A/N: No excuse would be good enough to explain my long delay on this story, but I've been incredibly busy. I refuse to give up on this story though, so I decided to give you a little sneak peek of what is to come. I have Raymond's entire chapter complete, and I'm about a quarter through Adrienne's, I believe. After that, I just have to complete Bryan's, and then I'll update! Let me know what you think, please—reviews are what help me to update/get more inspiration faster! c:



The weather wasn't completely dismal. In fact, at the beginning of the car ride, the sun was out and the sky was a pretty, cloudless blue. Gray clouds eventually rolled in, but there wasn't enough rain for it to be considered "raining" out — it appeared to be drizzling, divided by a fourth. Quarter-drizzling, I suppose.

I didn't mind the weather, though. After all, gray was my favorite color. I don't know why I liked it so much — it just seemed to be a pretty color to me.

I looked down into my lap to see the brochure my parents had given me at the beginning of the ride. I hadn't opened it yet, and I wasn't planning on doing so at all.

Sighing quietly, I placed the earbuds connected to my iPod into my ears and began to listen to songs that always managed to bring my mood down—

Because I don't deserve to be happy

—because I knew that at the moment, nothing could make me happy. I shuddered as the soft harmonies gradually came into existence in my ears.

'Shhh, don't worry,' she had said. 'I'm only trying to help you. To cure you.'

She didn't cure me, she infected me.

—'You'll thank me for this later.'

I closed my eyes, wanting to do nothing but go into hibernation.

I was awakened by the sound of two heavy gates swinging inward. Before my mother drove forward, I was able to catch a glimpse of the large sign above the gate reading OAKFORD MEDICAL CLINIC. The name of this place certainly doesn't make it sound like a psychiatric unit, I thought.

I noticed that the gray clouds I had seen before were nowhere to be found. My mom pulled to a stop in a parking space and took the key out of the ignition, but didn't get out of the car.

"Raymond?" she asked.

"Yes?" I responded quickly and quietly.

Her face looked pained, as if she were holding back years of sadness and depression. "I love you," she mumbled.

"I love you too."

She gave me a small, sweet smile, and then opened the car door. Deciding I had no other choice besides doing the same, I exited the car and waited for my mom to open the trunk. The second she did, I grabbed my green suitcase and pulled it out of the gray Honda it had been lying in. I looked at my mother, who was shutting the trunk, and then, slightly hesitant, embraced her in a hug. She stroked my hair with her hands, which typically I was annoyed by, but I decided not to tell her that.

"First we have to go to the Admission Building," she said. I nodded, and then pointed to a sign to my right that listed many different locations and had arrows pointing in several different locations. According to the sign, the Admissions Building was the furthest building to our left. My mother bit her lower lip, and then locked the car. Afterward, she gestured with her hands for me to follow her to the Admissions Building. Each of the buildings had white walls and orange roofs, with large windows. The grass had various sprinklers sprawled out across it, giving the place a nice feeling of springtime.

Before we entered, a skinny African-American woman with a white doctor's coat on opened the glass door and welcomed us.

"Good morning. I'm Yvonne," she introduced. "Are you Raymond?"

I nodded, and shook her hand. She led us into the building, and a sense of relief washed over me when I noticed the building didn't have fluorescent lights and tiled floors. There were rugs and rectangular, translucent lights above our head, like the type you would see in schools. Then I realized that this was only the Admissions Building, but Yvonne must've had an idea of how scared I was, because she said, "Luckily, the Oakford Medical Clinic tries to be as comforting to our patients as possible. Many teenagers are scared of needles, hospitals and so on, so it was a nice touch, wouldn't you say?"

I wasn't sure how to respond, so I just smiled and said "yes."

She asked me to have a seat on the couch while she walked behind the front desk. She handed me a transparent clipboard with a thin packet attached to it, while giving my mother a separate one — probably having to do with insurance or something like that. Other people came in and out of the room, some obviously being staff members, wearing their official Oakford Medical Clinic Jacket, while some were parents that were signing out their child for a discharge. There were multiple windows behind the desk that people would go to in order to do whatever they had to.

I wrote my name on the top of the packet and then began to look at the questions. Every question began with the phrase 'In the past 28 days, have you…' and ended with phrases like 'had thoughts of hurting yourself or another?', 'had trouble sleeping?', 'isolated yourself from your family and friends?', and many more. I figured the fastest way to get out of the hospital was to tell the truth. I tried to be as honest as possible with every question that I was asked. While I was answering questions, Yvonne took my suitcase and brought it into a separate room, so I assumed she was checking to make sure I didn't have sharp objects or anything on me. When I was finished, I waited patiently for her to come back, and when she did, I handed the packet to her.

"Thank you, Raymond. Follow me."

She directed me to a bathroom, dropping the packet off at the desk as she walked by, and handed me a tiny plastic cup. Luckily, she didn't have to explain to me for me to understand.

When I was finished, I handed the cup to her, and then she handed me a blue hospital gown, telling me I could wear my underwear or boxers underneath. I changed into the gown and then followed her into a room that looked like a doctor's office. She took my blood pressure, but I didn't understand why I had to wear the gown. My question was quickly answered when she had me step on a scale — apparently, the staff at the Oakford Medical Clinic wanted weights and vitals to be as accurate as possible. She went through the rest of the routine, asking me if I 'was in any pain at all today'—

Mentally, yes

—and reviewing the packet with me, and then she allowed me to change back into my normal clothes. I walked back to the waiting room, and Yvonne smiled at me, exposing her blinding, white teeth.

"You arrived here at a good time, Raymond. We've only started allowing belts recently, so everything in your suitcase was legally allowed to be here." She gave me another smile.

"Okay, it looks like we're ready to bring you to your room and give you a tour. Are you ready to go?"

"I guess."

The three of us exited the Admissions Building, and paced across the long parking lot, which I could sense had been paved recently, due to its' dark color and rich smell. She brought us to a building three structures away from Admissions, and allowed us to go into the vestibule before her. Right when I walked in, I felt cool air spill onto my skin, which felt nice after walking on the hot pavement and in the sun, which had become more powerful due it to being noon time. Yvonne smiled through the glass at another woman who was behind a desk, and punched a five-digit code into a number pad with her middle finger. I heard a click, and Yvonne opened the door. I looked at my surroundings. A circular desk sat to my left, with the woman Yvonne smiled at behind it. The woman, who according to her nametag was named Carolyn, was speaking into an earpiece while filling out a sheet of paper.

Framed pictures with inspirational messages littered the walls, each having little sayings such as "Nothing is Impossible; the word itself says 'I'm possible!'", "BEAUTIFUL", and "Don't Worry, Be Happy", but those were the only ones I could see before Yvonne began walking towards a set of twisted stairs. I took one last look at the lobby, noticing a couch and three chairs set up in a lounge-like style, surrounding a glass table. Mounted on the wall was a television set, which was turned off at that moment.

Yvonne led my mother and me down a long hallway that inclined and descended in an arch-like position, with clear windows that took up the entire wall, allowing the sun to shine through. At the end of the hall, an aroma of wonderful smelling foods had filled my nose, and I noticed a cafeteria on my right. I hadn't eaten since breakfast and I was beginning to get hungry.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

Yvonne responded, "Yeah?"

"Is the food here like…awful?"

She laughed gently. "From what I hear, most people actually like the food. It isn't like the stereotypical junk that they just splat on your tray or something like that. We have menus that you order from."

I smiled, feeling a sense of relief that I wouldn't starve to death.

After leading me down yet another small passageway, I found myself in a large common room. Teenagers were spread out across the room, some taking quick glances at me as I walked by. The room had multiple tables that people were sitting at and basically looked just like the lobby, other than the fact that there wasn't a desk and it was full of people that were my age.

I was afraid that Yvonne would introduce me to them all at once and I would just stand there awkwardly. Instead, luckily, she ignored them and led me down one last corridor. There were doors on each side, and each was marked with a different number, starting with the number nine. After walking past four rooms on the left side, Yvonne stopped and knocked on the green door. Moments after, somebody opened it.

A/N: I hope you guys enjoyed this sneak peek of Raymond's chapter. Hopefully, now that I've done this, I might have more inspiration to update sooner. Please let me know what you think!