“Simplicity and complexity need each other.” - John Maeda
My bedroom is like...the room of bad news, and I hate it. Layne, Zeke and I are sitting on my bed, Harriet is sitting on the mattress with Lucy, and Nick is, well... being himself. He is lounging on the floor texting someone. Probably Clarity.
“Put the phone away, Nick,” Harriet snaps.
Nick sighs. “Fine.”
“Zeke,” Lucy says. “What’s going on?”
“Everyone needs to know, Luce,” Zeke says.
“I know, Ze.”
“Layne,” I murmur.
“What is it?” Layne whispers.
“I’m starting to think that this is a bad idea.”
“We’re doing the right thing.”
“Enough!” Harriet snaps. “Spill.”
“Zeke,” Layne and I say.
Zeke sighs. “Just do it, Clara.”
I roll my eyes. “Fine.”
Nick glares at me for some reason.
“Well, as everyone should know, Layne, Zeke and I have been cutting lately.”
Lucy groans. “Zeke.”
“I had to, Luce,” Zeke mumbles. “I’m sorry.”
“Just show me.”
Zeke removes his bracelets and bandage. Gasps fill the room and I notice that his entire forearm is littered with pale scars, and a few fresh looking ones.
“My god, Zeke.” Harriet mutters, turning Zeke’s arm towards the light more.
“This is nothing,” Zeke replies. "It was way worse when I first started."
“Layne, show me?”
Layne reluctantly removes his bracelets and bandage, dropping them onto my bed. Harriet curses hell multiple times and I see the differences between all the scars that cover his entire arm. Some are thick and raised while others are skinny and sunken.
“Layne!” Harriet exclaims, tears stinging her eyes.
“Don’t, Hari,” Layne begs. “You can yell later.”
“Clara,” Lucy says. “It's your turn.”
I nod and walk into my bathroom. I pull on my pair of comfy short shorts and walk back into my room. I can feel all of their gazes on the bandages on my left leg and, ignoring them, I sit on my bed. I let out a shaky breath and Lou half hugs me.
“Just a warning,” I say. “This has been going on since I was twelve.”
“Clara,” Harriet whispers.
I unwrap the bandages and cries of shock fill the room. I look away and close my eyes. Someone traces the hundreds of scars on my leg and I almost pull my leg away. I hear a sob and I look at Harriet in surprise.
There are tears flowing down her face and sobs are coming out of her mouth. Layne sits down next to Harriet and pulls her into a hug. I can see Zeke and Lucy in a hug, and I can hear two people crying in the doorway.
I look up to see Nick and Clarity holding each other and sobbing. I feel alone and forgotten. Suddenly four people pull me into a giant hug and tears are falling on me. I look into Layne’s eyes and he gets the message. Everyone pulls away and I call Jeremy.
“Hello?” Jeremy asks.
“Jer, it’s me,” I say shakily.
“Clara? What’s wrong? Why do you sound like you’re crying?”
“Can you come over?”
“Of course I can. What’s going on?”
“I need to show you something.”
“I’ll be there in five.”
Jeremy hangs up and Layne pulls me into a hug. Five minutes later, the door bell rings and I push past Nick and Clarity. I run down the stairs and answer the door. Jeremy sees my expression and pulls me into a tight hug.
“Clara, tell me,” Jeremy whispers.
“I have to show you,” I reply. “Come on.”
I pull him inside and shut the door. I lead him up the stairs and to my room. Nick looks up as we approach and glares at us. He steps in front of us, refusing to let us in, and I glare at him. Clarity smirks at us and Jeremy glares at her.
“He isn’t welcome here,” Nick growls.
“This isn’t your house, Hollbrooke,” I snap.
“She’s feisty, Nick,” Clarity laughs.
“Go home, slut,” Jeremy snarls.
“Ooh! Is she your girlfriend?”
“Wow, Clara,” Ni laughs. “You stooped very low.”
That comment does it. I tackle him to the ground and his head hits the ground, hard. I punch him in the face and he shoves me off him. I get to my feet and kick him in the gut. He grabs my left leg and I yell out in pain.
Nick’s eyes go wide and he gets up, backing away. I follow him and kick him on the knee. He growls and throws a punch at my face. I catch his fist and smirk. His eyes go wide and I twist his arm. He falls to one knee and yells.
“Stop!” Nick cries. “Please! I'll do anything!”
“Good,” I growl, letting him go.
I knock him down. “Don’t mess with me or my friends.”
I wipe my hands on my shorts and turn around. I look up and almost laugh. Clarity, Jeremy, Harriet and Lucy are staring at me in shock, while Layne and Zeke are grinning at me. I grin in response and they pull me into a hug.
“Shit,” Jeremy says, dumbfounded.
“What?” I ask.
“You just knocked Hollbrooke down.”
“And I knocked you out.”
“Knocking anyone out is easy.”
“You don’t feel pain then.”
“That’s why I asked you to come here.”
“I need to show, and tell, you something.”