46 - Reunited: Day Sixty-Two

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Melanie was trembling uncontrollably as she sat silently next to Simon in the small waiting room of the courthouse. She hadn't spoken a word, eaten, or slept since her breakdown during Officer Shaw and Lucy's visit. She was too terrified to let her guard down. The girls tried everything they could to make her feel better, but she had shut them out. For the two days following Officer Shaw and Lucy's visit, Melanie had alternated between attempting to run away and fighting against her friends or sinking into a state of hopelessness and fear.

The girls had gone to a separate room to do a quick press statement, informing the reporters of Melanie's condition and the judge's decision to bring her in regardless of Lucy's diagnosis of Melanie's mental state. While the girls were being interviewed, Simon was desperately trying to get Melanie to drink some water. Her skin was pale and she looked sickly after forty-eight hours without food or sleep. Her eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles beneath them. What really worried Simon though was that she no longer shed any tears when she cried and he worried she would soon succumb to dehydration if they couldn't get her to drink something soon. He tried talking with her, hoping to get some sort of interaction from her, but she remained distant and didn't seem to register that he was even in the room with her.

"Come on, darling," Simon pleaded. "Just have a bit of water. It'll help you feel better." He brought the bottle to her lips, but she turned her head away, refusing his offer. He sighed and knelt in front of her, taking both of her hands in his and trying to get her to look at him. "Sweetheart, you're killing yourself," he stated worriedly. "This is getting dangerous now." Melanie finally met his eye, her expression intense but unreadable as she shrugged.

The girls quietly entered the room with Lucy following close behind. Simon looked back at them, his expression still concerned as he sat back on the chair next to Melanie. Lucy looked from Melanie to Simon sympathetically and sighed.

"I gave it one last shot," she explained regretfully. "The judge isn't budging." She knelt in front of Melanie and tried to get her to make eye contact.

"What's going to happen when she gets out there and doesn't say anything?" Mel asked, glaring over at the door to the courtroom, wishing she could punch the judge in the face.

"This is going to do nothing more than make the judge look bad," Lucy replied. "Melanie is clearly unfit to stand trial and any psychiatrist is going to agree with me."

There was a knock on the door and the bailiff let himself in. He nodded at the girls and smiled politely before letting them know that the judge was ready for Melanie. The girls all gave Melanie a cuddle and wished her luck before following Simon out to the court room through the opposite door.

"We'll be right out there waiting for you," Emma assured her. "Do what he says and it will all be over before you know it, all right?" She kissed Melanie's cheek and smiled at Lucy before following the rest of the group to their seats in the courtroom. Melanie glanced up at her friends with a look of disdain as they left the room, then dropped her gaze once more as Lucy approached her.

"You're going to go with Rex, now," Lucy explained, pulling Melanie to her feet and leading her over to the bailiff. "He'll take you out there and show you where to sit, ok? I'll be right out front with your friends." She looked apologetically at Rex as she let go of Melanie's hand and watched it fall limply to her side. "She's going to need a bit of coaxing," she explained to him. "She's really not herself right now." He nodded and smiled at Lucy.

"All right, Melanie. Let's get this over with, all right?" he said kindly, placing his hand on the small of her back and gently pulling her toward the door. Her legs gave out and he quickly caught her before she could fall. He held her steady as she gripped his arm tightly, struggling to regain the stability in her legs. "You ok?" he asked with concern.

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