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Theo didn't have the perfect life, but it did have perfect moments. Lately, those moments seem to be fewer and further apart. She was told not to let her vengeance get the best of her, to not let that darkness control her life, but she couldn't. Theo needed to beat Kari Evans, even if it meant suffering the same fate as her best friend. Branden knows better than anyone where the path she's going down will lead her, and to him, it doesn't matter how much they hate each other: he's going to protect her or, better yet, teach her how to protect herself and win, if it's the last thing he ever does.

Romance / Action
2.0 1 review
Age Rating:

1. Therapy

I crossed my left leg over my right, leaning back into the plush cushions of the navy blue couch in the small office. My gaze scanned the walls at the familiar items hanging there; three different diplomas, a couple family photos, motivational quotes.

"Theodora, you know this only works if you actually talk, right?" Mrs. Lawerence said with a sigh, tapping her pen on her notepad.

Ignoring her, I leaned forward and grabbed a book that was resting on the coffee table between us. Becoming a Better You For You. I rolled my eyes and tossed it back down, opting for a magazine that was sitting beside it.

As I flipped through the pages, I could feel her stare on me but I chose to ignore it. We had been doing this for five months now, once a week. I'd talk about pointless shit or keep my mouth shut entirely while she just watched and allowed me to do so. I won't lie and say it wasn't getting more and more difficult to drag out this painful hour, but I would do anything to not have to talk about my feelings.

"Why do you continue to come here and waste both of our times if you're not going to put in the work?"

My eyes were quickly torn away at her words. I slowly closed the magazine and leaned forward, resting it on the coffee table. "Didn't realize getting paid was a waste of time for you."

"There's other people who actually want the help whose spot you're taking up," she pointed out and I sighed loudly, suddenly feeling a little guilty. "So I'll ask you again. Why are you here?"

"Because it gets my family off my back," I told her bluntly with a shrug, leaning back into the couch and folding my arms over my chest.

Mrs. Lawerence opened her notepad and clicked the pen, twirling it between her fingers. "Theo, if you're not going to grow up and take this seriously, I can no longer have you as my patient."

"Good," I replied loudly, slapping my hands on my legs and standing up. "Glad we finally cleared that up."

I walked towards the door and put my hand on the knob, pulling it open slightly before I hesitated. Wait, did she really just tell me to grow up?

"The door stuck?"

"What kind of therapist tells their client to grow up?" I questioned, closing the door and walking back towards the couch.

I watched as a small smile appeared on her face for a moment before she returned back to her neutral state. "The kind of therapist who tells it like it is."

"Or the kind that's just horrible at their job," I fired back, refusing to sit down but standing before her.

"I guess you wouldn't know whether I'm good at it or not, now would you?"

As irritated as this banter was making me, I had to admit that she was, in fact, good at her job. She knew how to push my buttons and knew exactly what to say to stop me from leaving.

"What do you want from me?" I asked, finally sitting down on the couch, but sitting in a way where she knew I was on guard. One wrong move and I was out of there.

"I want you to be honest with yourself," Mrs. Lawrence began to say but she eventually sighed, closing the notepad on her lap. "When you first came to me, I had told you we could talk as much or as little as you wanted. That I would continue to see you for as long as you continued to show up. So, why do you keep showing up if you never talk?"

I rolled my eyes and scoffed, crossing my arms and leaning back into the cushions once more. "I already told you, it keeps my family off my back. For someone who is supposed to pay attention, you're not too good at the listening."

"Oh, I listen just fine, Theo," she stated confidently, leaning forward and setting the notepad and pen down on the coffee table. I raised a brow and watched her, confused. "I listen to what you tell me, sure. But I also look through all the lies and hear the truth behind them."

"And what's the truth, doc?"

She chuckled, actually chuckled, and shook her head as she mimicked my posture. "That's not what I do, Theo. You have to admit how you feel, talk about it. I know the moment I tell you what I discovered way back during out second session, you'll just agree to shut me up."

"I guess you are good at your job," I mumbled, somewhat defeated as I ran a hand through my brown hair. "Alright, you win. What do you want to know?"

"How are things with your family?" Mrs. Lawerence questioned, a satisfied smile on her face as she picked back up her notepad and pen, flipping it open on her lap.

I sighed, giving in slightly but knowing that I wasn't going to let down my walls completely. If I gave her a little of what she wanted, maybe these hours wouldn't go by so damn slow.

"They're fine," I told her truthfully, thinking back on our dinner the week prior. "Aisling is wedding crazy, Brielle finally picked which college she wants to go to, Mitchell is trying his best to tame Jenna, and Conner still doesn't know that I'm aware about his feelings for Silas. So, nothing new, really."

"Tell your sisters I say congrats," she told me and I nodded wordlessly in reply before she continued talking. "How have they been since the incident? I'm sure they've had their concerns."

I scoffed, rolling my eyes and crossing my arms tighter over myself. I didn't want to relive that conversation. Well, conversations. "They're just as pushy as you are, if not worse. Of course they don't want me fighting anymore, either."

"But you're still going to."

"Of course I'm still going to," I said through clenched teeth, growing irritated as the memory started to flash through my mind. "I have to. It's the only thing that makes me feel better."

Mrs. Lawerence watched me with a gentle ease, and I could tell she was trying to decide which route was best to take, what words were best to use. "Does it, though? Make you feel better? Because since I've been seeing you, it seems you only continue to grow more angry."

"It helps," I huffed.

"Are you allowing anyone to help you?" She asked, writing briefly in her notepad.

I shook my head, uncrossing my arms and rubbing my palms on my jeans. "No. I don't need any help."

"You've talked briefly about your sisters now fiancé being a fighter, as well as Conner's best friend having some experience. What's the harm in allowing them to train you?"

"You're crazy if you think for one moment I would ever allow Branden to help me," I snapped, bolting up from my seat on the couch. I felt my teeth begin to grind together as I looked down at her, pointing a finger as she stared at me with a blank expression. "I don't need anyone's help, especially not his."

Mrs. Lawerence nodded, continuing to stare at me with her inquisitive eyes. "Why's that?"

"I'm not talking about this," I told her sternly, starting to walk back towards the door.

"Okay," she said loudly, causing me to halt in my tracks before I reached the door. I heard her stand from her chair and I glanced over my shoulder to see her standing behind me. "But Theo, if you don't start confronting these feelings, you're only going to get yourself hurt. You need to allow yourself to feel. You can't continue to fight, not like this."

I reached for the handle, looking at her clearly as I opened the door. "Watch me."
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