Lucky’s new roommate was called Peter. He was an inch or so shorter than Lucky, walked with a vague limp and repeatedly offered awkward smiles. Lucky was just as cold towards Peter as Sebastian had been towards Lucky when he was new. He understood now. He realised why he had acted that way, why it was hard to let anyone in.
“So, what are you in for—?”
“What’s it to you?” Lucky snapped, raising his brows as he sorted through the clothes screwed up in the bottom of his drawer.
Peter flinched slightly, recoiling in on himself, “N-Nothing...nothing, I was just—”
“Just keep out of the way, Pete.”
“A-Actually, I prefer Peter—”
“Yeah? And I prefer not to deal with little pricks like you. Only talk to me if you’re in trouble, alright? Otherwise leave me alone.”
Peter nodded hesitantly, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. Benji appeared a while later, a pack of cigarettes tucked into his back pocket. “Hey!” He smiled happily when the door swung open, his eyes falling to Lucky’s new roommate curiously.
“You said you’d be here twenty minutes ago.” Lucky told him bluntly.
“Sorry. I got caught up at the library.” He waved it off. “You alright, mate?” He greeted Peter with a reassuring smile. “I’m Benji.”
“Hi, it’s Peter.” He shook Benji’s hand, his eyes darting between the pair. “Nice to meet you.”
“You too. We’re just going out for a fag, wanna come?”
“He can’t. He needs to unpack.” Lucky interjected.
Benji just rolled his eyes, “C’mon, Peter.” He pulled him out of the room stubbornly, Lucky following reluctantly behind. “D’you smoke?”
“No, not anymore.”
“Yeah, I didn’t either. I got back into it...being here and all.”
Peter gulped, glancing around the corridor, taking in his new surroundings, “So, is it really as bad as everyone says it is?”
“Worse.” Lucky responded dryly.
“Don’t listen to him. You’ll be fine. I run the library upstairs, come up whenever you feel like you want some peace and quiet.”
“Thank you.” Peter smiled in relief.
They reached the courtyard and settled themselves on a bench in the far corner. Their breath fogged the air and the icy wind lashed at their flesh, all they could do was tremble and complain. Lucky was mostly silent, Benji chatted away and Peter nodded in reply to everything the Pup was saying, trying to remember every tip and piece of advice he was receiving.
Lucky sighed heavily once he’d finished and tossed his cigarette. He got up from the bench, dug his hands into his pockets and left without another word. Benji watched him go in alarm before turning back to Peter, “Wait here, I’ll be one second.” He reassured him before rushing off to catch up with his friend. “Lucky, wait—”
“I don’t want to do this, Benji.” Lucky stopped in his tracks, turning around to face Benji, his cheeks red from the cold.
“Can you not remember when we were new? Because I do, and it fucking sucks. The only way I got through it was because of you.” He nudged him halfheartedly. “Just be decent towards the kid. At least until he gets on his feet.”
“I don’t want to, okay?” He snapped. “I lost him without so much as a simple goodbye. I don’t want to share a room with someone that isn’t him!”
“I know, Luck—”
“No! No, you don’t!”
“Okay, just calm—”
“I have to get out of here, Benji. I can’t stay another day, I’m going fucking crazy.”
“It’s alright, Lucky.” Benji whispered, his eyes warm and soothing. “I hate it here too. But we don’t have a choice. We’re here because we did bad things.”
Lucky rolled his eyes. “No. I did bad things. You stabbed your Father because he was an abusive twat. Sebastian took drugs because he lost the only person that ever meant anything to him. Fuck, even Diesel is innocent—”
“Hey, I only told you that because you promised not to—”
“You see what they all have in common, Pup?” Lucky asked, his eyes welling with tears. “They all had a motive, a reason. If they’ve done bad things, then that’s just a consequence of shitty circumstances. But not me. No, I didn’t have any motive, any reason. I just did it."
"I deserve this. Not you.”
“Who cares?” Benji exclaimed. “Who gives a shit? It doesn’t matter how you got here, you’re here. You’re just as guilty as I am.”
Lucky tilted his head back, rubbing his eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh. “I’m just so tired.” He murmured.
“I know.” Benji pulled him into his chest and held his body close to his heart. Lucky didn’t hug back, just closed his eyes and dropped his head onto his friend’s shoulder.
They were all broken at Oakleaf. The school broke every single boy who entered its gates. Some wore scars on their wrists, some on their hearts. Some cried tears of despair, some tears of anger. Some just hid their pain better than others. And some were so utterly broken, the shattered pieces of their mentality were scattered over the floor.
Jake was leant against the wire fence, examining the unfamiliar face from the other side of the courtyard. He sauntered over after he’d finished his cigarette and seated himself on the bench beside the new boy. “What’d you do?”
Peter lowered his eyes to his lap and mumbled his answer, “Blackmail...y’know, for like money and stuff.” He admitted quietly. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“W-What did you do?”
“Beat up my head teacher and handcuffed him to his desk.”
Peter’s dark eyes widened, his lips parting in shock, “Why?”
“I don’t know. Why not?” Jake winked. “What’s your name, kid?”
“Jake.” He replied. “You in with Lucky then?”
“Yeah. How did you know?”
“I know he lost a roommate the other week.”
“Oh.” Peter gulped. “I don’t think he likes me very much.”
“’Course he doesn’t. The kid doesn’t like anyone but that Pup. Well, and his old roommate of course.”
“Were they close?”
“Yeah, kinda.” Jake shrugged.
“I don’t think he’s coming back.”
“I’ll take you.” Jake pushed himself up from the bench, extending his arm for Peter to grab. The pair walked in silence through the halls and up the stairs to Peter’s new dorm. “Hey, kid?”