No one ever thought Danielle Stevenson could fall, or just how hard she would fall.
It happens halfway through her first year at high school. Her friends are happy. Everyone's happy, except her.
She was always known as the sunny, optimistic type of girl, then that all changed.
When their close gang went to high school something changed. Danielle's childhood friend Mia started to hangout with new people, Ben and Tori (the smart ones of the group) started to take different higher classes, Josh and Logan, (Josh, her ex-crush, until him and Mia started going out, Logan, her friend since intermediate) join the rugby team.
But Danielle stayed the same. In the first month she wasn't worried, she was proud of her friends sailing smoothly across the ocean that was high school and since her friends were always so busy, she took up photography.
(One of the only good decisions she made in those six months.)
By the second month, she was a little more than slightly worried. Their group hardly hangs out, it's just that everyone's so busy. Right?
Mia has made new friends in her drama class Josh has rugby and advance classes. Ben and Tori were in their own little world, filled with equations and big words she didn't understand. She and Logan are the only ones who hang out regularly.
(She thinks regularly about wanting to go back to intermediate school, everything was so much easier.)
In the third month, Logan is the only one who knows where she is most of the time. He also knows that she's got talent, photography. He goes with her to the park, just to see her work magic with a lense. It was there when he asks her the bombshell question.
"Danielle? Can I ask you something?" He asks slowly.
After taking a close up of the dandelion in front of her, she faces Logan, "Sure? Is it something bad, becau-"
"Do you know if Mia and Josh are dating?" He blurts out. She almost faints when she comprehends what he is saying.
"T-The are? I didn't know." She looks down at the camera in her hands, "I'm happy for them. They deserve it." She refuses to acknowledge the tear sliding her face.
She's happy for them, really she is. They both can have happiness and she knew that the fire they had was stronger than some summer rain. She doesn't realize that she's crying hysterically until Logan is holding her close and telling her it's alright. But it's not alright.
(That's when she starts to fall.)
By the fourth month she isn't talking to anyone, Logan tries but he just doesn't understand, so he takes a step back, even though he's reluctant to do so. Her camera is the only thing she interacts with. She loses her appetite as well, but that doesn't bother her. Neither does the worried and confused looks her parents give her and to each other.
The only two things that bother her is how much emotion she is carrying on her shoulders and how tired she is. The bags underneath her eyes seem to be getting darker everyday, which really isn't helping her self-esteem.
(She's eating less, smiling less, but she's crying more.)
By the fifth month, Danielle is really close to the edge of the metaphorical cliff in her mind. Mia only comes to her when she has a problem. She let's Mia rant and yell about the world. Her Mum tries to talk to her more, but Danielle's fine right? Logan tries to talk to her too, but she pushes him away.
in the sixth month things change.
Mia doesn't talk to her anymore, Josh and her worked it out and were comfortable together.
(It doesn't bother her, she swears.)
She saw Ben and Tori in the class and smiled for the first time in four months. They don't see her though, but that's okay too.
(It wasn't okay, but no one is making her fess up to the little white lies she tells herself.)
She doesn't really realise how much she's changed. Her parents do, though. Her brother does as well.
(It doesn't matter that she only smiles because he can see her.)
It has to matter though, because she finds herself lying on the bathroom floor sobbing out how much everything, everyone and even herself hates her, if only she could lose herself in her messed up thoughts.
Her Dad is the one to find her. His heart breaks once he sees her, so he grabs her and hugs her like she was a little girl again with a scraped knee. She sobs into his shirt, only faintly in her physical mind.
She wakes up to a constant beep… Beep… Beep...
The white room was bright and she was tired so she fallen back asleep.
When she wakes up for good, she wakes up to hear her mother crying in the seat next to her. She feels horrible about that, how she made her cry, but she still returns a small smile. She looked around and saw that she was in the hospital, connected to machines.
"How are you feeling?" Her mum gentle voice asked her.
She doesn't know why, but she does know that she is crying. "Mummy, I-I'm so, so, so sorry! I-I didn't m-mean to worry you." She's sobbing into her Mum's shirt and her mum's rocking her. "I felt so alone. And… And, like no one needed me and I don't know. Ever since high school started everything just seemed so different. Mum, what's wrong with me?"
Danielle, nothing. Nothing is wrong with you, okay? You've been going through a tough time, and I'm sorry we didn't notice it earlier." Her dad answers.
By the second month Danielle is at home, yet she hasn't seen any of the others, aside from Logan. She wouldn't like to see them. Logan tries his best, however he simply doesn't get it. They might need to see her, why wouldn't she like to see them? She lets him know on one of their numerous excursions to the Park.
"Why?" He asked her. They're walking, and eating hot dogs, which had made Logan glad and relieved to see Danielle eating.
"Since Logan, I just can't. I understand that they need to see me, I get that, alright? In any case, it doesn't change the way that they left me. They left me and just talked to me when it profited them. For god's sake, Mia just conversed with me when her and Josh had an issue, she didn't see that I was suffocating." She talking excessively loud, however at a steady rate she was moving things out into the open. "And afterward they need to see me after what they did in light of the fact that what? Since they feel terrible? Well I'm so goddamn sorry,yet not. I'm not letting myself be lost again.
(He drops it after that.)
By the third month, Danielle 's almost back to her old self. Her family and Logan have never been so happy for her. She's eating all the more, smiling more, and talking more. Despite everything she hasn't seen the others. Toby and Danielle are closer, and her Mother and Father support her considerably family actually benefited from her fall from grace.
(Her laugh hasn't come back yet, but her family is positive it's the next thing to come back.)
Her hope is actually the next thing to come back, and so her laugh follows. Danielle decides it strange to be hopeful again after what she went through, but it felt more weird not to be hopeful. It felt great to have hope, to laugh again. She tells her family about her having hope in the world, and Her brother yells out in happiness. She smiles again, having hope was a good thing.
It's a little while later when her parents come to speak with her.
"Danielle are you going to talk to them?" Her Dad asks hesitantly.
"I don't know yet. I think I want to." She answers.
"You're giving them a chance?" Her Mum asks with hope in her tone.
"I'm giving them a chance to explain, it doesn't mean I want to be friends again." She corrects her Mum.
(She's nervous to talk to them.)
Logan sets up the meeting, and she makes him stay with her. She's genuinely certain she's cutting off the blood in his grasp that Danielle's holding yet she's anxious. Her feet are tapping the floor, and her heart is pulsating quick.
"Darlin'? You okay there?" Logan gives her a reassuring smile.
"What? Better. What time is it?" Danielle grinned back anxiously.
"It's nearly 4." It's not Logan who answers her, but Ben. Her breath gets in her throat. "We are on time right? You said 4?"
Danielle gestures her yes, yet she isn't looking at him, or the others. She can't.
"Dani?" She can hear the sadness in Mia's voice.
"Mia?" She gave in, and raced to embrace her previous closest companion. She was still annoyed, however she missed her friend. A lot.
"I'm sorry," Mia's voice rang loud and clear, "I'm so so so sorry. I never meant to imply, I didn't have even an idea. Goodness God, I'm sorry." Mia blurted and Danielle put a hand up to stop her.
"Why don't we take a seat?" Danielle played with her hands, "Um, so what's up?" She completed weakly. The quiet that took after is awkward without a doubt.
"Man, you all know know how to make a room silent." Logan said.
"Danielle, why didn't you let me know? Mia inquired.
"Why? Why?" Her voice solidified into resentment when she heard the inquiry why, "In light of the fact that other people were too busy, making it impossible to see that I was suffocating. Not even you did, Mia. I let you guys leave your own particular life, make new friends Danielle was basically screaming at them, reigning in her outrage she talked once more, discreetly this time, "I expected that you would see me, why didn't you see me, Mia?" She was crying now, they both were. Mia, Ben? How might you be able to not see me?"
"Danielle , I-" Ben started, "I'm sorry, I know I should've done something for you and I didn't. I don't know how I let my sun turn cold, I'm so sorry." Ben was looking at her with dependability, desperation for her to understand, wanting her to know he was going to be there for her from now on.
"Danielle, I didn't have any idea! I was at last glad, my school grades were great, I made new friends and... "I figured I was at long last happy my life was going okay, that I overlooked who helped me to achieve that." Mia was crying, "Yet I'll take all of that away, everything to let myself be forgiven. I am so sorry. I miss my bestfriend, I don't want to lose you again."
"Josh, Mia I don't need you both to separate, I would never want that for. You're content with each other and I would never remove that from you. Never." She looked to Logan, who gave her an encouraging gesture, "Listen in case will be friends again, things are going to have to to change. I can't experience this again, alright?"
Josh is the first to reply, "obviously, Danielle I'm sorry that we made you feel like what you did, I didn't-"
Danielle cut him off, "I want and need things to be different."
Danielle went home that night with a smile on her face.
It takes an additional two months for her to fall again. Nobody saw it coming, not her friends or even her family. Danielle then again, she had an idea of it. On the off chance that she guess, it would be hard to accept that she would all of a sudden be fine once more. However, she wasn't and it turning out to be more clear all through their time together. She attempted her hardest to be the girl that they anticipated that she would be, however she simply wasn't any longer.
In the month before her fall, everyone was okay, and hanging out again, She was even fine. That's all Danielle wants, for everyone to be happy, and they were.
Danielle's happiness was set back, though. It wasn't like they meant to, but old habits are hard to break. Danielle wasn't worried, they had promised a change would happen, and change takes time, right? So she waited, and waited for the slightest change. Sometimes, she thinks it already happened, and she didn't notice. But she smiles anyways, her friends are back, and she's happy. It doesn't matter that her smile is a little more fake, right?
(It does, but Danielle just wants things to go back to normal again.)
It was in the second month that Ben and Logan finally notice, but it's a little too late.
It happened at their regular hangout place. Danielle is showing pictures to Logan and Ben, laughing at Logan's questions.
("No, Logan! That isn't Mrs. Muriel," Danielle snorts.
"Are you sure about that, Dani?" Logan asks again
"Yeah, it does kinda look like her, she even has the dress on!" Ben backs him "You two are unbelieveable!")
Danielle suddenly realizes that half of the group isn't there, she finally comes to the conclusion that they haven't changed. But Tori is at the library, and Mia and Josh are somewhere? That's when the sadness begins again. they lied. Mia isn't there and she gave Danielle false hope. She believed Mia again and now Danielle thinks she made a mistake.
Danielle must've shown something on her face, because Logan and Josh are giving her concerned looks, and are you okay? But she lies and replies she is fine.
(Another white lie on her list.)
Her fall turns out to be more clear after that specific hangout with Ben and Logan. She isn't the same, and it appeared like the further she got from her old self, the further she fell away from Mia. Possibly things had changed to much for it turn out to be better, perhaps she won't ever show signs of improvement. Danielle sat in her bathtub, quietly crying, shutting her eyes close she puts her head in the middle of her knees, wanting to shut out the horrible contemplations in her mind, nobody needs you, not Mia, nobody.
"Stop," a shaky whisper gets through her wails, "stop! Stop!" She's pulling at her hair, striking against the bathtub, her considerations are resounding, she simply needs everything to stop.
"Simply make it stop, please," Danielle isn't certain in the event that she's talking with herself or to any individual who passes the bathroom, yet she needs help. Gasping for air, Danielle opens her eyes and gets the one thing she can touch. It's a mirror. She gasps for air stop as she sees her broken face the cool metal of the mirror.
Wildly shaking her head no, she tosses the mirror to the floor, shattering. Her sobs got louder, she begins to pull at her hair once more; her considerations are destroying her. "Danielle?" Her head shoots up to the bathroom entryway, she hadn't heard anybody come in. The door handle shakes, "Danielle? Open the door, please," Ben? It couldn't be him. "I'm worried about you, Dani please?" His voice breaks on her nickname. You botched once more, he's worrying over you. It's generally always about you, isn't it?
At that point she's crying again. The doorknob is shaking again and Ben's hitting the door now. There's more shouting, and the before she knows it Ben and Logan are in her bathroom, taking a look at her as though she was a terrified animal.
("I didn't mean to! I don't, I don't know. Just make it stop, please,")
Ben advises something to Logan, possibly to go call her Dad? She isn't certain, however then he's in the bathtub with her, maneuvering her into his arms. "Shhh, Dani. It's alright, you're alright," He's whispering to her that she can cry, that it's alright to cry. Telling her that he simply wants her happy, like he always wanted her to be.
(She falls asleep in his arms, but she wakes up in her bed, alone.)
They don't discuss what happened for quite a while. She doesn't bring it up and neither do they. However, something changed among them, and Danielle isn't certain what changed.
(It scares her a little though. Not that she'll tell anyone.)
It's not until two months after the fact when they do discuss it. They're at their cafe once more, when Logan inadvertently raises the idea that Danielle is on new medication for her depression and anxiety. It goes similar to this: They, the entire group, were lounging around the little table simply talking, when Logan appears to remember something. "Hey, uh, Dani?" Logan begins, and Danielle has a sinking feeling in her gut. "Yeah, Logan?"
Kindly don't give it a chance to be about what I believe it will be about, please.
"New medicine? Dani?" Mia asks her.
"It's nothing Mia!" Danielle tries to explain to Mia.
"Nothing? Didn't look like nothing," Ben mumbles.
"What the heck is that supposed to mean, Ben?" Danielle demands. "What the heck is that expected to mean? I was worried that you'd do something stupid! Don't think I didn't see the glass," He's standing and so is she. She's never seen him so furious, yet why the hell would he say he was so angry?
"Glass?" Josh jumped into the discussion. "Danielle , are you okay?" Tori, the only one who saw that Danielle was tensing up.
"Why don't we all quiet down?" Logan tries but without any result.
"Stay out of this Logan!" Mia snaps at him.
"Excuse me? I have to stay out of it? I've been a better friend to Danielle than you've been these previous couple of months!" Logan tosses into her face. Danielle, who had been in a glaring contest with Ben, couldn't take the screaming and the anger, snatched her stuff and left the cafe.
(She didn't leave because she couldn't take everybody hollering, she exited because she couldn't stand the look Ben gave her.)
After leaving, Danielle ended up going home, just to get her camera, and after that she was headed toward the lake. Taking pictures was always her escape, but this time she didn't. Taking pictures removed herself from her issues, but not the world. It was a feeling she relished in. Looking through a camera lense gave Danielle another perspective on things, she saw a world that could be paused for a brief moment, and in that second the world was cheerful. If Danielle somehow managed to clarify why she loved that feeling she would say that it was the nearest she felt to being old Danielle. She tears her eyes away and heads home, only to be engulfed in a hug.
(She misses her old self.)
She doesn't know to what extent her family sat in the lounge, simply embracing each other, yet she knows that she feels less broken.
When she goes to her room, a small smile on her face, but when she enters she quits grinning. Josh, Mia, Logan, Ben and Tori are sitting waiting for her.
"Do my parents know you are all in here?" She doubts them.
"No," Tori answers her. Whatever is left of the group looks down, as though they were embarrassed.
"I, I mean we, needed to let you know that we're sorry. I'm so sorry Danielle," Ben looks at her straight in the eye without flinching while he apologizes on behalf of the group.
(She won't tell anyone that maybe, just maybe, her heart skipped a beat when her green eyes met his blue ones.)
"Danielle , I know I said I would change, and I haven't come through however I promise that I will. I miss you! I'm sorry," Mia begs her closest friend.
"I-" Danielle gets out before she begins to cry. "I miss you to," The previous closest best friends embraced each other, much the same as old times.
"We messed up, Danielle. And... I'm sorry that we did that to you. Josh told her.
She was important to them, this moment had made her feel just a little more needed in this world.
(She always was, but that thought never occurred to her.)
"Darlin' I didn't intend to blurt out what I did, yet I was concerned and all," Logan tries to clarify.
"I am sorry as well," Tori starts, "We made you feel like you were second to all of us and irrelevant, and for that, I apologize."
There's a minute of silence before Danielle speaks, "I," She swallows the lump in her throat, "I forgive you. Be that as it may, "I forgive you. But I can't just pretend I'm okay anymore! I'm not the old Danielle , I haven't been in such a long time. I," She looks at her hands, turning them over, "I just don't think you guys realize that. I've tried being her! God, I've tried so hard! But I'm just not her anymore. I'm broken,"
"Danielle ," Mia speaks up.
Danielle shakes her head at Mia , "No, I am. I've accepted it. I have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near okay. But I need you guys to just understand that! I'm not okay, and I need all of you to tell me it's okay not to be okay! Because I'm trying so hard to be okay! I need you guys to be okay with that. Please," Her voice broke but she continued on, "Please just be there for me! Don't make empty promises. Don't change for a week and then go back to way things were. I can't handle that, not anymore,"
"Anymore?" Tori questioned.
"What do you think pushed me to the edge?" Danielle let out a sad chuckle.
(It hit her like a ton of bricks, they didn't even know that they pushed her to the edge of the cliff, and with every broken promise, made the edge crumble beneath her.)
The silence after her question was deafening. The looks of despair and silent anger, at who, Danielle couldn't guess, told her all she needed to know.
"You really didn't know, did you?"
More silence. Danielle looked away from them, trying to hold back her tears.
"Us?" Mia's broken voice tore away at the silence. At Danielle 's nod Mia begins to cry.
"Danielle , uh," Ben speaks up, "I am so sorry," His voice breaks too, and next thing Danielle knows is that everyone is crying.
Danielle feels guilty again, she made them cry. All because she didn't know how to tell them how she was feeling towards them. It's her fault, again. Why is it always her damn fault? She never meant to make them cry, but she needed them to know how she felt.
Mia, still sobbing, grabbed Danielle and hugged her, making Danielle snap out of her thoughts. Then Josh hugged the two girls he said he would protect. Tori soon follows that, Logan joins the hug right after Tori. Ben is the last to join the hug. The wind up on the floor, but something about it makes her laugh.
Then everyone's laughing, just like old times.
(Danielle feels a little less broken after the impromptu meeting in her room.)
She reflected over the past two months. Ever since the argument at the cafe and her speech, things had gotten better. Everyone had actually kept their promise to her, Danielle wasn't upset with Mia's relationship with Josh, and she had grown closer to everyone. She was happy, and loved, and it showed. Her passion for photography grew, with support of her family and friends, she ended her first year with amazing grades, and she was happy. She didn't feel broken.
She didn't feel broken.
"Dani?" Someone asked her, concern lacing their voice.
"I don't feel broken," She whispered, not loud enough so anyone could hear. The world faded into the background, and she could only focus on the fact that she didn't feel like broken glass. Instead she felt as if the quote she once heard, "My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel." very much so applied to her.
"What?" Danielle looked up into Ben's blue eyes.
"I-I don't feel broken," She tells him, a small smile gracing her face.
"Huh?" Blue eyes searched her face, looking for answers.
"I don't feel broken!" Her smile became much wider, and tears welled up in her eyes. She threw herself into his arms and laughed happily.
"I'm not broken!" She said louder, catching the attention to everyone else in the living room. Danielle could hear the rest of friends walking over to her.
"Honey?" Mia questioned, her voice holding hope.
"I don't feel broken, Mia," She turned to her best friend, smiling even wider. Mia's face showed the pure unadulterated joy she was feeling, she then sunk to her knees and hugged Mia. The girls both laughed into the other's hair.
"I knew you'd be okay," Mia whispered into her ear.
Danielle smiled a little brighter, and laughed, happy to be in a place where she was okay.
The first time Danielle fell from grace, she landed on the floor, and like glass she broke. It wasn't pretty, and it shocked everyone who knew Danielle Stevenson the girl with the perfect life. It shocked her.
She was viewed as an angel by most people, and when she fell from grace, well it changed a lot of things. The second time she fell from grace she landed in Josh's arms, but she cut him deep. Deep enough to draw blood, and he wasn't the only one she cut. She cut everyone she knew, and everyone she knew bleed because of her.
Her friends and family had put her on a pedestal, and slowly inched her to the edge. But they expected her not to fall, like gravity wouldn't want to pull her down. She didn't expect her friends to change, she didn't expect to be happy. She thought she would always be falling on the ground, getting up, thinking she was on stable ground only to fall once more.
She expected that the broken glass she had become would make her bleed out. She expected that everyone would stop caring that she bleeding out, only to protect themselves from the dangerous glass she had become.
But she come a long way since then, she still battled herself on more than one occasion and she sometimes would stand in her bathroom, thoughts plaguing her. She always put those thoughts away, sometimes only because she made a promise to her brother, Toby, sometimes for herself.
But those Moments didn't happen often, not anymore. Not with her family and friends supporting her. She still had Moments of doubt, but she pushed past them. She always did. Danielle Stevenson may not be the girl with the perfect life, but she was Danielle Stevenson, the girl who defeated depression. That was a title she wore proudly.
When Danielle Stevenson fell from grace in her first year of high school, she didn't think anyone would care. But she was wrong, the people that mattered the most to her did. She hadn't realized that her family would try. Even though it had taken them a couple of times to get it right, they did. That's what mattered the most. Danielle Stevenson fell from grace, but she got up. Then she fell again, she got up, stood her ground, and had her friends with her.