Break Free Chapter 17

Posted on 7:08 PM | By Biki Honko | In

As Cecile and Talia neared Soah's room the sound of giggling floated to them.  The happiness of Soah's giggle was infectious, instantly both Cecile and Talia had wide grins.  Entering the room they saw what had Soah giggling so hard.  Soah had a gift bag that was home to her underwear, and was trying to keep Morgan from looking at the contents.  He would try to grab it, she would pull it away from him, and giggle.  Had Morgan really wanted the bag, it could have been his in an instant, but this was just a silly game they were enjoying.  Morgan noticed Cecile and Talia standing in the doorway smiling at them.

"Good morning Cecile!  Hello Talia! Now, Soah stop being silly, and give me that bag!"

"No!" Squeaked Soah, grey eyes shining, cheeks pink from excitement, with her bruises on her face almost completely faded away, a pretty girl was emerging from the wreckage they had rescued a week ago.

"Mom!  Look!  No more iv!!  Hi Talia!  Thanks for helping me move to my new room."  Soah walked over to Cecile and gave her a careful hug. Cecile had learned not to push Soah, and always waited for her to make the first move.  Cecile hugged her and dropped a kiss on her head. Soah turned and gave Talia a fleeting hug.

"Did they take all of the bandages off?  May I see how it looks?"  Talia was interested and repelled all at the same time.

"Yup, no more itchy dressings and tape.  I do still need to keep this special cream on it to keep it from drying out.  Sure, you can see."  Saying that Soah turned around, and was ready to pull her shirt up, when she noticed Morgan standing across the room with a happy look of expectancy.  "Hey!  No peeking, mister!"  Soah turned around again so that Morgan could only see her back.

Talia was afraid to see what Soah's back looked like.  After chancing a quick glance, Talia was relieved to see that it didn't look bad at all. Several large pink areas, the shape of which seemed familiar, but she just couldn't put her finger on it. There were still bruises that were still fairly dark, which surprised Talia.  How bad did this look a week ago?

"Soah, it looks so good!  The doctor tells me he feels that you should end up without any scaring at all!  I wasn't sure that I believed him, but after seeing how good this looks, he was right!"

"Greta held up a mirror so I could see my back, it looks great!  Well, I didn't see it before, didn't want to see it actually.  Besides the cream that needs to be applied several times a day, no exposure to the sun either."  Looking at Morgan she continued, "But, no worries, right?"

"Right, no worries!"  Morgan hadn't seen Soah's back since that horrible day at the park, and had been scared of seeing what it looked like ever since.  Relieved doesn't even come close to how Morgan was feeling after seeing her back.  Stepping up, he ran his hand over her skin, feeling only small texture changes over the area of her burns.  As his hand moved she twitched slightly "Does that hurt when I touch you?"

Soah dropped her shirt and turned around and looked at Morgan, "No, the burn areas don't pick up touch the same way, they are kinda numb, besides if it did, you didn't mean to hurt me."  Morgan reached out and pulled her in for a hug.  Cecile and Talia exchanged looks, something was being said that they were not privy to.

"Morgan are you free this afternoon?"

"Yup!  What's up?"  Why did holding Soah make him feel so good?

"Well, we have a surprise for Soah, and we want to include you as well."  Cecile still was not convinced that this afternoon was a good idea.  Dr. Fisher was adamant that today's outing was important to help Soah bond better with Talia and Cecile.

"I'm in, what's the surprise?"

"Here!"  Talia shoved a bag into the arms of a very surprised Soah.

"What's in it?"  Soah held the bag wondering what on earth they could be buying her now.

"You will have to excuse Soah, bags confuse her.  Open it!"

Carrying the bag over to the bed, Soah sat down and opened the bag.  Peering in, a confused look glued onto her face.

"See, I told you two that bags confuse her."  Sitting down next to Soah he pulled the bag from her fingers and pulled out a petal pink floral sun dress, a dark rose short sleeved sweater, and two shoe boxes.  "Now, was that so hard? To soften his words, he tickled her neck, when she ducked her head into the tickle, he kissed her exposed cheek.

"A dress?  I look silly in dresses.  No thank you."  Soah began to put the dress back in the bag.  Morgan's hands caught the dress as it was being stuffed back into the bag.  Pulling the dress from her, he held the dress up and examined it.  Urging Soah from the bed, he held the dress up to her.

"Soah, you are going to try this dress on."  As she started to say something, Morgan cut her off, "Now I do not want to hear that the reason you think you look silly in dresses, is something the evil beings told you.  But, I am right about that, aren't I?"

A startled Soah stopped and thought for a moment, and then slowly nodded her head in agreement.  Taking the dress back from Morgan, "If I am going to try this on, you need to leave the room."

Cecile and Talia stood up to leave the room also, "No, stay here with me, please?"

"Of course we will stay here with you.  Out with you Mr. Davidson, go wait in the hall or something."

"Aye aye Captain!"  Snapping a sharp salute, Morgan marched out of the room, humming 'Anchors Away', causing everyone to laugh.

"Do you want us to pull the curtain, and give you some privacy?"  Cecile was undoing the buttons on the dress.  Looking around the bed, finally looking in the bag, she pulled a camisole from the bottom of the bag.

"Umm....."  Confusion roiled Soah's thoughts.  She both wanted them there with her, and didn't want them, but what was the answer Cecile wanted to hear?

Cecile recognized Soah's confusion, she was frozen with making a decision and not knowing what they wanted her to do.  Using the tips Dr. Fisher had given them to help her deal with situations just like this.

"Soah, I am going to pull the curtain so you can undress and put on the camisole.  If you need us to help you with the dress or want us to help you, just ask."  Shooing Talia to the other side of the curtain, Cecile pulled the curtain giving Soah her privacy.

Pulling the pjs off, Soah looked at the dress laying on the bed.  It was a beautiful dress, but why waste such a pretty dress on her?  Sighing she pulled the camisole over her head.  Stopping a minute to feel the lovely silky knit fabric.  Trimmed in lace, with satin ribbon shoulder straps, this had to be the most wonderful piece of underwear she had ever seen.  Something seemed wrong, it didn't fit well, it hung way to low on her chest.

"Ah, this camisole doesn't seem to fit."

"Do you mind if I take a look before you take it off?"  Cecile was worried that if the new clothing didn't fit right, it would pull some of Soah's enjoyment of today away, worried about how she looked.


Cecile came around the curtain, and turned Soah around and adjusted the straps on the cami pulling it up correctly.  "There you go, you just needed to adjust the camisoles straps.  Do you like it?"

"Oh yes!  I have never seen anything so pretty, ever! I love the lace and ribbons!"

"That is what we thought too!  Let me help you with the dress, ok?"  Whew!  Crisis adverted!

"Mom?  Can I come over too?"  Talia was beginning to feel left out, and it hurt her feelings.

"Soah?  Could you let her come in?"  At Soah's nod, Cecile shouted, "Come on over doll!"

Breathing out a small sigh of relief, Cecile saw that the dress fitted perfectly.  The pale pink color enhanced the bloom in her cheeks, brought on by Morgan no doubt about that!  Handing Soah the sweater to slip on, she was almost ready to go.

"I hope the shoes fit, we bought two sizes, surely one of them will fit!" Talia opened one of the shoe boxes and handed Soah a pair of white  sandals.  "I thought these flat strappy sandals were cute.  Do you like them?"

"Ooh yes!  These are sooo cute!  I hope they fit!"  Soah sat on the bed and tried on the smallest of the two sizes they brought.  No, those were to small.  The second pair thankfully fit.

 Before Soah had a chance to wonder how she looked in her new clothing, Talia ran to the door, and out looking for Morgan.  Quick as a wink she was back towing Morgan by the hand.  As he came into the room he stopped stock still, the look on his face was priceless.  Maybe not to Soah, but to any other person, there was no doubt what he thought of her new clothing.

"Sweetie-girl, you look beautiful!"

"Ready for the next part of your surprise?"  Cecile was calmer than she had been all afternoon.  The hard part was over, the clothes.  Surely the rest of the day will go as smooth. Sweetie-girl?  How cute was that?

"Ok, sure."

"Next stop is a hair salon, where you are getting your hair styled.  And after that one more surprise, but we are keeping that one top secret!  Right, Talia?"

"Yup!  Oh!  We need to take the tags off the dress and sweater."

"Morgan, come with me to the nurses station to borrow some scissors."  Wondering why it would take both of them to borrow a pair of scissors, was getting ready to ask, when he saw the look on Cecile's face.

"Sure, we can keep each other company while we wait."  After leaving the room, Morgan turned to Cecile and asked, "Ok, something is up.  Spill it."

"Let's sit down in the waiting room.  Talia and Soah will be chatting, it will take them a while to realize how long we have been gone.  Dr. Fisher wants Soah to leave the hospital every few days from now on.  He has two rules he wants followed to the letter.  One, the outing must be planned in advance, no asking Soah what she wants to do next.  Two the outings can not include Sam.  Dr. Fisher feels that she is to dependent on him, which he says is very common, but unhealthy for all of us.  She is still fighting the fact that you boys and George saved her.  She has myopia about Sam's role, and refuses to budge even when presented with the facts.  Dr. Fisher is going to have some bad news for Soah when we return her today.  Sam will not be allowed to spend the nights with her any longer.  He is putting some breathing space in their relationship, hoping it will force Soah to see the truth.  If not, we will not be taking her home, she will be going home with either George or Cami."

Morgan sat for a while, digesting this new information.  Soah had seemed so much happier the last few days.  Very few tears had been shed, not much sadness had been displayed either.  Though no matter what she was doing, when Sam entered the room, all of her attention was diverted to him and only him.  Deep in thought, unconsciously pulling on his bottom lip, something he only did when working through a complex problem.

"Cecile, I think after today, maybe we should limit my contact with her also.  She seems to grab onto whoever is with her.  Thinking it over, have you noticed when there are several people in her room at once, she seems to pull back from all of us?  Maybe we should only see her in groups from now on.  Limit our one on one time with her.  We could come in waves, not all at once.  Sometimes it seems like I see a glimpse of the real Soah.  Who is funny and very smart.  But, most of the time it seems like she is molding herself into what we want her to be.  A social chameleon is not the future we want for her.  Did she ever give Dr. Fisher her Book?"

"No.  She has dug her heels in and refuses to let him read it."

"When we get back this afternoon, does she have an appointment with him today?"

"Yes she does, why?"

"Because she is going to give him Book today.  No more dithering around.  If we let her, she will continue to twist us around and not deal with what has happened to her.  She has lost her chance to give Book to Fisher willingly.  We are taking it from her, and giving it to him.  As much as I hate the thought, of how hurt and mad she is going to be at me, it has to be done.  And she will listen to me about why he needs to read it!"

As Cecile and Morgan entered the room, Talia and Soah were deep in conversation.

"So, what did he bring you for supper?"

"The best food ever!  Mashed potatoes with loads of butter. A giant thick bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.  Baked beans with ruffled potato chips, and a chocolate milk shake.  And cake for dessert!  It was super yummy!"

"Soah, stand up so we can get those tags removed and be on our way.  Talia, you also have a surprise today.  And, no hints either!  There!  All done let's go!"

The drive to the salon was filled with giggles from the girls in the back seat, and laughter from the front.  Walking into the salon, Talia was whisked off to have her nails done.  Squeals of happiness over her surprise made many in the salon chuckle.  Cecile walked over the the hair washing station to have a word with the shampoo girl.  The girl shot a sympathetic look at Soah, and agreed to be gentle and calm.  Soah's name was called by the receptionist, and as Cecile was still speaking with the shampoo girl, Morgan walked with Soah to meet the stylist.  As she sat down, a worried look was etched on her face.  Morgan got her talking again, but it was hard work to keep her engaged.  A medium height, slim blonde man in his middle 20's entered the cubical.

"Hello!  I am Todd.  We have you down for a hair cut today.  Do you have any idea what kind of style you would like?"  As he pulled a comb from the cabinet behind him and moved to comb her hair, Soah flinched away from him, large fear filled eyes met his in the mirror.

"Todd, could you step out in the hall a moment with me?"

Without waiting for an answer, Morgan pulled him from the cubical. Quickly outlining why his client was afraid of him, and how to deal with her.  Moving slowly, working as much as possible in front of her, and not asking her to make large decisions.  Assuring Todd that she wasn't afraid of him, but that her hair had always been cut by her mother as a punishment, hacking it off in clumps.  The purpose of which was making her look as ugly as possible.  Dave had managed to find this out when he mentioned how her hair seemed to be chopped randomly rather than styled.  Coming to an agreement on dealing with Soah's fears, they re-entered the cubicle.

"Ok.  I am going to comb your hair.  It will help me decide how to cut and style your hair."  Standing in front of Soah, he slowly raised the comb to her hair, and began to comb.  Morgan stood holding her hand, and as nothing bad happened to her she began to relax.

Soah watched Todd in the mirror.  He was combing and thinking while talking baseball with Morgan.  Talk of stats and who was off their game this year flowed around her.  Coming to a decision about her hair, Todd announced that it was time to wash her hair. Lightly patting her shoulder, assuring her that it would be ok, and that Morgan could come with her.  Walking her to the shampoo station, Todd waved the girl away, and washed Soah's hair himself.  He was careful with her, never jostling her, or scrubbing to hard.  Sitting her chair up and handing her a towel, Soah looked into Todd's eyes.  He knew!  Morgan had told him.  Cecile was waiting in the cubicle for them to return.  Cecile started asking questions about what kind of style Todd had picked.

With Todd and Cecile engaged in conversation, Soah tugged on Morgan's hand, pulling him down to her. "Why did you tell him? Why?"  Anger and tears fought for dominance in her voice.

"He saw that you were afraid of him.  We want you to look in the mirror and see pretty hair, not chopped up hair.  In order for him to be able to work on you, he needed to know how to not scare you. I didn't go into details, just about how your mot-,  ah, your evil being cut your hair."

Sitting in the chair, disengaged from what was going on around her, Soah thought about how even getting her hair cut was an ordeal for her.  Cecile felt Soah withdraw from her surroundings and poked her, bringing her back to the present.  Cecile started drawing Soah into the conversation, first with her, adding Morgan and finally pulling Todd into the mix.  Soah was uncertain and hesitant at first, but gradually began to truly take an active part in the conversation.  Todd started dropping comments into the ongoing conversation about her hair.  Todd even managed to have Soah make a few minor decisions about her hair style.

Brushing the hair from her cape, and from around her neck, Todd then removed the cape and gave Soah's hair one last touch.  "There you go!  Do you like it?"

Soah looked in the mirror, and stood up.  Looking back at her, was a girl she hardly recognized.  Her black hair was styled short to even out all of the clumps left by..... anyway, short wispy bangs in front, the rest was cut short, it clung to her head like a shiny black cap.  Todd held up a mirror so she could see that the back was wispy like her bangs.  The pink dress and sweater brought out a bloom to her cheeks, and made her grey eyes actually look pretty.  Who was this person?

"Yes!  I do.  It doesn't look like me anymore though....."

"Sure it does.  Just a new, improved you!  It is a big change right now, but you will get used to it."  Cecile broke one of the rules and reached for Soah and pulled her in for a hug.  And for once Soah did not resist!

"Let's see if Talia's nails are done, and then off to the second part of your surprise.  Todd, thank you!  Wonderful job!"  Cecile handed Todd his tip and then took Soah's hand, and they walked to the reception area to look for Talia.

Todd looked at the tip after they left his cubicle.  She tipped him  $50.00!  On a $30.00 hair cut!  That had to be a mistake, that tip was much to generous.  Todd hurried to reception, hoping to catch them before they left.  They were still there, whew!  Catching Cecile's eye, he motioned her over to him.

"I believe you over tipped me ma'am."  He tried to hand her back the money, but she pushed his hand away.

"No, I did not over tip you.  Todd you handled the situation perfectly.  Not every stylist could have worked around her issues, you even got her to make a few small decisions.  May we make an appointment in six weeks with you?"

"Of course.  But, promise me you will not over tip me the next time.  I feel kinda guilty about taking such a large tip."

"Don't feel guilty.  You earned that tip, fair and square.  We will see you in six weeks."  Cecile walked to the cashier, and paid for Talia and Soah, collected everyone and out the door they went.

Morgan sat in the back with Soah, holding hands, not talking, just enjoying sitting with each other, drinking in each others presence.  Pulling away from her was going to hurt, like a knife in the heart.  A sharp, splintery horrid thought jammed into and thru him. Backing away from Soah, putting distance between them, the end result would be, what?  Eroding fragile connections they had built, him it would hurt, but Soah?  Inside was still a person who had enough hope and trust to still reach out.  But, pulling back, that might spell the death blow to that delicate unformed soul.  Figuring out how to give her the room, the space to grow Soah into the person she never had the chance to be, and yet not let her dangle over the precipice of the unknown.  Tightrope walkers had it easy. Holding someone tight, and secure, yet not at all restrictive.  Not to give her a model of what he wanted her to be, but let her find who she was.

Interrupting these dark and tangled thoughts, Morgan heard Cecile say, "Anyone in the mood for ice cream?"  Looking out the car window he saw they had parked in front of Brain Freezers, a locally ran, totally funky ice cream shop.  Shaking his head trying to resort his thoughts, to bring his mood into alinement with every one else.  With a wrench and a jerk, he pulled himself into the here and now.

Talia and Soah practically leaped out of the car.  Soah reached in and was pulling on Morgan's hand, wanting him to hurry.  Smiling at her happiness over something as simple as ice cream, lifted his mood.  Spilling through the door, they walked to the board sporting today's flavors.  Pointing, discussing the merits of various flavors, types of cones, single scoop versus double scoops, if double scoops are they the same flavor?  After much consideration and agony of choosing, they all had made their choices.

"Talia place your order first."  Cecile gestured to the counter and the girl waiting to take their orders.

" Chocolate dipped cone, double scoop of banana ice cream with peanut sauce please.  You're next Soah."

"Chocolate dipped cone, double scoop of smashed peppermint ice cream, chocolate sauce please.  Morgan you're up!"

"Brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce.  It is down to you Cecile."

"Single scoop peanut butter ice cream with chocolate sauce in a dish please."

Morgan took several spoons and handed them to Talia and Cecile and Soah, and kept one for himself.  Soah cocked her head at him, looking at the spoon, and back at him, trying to parse out the meaning of ordering a cone, but being given a spoon.  Talia came to Soah's rescue.

"You eat the ice cream out of the cone with a spoon.  When you have extra room in the cone, you bite off a piece.  So, it is kinda like having it in a dish, but the dish is edible and crunchy!  You'll see, and I bet you'll love it!"

Sitting together, eating delicious ice cream, chatting about nothing important, smiles all around. The mood was easy and happy.  The girls would dissolve into giggles about silly things, often their giggles would bring a chuckle from Morgan, and a slow easy smile from Cecile.  Without a doubt this ice cream trip would be a fond memory for everyone.  Finishing up their ice cream, and walking back to the car, the ride back to the hospital was overflowing with happy chatter by everyone.

Arriving back at Soah's room, Cecile soon had everyone organized, and all of Soah's belongings divided between the four of them.  Riding the elevator up to the mental health ward, then onto the teen floor.  The nurses were expecting Soah and had a room waiting for her.  Busy minutes passed with putting Soah's belongings away.  These rooms had closets, due to the nature of the care these patients received.  Bear and moose, her pillow and blanket were on the bed, and visiting hours were almost over.  Cecile and Talia both kissed and hugged Soah good-bye and then they were gone.  Before either Morgan or Soah had a chance to strike up a new conversation, Dr. Fisher walked in.  Morgan took a uncertain breath and tried to steady his nerves.

"Hello Soah!  How was your outing?  Did you have a nice time?  Morgan, it is time for you to give us some private time."

"Umm, yeah, right, but I umm, have something to give to you."  Morgan walked over to the closet and pulled out Soah's bag, opened it, and pulled out Book.  Stepping back to Dr. Fisher, he handed him Book.

"What are you doing?  You can't give him that!  It is not yours to give!  It is mine!  Give it back, now!"  Soah held out her hand to Dr. Fisher.  Anger was flushing her face, and causing her to shake, both body and voice.

"Soah!  Listen to me!  You need, you have to let the doctor read this.  He needs to know what is inside of you.  How do you expect to heal unless you will take the medicine?  The medicine is vile and horrible, but you have to keep at it to get better!"  Morgan held out his arms, willing Soah to take his medicine, wanting her to still trust him.  Did he love her enough to possibly loose her, if that is what it took to help her heal?  God, he hoped so.

Soah stood wavering still angry, looking at Morgan, feeling betrayed, feeling adrift.  When a quiet thought, broke into the anger, he loves me!  He is doing this because he loves me?  Yes, because he loves me.  As this thought clarified, Soah fell into Morgan's arms.  "Thank you.  You gave me the push to step forward that I couldn't seem to take on my own."

Patting Soah's back, his threw a prayer of thanks up to heaven.  Heaving a ragged breath in, he enjoyed holding on to her for just a few more heart beats.  Then pulling away, Soah looked up not understanding why he was letting her go.

"Open your heart to him Soah.  Let him in.  Let the doctor help you.  I will see you tomorrow.  Know that I love you."  Kissing Soah lightly on her cheek, giving her one last quick hug, Morgan left Soah with Dr. Fisher.    

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