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The chorus brought me back to Earth, a bit. Tears pricked in my eyes.

Don't cry. Don't do it! Not here!

I swallowed again.

When the song ended and the video faded to black, the words "Stay Strong, Bella" popped up. I jumped from my chair, startling everyone, and walked quickly out of the room, pushing the double doors out of my way.


I walked straight to my room, closed the door, and slid all the way down to the floor.

My breaths felt shaky, unsteady, jittery, weak. I shakily reached into my pocket for my inhaler and took in two puffs of air. I exhaled slowly and brushed away my tears.

I felt the door shake open behind me, and I pushed back, then a knock.

"Bella?" Bryce's voice called sternly, "I know you're in there. Can you come on out, please?"

I stayed quiet.

She sighed. "Bella, please. You've been here a month and you still haven't progressed."

"How do you know that? How do you know anything?! You don't know what I've been through!" I shouted.

"No, I don't. But I'd like to help. I want to help. You just have to let me in. The administration know what had happened to you, but I want you to tell me." Her voice settled down to a whisper. "And I liked what your boyfriend did for you. It sounds like he, and the rest of your family, and fans, are rooting for you. But you have to root for yourself, too."

My fans?

I slowly got up from the floor and cracked the door open.

"My fans? I still have fans?" I whispered.

Bryce smiled a bit, and took out her IPhone. She tapped a few buttons, and showed me the screen. There, on Twitter, were users using the hashtag 'PrimersAreHereForBella'. I scrolled through the different messages, ranging from just using the hashtag, and long twitlongers. I saw Edward's tweet on top:

Hey, Primers,

Bella is going to need all of us to support her while she's away. I miss her, and I know you do, too. I don't know what exact procedures are for recovery, but I know she'll be back stronger than ever.


I smiled back my tears and scrolled through more messages from fans, friends, our bandmates, and other fanbases and celebrities. Facebook showed the same results, as well as Tumblr and Google.

I looked up at Bryce, and now Bree, who stood tentatively next to her.

"Maybe, if it'll help, if I could share my story?" Bree asked.

"Bree, you don't have to."

"No, I want to, so it'll give you a chance to share yours."

I walked over and gave her a hug.


When Bree and I arrived at our group session, the next day, some people were staring at me. Intrigued eyes passed by me as I sat down next to Bree.

When Bryce gathered us altogether, Bree spoke up to tell her story.

"When I was 12, my father sexually molested me. When I told my mom, she didn't believe me, until it was her turn to get hurt. We tried to run away together, to save ourselves, but my father caught up with us. Then, he—"

Her eyes filled up with tears, and I took her hand. She gasped and looked at me, and looked back down.

"—he had a gun with him, and used it to beat my mom up. After that, he shot me in the shoulder and ran off. I stayed with my mom until the cops came, but it was too late, she was already dead."

She sniffled, and I squeezed her hand. She squeezed back.

"And what happened to your dad?" we looked up at a young boy sitting across from us, "Did he get caught?"

Bree said, "Yeah, he got sentenced to 20 years in prison for manslaughter."

The young boy nodded grimly.

"You know what the worst part of it was? When I got back to school, everyone treated me like I deserved it. Like, he should have beaten on me just because of the way I dressed. And after a while, I started to believe it," Bree spat, wiping away more tears angrily.

"No, you didn't." I spoke up, and everyone looked at me. I swallowed back my fear and continued, "You didn't deserve that. What your dad did to you was the worst thing a man can do to a woman. But that was his fault, not yours."

The more I listened to my own words, the more they made sense in my own mind, and within my own issues dealing with Jake.

Jake's deluded decision to attempt to rape me wasn't my fault. It wasn't my burden to hold anymore. It wasn't my mind that was twisted and warped with sex. It was his.

"And what about you, Bella?" Robbie, another young boy with curly, brown hair and an Irish accent, asked me.

I sighed. "Well, you know I'm in a band back home, right, Duo of the Prime?" they all nodded. "Well, I had won a contest at my high school that made me Edward Cullen's new partner. After we'd graduated high school, we began to work on our first album. Edward, planned an album release party with his family. It was going good, we invited all our friends from school, and a few media outlets were there. The party went well, I danced a lot, but when I...felt a pinch beneath my um..." My face boiled like a burning, hot volcano as I looked down.

Bree squeezed my hand as Bryce said, "It's ok, and we understand that he touched you in a way you didn't want to be touched."

A boy who, strangely looked like Edward, snickered.

"Riley? Do you want to add?"

He sat up, "Well, yeah, he pinched her butt. Who wouldn't want that?" he grinned stupidly.

"Someone who thought could talk him out of leaving, but ended up with his hot, sweaty, disgusting body on top! Someone who thought was stronger than him, but wasn't!" I shouted.

Riley slouched back in his seat.

"Ok, ok, Bella, calm down." Bryce coerced me.

I took a few breaths in.

"So, wait, did he—?"

I shook my head. "No, Edward came to rescue me as soon as he opened the door. Thank God he was there, or else...I kept feeling his body on me, even months afterward. But, being stubborn, I wanted to finish our next album instead of taking care of myself. God, I was so stupid!" I cried, putting my head in my hands.

"You're not stupid, Bella. Rape victims deal with trauma differently, and your way of pushing it away was how you chose to cope with it. There's no right answer to deal with something like this," Bryce said.

I slowly raised my head up and rolled up the sleeves of my long-sleeved tee shirt. "Edward saw me hurt myself, and he and I got into this fight. I'm just glad he forgave me," I said.

"Bella..." Bryce trailed off at my scarred wrists.

"I haven't done it since I've been here, but I sometimes get these tendencies. But I realized, that I want more out of my life other than just pain. I want to live, play with my band, actually be with my boyfriend and my family. I just want to be ok, again." I confessed.

Bree took my hand gently. "And you will."

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