Emily sits in Casey Novak's office, her legs hugged to her chest, her gaze focused on a piece of paint peeling by the window. Casey rests her head in her hand on the desk beside her, trying not to sigh audibly. Trial Prep had been rough on both of them.
Casey couldn't explain why, but this case was hitting her the hardest since her revelation to Olivia. Perhaps it was the look in the girl's eyes, already prepared for disappointment; or maybe it was the invisible massive weight upon her that Casey could sense in every moment Emily made, as guilt sat heavy on her shoulders. Olivia had been a Godsend, not asking too many questions, yet always there for her. It still couldn't change the fact that after every time Casey met with Emily she felt like punching the wall though. Casey hadn't been prepared for the anger she felt well up inside her. She hadn't known what to do with it. She still didn't know.
"Emily," Casey said softly, pulling the girl from her haze.
Emily's eyes slowly moved to fix on Casey, and from them Casey could sense the utter exhaustion mixed with a hint of wariness within them.
"I was wondering if you had someone you wanted to sit in the court room, someone supporting you through out the trial?" Casey finally ventured to ask.
Confusion flickers in the girl's eyes.
"I didn't-, I-I don't want my parents there, if that's what you mean," Emily replies, hugging her legs tighter.
"No, I didn't mean them necessarily," Casey adds quickly.
"I can't- I can't let them listen to all those things- I couldn't handle them knowing what she did," Emily continues, her voice tight.
"Emily, that's fine, of course they don't have to be there if you don't want," Casey says firmly yet gently, trying to turn the girl away from an idea that obviously frightens her.
Emily's head drops slightly against her knees.
"I didn't want them to ever know, but eventually it was too much of a secret to keep. It hurt to keep it, hurt to know and say nothing. Burned inside of me like an evil thought to confess," Emily murmurs, almost as though only to herself.
Casey bites her lip, almost wishing that everything the girl just said didn't make perfect sense to her.
"My dad- my dad was angry, angry at me for not telling, angry at the girl. He wanted to hurt her, make her pay. I didn't- I didn't know what to say," Emily continues, the words fading into a moment of dark reflection.
Casey remains silent, captivated by the girl's words, despite her concern for her welfare. For a moment they both sit in silence, consumed by their own thoughts.
Then Emily breaks the silence.
"I hate it," she says quietly and bitterly, her voice an angry scratch into the pristine lie of peaceful silence.
Casey turns to look at her, unsure what she's talking about.
"-That response," Emily adds, her voice gaining in volume. "Someone admits they were raped, and the first thing anyone wants to do is go beat up the rapist."
Her next words are whispered, but still forceful, "Fucking great," and then she returns to her slowly raising volume, "Gee, thanks. I'm really glad you have all that anger, but what the fuck about me? How can you want to leave the person who just told you they were raped, and take out your anger issues on a fight that isn't even yours. I mean, I get that you're acting out some evolutionary cave man response, and I should be all flattered that you want to protect me, but I'm not. If you want to protect me, you fucking stay here, with me. You ask me how I am, if I'm alright. You wait for me to tell you what I can manage. But you don't get to be angry for me, that anger's mine. I get to keep that anger, wait until I'm strong enough, until I can finally own that anger. Until it stops controlling me, stops trying to eat me alive."
Casey has watched the girl intently through out her rant, and she now meets her eyes for a moment.
"You're right," Casey says, and for a moment Emily almost sees what Casey can't say.
The anger is as suddenly gone as it appeared, and Emily slumps back into her chair.
"My mom- my mom just claimed she knew already. I don't know how. I didn't tell her. Maybe she read my diary. Maybe it was a lie. I don't even care anymore. She never brought it up again. It's as if it never happened. I let her deny it, ignore it, forget it. It's not my secret anymore. I gave it away. Set it free. In that house at least," Emily tells Casey.
Casey can only nod. They both sit in silence again, needing that comfort of nothingness.
Finally Casey speaks. "I actually meant- I don't know, maybe a friend, or a counselor?"
Emily looks up, surprised. Quiet.
"Have you called any of the numbers Olivia gave you?" Casey asks gently, knowing that Olivia would have suggested a number of crisis centers and counselors.
Emily shakes her head, looking a bit embarrassed as she bites her lip.
"How do you feel about talking to someone one else about it, maybe a professional?" Casey asks.
Emily shrugs, "I don't know".
"What about maybe a meeting for survivors? Do you think you'd be able to do that?" Casey suggests.
"Yeah, maybe," Emily says, her arms tightly crossed against her chest.
After a moment of silence, Emily finally admits, "I'm- I'm scared to", her eyes not leaving the floor.
Casey bites the bullet, and says exactly the thing she's terrified to say, exactly the thing she wants desperately to say.
"I could come with you."
Emily's head shoots up. Her eyes are practically sparkling, a hint of life after the dead of winter.
"I'd, I'd really like that," she says softly.
"Ok," Casey says, giving her a small smile.