A Second Chance

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Chapter 3

It has been almost half an hour since I got the phone call telling me that Penelope is hurt. It was a janitor from school who found her laying unconscious in the girl's bathroom at school with cuts on her wrists. I honestly wonder what could have happened if the janitor had not found her on time. I don't even want to think about it.

I glance at my watch again for what seems to be the millionth time since I got to the hospital. The nurses told me that the doctors were still looking at her since she lost a lot of blood from the cuts. Sighing heavily, I stand up and walk away from the bench I sat and held the coffee a nurse gave me earlier. I tried drinking it a few times, but it seems to go to waste. I didn't want to slurp down some well-made hot beverage while my daughter is fighting for her life in a hospital bed. Plus, it got cold, so I managed a few steps to the rubbish bin and dumped the half empty cup.

My eyes darted again to the closed room were my daughter was held.

She needs me.

She needs me now more than ever and I'm not in there to help her. I couldn't even be there for her and right now she's laying in a hospital bed because of my carelessness. She wanted to end her life today. My daughter has been suicidal all this time because I'm a bad mother. I didn't even know that my child's state of mind isn't good.

But how would I? Im always occupied with work and when I get home, I barely see her because it's late and she has school in the morning. She is going through so much at such a young age and she doesn't have anyone to help her. Not even her own mother.

I could have lost my Penny today because of my negligence. Warm tears escape my eyes and I catch them with the palm of my hand. My marriage was a failure because I got too caught up in a fairytale of my own happiness to realize or even notice that my husband was getting between sheets with other women. Now Penny is hurt because of the same carelessness. I can't lose her too. I just can't.

This is all my fault, if I paid more attention to Penelope. If I spent more time with her. If I had spoken to her more, she wouldn't be here today. Even with all these ifs going on in my head, I know how late it is. I know that imagination couldn't cut it. And the dark hole in my chest kept growing deeper and deeper.

More tears moved mercilessly down my make-up smeared face. I didn't even bother worrying that my make-up will be ruined because the lump in my throat was replaced with a thunder of hiccups and my chest contracting in agony at the thought of losing my Penny.

Lost deep in my blame I didn't realize that the doctors had left the room. A firm hand tapped on my shoulder.

"Mrs. Cleveland?"

Out of habit I turn at the mention of the name and notice the man in a white coat standing in front of me and I quickly wipe my tears away with the sleeve of my shirt.

"Yes doctor...how is she? Will she be alright?" I quickly asked.

"Your daughter is doing well Mrs. Cleveland. It was a close call but her cuts weren't really that serious but she has lost a fair amount of blood. However, we have managed to get blood for her, shell be fine." The doctor assured me.

I felt a slight relief in my chest and released a breath I didn't know I was holding. Folding my hands together, I silently thanked God for protecting my little girl.

"But there are other matters I'd like to discuss with you." The sudden seriousness in his tone almost made my heart jump out of my chest. He just said everything is okay with Penny, what happened now? My heart suddenly started to beat fast against my chest.

"But you just said Penny's fine. Is there something wrong with my daughter?" The doctor's eyes softened at my reaction. He probably saw the panic on my face.

Mrs. Cleveland, I think it would be much better if we discussed this in my office." His tone was soft but I could tell that the situation is more serious than he led me to believe in the beginning. I gave him what felt like a nod and grabbed my purse to follow him.

The walk to the doctor's office is probably one of the dreadful 10 minutes of my life. It felt like the world was moving in a slow motion that only I could see. My brain is suffocating me with so my thoughts of what the doctor will be telling me in just a few moments now and none of them were good. I wanted to tell myself not to over think things and that this was probably just a small briefing the doctor wanted to have with me regarding Penny's health. But then I knew better. My teenage daughter is laying in a hospital bed after being discovered unconscious, and with cuts on her wrists. That doesn't call for small talk over a cup of tea with a medical doctor. Something is horribly wrong and no matter how much I try putting on a brave face, I know I'm not ready to hear it.

"Right after you." I hear the doctor say as he holds the door to his office open for me to enter.

Forcing a smile I walk into a clean, well-organized office. The walls are a light shade of blue that are home to a few informative and eye catching posters of certain parts of the human body. Even with the warm and welcoming environment around me I felt cold, distant and not welcomed by my surroundings.

I pulled out a chair from the desk and sat opposite the doctor.

"So what's wrong with my daughter?" I went straight to business. Beating around the bush when it comes to the health of my child is something I didn't want to entertain. We might as well just get it over with.

The doctor cleared his throat.

"Well, first things first. Im Doctor Carter. I'm a psychotherapist and I will be helping your daughter with therapy. Specifically psychotherapy."

"Psychotherapy?" I asked blankly staring at the man in front of me as if he was crazy. Does he even know what that means? He probably does since it's he's profession, but either way, I have a gut feeling that he has no idea to what he just said because he did not just say that my baby is crazy.

"Yes, maam. Your daughter will be needing this type of treatment because we've realized that this is not the first time she has done this. The doctors have noticed fresh and old cut wounds on her legs and wrists."

What?

I feel myself completely faze out and the whole room disappeared in a blur in front of me. My ears rang and I felt my head getting bigger.

I'm trying so hard to listen to what the doctor is telling me but it is impossible to let what he just told me sink in.

He continued to brief me about what they think is wrong with my daughter.

"We think your daughter is going through some emotional issues. Most people turn to self-harm when they do not know how to deal with problems or certain situations. And I'm certain that this is exactly what's happening with your daughter." He paused waiting for me to respond and continued when I didn't.

"Is there anything you think might be triggering your daughter emotionally at the moment?" He asked. Recovering from the shock of my discovery I begin telling the doctor about the divorce and the situation with Rowland.

*****************************************

After almost thirty minutes of the hardcore conversation with Penelope's now psychotherapist, I'm sitting next to her bed with her warm hand in mine. Her small wrists are covered in white bandages and clear tubes are inserted into her little arm.

Why my princess?

I lift her pale hand and bring it to my lips placing slow and comforting little kisses on it, I think they are meant to speed her recovery.

The doctor said she won't be spending the night in the hospital and that she'll get better in a few days.

At least that gives me hope to at least know that she'll be doing well physically.

I'm honestly still stumped with everything regarding psychotherapy. I can't believe that Penelope has been injuring herself and causing herself harm to feel better. I know I haven't been around much, but in the small moments we have, she could've at least told about what has been bothering her instead of turning to this.

I told Doctor Carter that I'll have to think about the treatment for the time being. Not that I don't care for my daughter's wellbeing, I would give anything for her to be healthy and well.

It's the money that's bothering me so much.

How am I supposed to raise 10 000 dollars for psychotherapy? I don't even earn that much working at the cafe and with Briggs. Plus, I save the money Rowland sends from time to time for Penny's college. I honestly don't know how this is going to work.

I could always try those online jobs I heard Cathy talk about at the restaurant. She said a person can earn about 4 grand off those and I honestly need all the money I can get if this going to work. It's not even a matter of if, it has to work out. I hate seeing my little girl this way.

I run my thumb across her cheek and I feel my phone buzz in my apron.

16 missed calls from Lana my manager.

Oh God.

I forgot to tell her that I went to the hospital. I quickly dial her number and she picks up at the second ring.

"Kimberly where the hell are you? I've been waiting for 3 hours. This place is packed and you're nowhere to be seen. I could easily get a new waitress if you don't need the job." She yells through the receiver.

"Miss Steel I'm really sorry I should have called you earlier. My daughter had an accident at school and I had to go to the hospital. I'm so sorry." I apologize, I really hope she doesn't fire me.

"Penny? What happened?" I'm surprised by the concern in her voice.

"Yeah, nothing big really she'll be fine." I tell her.

"Well I'm really sorry to hear that. You should have informed me earlier. Just take care of yourselves and don't come to work tomorrow. I'm giving you the day off." I want to refuse the offer, but I need it for Penny.

"Thank you so much Miss Steel. It re-"

"Yeah whatever, I don't have time for chitchat go to your daughter I have a restaurant to run." With that she hangs up.

That was probably the weirdest conversation I've ever had. I want to think about what just happened but I shrug it off and shift my attention to the soft murmurs that I begin to hear from below me.

"Mom?"

Big worried brown eyes look up to me and I wince when I notice the familiar teary shiny glint in them.

I bent down to kiss her hair and gently hug her.

"It's okay baby. It's okay. I'm here now." I fights back the threatening tears on my eye lids. I can't cry now, I need to be strong for her. She needs me to be strong for her.

I didn't mean to-" her sentence is silenced by the sobs that leave her small mouth and my heart breaks at the broken sounds that leaves her throat. I pull her tiny body into a full embrace and assure her that everything will be okay.

The room seems to disappear around us in this comforting moment that none of us hear the intruder who comes in, but his roaring voice doesn't go unnoticed.

"Kimberly why the fuck didn't you tell me that my fucking daughter is in a damn community hospital?" The voice booms through the small room.

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