Chapter Twenty-One

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When the morning came around, I felt like I could die. My head was thumping, my body hurt, and nausea flooded through me. I wanted the pain to subside, and I knew the only way I was going to do that was by vomiting. But I didn't want to move.

Of course I had to; I wasn't getting any choice with that one. If I didn't, I'd end up puking in the bed where I wanted to lay and that would force me to wake up, which I wasn't ready for either.

As I staggered to the bathroom, wishing more than ever I could be at my own home where I could suffer this in peace, I bumped into the person that I wanted to see least in the world.

"Not now, mum." I croaked, seeing the horrified look on her face at the state of me. "I'm ill."

"I'm not surprised." He face flushed pink and her entire body tensed up, showing me just how angry she was about my behaviour the previous night. I wanted to cringe, to yell some more, but somehow I was back to being the teenage girl getting shouted at by her mum and just quietly allowing it to happen.

Not that it happened too much when I was the right age. Illness had taken that away from me too. But that didn't make now a good time for my rebellious years, not one bit!

"We have a lot to discuss young lady, and I expect you down stairs in the dining room, as soon as you feel better." She sounded cold, as if she had to get this sentence out in the calmest way possible.

"Yeah." I replied sullenly, feeling myself pout. "Alright."

And then I headed into the bathroom to hug the toilet for as long as I needed to.

I didn't meet her downstairs for hours. I puked for a while, then headed back to bed until I felt ready to face them. I knew that I'd never be fully ready to deal with what was to come, but I also knew that I couldn't hide away forever. If I wanted to leave here, to get back to my life, then I might as well get this over and done with.

As I reached the dining table, mum and Carter were already there, as if they'd been waiting for me for all that time. I slunk into my seat, already regretting my decision to come down the stairs. I should have given it a few more hours, to give me the chance to feel less fragile. I flicked my eyes between them both, wishing that this was already over, wishing that I was still being hugged by the gorgeously thick duvet they had on their bed.

"Lara." My mum started, seriously, as if she'd rehearsed what was about to come. "I don't know who you are anymore, and that worries me. What we saw last night was quite frankly, terrifying."

"Mum..." I started, shaking my head. I didn't need this! I was fine...or at least I would be once I'd figured myself out a bit.

"No, let me speak." She shut me down quickly. "Now, I know that you've been through a difficult time, but you need to recover from that. You need to get some focus, so aim, you need to do something."

Carter jumped in, even though I was mentally praying for him not to. "The behaviour I witnessed in the bar was extremely troubling, and because of that we want you to stay here for a while; your mother wants to keep an eye on you."

"No." I wouldn't do that. There was just no way...

"I'm not giving you the option." Mum jumped in, using a tone that I'd never heard before. One that meant business. "It's that or rehab."

The threat of another hospital environment shut me up quickly. She was deadly serious—there was no way that she would have mentioned it otherwise. She was the only person who knew how much I didn't like medical facilities of any kind.

"And I want you to do some sort of therapy." She continued, sending panic coursing wildly through me. I'd spent such a long time trying to avoid talking through my problems with a professional, that the idea now filled me with an undue sense of utter terror.

How the hell was I going to get out of this one?

"I don't know if that's..."

"It is a good idea, Lara." She finished firmly. "I should have done it right away, but I was blind to how bad things were."

"I'm alright really," I argued weakly, but it got me nowhere.

"Lara, if you don't let us help you then I'm afraid we are going to have to take more drastic action. I don't want..." She clamped her lips together tightly as an unreadable expression crossed her face. As tears filled her eyes, a guilty feeling built up inside of me, taking over everything else. It got to the point where I felt so awful, I would have agreed to just about anything she suggested. "I just don't want anything bad to happen to you."

I nodded slowly, already regretting agreeing to this. This would be a mistake, I just knew it, but I didn't see what choice I had. "Okay mum," I finally replied with sadness lacing my tone. "I'll do it. Whatever you need me to do, I'll do it."

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