Hey, this set during Episode 11: Thanksgiving and possibly beyond that. I've watched bits and pieces of the episode so some of it will be directly from it.

Summary: Claire's really starting to break down after losing Gretchen and of course what better than a family gathering to put the icing on the cake.

Rating: T (might go up for later chapters)

Dreaming With a Broken Heart

Chapter 1: In the Dining room with the Knife

Life is made up of several incredible moments. The ones that change you as a person. Moments that come and once you're there you know that you're not the same anymore. And you'll long to go back to the simplicity that was once your life, but you're lost and you're scared and nothing can ever be the same again. These are the moments that change your life.

'.' ~ .'. ~ '.'

"Happy Thanksgiving!" her mother cried as Claire answered the door.

She smiled as her mother engulfed her in a hug, there was something off about the smile though, it didn't quite reach her eyes; a fakeness to it that she had been noticing a lot recently, every time she looked in the mirror, ever since…

She ushered her mom and her mom's 'friend' in from the hall. She was genuinely happy to see her. She hadn't had the chance to talk to her mom since the whole Annie fiasco.

Her mom looked at her warmly. "We brought someone who has been dying to see you."

"Mr. Muggles!" she brightened up and grabbed her fluffy Pomeranian. This was just what I need, a little unconditional love. She laughed as the dog licked and nibbled at her nose.

Claire grabbed their coats as her mother re-introduced 'Doug' and she absent mindedly heard him wish her a, 'Happy Thanksgiving.'

Thanksgiving. Home. Family. So many words had started to become foreign to her; muddled in the constant catastrophe that her life seemed to be shaping into. Was it so wrong to want to be like everyone else? To go to college, make friends, make mistakes and not have to worry about the fate of the world? Just once she would like to be normal; a frustration that was starting to bring her to tears. She mentally shook herself refusing to cry. She had gone over these same thoughts this too many times.

Lauren walked out of the kitchen as her Dad said Hello to her Mom and welcomed them in.

"You hired a cook?" her mom questioned as she saw Lauren.

"Ha, wow mistaken for a domestic, that certainly breaks the ice." Lauren laughed nervously as she extended her hand to introduce herself. Claire could already feel the tension. Oh isn't this going to be quite the family occasion.

"Lauren Gilmore, it's nice to finally meet you, Sandra" Lauren's voice trailed off as Sandra handed her a casserole dish instead of shaking her hand.

Lauren awkwardly took it, "Um, okay let's eat"

Lauren turned around and walked back into the kitchen. Claire already knew this was going to be a bad idea.

After toasts everyone was gathered around the table, slowly digging into dinner. Doug, who seemed like he had popped one too many Percocet, had just finished telling the sickeningly sweet story of how he and her mother, 'Sandy' had met at the groomer where their dogs had 'fallen in love at first sight.' Claire couldn't help but roll her eyes and mouth 'Sandy' to her father with a questioning glance.

"So how did you two meet?" her mom gestured to her father and Lauren.

Flustered slightly her dad explained that they had used to work together at Primatech and had just recently bumped into each other.

"Primatech, is that the paper company or that other thing." Her mom questioned without looking up.

"Oh you know about that other thing?" Lauren casually asked. Claire glanced between them. Uh oh.

"Yes… a memory can be erased only so many times." Man, if looks could kill. "So you worked closely then?" Claire could tell that her mother was bothered by all of this.

"Well it wasn't like that, you kno—" Lauren began.

"Or am I stumbling on something that I'm not suppose to remember?" her mom interrupted while looking between Lauren and her Dad.

Her dad spoke softly trying to diffuse the situation, "You're not stumbling onto anything. I think we should just enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner."

Claire looked on at the scene in front of her; you could cut the tension with a knife. God she wished that for once the glass of wine she was drinking would do something, anything, to calm her nerves, but alas no such luck. Claire sighed. Figures.


As per usual of Thanksgiving, everyone had just gone around the table and stated what they were thankful for. Eyes rested on her as it was now her turn to share. She thought for a fraction of a second about lying and listing all the cliché reasons to be thankful, but decided on the truth.

"Umm, I know that I should be thankful, but I'm just not feeling it right now." She flashed a small fake smile. Her mother looked down the table at her and asked if everything was okay.

Her dad looked at her and said in a soft almost sad voice, "Her roommate moved out."

She felt her heart clench as that outsider feeling creeped up on her again. She knew he felt somewhat responsible and there was a part of her that did hold him to it, but there was just so much more. She had realized that her trying to have a normal life, like it was before all this mess, was like trying to catch a ghost. To top it all off, she had lost the first real friend she had had in a long time who she had trusted with her secret, had trusted with her life, even after admitting how much she needed her.

You're too important...to me. I just don't want to lose you.

God, it hurt so much. When Rene had walked out after Gretchen, it took everything she had to just breathe.

"Why on earth would she do that, you're so likeable," Doug cluelessly stated with a mouth full.

She stared at him with blank exasperation. Something snapped. She just couldn't take it anymore, she felt like she was losing it.

"Doug you don't know anything about me," she said speaking down to him, knowing he had no idea what he was talking about or the family he had just gotten himself into.

"Claire." her Dad scolded.

"What?" That's it. "You want to talk about it right now? Fine." She dropped her fork. "I'm thinking about dropping out of school." They stared at her blankly and her mother turned to her dad questioningly.

"Look I know you guys are freaking out, but I don't think this college thing is for me."

"Is this about Gretchen? Because that was just one relationship." Her dad questioned his voice slightly rising.

Her throat tightened. "Yeah, it is about Gretchen and it's about everything that's happened." She wasn't going to back down from this. "I just need to find somewhere where I can be myself." This was quickly turning into an argument.

"And the forty-thousand dollars I just gave to the school, where do you think that should go?" Her dad argued.

"I don't know, Dad. Where'd it come from." She snapped back. "I can't lie anymore! I'm a freak and people don't like freaks!"

"Can I just interject something here?" Doug tried to interrupt.

A collective "NO!" was heard round the table.

Lauren stepped in, "I think we all just need to take a deep breath—"

Doug continued, "All I was trying to say was that what Claire is feeling is perfectly normal, we've all felt like we didn't fit in at some point in our lives."

Claire's eyes rolled as she clasped her hands together. She had had enough. He had no idea what it was like to go through life in almost constant danger and to live in fear that everyone will know you're different, a freak. Not being able to connect with anyone. To lose people…

I'm just… not like you.

Breathe. "Oh, really!? Okay, sure, I'm sure everything will be just fine," she quipped back sarcastically.

"We're all freaks in our own way, right?" She picked up the knife they used to cut the turkey. "You think it's all just going to just blow over?"

She put the tip of the blade to her inner wrist and sliced a deep gash all the way down to her elbow; an action that would have been suicide to any other person. It started to heal almost immediately.

"How's that for normal!" Doug's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. The minimal blood pooled on the table as he slipped off his chair and passed out.



She quickly got up and left the room.

"Claire!" her father yelled after her.

Her frustration and hurt was bubbling to the surface and she knew if she hadn't gotten up she would have broken down right then and there. She went into the bathroom and closed the door. Her knees gave out and she slid down the door, tears falling into into her lap as she wrapped her arms around herself. She was tired of feeling this way, she wish they understood, but most of all she wished Gretchen was here. She let out a muffled sob at the thought and her tears streamed down even harder.

When your dreaming with a broken heart
And waking up is the hardest part
You roll out of bed and down on your knees
And for a moment you can hardly breathe
Wondering was she really here
Is she standing in my room
No she's not
Cause shes gone, gone, gone

A/N Next chapter up soon, don't know exactly how long this story will be, but I've got at least the next few chapters mapped out =) Suggestions, Comments, Constructive Criticism all welcome!! (Song: Dreaming With a Broken Heart by John Mayer)