Chapter Thirteen

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"You look happier. Have things been going well for you?" Dr Brans asked, inquisitively her hands folded neatly on top of her notepad as she looked directly into my eyes, as if she was trying to tear the answer out of them.

I frowned, not sure how to answer her question.

I'd been going to school for a month now, and to be honest I had been expecting it to be worse. Sure I still heard the rumours, people still either avoided me like the plague or tormented me, just like I remembered before I had dropped out.

But the one thing I hadn't anticipated was Conner.

I still wasn't sure what to make of him. He was a puzzle to me. Since the day in the park, he'd managed a couple of times to convince *cough* coerce *cough* into spending time outside of school with him.

And each time I had ended up having fun, despite the protest I put in beforehand.

"How is school going? Have you made any friends?" She asked, when I didn't answer her previous question.

I hesitated a second before nodding my head.

Friend was still a hard word to associate to Conner. But that was exactly what he was. He was my only friend.

"That's great, Charlotte!" She exclaimed, with an almost offensive amount of surprise injected into her voice.

Good to know she fully expected me to be a friendless loser.

Then again could I blame her? I only had one friend, and he was Conner. I wasn't exactly overcrowded by people wanting to get to know this new me. On the other hand I had a long list of people I would consider to be enemies, including Terra, Gabriella, Bert, Kevin, and Leon.

"What about your lessons?" She asked brightly. "Are they going well?"

I grimaced. I wasn't stupid. I was fully able to catch up on the work, only it was hard because I couldn't simply ask my teachers if something confused me, and if I managed to find a way of letting them know I was struggling with a particular topic I could feel the waves of sympathy rolling off of them in my direction.

On the up side I was getting better at writing.

I felt less dizzy as the words flowed from pen to paper.

It was an accomplishment I felt proud of, until I remembered that there were five year olds out there who were probably surpassing me on the writing front.

"How about things at home?" Dr Brans continued.

This time I visibly shuddered and shook my head.

My mother had only grown more and more incessant in her attempts at trying to mould me back into the girl I used to be. Occasionally she would full out ignore me when I tried getting her attention, and I knew that it was her way of telling me 'if you want my attention, say my name'.

Which had gotten us nowhere.

I still couldn't talk anymore than I could before.

"Things are still difficult for you." She said sympathetically. "Your mother is still finding her own way of dealing with this new situation."
The new situation meaning me and the fact I was mute.

"Do you feel like working on your talking today?" The reoccurring question appeared, making me wince.

I felt my stomach turn over as I thought about it. There were times over the last month where I had wished I could talk. Times where words were hanging on the tip of my tongue, begging to be let free – mostly around Conner, but that probably had to do with the fact he was the only one to speak to me.

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