I apologise for the failure to update this fic regularly but I've been having major problems with writing and as always writer's block. My worst enemy it seems but nonetheless, a foe that can be overcome.

Disclaimer: I don't own any OC character.


Again, Kirsten sat in the beige waiting room. The polished coffee table sat mathematically opposite her in the middle of the room and the images of happy and smiling models on the covers of the magazines seemed to stare back at her mockingly. The frosted window on the door cut her off from the corridor outside. She was grateful for that. Grateful that curious pass-byers couldn't see her anxiously waiting as they glanced in. Her fingers circled each other frantically as she looked around.

The wooden floor guided a path towards the office door. The chairs sat align with the wall. The plants stood to attention as the glorious sunlight bathed their green leaves as the rays filtered easily through the blinds. The cushion that was sitting on the chair opposite her had an imprint from when the last person sat there. Kirsten couldn't help but stare at it.

The shadows that the indent created played with her mind.

Her eyes darted around the office again.

She didn't know why she was so nervous. It wasn't her first time visiting her therapist so it wasn't the anxiety about talking about her ordeal. What was it?

Agitated, Kirsten stood up and paced the room back and forth and circled the coffee table several times all the while she gnawed on her thumb nail.

'Kirsten, stop biting your nails' she remembered her father order when she was younger.

Immediately, her hand flew to side but as quickly as it fell, it flew up to her neck.

Her eye caught the cushion again.

Kirsten lay curled up on her mattress in the never-ending darkness that constantly surrounded her. Demons cried out from every direction. Long deformed fingers reached out from the depths of the dark and smothered her skin. Eyes seemed to peer at her and giggle at her. She struggled against the cruel cackles and the taunting taps and when it all came to a boil, she lashed out and pummelled the pillow near her, creating dent after dent. Popping out one and punishing the material with another.

"Oy, you! Shut it!" Gary bellowed as he swung open the door harshly letting the stark white light assault her eyes.

Kirsten scrunched herself up into a smaller ball.

Before the door shut, Gary paused as he leered at her.

The light caught the pillow and he stared at the cavern she created with her fists.

"You do that?" he asked monotonously, "you did didn't you."

Stepping behind the door, he closed it and Kirsten heard the thuds of his boots come closer.

Quickly, she headed towards the cushion and fixed it so that it looked pristine. The cavern disappeared and a smooth surface appeared as she pulled the corners of the cushion. Gently, Kirsten glided her fingers over the material and felt for any sign of a crease.

Nothing.

The light in the room dimmed as the clouds overcast the town. Frightened, she whirled around as she heard the click of a door opening.

"Mrs. Cohen?"

Kirsten froze and her eyes remained rigidly stuck on the opened door.

"Kirsten?"

"Yes?" she answered meekly as she reached behind her, making sure the cushion was perfect.

"Would you like to come in?" she asked softly.

Kirsten swallowed the oxygen that she held in her mouth, "sure."

The therapist waited patiently as Kirsten picked up her handbag and entered the office, closely followed by the therapist.

Doctor Stewart quietly closed the door and gestured gently for Kirsten to take a seat and to make herself comfortable. Then, she went to her desk and without sitting looked at the papers in front of her.

"How are you today Kirsten?" she asked kindly.

"I'm ok . . ."

Doctor Stewart looked down at her patient from her desk.

"Well, as well as can be expected."

"Has anything happened since the last time we talked?" she asked as she came around her desk and placed herself in a chair opposite Kirsten.

Kirsten moved to speak but she desperately tried to grasp at the words that stuck in her throat.

"Sandy took me out of town for Valentines."

She paused.

"And . . . I burst out at Sandy . . . but after I calmed down, he put his arm around me," she recalled, "and then . . . I said . . . I told him that I loved him."

"What made you say that?"

"I – I didn't think that today's the day that I'm going to tell Sandy that I love him. It just spilled out . . . while I was first in The Dark; I used to think about him. Imagine his face, hear him whisper to me . . . but as time went on, he just faded from my mind – I couldn't see or hear him anymore. But . . . when I was sitting there with his arm around me, every single thought of him came back . . . every time he tried to hold me as I got better, every time he told me that he loved me and would be there for me . . . it just felt right to say."

"How do you think Sandy reacted to those words?"

"When he says them to me, I don't think I'm worthy of them but when I said them . . . I don't know . . . he looked as if he imagined me saying them. I guess he never expected me to say them after everything."

Silence.

"I want to go into why you don't feel you deserve to be loved," Doctor Stewart asked as she crossed her legs.

Kirsten looked down at her fingers. The light that filtered into the office caught her platinum rings. Her eyes caught the glint and her fingers automatically twiddled with the bands.

"Kirsten, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband, in sickness and health, for richer for poorer until death do you part?"

"I do"

"Oooo plat-in-num. You won't need these anymore darling" she remembered Bill hiss.

"I don't . . . what they did to me . . . I felt like – like all the dust that was in that room attached itself to my skin and – in my dreams I felt like it was decaying me. Taking away everything. Eating away at my skin – my eyes – my lips – my heart. I was being consumed by everything in that room . . . and then them," she breathed.

"Bill and Gary."

Kirsten shut at her eyes at the mention of their names but even that wasn't an escape as their images assaulted her eyes.

"They taunted me," Kirsten whispered.

Doctor Stewart waited for Kirsten to continue.

"They said that Sandy wouldn't want to be with me, or even look at me because of what I did."

"What did you do?"

"I – I . . .didn't do anything to – to stop them . . . they kept telling me that I was ugly and disgusting and not worth anything."

"And you think that that is how Sandy saw you?"

"I couldn't not . . . they yelled at me repeatedly – screaming these insults at me, I couldn't not listen to them – that just . . . it just caused them to get angrier and . . . and when they get angry, I get punished," Kirsten breathed.

Doctor Stewart furrowed her brow.

"Why did you use the word 'punished'? Did you believe that you had behaved badly?" Stewart asked.

Kirsten grabbed her rings again.

She ran her hand up into her hair and grabbed at her locks.

"The Dark gave me time to think and at first the same question came to my mind over and over . . . why me? . . . And when no answer came, just their verbal abuse, I accepted that this was a punishment for something . . . for not being who I was supposed to be . . . my father's vengeance at me marrying Sandy . . . not being closer to my children . . ."

"As you said last time, they said that they picked you randomly so they wouldn't know about your family or your past . . . do you think they were punishing you for their mistakes . . . is it possible that they were punishing themselves for taking you when they knew it was wrong?"

"Aren't you the one that's supposed to be answering that?"

"Yes but I'm asking your opinion," Stewart smiled.

Kirsten looked down again.

She thought back to The Dark. She thought about how Bill and Gary would storm into the room in a drunken rage and make themselves one with the demons that engulfed her mercilessly. The sweet devil had entwined himself into the shadows and breathed a bitter stench into the air.

"If they did . . . they had a peculiar way of showing it," Kirsten replied between gritted teeth.

Doctor Stewart nodded at Kirsten's reply.

Kirsten looked at around as she took in the increasingly familiar office. A mahogany bookcase stood against the wall to her left and snaked around the corner and along the back of Doctor Stewart's desk. Files and books littered the shelves while various ornaments broke up the countless papers.

The deep scarlet furniture neatly complimented the colour scheme that added an air of comfort to the room. The room didn't feel as claustrophobic as the waiting room.

'That's it!' Kirsten thought as she realised the cause of her nervousness.

"Their words – what they said to me – they were unlike anything I had ever heard before in my life . . . they were so harsh and cruel and uncaring . . . and . . . and my family have protected me from such cruelty all my life . . . what they said just broke me down bit by bit and with no one to build me back up again . . . I just wasted away into nothingness and that's how I felt in the end," she said, "like nothing."

"And Sandy and your family built you back up," Stewart finished.

"The Humpty Dumpty of Newport as my son would probably say, but one who could be rebuilt," Kirsten smiled to herself.

Doctor Stewart couldn't help but smile at the comment.

Kirsten looked calmly at how the blue shades of her jeans weaved themselves so effortlessly into each other. They joined together to make something so comfortable.

'Like me and Sandy' she thought softly.

"I kissed Sandy," Kirsten confessed looking up at Doctor Stewart who looked back at Kirsten.

Kirsten's fingers twisted around her rings for what seemed like the umpteenth time.

Doctor Stewart looked at Kirsten expectantly.

"It just felt right."

"How is that?"

"Ever since – since I was found . . . Sandy had been kissing my hand and my head to show that he was there for me, you know, for comfort . . . and in any instant where I imagined him kiss me . . . a memory of them . . . doing what they did to me when – when they kissed me flashed in my head and I got scared."

"Why did you feel that?"

"I know he wouldn't but I feared that Sandy would do the same or he wouldn't want to touch my lips because of what they did. I felt like my lips were full of poison and on that day out of town, that fear went away and it just felt right. It was like having my first kiss all over again."

Stewart nodded.

"It seems obvious that you are trusting the people around you, not only with your safety but also your emotions and that is a large step for someone to take after such an ordeal. Do you feel you overcame something?"

Kirsten took a moment to answer, "Yes I do . . . I overcame the fear that Sandy would reject me and that he was only taking care of me out of pity and that he would wake up one morning and be disgusted. But that wasn't true at all. I was being irrational and how I behaved wasn't fair on Sandy or the family."

"They care about you a great deal Kirsten."

"I know," Kirsten smiled, "and I only regret putting them through this kind of strain."

"But they understood that it would be hard for you to instantly trust anyone after everything. Your ordeal put a tremendous strain on your psychological and physical wellbeing. But this is why you are here; to heal your mind."

"I wish I could heal my relationships," Kirsten muttered under her breath.

"I'm sorry?"

"Nothing," she replied defensively.

"It obviously isn't or you wouldn't have mumbled it."

"I overheard Sandy telling Seth that he doesn't think that they'll ever get their Kirsten back . . . that comment was one of the reasons why I lashed out at Sandy and he said that he only wanted me to be me but I remember what I used to be like . . . but I felt like when I came back, I was almost an empty clone and I didn't know anything. Like I said before, it felt strange being back with everybody because I had resigned myself to my fate . . . and I know I'm talking more fluidly today-"

"Yes I noticed that."

"And I think it's because I took down part of my wall that blocked everyone out and I allowed Sandy in and he's only ever been the only one I wanted to take it down for and he made everything I did and said ok. They weren't mistakes; he didn't force me to 'bounce back' in a way."

"It's good that you have realised that those are the reasons why are beginning to trust the people you love and that you now understand Sandy in a new light."

Kirsten nodded.

"And that is obvious in the way that you keep clutching your rings."

Kirsten looked down and saw how her finger snaked around her rings.

"With this ring I thee wed," Sandy said as he guided the ring onto her slender finger.

"I always hold them when I need strength and when – when they took my rings from me I didn't know what they were going to do with them . . . one of them threatened to sell them for some money. I felt lost without them; they're my connection to Sandy," Kirsten explained softly.

"Well you are definitely making progress from last time – I could barely get a sentence out of you but you did convey how you felt drowned in the house but now you've broken the fear that has smothered you and that has prevented you from living your life. As a therapist, it is very pleasing to see how comfortable you are getting in your life and although you are living it, there is still some anxiety and that's perfectly natural. It's very pleasing."

"I just hope I can be natural again."

"You will but it'll take time and with your family, you can take all the time you need and you won't have to rush anything. And your daughter will grow up with you as well."

'I never thought of it that way' Kirsten thought.

Suddenly, it came to her mind.

Her daughter's birthday was in less than a month. Her second birthday. Then the pain hit her as she realised that she had missed Scarlett's first birthday and as Sandy told her, Scarlett's first words and steps. It tore at her heart when she remembered that Scarlett's first word was 'mommy'.

'I should've been there' Kirsten cursed herself, 'I should've been there'.

"Kirsten?"

Snapping out of her reverie, Kirsten looked at Doctor Stewart.

"You alright?"

"Yes I realised that it's Scarlett's birthday next month . . . she'll be two years old and . . . and I missed her first birthday, her first steps and her first words . . . all because of them."

"It is painful to miss milestones like them but you have the rest to look forward to, first day at school, high school, college, first boyfriend, everything," Stewart attempted.

"I know but it's the principal of the thing . . . she's my only daughter and the last time I saw her, she was only six months old and now she's almost two. I missed so much in between then . . . It hurts."

Doctor Stewart nodded.

"But in an attempt to not sound too cliché, I'm afraid we will have to discuss this next time. Our time is up," she said as she looked at her watch.

"Of course," Kirsten nodded as she collected herself.

"We'll discuss your children next time if that's ok with you."

"Ok."

Standing up, they both walked towards the door. Doctor Stewart opened the door and allowed Kirsten to cross the threshold where she saw that Sandy was waiting for her.

"Hey," he greeted standing up as he made his way to greet her.

"Hey," Kirsten replied as she let him kiss her on the cheek.

"So how's she doing Helen?"

"Very well, I'm very pleased with her progress as I've told her."

Sandy wrapped his arm around Kirsten and gave her a reassuring rub on the back.

"Thank you," Kirsten said.


Woooooohoooo. Updated. Hopefully that'll keep you satisfied for about a month. I have exams to do and I can't afford to update this anyway. I was only able to this time because I took a break on a Saturday night and finished it today. Enjoy.