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Seeking Help

The next morning rolled around. I had turned over during the night, but continued lying awake most of it. I was afraid to close my eyes for fear of reliving another nightmare. I felt Jake behind me and he slid his arm over my torso and pulled me close.

“How are you feeling this morning?” he whispered.

“I don’t know yet,” I replied. “I haven’t slept much, I do know that.” I heard him sigh.

“I should have made you stay with me last night. You seem to have less nightmares when we are together,” he said to me.

“Jake, don’t blame yourself, please. I chose to sleep alone and I didn’t think it would be a problem. I’m sorry I woke everyone up.”

“Baby, don’t be sorry. You may have scared Mom and Lizzie a bit, but they’ll be OK,” he reassured me. “But, we do need to tell them about what we know about your past and your amnesia. Will that be OK with you?”

I nodded ‘yes’ and turned to face him. “I didn’t mean to frighten them. It just seemed so real to me and I couldn’t fully wake up to get it out of my head.”

“I know baby, I know. I’m going to get a bath ready for you. Please go in and relax for a little bit this morning. While you are in there, I’ll talk to Mom, Lizzie and Todd.” He kissed my forehead and then got out of bed and walked towards my bathroom.

I laid on my back and just stared at the ceiling. “What have I been through? Why can’t everything just come back so I know what is real and what isn’t? Why am I putting Jake and his family through this? They don’t need to take care of me and see me like this. What if I never get better?” My thoughts ran wild and I felt another tear run down from my eye.

“Stace?” Jake called out to me.

“Yeah?”

“The water is ready. Come on, let me help you get settled.” He held out his hand for me and I took it. He led me to the bathroom and helped me get into the tub. I was grateful that he didn’t focus on my body at all after removing my nightshirt.

I settled into the tub and let the warmth relax me as well as the lavender candle Jake had burning on the counter. I heard him leave the room and close the door behind him.

******

Jake

After closing her door, I leaned against the wall for a moment to keep myself from hitting it or throwing something. I was irate at the situation, but more upset at myself that I couldn’t help her through this and take the pain away from her. I heard people talking in the living room and went out to face my mother, sister and Todd.

“Morning Jake darling,” Mom said I came into the room and came over to give me a hug. “How is Stacy this morning?”

“She is relaxing in the tub right now, but I know she didn’t sleep much last night,” I replied.

“Jake?” Lizzie asked. I nodded for her to go ahead. “I don’t mean this in a bad way, but what is wrong with her? I mean, she was fine last evening and then screaming after a little nightmare and those sobs...”

“Lizzie,” Mom interrupted and gave her a look to be quiet.

“It’s OK Mom. Look Lizzie, to most people, it may have been a little nightmare, but to Stacy, it’s a horrible memory that I hate to see her relive night after night. Let’s sit down, I have a lot of explaining to do,” I sighed as I went to take my chair.

******

I must have fallen asleep in the tub and awoke in cold water. I got myself up and drained the tub. I dried off and wrapped a towel around my body and another around my hair. I looked into the mirror and noticed the bags under my eyes.

I walked to the room and pulled out a pair of leggings, a tank top and an oversized sweater for comfort. I went and hung the towel up to dry and removed the one from my head so I could brush my hair. I then brushed my teeth and went out to the living room where I heard everyone talking.

As soon as I walked into the room, everyone became quiet and looked over at me. I gave them all a small smile. Jake reached out for me and I walked over to him and he pulled me onto his lap on the couch. “I’m sorry about last night,” I started but was cut off.

“Sweetie, there is nothing to be sorry about,” Connie told me. “We’ve all had nightmares before, it is nothing to apologize for.” She gave me a sad smile. I know Jake has told them everything up to this point as I can almost feel their pain for me.

“Thank you Connie, I really appreciate that and what you did for me last night.” I got up and went to give her a hug. She gladly accepted it and returned it as well.

I noticed Lizzie was pretty quiet and went over by her and gave her a hug. She started crying on my shoulder. I held her tight. I didn’t know what to say to her, or anyone for that matter. Todd came over and comforted Lizzie while I went back and sat next to Jake.

“Stacy, it’s not my place to tell you what to do, but after hearing Jake tell us what’s been going on, I think it would be a good idea to talk to someone,” Connie said to me.

“What do you mean? Talk to who?” I asked.

“A specialist. One that can help guide you through these nightmares and offer suggestions to help you heal or recover your memory. Have you talked to anyone before? Other than Jake?”

“I think I talked to a couple of doctors in the hospital, but I didn’t have that many nightmares while I was there,” I stated. “Those only started after I left there. I’ve told Jake as much as I can remember about some of them and others, I’m a little nervous to tell anyone.” I admitted.

“I think I have an idea as to why that is, and I don’t blame you sweetie. Will you at least think about it? I’m sure Jake will help find you a great specialist to work with you.” Connie looked at me knowingly and I smiled at her with a silent ‘thanks’ for not saying it out loud.

I looked down and played with my fingers. Jake saw my nervous habit and took hold of one of my hands and rubbed his thumb over the back of it. “I will think about it,” I whispered.

Connie got up and kissed the top of my head and also kissed Jake’s head and headed for the kitchen. She told us she was going to make brunch for us all.

Jake wrapped his arms around me and kissed the side of my head and just held me close. I heard him whisper to me, “I will do anything you need me to do.”

******

After brunch, I asked to speak to Connie privately for a few minutes, so we went into my room and sat on the bed.

“Connie, I told Jake that I will see someone and talk to them about my dreams or possible flashbacks. First, I want to thank you for not saying anything out loud about what I haven’t talked to Jake about. I’m guessing you have some idea of what they could be.” I looked down.

“Honey, from what I’m gathering, I believe you were kidnapped into a human trafficking situation.”

I looked up at her, not knowing what that meant.

She must have sensed my lack of knowledge and told me she thinks I was taken by someone or a group of people who used me for bad things including physical and sexual abuse.

Thinking of some of my dreams, I think she could be right, but I only remember being with one man up to this point. “Do some of your dreams involve being beaten or touched inappropriately?” Connie asked.

I nodded my head. “Connie, I feel weird telling you this, but the first night Jake and I kissed, I had a flashback of some man touching me and making me touch him where I was always told is not to be touched as a child. He put his parts inside me and…” I couldn’t finish my thoughts.

“Shhhh, it’s OK. You don’t have to say anything more. I kind of suspected that when you were talking earlier. I do suggest telling this specialist as much as you can remember so he can help determine if these are legit memories or not. Writing them down will help also.”

“Connie? Can I tell you about my dream from last night?” She nodded. “I remember a man, the same man from other dreams, telling me something that I don’t understand and didn’t in the dream either. He asked me if I was taking a pill that someone called, Momma, was giving me every day. He didn’t think I was because I didn’t ask this Momma for monthly needed items. I’m still unsure what that means, because I haven’t needed anything in the last month since I’ve been in my new life. He then proceeded to hit and kick me in the stomach several times until I was bleeding from down there,” I pointed to my lower region. “Why did he do that and what was he talking about monthly needed things?”

“Oh honey, there is so much you need to learn. First of all, the monthly needed ‘things’ is referring to your monthly menstrual cycle, or period, as most people call it. Every month, a girl or woman over the age of 11 or 12 or so goes through this cycle. A woman develops eggs to eventually have babies, but when they are not fertilized in time, they dissolve in the uterus and cause a woman to bleed for several days. Most wear pads or tampons to keep the blood from getting into their pants. The pill that I believe you were taking, was to prevent these eggs from being fertilized as this man was doing these horrible things to you. What I’m suspecting is one of your eggs did get fertilized and you were pregnant with this man’s child. When you are pregnant, you stop the monthly cycle until after the baby is born. Does this make sense to you?” I nodded, but not completely sure. “Since they were giving you these pills, I’m sure they didn’t like the fact that you were pregnant, so he kicked you to cause a miscarriage.”

“A miscarriage?”

“He made you lose the baby that you were carrying.”

“Oh,” I looked at my stomach. “Was I really pregnant? Could I have been?”

“Sweetie, I can’t be sure of this, only a doctor can determine if you really went through this or not, but after hearing Jake tell us about his conversations with the doctor before you woke up, it makes a lot of sense. Again, I urge you to write these thoughts down and talk to this specialist and tell him everything you remember. It may help bring your memory back or at least give him some information to give to the police or investigators on the case.”

“Thank you Connie. I know I shouldn’t be asking you all these questions, but I feel too embarrassed to ask Jake about them.”

“It’s no problem. I’ll have Jake give you my phone number and please call me any time if something comes up and you need to talk to a woman about something. I will certainly do my best to help you.” Connie gave me a hug.

We walked back to the living room together and I felt a little better knowing more of what might be going on.

Connie, Lizzie and Todd left shortly after that conversation, but they all reassured me that they would be there for me and Jake if we needed them. We didn’t have to go through this alone.

******

The next day, Jake took off from work and reached out to a specialist to come and talk with me. He was paid extra to come to Jake’s home instead of me going to the office. He would be given even more money if he could show up right way that day.

Soon after lunch, we received a notification that Dr. Steven Edwards was at the door. Jake told the doorman to send him up and he waited for him by his door. Jake brought Dr. Edwards into the living room where I was nervously pacing back and forth. I wanted to be able to talk to someone, but I was still very scared. I knew his job was to help me determine if these were just dreams, or if they really were memories resurfacing from the trauma I went through.

I asked him to sit down and I sat across from him on the couch. I had Jake stay with me and told the doctor that I was more comfortable with him there and he agreed to let him stay.

“Stacy, Jake has filled me in a little on your situation and with your signed permission, I would like to connect with your hospital doctors to be able to access your charts from there.” Dr. Edwards began.

I nodded my head to agree, “I give permission, but I can’t my whole name as I don’t know my last name.”

“It’s OK, sign what you can, I’m sure the hospital is aware of this as well.” I nodded again and signed the form he handed to me. “I know asking for help is a very hard thing to do, so I give you credit for reaching out to me.”

“Thank you for agreeing to see me, especially here. It was actually Jake’s mother who convinced me to seek you out. I have talked to Jake about some things, but I really opened up to her and told her stuff that I didn’t really understand and needed a woman to talk to.” I looked down a little embarrassed.

“I understand and we can start where you are comfortable and go from there. Is that OK with you?” I nodded.

I began telling him about what the doctors told me at the hospital and what Jake had told me about the morning he found me. I told him about the dreams or flashbacks that I’ve been having including the things I talked with Connie about. I felt weird telling a man some of these things, but I kept reminding myself of what Connie had said, ’...he may be able to help bring back your memory or find out information to give to the investigators to help find the person or people who did this to you.’ This was also the first time Jake heard me talk about the more detailed flashbacks and dreams. He held onto my hand and squeezed it for reassurance throughout the session.

After catching him up through yesterday’s events, he said he would reach out to the hospital and take it from there. He wanted to see me a couple of times a week to talk about any future dreams or other things that come to my mind. I agreed and we set up some times for the rest of this week and next. He also said that he would refer me to an OB/GYN to take a closer look at the trauma my body has been through and suggested that I make an appointment sooner rather than later. Jake showed him to the door and I heard them talking quietly to each other. They shook hands and he left.

I felt a little better after talking to him, and it was good to know I had a few more people to talk to other than just Jake. “Maybe this will work? It can’t hurt, can it?”

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