Part 23

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this is how I imagine Daemon and Lucien arguing about D being banned from seeing Ash LOL, art is by InotXias

My days in suspension are miserable. I can't sleep properly. I don't feel like eating anything. The room gets messier and messier as the days drag on. I can't even bring myself to get out of bed and go shower.

Lucien says he's worried for me. He came and apologized to me for yelling and saying those things, but the damage is already done. I continue to feel hostile towards him for not letting me explain what happened with Trent. And now that he's not angry anymore, I don't even have the energy to argue my side. I just want to give up.

Being grounded doesn't really upset me. I don't have the will to leave my room anyway. My friends text me that they'll help me sneak out but as much as I love them, they're not who I want to be with right now.

Daemon's still not allowed to see me and Lucien has been keeping him busy on missions from dawn to nightfall to make sure of that. Lucien says it's for the best, which makes me resentful. I hunger for Daemon's presence, the way I feel around him. When he comes by the house to meet with Lucien I secretly look at him out the window through the curtains. I find him looking too, a grim look on his face. I wish he longed for me like I long for him.

The nightmares also get worse. When I'm able to sleep, I'm haunted by my stepfather's wrath. Or Henry's. Even when I'm awake, I'm held captive by the horrible memories, my mind forcing me to recall the specific things Alpha Ferix did to me. Dangling a knife over my ankles, threatening to cut off my feet if I try to leave the house. Holding my face down in a tub of water as a punishment for stealing an apple from the kitchen. The screams of my mother I heard while under the water, trying to get him to stop. Letting his friends use me as an ashtray when they came over to drink, pressing their lit cigarettes butts into my skin.

It makes me feel so nauseous, so disgusting. I look at myself in the mirror and refuse to accept that it's me I'm looking at. That's not me. That can't be me. That thing doesn't even look like a person. It looks like a shell of one, with hollowed-out eyes and a disfigured, bony body. I hate him so much, that boy in the mirror.

In the midst of my depressive episode, Lucien comes to see me after I've turned away the third meal of the day, refusing to eat.

"Why aren't you eating?" he asks me as I lie in bed, turned away from him.

"I'm not hungry,"

"You're a growing teenager. You need to eat,"

I don't reply. I don't care that I'm growing.

"Ash, I think you need to see a doctor. This behavior...it isn't normal,"

I clutch my arms tighter around me, curling into myself. The thought of leaving the comfort of my room for some stranger to evaluate me sounds terrible. Am I becoming a burden to him? Is that why he wants someone to fix me?

"You think I'm not normal?"

"No, no, that's not what I meant," Lucien tries to explain. "I--I just want you to get better. But I don't think I'm the best person to help you do that,"

I hate the way he's speaking to me. Like I'm a charity case or a sensitive child. I glare at the wall, chest tightening. "Maybe I don't want to get better," I say, my voice coming out as barely a whisper.

"What was that?"

"I said, maybe I don't want to get better!"I sit up to face him, my voice rising along with my distress. "Maybe I just want to waste away in here, rot and die!" I finish, my chest heaving.

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