Authors: Rebeca Ruiz
“While you’re doing fine, there’s some people and I, who have a really tough time getting through this life, so excuse us while we sing to the sky.”
twenty one pilots
To Adriana, my closest friend,
and my biggest supporter.
When I was diagnosed with a mood disorder as a sixteen year old, I thought my life was over, but really, it opened up a new chapter in my life. One where I now knew what was going on inside my head.
I spent some time in a mental hospital, and there was a recurring theme there. Most of those teens had hit rock bottom before getting to treatment. Most of them did not know they had an illness until ending up at the hospital.
Mental health awareness is important. Depression is as serious as cancer, at least that’s what I believe. I have seen depression take some good people away from this world, and I remember asking what more could I have done?
This book is a tribute to those who have lost their battles to mental illness. A tribute to those who had to watch their friends be depressed for days or stand silently as their friends lie to their face about where the self harm wounds came from. It’s a tribute to every broken person out there.
It's my engagement party. I look at the rock on my hand and I smile. I can't wait to get married to Braxton in a few months. I bite my lip thinking about the hot honeymoon sex we will be having, and almost on cue, I feel Braxton's arms around me.
“Love, how about we go to our apartment and I make love to you until the sun comes up.” He whispers into my ear and then kisses my neck. I manage to stop the moan from coming out.
I swear every time Brax sees me with the ring he gets harder than a rock. Not that I mind at all. The ring turns me on just as much. The fact that in a few months I'll be able to call myself his wife and I'll be able to call him my husband excites me as well.
“The party just started.” I say in a soft voice. “We can't leave, babe.” My mom was looking at us and smiling. I smiled back at her and raised my glass.
We had waited until after I graduated at NYU to announce the engagement, even though we've been engaged for months now. We wouldn't be getting married until March, it was going to be a spring wedding, a destination wedding in London. It will be small and intimate.
“Well, we can go into the restroom, it'll be quick.” Braxton presses up against me and sure enough I can feel him.
I let him pull me into the nearest restroom. I sit on the counter as he locks the door and then makes sure there in no one else in the stalls. Then he pays attention to me. His blue eyes are on me. I knew he wanted to be in me, we barely had any time together in the morning, I haven't seen him in a few weeks because he was still doing book tours. We missed each other.
I spread my legs open and he kissed me tenderly before going down on me. I grinned when he looked back at me.
“You haven't been wearing panties this entire evening?” I shake my head. I gasp when I feel his fingers enter me.
“I know you Braxton.” I do. I really do. “I was just coming prepared.” I moaned as he began to tease me with his tongue.
“Do you love this, honey?” I nod. “I need to hear you say it out loud, love. How else will I know if you like this?” He sucks on the part I want to be sucked on.
“Oh, Brax. I love it. I need more.” I was almost there, he knew that. He had other plans, I realized as he pulled away and then turns me so I was bent over the counter with my ass up in the air, and my dress scrunched up in the middle of my torso.
Braxton thrusted in hard. He loved making me gasp with pleasure. I could feel myself building again with every thrust. With every movement becoming faster and harder, I knew he was close as well.
Finally, I couldn't hold it anymore. “Braxton.” I say and he knows, I don't have to say anymore.
“I'm with you.” He thrusted in one more time, and I was a goner. I was in ecstasy and I was still aware of him, and I could feel him go off in me. As we both came back down, he kissed my back softly. I slipped on the pair of panties I had brought in my bag, and Braxton laughed at me. He knew me too well.
“I swear you two can't take your hands off each other for two minutes.” Callie, my beautiful friend, says when we get ten feet away from the restroom now smelling of sex. “You're not even married yet! How are you going to make it the two weeks without sex leading up to the wedding?” This grabbed Braxton's attention.
“Wait. What did you just say?” Callie looked at me.
“You didn't tell him?”
“I was going to tonight.” I looked at Braxton who looked worried and grabbed his hand. Callie was right, we couldn't go two minutes without some kind of intimate interaction. “My grandmother suggested it. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?”
He knew my grandmother was slowly losing pieces of herself, and he knew I would do anything to make her happy. The one thing she seems to remember when I visit is that we're an unmarried couple living together. She just wants some tradition in the wedding, and I want to give it to her.
“Do you really want to do that? Uphold those traditions?” I knew Braxton would say yes to anything reasonable if I asked. I squeezed his hand.
“It would make our wedding night more special.” He kisses my palm and looks me in the eye. I smiled.
“If that's what you want, baby. I will find a way to deal with it.” I give him a small kiss. I see Callie roll her eyes. I'm sure she was making a mental note not to even book a hotel for us for the two weeks prior like we had talked about. It would be hard to follow through, everyone knew that.
“Is my beautiful wife giving you trouble?” Vince came up behind Callie, wrapping his arms around her and handing her a cup of water. They met at the New Years Eve party, the one where I finally had to tell Braxton what happened to me. I know him from the male boarding school they used to bring to the female boarding school I attended so we could have dances. He was always an acquaintance of mine, we had only interacted when necessary, but I'm glad he's the good guy everyone says he is. He treats Callie like a queen.
“It's not fair I have to drink water while the three of you have the good stuff.” She whines, and Vince whispers in her ear, something that makes her smile.
Callie is five months pregnant, and she'll have her little bundle of joy a few weeks before my wedding. Vince and Callie are really happy, they got married a few months after they met. Before Braxton and I even got back together, they eloped.
“Ash, can I talk to you?” I turned to see my brother. I gave him a small smile and nodded. Before I could move, Braxton wrapped his jacket around my shoulders and gave me a kiss on the head. Then I followed Matty outside.
His green eyes looked scared. “What is it, Matty?” It was starting to get really cold outside in New York. It was the beginning of November, and we were expecting a big storm, a blizzard that was coming down from the North through the Midwest and to the East coast. I was not looking forward to it especially so early into winter.
“Do you remember James?” I nodded. The Masters family was popular around the town we were from. They moved there about five or six years ago. Our families got along great, and they have a son James and a daughter, Presley. We went to the same boarding school, I was the one that helped her get into that school. I looked at her like a little sister.
“His sister Presley goes to SU.” I motioned for him to continue. I was going to freeze to death outside if he didn't hurry it up. “I think I've fallen for her.” Whoa.
“You're dating her?” He's looking around.
“Something like that.”
“James told me to keep my distance from her. I obviously haven't. She's beautiful and smart, most of all kind. Presley is different. If he finds out, he is going to beat me to death with his crutch, and I might just let him.” James got injured at his soccer game two months ago, it was bad (my mom likes to keep me filled in on Chicago drama). He seems to be coping well since I saw him two weeks ago for another of their soccer games. Presley wasn't there, I hadn't seen her since I graduated.
“Just explain it to him. Show him you genuinely care for Presley.” I could see him tensing. “Is there something else?”
Then he explained to me everything that's happened in the last two months. I listened and at some point I found myself crying. I could relate to her. This girl was possibly more broken than I was and Matty wanted to fix her. Some part of him loved her. He's going to have to learn that he can't fix her alone, if she wants the help she'll have to make the decision to move forward.
He might not understand that it might mean he will have to cut off contact with her or she'll cut off contact. This relationship will end in heartbreak.
“I need your help. Tell me what to do.”
“You need to tell her parents.” I knew what he was worried about. Her parents were very Catholic. They had very strong beliefs inside their home. Don't get me wrong, they're kind and all, but… “I can't do anything for you. I know it may not feel like it, but it’s not up to you to fix her. It’s up to you to help her and love her.” I hug him. I really do hope that he can get her started on the right path.
Two months before...
I wrapped the towel around myself, making sure it was secured, and I walked out of the bathroom to go see what James had made me for breakfast. I could smell it from the bathroom, and my stomach was growling.
The floor was cold from the air being on all night. I was shivering most of the night. I seriously don't know why James insists on it being this cold, it wasn't even that hot outside, low eighties and sixty at night. Perfect room temperature weather.
I stepped into the kitchen, my mouth dropping when I see he made food for himself. And only himself. He ate it and left it on the table for me to clean up.
"Ass." I mutter and grab the plate.
"Who is an ass?" I turn around so quickly I think I have whiplash, and I drop the plate, the remaining contents splattering along with the shattered pieces.
The bright green eyes and the wild brown curly hair had me stunned. Not to mention, he was completely shirtless. His abs must have been hand sculpted by God himself.
survival mode kicked in, I grabbed the nearest utensil I could find without taking my eyes away from him, praying it was a knife, and I held it up.
"Don't get any closer!"
He tore his eyes away from mine and to what I was holding up to defend myself. He starts chuckling.
"That's a spoon." I look at it then back at him.
"Doesn't mean I can't hurt you with it." He won't stop smiling at me. "Stop smiling, you're an intruder and I'm calling the cops." I spot my phone on the counter, and he raises his hands up.
"You're the intruder. I live here." He says matter-of-factly.
Was this James' roommate? I thought he was out visiting family. That's what James had told me last night. Last time I saw Mathew was probably when I was fourteen years old. It makes sense that he wouldn't remember me. We both look so different since the last time we saw each other.
"What's your name?" I ask.
"Mathew but you can call me Matt or Matty. I'm James roommate, darling." I set the spoon down and hold onto my towel, suddenly realizing how exposed I am under his gaze. "You're his girlfriend?" I shake my head.
"That's Cindy, she's a redhead."
He raises an eyebrow. "Are you sleeping with James?"
"Oh my god, no! Gross. I'm his sister, Presley." His eyes widened. I've only met Mathew once before, I was an introvert as a child, I hated socializing, still am as an almost adult. James obviously didn't tell him anything about me or that I was staying here for a night. "You ate my breakfast." I knew James made me breakfast, he told me he was going to make me breakfast.
"I didn't even know you were here, I ate what I found. What are you even doing here, don't you have your dorm?"
"My room was...occupied." My roommate Catherine seemed to have a welcoming vagina, and she seems to be running a brothel with only herself. I've only seen the guys when they leave, one time I found her on top of one about to get it on. I was putting off talking to her until later today, after my classes.
"Well.." He takes another look at me. "You're welcome here any time, I'll even volunteer my bedroom."
"For that innuendo, I expect a freshly made breakfast since you ate mine. I'm going to go change."
"You're bossy. I like that." He smirks.
I don't answer and I step around the glass to go to the guest bedroom, I don't look back because I know he's staring at how small this towel is.
I close the door and immediately start changing. Classes started last week, and so far they were going great. I did have class this morning, so I have to go back to my dorm, and get my books.
The moment I step out of the room, I smell bacon. Mmm. I was starving. Food is set out on a plate, I notice the floor has been cleaned up, and Matthew is leaning back on the counter just staring at me. I frown a bit as I realize he's put on a shirt. I wouldn't mind looking at his abs while I ate my breakfast.
"How are you related to James again?" I sit down and start cutting up these delicious waffles that I'm 99% sure he made, frozen waffles don't taste or smell like these. And they're chocolate chip, my favorite.
"He's my brother.”
“How come I've never met you before?” he asks. Oh. He doesn't remember me.
“We have met. Once. Many years ago.” I feel myself going to that place when I start to feel hurt. Suddenly, my anxiety is back in full force.