Not mine. Never will be.
Leaning back against the wall, with my arms crossed across my chest, I watched as Bella went toe to toe with the psychologist that had been seeing Emily for the past few months. I'd be a total liar if I didn't say it made me kind of proud to see her standing up for what she believed in, but putting that aside, I also had to wonder how long I could stand there and let her terrorize people on my staff. It was hard enough to find doctors, nurses, and teachers to volunteer their time. The last thing I needed was for them to quit because they couldn't function with each other. When Bella's hand slammed down onto the conference room table, I decided it was time for me to intervene.
"Bella." Gently, I grabbed her elbow and moved her back towards her chair. "Calm down."
"How am I supposed to gain any sort of relationship with my client if the two of you are hovering around us constantly?" She jerked her arm away.
"It is against procedure for you to be alone with a patient who has no idea who you are, let alone sit in a room and answer questions she probably won't understand," Dr. Miller tried, again, to explain. "Throwing her into an environment like that, could seriously damage any sort of progress we've made."
"Emily was abused by her husband, and for all we know, her brother. She doesn't trust men. So if anything is going to make her shut down, it would be Edward sitting at the same table with her. Besides, Emily knows who I am. I met her the other day."
The good doctor opened her mouth to continue the argument but I stopped her.
"Okay, everyone stop. This is getting us nowhere." Motioning to the chairs, I hoped they would sit down on their own. Elizabeth Miller did, but it took me shoving Bella's chair underneath her for her to join us. "We are all here for one thing- and that is to help Emily. Right?"
Elizabeth nodded but just as quickly gave me her two cents. "She doesn't have the experience to deal with this on her own, Edward. She doesn't know anything about Emily's past- what she feels-"
"I'm a survivor of child abuse, Dr. Miller. Trust me; I know exactly how she feels."
Her admission, while not being anything I didn't already know, left my chest feeling like I'd just had a bowling ball thrown at me. While Elizabeth shifted in her chair, trying to think of something to say, I discreetly rubbed my sternum. "I can personally vouch for Bella's experience with Emily. I saw the two of them together. There was… something there." Without looking to my right, I knew Bella had a smug smile on her face. I also knew she would be pissed to hear what I had to say next. "But, like Dr. Miller said, we have policies and procedures in place to protect our residents and staff. Elizabeth is a trained professional and knows more about Emily's case than anyone else in this room."
Swiveling her chair around, Bella looked at me. "Edward."
I held up my hand to stop her. "We are going to have to reach a compromise. I suggest that Elizabeth, formally, introduces Emily to you, Bella. After that, we can ask if she feels comfortable talking to you alone. If so, then Dr. Miller can join me in the waiting room; listening, and watching for any sign of distress. We will have covered all our bases and left everyone to handle this in their own way."
Neither one of the women spoke, but I knew that they didn't like it. At least it stopped the bickering.
"Good. So we agree." I half heartedly smiled. "Doctor Miller, can you go get Emily and join us in the meeting room?"
She gave Bella sullen look before nodding, and once the door to the conference room was shut, I knew it was only a matter of seconds before Bella voiced her opinions.
"I can't do my job if the two of you will constantly be hovering over my shoulder."
I sighed, once, before standing up. "Bella, you have to understand why we are doing this. Emily needs to be protected and Dr. Miller is-"
"A pain in the ass." She finished for me while following me to the door. "You know just as well as I do that Emily and I have to form our own relationship. She has to be able to trust me, talk to me, and I'm not a hundred percent certain that she will do that with the two of you, especially you, babysitting us."
"Which is why she won't know that we will be there." I ushered her down the short hallway that lead to a conference room with an attached observation area. Opening the door, I showed her where Elizabeth and I would be sitting, listening, and watching while she attempted to talk to Emily. "If everything goes well today, and I hope it does, then you and Emily are more than welcome to meet up and talk anytime you want to. If not, and if Dr. Miller believes that she isn't able to do this, then we will have to work something else out. That's the compromise."
Bella sighed once, giving me a look that clearly meant I hadn't heard the last of her argument, and made her way to the table.
"You know she may not even agree to talk to you," I said, following her and sitting down.
She nodded once before looking at me. "And you know I have to at least try."
I'd spent the majority of my time as an attorney dealing with unsatisfied housewives that wanted their soon-to-be ex-husbands to pay for the emotional damage an affair had caused. They wanted alimony, the house, the car, the summer getaway in Colorado, and half of the net worth. But, occasionally, I also had wives that had endured years of mental and physical abuse from their spouses. They didn't want anything but the freedom they'd been courageous enough to seek. I'd sit, listen, and promise to do the very best I could for them, and at times, their children. So, after all that experience, I figured I had a pretty good idea of what to expect with Emily. I thought I knew exactly what I'd face and how I could handle it. I was wrong.
"Am I in trouble?"
In the thirty minutes that I'd been alone with Emily, she'd asked that question more times than I could count. And that had basically been the gist of our whole conversation. She would ask me if she was in trouble and I would tell her no. She would go back to staring at the table in front of her and I would continue to hope and wait for her to open up to me. This time when she asked, I knew I had to do something. I had to give her a piece of me, expose a part of myself, so she would know that I was just as vulnerable as she was. She had to know that I wasn't holding all of the cards.
"Emily, do you know why I want to help you?"
Still looking at the table, she shook her head.
I sighed before leaning forward on my elbows. "I want to help you because I'm… I'm like you."
Just as I'd hoped it would, my little confession sparked her curiosity. She lifted her eyes, slowly, to meet mine. "Like me?"
"I'm more like you than you'll ever know." I answered softly. "I… I've been where you are, Emily. I've been scared, unsure, and hurt. I've thought that I was worthless- that my life was worthless. I've had people who were supposed to protect me, love me…" I swallowed around the lump that had managed to gather in my throat before finished. "I've had them hurt me, too. That's why… I want to help you. Because I…"
"Did someone help you?"
Her question, though not unreasonable, still caught me off guard. Not only because I knew that we were finally connecting over something, but because the answer to question left an uncomfortable weight in the pit of my stomach.
Had someone helped me? The answer was yes. Alice, Emmett, my father, Sue, Esme, Carlisle… Edward; each and every one of them had helped pick me up when I'd been beaten down. Each and every time that my mother chipped away at my resolve, at my fragile self worth, they worked to piece me back together.
I could feel Edward's eyes watching me through the one way mirror, knew that he could hear me, and that made me not want to admit the truth. I didn't want to tell her yes and have him remember what it had been like before. I didn't want him to remember me as the weak, crying, and broken girl I'd been for so many years. But, if I was ever going to get Emily to trust me I had no other choice.
"Yes," I said, slowly. "I was very… lucky. I had several people that never let me believe the things that she said about me. They loved me, still love me, and I wouldn't be who I am today if they hadn't been there."
Emily's eyes didn't go back to looking at the table, which was a good sign, but she also didn't continue our conversation once I'd finished talking. Instead, her eyes looked back and forth between mine as if searching for something.
I didn't want to push it, or her, but I had to know if she was going to let me help her. I had to make sure that Edward, and Dr. Miller, knew that Emily trusted me enough to be her attorney. So, with a cautious and very calm voice, I asked Emily if she would let me represent her.
The answer I got wasn't a yes or no. It was a name said in a very quiet whisper.
"Sam Uley. My husband…" Keeping her eyes on mine, Emily slowly touched the scar on her face.
The second that I parked my mother's BMW in front of my father and Sue's house, I instantly wished I had just called and had one of them come and pick me up for dinner. Driving that car and staying inconspicuous did not go hand in hand while being on the reservation. But, seeing that neither one of their cars were parked outside, I knew that I'd made the right choice in coming early. If neither of them were there yet, the chances of Leah talking to me were more in my favor.
After unlocking the front door, I followed the smell of stale cigarettes up the stairs and then quietly knocked on the bedroom door that was covered in inappropriate stickers. When the door opened, I didn't get a very welcomed reception.
"What the hell do you want?"
I smiled, forcefully. "Your mom invited me over for dinner."
Leah rolled her eyes. "And? She obviously isn't cooking it in my room."
"No… I, um… I was wondering if I could talk to you. Do you mind if I come in?"
"Yes." Leah shook her head. "You can't come in and I don't want to talk to you."
She started to shut the door, but I quickly stuck my foot between the door and the frame, keeping it open. Immediately she started screaming profanities, telling me to get the fuck out of her life, but I yelled over her. "Leah, I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't important! I just need to see if you can tell me who Sam Uley is!"
The screaming stopped, all the color in Leah's face drained, and I was surprisingly pulled into her bedroom before the door was shut behind us.
"Why are you asking me about him? Who told you?" She asked, still holding onto my arm.
"Told me what? I'm doing some probono work that…" The absolute look of anguish on her face told me that I'd made the right choice in coming to her first. "Leah, who is he?"
The sound of the Sue's voice carrying up the stairs, calling both of our names, made us look at her bedroom door and then back to each other. Leah let go of my arm, sort of pushing me away in the same instance, and then motioned for me to leave.
I stayed where I was. "Who is he? If you don't tell me, I'll just go downstairs and ask your mom. Based on your reaction to me mentioning his name I'm assuming that Sue wouldn't want-"
Violently, Leash shoved me back against the wall and left her hands clinched around my shoulders. "If you're as smart as every says you are then you'll take my advice and forget that you ever heard of him, okay? Don't bring my mother into this. Don't go around asking about him. And don't you ever mention his name to me again. Got it?"
Letting me go, Leah stormed out of her bedroom, bounded down the stairs and yelled at her mother before slamming the front door shut behind her. I stayed where I was, trying to catch the breath that had frozen in my lungs, and wondered what the hell I'd just gotten myself into.
AN: Is Twilight fanfic still a thing? People still reading it? LOL