AN: Well, this is the end of the story, if you've made it this far I'd love to here what you think. I'm sorry it has taken so long to put together, what can I say life got in the way. I promised myself I'd finish this story though so here it is. The final part, it went though quite a few different versions but I think this covers all the points I wanted to say best. Thanks for reading.
Six months later
Nell was the push Margie needed to heal, the doubt and fear, went away, she no longer questioned if dying would be easier, she didn't want to die, she wanted to get home. It took two more weeks before the doctors would let her leave the hospital, and once she was home she spent another month not doing much.
She'd thought once she was home things would be better but being home brought a whole set of new problems. Having her family around made things better but it wasn't the same as before, she was different and so was everyone else. She hadn't been naive enough to think it would all be the same but she wasn't prepared for how she was going to feel. The first time she stepped into her home brought back every moment of the attack, the new paint, new carpet couldn't stop the memories flooding her, and she had her first panic attack.
The first panic attack was by no means her last, she soon discovered there were lots of things which set her off, certain smells and loud noises were the worse but sometimes she just went off. Her family quickly got her into counselling, and slowly the attacks became less frequent, six months on they still hadn't gone away and neither had the nightmares.
Sleeping pills were the only way she could guarantee a whole night sleep, without them she'd wake up half the time screaming, or worse she'd wake to someone shaking her because she'd been screaming and couldn't wake up. She'd scared her children half to death a few times doing that, their faces instantly calmed her but she didn't like putting them through that. She didn't want to cause them harm, but when she was having a bad day they were the only thing which would make her better.
Her boys knew this; they quickly picked up on what she needed and knew how to make her better. They'd grown up so much and were mature beyond their years. She was proud of them, they made her happy but sometimes she felt like she'd taken something away from them. They'd witnessed something horrible and were no longer her sweet innocent little boys. Nikki's boys had changed too; Wayne had become fiercely protective of all the women in the house. He took it upon himself to take care of everyone, make sure everyone was safe. In the first few months it had been Wayne more than anyone else in the family who'd helped her process what had happened and move forward from it. Unlike all the adults in the house he'd been there, he'd felt the fear and violation of having their home invaded and unlike the rest of the boys he was old enough to understand it.
She laid a lot on him, at times she forgot he was only nine but he seemed to thrive on it, and like her there were some things which just needed to be said, laid out so that they could be packed away again. He'd been her shepherd in this, her guide back. She'd nominated him for a Children of Courage award and his brothers for recognition. They won out over other children across the state and received medals at an awards ceremony at the Governor's mansion. The whole family had attended that ceremony and she'd never been more proud to be a Henrickson.
That was one of the good things to have come out of the attack, one of the things which made Bill so sure it was all part of Heavenly Father's plan. Other good things were Bill's political agenda; the incident had given the family more positive publicity than anything else he could have dreamed up. People still didn't understand or agree with their lifestyle but they accepted that it was valid, that it could work, that they were happy. Bill used every grain of public sympathy to push his agenda; he had polygamy on the table in a real productive way that never would have happened otherwise.
Her public profile had also grown, Hearts on a Sleave had moved from its infomercial niche to be everywhere. It was making more money than she could have ever imagined, business was so good she'd had to hire someone to help her manage it. Professionally she was succeeding, she was making money, she was respected and when she wanted to say something people listened.
In some ways she had become everything she ever wanted to be. She was achieving her dreams but behind that there was still a scared young woman, which hadn't been there before. Since the attack she had done a lot of interviews with, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, one question which was often asked was 'if you could make it so it never happened would you?'. At first it was an easy question, that day and the weeks immediately following it were easily the worst time in her life. If she could make them never happen she would but as things had improved the answer had become grey.
She could see some of Bill's notion that this was all part of Heavenly Father's plan, that it was meant to happen. When Bill was asked the question he always answered no, even in the early days when it felt like nothing good could come of it, when she was still too scared to leave the house or even be left alone for a moment. Now though, things were good, she was in the light at the end of the tunnel, she was healing and she could see there was a world of possibilities for her and the family.