Author: Kat Smart PM
Nathan is suffering from major anxiety problems that just seem to be getting worse over time. The people in his life aren't helping much. But when he meets the new boy in school, things might start to change for the better. M/M. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 22 - Words: 80,832 - Reviews: 200 - Favs: 59 - Follows: 82 - Updated: 05-03-13 - Published: 04-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3014431
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Finally, Friday rolls around and it's time for Shane and I to present our project. Normally I would feel a lot of anxiety about getting up in front of the class and speaking. But the atmosphere in the classroom is so laid back, from the attitudes of the students to the personality of Mr. Herman, that I don't feel very nervous. Besides, all we have to do is click through our 10-minute slideshow and take turns speaking about each slide.
Shane and I prepare for the presentation together. Shane plugs his USB stick into Mr. Herman's computer so that we can project our slideshow for the whole class to see. I fumble through my notecards at the podium. I feel confident about our project and I'm pretty sure that we're gonna at least get a B. I don't care that much about it, to be honest. We put enough effort into it. I mean, we had at least three get-togethers to organize this project, so it must be decent at the very least.
The two of us stand at the podium together and address the class. We click through the slideshow and Shane narrates the first slide. He tells the class our summary of Chapter 11 of Bless Me, Ultima. Then I talk about the themes we found in the chapter. Just like other groups that have presented previously, Shane and I are very casual in our speaking style. This project isn't a big deal compared to other speeches I've presented in the past.
While I'm finishing up the slideshow and narrating about Chapter 11's archetypes, I notice Shane staring at me with furrowed eyebrows and a slightly shocked and confused expression. I fumble my speech a bit and try and figure out if maybe the reason he's looking at me that way is because I forgot something about archetypes. But my notecards say I'm right on track. I ignore his gaze and finish up the presentation. The class applauds and Mr. Herman excuses us to our desks.
Even after we sit down, Shane continues staring at me with that look on his face. I put on a curious expression as if to silently ask him what he's staring at. For a moment, his eyes avert down a bit. I follow his gaze and realize that he's staring at my arms. My sleeves are rolled up and the cuts I've created with the razor blades are clearly prominent. Although they're shallow, they still show.
Panic immediately invades my entire body. It's not the same as an anxiety attack. It's more urgent, fearful, and sharp. Instead of my throat closing up, I can feel my heart pounding. My mind is racing at a hundred miles an hour.
How could I have rolled up my sleeves without thinking? I know better than that. Oh God, what's he thinking about me? Does he think I'm a freak? Does he think I'm crazy? Is our entire friendship over? Will he ever speak to me again?
Why do you even care? You have a boyfriend, idiot.
I know but Shane's my friend. I want to be his friend.
Even more panic surges through me at the thought of him telling people about my scars. Will rumors start spreading all around the school? But Shane is new here and doesn't have many friends. Who would he tell? He was trustworthy enough to keep our kiss a secret. He'd certainly be decent enough to keep this a secret too... right?
I don't stop panicking. But I get through English class somehow, with glances in Shane's direction every few seconds. I can't help but wonder what he's thinking.
When the bell rings and everyone starts packing up their things, I start to wonder if he'll just leave the room without saying anything or if he'll bring it up.
I watch him as he packs up his stuff. He refrains from looking at me, but I stare at him. Then I avert my gaze, thinking that it'll look creepy if I stare for too long. I focus on shoving my binder into my backpack. Once everything's packed up, I try to nonchalantly stand and exit the classroom. Shane follows me.
While I'm walking out, I realize something. The project is over. We no longer have to work together on it. Sure, we still sit next to each other in English, but we don't have to spend time with each other anymore. For the most part, our friendship is probably over. If there even was a friendship to begin with. I start to feel sad.
Yeah, you're just sad because you don't have any more good excuses to hang out with him. You're just sad cause you don't have an excuse to cheat on your boyfriend anymore, you filthy whore.
I'm not cheating on Dylan. I just want to be Shane's friend.
As soon as I'm out in the hallway of the English building, I feel Shane grab my upper arm. Before I have time to protest, he pulls me down the hall and into a janitors closet.
"What are you..." I say, but my voice trails off. It's dark in here. I can't see Shane at all. I can't even see my hand in front of my face.
I hear Shane fumble for the light switch. Finally he finds it and turns it on. It's a very enclosed space and I feel a hint of claustrophobia. The lighting is dim and it smells musty.
"What..." I say again, but he cuts me off by grabbing my arm forcefully.
"What is this?" He asks sharply.
He's asking about the cuts. I'm confused about his reaction and I can feel my heart starting up again. I'm scared.
I don't know what to say so I just mumble, "I don't know..."
"Nate..." He says exasperatedly, "You've been hurting yourself?"
"Well it's not..."
He cuts me off again.
"Why would you want to do something like this?" He asks. His eyes are big and fearful. They're so blindingly beautiful that I get lost in them for a second.
"All this time I've been hanging out with you and you've been doing this to yourself?" He asks, looking extremely concerned.
I pause when I realize this. Shane is actually concerned. I don't know him that well and I haven't known him for long and I've only hung out with him a few times, but he cares about me. Yes, he kissed me. And at first I thought it was just because he thought I was cute. I thought that was all he cared about. But it seems now by the look on his face that he actually cares about me. As a person. A human being.
I'm speechless, so I start stuttering and mumbling.
"Nate, this is not okay!" He says.
There's silence while we stare at each other.
"It's not okay for you to hurt yourself." He says, "You need to stop doing this. Why would you want to do this to yourself?"
There's another pause, but finally I find something to say. "They're not that bad..." I mumble. Because it's true. The cuts are not deep at all. They itch more than they hurt. It's not that big of a deal.
"It doesn't matter how bad they are!" He says, nearly shouting now, "They shouldn't exist at all! You should not be doing this, no matter how often or how deep!"
I look down with shame. He's still holding on to my wrist so that I can see my cuts. They're not deep. They're barely there. They crisscross and zig zag and there's a lot of them but they're barely anything. And yet he's still concerned. He doesn't care that they hardly hurt at all. He just hates the fact that I created these cuts in the first place. It confuses me.
"Why are you doing this?" He asks again.
Because I hate myself? Because I cheated on my boyfriend with you? Because I can't stop thinking about you? Because I think you're attractive and I shouldn't? Because I'm a terrible, awful person who deserves to be hurt? Because I have anxiety problems that I can hardly deal with? Because I want someone to notice how upset I am?
I stop to think about that. Isn't that why I started cutting in the first place? Because I wanted people to notice. I thought maybe if my friends saw my scars, they'd be concerned and finally understand that I'm not happy. Then maybe they'd care.
And here Shane is, noticing and being concerned and caring. And I'm taking it for granted. Maybe it's because I'm confused. Because when I pictured someone noticing my scars, it was always Violet or Luna or even Dylan. But not Shane. Because I try so hard not to think of Shane that way. I want to be his friend, but I feel like I shouldn't.
I clear my head and try to answer Shane's question. I realize I can't tell him any of the reasons for my cutting, so I avoid the question.
"It's none of your business." I say. I meant for it to come out angry and defensive, but I just sound like a little kid who's getting in trouble.
Shane sighs, drops my arm, and looks at his feet. When he speaks again, his voice is less forceful and more understanding, "I know... I know it's none of my business." He says, "But... I mean... we're friends right? I know we were kind of forced together to do this project. But... I want to be your friend."
My head snaps up and we stare at each other for a second. I feel a strange emotion in the pit of my heart. Something that I know I shouldn't feel, but I can't help it. It's hope. I'm hopeful. Shane wants to be my friend, and that gives me hope. Because I want to be his friend too.
Plus, you want him to fuck you so you can cheat on Dylan you disgusting asshole.
No. No, I just want to be Shane's friend.
Despite hating myself for it, I smile at him meekly. Because I do appreciate the gesture. He wants to be my friend. I like that.
He keeps talking, "And I know we don't know each other very well. But it just scares me to think that this guy who I've been doing an English project with is secretly very upset."
I blush with shame and embarrassment.
"Look..." Shane says, sighing, "I don't need to know why you're doing it. I just want to know if you're okay."
I look up at him shamefully and watch the genuine concern beneath his eyes. He means it. There's nothing malicious or mocking about his voice or his expression. He's truly worried.
Reluctantly, I nod to let him know that I'm okay.
"You sure?" He asks, placing his hands on my shoulders and trying his best to hold my gaze.
I suddenly feel strange. I shouldn't be in this closet with him. I shouldn't be having such a serious conversation with him. I shouldn't be letting him touch me like this. This is wrong.
Damn right. You're so fucking stupid. You're a whore. If you don't get out and stop letting him touch you like that, I swear to God...
I shrug Shane off and he drops his hands.
"I'm fine." I say stiffly.
"Okay." He says, settling his hands on his backpack straps instead.
I need to get out of this stuffy closet. This is so wrong on so many levels. I don't even know Shane that well.
I want to just walk out of the closet but that might be awkward. What would it be like tomorrow in English class if I just walked out now? Shane was just expressing his concerns and being very nice to me, how could I treat him like that? But I can't stay in this closet with him either. That would be so wrong.
But then he asks something that completely throws me off. "So do you wanna hang out some time this week?" He asks.
I look at him and try to wipe off the confused expression. He wants to hang out with me? But we're done with the project... so he just wants to hang out as friends? We barely know each other and he wants to hang out... without the excuse of a project...
"Oh... uh... um... I don't know if I can..." I mumble.
Fuck you. You should've just flat out said no. You're a weak, pathetic bitch.
But Shane's nice. I don't want to hurt his feelings. Besides, I want to be friends with him. Hanging out outside of school would help with that.
"Okay, well just text me." Shane says, smiling.
I nod hesitantly.
"I really hope you're okay, Nate." He says, putting his hand on my shoulder once more, "I mean it."
"I'm fine." I say instinctively.
He smiles. "Okay. Come on, we'll be late for 3rd."
He opens the closet door and exits, so I follow. He goes one way and I go another, off to our 3rd period classes.
I try to cope with the fact that I just spent a good five minutes in a closet with Shane Becker. It feels so wrong.
A/N: This took me forever. I feel terrible. And it's not even a good chapter or an exciting chapter or a long chapter. I'm so sorry. Please don't give up on me! EVERYONE GO READ JHEARTBREAK'S STORY "THAT BODY OF WORK." It's not really a story, more like a bunch of articles and reviews about different authors on Fictionpress. Amazing :]
TheMusicIsEnough: Thank you so much! Keep reading!
Skyless11: Nathan's mind is definitely not right. He has a twisted way of thinking that isn't normal or healthy. Haha your bathtub suggestion sounded so sexual. Perhaps it is ;] You guys will get some smutty sex in the future.
CharlieTehUnicron: Good to see someone standing up for Dylan. It's not fair to hate him, but it's hard to love him too.
LittleMonster13: I find it so amazing that you loved Unexpected enough to tell your mom the whole story! That makes me so happy! :D :D :D
JHeartbreak: I know what you mean about anxiety making it hard to communicate your feelings. I understand sooo much. I like what you said about Dylan being empty and "not there." That's kind of what I was going for. AGAIN THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INCLUDING ME IN "THAT BODY OF WORK" :D :D :D
Linq: I don't think Shane is insecure at all heehee :]
Miyuki31393: I know what you mean about inner voice and panic. I'm sorry you have to go through that :[
Daniel Elaine: heehee, chatroom? ;] and look! Shane found out that Nathan cuts!
Little.D.526: I'm sorry that you've been through anxiety :[ Thank you for letting me know that it's realistic.
xllnnx: Thank you for reading this and my other stories :] Keep reading! :D
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