To Be Loved...

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Paying It Forward

The next morning, I told Jake that I still wanted to go to the hospital, but I wanted to go alone. I didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable in the situation and I thought it would be easier for me to talk to the girls without a man there with me. He reluctantly agreed, but told me to have one of my guards take me and be nearby.

He told me that he was going to go into work for a few hours, but to call if I needed him and he would come home. After work, he wanted to stop by the station to talk to Detective Marcus about what they may have found at the compound. I told him that I would be fine and would call if I needed to.

Aaron, my guard, took me to the hospital that Marcus had sent directions for and led me into the lobby. Marcus had called ahead to his team to meet me there and they took us up to the women’s floor where all the girls were taken. I knew there were twenty rooms in the ground level and all were full when I left, so I was hoping that the other nineteen all made it out.

The entire wing was shut down to anyone other than the girls and I was escorted in. Aaron remained in the waiting area and I told him I would call him if I needed help. I looked at the female officer that was with me and asked her, “Is it OK if I go into each room alone at first to talk to them? Then you can come in for their statements if you still need them.” She nodded her head.

Before I could go into the first room, I heard my name being yelled out, “STACY! STACY! Is that really you? Oh my God, we thought you were dead,” a girl named Jessie came running down the hall and grabbed me for a hug. I hugged her back.

“It’s me, Jessie. I’m still alive.” I laughed a little. She pulled me to a room where several of the girls were gathered after eating breakfast together. I knew everyone of them, but one young girl who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine. “She took my place,” I thought and held back my tears that were filling my eyes.

“Stacy?...Stacy, oh my God...What happened to you, where have you been?” The girls were all talking and asking me questions and some came up and gave me hugs. The few girls that weren’t in the room when I walked in, must have heard I was here and came to join us.

I spent most of the morning hours talking with them about what I went through and how I was found by Jake, woke up after two weeks in a coma with amnesia and slowly healed. I talked about the flashbacks and finally regaining my memories after running into Troy, who several other girls remember, but only one other knew him the way I did. I told them how I finally sought some help in talking about my dreams and eventually the trauma that I faced once I remembered everything.

I admitted that things are still rough and it’s hard to believe people when they tell me they care about me or love me or tell me I’m beautiful. We all know what we were told wasn’t the truth, but we heard it so much, that we learned to believe that we were ugly, that we weren’t loved or couldn’t be loved and completely worthless.

I lastly told them about mine and Jake’s relationship and how we have grown so much over the last few months. I talked about my period of major depression after the memories came back and how I almost pushed Jake away, but we got through it and are still working on rebuilding that connection we had.

We all had lunch together in the room provided by the hospital. The officers, nurses and doctors were still nearby and would check on us throughout the day. I know they wanted to talk to them, but I remembered how I felt when everyone questioned me non-stop for the first several days after I woke up, and I wanted to reassure the girls that it would be OK.

While we were finishing up lunch, I told the girls that even though it is painful to relive the events that we each went through, they need to be open with their doctors and talk to the officers that were here to help. They need to share everything they can remember, and help provide any input as to where their families may be or at least their names. Some of the older girls were like me and had grown to forget the faces and voices and even the names of our family members over time. They all agreed to talk and one by one they were pulled aside to talk to the doctors and officers to give their statements.

After lunch, I called up Jake. “Hey beautiful,” Jake answered the phone.

“Hey Jake,” I replied “Can I ask you for a favor?”

“Right to the point, huh?” He chuckled. “First, how are things going there?”

“They are going really good. I did a lot of sharing, but I think the girls are relaxing and have agreed to talk to the doctors and officers. They are giving their statements now or waiting to.”

“That’s good to hear baby. The more information they can gather, the longer we can put those people away,” Jake said. “So what is this favor you need from me?”

“I was wondering if you could help me help all the girls here.”

“How so?”

“Well, they all have nothing personal, like me when you found me. There are twenty girls here of various ages and I know some of them will find their families quickly, while others may have to wait a little bit longer. I was hoping you could help by donating some funds to get them all a couple of outfits and other personal needs.”

“Is there anything else?” Jake asked.

“No, not that I can think of. I just...I just want them to be comfortable instead of all wearing these hospital gowns. I think it might help them feel a little better about themselves while they wait here.”

“You know I can’t say ‘no’ to you baby. I think that is a wonderful idea and I will give you my card to go shopping tomorrow for everyone.”

“Really? You’ll let me do that?”

“Yes, really. I trust you baby and I have more than enough to help your friends.” I smiled at that. I never thought of these girls as my friends, but I guess we were...we were family.

“Thank you so much Jake. I love you! I’m gonna go now, but I’ll be home soon,” I said.

“I love you too. See you tonight love.” We hung up the phones.

I went back to the girls and visited some more. I managed to get all their sizes, or rough sizes since they were all so skinny, like I was a few months ago. It was great to see them all again, and not in that small lounge, but outside and away from there. I didn’t think I would ever get to, so it has been nice.

I said my goodbyes and went to the waiting area where Aaron was waiting for me. “They must have a lot of patience to sit around all day like this. I know he gets his food and plays on his phone, but it must get pretty boring.” I thought to myself as we headed to the elevator. He drove me home and I went back to the penthouse and fell asleep on the couch.

******

Jake woke me up with a kiss. When I glanced at the clock, I realized I was asleep for nearly two hours. I guess I was more tired than I thought, or my emotions from the day finally caught up with me and knocked me out.

“Hey handsome,” I said with a smile as I looked at him.

“Hey beautiful,” he said and kissed me again before standing back up. I pulled myself into a sitting position, stretched and wiped the sleep from my eyes.

“How was the rest of your day?” I asked him as he sat down next to me.

“It was good. After work, I met up with Marcus and he filled me in the events of last night and what they discovered during their search today.”

“Oh...anything to help us?” I asked him.

“Maybe. They found a file cabinet with information on every girl they have ever taken. They were bringing it to the station to go through, but there was a lot, so it may take a few days before we hear anything,” he answered me.

“Well, that’s a start I guess. You know...while I was visiting with the girls today, I kept hoping something more would come back to me regarding my family, but I still can’t get a clear image of them. Some of the other girls that are a few years younger than me have had trouble as well. The younger girls are more excited to finally go back home to their families. It was tough emotionally, but I handled it pretty good, I think.”

“That’s good to hear, baby. I’m so proud of you and how far you have come. I know you still have a ways to go, but what you did today is a huge step.” He pulled me to his side for a hug, which I gladly returned.

******

The next morning before Jake left for work, he gave me his platinum credit card. He told me to get whatever I needed including clothes, shoes and accessories for each of the girls. He gave me a kiss and left. I got up and began my morning routine. I dressed in a pair of ripped skinny dark jeans, a white tank top and covered it with a green button-down shirt, but I left it open. I threw on a necklace and some low-heel shoes to finish it off. I grabbed my purse, put Jake’s card in it along with my phone and went to grab something to eat quickly for breakfast.

I had Aaron take me to a few shops in town and I bought each girl two outfits, some undergarments, socks and a pair of shoes. I also picked up some hygiene kits that included shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, a hairbrush and comb, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a razor with shaving cream. I know some of the girls are too young for all of that, but it was easier to buy the kits instead of individual items.

I had gotten several gift bags as well, and had Aaron take me to a park near the hospital so I could put all the gifts together for each girl. Aaron even helped me, which was kind of funny since he was this big tough-looking guy folding little girls’ clothes. As I put in all the things I bought for each girl, I put their names on the gift tags attached to the bags. The last thing I added to each bag was a small stuffed teddy bear that says ‘I Care’ on it’s stomach.

I arrived at the hospital just before lunch and again was greeted by all the girls. Some of them were really excited because they were going to see their mommies and daddies again really soon. Others were more quiet as they, like me, didn’t know what was going to happen to them.

I had Aaron come into the room and introduced him to the girls. I then handed out each bag to each girl and watched them as they all opened them up and discovered their gifts. Most were in shock and couldn’t believe I did this, while others were crying tears of happiness with some sad ones as well. They each gave me a hug and said ‘thank you.’ I told them all that I needed to give them this start as someone once had given me the same. I encouraged them to ‘pay it forward’ when they get the chance to.

I had lunch with them again and then said my final goodbyes. I gave my phone number to most of the girls and asked them to keep in touch if they wished to. Most likely I would never see them again, unless we had to go to trial, but I was really hoping and praying that it wouldn’t come to that.

I returned home and just relaxed for the rest of the day until Jake got home. When he did arrive we talked about our day and I told him about how the girls reacted and loved what I did for them.

I thanked him over and over again...all through the night.

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