Chapter Twenty-Three

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The group sessions came to an end much too quickly—which was a surprising thought considering how much I didn't want to go in the first place. Now that they'd finished, I felt even more lost than before. I'd found a weird comfort within it, and now that was gone. Ever since I'd allowed myself to truly open up with Devon, it had become a real source of relief for me, so it was odd to know that I'd no longer have that.

I wanted to go home, I really did, but I was afraid. Once I was back there, I had to face up to real life, and I wasn't quite ready for the responsibility that held. Mum wasn't exactly encouraging me to leave either—it was almost as if she wanted to keep an eye on me, to check that I was behaving in the way that she felt was appropriate.

Our relationship was tense now, and it didn't feel like it would ever go back to the way it was, which was a shame. Carter, Phil and Jack didn't speak to me much either—it was almost as if I'd become the sick girl once more, the one that no one knew how to act around. I hoped that I would be able to repair that one day, but I could tell that it would take some time. It certainly wasn't going to be an instant, easy solution at any rate.

There were so many things I knew I should be doing, but it all felt like bricks piling heavily on my shoulders. I couldn't even see out of the rubble, never mind work my way through it. I hated being so useless, so pathetic, but I just couldn't get started. It was painful. After all I'd learned in group therapy, I should be in a position to get going, yet somehow I didn't feel quite there.

I wasn't drinking though—that was one thing. Devon's words had worked in that respect. He was right, now that I'd decided that I didn't want to anymore, actually doing it wasn't too difficult. Of course, I wasn't an addict which helped—I knew it must be much more difficult for those who needed medical intervention—yet I felt proud of myself all the same. It still felt like something I should be happy about.

I found myself spending way too much time simply lying on my mum's sofa, just wishing that I could get the motivation to get myself started. I felt so exhausted with all that needed to happen that I could hardly move.

It was that which eventually sparked a long overdue conversation with my mother.

"Lara." She said one evening after everyone else had gone to bed. "We need to talk." I nodded distractedly, half-watching whatever was on the television, paying little mind to her words. "It's about your father."

As soon as she said that, I swung my legs to the ground and switched the screen off. We never spoke about my father, he was a taboo subject. I barely knew him. In fact, I couldn't remember him at all; I didn't even know what he looked like. He'd left us when I was about two-years-old, and that had sent my mum into a spiral of sadness for a while.

She'd picked herself up quick enough for my sake, and even more so when Carter had come into the picture, but on the odd occasion that I'd mentioned it since then, it had brought about such a melancholy mood, that I felt it best never to say anything about him again.

"Mum?" I asked. Why now? What had changed?

"It's just...the way that you're behaving at the moment, it reminds me of him." I could tell that there was a thick ball of emotion in her throat, threatening to choke her as she spoke, and that made me well up too. "He was depressed. Seriously depressed, which is why he left us."

I gasped loudly. I hadn't known that. He was depressed...what did that mean for me?

"He sunk low like you, all the time, and he refused medical assistance." The same as me too. "And he ended up running out, losing his mind."

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