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  I run.

I don’t know where I’m running, but I run anyway. Past my dorm, past Hayden’s dorm, past the elevators, down a flight of stairs. Tears are blurring my vision, but I keep on running, because I can’t do this anymore, I can’t and I don’t know what Nikki was about to tell me but I’m not ready for that either. I run until my chest is hollow and and tight at the same time. I run until no matter how much air I breathe it will never be enough. I run until I taste blood on my lip where I was biting it. I run until I can’t run anymore.

When I stop, I collapse to the ground and lean against the nearest wall. I wipe my mouth, and my hand comes away sticky and red. My fingernails are digging into the palms of my hands so hard that I’m afraid they’re going to start bleeding, too, but also I don’t think I would care if they did. I think I’m shaking back and forth. I don’t really know, though. I’m crying too hard to know. I don’t even know where I am. Someone walks by me, I think. They don’t stop.

I want to throw up.

I can’t do this.

Someone touches my shoulder. I think it’s Hayden, for a second, because of the dark hair, but then I realize, after wiping my eyes, that it’s a boy I don’t know. He has black hair, and he’s tall, but that’s all I can tell. And he’s wearing a green jacket.

“Come on,” he says. “Let’s get you back.”

I let him pull me up. My lip is still bleeding and I'm still crying and shaking too hard to stand on my own. The boy slips his arm around my waist.

“Can you walk?” he asks.

I don’t respond. I don't know how. The boy asks again. This time I manage to nod my head, just a little, and he pulls me closer to him and we take a step forward. Almost all of my weight is on him. I don't know who he is, but I find it hard to care. Someone’s here for me, even if not for very long, and that feels good.

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