and I didn't want Ariel see her hit me. I didn't want Ariel pitying me even more.
"Marcel," She whispers, lip trembling.
I shake my head at her when I find her feet rooted to the spot and turn on my heel to the door. I open it quickly, hoping to slip inside and have the redhead leave and when I find my mother's angry eyes boring into mine from the reclining chair in the living room, I sigh. I walk over to her, a slow limp after dropping my bag to the floor. "Where the hell have you been, Marcel Styles? I got another call from the school saying you left one of your classes early. Where did you go?" Her eyes are menacing, icy cold and I fight back a grimace.
"It doesn't m-matter," I mumble.
She stands up then, grabbing my face between her fingers and looks furiously between my eyes which matched her's. "Don't you tell me what does and don't matter," She growls.
"A-Apparently I-I don't m-matter to y-you," I tell her, eyes flicking to the floor.
I hear the air leave her chest, shocked at my words and she slaps me across the face. Any other day, I would've been able to keep my balance at the force but today, after the beating from Louis, Zayn and Niall, I couldn't. I come crashing to the ground and when I look up, I find my mother above me. "Don't ever talk back to me like that again. I care for you, Marcel. I care too much on a waste of a child like yourself," She spits before walking out of the room.
I look over at the window and find the blinds open, only to see Ariel standing in front of it, hand clasped over her mouth. I somehow muster up the strength to get back up and head toward the door. When I open it up, I find Ariel on the porch step, eagerly waiting for me to explain and I tiredly shake my head. "D-Don't s-say a-anything," I plead lowly before shutting the door and walking up to my room with the little bit of strength I had left.