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.


9. 8.

Chapter 8


Month 15, Day 20. Continued.


Despite my newly found thought, Luke and I decide to go into group. Might as well give it a shot, and as he said, we can always leave if June pisses one of us off.


When we walk into the room, I recognize some kids from last week. I can’t remember their names, but it doesn’t matter anyways, since I won’t be talking to them.


Luke and I sit down in two empty seats and I take the opportunity to look around the room. The room is set up a lot differently than last time: there are small tables scattered around the room, with two chairs at each table.


“What’s up with the tables?” I write out in the notebook and elbow Luke gently, showing him.


He looks around the room and shrugs. “No idea. They’ve never been set up like this before.” I nod and chew on my lip, thinking of all the possibilities as to why the room is set up how it is. Luke rests his hand on my knee, and when I look at him, he mouths, “You ok?” I shrug and he rubs my knee with his thumb, an action that both weirds me out and helps me relax.


We sit there for a few more minutes until I notice June walk into the room. She seems to be in a hurry, and once she sets her stuff down, she looks around the room, as though she’s counting to see if we’re all here. There must be someone missing, because she frowns, and begins looking through her papers.


“We’re just waiting for one more,” she announces to us.


Luke looks around and says quietly to me, “Must be someone new. All the regulars are here.” I nod, taking in this new information. I’m not the “new girl” again this session; maybe June would pick on the new kid.


Around five minutes later, the door opens, and a boy walks in. He blushes as we all look at him, and hurries to get to June.


“Sorry I’m late,” I hear him say. “I drove myself and got lost.”


“That’s alright. I’m glad you made it.” June says, smiling at him. Then she turns to us. “Guys, we have someone new starting with us today. Why don’t you introduce yourselves?”


She points at the kid closest to her, and from there, everyone says their name. Luke, thankfully, announces both my name and his, so I don’t have to talk. When the circle of names makes it way back to the new kid, he blushes and nods his head.



After June gets all of her papers organized and we all sign in, she addresses us again.


“Okay, I have something different for us to explore today.” I swear I hear a few people groan. “I’m going to pair everybody off and you’re going to sit with your partner and get to know them.”

I tense up as she says this. This was one of the reasons I dropped out of public school: when teachers decided to do dumb shit like this. Now here I was being attacked again, this time, in therapy, something that’s supposed to help me through my problems, not cause more of them.


She begins to read off the list of partners, and my heart drops when Luke gets paired up with someone who isn’t me.


“Ru and Calum.” June says, and I gulp. Of course, she stuck me with the new kid.


“Use the notebook,” Luke whispers in my ear before we both get up, going to meet our partners. Luke leads his partner over to a table and I quickly sit at the table next to his, Calum joining me.


We sit in an awkward silence, and I take the opportunity to look him over. He isn’t bad looking: his dark hair needs a trim and his nose is a little big; but he has nice colored skin and pretty eyes. He of course, is probably six feet tall, and just like Luke, he towers over me, even though we’re both sitting down. I can see a hint of a tattoo under his white t-shirt, which intrigues me a little.


“So um, I’m Calum Hood. I’m nineteen.” he says, then pauses, looking at me. After a minute, I realize he wants me to introduce myself.


I open up my notebook and write, “Ru. Eighteen.”


I slide the notebook over to him and he looks down at it, confused. When he’s done reading it, he looks up at me. “Do you not talk?” I shake my head, a little annoyed that he phrased it like that.


“So, uh, what are you here for?” he asks, and I can tell by the way he’s sitting that he’s uncomfortable.


“Apparently trying to kill yourself a few times leads you here. Plus, my mother is making me come.”


He reads the paper and tenses up. “How many times?” I know he’s asking about how many times I’ve tried to commit, so I hold up four fingers, and he lets out a breath. “Damn.” I shrug, waiting for a lecture like I usually get, but it doesn’t come. Instead, he stares at me, and I feel like he’s trying to look into my soul or something. It makes me uncomfortable and my eyes dart over to Luke. Since he’s facing me, he sees me looking.


“Everything ok?” he asks out loud and I shrug. Was everything ok? I don’t know.


“Is that your boyfriend?” Calum grabs my attention back with this and I look at him, shaking my head. He snorts and runs his hand through his hair. “Sure seems like it.” I shake my head again, and stare at him, wondering why he seems so bitter. I’m not getting a good vibe from him, and this makes me want to hide under the table.


“So, why didn’t it work?” he asks and I raise an eyebrow. “You tried four times; why didn’t you succeed? Chicken out?”


My jaw drops and I stare at him, processing what he just said. I don’t know what to say or even what do, so I do the only thing I know how: I stand up and walk out the door.


After a year in therapy, I’ve met someone more hateful than myself.


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