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My 30 Day Challenge

Chapter 10

DAY 1: How long have you been self-harming? Discuss why you started.

The next day was a Monday, the absolute worst day of the week in everyone’s book. It was my first full day at school. Mike and Vic were giving me a lift in with Jaime and Tony. Vic seemed to want me to spend the day at his side, because he woke me up, sat next to me at breakfast, and basically talked to me the entire morning. He sat next to me in the car, and walked me to my locker. He sat next to me in my first class, which we had together. By the time it got to English, I saw Jack in the same seat we sat in last week, and walked over to him, grateful for some company other than Vic. I was getting a little sick of him, honestly. He wasn’t in the class, but he walked me there.

'Hey, man! Where'd you go on Friday? We were worried,' Jack asked concernedly. I coughed awkwardly.

'I got convinced into ditching by Mike Fuentes. I live with them, actually,' I mumbled, praying he wouldn't ask for more detail.

'Woah, you live with the Fuentes'? That's got to be pretty full on; they're pretty out there.'

'What do you mean, out there? They seem alright,' I frowned, confused.

'Well, I heard their dad only speaks Spanish,' he said.

'Uh, that's not true,' I said. 'His English is fine.'

'Yeah well, anyway. There's other stuff. Mike almost got sent to juvie last year—'

'Wait, juvie? I asked incredulously. ‘What the hell did he do?’

At that moment, Ms Williams walked in.

'Alright class, this is the short period, so we're going to go through the details of the assignment…' God damn it, I wanted to know what Mike did! Hell, I was living with the kid, what was he like? He seemed okay…

And so I spent the next forty minutes not listening to a word Ms Williams said and trying to find an opportunity to ask Jack what Mike did. I didn’t think he would lie; they seemed to be on good terms when Mike introduced us on Friday.

Eventually, the bell rang, and I made Jack tell me.

'Well, he beat up some kid so bad the guy had to go to hospital. No one knows why. I don't even know how he got off, but he was suspended for like three months, and he’s still doing detention for it,’ Jack said quietly. ‘Look, man, no one really talks about it, and that’s why everyone listens to Mike and Vic. They were pretty much nobodies before that. I only know him ‘because I used to play soccer with him. Just, don’t bring it up unless he does, and don’t mention my name, okay?’

'Fine,' I said, a little shocked. 'I'll see you later, I guess.'

Vic was waiting outside my class. What the hell was with this kid? He smiled as he saw me, and I ducked my head.

'What have you got now?' he asked as we walked.

'Art,' I murmured.

'Damn, I don't take, art,' he said sadly. 'Never mind. It's this way.'

When we got there, he said ‘See you at lunch!’ and left. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d probably be with Jack and the others. They seemed like nice guys, and I didn’t want to spend all my time with the people I lived with. Also, I was a little scared of Mike at the moment.

I walked into the room, and immediately discovered I was the only male, including the teacher.

'Welcome, Mr…' The teacher looked a little confused.

'Quinn,' I said awkwardly. 'Kellin Quinn.'

'Ah, right! I was expecting you yesterday, but never mind. Take a seat anywhere.’ I chose to up the back, on my own. The girls looked at me a little weirdly.

Art was probably my favourite subject, because it was something I enjoyed and wanted to do, rather than my other subjects. I could let myself be creative, just attack the page with my emotions, and got told it was great. At least, at my old school I could.

I soon found out that was not the case here. I was given directions on pretty much everything. God, this place was taking away everything I loved!

An hour later brought it to lunch, where Vic was thankfully not waiting at my locker or outside, and I took my time putting my stuff away and dawdled to the cafeteria. Jack and his friends were right near the door when I walked in, so I went straight for them, hoping the Fuentes brother didn’t notice me come in.

'Hey, Kellin! Where'd you go?' one of the guys at the table asked. He had brown hair and super muscled arms.

'I ditched,' I answered easily. He seemed to accept this, and changed the conversation.

'So who's going to Danny's party on the weekend?'

'Who isn’t going, Gabe?’ the long-haired one called Jesse asked. ‘The guy invited pretty much the entire school, there will be alcohol, and hot drunk girls. Are you dumb?’

'Oh, Kellin, you probably didn't get an invite, cause you weren't here,' the guy to Jesse's right asked. 'Danny Worsnop's the captain of the football team, and he's having a party on Friday night. No one will care if you wanna come, even if you weren't invited. You in?'

I thought about this. I didn’t like alcohol, and I didn’t like drunk people. But I didn’t want to be a loser and not go.

'I don't know,' I said slowly.

'Come on, man, you have to! It's like a social boost if you go to one of Danny's parties - you're almost instantly cooler. Plus, we can go home early if you want,' Jack asked.

'I'll think about it,' I said, and I actually kind of meant it. I liked these guys; they were fun to be around and they seemed to be alright with me.

'Hell yes! It'll be awesome,' Gabe said.

'Yo, Justin, what's the plan for tonight?' Jack asked.

'My parents are gone on date night or some shit, and I have the house to myself. You guys want to come over?' the kid on Jesse's right responded. I was pretty sure I could remember their names by now.

'I'm in,' said Jesse.

'Hell yeah,' said Jack.

Gabe nodded. They looked at me.

'Can't, sorry. I, uh, have to go back to the Fuentes'. They grounded me because I ditched,' making up the first excuse I could.

'Seriously? That sucks, dude. Maybe next time,' Justin said. I didn't respond.

Vic seemed to leave me alone after lunch. Maybe he got the hint when I didn’t sit with them. But when Mike came up to me after school, he seemed angry.

'What the hell, man? Twice? I thought you were only sitting with them 'cause you had to,' he said angrily. I was a bit scared.

‘I’m sorry man, Jack seems like a cool guy and I don’t really want to spend too much time with you, cause we live together and everything,’ I rambled nervously.

‘Whatever. Look, I know Vic was being clingy today, but he’s just worried about you, so give him a break. If he’s pissing you off, tell him, he won’t get offended. But he wants to talk to you this afternoon alone, so I’m going to be out and about.’

I didn’t want to ask what he would be doing.

‘Just go get in the car, he’ll explain,’ he shooed me off.

I meandered there, thinking I’d upset Vic and not wanting to deal with that. I considered walking, but figured that would only upset him more. When I eventually made it there, he was leaning on the hood, playing a game on his phone. Noticing me, he turned it off and walked around to his side of the car, face enigmatic. I got in apprehensively.

After a few moments’ silence, he turned the started tapping his hands on the steering wheel.

‘Hey, Kellin, sorry if I was a bit full-on today. I just-‘

‘It’s fine, Vic, I get it. You were worried,’ I interrupted. ‘Mike said you wanted to talk.’

‘Yeah… Listen, you said yesterday that you would do the challenge. That still the case?’


‘Good. There’s 30 questions you have to answer, and I thought we could, I don’t know, talk about them, I guess,’ he said awkwardly.

‘Fine,’ I said, staring out the window. Agreeing to this was a stupid idea.

Digging in his pocket, he pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to me. ‘You don’t have to read it out; I know what today’s is.’

So I read it to myself. How long have you been self-harming? Discuss why you started. It was eerily similar to what Dr Dawson had asked me. I still didn’t want to talk about it, but for some fucking stupid reason, I had said I would.

‘I… I started a couple of years ago. I don’t remember exactly when. I was, uh, bullied, a lot, back in Oregon. My dad just left my mom and me…’ I said thickly. I would not cry! ‘I got… bullied, too. A lot. It started the day… the day I started… you know.’ It was much harder to say you self-harmed than to think it.

‘Your dad left you?’ Vic asked. ‘I’m so sorry, Kellin. I can’t even imagine what that’s like.’

‘Yeah, it kinda sucks,’ I said. I was still trying not to cry.

Eventually we made it home. Mike was not there. I said hi to Vivian and Mr Fuentes, and used the excuse of homework to be able to go up to my room and be alone for a bit.

Basically, I lay on my bed for hours trying to sleep and failing until I was called down for dinner.

‘So, Kellin, have you made any friends besides my boys?’ Vivian asked over the sound of pasta being chewed.

‘Um, yeah. Mike introduced me to a guy called Jack in my year, and he seems pretty cool,’ I said quietly. I still wasn’t that big on talking to them. I wasn’t good with adults.

‘That’s great, dear,’ she smiled.

‘Oh, Kellin, did they invite you to Danny’s on Friday?’ Mike asked.

Before I could answer, Mr Fuentes broke in.

‘What is happening on Friday at Danny’s house, Michael?’ he asked.

‘Dad, we went over this. Danny’s having a party, and we got invited,’ Mike responded, annoyed. ‘Any you and Mom said we could go.’

‘Well, actually, I believe we said you could go if Vic and Kellin went,’ Vivian said. Mike looked at Vic.

‘Fine, I guess I can go,’ he said without looking up from his food. Mike turned to me.

No. Oh no, not happening! The guys already tried to convince me at lunch, and I had thought about it, and my answer was no!


‘Come one, Kellin, it’ll be fun! You can see the guys, you can meet new people, we can have fun! You might even meet a girl you like!’ he exclaimed. That one hit home. I wasn’t used to people thinking I was straight. I was, but people back home would call me a fag and a homo and a queer and the change was weird. It think it kind of convinced me to go.

‘I… oh, fine, I’ll go,’ I mumbled. Mike started whooping and cheering.

After we’d washed up from dinner, I went back to my room and decided I would leave my light off and let out the tears I’d held in before. That was a lie. I didn’t want to cry, but it happened. I curled up on my bed, hugging my knees and let the tears fall silently down my face.

Vic came in. ‘Hey, Kellin, Mike and I are –' seeing me crying, he immediately shut the door and came over, wrapping his arms around me. He wasn’t supposed to see me crying. That was why I was doing it now, alone, in my room. That made me cry a little harder.

‘Sh, sh, calm down, Kells, it’s okay,’ he soothed. ‘It’s fine, Kell, you’re okay.’

Slowly but steadily, my tears ran out, and we were left sitting there, his arm around me, my head on his shoulder.

‘Do you want to tell me what’s up?’ he asked softly.

‘He didn’t even say goodbye.’
♠ ♠ ♠
It has begun, properly. This chapter is actually a decent length, too, which is awesome.

The Challenge day will be included at the top of every chapter.