Precious Sins ✓

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Chapter Forty-Three

Adrien's POV

I forgot how comforting it was to lay in Preston's arms. It had been so long since we laid close like this, let alone talked, and I just wanted the feeling to last a little longer. If anything, I didn't want to let go of him. I didn't want to leave the comfort of his arms, because if I let go, then I was afraid that he might leave me again, and I didn't want to lose him a second time.

Much to my despair, Mom had walked back into the room with the doctor, and so I had no choice but to remove myself from Preston's warmth. The moment Preston let go of me and slipped out of bed, leaving nothing empty space where he previously laid, I wanted to cry all over again.

"Hello Adrien, it's nice to see you awake," The doctor greeted kindly. I didn't say anything. I fell silent and instead burrowed into the bed, pulling the covers up higher over myself to the best of my ability.

"How are you feeling, are you in any pain?" The doctor asked. I shook my head at first, but after a moment of silence I spoke up.

"My...my wrists hurt," I said quietly.

"How much do they hurt? Is it bearable?"

I nodded my head. The doctor talked to me for the next several minutes and gave me a medical assessment which consisted of a variety of questions that I didn't really want to answer, but I did anyway, as briefly as possible. He also took a quick look at my bandaged wrists, making sure everything was still in place.

When he was done, he wrote a few things down on his clipboard, before he looked back up at me, and my mom, "alright. I'm going to have the psychologist come down to talk to Adrien, to give him a mental health assessment and overall suicide risk evaluation. Once that is done, I will chat with the psychologist and we'll have a talk to discuss further options."

"Alright, thank you," Mom nodded at the doctor. He smiled gently.

"Of course. Adrien will have to be alone for the assessment, but the psychologist will talk to you two as well afterwards," He said, "alright, I'll be back soon."

Then, the doctor left. The next ten minutes or so were spent in silence, no words being exchanged from Mom, Preston or I. I wanted to crawl under the blankets and hide, but I didn't.

Eventually, there was a knock, and shortly after, a woman walked into the room, whom I assumed was the psychologist. She looked pretty young, the possibly early thirties, and she had her dark red hair pulled back out of her face in a ponytail. Unlike the doctor, she was dressed in a pair of trousers, heels, and a cardigan, her hospital ID card hanging around her neck.

"Adrien Aguilera, is it?" The woman asked, and when I nodded, she smiled, "I'm Dr. Wynn, the child and adolescent psychologist that works here in the hospital. But you can just call me Katelin," she then turned to mom and Preston, "and you're his mom, is that right?"

"Ah, yes. Meghan," Mom nodded, and she briefly shook hands with the psychologist, "this is Preston, he's Adrien's best friend."

"It's nice to meet the both of you," Katelin smiled, and shook Preston's hand as well, "I will be having a chat with the two of you afterwards if that's alright, but for now, I'd appreciate having the room alone with Adrien while I talk to him."

"Of course, that's no problem," Mom smiled at the psychologist. Then she looked at me, "we'll just be right outside, alright hun?"

I nodded. I watched as mom and Preston exited the room, leaving me alone with Katelin. Once it was just the two of us, Katelin walked over to sit down in the chair near my bed, a smile on her face.

"It's really nice to meet you, Adrien. I'm sure your doctor explained to you why I'm here, but I will give you a brief rundown just to explain everything," She said. I nodded my head, and she continued, "As I have said, I'm the child and adolescent psychologist that works here at the hospital. I work with a lot of people your age, and some younger, both outpatient and inpatient, and I work with people with a wide range of disorders. I'm just going to ask you some questions, and fill out a few questionnaires, then I am going to chat with the doctor, yourself, and your family in regards to treatment and next steps, whether that be inpatient or outpatient. Does that sound good?"

"Ah...yeah," I replied quietly.

"Alright, I will get started then," She nodded, "so. I know you are in here for a suicide attempt. Have you had any thoughts of death or suicide before? Perhaps when you were younger?"

"Uhm...not really. Maybe a little...? Though, it wasn't as bad when I was younger," I responded.

"So, would it be safe to say this is your first attempt?" She asked. I nodded my head slowly, "how often do you think of suicide? Is it fleeting? Or is it persistent?"

"Persistent...Pretty much all I think about."

"Would you say these thoughts are still persistent now? As we speak?"

I hesitated, then slowly nodded my head again. She wrote down on her clipboard, then looked back up at me.

"Can you tell me more about that? What comes to your head when you are having these thoughts?"

I frowned. I didn't say anything for a moment, and she didn't rush me to answer, "I...I think that I'm better off dead. That my mom and Preston deserve better than me. That this pain that I'm feeling a-all the time....will only go away if I just die. I just don't want to be here anymore, living this life. I'm tired."

Katelin listened intently, nodding her head slowly, "so you feel like there is no other solution. You think that death is the only way to stop feeling the way you do? That it would also make other people's lives easier?"

I nodded my head quietly, burrowing myself deeper into the bed, tears filling my eyes. A part of me was somewhat glad that Preston was there to stop me, but at the same time, I wish he didn't show up. I wish I could have just laid there on the bathroom floor and bled out, so that I didn't have to be laying here, in a hospital bed like I was crazy. I felt crazy. My thoughts just weren't myself anymore, and it made me feel like I was losing my mind like I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn't like it. I didn't like having this psychologist here talking to me, because it showed that something was wrong with me.

And there's always something wrong with me because I can never do anything right.

"What are you thinking about right now?" She asked me suddenly. I blinked, rubbing my eyes with the back of my hands carefully, wincing slightly at the pain in my wrist. I shook my head. She didn't push me to answer and simply dropped the question and moved on.

"Are you hurting yourself currently? Self-harming?" She asked softly. I didn't reply and simply nodded my head, the blankets up to my chin as I pulled my knees to my chest.

"How do you self harm? And where?"

"I...I cut myself...on my wrists."

For the next hour or so, she questioned me. Asked about my family history, if there were others in my family who suffered from mental illness. I knew my mom did, because of what happened with my dad, but otherwise, I didn't know. She asked if I had a history of mental illness, if I was abusing substances, if I had any medical issues that made things harder, if I had a plan thought out when I did attempt, etc. She asked me so many thorough questions that it felt like my head was turning to mush.

I was so exhausted that I just wanted to fall asleep again. Perhaps answering questions for an hour didn't seem like a lot, but having to expose my inner thoughts and pieces of my life, it was absolutely exhausting. It just brought everything to the surface again, like I was reliving it all, just a bold reminder of why I tried to end my life. So that I could just stop thinking this way. So that I didn't have to express my struggles out loud, and face them, because I felt like I faced them enough already, and it wasn't getting any better, so what was the point in living? What was the point in going to school just to have everyone call me names and shun me?

Life had been okay. I had been getting by, and then it became pretty great, but then it was no longer great, and I didn't know how to make it okay again.




***




Things had been quiet by the time the psychologist left the room. Thoughts raced through my head, wondering what was going through her head about me; did she think I was crazy? What questions did she ask my mom? What did she think was the right plan for me?

I didn't know what to think. I didn't know how I would take being put in the psychiatric unit for this, because then it would really put into perspective how messed up I was, and I didn't want people to look at me like I was weird or crazy. People already thought that I was weird and didn't fit in, and being out in a psych ward would just make things worse. I didn't want people to think that I needed help — why couldn't I just be normal? Why couldn't I have just been left alone when I had tried to die?

The psychologist eventually came back into the room, followed by Mom, and Preston.

"Alright, so after chatting with the doctor, I have decided what I would like to do in response to treatment," Katelin started, glancing at me briefly, and then my mom, "from what I've gathered, I think that the best course of treatment is inpatient. What would happen, is that Adrien will be given a room in the psychiatric unit. Every day, he will attend a one-on-one therapy session with me or a group therapy session with another therapist. This way, we are able to keep an eye on him, and give him the proper diagnosis and potential medications if needed."

Katelin kept talking, explaining the procedures of inpatient, how long I would be inpatient for, the goals of inpatient, and treatment after inpatient. The entire time she talked, I was close to panicking. Just the thought of having to stay here, night and day for ten days, unsettled me. I wanted to cry, but I didn't want to start crying in a room full of people, so I fought hard to conceal my emotions.

I blanked out the rest of what Katelin talked about as I curled up under the blankets and stared at the wall beside me. I was nervous, to be inpatient. I didn't want to have to stay here for ten days straight, by myself. I know my mom could visit me, and I knew that she would, but it didn't make the experience less anxiety-inducing.

The fact that I had to be hospitalized just showed how messed up I was now, and I couldn't recognize myself anymore. Why did this have to happen? Why did Marci and Carter have to do this to me? Why did they have to turn my ex-boyfriend and friends against me? Why did they have to make my life miserable?

Why did my life have to turn out this way?




***




Preston's POV

Adrien broke down the moment the psychologist left the room. He cried, tears rolling down his face, and so I quickly reached his side, sitting down onto the bed as I pulled him up so that his head was in my lap. He rested his head against my leg, and I gently brushed my fingers through his hair in an attempt to soothe him.

"Oh...honey," Meghan frowned, her eyes watering as she wandered over, kneeling down in front of the bed so that she was eye level with Adrien. She gently wiped the tears from under his eyes, cupping his cheek gently, "I know it's scary, sweetheart...but they're here to help you, okay? We just want you to get better. I'll visit you every day after work, and I'm sure Preston and your friends will too if you let them. I love you so much and I just want to see you get better."

Adrien nodded tearfully. He sniffled, tears falling down his face as he wiped at his nose with his arm. Meghan kept her hand on his cheek, brushing her thumb under his eyes to wipe away the falling tears. She smiled softly at him, despite her own tears, and she kissed his forehead.

"And...if you want," I cut in, threading my fingers through Adrien's hair, "whenever I visit, I could bring you your favourite cupcakes from that bakery."

Adrien choked on a laugh in the midst of his tears, "y-yes...please."





***





I stayed at the hospital with Adrien for the next few hours, comforting him to the best of my ability, while just giving him some desired company. He was going to be spending the night in the hospital room, before being moved to the psychiatric unit in the morning. I wished I didn't have to leave because I didn't want to leave him alone in a hospital room while he's vulnerable, but at least he'll have his mom here to keep him company.

I knew I couldn't stay for long even if I wanted to because I knew my dad wanted me home for dinner, and unfortunately, I was still grounded. I would have slept the night over at the hospital until Adrien was taken up to the psychiatric unit if I could. That's if Adrien wanted me to. I didn't want to overdue my stay if Adrien didn't want me to.

"I'll be back soon, okay sweetie?" Meghan said, "did you want me to bring you something to eat for when I come back?"

"Uhm...yes please," Adrien said softly. Meghan smiled at him and kissed his forehead, before stepping back as I wandered over.

"I'll come visit you tomorrow, once you're all settled in. Is that okay?" I asked him. Adrien paused for a moment, before nodding his head.

"Yeah...I would be fine with that."

I smiled gently and nodded at him. We looked into each other's eyes for a moment, quietly staring at each other, before Adrien broke first and looked away. I sighed heavily, biting my lip as I dug my hands into my pockets.

I almost subconsciously leaned down to kiss Adrien's cheek, but I caught myself, and instead followed Meghan out of the room. Since I left the car at their place, she was willing to drive me back to their place so that I could grab my dad's car and drive home myself. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect once I was back home. Would my dad yell at me for sneaking off like that? Or would he not? I wasn't really sure.

"You alright...Preston?" Meghan asked me once we were sitting in her car, her in the driver seat and me in the passenger seat. I blinked and glanced over at Meghan, nodding my head slowly as I pulled on my seatbelt.

"Uh, yeah...I'm okay," I nodded, sighing heavily.

"Are you sure?" Meghan asked gently, "I mean... you're the one who found Adrien, and you guys are best friends, so I know it has to be hard on you too."

I frowned. I looked down at my lap, fiddling my hands together as I bit my lip, "I'll be fine. I just... want to go home and be alone for a bit."

Meghan paused, before nodding silently. She didn't say anything else, and instead started the car and drove us back to her and Adrien's place. The entire car was silent, and it took us half an hour before we finally arrived back at Meghan and Adrien's place. As Meghan pulled up to the driveway, my heart nearly dropped into my stomach at the memory of Adrien back in his house earlier today. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment and took a deep breath.

"Hey, uh..." I paused, opening my eyes again as I glanced over at Meghan, "do you uh...need help cleaning the bathroom?"

Meghan hesitated at that. It was like she froze for a moment, gripping the steering wheel as she looked up at the house in front of us. She stayed like that for a moment before looking over and flashing a light smile my way, "you don't have to do that...and I'm sure your dad wants you home."

I frowned, "dad can wait longer. I wouldn't want you to have to clean the bathroom up by yourself."

Meghan bit her lip, and she looked away from me again, before nodding her head, "alright...you can help me with the bathroom."

With that, we got out of the car, and I followed Meghan up to the front door, where she unlocked the door and we both made our way inside.

When I stepped inside after Meghan, I glanced around briefly. The lights were still on, and as I stepped further into the house, I briefly looked down the small hallway that led to Adrien's bedroom and the bathroom directly across from him, and my body stiffened when I saw that the light was still on.

Suddenly, everything came crashing down on me as the memory of finding Adrien in that bathroom flashed through my mind, replaying itself over and over in my head. The letters, me rushing into the bathroom only to see Adrien there in distress, his screaming and crying, all replayed in my head as if it were happening all over again.

I squeezed my eyes shut, rubbing my hands over my eyes as I tried to calm myself down with a few deep breaths, but they didn't help, and I realized that my hands were shaking.

"Preston?" I heard Meghan's voice approach me, and soon, I felt her hands on my arms, as she gently pulled my hands away from my face. I didn't realize that tears were rolling down my face until Meghan removed my hands, and my eyes were blurry.

Meghan pulled me into her arms. I let her and hugged her back, it being slightly awkward considering I was much taller than her, but I appreciated the comfort nonetheless. I choked on the sob that bubbled up my throat, trying to repress my emotions.

Meghan rubbed my back softly. She didn't say anything, and I didn't either, but I was glad that she didn't say anything. I didn't want to speak; instead, I focused on trying to recollect myself, and after a few minutes of hugging and silence, I wiped the tears from my eyes and stepped back. Meghan let go of me and looked up at me with a frown.

"Thanks..." I murmured, releasing a heavy breath. Meghan nodded.

"Of course," Meghan said, "you know...Preston. It's okay to cry too. Something bad happened to Adrien and you witnessed it, that's not something you can simply brush off."

"I don't deserve to cry about it," I shook my head, "it's my fault this happened...if I had listened to him in the first place, instead of getting all in my head, and if I had just been there for him, I could have prevented this. But I didn't. It happened, and it's my fault, so why should I let myself cry when you and Adrien are the ones hurting the most?"

"Preston—"

"Where are your cleaning supplies?" I asked her. Meghan frowned at me. She bit her lip.

"I...in the kitchen. Under the sink."

I nodded. Without another word, I walked past her and over to the kitchen, opening the cupboards underneath the sink, and started grabbing the cleaning supplies.





***




By the time I was finished cleaning the bathroom, I could smell the food that Meghan was making in the kitchen. I told her not to help me clean up, and after some convincing, she caved and decided to go make dinner. I was glad too — I didn't want her to have to see the aftermath of it all, nor did I want her to have to torture herself by cleaning up the mess. She was already stressed out enough with her son in the hospital because of an attempt, so she didn't need to see what happened either.

I stepped into the kitchen, carrying the cleaning supplies with me. When I got to the kitchen, I saw Meghan sitting at the island, head resting against her hand while the food cooked in the oven. She noticed me as I walked over to the sink, tucking the cleaning supplies back underneath the sink.

"It's all done...?" Meghan asked. I glanced over and nodded my head.

"Yeah, it's all cleaned up."

"I'm glad—thank you...Preston," Meghan forced a smile, "you didn't have to do that...but you did, so thank you."

"Of course," I nodded. The doorbell went off, and I briefly glanced towards the door, just as Meghan lifted her head up and stood up from the stool.

"I'll get it," I told her and walked over to the door. Before I could hear a reply from her, I wandered over and unlocked the door, and opened it. Though I was surprised when I saw that it was my dad standing there, his brow raised at me.

"Dad?" I furrowed my brows, "what are you doing here?"

"Meghan texted me earlier. She wanted me to come over," He answered with a shrug, "so, I walked."

"That's like a thirty-minute walk."

"Yeah? Think your old man can't handle that?" Dad chuckled. I scoffed at that and stepped to the side, just as dad stepped inside the house. I closed the door behind him, while he shrugged off his coat and shoes, hanging his coat up on the hook by the door.

"Megs?" Dad called out, and wandered over to the kitchen, with me following behind him. Meghan pulled the pasta bake from the oven and set it on top of the stove when she looked over. Immediately, she set the food down as dad walked over to her, and pulled her into his arms.

Meghan buried her face in Dad's chest, all the while he hugged her tight, gently stroking his fingers through her long blonde hair. They stayed like that, hugging in silence for a few minutes, Meghan enjoying the comfort from Dad while I stood there awkwardly, my gaze looking around the wide-open space that connected the living room and kitchen together.

When they finally pulled apart, Dad cupped her face in his hands, brushing the stray tears from her face, "how's Adrien...? Is he okay?"

"Uhm, yeah...the doctor said he's stable," Meghan nodded with a sigh," They stitched him up and had him talk to the psychologist there. They're having him admitted tomorrow morning to the psychiatric unit, and he'll be staying there for about a week and a half."

"What happens after? When he's able to come home?" Dad raised a brow.

"Likely outpatient. He'll still have to go to the hospital for therapy appointments, but he'll be able to be at home and go back to school."

While Meghan and Dad talked, I decided to leave them to themselves while I walked off, and I found myself in Adrien's bedroom. It was still as I had seen it earlier, the lamp on and his bed unmade. His room was tidy, but at the same time, he had clutter all over his room. His art supplies took up a corner of his room next to his desk, his paintings sitting on the large easel and the floor, sketches lining the wall above his desk.

I hadn't seen his room in a long time, ever since he and Meghan moved in with Dad and me. But seeing it now, it was the same as before. He laid it out the same. I sighed heavily, walking over to Adrien's bed and laid back on it, staring up at the ceiling.

I didn't know how long I laid there, but when I tore my gaze from the ceiling, I noticed a picture sitting on Adrien's nightstand. Sitting up, I picked up the picture frame and looked at it, eyes widening when I realized it was a picture of the two of us.

It was from junior year. We had just finished exams, and it had also been the first day of summer break. We all had a bonfire in Phoebe's backyard, and at the time the picture was taken, it was dark outside with nothing but the fire lighting up the backyard. Adrien thought it would have been funny to jump on my back while he took a picture of the two of us, and that's what we did. We also may have been a bit tipsy.

We were both smiling, Adrien's one arm wrapped around my shoulders to hold himself up on my back, while his other hand angled the phone on the both of us. His head had been leaning against mine, and just looking back at the photo, brought back all the fun memories I've had with Adrien over the years. But after everything that's happened this past month or so, I was surprised Adrien even had this picture on his nightstand.

Tears filled my eyes, blurring my vision. A few tears rolled off my face and onto the picture, and so I had to wipe the tears off the picture frame, and my face. I quickly recollected myself, forcing back the tears as I set the picture back on the nightstand.




***




After spending about an hour and a bit at Meghan's place, Dad and I got in the car and drove home. The car ride was silent on the way back, Dad and I not exchanging a single word. The silence made me feel awkward, to the point I was fiddling with my fingers the entire time. I didn't know what I would have preferred; him running his mouth or him saying nothing at all, but either way, it would probably be awkward for me.

When we pulled into the driveway, Dad parked the car, and we both stepped out of the car. I followed him up the front porch, and inside the house, Kodey running into the mudroom barking in excitement while I kicked off my shoes and coat.

"Hey, buddy," I greeted Kodey with a soft smile, kneeling down to scratch behind his ear and pat his back. He tried to lick me on the face, making me chuckle as I stood back up onto my feet. When I looked up, I noticed Dad looking at me with his lips pulled in a straight line.

"We need to talk," Dad said, turning his back to me, "the kitchen."

He gestured to me to follow him, just before he headed to the kitchen. Biting my lip, hesitantly following him to the kitchen.

"Look, Dad," I sighed, scratching the back of my neck as we reached the kitchen, "I know it was wrong of me to walk out the door like that, especially with you grounding me after everything that happened today, but I—"

"Preston," Dad cut me off, turning to face me. I fell silent. He looked at me for a long moment, and then he let out a heavy sigh as he leaned back against the kitchen counter, arms crossed over his chest.

"Are you okay?"

I blinked, slightly taken aback. I noticed Dad's brows were now pinched together in concern, making me frown.

"I...what?"

"I said," Dad repeated, "are you okay?"

I paused. I bit my lip, suddenly feeling awkward as I stood in the middle of the kitchen with Dad staring at me intently.

I shrugged, lowering my gaze, "I'm fine."

"That doesn't sound sincere, kiddo," Dad shook his head, "you found Adrien in his bathroom trying to hurt himself. How can you be okay after that?"

I shrugged once more. I fell silent, not a single word escaping my mouth. My throat suddenly felt tight, and it felt difficult to speak. It was like my whole body went rigid, my chest feeling like there were a million bricks stacked on top, making it harder to breathe. My breath came out shallow, and before I could realize what was happening, tears were rolling down my face, and I broke down completely.

I nearly fell to the ground, if it weren't for my dad who ran over to my aid quickly, pulling me into his arms as we lowered to the floor together. Dad hugged me tight, and I clung to him as I sobbed into his chest.

I couldn't stop it. The sobs, the pain, it wouldn't go away. Seeing Adrien like that played in my head over and over, to the point I couldn't breathe and I was left a crumpled mess. It was all my fault. It was my fault. I was part of the reason this happened. I could have prevented this from happening—I-I should have prevented this!

And god, it hurt so much. Seeing Adrien like that, my best friend, in so much pain and agony, blood on his hands, and on the floor, it was agonizing to witness.

I never knew I could hate myself as much as I did now. It was all my fault. I'm such an asshole. How could I do this to him?

"Hey...it's okay, Preston. Stop blaming yourself. None of this is your fault, okay?" Dad said, holding me tight as he rocked us side to side, his lips kissing the top of my head. I didn't realize that I had mumbled it to myself over and over. I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head, sobbing harder.

"I-it is my fault! I-I-I wasn't there for him. I-I turned my back on him—I ignored him—I should have listened to him in the first place—I should have, I should have—!" I cried, my breaths coming out in quick, short bursts, quickly making me lightheaded as my hands went numb. Dad shook his head, embracing me tighter.

"Breathe Preston, it's okay," Dad reassured, "I'm here, and I'm telling you it's not your fault, alright? Take a few deep breaths for me. Follow what I do, okay?"

Dad started to take slow, deep breaths, and at first, I couldn't follow him. My breathing was too fast, and my sobbing wouldn't stop, but eventually, I was able to take slower, deeper but shaky breaths, just as Dad was doing.

My sobs lessened into quiet sniffles, and so I just sat there, embraced in my dad's arms for a while longer. Dad continued to rock us side to side in soothing motions, his hand rubbing up and down my back, forcing my body to relax further in his comforting hug.

"Adrien will be okay...he will get better. You both will get through this," Dad said quietly after a moment of quiet, "I know it's hard, and it may seem like it won't get better, but it will. All it takes is time."

"I-I fucked up...Dad," I shook my head, "I thought Adrien cheated on me with Carter, a-all because I saw them kiss, and I refused to listen to Adrien's explanation. I-I ignored him, and all the while, he had been forced on by Carter and the whole school bullied him."

"You're not the one who forced yourself onto Adrien, and you're not the one who bullied him," Dad shook his head, "perhaps you should have talked things out with Adrien instead of jumping to conclusions, yes, but you didn't cause this."

"Our friendship is broken, Dad. Because of me. I broke his trust. I broke all the trust and memories we built with each other," I whispered shakily, "it won't ever be the same again...I don't know if Adrien and I will ever be as close again."

"It will take a lot of time, and healing...kiddo. But I believe you guys can get through this. It's a heavy bump in your relationship with each other, but you just gotta take it day by day, to slowly mend what you guys had," Dad said, brushing his fingers through my hair, "Yes, your friendship won't be the same, but that's not to say you guys won't ever be close again. Sometimes when these things happen, people end up even closer than they were before."

I nodded my head slowly. I didn't know if he was right or not. I didn't know if Adrien and I could ever be as close again, but I know I still wanted him in my life...I just hope that he still wants me in his life. I know he said that he wasn't mad at me, but I wasn't so sure.

I just hope that Adrien will get better.
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