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“Hey, do you have a sharpener I can borrow?”
She looked up from the French sentence she was writing and smiled at him, nodding. “Yeah, hold on.”
Her slender back curving as she bent sideways to dig through her bag, she came back up in just a matter of seconds with a blue pencil sharpener in her hand. “Here ya go.”
He quietly took the contraption from her, nodding in thanks. He lowered his eyes as he twisted the worn-out pencil, picturing the tiny razor and screws inside making it usable once more.
“You shouldn’t do that to yourself.”
Dropping the sharpener, his head snapped up, and he eyed her warily. “Huh?”
That small smile still curved her lips, and her dark eyes seemed softer than usual. “You shouldn’t do that to yourself,” she repeated.
“I don’t-”
Her fingers, still chilled from holding a frozen water bottle, suddenly curled around his forearm - his scarred arm. He winced inwardly at her touch, having completely forgotten that the heat had driven him to reluctantly pull off his blazer.
“It’s not good to hurt yourself. You should be happy.”
“That’s…it’s not that simple.”
“Sure it is,” she said with a shrug. “Just don’t do it. Be happy.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, irritated. “You can’t tell me how to feel or what to do. You barely know me.”
“You’re right, but I can tell you that it’s a horrible thing you’re doing to your skin. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here. I promise.”
“But I don’t-”
The lunch bell rang, then, cutting him off mid-sentence. She let go of his arm, which he didn’t realize she’d still been holding, and fluidly stood up before gathering her belongings. “I’ll see you later. Keep in mind what I told you.” Giving him one last smile, she exited the classroom.
He hurriedly shrugged on his blaz...

... middle of paper ...

... the cabinet above the sink, but as soon as he started searching for ointment, his eyes landed on something else. He grabbed a pack of spare razor blades.
This is a stupid idea, he thought, even as he pried open the pack. I shouldn’t do this. It’s wrong.
When he pressed the cool razor into his skin for the first time, his heart was pounding and he wanted to stop, but he found that he couldn’t. And when he saw the blood run down his arm, the breath was knocked right out of him. He drew the razor across his skin once more, and inhaled shakily. It was an amazing sensation - painful, but pleasurable. Reckless, but satisfying.
He couldn’t remember what happened after those first two cuts, just that when he woke up in the morning and saw his arm, he felt strangely pleased. Even if he couldn’t control most of the pain in his life, he could control this.
He wanted more.

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