25 - Who needs a gag reflex when you have macchiato-toned foundation?

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Hey there, lovely readers.
Just a quick head's up: this is a pretty intense chapter, with reference to both domestic violence and eating disorders. Please feel free to speak to me if ever you need to.
All my endless love to you all.


"I'm very impressed, Sadie; and so happy that everything went well with him. What lovely news about your old friends and a great privilege to be involved in their special day," smiled Karen in our next session a few days after I met with Tanner.

I just nodded in agreement. I could barely get the words out due to my grinning involuntary like a damn Cheshire Cat the whole time I spoke about my meeting with Tanner. I don't think that same gleeful look has left my face since I came home after seeing him the other day. It was beginning to feel like someone had me hung me up by hooks through each cheek, only I didn't care about the pain because my old friend didn't hate me like I thought he would, and he was my friend again. I can barely remember ever feeling so happy.

"Now that you've had a great response from reaching out to Tanner, perhaps you've found the confidence to potentially seek out someone else . . ." suggested Karen. If she meant who I thought she meant, then she was crazier than I ever thought even I was. Not happening.

I didn't answer her. Someone invisible had hoisted me off the grin-hooks holding me up, and my battered cheeks went back to their standard downward-hanging position. I had welcomed the pain I felt there before as proof of Tanner's return. This pain I was feeling there now was like that of an elastic band snapping forcefully on your skin. Repeatedly.

Absolutely and definitely not happening.

"Okay, perhaps you're not ready for that just yet," said Karen, interpreting my silence correctly. "But I would like it to be something you work yourself towards soon. I'm sure there are plenty of things you would like to say to him."

Have you lost your damn mind, woman? What the hell am I supposed to say to him? He ruined my goddamn life! 

"I really don't know that I'll ever be able to do that, Karen," I said.

My throat was closing around itself again and I could feel a familiar, invisible knife stabbing its way deep into my heart. The ebbing flow of my chest rising and receding was speeding up to a pace that barley allowed for any oxygen at all to venture into my lungs.

Fuck you, anxiety. And a fuck you too to my white-haired tormentor, Karen.

"Why ever not?" she asked innocently, oblivious to my panic.

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on my breathing. Considering I felt like I had been starved of clean oxygen for days within a matter of ten seconds, it seemed to be a good place to start. One hand clutched at my chest which was caving in on itself, and the fingers on the other hand instinctively searched for the smooth, hard wood hanging around my neck as always. I felt my body relax after a while. It mustn't have been too long, but it felt like hours.

"What on Earth would I ever say to him?"Thanks for destroying my life, asshole? Fuck you, you abusive prick?

Nothing that immediately came to mind felt conducive to a therapeutic or productive conversation. It was not going to happen.

"You'll know what's right when it comes naturally to you, Sadie. I can tell it's not something you want to do now, and that's okay. But I know you well enough to understand that you will need some form of closure with him before you're able to move forward as you wish to; just as you have needed it with everyone else who's had a major impact on your life. Your stepfather, for example . . ."

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