Cruel

Ru knew the world was cruel; she learned that the hard way. She thought that she was the only one, but when she met Luke Hemmings and then Calum Hood, everything changed.

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8. 7.

Chapter 7

 

Month 15. Day 20.

 

“You coming to group today?” is the text that I wake up to. It’s Luke, of course, but I groan, not wanting to go to group.

 

“Have to.” I reply, rolling onto my back. I stare at the ceiling for a few minutes before getting up; time to face my mother.

 

I slowly trudge down the stairs and walk into the kitchen. She’s standing at the stove, frying eggs. She only notices me when I pull the chair out from its place under the table, and plop down onto it.

 

“Good morning Ruthanne.” she says, her voice tight. I nod to her and watch as she puts the eggs on a plate.

 

My phone vibrates in my pocket. “Aw, don’t be like that. You know you want to see me.” I roll my eyes at my phone, cursing Luke for being right. Plus, any excuse to get out of the house today is good enough for me.

 

“You wish.” I text back. When I look up from my phone, my mother is looking at me. I raise an eyebrow at me as she sets a plate of eggs and toast in front of me.

 

“Your new friend?” she asks, and I nod my head. I’m in enough trouble with her already, might as well answer her questions.

 

“On every star ;)” I almost laugh at his attempt at flirting, but I compose myself, not wanting to expose this new… side of me to my mother. I leave the conversation at that, and stuff my phone back into my pocket.

 

“I want you to apologize to June while you’re at group today.” I nod at my mother and begin to eat my breakfast. “I’m serious, Ruthanne. You were very rude to her.” I nod again, resisting the urge I have to roll my eyes. Hope a piece of paper with ‘sorry’ written on it was a good enough apology for them both.

 

My phone vibrates again in my pocket, and I take it out, thankful for the distraction. “Hey, need a ride to group?” Luke.

 

I tap my mother on the shoulder and show her the text. My mother usually drives me everywhere, but Luke has a car, and I’d rather ride with him than my mother anyday. She looks at the text and her lips form a tight line.

 

“How do I know you two aren’t going to skip group and go somewhere and do reckless things?” she asks.

 

I tap out my reply on my phone. “I’ll send you a picture of me with June during group if it makes you feel better.”

 

I show her my phone again and she nods her head. “That would make me feel better. Thank you. Go ahead and ride with your friend.” I smile slightly at her, thanking her without words.

 

“Yes please :)” I send back to Luke.

 

“So do you like this boy?” she asks me. I look up from my phone and shake my head. As nice as Luke is, and as good of company as he is, I don’t have feelings for him. She smiles a little, embarrassed at her accusation. “Sorry, I just thought since you’ve been texting him a lot and you actually went somewhere with him...”

 

I shake my head and type out on my phone, “Nope, just a friend.” and show it to her. She nods her head and takes a drink of her coffee.

 

“Very well then. I’m just glad you made a friend.” I nod and finish my breakfast. After I’m done, I stand up, set my plate in the sink, and head upstairs, but not before hearing my mother sigh.  

                        ***

Four hours later, I’m sitting next to Luke as we drive to group. For some reason, I’m nervous; and even though it’s dangerous, I write down a question in the notebook.

 

“Is every group session the same?” When we stop at a red light, I show Luke the paper.

 

“Not every time. June likes to mix it up sometimes.” I gesture for him to keep talking. “Some days she makes us draw stuff, others she focuses on one person and embarrases the shit out of them to whole time; she’s always coming up with weird crap to make us do.” I groan, thinking about how I pissed June off yesterday; I was going to be today’s target, guaranteed.

 

When we pull into the office’s parking lot, all I can think about is running. Screw what my mother says about being put in the psych ward, I don’t want to go into group, not if June is going to make me a target.

 

My heart is beating so loud, that I’m sure Luke can hear it. I feel my breathing pick up and I close my eyes, knowing I’m going into full panic attack mode.

 

Luke notices and looks over. “Shit, I shouldn’t have told you about June singling people out.” He parks the car and turns off the engine. “Come here.”

 

I look at him like he has three heads, and with the way my vision is blurring, it looks like he does. He rolls his eyes at me and grabs my waist, lifting me over the middle console, and onto his lap. His arms wrap around me, one of them rubbing my back.

 

I gulp, not used to being touched by other people, and look up at him. He raises an eyebrow at me, “I’m guessing you aren’t one of those people who need to be held when they’re having a panic attack?” I shrug my shoulders; no one has ever held me while I was experiencing a panic attack, usually, I was alone.

 

He doesn’t make me move, even though it’s kind of awkward now, and he continues to rub my back. “You know, if she decides to single you out, we can just leave. Legally, we don’t have to be here. We could go get a bite to eat or something.”

 

Even though the thought of it sounds amazing, I pull out the notebook and scribble down. “Can’t. If I don’t come to these things, my mother’s gonna put me in a psych ward.”

 

I show him the paper and he frowns. “That’s not right. If group makes you uncomfortable, she shouldn’t force you to come. I mean, you are eighteen, right?” I nod my head. “So, you’re technically an adult and you can make your own decisions.”

 

I sit in silence, thinking about this, and Luke lets me. He’s right, after all, I am eighteen, and every medical decision should legally be made by me. But as long as I live with my mother, she’s going to continue to control my every move.

 

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to move out.

 

After a year in therapy, I might have found a way to get “better”.

 
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