Fair warning. This story has mentions of child abuse, a lot of them in the beginning, what I believe to be fairly graphic descriptions of the results of said child abuse, and possible descriptions of the abuse as it happened. I don't know about that for sure yet. There may also be talk of drug trafficking and use in future chapters. I haven't decided on that yet either.
I don't own Twilight. Don't really wish I did, either. The only person who dislikes Twilight more than me is probably Robert Pattinson. (I know, I know. Then why do you write Twilight fanfiction?) All publicly recognizable characters and places are property of their respective owners.
The first five chapters of this story are exactly as they were in the original, published in January of 2011. I've gone through and corrected the typos that I've noticed, but other than that, no changes.
And finally, I'm going to throw out a huge thanks to hobosknowbest for her support and twitter-pimping, and to who I'm going to refer to as her crew for lack of a better descriptor. I don't know who the rest of you are or if you're even actually friends, or a group, or anything, haha. But I've heard you have theories about where this story is going and honestly, I'm dying to hear them. Seriously. Throw them my way.
He situated himself on a nearby bench while I settled on a rock. He gazed at me passively, holding his notebook on his knee and his pen in his mouth.
We sat there for ages before he finally spoke. "What are you thinking, Bella?" he asked, though he really didn't expect me to answer him.
I put down my camera and debated between answering him or not. "I had a dream," I finally admitted. "A nightmare, really."
"Really?" he asked, shocked that I'd answered him. "About what?"
I didn't answer this time, choosing instead to stare at him until he became uncomfortable. Frustrated, he sighed.
"Why do you come to see me, Bella?"
"I've already told you that. My psych professor recommended you."
"I know that, but why? You never say anything, and it seems to be your life's mission to make the atmosphere as awkward as possible."
I looked away, staring at the setting sun. "I'm a fucking wreak, Peter. Every time I think I'm finally becoming some semblance of myself again something breaks me the fuck apart. Pictures, songs… my stupid guitar, for Christ's sake! A cop on the street corner, the one guy that has to ask, 'Hey, aren't you that girl with the father?' I can't go anywhere without a panic attack or a river of tears following closely behind."
He thought about that for a few minutes as I fought back said river of tears. "You know… it's okay to remember, Bella. It's good to remember. You don't want to forget him, do you?"
"Not at all. But I don't want to remember what… what he looked like when I found him." I shuddered as the pictures overwhelmed me. Charlie; bruised, bloody, battered, broken…
"Unfortunately," Peter broke through, "in order to remember the good, we have to remember the bad, too. But you don't have to focus on it. Whenever you remember the bad parts override them with the good ones."
"And how do you propose I do that?"
"Whenever you start thinking of something you don't want to, just stop. Whatever you're doing, drop it. Take as many breaths as you need to and think of something else."
"But what if that doesn't work? I'm not the greatest at focusing…"
"We'll cross the bridge when we get it."
"Alright," I agreed reluctantly.
"Now, what dream?" he asked again.
I considered how much I wanted to tell him as I wrapped my arms around my knees, focusing on the fiery sky. "There's this little girl, hiding in some subway station. She's absolutely filthy, she's crying, and she's terrified of me. When I find her the only thing I can think about is making sure she's safe.
"I have absolutely nothing, Peter. I have no family, and I've ditched my friends. I've got no support… So why do I think it's such a great idea to take her home? Why can't I just leave her be?
"Your dreams are your own, right? So I should be able to control it… leave her there to find someone better… someone that knows where to take her and how to comfort her, someone that has other people to help her figure out what to do. And still, I bring her home every time.
"I go to take off her clothes so I can give her a bath, but as soon as I've taken her shirt off I wake up screaming. I can't even see what freaked me out so much.
"And I always have to over-think it. For one thing, why does this stupid dream have so much of an affect on me? Why does my heart race and my body freeze up? Why can't I just go back to sleep?
"And for another, where are her parents? Why aren't they fighting tooth and nail to find her? Why is she all alone? Why is she always all alone?
"Which brings me back to; why does nothing ever change? Why do I never do anything differently? Why can't I control it?
"But then again… why does it matter? Why do I care? It's just a dream, right?"
"You really don't focus well, do you?" he chuckled. "How many times have you had this dream?"
"All the Goddamn time." I eyed him warily, waiting for his reaction. I hadn't spoken much since the first of our sessions, and today it felt like I'd given him my life story.
"Bella," he started slowly, carefully, and I knew I wouldn't like what he had to say. "Maybe these aren't just dreams."
"What do you mean?"
"It could be a flashback. Maybe your subconscious is remembering-"
"No," I cut him off. "It isn't me. She's too young, too little. Too broken. And truth be told, in the long run I was glad to see her go."
"It could be a representation of you. Maybe you don't remember being scared and broken, or feeling like there was nothing smaller than you. But maybe your subconscious does."
"It's not me, Peter."
He thought about what to say next. "Do you know what a premonition is?"
"Like seeing the future?"
"Kind of, but not necessarily on a regular basis. There are many cases of reoccurring dreams that eventually come true, but after that one event has occurred, the person never has another dream like it.
"If you're so convinced that this girl isn't you, maybe she's yours."
"I would never do that to a child, or anyone for that matter. I can't believe you'd even imply that I would!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it. And to add to that, you're the one finding her, not abandoning her. Maybe she's part of your future. You'll find her when she needs you, for however long that may be. Maybe she's in your situation, maybe she's not. But she's lost and alone, and you have experience with that. You know what it feels like to be in her shoes. You know how your father fought for you. Maybe it's your turn to do the same.
"Maybe you are the best person that will come along. You'll know how to comfort her, and you'll be able to figure it all out."
I didn't answer him. He couldn't be right. I couldn't even take care of myself, how could I take care of a little girl?
"Then again, maybe it's just a dream."
I laughed humorlessly. "My life is such a mess."
"All in all, Miss Swan," he said seriously. "I think today was a good one."
I snorted. "Good day, my ass," I muttered.
"What was that?"
"Nothing," I replied, shaking my head. "Hey, can I ask you something? Friend to friend instead of psycho to shrink?"
"You aren't psychotic, Bella."
"Is that a yes or a no?"
"Do you think I'm crazy?" I whispered.
"No, Bella," he shook his head. "I just said that you weren't. You're in pain. Everyone goes through this process differently, and it lasts a different amount of time for each person. Someday it'll hurt less. It'll never go away, but it will get better."
I nodded, thinking over his words. "Thank you."
"Have you gone to see him since it happened?"
"That would be a good place to start then. Bring him something, anything. Talk to him. Tell him about what you've been doing, what you're thinking. Or don't talk at all. You could just sit with him, if that's what makes you comfortable.
"I won't ask you today; I think we've had enough... but don't close yourself off. Remember, I'm here to help you.
"Next time, I'm going to ask you to, essentially, relive your experience. It will hurt, but it's one of the first steps to getting better. No more avoiding the questions. No more vague answers. Trust me when I say that, after you've done it, it'll feel good to've finally talked about it."
I knew he was right. I wouldn't admit that to him, but I knew he was.
I nodded my head. "Whatever you say, Pete. You're the professional."
We shook hands awkwardly as I slung my bag over my shoulder. "Thanks, Pete," I said quietly.
By the time I'd made it back to my apartment it was dark. Well, as dark as it could be in New York City. After some cold lo mien and the fasted shower ever I was ready for bed. I pulled the comforter around me tightly and rolled over. "Night, Daddy," I whispered, kissing the picture that I kept on my nightstand.