21. The Lonely Queen

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"Behind every smile is a story you will never understand

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"Behind every smile is a story you will never understand."

MAYA

The next morning, the awkward silence was truly, deeply and uncomfortably disturbing. Heaven, Owen, Nathan, Bree, Cayden, Mr. Standall and I sat in a chair each, performing a circle in his office. The atmosphere felt idly as the sun streamed inside, touching my skin and I leaned back in my seat, one hand fiddling with the hem of my of the nude pink sweater while my other hand was tucked under my thigh.

When I noticed the rest had an equal amount of angst painted across their faces like me, I felt some sense of relief wash over me. At least I wasn't the only freaking out over this group therapy none of us actually signed up for in the first place.

Honestly, I'd rather stay home and watch another episode of SpongeBob. I had been doing that for a while now and it was honestly my new found favorite thing to do. Who knew cartoons from the childhood could help you escape from the harsh reality, and into a world where sponges wore pants, pink starfishes were your best friends, and everything was just bright, cheerful, funny, stupid and totally didn't make sense at all.

God, I love cartoons.

I guess Cayden got me addicted. Speaking of Cayden, he was sitting on the other side of the circle, across from me, staring down at his hands to avoid eye contact with pretty much everyone in the room. He was dressed in black jeans and a gray hoodie with the hood over his head, casting a shadow over his face. Raven black locks hung over his eyes as he absentmindedly brushed them away with his hands.

What did Cayden have to do with all of this, anyway? How was he linked to all of us and whatever we had put each other through?

"How can you stand this? Sitting here and listening to us talk about our teenage angst," Nathan muttered, looking at Mr. Standall with an annoyed scowl. Nathan had sunk down in his chair with his arms folded across his broad frame, and his long legs outstretched before him.

Mr. Standall smiled. "You are all suppressing your true emotions and it's not right. I have some rules that I need you all to follow during these group sessions. Firstly, if you're going to talk about a person in this room, you'll refer to them as a third person. No using the word you. You can only use you when you want to ask someone a direct question. Other than that, refer to that person as she or he or use their name. This is because I don't want you guys verbally attacking someone or making them feel uncomfortable. Secondly, I'm going to set a timer on. When one hour is over, the timer will go off and you guys can leave. Lastly, I want you guys to be completely honest with one another and yourself."

Nobody nodded, but we didn't object either. Either way, Mr. Standall seemed satisfied.

"Okay, so we're going to start by introducing and telling something about ourselves. It can be anything. Something simple, a story, a secret or anything else for the matter. Who would like to go first?"

Echoing Breaths |✔️ (Unspoken words book 2) Where stories live. Discover now