Lynette stood in front of the rehab clinic as Tom loaded her bags into the car. It had been one month since she arrived at the clinic, one long month of stark white rooms and white corridors and orderlies dressed in neatly pressed white uniforms.
Lynette hated white now.
It had been one month since that fateful day at that motel, when she'd been dragged out of her motel room by paramedics and whisked off to a nearby hospital. By then she'd had not only fever and chills and a massive headache, but was also starting to hallucinate.
She'd been sent to the clinic very quickly- the doctors there knew how to handle people who were coming down from their drug highs.
While at the clinic, Lynette had shared a room with a woman named Margaret. At group therapy, she had met Kelly, Lauren, Josef, Michele, and Connor. She had become close friends with all of them, but had connected especially with Michele, who had also taken Ritalin.
She was going to miss them all. Miss the way Lauren could always think of a joke to lighten the mood, miss the way Connor was always able to make her feel better about herself whenever she was feeling ashamed. They had all hugged her goodbye, but Lynette was fairly certain that she would never see any of them again, as she had no intention of going back there any time soon.
"Ready?" said Tom, wringing his hands while an anxious smile played on his face. Lynette nodded, and Tom held the door for her as she climbed into the car.
She looked back as Tom drove away, looking through the rearview mirror until the clinic was no longer visible. Neither of them spoke. A feeling of dread was forming in Lynette- she realized that she would have to face Susan, Bree, and Gabi when she got home.
They had tried to visit her at rehab, but she had declined to see them. She knew that they would think that she was mad at them, but she did it anyway. She just couldn't stand the thought of them seeing her stuck in that place and being all nice to her even though she'd blown up at them during the intervention. If anyone should be mad, it should be them.
Lynette didn't know what she could possibly say to them aside from "I'm sorry" and she really didn't think that sorry would cover it. She sighed, and Tom glanced over.
"Fine...nervous. I don't know what to say to them."
Tom immediately knew who she was talking about. "They're not mad at you. They never were. Just worried."
"Still, I screwed up. I made things difficult for them. And for you. I don't think I apologized before, but I'm apologizing now. I'm sorry. And I'm not going to do it again. I swear."
"It's okay. It's not really your fault. You were under a lot of stress."
Lynette smiled at him, and Tom managed to tear his eyes off the road long enough to give her a genuine smile.
"Thanks. I love you." said Lynette, appreciatively.
"I love you too."
The streets were becoming more and more familiar, and it wasn't long before Wisteria Lane's tree-lined street came into view. In spite of Tom's assurances, Lynette still felt nervous about facing her friends.
But when the door to her house opened, the only people she had to face were her children and Mrs. McCluskey. The boys and Penny seemed happy enough to see her; they weren't old enough to really understand what had happened. Mrs. McCluskey simply hugged her then said "Glad to have you back" while clapping her on the shoulder before leaving.
The kids were herded into the background, and Lynette walked through the house, trying to familiarize herself with it again. While doing so, she noticed something surprising. Everything was perfectly clean and in its place. She had honestly expected to see dirty dishes in the sink and dirty clothes in the laundry room.
Tom noted her surprise and said, "We wanted everything to look nice for you."
Lynette, already emotionally overwhelmed, found herself throwing her arms around Tom and kissing him rather passionately. He really was quite charming, and the best husband on the street. In fact, he was one of the only husbands on the street- most of the women Lynette knew were either divorced or had never been married.
Tom murmured jokingly, "You move fast."
"You got a problem with that?"
He kissed her again. "Of course not."
Just then the doorbell rang. Stupid doorbell. Tom volunteered to get it, and Lynette was once again was overcome by anxiety. She started taking deep breaths to calm herself down.
Sure enough, the door opened to reveal Bree, Susan, and Gabi. Bree was carrying a basket of muffins, and she handed them to Tom, who took them wordlessly them then turned to Lynette and whispered, "I'll be upstairs if you need me." He set the basket on the counter and disappeared up the stairs and out of view.
For a few seconds, the three women simply stood and stared at Lynette as if they weren't sure if it was really her. All of a sudden, Susan moved forward and enveloped Lynette in a hug. The other two followed suit. At first, the embraces were stiff and tense, but after a bit they softened and the women were sincerely hugging her.
"We've missed you." said Gabi, when they finally broke apart. There were tears standing in Susan's and Lynette's eyes. Both blinked rapidly, and Susan sniffled. Bree kept her hand on Lynette's shoulder even after they had stopped hugging.
"I've missed you guys too." Lynette replied, then she stopped and took a deep breath. "Look, I really wanted to say that I'm sorry for getting mad at you earlier. You were just trying to help
"It's okay." interrupted Bree. "You were right."
Lynette gave her a curious look, but before she could ask what Bree meant, Susan had said, "So, you need to get caught up on everything that's been going on in the past month. It'll make you feel better, I promise."
Lynette hesitated, then nodded and said, "Sit" while gesturing to the sofa and chairs. "Do you want anything to drink?"
The three shook their heads, and Lynette sat on the sofa with them. As Susan resumed talking, Lynette heard a small creak from the top of the stairs. She looked up to see Tom, who grinned.
Lynette couldn't help but grin back, because she had realized that she had her friends and her family to keep her going. No matter how hard things got, they would support her and help her. She knew that now.
So she smiled at Tom, and after he disappeared again, she turned back to her friends and talked and laughed with them until late in the evening. And as she watched her friends walk back to their respective houses, Lynette knew deep in her heart that everything was going to turn out alright in the end.