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"Adrian."

"Oh— hey Nev, you okay?"

"They didn't even tell me how much I weigh." I clenched my fist with my free hand, glaring at the nurse waiting by the door. Apparently, I couldn't even make a phone call privately. "And they're taking away my phone. I bet they're not even legally allowed to do that."

"Nevaeh..."

"I can't do this, Adrian." I felt angry tears well up in my eyes, but I blinked them away. I would not cry, not here. "My dad and brothers—they—they just d—dumped me here! And these people took my weight and refused to tell me. It's my frickin' body, Adrian, they can't do that! And now they're taking away my phone? I don't wanna be here, oh god, I made a mistake, stupid stupid stupid—"

"Nevaeh!" Adrian cut me off, "Take a deep breath, honey."

My eyes widened as my frantic ranting stopped. Honey. He called me honey... and it was nice. Shit, what was happening to me?

He seemed to notice too, and we fell into an awkward silence. "They know what's best for recovery, Nev, it's probably for the better."

The wetness in my eyes came back. "I don't want to get better. I want to come home."

"I know, I know, I understand that, but..." I heard Adrian take a deep breath and blow out harshly. "You almost died, Nevaeh. I sat in that hospital room, watching you, and the only thing that assured me that you were alive were the monitors. You looked like a ghost."

I bit back a sob.

"I'm saying this stuff because I care, okay? I care about you and I never want you to be in that state ever again. Whether or not you'll admit it, and this sounds super harsh, but you need help, Nevaeh. You need help and now you got a chance, so please try. You're strong, and you're smart, and you may not believe this, I know, but you are beautiful. Your weight doesn't change anything."

One part of my mind fell in love with Adrian right then and there, but the other screamed lies. I was not beautiful. 

"Y—Yeah. Thanks, 'Rian."

"I know you don't believe it now, but you will someday. I meant everything I said."

I blushed.

"It'll get better," he repeated. "I promise it will with time." In the background of the call, I heard the bell ring. As much as I hated to admit it, I'd rather be there right now, even if it was school. It was a new feeling.

I opened my mouth to say bye, though I really didn't want to, but he cut me off.

"I'll come to see you too, I need company. There are so many things going on with my friends, I feel like my head's going to explode. Also, I'm borderline failing math. What the hell are functions, man? You're in AP Calc, right? How am I supposed to plot something with an equation? I need frickin' coordinates!"

I snorted. "I can help you with the math, Adrian." The tension dissipated and I relaxed. "And you guys are the school's untouchables, best friends since probably forever, I'm sure you guys can work it out."

He hmmed, "I hope so."

My mind relaxed further. Speaking with Adrian always had that effect. After not having friends for so long, having someone to talk to felt nice. "Y'know what's weird?"

"What?"

"Well, besides, uh, Alexia, none of you are really that bad. The cliché popular friend group's usually bitchy and mean. You all mind your business, almost like a bubble. You're well known, but not because you know people." I winced, "That's weird and makes no sense, nevermind."

"No, I get it. It's because we're all pretty...well off. I can tell."

"You can say rich, Adrian." I rolled my eyes in amusement. Another bell rang in the background and I immediately stood up straighter. "You're late for your next class, shit!"

"Nah, relax, I'm planning on ditching." He snorted, "And it's funny how you're more stressed about me being late than me."

"Oh heck no. You better go to that class. And, okay, yeah, maybe that's 'cause I care about education. Actually, well, school does suck. But if I'm stuck here, you better go and learn your—wait, what class is it?"

"Holy shit, Nevaeh. It's Home Ec? The literal class we have together? After lunch?"

"Oops, forgot." I laughed it off, ignoring the embarrassment filling up my body. "You should go, though."

"Trying to get rid of me, huh?" I could feel the smile from his tone. "What's the point if you're not even there? I don't have my favorite cooking partner by my side."

I felt my cheeks heat up. "Nonsense, you have Hayden."

"Yeah, but Hayden isn't you."

Oh my god. Oh my frickin' god, I was going to pass out. Was it just me, or was his tone flirty?  "C'mon, Adrian. Go to class."

"Okay, but only 'cause you asked. Anything for you."

My heart thudded almost painfully. "Thank you. I'll call you first chance I get, 'kay?"

"I'll wait for it. Bye, Nevaeh. For what it's worth, I believe in you. Recovery's hard, but you can get through it."

"Thanks, Adrian. I appreciate that."

"If you ever need anything, I'm here."

"Of course. Bye, Adrian."

"Bye, Nev."

I took the phone from my ear, looked down and let myself smile.

For the first time, I didn't feel so alone. 

i've been working really hard to make sure i don't make this book a cliché 'oh i had issues but a boy came and solved all my problems' like so many others i've read. my book deals with a very serious topic and i'm trying to keep both the plot and relationships realistic and down to earth. if you think that there is anything i can change, improve, or add, please let me know. i want this book to be raw, real, and not a regular 'boy saves girl' cliché and unrealistic.


if there is anyone out there struggling with eating disorders, depression, or anything else at all, please get help or talk to someone. my pms are also open if you'd just like a friend to rant to. 

wish you all a wonderful 2020. 

 

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