Chapter 16

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I had to re-retype this so you all better love me.

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Vic stands up and grabs my hand pulling me up with him. He starts leading me out of the room and I look at the serious expression on his face. It's so weird not seeing him smile. It's bizarre even. His grip on my hand gets tighter and tighter as we walk through the big house. As we walk closer and closer to a particular room, I start hearing the beeping noise that I hear every time in in Vic's room. But as we're getting closer to the room, it's getting louder. We stop outside the room and Vic turns to me seeming anxious.

"I want you to meet someone." He whispers and I nod.

He opens the door and we walk in. There's a boy in a bed an he looks around the same age as me. He looks to be sleeping but by the heart-rate monitor that's beeping steadily and the numerous tubes coming out of him, I can tell that he's not sleeping at all. Vic leads me over to a sofa that's sitting next to the bed before he sits down on it, pulling me down on his lap. He wraps his arms around my waist and I can feel his heart beating heavily and rapidly against me. He rests chin head on my shoulder and sighs deeply.

"Kellin, this is my brother Mike." He says and my eyes go wide.

"Your brother? You never told me you had a brother." I say a little dazed.

"I haven't told you a lot of things." He repeats his statement from earlier.

"What happened?" I whisper as Bic squeezes my hand tightly.

"Did you mean what you said earlier? About never leaving me and being here every step of the way?" He asks avoiding my question.

"Of course I did. Vic, you can tell me what happened, I'm not going to judge you and I'm definitely not going to leave you." I say bringing his hand to my lips and placing a light kiss on it.

He sighs and swallows hard. There's a silence as I wait patiently for him to begin talking.

"When Mike and I were young, we were really close–like brothers should be. I was always there to defend him if anyone messed with him—like an older brother should. When I hit high school, I mixed in with the wrong crowd; Josh, Jeremy and Oli. They were the kind of people who beat up the dorky kids and shoved people in lockers. They'd bully the nicest kids for the fun of it. I found myself slowly becoming one of them. I'd tip lunch trays on innocent people and tell people to go kill themselves. I was a horrible excuse for a human being. I didn't really think much of it until Mike started school. He was bullied a lot in elementary school and middle school, yet I still can't figure out why. He was the nicest person I've ever known. But the extent of the previous bullying didn't even come close to what he copped in high school. One day, Oli and Josh were beating him and I just watched. I didn't step in for a second. I was too scared of what they'd think of me. I was so stupid. When I got home, I apologized to Mike and I really meant it. I felt terrible. He told me it was okay and that he understood but I knew it wasn't okay; neither was he." He stops and I shift around on his lap so I can see his face.

His face is wet with tears yet more just fall. I kiss his cheek and run my fingers though his hair gently.

"Take your time." I whisper and he nods wiping the tears from his face. He then takes a deep breath before he starts talking again.

"That ended up happening all the time. Mike would get beat up and I'd do nothing. Then like the coward I am, I'd apologize. For a long time, Mike said it was fine but then I noticed him start to get distant from everyone. He'd spend a lot of time in his room and he'd rarely eat. I saw him getting skinnier and skinnier and it broke my heart. I'd try to get him to talk to me but he ignored me or brushed me off. Then after a while, I walked into his room to check on him and I found him with a blade to his arm. The most heartbreaking thing was that his arms weren't only covered in cuts but also scars. He had been hiding it from everyone for a while. I was so concerned at this point. I stormed over to him and ripped the blade out if his hand. We both just stared at each other. No one talked for what felt like forever. Mike was just looking at me blankly while I was crying. Then something inside of him snapped. It was like someone flicked a switch. He just raged. He was so angry. He pushes me out if his room and he was yelling at me. He was screaming about how it was all m-my fault. That I b-broke him. Then he told me he h-hated me and slammed the door shut." Vic has to stop speaking because he's hyperventilating so much.

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