Many thanks to my lovely beta's, booty492 and CatieLardin. These girls own my happy ass. I've been busy with some other projects, hence the delay, so you have my apologies. I Hope you enjoy it. Also, I own nothing.
Edward gave me some magazines earlier this week-a ton of them. He told me I could go through and tear out words and letters if I wanted, to start keeping a journal or to write letters, or for pretty much anything. As far as I was concerned right now, this guy was a damn genius. Seriously-nobody else thought of this? Of course, he had to get clearance to give me scissors, but I'm not considered a threat, so I got them. I was clipping happily, just random words at the moment until I decided what it was I wanted to 'write.' Dr. Awesome would be showing up sometime today, so my goal was to have something on paper for him by the time he shows. What? I didn't know. I thought about maybe a poem, or just a letter, but what would I write to him about? "Oh hey, I think you're smokin' hot and I dream about your hair." Somehow I didn't think that was what he was looking for. I know he was hoping for some history or something, but like I said, I got nothing. I stared at the words and letters scattered on my bed and thought, trying to figure out what I wanted to say. Suddenly, I knew. I scrambled with my glue stick and paper, only using a fraction of things I'd cut out, but it was enough. He would probably laugh at me, but it was worth a shot. After I was finished, I lay on my bed and waited for him to show up.
A couple hours later, there was a knock on my door. I sat up and turned, smiling expectantly-what the hell was that about anyway? He was my therapist. That was all. Keep it in your pants, Bella. He greeted me warmly and sat down in the chair in my room.
"How are you today, Bella?" he asked, pulling out his little notebook. I shrugged. Nothing fancy here. I wasn't going to pull out the paper until he asked. "I have something I'd like to do today, if that's alright with you." I motioned for him to continue. "I want to take you to the woods you were found." Okay, that was unexpected. Was I scared of this? A little. But why? Would I remember something? Would they trigger whatever'd been hiding inside me? I had my doubts. "Alice is going to come with us, if you agree to go. What do you say?" Well, why the hell not. I nodded a yes to him and stood up. At the very least, it was going to be a chance for me to leave the hospital, and that was something I hadn't done in…ever. Outside. Oh boy! He must have sensed my eagerness, because he was laughing. "Excited, are we?" He chuckled. I gave him a look that clearly said 'smartass,' and walked to the door, waiting for him to lead the way.
The drive was nice-I wondered if this car was his. It was a Mercedes. It was pretty. The trees were lovely, the air smelled amazing. I practically had my head hanging out the window like a dog the whole time. Each time I'd look over at Edward, he'd be watching me, smiling. He must have found my utter glee to be amusing. Well, he may be able to go outside every day, but this was a damn vacation to me. He could laugh all he wanted. I had guessed Alice would be meeting us there, since she wasn't at the hospital when we left. He must have thought I might say no or something. We pulled into a parking lot on the outskirts of town and walked towards the head of a trail. A few minutes later, another car pulled up and Alice climbed out. She greeted me and Edward…we're on first name basis now?...and turned to the woods.
"Anything look familiar yet, Bella?" she asked as I took in my surroundings. The first thing that I recognized was the clearing. I pointed. "That's the clearing where they found you wandering. Let's start there." She walked in that direction as the two of us followed. I remembered this. Just walking, not knowing anything, anyone, anywhere. The police found me soon after. To me, this was where my life began. I closed my eyes and just breathed, trying to get a handle on this. I know they wanted a breakthrough; I wanted to give it to them. I was probably the most cooperative patient in the history of ever. I tried to block everything out. I could hear their breathing, waiting for me to make a move. Bless them for not pushing me. I decided to just let my instincts take over. I wasn't going to think. I was just going to do. With my eyes open, I started to walk forward, towards the woods. I let my feet take me there, not my mind. I could hear Edward and Alice behind me, following quietly.
I don't know how long I walked. But when I stopped, in a little, beautiful clearing, I realized something.
I knew this place.
I remember. I remember seeing this place, and it was like there was something on the forefront of my mind…
A man! I remember a man! I can't remember his name, but he had dark skin….and whatever he did….was bad. The feelings connected to these almost-memories were bad. Very bad. Like something was crawling over my skin. I didn't like it. And it scared me. I knew though, that whatever happened to me wasn't good. But to feel it…even just a little bit of it…I shivered.
"Bella?" I heard Edward's voice behind me. This was big-he would want to know. I spun on him and tried to show him with my eyes that this was something important. Thank God he caught on. "What is it? What do you remember?" My fingers were moving and my hands were waving but I didn't have a book or my letters to tell him. "Let's go back now." YES! That's the right answer. I followed him and Alice out of the clearing. She was pleased, too, even if it was just a little something. She hadn't said much, but I'd hazard to say that the whole 'go back to the forest' thing was her idea. As soon as we were back in my room, I grabbed the pile of words and letters and started laying them out on my bed.
I remember a man.
That was what I 'wrote'. He considered it, turned to Alice, and then back to me. "What about him? What exactly did you feel or think?" I sighed only because this was going to take me a while. I lifted my finger in a 'give me a minute' gesture and started to work. It took me just a bit, but the two of them waited patiently while I did my thing.
He had dark skin. And long hair. Whatever happened was bad. I felt bad. Scared and uncomfortable and like I had to run away but I don't remember why.
Edward and Alice nodded and shared what seemed to be a silent conversation. This time, it was Alice that spoke up. "Do you think if we go back, maybe go a little further, you'll remember more? Would you like to try?" I nodded yes, because it was worth a try! "I'll come back in two days, and we can all go again. Right now, I'll let you finish your session with Edward." She smiled and walked out of the room, and then it was just me and Edward.
"So Bella. Did you want to talk more about what you remembered? Or did you want to discuss something else?" I thought about this for a minute. I raised two fingers to indicate I wanted to move on, and he nodded. "Okay then. Did you write anything for me?" I nodded, grinning, and pulled the paper out and slid it to him. He smiled when he read it.
Tell me about yourself.
Tell me about yourself. This silly girl who couldn't speak, who'd been through something traumatic, wanted to know about me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit blown away. I couldn't say no, really. There was no harm in telling her a little bit about myself, if it would help her feel more comfortable with me. And when I looked over and saw her staring at me with wide brown eyes, I knew I was sold.
"Your wish is my command," I told her, and she smiled. She was so pretty. Whoa. Slow down. She was my client. She's probably just curious-I would be. "I was born in Chicago. Both my parents are therapists, so it was a natural pathway for me. They would have supported me with whatever I wanted to do, but this was what I wanted. I love it. If I can just help one person, I've done my job." She was still smiling. She raised her left hand and wiggled her ring finger. It took me a moment to realize that she wanted to know if I was married or not. "Nope. I'm not, and I never have been. Just haven't found that right person yet. I hope to someday, but I'm in no hurry." I was surprised to see her blushing. I would consider that later. She reached over to her pile of letters and spelled something else out for me:
What do you do for fun?
Fun. Well, that was quite a bit harder. "I like to play the piano and compose music when I can, and I like to go for hikes. That's really it; I don't have a lot of time for 'fun'." This caused a little worry line to crease her forehead, like she was displeased. More words.
You should have fun. I wish I could have fun.
This broke my heart. I didn't realize that all she had was this room; she never got to go anywhere, never did anything. And she was so normal. That's what struck me. Normal. When we were just talking like this, I almost forgot that she was my patient. She wasn't mentally incapable, she wasn't a danger to herself or anyone and she just needed a little bit of help. But didn't we all? I wanted to change that. Perhaps just a small change in her routine would help her out. I could take her somewhere.
"Would you like to go on a hike with me one day? I could get clearance to take you away for a day. I know of a few great trails, and we could stop for something to eat beforehand. I imagine it's been a while since you've had something besides hospital food." Her eyes were already shining, and she was smiling wider than I think I've ever seen her. I took this as confirmation, but she went ahead and pulled a word for me just to clarify.
Like I would be giving her the best gift ever. My heart swelled; I told myself it was just because I was making her happy. Perhaps this would help her make a little bit of progress. That was it.
"How about tomorrow? That will give you a break before we do some more work." More frantic nodding. Before I knew what she was doing, she was on her feet and throwing her arms around my shoulders. I froze. She was just showing me how happy she was. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why I let my hands wrap around her in return. She pulled away from me, keeping her hands on my shoulders, and smiled. She mouthed words to me: Thank you. She seemed surprised that she did that, like it wasn't something she'd done before. "Why do you look surprised?" I asked. This time, she stood up, completely removing her arms from my presence as my arms fell from her waist. She walked back over to her bed and spelled it out for me.
I've never done that before. It was like almost talking.
Well then. That's something. "What brought it on?" I pressed.
I was so happy. I just did it.
A subconscious response-interesting. "We'll talk about that more in a couple days. In the meantime, I'll see you tomorrow morning. I need to go and get clearance from the department head, and then it's time for me to go home." The girl actually pouted. She was sad that I was leaving. The professional part of me told me this was a bad thing, but I wasn't listening. I was happy if she was happy. I needed to go.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Bella." She smiled and waved, and I let myself out. I needed to get a handle on myself. I couldn't touch her. I shouldn't have let her touch me. And I definitely shouldn't have been thinking of how soft she was and how wonderful she smelled.