12 Rounds (Knockout 1) - Page 9

Stop, Hadlee.

Just stop.

Don’t think about. Don’t think about. Don’t think about it.

Because that night wasn’t your fault.

The night he… he…

It’s just not your fault.

But I keep asking myself what if things turned out differently? What if my study group decided on a place to study that was closer to the Carver University Campus? What if I had suggested it? Or why didn’t I ride with someone ? Or have my roommate drop me off?

The self-inquiries are endless.

And never seem to let up.

No matter how hard I try to push them into the back of my mind I can never seem to. It’s like the questions have long, nimble legs and are running circles around my brain. What if, Hadlee?

What if? What if? What if?

Enter Satine, my therapist.

I’ve been seeing her two times a week for the last eight months. My sessions with her have helped, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to fully get over the fact that I was beaten unconscious and almost raped a year and a half ago.

I never saw my attacker’s face. He wore a dark gray sweat suit with the hood pulled tightly around his jaw line.

But there are times when I swear I can hear him.

Feel his strong calloused hands cutting off my air supply as they enclosed around my neck.

Smell his stale breath, a mixture of smoke and rotten teeth as it climbs up my chin and sprints through my nostrils.

Then I breathe in deep and remind myself that it’s not real. He can’t hurt me ever again because the man who attacked me is spending the rest of his life in prison.

Satine likes to remind me that you can’t change the past, but sometimes, the past helps up shape and change our lives for the better.

For the future.

My future seems grim. Because as much as I hate to admit it, the past is something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over.

Satine’s monotone yet feminine voice cuts into my thoughts. “Hadlee, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing,” I lie and look away from her, staring at some of the gold framed plaques with her name on them. They hang on the almond colored wall. Sometimes I want to ask her why she hasn’t been able to put me back together yet. Surely someone who has been awarded such plaques would be an expert at putting broken people back together.

“You sure?” she probes further.

I manage a tiny smile and face her. “Yes.”

She stares at me for a nanosecond and reclines backwards in her black, leather chair. “Very well then. Tell me about this week.”

“It was okay,” I mumble and start playing with my fingers.

I peek up at her through my eyelashes and she lifts a thin, arched ebony eyebrow. “Just okay?”

I know she wants me to elaborate, but I just don’t feel like it. Because the last week didn’t go so well. “It was a little rough.” I let out a groan, knowing that I have to continue or the questioning will intensify. “Sometimes I feel like even though I know where he is. That he isn’t really there. That he isn’t really in prison and he’s actually out looking for me.”

Satine has a notepad in her hands and she jots down everything I said.

Tags: Lauren Hammond Knockout Romance
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