Precious Sins ✓

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Chapter Forty

TW: Self Harm & Verbal Bullying (if self-harm triggers you, please skip Adrien's second POV in the chapter. The scene isn't too graphic and I don't explain the action, but I mention blood and cuts, so please take care of yourself and avoid the scene if you need to. I'm also trigger warning the bullying cause it's a little more aggressive in terms of the language used).

Adrien's POV

It felt nearly impossible to get out of bed in the morning. When my alarm went off at 7:oo am in the morning alerting me to get ready for school, the first thing that I did was cry. I rolled onto my back and rubbed my hands over my face, and just cried. At this rate, weekends were treated like a load of relief knowing that I had a break from all of the rumours and names being thrown at me, but it was also stressful knowing that the weekend was so short because in a blink the weekend was over and now I'm back to my daily dose of torture.

It just seemed never-ending and I just wanted this heavy cloud over my head to go away, but it just stormed harder. And I was tired. So fucking tired of this. Tired of waking up and having to live like this. It seemed like there was no good at the end of this.

I can't make my thoughts go away. They just get louder, and at this point, I let them get louder. I couldn't stop anything from happening in my life, so what was the point in trying when it was pointless in the end?

After fifteen minutes of crying to myself in bed, I pulled myself out of bed with all the strength I had. The urge to get back into bed and crawl under the covers and stop existing was strong, and I almost did just that, but with regret, I got out of bed and walked out of my bedroom towards the bathroom to shower. Another thing that just seemed like a chore. Everything nowadays was just a chore. Waking up was a goddamn chore.

While the warm water was nice when I stepped into the shower, but it didn't do much to wash away the brewing anxiety in my chest. I couldn't remember a time where I didn't have panic attacks, and it took so much out of me because sometimes I would cry so hard I would have to sit down because I would get lightheaded. It was so exhausting.

By the time I was out of the shower and back in my room, changed into a grey hoodie and ripped jeans, my mom knocked on my bedroom door to say goodbye before she headed into work. After Mom and Jackson broke up, she mentioned that she wanted to get out more so she decided to apply for a job at the bakery in town as a baker, and much to her excitement, she got the job. I mean, my mom was a great cook and baker so I wasn't surprised when she got the job. I was happy for her. Well, I tried to be happy for her. It was genuinely hard to feel any sort of contentment nowadays, but I tried my best to express my happiness for her, even if I had to force it a little.

"I'm heading out now sweetie, I hope you have a good day at school! I love you!" Mom called out to me from outside my bedroom door. I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, recollecting myself before I opened my eyes again and replied.

"I love you too mom. I hope your first day at work goes well," I called back out to her. She blew me a kiss through the door and said one final I love you, sweetie! To me and then, she was gone.

When she was gone, I spent the next twenty minutes eating a bowl of fruit loops on the couch, while petting Ruby and Shelby, the two of them curled up on the couch beside me. Then, when it was time for me to head out, I grabbed my bag, slipped on my coat and shoes, and walked out of the house with dread pooling in my stomach.

By the time I got to school, I had to force down the panic that threatened to bubble up in my throat. Asher had texted me just before I got to school saying that he had a doctor's appointment this morning and wouldn't be at school until the end of lunch, which meant I would be spending the first half at school alone. I was terrified of walking into the building alone, terrified of going into class by myself because surely, people would say something to me and I had no idea how to defend myself. It was all pointless.

It's okay, Adrien, you got this. I thought to myself, it's only six hours, and then it'll be over and you won't have to worry again until tomorrow.

No, I really can't do this.

But I did it anyway. I squeezed my eyes shut, took a few deep breaths to hopefully calm my racing heart, and then walked into school.




***




First period was long and dreadful. It was hard getting through the first period without having Asher there because right now, he was the only friend I had. And because he wasn't here, it just made it harder to keep down my anxiety. It would creep up on me, sending shocks of dread and doom starting from my head and down to my feet. Then, my heart would start to race, my hands would tremble, and I had to fight every nerve in my body to not start panicking in the middle of the classroom.

I was relieved when first period was finally over and was able to spend my spare period in the art room like I usually did. No one was ever in the art room during second period, except for Ms. Sawyer, of course, considering it was her classroom. But it was a reliever for me because I could have a break from being around people, and just have a moment to breathe, and relax a little with some art.

I liked the silence. It was so nice to sit in an empty classroom; no people, no noise, no disturbances. Just me.

"Asher isn't with you today, Adrien?" Ms. Sawyer spoke up. I lifted my head, glancing over to where she sat at her desk, grading students' artwork. I shook my head and sighed.

"No, he had a doctor's appointment this morning so he's taking the morning off."

"Ah, I see," She nodded. She pulled her glasses off and rested them on top of her head. It fell silent once again as I didn't reply and I looked back down at my drawing, going back to sketching. It was quiet for another few minutes before I heard the scrapping of Ms. Sawyer's chair as she stood up from her desk, and I heard the clicking of her heels as she walked over to stand beside me.

"Mind if I see what you're drawing this time?" She asked. I paused, then slowly nodded my head, pulling my hands back to give her a better view of my drawing. I looked at my drawing, then up at Ms. Sawyer. Her head was tilted to one side as she took in my sketch, her brows slowly pulling together. I frowned.

"Something wrong with it?" I asked, biting my lip. She shook her head, brows still pinched together as she examined my sketch.

"Oh, no. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's just...very different from what you usually do," She commented, "your art is usually so...colourful, full of life, you know? This...this is very dark. But it's not a bad thing, just different."

"Oh."

Ms. Sawyer tore her gaze from my drawing, and glanced at me, "Is everything alright, Adrien? Is school going okay for you?"

I blinked, slightly taken aback by her question, "oh...uh, yeah. I guess so."

Ms. Sawyer frowned. She pulled the stool out from under the table and sat down at the table next to me, facing me with her leg crossed over the other.

"You guess so? Is something going on?"

"Ah...not really. I've just been having a harder time at school, but it's nothing."

"...are you sure hun? You can talk to me, you know. If something is bothering you, it's my job as your teacher to help you in any way I can," She said.

"I know that I can talk to you, but I'm saying that everything is fine. Just trying to push through until graduation, you know?" I told her. Ms. Sawyer didn't look too convinced.

"Adrien...I can tell something is wrong. You've been very quiet these last few weeks, much more than usual. And this drawing? It's beautiful, really, but it's not something you've drawn before. A lot of artists draw what is on their mind, and it seems to me...that you have a lot on your mind."

"No, you're wrong. I don't have a lot on my mind. Maybe I just wanted to try something different with my artwork? Not everything I have to paint or draw has to be happy and colourful. That's boring," I shook my head, "you don't know anything."

"Adrien—"

I shook my head. I stood up from the stool and grabbed my bag, stuffing my sketchbook and pencil case into it. Without another word, I shrugged my bag over my shoulder and walked out of the art room.

Great, first my mom, and now Ms. Sawyer? Why did they have to keep bombarding me with questions? How am I supposed to spend my spare period in the art room now? Ms. Sawyer was just going to keep asking me questions, pushing me to answer them when I didn't want to, so where am I supposed to go now?

I headed down the hall towards the library, bag strap clutched tight in my hands. God, I just wanted to go home. I didn't care about school anymore. I just wanted to go home and hide under my blankets for the rest of my life.

"Adrien!" I stopped walking down the hallway and turned around, only to see Marci walking up to me, dark hair pulled out of her face in a ponytail, bag clutched in her hand, "where are you going?"

"Me? Ah...Uhm, I was just going to the library," I said, frowning, "is...there something you need?"

Marci hummed, crossing her arms as she leaned against the lockers closest to her, "Meh, not really. Just wanted to see how you were doing with you know...the whole video thing and Preston catching you cheating and such."


I looked at her skeptically, brows pinched together, "I...that's just a big misunderstanding. Carter is the one who kissed me—I...I-I didn't do anything."

"Oh, you don't think I know that?" Marci laughed, "I know you didn't kiss Carter or cheat on Preston, willingly that is. Who do you think even recorded the video and shared it online?"

My eyes widened at her. I was utterly speechless. How could she even do that to me? She was the one that recorded Carter kissing me? Did the two of them set me up?

Marci laughed amusedly, "You're so easy, Adrien, you know that? You just want to see the good in everyone, and that just makes it easier to manipulate you. I was the one who took the video and shared it. It's so funny too; only comes to show that no one actually cares about you, you know?"

I bit my lip, lowering my gaze to the floor. My heart started pounding against my chest, and my hands trembled as I clutched my bag strap tighter. Her words hurt, but at the same time, they were true. I mean, no one took my side in this or even considered other possibilities. Not even Preston. I was a no-one in people's eyes. I was only someone because Preston was my best friend, but without him, it wasn't like people paid any attention to me otherwise. I truly had no one.

"You know...I wanted to run this by you before I decided to share it with everyone, but I had this great idea," Marci started, "What if I just told everyone you were pregnant? I mean, you were careless enough to forget a condom when you had sex with Preston. You really are such a slut for doing that. Oh, but what if you didn't know who the baby's father was? What if it was Carter's? Haha! That would really rile things up. wouldn't it? What do you think?"

Tears pierced my eyes. I tried to keep them down, but just hearing about Marci threatening to spread more rumours around me, was like a stab to the chest. My chest felt so constricted that it was hard to breathe, and I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. She was supposed to have been my friend, so why did she have to do all of this?

"Why do you hate me so much? It wasn't my fault that Preston liked me and not you. Preston isn't the only option out there," I said, my throat feeling tight.

"You betrayed me when I told you I liked him, and you decided to pursue him yourself. What kind of person does that? You basically went behind my back and didn't even tell me! So yeah, it is very much your fault, Adrien," Marci scoffed, "honestly, I don't see what Preston ever saw in you. He could have done so much better because, without him, you're a nobody. He needs someone who is someone without him. You have nothing to offer him but your body, and honestly, a lot of kings clearly didn't even like you for that, so why would he?"

Marci pushed off the locker, standing straighter as she dropped her hands down to her sides. She then walked past me, but not without placing her hand on my shoulder in passing, "I'll see you later, Adrien."

With that, she walked down the hallway, leaning me to lean back against the lockers, with trembling hands and tears rolling down my face, pain constricting my being in ways that I never thought possible. It was like she stabbed multiple wounds into my skin, and into my chest, and left me to die.




***




Preston's POV

I could barely focus in my calculus class. All I could think about was Adrien like I had been the entire weekend, and what I was going to say when I decided to talk to him during lunch break. The nerves were eating at me, but at the same time, I had this weird feeling in my stomach that something was off, and suddenly I found it difficult having to wait till lunch to talk to Adrien.

God, why did second period have to go by so slowly? It felt like the class was taking longer than usual, and I barely had the attention span to actually pay attention to what the teacher was writing on the board.

"Hey, you okay?" Joseph whispered to me, tapping me on the shoulder. I blinked and glanced over at him before I shook my head and released a heavy sigh.

"Uhm...yeah. Just restless."

"Restless? Is this because of Adrien?" He asked. I nodded my head.

"I just...don't think I can wait until lunch," I replied, "I feel like I have to talk to him now."

"You can't just get up in the middle of class, Preston," Joseph frowned at me. I bit my lip, turning away from Joseph as I glanced back up at the board.

"I can't sit still, Joseph. I can barely even pay attention, so who cares if I walk out of class?"

Joseph sighed, "alright, fine. Go find Adrien. I'll give you the notes from the class later."

"You're the best," I flashed him a quick smile. Joseph nodded and returned the smile. Without wasting another minute, I quickly packed my stuff back into my bag, before shrugging my bag over my shoulder as I got up from my seat, and hurried to the door.

"Preston, where are you going? We're in the middle of a lesson," My calculus teacher, Mr. Flores, called out. I stopped briefly, noticing that he was looking my way with a raised brow, and now, the entire class was looking my way as well, my classmates whispering back and forth to each other.

"Sorry, but I have somewhere important to be right now," I said. Mr. Flores crossed his arms.

"You can't just walk out of class, are you seriously wanting detention right now for skipping?"

"Go ahead," I shrugged, and without another word, I quickly headed out of the classroom.

I walked down the empty hallway, silence pooling around me. I knew that Adrien had a spare period during this time, and back when we were together, I knew that he liked to spend his time in Ms. Sawyer's art classroom. So, that's where I decided to head first. I walked down the second-floor hallway, passing by multiple classrooms, and headed towards the corner stairwell. I pushed open the door once I reached the stairwell, but I only had to walk down the first flight of stairs when I was suddenly met with Adrien hurrying up the stairs in my direction, and he nearly bumped into me.

"Adrien?" I voiced, my heart hammering against my chest as he stopped in front of me, his eyes widening in shock. It only took me seconds to realize that his eyes were glossy with tears, causing me to furrow my brows.

"Are you okay?" I asked him. Adrien blinked a few times, looking taken aback before he fully processed what I had said, and he scoffed.

"Am I okay?" Adrien repeated my question, disbelief in his tone, "are you seriously asking me that right now?"

I bit my lip, silently staring at him for a moment before I hesitantly spoke again, "sorry...that was a bad question. I just...can we talk?"

"Talk?" Adrien frowned, his brows furrowed, "So now you want to talk to me?"

"I just want to talk about what happened. Between me and you, and Carter--"

"I really don't want to talk about it," Adrien shook his head, "you didn't bother to listen to me before, so how do I know you'll listen to me this time? Are you actually going to believe me, or are you just going to keep listening to the fantasy in your head that thinks I actually willingly kissed Carter?"

"What do you mean?" I raised a brow at him. Adrien fell silent. He closed his eyes for a moment, inhaling a shaky breath before he exhaled. He opened his eyes again, looking hesitant. His hands trembled as he gripped his bag strap.

"When I left to go get food, as I had told you, I went outside to get some fresh air. That's when Carter came up to me and started talking to me. He kept talking about you, I guess as some kind of distraction, because shortly after that he had me cornered against the wall, and he forced himself on me. He kissed me, and..." Adrien paused, his voice cracking, tears slowly starting to paint his eyelids, "a-and he kept touching me, and I tried to push him off, but obviously I wasn't able to. And then you w-walked in, and...yeah."

My eyes widened. I was left speechless, a wave of anger, sadness, guilt, and stupidity hit me all at once. Fuck. Fucking God. Here I such, acting like such a fucking asshole for believing that Adrien would ever cheat on me in the first place, when the entire time, Carter had forced himself onto Adrien. I was so fucking stupid; I felt like such an idiot for not using my best judgement. I hadn't been thinking at all. I had just been thinking about how I felt and what I saw, without even considering other possibilities.

I fucked up.

"Shit...Adrien," I cursed, dragging my fingers through my hair as I fully processed what he had just told me, "Fuck. I'm so sorry, I...fucking hell. I'm such an asshole. I'm an idiot for not listening to you that day, for shutting you out, I...fuck."

Adrien was holding back tears, but it backfired as they rolled down his face anyways. He quickly reached up to wipe at his eyes, choking down his sobs. I reached out to touch him, to wipe a tear away, but he pushed my hand away and stepped back.

"Adrien--"

"Please, don't," Adrien shook his head, choking on his sobs, "please just...leave me alone okay? I don't want to talk about this anymore."

Adrien brushed past me and hurried up the stairs. I called out to him, but he ignored me as he ran up the stairs to the second floor, before he hurried through the door and down the hallway, and out of my sight. All I could do was stand there, in the middle of the empty stairwell, staring at the door Adrien left through, my heart squeezing in my chest.

I really fucked up, and I didn't know how I was going to fix this.




***




Adrien's POV

I hurried down the hall, eyes blurred with tears, heart-squeezing in my chest. Running into Preston like that, and me confessing what had happened, only to see the guilt-ridden look on his face mixed with a layer of anger—anger that wasn't directed at me this time, but clearly at himself and at Carter. It all just brought the painful memories from that night back to the forefront of my mind, as if I was reliving the moment again, and I had to get out.

I couldn't stand another minute at school. I needed to go home.

And that's what I did. With blurry vision, tears rolling down my cheeks, I pulled on my jacket and grabbed my stuff from my locker, before I exited the school. I walked all the way home from school, which took me a good half an hour of fast-paced walking. By the time I got home, my legs were burning, my head ached from the non-stop tears, and my chest throbbed.

It didn't compare to the mental pain, though. The pain inside my head was suffocating, it surrounded me all the time like I was drowning in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. There was nothing around me to help me out of the large body of water. It was just me and my thoughts.

The first I did as I walked in my front door, being met with an empty house, the lights shut off, I sunk to the ground and cried. I didn't take off my shoes, nor my coat, nor my bag, and just sat on the ground and cried. I pulled my legs to my chest, tears rolling down my face and my chin, while I sat there in the darkness of my home, causing my head to throb and my vision to spin. I got lightheaded from how much I cried, my hands going numb and tingly.

I didn't know how long I sat there on the floor crying, but it felt like a long time. My two cats, Ruby and Shelby, had come to my side, meowing as they rubbed up against me. Ruby's tail managed to tap me on the cheek, and so I pulled the two of them against me, burying my face into their fur as they purred.

I held them for as long as they let me, and eventually, I let go of them. I inhaled and exhaled a deep breath before I slowly stood up from the hard floor, kicking off my shoes, jacket, and tossed my bag onto the bench.

I switched on all the lights, a couple of sniffles escaping my nose as I wandered to the kitchen, and quickly started rummaging through multiple drawers. I looked through multiple different drawers, opening and closing them, shoving items out of the way until I was able to find a single-edged razor blade.

I stared down at the razor blade, feeling everything, but feeling numb at the same time as I held the blade in my hand. Tears brimmed my eyes again, and I squeezed my eyes shut. I just wanted to make this pain go away, to put the pain somewhere else, somewhere physical, where it was visible and real. The mental pain was always eating at me, and I just needed it to be put somewhere else.

And that's why I did, in the middle of the kitchen, right next to the kitchen sink. By the end of it, I was left with multiple straight lines crossed over my right wrist, blood seeping out of them. The cuts stung, but I allowed them to. And I allowed them to bleed, and roll off my arm before I turned on the kitchen sink to dip my arm under the cool water rushing out of the faucet, washing away the blood from the multiple cuts on my arm.

It had been a brief moment of relief, but still, the pain in my head remained.

I pressed a towel against my wrist, holding it there for a few minutes until the bleeding stopped. Then, I wandered to the bathroom where I rummaged for the first aid, covering my wrist with a bandage, and after I was done, I walked into my bedroom. I didn't bother to turn on the lights and instead collapsed into bed, crawling underneath the blankets where I could hide, and bury myself in my wallowing thoughts.
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