I was sitting in the waiting room of my therapist. I was nervous. Olivia and I were going to talk about my past. Up until this point, we’d talked about my job, my blooming relationship with Edward and my time in college. But, Olivia wanted to talk about my abuse and how I could, possibly, get over it. Edward was nothing but patient, holding my hand as I tried to keep my emotions at bay. He was also sweet, tender and never pushed me in the physical aspect of our relationship.
I was grateful for that, but I was terrified of taking it to the next level. I was terrified of saying that I loved him. Anyone who loved me and I loved in return, they hurt me or abandoned me. I couldn’t open my heart that way and have Edward leave me. He was the only one to show me true kindness.
“Pretty Bella,” Edward cooed, picking up my hand and kissing my wrist. “I can feel your fear, your anxiety. You don’t have to say anything if you’re not comfortable.”
“I have to. I’ve been in denial for years and it’s not healthy,” I whispered. “I’ve built this wall around me and you’re, kind of, tearing down the bricks, but I’m terrified to make it fall completely. What if something happens and I’m totally broken.”
“It won’t happen. I promise, Bella,” Edward whispered, tracing his fingers down my cheek. I felt butterflies in my belly, leaning my cheek against his shoulder. He kissed my forehead. I stayed like that until Olivia guided me into her office. Edward was anxious me being away from him, but he was respectful of my privacy.
“I know that you’re anxious about this appointment, Bella. You have no reason to be,” Olivia said.
“You’re going to hear how I’m ruined,” I frowned.
“First off, you need to stop thinking that way,” Olivia chided. “You’re not ruined.”
“I was raped for the first time at the age of fourteen and it didn’t stop until almost ten years later,” I snapped. “My foster fathers and foster brothers, they used sex to control me. My ex-boyfriend, who I thought cared about me, was too impatient and he … because of him, I can’t have children. He was cruel, brutal in his attacks. On top of that, he stole money from me and he’s working in the building as a custodian.”
“Did you press charges?” Olivia asked. “He should be behind bars.”
“When he stole from me, he disappeared,” I shrugged. “And he was close friends with the police chief. He said that they wouldn’t believe me.”
“And you believed him?” Olivia frowned.
“I don’t need to be lectured about my stupidity,” I growled. “I was grateful he was gone and I prayed I’d never see him again, but I was wrong.”
“What does he do? Where is he working?” Olivia asked. “I’m sorry about making you feel uncomfortable.”
“He’s the head custodian at Jefferson Elementary School,” I grumbled. “I’ve told my principal, but she said that his background check came back clean. She was also adamant that I don’t provoke him. She won’t fire him.”