If you've read The Real Life of EA Masen, you know I'm not an angst writer but I was compelled to write this story.

I am one of five daughters but only four of us are here on earth. My twin sister died of SIDS when she was a month old. Growing up, we never spoke her name in our house. It wasn't blasphemy but more a taboo subject than anything else. My mom has been to her grave a handful of times. I have gone by myself every year on the sad anniversary. I didn't even know her but it hurts my heart to remember.

My parents were young when she died, just 30 years old. They had a 7, 5, and 2 year old when she died. And though they grieved differently, not only did their marriage survive, they did as well. I'm not sure I could have. This story is for my twin, Janet. Rest in peace, angel.

My thanks for James Ramsey for beta-ing this story.


The stone angel looked down upon me with as much sorrow as I felt in my bones. Her face was expressionless, empty – like I was. She was weathered from the years, decades even, of standing lifeless in one spot. Her wings were spread and from where I was standing, the grey of the masonry was only minimally darker than the hue of the sky. Rain was ominous. Even the heavens were mourning; it was only fitting.

How had I come to be here in this place of such darkness and void of all colors? And more importantly, why? Only a week before, I'd been in a state of normalcy, bliss even. I was living my life with my husband and infant daughter. Her days and nights were mixed up so our days were lazy, spent napping together in our king-sized bed. When she wasn't screaming at night, we'd tickle her toes and admire how perfect her ears and fingers were. But more often than not, our nights were spent pacing the floor with her in our arms, trying to calm her colic. I wished I'd appreciated even those trying times because I missed them. Now I knew how it felt to be in the bowels of hell.

My ears heard the words of comfort the chaplain was speaking. It was all bullshit. There was no God; there was no heaven, that much I was sure of. If there were, my baby would be in my arms, not in a tiny box soon to be lowered into the ground. God wouldn't let a mother suffer like I was. The pain I was feeling was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. Like my flesh had a million cuts in it, each one right through to the bone and then my body was dipped in a vat of iodine.

I was so desolate and my husband hadn't spoke to me in days. That's how I knew there was no God. Surely He wouldn't want a love between a husband and his wife strained because they didn't understand how the other mourned. And He sure as hell wouldn't want us to feel so utterly alone in our darkest hour.

With the back of my hand, I brushed away the inevitable tears that betrayed me. Emmett, too, pushed them away with a balled, angry fist. I wanted to reach for him, thread my fingers into the spaces between his, needing to find the connection we'd lost. I desperately wanted him to want to re-connect with me, reassure me that some how, we would make it through the nightmare together. In my heart of hearts, I wasn't sure that was true. There was only one thing I was sure of – a part of me died the day my daughter did. I was no longer whole.

My eyes focused on the coffin before me. A dark mahogany, polished to a shine. I'd painstakingly debated over which one should be her final resting place. Logically, I knew that inside it her body would rot, decay and deteriorate regardless of which casket I chose. That didn't stop me from buying the one that cost the most with the ivory silk liner and matching pillow that her little head would forever rest upon. Money didn't matter - then again, nothing did now.

Emmett told me it was morbid that I thought about her body wasting away to nothing; chastised me even. I called him callous because he didn't care of such things. He couldn't understand and I tried not to fault him but it was hard not to. His insensitivity angered me to the point where I could only look at him with contempt most of the time. Her death did that to us, made us turn against each other when, really, we should have gravitated to one another instead. I didn't know how to turn off the anger that brewed within me.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have faulted Emmett as much as I did for only a mother could truly understand my agony. I longed for my own mom, who I'd long since buried. Knowing that she was looking out for my daughter was only somewhat comforting. Really though, Emmett couldn't love our daughter like I had. A mother's love knows no bounds – even between this world and the next.

Although our daughter's name was a combination of ours, Emmalie wasn't a part of Emmett like she was of me. I'd carried her in my womb. Flesh of my flesh, isn't that what they say? I'd cherished her pokes and pushes before I knew her. I loved her with ferocity before my eyes had lay upon her sweet face. It was, after all, my blood that had cursed through her veins until it ran cold.

White roses, nestled amongst dried baby's breath, adorned the top of the smallest coffin you've ever seen. There were thirty roses – one for each day she had taken air into her lungs. A month. 43,200 minutes. How many of those minutes had I missed because I was exhausted and begging for sleep? How many had I cursed because she wouldn't stop crying? Hindsight also teaches you to appreciate the little things. Like tiny fingers grasping yours. They'd slipped away from mine before I could fathom what was happening.

If only I could hold her one more time, rub my nose against hers; savor the smell of her damp skin after a bath. Granted one more minute I would memorize the exact shade of blue her eyes were. My memory was fading but I knew they were more indigo than sapphire – more Emmett than me. Let me have another sixty seconds and I would never have put her down for her final sleep.

I tore my eyes from the casket and looked over at our friends. They were here out of respect and kindness; to show us their support. Except it almost hurt more to have them witness Emmett and I so broken and vulnerable. Our family unit was fragmented and not only because Emmalie was gone. The bond between husband and wife was fractured. Perhaps in the future I would come to appreciate our friend's solidarity in our time of need. Until then, I would simply try to hold it together. If I lost it now, it would only be that much harder for them.

Alice leaned against Jasper, his arm circling her waist. I was envious of the support they were giving each other when I felt so alone, though so many surrounded me. I couldn't even look at Emmett knowing he wasn't the rock I needed him to be. I don't know if I despised him but I certainly didn't like him very much. Even my love for him was questionable.

On my right, Bella's hands rested on her swollen belly. I couldn't begrudge her for the life that was growing within but it certainly pained my heart, added insult to injury. Bella's eyes flickered over to me briefly. They were watery pools, filled with a mixture of pity and sadness that made the whole situation all the more real. I was thankful when she looked away.

Beside her, Edward with his eyes cast forward, looked almost stoic, but I knew him better. He'd come to the house as a first responder but more so as our friend. Being a police officer, his profession is taught to curb your emotions at all time. That fateful morning, he wore his heart on his sleeve. The tears rolled down his cheeks when he knew nothing could be done. He waved off the coroner so that I could hold my daughter one last time.

Close to my breast I'd clutched her, hoping and praying that the beating of my heart would spur hers. It was futile - Emmett told me so - but I ignored him and held Emmalie tighter. God, I was so scared he was going to take her from me. I didn't think he knew how much I needed to have her close to me, except he must have understood because he sat with me. His strong arms wrapped around both of us - his girls as he called us, at least for that month. Together, the three of us rocked in tandem for countless minutes. It was the last time we'd been a family; the last time I'd felt Emmett's love.

Somehow, Edward convinced me to surrender Emmalie to him, his gentle words urging me to do so. By then, day had turned to night and he whispered it was time. His eyes were filled with tears as I entrusted my daughter to him, laying her gently in his arms. Edward wrapped her carefully in the fuzzy pink blanket I'd deemed her favorite and then she was gone. Ripped from my arms, my home; my life. But never from my heart. There she'd left a giant, gaping hole.

I'd sat at the kitchen table the remainder of that night, arms hugging myself because I had nothing else to hold. My heart missed her and my breasts wept - a cruel reminder that she was gone.

I hadn't smoked in I don't know how long but Emmett still did. I found one of his cigarettes and lit up. Pulling the toxins into my lungs burned. My chest felt constricted and tight yet made me feel alive, in some obscure way. Closing my eyes, I almost felt like I was floating away. I wanted to. Oh, God, how I wanted to.

Emmett sat down across from me and quietly asked what was I doing. Shrugging, I flicked the ash into my empty coffee cup and brought the poison back to my lips. I couldn't form words – not because I didn't know how but because I had no idea what I was doing or why.

In silence, my husband lit his own cigarette and soon, we'd worked our way through an entire pack. It made me feel ill. I barely made it to the kitchen sink before I emptied the contents of my stomach, which was only bile because I hadn't been able to eat. The sour taste in my mouth matched the feeling that was paralyzing my entire body.

Eventually, after Emmett went up to bed, I dragged myself up the stairs. I knew sleep would evade me so instead of going to our room, I found myself in Emmalie's. I plucked the receiving blankets out of her unoccupied crib and buried my nose in them, inhaling her fading scent. Crumbling to the floor, my head rested against the side of her crib. My fingers gripped the bars, grasping at anything she may have touched, hoping to feel her lingering spirit. It was pointless but I can't say I was thinking coherently.

That's when the tears first fell. I cried the type of tears that hurt emotionally as well as physically. It left my stomach retching and me gasping for breath. Though I was crying hard enough for Emmett to hear, my strangled sobs didn't summon him to me. That only served to make me cry more until there was nothing left inside me except pure exhaustion. I slept fitfully on the hard, cold floor of her room waking at random from my own choking sobs. I refused to go to my own bed, trying in vain to absorb any lasting essence of her.

A policeman - not Edward - returned the next morning, bringing with him a grief counselor. When he asked me how I was feeling, I told him to fuck off. Emmett roughly escorted him out and it was a glimpse of the man who'd always wanted to protect me. I should have thanked him but I didn't.

The cop started asking questions that I couldn't answer.

Who found her?

What position was she in?

Was CPR administered?

"When I found her she was on her back. No, I didn't do CPR."

As the policeman's pencil scratched the paper in his notebook I looked at Emmett, incredulously.

"What? Why didn't you perform CPR?"

"She was already gone." His voice was low and unapologetic.

"You don't know that! Maybe something could have been done! Why didn't you help her?"

The policeman looked around awkwardly as I screeched at my husband.

"She was gone, Rose."

"You don't know that," I argued.

"Yes, I do." His voice remained even though I was beyond irate. I wanted him to get angry, to show some fucking emotion because he was so void of anything. Emmett reached his hand out to me and I slapped it away. How dare he think he could touch me after he failed our daughter. Bastard!

"No! You're not a doctor. She needed her daddy, Emmett! You should have—"

"Stop! Just fucking stop! Her body was cold and rigid. Her lips were blue. She was already fucking dead, Rosalie." His words were spat back at me and stung like I'd been slapped in the face.

I shook my head, covering my face with my hands.

"No, no, no."

There was no way I could accept that. There had to have been something that could have been done. As parents, we'd failed her. I looked to the heavens cursing God for failing us. His response was a drop of rain landing square on my forehead. I shied away from Him, my head facing forward.

As the chaplain continued speaking, I watched as the rain splattered on Emmalie's casket. Each drop marred the shine more than the one before.

"In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God, Emmalie Elizabeth. We commit her body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless her and keep her, the Lord make his face to shine upon her and be gracious unto her and give her peace. Amen."

With his final words, the casket started to lower into the ground. I tried to keep it together so as not to lose face in front of my family and friends. But with each passing second, Emmalie was becoming more and more unattainable. This nightmare was real. My daughter was dead and she wasn't coming home with me.

Children are not supposed to die. Parents are supposed to watch their babies grow and mature. Parents die first, leaving their children behind. That was the natural course of life, not this. The unimaginable pain gripping me was not fair. It felt so wrong to be separated from Emmalie. Ultimately, it was my future being lowered into the ground.

Fuck keeping it together. How could I? That was my baby in that coffin. I was simply a mother who'd lost the most integral part of myself. Throwing my body at her casket, I clawed at the device that was taking her away from me in a desperate attempt to stop it.

"No! No! No! No! No! No!" I screamed over and over again until my voice was hoarse and I had nothing left. There was nothing left in me. Nothing left of me.

Emmett knelt down in the wet grass at my side, wrapping his arms tight around me. With his stubble against my cheek, I felt his tears mix with mine. Thankfully, he said nothing, knowing the pain strangling me couldn't be quelled by mere words.

There's no recollection of leaving Emmalie and going home. The next seven days straight I spent in bed. Emmett came and went but even when he was with me, he wasn't there.

I awoke at four o'clock one morning clutching my hands to my chest trying to stop the pounding of my heart. I'd dreamt of Emmalie, as I'd done every other night since she died. Except when I looked down, her face simply wasn't there. Squinting my eyes, I strained to make out her features but they were blurred and obscured. She was slowly slipping away from me. I couldn't even remember the sound of her cry any more. My heart hurt so much and I felt so utterly alone.

Emmett was fast asleep, his disheveled head on his pillow facing me. I stared at him not knowing who he was anymore. My memory couldn't tell me the last time we'd even touched – accidental or otherwise. I longed for that. Reaching over, I drew my hand down the side of my husband's face. The stubble was a full on beard now; his face gaunt under the weight of it and it felt rough against my skin. Even in the dim lighting I could see the pain etched into the lines of his forehead. Could he be hurting as much as me?

In the week since our daughter's death, he'd changed so much. Not just physically but otherwise, too. He was withdrawn and distanced himself from me in every sense of the word. Presumably I had changed too. Hell, I didn't even recognize myself in the mirror these days with my sunken cheeks, sallow complexion and vacant eyes. My hair was thinning, falling out in clumps under the stress. Inside, I felt as disheveled as I looked. I wondered if my husband looked at me with the confusion I felt.

And then one day, Emmett got out of bed. He showered, shaved off his facial hair and dressed in a suit and tie. He floored me when he announced he was going back to work. Just like that, like life was normal. I struggled to do even menial tasks such as brushing my teeth and getting dressed. Eating was a huge chore so I didn't bother. My weight plummeted more than fifteen pounds. My clothes hung off me but still I didn't care. There was no way I could go back to work but Emmett managed to do it and I even saw him sort of smile one day as he stepped out of his car and wave at our neighbor. I felt betrayed by that smile. What was there to smile about? Our daughter was dead; nothing else mattered.

Months of me not living finally came to a head. Emmett came home and found me sitting in the glider in Emmalie's room, one of her blankets pressed to my nose as I often did. Her scent was gone but I was desperate to hold onto a piece of her, no matter how small.

"Rose, you can't keep doing this."

"Doing what?" I didn't see anything wrong with what I was doing.

"This! You have to stop; you need to move on."

I scoffed at his words. It wasn't easy to 'move on'. How could he even say that?

"This isn't healthy. I think maybe you need to see someone."

"Yeah, I need to see my daughter."

Emmett came and knelt down in front of me, placing his hands on my thighs. He sighed heavily as he looked up at me. There in his eyes, I could see my baby girl. I placed my hand against his cheek, staring deep into the blueness, wanting to find Emmalie there.

"She's gone, Rosalie. Emmalie is gone. She's not coming back." Although his words were spoken softly, they cut right through me. I pulled my hand away from his cheek like it was on fire. I stared at him incredulously as I spat my own words back at him.

"You don't think I know she's gone? Of course I do! My arms are empty; my heart bleeds. I feel like I have nothing to live for."

"Live for me. For us." Emmett was pleading as the tears spilled unabashed from his eyes.

"Live for you? I don't even know who you are any more."

"I'm Emmett, your husband. Remember me? I'm the one you loved enough to make Emmalie with in the first place."

"But you didn't love her enough to try to save her."

I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth but not enough to reach out to the wounded man in front of me. Emmett staggered to his feet with a look on his face that took me a moment to decipher. Yes, he was angry but it was more than that – I'd hurt him to his core.

"Fuck you, Rose. That's not fair. You didn't find her. She was already dead. I knew it as soon as I walked into her room. This room. It reeked of her death. I can't even tell you in words what that smells like but it's something I will never, ever forget. And then I saw her lying there, so unnaturally still. I picked her up and she was stiff and so fucking cold. Every day since that morning I've thanked God it wasn't you who found her because you wouldn't be able to get over the images that are forever burned into my head."

Emmett had been so animated while talking but then he turned away from me as he went to the window and stared out. When he spoke again, his voice was back to a more even tone.

"Do you know what I did before I came and told you?"

He wasn't looking at me but I shook my head no anyway. I didn't care to know any of the details. What I did know was painful enough - that he'd found her and hadn't done CPR.

"I didn't want you to see her like that; smell death on her skin. I talked quietly to her while I got the water ready for her bath – not too hot, not too cold. I washed her hair and her tiny little fingers and toes. I wrapped her in a hooded bath towel and meticulously dried her off just like you showed me. I laid her down on the change table, put a new diaper on her and chose a clean sleeper. Then I smoothed down her hair with my hand – remember how it stuck up after a bath all the time?"

I frowned because I'd already forgotten that detail about her. He turned around to face me then as he continued.

"I sat right where you are with Emmalie nestled in my arms and rocked her back and forth. My tears fell on her and I had to change her sleeper a second time. I probably stayed like that for an hour before I got the guts to tell you she was gone. So, don't you fucking dare sit there and tell me I didn't try to save her. She was already gone so I did what I thought was best and tried to save you."

With an angry hand, he wiped away at the tears that stained his face. I knew then that the man in front of me was as broken as I felt. My heart felt even more crushed because of it. I went to him, pressing my body to his, my tears wetting his shirt. My arms slid around his waist but he didn't hug me back. After a few minutes, he told me he had to go and turned and tried to walk out on me.

"Emmett, don't go. I need you." My words were choked as I whispered them into the air. His footsteps stopped.

"Why do you need me?"

"Because you're my only connection to her."

He shook his head as he turned around. "No. You have to want me for what I can give you, not for what I can't."

"I don't know how to do this. Us, I mean, without her. I feel so lost."

Emmett closed the gap between us and held up his hands, palms out. I mirrored him, placing palm to palm, and then he laced his fingers with mine.

"One day at a time. We'll find our way together."

I tried, we both did. I started getting up and showering each day – more for Emmett than for me. I didn't always eat three meals a day but I started with breakfast and went from there. I quit my job and went to work at another accounting firm that didn't know my story.

Eventually, with Edward's help, we emptied Emmalie's room and the door stayed closed from then on. As if closing her door we closed that chapter in our lives. Her name was not spoken in our home – ever. We each grieved in our own way. I chose to visit her grave often, leaving her candles, trinkets and fresh tears. And I always went alone. Emmett said he didn't want to remember her that way and stayed away. To each his own, he said. I tried not to hate him for that.

The every day motions were somewhat easier to get through. Emmett and I were together, if you can call it that. Although we never spoke of it, we were trying to get pregnant again. More accurately, we didn't discuss it but I 'scheduled' sex at the right time, unbeknownst to Emmett. I hoped it made him think that I was trying for some normalcy when all I really longed for was another baby to love.

The months of trying turned into another year but we kept the charade up. During the day, work kept us both busy and our nights were often spent in silence. Truthfully, it felt like we were roommates more than a married couple but it was comforting for me to have him near. It was the connection I had to Emmalie that I so needed – although I never admitted that to him.

Then one day I arrived home from work and Emmett was sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of scotch in hand, somber look on his face. I sat down across from him and waited for the inevitable.

"This isn't working, Rose."

"What do you mean? I thought we were doing good? We don't fight, we don't—"

"We don't do much of anything."

"That's not true, Emmett. We went out for dinner the other night."

"Because it was Edward's birthday."

"And we made love just the other day."

"Only because you're ovulating."

I raised an eyebrow at him. Had he known what I'd been doing all along?

"Yes, I know. But call it what it is, Rosalie. We have sex."

"It's not just sex, we make love sometimes."

Emmett snorted. "That's not what that is. It's not even fucking. It's you trying to make another Emmalie."

"That's not fair. You're doing it, too."

He shrugged. "I guess, yeah, I'm guilty of that. I only ever wanted to make you happy but I don't know if that'll ever happen."

Sadly, I had a feeling he was right.

"This isn't a relationship, Rose. We've been fooling ourselves for years. Don't you want to be happy? Because I do and I think I could be. But not like this; not with you. I don't know. I think…shit. This, us, it's just not working." He pulled his hands through his hair.

"What are you saying?"

"I think I want a chance to be happy again."

He didn't have to say the words - I knew he was asking for a divorce. My world, already on shaky terrain, disintegrated. Yet I could grasp what he was saying. And sadly, it made sense to me. Who wouldn't want to be happy? Living in darkness all the time felt like hell.

Jealousy burned in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to be happy, dammit, to feel alive again but a part of me – the biggest part - died with Emmalie.

I wanted to hate Emmett because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was going to find a way to be happy again. But I'd loved him once and in a way, I still did; always would. If I couldn't be happy I at least wished for him to be. I knew I had to let him go.

Lifting my head, I looked at him. His eyes were red and brimming with tears. I nodded my head, silently releasing him from this life of sadness.

It was then that those tears spilled down his face, one after another after countless more. Our hands stretched across the table, fingertips touching and then he threaded his fingers with mine, holding on tight like he was unsure of himself now, like maybe he didn't want to let me go.

I commanded myself not to cry, not wanting pity to keep him with me. Very calmly I asked him the question that I would later regret.

"What do we do now?"

After hours of talking, Emmett led me by the hand up to our room. And in the very bed Emmalie was conceived, we made love for the last time. We reconnected, said our 'I love you's' and forgave each other for all our wrongdoings – intended and not. It was bittersweet. If only we'd done it sooner maybe our love would have survived. Maybe we would have survived even though Emmalie hadn't.

Afterwards, we cuddled in the darkness, limbs intertwined, one of his hands resting on my waist, his thumb gently rubbing. I relished the feeling of love, wishing I could equate it to happiness.

Eventually, exhaustion overcame me and I slept peacefully for the first time since I don't know when in the safely of his arms.

Emmett moved out the following weekend. As part of our divorce settlement, he let me stay in the house knowing it was my only connection to Emmalie. The house felt cold without him there but I was okay. I wasn't whole but I didn't break.

Two years later, he got remarried. I was happy for him. Honestly, I was. Then his wife got pregnant and she gave birth to a little girl.

I reverted back to staying in bed for days on end. I lost my job; I didn't care. If Emmett hadn't been paying the mortgage and, I assumed, the utilities, I would have lost my house as well. It was nice to know that on some level, he still cared for me.

My reality though was stark - there was nothing left in life for me. I'd lost the two things that had ever mattered to me: Emmett and Emmalie. Both were completely unattainable now. Perhaps I thought one day, maybe, Emmett would change his mind and come back to me. When his little girl was born, I knew for certain he wouldn't and I didn't want him to leave his daughter for me.

It was then that I sunk deeper into depression that I ever had before. My mind was tortured with things I ought to have done and ways I could have been better - a better mom, a better wife; a better person.

Everything felt hopeless. My life was meaningless and simply put, I was numb. Drowning in my own disparage.

There were no colors in my world only varying shades of black and grey. The despair weighed so heavily on my chest that breathing was laborious. Each breath was pulled into my lungs with great difficulty, like I was sucking up polluted air through a straw.

The good news was that I was no longer angry with God for taking Emmalie. I was beyond angry and simply didn't have the energy to be mad any more.

That's a scary place to find yourself in – when there's no fight left.

I drove to the cemetery calling Emmett on the way thanking him for the love we'd once shared and begged him to love his daughter enough for both of us. The cell phone slipped from my hand, landing on the foot well of the car. I left the keys in the ignition and the driver's door open as I staggered over to Emmalie's grave. The pills I'd taken were already making me feel lightheaded.

That wasn't enough - I wanted to feel free.

I curled up in the grass over where her body lay many feet below in the tiniest casket I'd ever seen. Looking up at the heavens before my eyes fluttered closed was the angel. Her wings still spread wide, still motionless but I thought I saw pity in her eyes.

And then I waited for the darkness to take me to my daughter. The air turned colder as my eyes became heavier. Nothing happened. There was no wind or rain; no birds chirping. The world outside felt like inside my head – void of anything and everything.

A few minutes later, behind my closed lids, I noted flashes of color and between the strobes of color was my daughter's face. She was more beautiful than I remembered, angelic even. I reached out my hand wanting to touch her perfect, porcelain face. Instead I caught her hand, tiny fingers grasped onto mine. She was pulling me to her with such a force I couldn't resist. I didn't want to.

And then there was a voice – Emmett's perhaps – yelling for me to wake up. Hands gripped my shoulders, shaking me, hard. Much too hard, I was scared I was going to lose Emmalie again so I held on tighter to nothing and everything. The voice was pulling me to the surface and I was close enough to realize that, yes, it was Emmett. He was begging and pleading for me to come back to him. His tears fell upon my face like raindrops.

It was all a lie, he didn't need me any more - he had a new family. No, he didn't need me, my daughter did. Emmalie started to cry, the sound permeated my soul and I felt her slipping away from me again. I couldn't let her go. I wouldn't, not again.

I physically clawed my way away from this earth toward the flashes of color, desperate to be with my daughter, except she wasn't there any more. The kaleidoscope of color was being replaced by the greyest of greys again. I heard Emmalie whimpering somewhere in the grey matter but I had no stamina left to get to her.

I gave in to Emmett, succumbing to my demise of life on earth without her. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

People dealing with grief and depression have the ability to hide it from their friends. Alice and Bella were in her life but she masked her pain well. Her friends didn't abandon her, they just didn't know they were supposed to save her.

One final note: this fandom has brought so many amazing people into my life. GothicTemptress. Lolo84. Capricorn75. Believe It Or Not. Thimbles. So many more. Thank you for your encouraging words along the way. Thank you for inspiring me.