Chapter 13

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"But I can't help myself. Lincoln is pure poison, pure temptation, waiting patiently for me to give in, to finally let myself feel."


The night before Lincoln's first session was a nightmare, quite literally. 

He had a full-blown panic attack, the sole prospect of having to leave the house sent him into a spiral even I couldn't stop. But after a few hours of talking to him, of holding him in my arms like it was the last thing I'd ever do in this life, he finally fell asleep. He moved around a lot, as he usually does. His demons probably haunt him in his dreams whenever they get the chance to.

But it seems like the therapy is working, because after four sessions his nightmares already become easier to handle, he generally seems to understand his emotions much better than before, though there are still moments in which he spirals again. That was to be expected, though. I know therapy is not something that just changes your entire being in one night. It's a process, and mostly about accepting your habits and how to deal with them. 

Lincoln does talk more, though. It seems like he's teaching himself to open up to me, telling me about his parents and his former patients. I can tell he's very slowly starting to get his drive back, at least when it concerns his job. There's this spark in his eyes when he talks about his patients, about how he treated them and how much joy they brought him. It makes me believe that he will be able to get back to his old self, at least partly. 

He's in his fifth session today, and I decided to go visit mom and dad while he's in, that way I get to see just the two of them for once, without my nagging brothers fighting for attention the whole time.

"Mia!" Mom smiles widely when she sees me parking the car in the driveway. 

She makes her way over from the deck chair on the porch and wraps me in a tight hug as soon as I get out of the car, her motherly love immediately crashing into me.

"Hey, mom," I whisper in her ear when she squeezes me once more, "you're suffocating me."

But she just laughs as she pulls back to look at me, almost like she hadn't seen me only four days ago.

"To what do we owe the pleasure?" 

"Can't I just say hello to my parents without having an agenda?" I raise an eyebrow at my mother.

"Of course. I'm just surprised! It's been a while since you came here on your own," she smirks at me, and I immediately see the insinuation in her eyes as she continues, "I mean we wouldn't mind if you decided to introduce us to someone... New."

I can't help but groan at her comment. Obviously my brothers as well as my father are insanely protective of me, especially where the rest of the male population is concerned. My first and only boyfriend hit the ground running when Max stormed into his room at his parents' house, both of us in rather compromising positions with little to no clothes on. Mom is aware of the issue, and she slapped Max upside the head when she found out what he did back then, her need to allow me a private life is the only reason I have one, probably.

"You mean you wouldn't mind," I correct her, knowing that dad would probably hit the roof if he found out about a man in my life.

"Your father is a very protective man, Mia. That doesn't mean he can dictate your life, though. You know that." 

She takes my hand and walks us over to the old wooden bench I once painted in a baby blue color as a kid, thinking my dad would love that. Only ten years later did he tell me that this bench was made from the tree my great grandfather planted about a hundred years ago. Apparently it got sick and they had to fell the tree, but used its wood to make small memories like this one. 

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