28 - Reunited: Day Twelve

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 "How was your appointment?" Emma asked with a smile as she led Melanie to the elevator following her appointment with Lucy. "Is talking with Lucy helping at all?" Melanie shrugged and leaned back against the wall of the elevator, not making eye contact with Emma. Emma bit her lip and tried to think of something that might get Melanie talking. "What would you like to do now?" she asked finally. Melanie shrugged once more and sighed. Emma's smiled faded and she let go of Melanie's hand. "Do you want to go hang out with the girls for a bit?" she asked, receiving a disinterested nod from Melanie.

Emma fought back tears as she stepped out of the elevator and held the door for Melanie before leading her toward one of the penthouse suite. Geri, Mel, Victoria, AJ, and Nick were all in the suite playing video games and looking through magazines.

"Hey, Melanie," said Victoria, looking up from her magazine as the two girls walked into the room. "How did it go?" Melanie shrugged and looked curiously at the colourful characters on the TV screen.

"Do you want to try?" Nick asked, holding up his game controller. Melanie tensed and looked at Nick fearfully. "You don't have to," he said, realizing he'd scared her.

"Why don't you come have a bit of a snack?" Geri suggested. "You didn't eat much of your brekkie this morning. You must be hungry?" She pulled out a chair at the table and motioned for Melanie to sit before opening the cupboard to find something for Melanie to eat.

"She's never been big on sweets, Geri," said Victoria, as Geri retrieved a box of biscuits from the cupboard and opened the tabs. "There are some crisps in the next cupboard. Give that a try."

Melanie sat next to Victoria and stared at the table as Mel got up and followed Emma down the hall. Victoria and Geri looked at each other as they heard Emma start to cry.

"Here you go, sweetheart," said Geri, handing a small bag of crisps to Melanie. "Try these. You used to like this kind." Melanie examined the unopened bag of crisps for a moment, then looked toward the hallway where Emma and Mel had disappeared.

"She's ok," said Victoria, with a sad smile. She gently placed her hand on Melanie's back, trying to ignore Melanie's muscles tensing at her touch. "She just needs a minute."

"What happened?" Mel asked, hugging Emma tightly as she broke down.

"I miss her so much," Emma sobbed. "We're so lucky to have even gotten her back and all I keep thinking is that she's not really here. I just want to have her back the way she was... I'm so horrible." She clung to Mel and sobbed harder.

"No, you're not," said Mel, softly. "We all want her back. It's just going to take time, Em."

"Those assholes broke her. She doesn't want to have anything to do with us," Emma cried. "What if she's like this forever?"

Mel let Emma cry for a moment, trying to think of some way to make her feel better, but she knew Emma was right. Deep down, all of them were afraid they would never get the Melanie they all knew back again.

"There are a few things she does that are the same as before," Mel stated suddenly. "She still wants to perform. You can see it when she watches us singing on the telly. I caught her yesterday trying to dance along with Stop and she was mouthing the words. Melanie always was a bit quiet. She's just being a bit shy right now."

Emma shook her head and pulled out of Mel's embrace. "I want to go lay down for a bit," she squeaked. Mel nodded and watched as Emma walked down the hall and into one of the bedrooms within the suite. She sighed and walked back to the kitchen where Melanie and Geri were sitting at the table. The two boys were still playing their video game and Victoria had gone out on one of the balconies to call David on her mobile.

"Everything all right?" Geri asked. Mel shrugged and looked over at Melanie, who slowly opened her bag of crisps and looked at the contents inside with disinterest. She set the bag on the table and looked over at the boys while Geri and Mel took a moment to step onto the balcony to talk.

Melanie looked back at the girls, realizing they weren't paying attention to her anymore. As quietly as she could, she pushed her chair away from the table and stood up before making her way toward the hallway where Emma had gone. She glanced back to make sure no one had noticed her and she slowly approached the bedroom where she could hear Emma crying softly.

She slowly pushed the door open and peeked inside, seeing Emma curled up on the bed with her back to the door. She was clutching one of the pillows and sobbing quietly. Melanie looked at her curiously, then glanced back at the sitting room to make sure no one was following her. She inhaled deeply, mentally preparing herself before walking into the room and over to the bed. She was shaking and she looked around worriedly for anyone else that might be in the room. She slowly walked around the bed and sat on the edge, gently placing her hand on Emma's arm.

"Melanie?" Emma choked, looking confused as she slid her legs over the side of the bed and sat upright. Melanie looked at Emma and wrapped her arms around her, hugging her close. Emma sobbed and tightly returned Melanie's embrace, breaking down once more. Melanie stiffened, but gently rubbed Emma's back in an attempt to make her feel better.

Out on the balcony, Geri and Mel turned to check on Melanie and immediately rushed back into the kitchen when they realized she was no longer at the kitchen table.

"Where did Melanie go?" Geri asked, looking over at the boys with horror.

The boys frowned and looked back at the empty table. They set their controllers down and shot off of the couch to help find Melanie.

"We would have heard the door if she'd gone out," said Nick. "Maybe she went to the washroom?" He and AJ checked the two empty bedrooms and Geri checked the washroom as Mel peeked in on Emma. She quickly motioned for the other three to be quiet as she waved them over to the door.

"I knew our Melanie was still in there somewhere," said Mel with a grin as they all looked in at Melanie holding Emma and attempting to comfort her.

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