Luke opened up the door for me and helped me inside. My arms were aching and my legs stung when I walked but for some reason, I didn't mind. I liked having the reminder of what I had survived. What Luke had done for me. What I went through and came out of. Plus, the pain was a good distraction. It always had been. I had always had a weird relationship with my own pain. It was like my best friend, with me wherever I went, whether it be emotional or physical. It never left me. Which was some what of a blessing and a curse.
"Welcome home!" Ashton and Calum cheered as soon as Luke had shut the door behind me. They both ran up and hugged me gently, both pressing sloppy kisses to my cheek.
"I made you brownies! They're really burnt and probably not safe to eat but I wanted to show you them before I threw them out" Ashton tells me proudly, shoving a tray in my face with a bunch of black mounds on them that I suppose were his 'brownies'. He probably got distracted by something shiny.
"We made you a card, too!" Calum says excitedly, shoving it into my hands.
"Guys, I was gone for a day" I laugh, opening up the card.
"I know. Chloe wouldn't let us put up the Welcome Home banner or have party poppers or streamers so we had to keep it basic" Calum sighs and I shake my head before starting to read the card.
We hope you are swell.
Here is a drawing of a monkey with a banana in its butt because we missed you.
It's great to have you home :]
Cal & Ash xx
"Aw, thanks guys!" I laugh, giving the card to Luke to read before hugging each of them, Luke giggling beside me. Calum holds onto me a little longer than usual though.
"Calum, come on man we promised we wouldn't do this" Ashton whispers to him, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him back a bit.
"We were all so worried about you" Calum sniffles and his shoulders shake as he buries his head in my neck.
"Hey, don't cry, you'll make me cry" I say, laughing as tears begin to build up in my eyes. I look over at Ashton who's eyes are also getting watery. "Come here, Ash" I say, holding my arm out to him and he doesn't hesitate before joining our hug again.
"I'm ok, see? I'm fine. Thank you for the card, you made me very happy" I tell them and I feel like I'm consoling little children.
"Please don't ever scare us like that ever again" Ashton mutters.
"I won't, I swear" and for once it feels like, maybe, I will keep that promise.
"We made you this, too" Calum says, pulling back from our embrace to hand me a folded up piece of paper from his back pocket. I sit down on the lounge and unfold it, Luke sitting down next to me and reading over my shoulder while Calum and Ashton watch me from where they were stood.
At the top of the page is a big heading that says:
Alternatives to Self Harm
I look up at the boys and they shrug, Calum sniffling slightly and wiping at his slightly pink eyes.
The page is just a list of alternatives, like going for a run, or tearing up a piece of paper, or going to the gym.
"We just want to help you" Ashton tells me.