-Prologue-

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I know what that school thinks of me. I know what all her little friends think when they look at me. There's a reason I don't go to the school often. They think they can judge me and make me feel like I'm seventeen again, but they can't. They think they know everything; the full story. They all side with her, of course. Poor little wronged Juliette. But she was my daughter and I know better.

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They think I'm some sort of horrible person for not believing my son. But what would you have done? Who would you have believed? I never meant to cause him pain but the idea that he honestly couldn't get her to go away, that he couldn't save himself, boggles my mind. He's not a small guy and she's certainly not incredibly strong. It makes so little sense. And my ego was harmed by the admission that she would choose him, my son for God's sake, over me. I believed I had better taste in people. I'm not a bad person. I just loved my wife.

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I'm a whore. I'm a monster. I harassed and scarred a young boy.

What a load of shit. Scott wasn't a boy. I wouldn't have slept with a boy.

And I also wouldn't have slept with someone who didn't want me. Believe me, he wanted it. When I first came into his room, it confused him at first, but I heard the moans of pleasure I caused. He liked it just as much as I did. I made sure to make it enjoyable for him.

When he said no that time… I knew he didn't mean it. He wanted me. He had to.

Martin was never home, and Scott was so hard to be close to. I had to get him to like me. He loved me, I made him love me. He wrote me such sweet words… he begged for more. I didn't make him do anything. I've had enough experience to know that yes means yes, no means yes, silence means yes. Men always want sex. Scott was no different. I'm no monster. I satisfied his needs just as did mine.

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Both of my daughters ran away from home. From me. They hate me with everything they have in them. Shelby chose prostitution and an almost prison-like school over living with her own mother.

The day she came home, I could see how terribly unhappy she was. I thought I had saved her from her life trapped inside a jail. I returned her freedom. And she wanted so much to be locked up again.

I cared too much about my financial stability to let my conscience get to me. I kept silent so that she would have a chance at an education. I sacrificed things too, I did. I thought she would understand. All he did was touch her. That's a small price to pay for having food on the table and heat in the house, isn't it? That's a small price for being able to afford new clothes and running water.

I was selfish. Looking back, I know it so well. I thought they were paying the price for their own happiness but I realize that I put them up for pain for my own happiness. They would both have rather starved then to be touched. I didn't see it until it was too late, until they already hated me.

I had hoped my thoughts were wrong. I had hoped that he wasn't doing anything. Every night when he left my bed, I hoped that he was just getting a drink, grabbing food… a cigarette. Hell, I convinced myself that if he was going out of bed for his sexual appetite it would be out of the house, that he was cheating on me with a neighbour. These thoughts kept my mind pacified, silenced my conscience. But I knew. Every night I felt the bed lighten, I felt dread erupt in my throat and the nasty image of him reviling my daughters haunted me. I told myself I was imagining things until the day that Shelby made me wake up. And there can be no justification. They earned the right to hate me. I am a horrible mother.

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She almost killed me with a golf club and I'm the physically abusive one?

I wouldn't have hit her. I would have stopped myself. I don't hit women, especially not my own flesh and blood. I wouldn't have hit her.

I said the things I did to toughen her. The world is a harsh place. I had to make sure she had a tough skin. With a mother like she had, it was the best gift I could give her. I was willing to sacrifice the love of a daughter for her personal well being. Could I have possibly been more selfless?

There's little I can say to make her care these days. I'm proud of that for it shows that I succeeded. She is strong now. She can survive on her own. No one will ever boss her around, no one can hurt her now. If I had to make her bleed to wait for the scab to form, so be it. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

My own parents coddled me. They nursed me and kept me in a naïve cocoon. I was happy and loved them very much. But then reality hit and I was as unprepared a I could be. I was crushed, demolished. Past joy does not make up for an eternity of pain. So I gave Daisy a few years of pain so she could have a lifetime of joy. What I did was a gift.

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"Tell me again that this was a good idea…" Peter nervously sighed as he paced around the room.

"This was a very good idea." Sophie smiled, moving the last chair into the circle. "To properly heal the kids we need to know where the parents are coming from. And you and I both know that the kids' issues are pressing heavily against their parents. They need healing too."

"What some of these people have done to their kids or have let happen to their kids…" Hannah said, disapproval clear in her voice. "I'm not sure I want to meet these people, much less hear them whine about how the deep scars of their children are annoying their own every day lives."

"There are two sides to every story." Roger spoke up from his spot near the snack table. He was setting up plates and cups, hoping that it all looked presentable.

"That may be true, but I'm inclined to believe the kids over their parents any day." Hannah wryly responded.

"No discrimination. No judgement. That's what we promise the kids; that's the respect we owe to their parents." Peter reminded them all archly.

"Besides, we haven't really had a chance to speak to any of the parents without their kids present. We can get a chance to properly understand where they're coming from, why they did what they did. It'll be good for them to feel understood and it's nice that they get to meet the other parents. Everyone makes mistakes but I think they deserve to confess their own feelings on what happened without us jumping down their throats with predatory accusations." Roger reasoned.

"I still feel like we're lending the devil a sympathetic ear." Hannah sighed.

A knock on the door announced the arrival of the first parent on Horizon's first Parent Group. A glance through the window showed who it was.

"Especially her. Why are we inviting that woman here? After all she's done? She deserves to be locked up. She's not a parent. She's a beast." Sophie curtly declared, fixing her eyes on Peter.

"Let's just hear what she has to say. It's good she came first. Lord knows we'll need to grab the chance to talk to her without the others… if we don't judge her, everyone else certainly will." Peter said.

"That's because where the others made judgment mistakes, she knowingly messed up a young boy's life with absolutely no good intentions." Sophie said with disgust.

Peter shot her a silencing look and opened the door.

"Come on in, Elaine."

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AN: This is a new one, and it's not going to be a oneshot. This is in response to ShelbyMerrickFan's request, and the idea is all hers :). I'm actually drowning in school work but I wanted to get this up quickly. This won't be a long fic, probably only around 10 chapters, give or take.