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I marched up to my friend, slapping all the pills out of his hand. "The hell, Lucas..." My heart pounded against my chest furiously and fearfully. He just stood there, frozen and in shock.

"I... I-I wasn't... I wasn't gonna do it, I swear," he said in a hushed tone, terror present in his voice.

I tugged at my hair, squeezing my eyes shut. "So you didn't take any pills?" I opened my eyes, facing him. He hugged himself, shaking his head no.

"Why'd you think this was an option, Lucas?" I asked, standing in front of him and grabbing his hands. "What's really going on with you?"

"Nothing," he murmured, avoiding my eyes.

"You don't get to die on me, too, you hear me? There is nothing worth taking your life or even considering it as a way out. Understand?" I squeezed his hands and he nodded. "You say you weren't gonna do it, but if I'd come in a few seconds later, you'd probably have done it. You understand that I need to call someone, maybe the police? So that they can help you or get you to the doctor's... Can I do that?"

He was silent for a few moments before nodding. "Okay." It was apparent that he'd started crying and my heart broke for him.

"Whatever you're going through, don't fight it alone. I'm here," I assured him. "And I'll help you in any way that I can."

He gulped nervously. "My mom has never told me to go kill myself. She did today."

I didn't know how to respond to that. I put my arm around him and pulled him into a tight embrace. "She sounds awful. So, don't ever listen to what awful people have to say."

"She's my mom," he cried, hugging me back. "How could she hate me so much?"

"No, she hates herself. There must be something she struggles with, a form of self-hate that's so deeply rooted in her heart... because I know you're not the issue."

"I just don't understand... I have these disorders and I know I'm a little hard to take care of, but I tried. I swear, I tried to be better."

It was the first time I was hearing about him having disorders, so it was a bit surprising. I sighed, shaking my head. "You're okay," I comforted. "Wanna sit down?" I pulled away, gesturing toward his bed. He obliged and we sat down together. I held him close, pulling my phone from my pocket to make a call. I needed to get him some help.

**

I walked down the hallway of the hospital, taking comfort in the setting. It was quite tranquil and I, for one, felt soothed of all my stress just being here. I had texted Ava what happened, and she was on her way with Nash. Lucas was getting checked by a doctor and I was sure he'd have to see a therapist soon.

I'd just stepped out into the hall, taking a little stroll as I called David. His voice seemed to be the only one that could take my mind off of my troubles. He picked up quickly, and I was relieved that he was doing alright.

"How are you? Has your headache subsided?" I queried.

"It has, yeah. What about you? Doing alright?"

I didn't expect to burst into tears all of a sudden, but I did—and there was no stopping it. "No," I answered, my voice small and broken.

"Oh, no; what is it?"

"M-my friend... you know Lucas? He..." I took a breath. "He was considering killing himself. I walked in on him holding a handful of his pills, David... I was so scared. If I'd been a minute late..."

"Casper, I'm incredibly sorry to hear that. Did you talk your friend out of it?"

"Yeah, we're at the hospital now." I wiped my eyes. "I knew he was going through so much, but... I'm just finding out he has ADHD coupled with bipolar disorder." Shaking my head, I continued, "he's so depressed, and his family does nothing to help him feel better."

"He must've been dealing with this all on his own," David empathized.

"And for a long time," I added.

"I'm sorry. Don't cry, okay? Do you need company?"

"No, I need to be here for him. But thanks," I appreciated. "I didn't mean to bother you."

"Please, Casper. You're never a bother. I just hate the thought of you being so sad and scared. Your friend will be fine. It'll take time, but he knows you'll be there for him."

"Honestly, I need him too," I admitted.

"Of course," David understood. "He's your friend."

My phone beeped twice and I cleared my throat. "Hold on, please?" I looked at my phone and saw another caller, Ava. I accepted it and pressed my phone back to my ear. "Ava?"

"Casper, we're here. We just stepped out the elevator."

"Oh, okay. Well, go straight and take the first left. You'll see me out in the hall."

"Alright." She hung up and I continued my call with David.

"Hey. My other friends are here. Can I call you later on?"

"Yeah, okay. Take care of yourself, Casper."

I pulled a few drab strands of hair out of my face. "You too." I saw Ava and Nash's face and I hung up my phone, slipping it into my back pocket.

They rushed over to me and Ava grabbed me in a hug. "Where is he?" she wondered, glancing down the hall.

"Up ahead. He's in the second-to-last room on the right; I'll take you guys there..."

Ava didn't dare hesitate. She started walking immediately, swiftness in her steps. I was about to follow her lead when Nash caught me by the arm.

"Please wait."

I turned around, confusion written all over my face. "What is it?"

"How are you holdin' up?"

I wanted to curse him for being beautiful, and having beautifully concerned eyes, but now wasn't the time. "I'm not the one you should be asking, Nash."

"I get that, but... I care about you. I'm still in shock over what Lucas almost did and that you had to be the one to stop him. I should've been looking out for him."

I gently pulled my arm out of his grip and clasped my hands together nervously. "I'm just glad he's okay. But, Nash... you really confused him. At least his feelings and intentions toward you were clear. If you didn't like him back, why'd you make him think he had a shot?"

His eyebrows furrowed as he jumped to defend himself. I held up my hand, shaking my head. "Actually, don't answer that. Whatever it is can wait because he needs us right now. Besides, it's none of my business. But just know that you're not the reason why he would've done it. It was his mom. Don't blame yourself, okay?"

Nash slowly nodded, letting out a sigh. "Let's go."

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