an unnoticed friend: Thank you so much for your review... I still find it amazing that I could touch someone else's life with this story... thank you for sharing that with me. Also thank you for your prayers. It means a lot that you would take time to pray for someone you don't really know. hugs thanks for reading.

littledebbie1990: Thanks for reading and for your prayers.

mistressKC: Yup. I just hope this experience will continue to draw me closer to Him... though, right now, I really don't see how it can't. Thanks again for you support. God bless.

Mandi-Kiley: awww... thank you so much! That is so sweet. Thank you for your prayers...and compliments. I really don't see myself as strong... just a girl trying to find her way to healing the only way she knows how. shrug I don't know if that's strong.... But I guess I am stronger then I used to be.

"God is watching over you as always. And if you think He'd ever leave you, you'd better think again."


The memories felt real tonight. It seemed they gathered strength from the darkness and with their replenished strength had decided to prey on her weak mind. The regret that came with the memories hit her hard, causing tears to flow from her eyes onto her pillow. There was so much she should have done differently...

But she couldn't go there, not now. She didn't want to be alone tonight, and she knew from experience that that's where those thoughts would lead her. Yet, at the same time, she couldn't avoid them. The regret came with the memories and the memories wouldn't let her be. She didn't want to stay up crying alone all night. She knew she needed to talk to someone.

Marie's choices were few. In fact, the only people she felt she could turn to were her parents. She had turned to them several times before, excluding the time she first told them, and they had proved to be kind and comforting. She certainly couldn't turn to Tidus again. Ever since she had given him her vague version of what had happened, Marie regretted it. She couldn't quite put her finger on why, but she was sure it had to something to do with the protectiveness she felt for her little brother. She couldn't protect him from much, but from this, her pain, she most certainly could.

Marie hesitantly got up out of her bed. Yes, she had gone to her parents many times before and they had been kind, but she couldn't help but fear that she was turning to them too much. True, she had nowhere else to go, but still. She didn't want to give them more then they could handle or be an annoying brat by repeatedly by complaining about the same pain, the same memories, over and over again.

But this time is differently, Marie told herself quietly as she made her way over to the stairs that led out of her room and into the open hallway. Tonight a memory she had told no one, a memory she had chosen to forget, had decided to haunt her. She wanted to get the memory out in the open, to tell someone of her regret, the perhaps it might be easier to deal with. She hoped so anyway.

Putting her "brave-I'm-okay" face on, Marie headed down the stairs and into the living room where her parents sat.

"Marie? What are you doing up?" Then, noticing her tear-stained face, a look of concern entered her father's eyes. "Are you okay? What's wrong?"

Somehow, it seemed that every time she attempted to put a strong, brave face on, it would immediately shatter into a million pieces as soon as someone who genuinely cared asked her if she was okay. Marie burst into tears.

"After we came in, we went into the living room and he took pictures. Everyone else was in the kitchen." Marie clung onto the railing at the end of the stairs as she cried hard enough to make herself nauseous. It was a wonder her parents understood what she was saying. "He wanted me to..." She began crying unintelligibly at the thought of the memory.

"Wait. Everyone else was in the kitchen? Why didn't you just go there? Why did you stay in the living room with him?"

"I don't know..." Marie cried, but not as hard. "I don't know." She sat down on the bottom step with her head in her hands.

"She was scared, honey." Her father said from the living room couch. Mom looked back at him and seemed to agree.

"It's always there." Marie said quietly, breaking the short silence. "In the back of my head, I always remember. There isn't a day that I don't." She looked up at her mother with grief stricken eyes. Mom had been where she was right now... How had Mom gotten through it?

"Marie, you can't let it overwhelm you like that. It'll make you bitter. You just need to get over this." Mom sighed.

Marie nodded as tears came anew. Quickly, she wiped them away. Showing herself to be okay again and calm, Marie said goodnight to her parents and headed back to bed.

Crawling back under her sheets, Marie sighed wearily. She didn't want to be bitter. She didn't want the memories to overwhelm her either. I need to get over this, Marie thought resolutely. But how do I do that?

With these thoughts flooding her mind, Marie fell into a restless sleep.


A/N: Okay... this chapter was uber short... and for that I apologize. I actually did finish this chapter before the 4th of July... but I didn't feel like I was done with it... I'm still not sure about it...but I don't think there's anything else I can do with it or add to it.

So yeah... I know exactly what I'm doing for the next chapter but I'm not sure when it'll be up... I'm gonna shoot for late August/early September. Thanks again for the prayers everyone. They're very much needed and appreciated.