Chapter 30

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Tiana POV

It's a different feeling, standing in front of the school after avoiding it for so long. People bustle around, never stopping and never staring. It's routine to them, yet to me it's different. The last time I was here, I didn't think I'd be here again. Something about that makes me feel nauseous, and I can't help but feel like puking.

Today morning, I changed the bandages wrapped around my wrists. Amanda helped, and I'm so thankful she was there.

It was horrible, watching that scar I made myself. Every thought I had wished would leave came back with a vengeance. I hated it. I wasn't ready, though I thought I was. I don't want those scares on me, I don't. I don't want any reminders.

Some twisted part me loves it, though, and I try my best to push that part of me away.

But it's so exhilarating to know that I almost left. That everything almost stopped.

It almost stopped it almost stopped it almost stopped

But it didn't.

And now I'm here and I don't know what to do and I'm lost and alone and afraid and small and invisible and insignificant and scared and disgusting and-

"You ready?" Amanda asks, putting a hand on my shoulder. I jerk her hand away at the sudden contact and stare at her, pulling the hoodie closer to myself. She gives me a wide eyed stare and I look away, embarrassed.

"As I'll ever be," I muttered, my voice automatically becoming lower. I hate that about myself. I hate how my voice never seems to be able to carry itself. Is that how I am too? Am I able to carry myself? Will I ever be able to?

I don't like being scared. But I can't help it, I don't know how to be anything else.

Coward. Can't break free. Can't live.

Is anyone alive or are we just surviving?

Am I alive?

Amanda gives me an encouraging smile. "Don't worry, we're all here for you. As short a time as we've known you, it still feels like more. I won't let anything happen to you, and neither will the boys."

"I guess," I say quietly. Some part of me is annoyed that she feels I need protection, that she feels I can't protect myself. But she's right. I can't. I really, really can't.

But maybe I can learn. Maybe I will learn.

"Then you don't have to worry," she says, then suddenly her face becomes serious. "Tyson's mom told the principal about... that. They're making you go to a counsellor here since you refused therapy. Tyson is going to go too, since he saw... that. I'm sorry but there's really no choice. You're going to have to do it."

I don't know what to think. I hate not having a choice. It's always been taken away from me. But, I guess, this too is acceptable. Because what I did wasn't. What I did wasn't acceptable. What I did was horrifying.

And right. It was so right. What if-

"Alright. I guess... I guess that's fair. What time do I have to be there?"

Amanda gave me a beaming smile, with a smidge of relief to the side. "Third period every day for an hour. The timing for it is flexible, but it's for an hour minimum. Everyday. Is that alright? You can change it to every alternate day if you want to, they gave you that option."

"No, I guess everyday is fine. Can I not go at any given day if I'm not feeling well?"

"Yeah, as long as you give a valid reason. 'Not feeling fine' is also a valid reason, don't worry. And, fair warning, the principal might want to talk to you. Do you want me to come with you?"

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