Chapter 14-Different

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TW- suggestion of past self-harm

Everything was different

Kirstin hadn't been around the group as much, and when they were together, she seemed really closed off from the group.

Even Kirstie wasn't entirely sure why it just seemed as if they could never really have a conversation. It was just them talking to her like a baby, and her putting up with it. Sometimes that was all she could handle, sometimes that was too much and she just needed everyone to shut up and give her quiet and respect, though she never felt the respect. It was never shown. Sometimes she needed more though, a stimulus to keep her out of the dark part of her mind. That was the part that Boggled her. Matt was the only one who could ever read her mood. If she gave the wrong facial expression, he understood. The others didn’t.

“Why are you smiling at that? My Aunt died!” Mitch yelled at Kirstie, having been crying and talking to the group. She froze in shock, so the smile froze on her face. She didn’t feel like she was smiling. She was so confused. What facial expression was appropriate? How does she do that one?

“Kirst, knock it off. That’s mean.” Avi said like she was a two year old.

“I-I… sorry.” she managed to get out, before groaning and resting her head on the desk. She was mad at herself for being stupid and broken. And if they didn’t see her face when she couldn’t get it wrong. Matt smiled at her sympathetically. She didn’t mean to upset them. They never listen to her anymore, read her writing or wait for her to manage to get some words out. It takes longer now, and they don’t wait.

It got to the point where she went out of her way to avoid them. She was tired of upsetting people and being scolded as if she was a subordinate. If this Avi guy was her boyfriend, then he must be able to listen to her, right? That's what relationships were built on.

It was moments like these she missed Layne and Eli. Sure, she had more bullies at her old school, But at least those two would actually treat her as if she was sixteen and not five.

Sighing, she pulled out her phone to text Layne when she saw messages from each of the boys. They were freaking out about her not being with them like she couldn't live without them for two minutes. It's like they think she's never had friends before.

She gave them a vague reply. Enough so they knew she was okay, but couldn't find her.

She just couldn't handle another scolding from her 'friends'

Of course, though, Matt had to have been smart enough to know she'd be in the science room, and still bring the other boys. She tried to distance herself. She knew if she was yelled at one more time she would snap, slip into habits she never wanted to do again. She remembered last time, the cuts on her arm, the hair in her hands. It took ages for it to all grow back and the scars to stop itching. But they were tingling again.

“Kirst, let us in,” Mitch called, banging on the door. Her hands flew to her head, and she covered her ears. It hurt. Mitch, her friend, was emotionally and physically hurting her.

“Hello!” Scott tried, pulling on the door handle. When will they realize that they aren’t helping? She began to rock on her feet, until Kevin began to pound on the door, yelling her name, and she tried to escape the noise. But that was the only door, the only way out. She was trapped. And it felt like she was running out of oxygen.

When her back was against the wall, she slid down to the dirty floor and curled up on her side, her beautiful, broken brain screaming in pain and anguish. She held her arms over her head, trying to muffle the sound. But it wasn’t working.

“Kirstin Taylor! Open the door this instant!” Avi yelled, his deep, bass voice booming, shaking Kirstie to her very core. At that moment, even though the pain and confusion, it all made sense. He didn’t love her. He didn’t care about her. He just wanted to have a project to work on, to make him look good. Like a humanitarian. She was counting, trying to block out the yelling with her voice, counting louder and faster as the yelling and banging got more frequent.

Kirstie doesn’t know when it stopped. Loud noises loop on her head long after they’ve stopped in the real world, but she felt hands all over her body. She screamed, trying to push them off, and then felt some space. She shot up and looked around, seeing her four original friends close to her, only Matt giving her space. The door was open.

She ran.

She had found one on the disabled bathrooms to lock herself into, hot tears streaming down her face.

She felt a familiar urge, the itching on her skin. No! She wouldn't do it! She had worked too hard to heal.

The worst part, was the first person she thought to call was the one that hurt her the most.

Shakily, her hands scrolled down the list of contacts in her phone, landing on the one affectionately nicknamed hairspray. A broken laugh left her lips as she thought of the name, Layne was addicted to hair product.

It rang once.

Twice.

Three rings

"KT? What's up, Neighboreto!" The familiar voice came through the line.

Taking a shaky breath she tried to speak. The difference from her last conversations with so called 'friends'? He waited for her to answer, knowing her speech issues before she moved.

"L-lay-Layne?" She stuttered.

" Yeah, El's here too. What's wrong?" He asked her, his face creased with worry (even though she couldn't see him)

It took a few minutes for her to breathe through the sobs and formulate a sentence.

"L-loud, cro-crowddded. Can't-can't breeathe." She stumbled through the reply.

"Oh!" Layne caught  on quickly. She was having a sensory overload. She had had a few in Williamsburg. "Breathe for me, Kit. In three, out six." He instructed.

Kirstin did as she was told, needing to be instructed at the moment, copying his breathing the best possible until she could feel her lungs again. Her arms still itched though.

Eli had already pounced on his phone to call her mother.

"Kirst, your mom is gonna come get you
. Can you go to the front?" He asked.

"Y-ye-yeah." She stood up shakily, hands over her ears to block out any noise before the familiar car pulled up.

Before she hung up the phone, Layne had mumbled,

"Eli, I think we need to take a little road trip."

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