The room had an oddly clean smell. His first group meeting was today.
Luke let himself relax in his chair, his breath coming out in a small puff as he could feel the pale black haired guy staring at him. He told himself he wouldn't look over. He told himself he wouldn't look over.
He carefully looked over, the person's eyes burning into his face as they trailed down to Luke's lips, and he could feel himself blushing. He smiled at Luke and he had to look away, staring down at his hands nervously. The gauze on his arm was suddenly bothering him, and he had the urge to peel it off and throw it on the ground before someone was speaking to him.
"Luke? Are you going to speak?" The petite nurse sat up in her chair, holding a small notepad and she offered Luke a polite smile. "We're not here to judge you."
Luke chuckled softly, taking his lip between his teeth, missing the cool feeling of the small metallic ring. "Yeah, because the real world judges me enough, huh. What would you like me to say?"
The tiny woman shuffled her feet nervously, still smiling. "Start with your name and age. How does that sound?"
He shrugged, standing up and stretching, still feeling the boy watch him as he raised his arms, the bottom of his stomach showing as his shirt rose, and it was the black haired boys turn to blush and look at his hands.
" I'm Luke. I'm 16, and I want my lip ring back." He said with a heavy sigh, playing with his lip.
"You know you can't get that back until you're finished with your treatment, Lucas." The nurse said. "Why are you here?"
" Its a requirement. "
The black haired boy chuckled, nodding slightly, and the nurse glanced over at him. " Michael, it isn't your turn, its Luke's. Please stay quiet."
Luke looked over at him, offering a cheeky smile, and he stared up at the ceiling. "I'm here because my parents don't appreciate nearly finding me dead in my bathroom." He puffed out his cheeks, not wanting to look back down, but he did anyways and Michaels eyes caught his own. He gave Luke a judging glance before looking down at his hands.
"I see. Now group, what do we say to Lucas?"
The group spoke in different tones but all the same speed. " We're lucky to have you, Lucas."
He looked around before sitting in his chair. "Its just Luke, thanks." Michael's eyes burned into the side of Luke's face, but this time he didn't look over. As someone else began to talk, he stood back up and looked over at the nurse. "I gotta go. This room is too small.", he said in an attempt to excuse himself before walking away from the group, his legs carrying him at a quick pace down the hall, and the door opened up and closed.
" They're judging me in there, Ms.Stef, I ain't going back." He said without turning around, and Michael stood behind him, giving him a small stare. "You don't gonna go back. She's usually okay with kids leaving, especially after their first group." Luke turned around to see the black haired boy giving him a goofy smile, and Luke chewed on his lip.
"You were staring at me." He said softly, and Michael shrugged. "I tend to stare, I guess. Like a kid seeing a puppy in a window. Its cute, so they stare."
Luke couldn't help but swallow hard and stare back at Michael, chewing on his lip still. Michael was shorter than he was, his skin extremely pale and he was strangely thin. Luke looked down at the ground as Michael's stare moved to Luke's arm, and Michael frowned. "Well, I'm Michael. I'm 17." He said with a shrug. "I'll see you at dinner time or something." With that, Michael turned around and walked back to the group room, leaving Luke standing alone in the long hallway as he picked at his gauze, ripping it from his arm.
His next few days were packed. Therapy every day, but he refused to talk. He had nothing to say.
When Luke's mother called, he answered, and she talked while he stayed quiet.
"We just want you better." She cried into the phone, and he sighed. He went to speak, but she interrupted him, crying into the receiver. "We love you so much."
At that, Luke hung up the phone in frustration, ignoring when she called back.
He looked around his room, feeling hood chest get that familiar heavy feeling, and he lifted his mattress. Nothing. Nothing at all.
"There's nothing in here that can hurt you. "
Michael was leaning against Luke's doorframe, his arms crossed against his chest. "I've searched. You could hang yourself with the sheets, but that's cliche."
Luke scowled, standing still. "I wasn't looking for anything to hurt myself with." He lied, and Michael chuckled. "Everyone does in their first week. Then they stop eating for a little bit, then they don't sleep. Unless you already aren't sleeping. Then you get better, and you get with the system of things, and then they trust you with, like, staples and shit. And erasers."
"You talk a lot." Luke mumbled, the skin on his cheeks burning.
Michael shrugged, walking into Luke's room and he shut the door behind him. "I know. Oh well. Its better than not talking, like you."
"I do talk!" He shouted in frustration.
Michael smiled. "This is the second time you've talked to me in the two weeks you've been here."
" Maybe I just don't want to talk to you." Luke sat on the edge of the bed and let his body fall back, sighing.
"You wanna talk to me, I know exactly what you're going through and how to properly deal with it."
Michael sat down on the chair in Luke's room, smiling. "I know the ins and outs of this place. I know everywhere and everyone."
Luke stared up at his ceiling. "How long have you been here?" Michael cocked his head to the side, thinking. "All together or this time?"
Luke didn't really know what to say at that, so he stayed quiet.
"I've been here for four weeks now. Its my third time." Michael said softly, and he glanced at Luke, who was still looking up.
"Why have you been here so many times?" Luke asked quietly, and he could hear Michael getting up. "Doesn't matter." Michael said, shaking his head. "I gotta go, I have things to do." He said with a nod, and walked towards the door. "There's, uh, video games downstairs, if you wanna go hang out or something." Michael said, and Luke turned his head to look at him. Michael was smiling, and Luke nodded.
"Maybe another time. I think I'm gonna go to sleep."
Michael left and Luke lied properly on his bed, sighing.
As Michael predicted, Luke couldn't sleep.