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Twylite stared at Dr. Duplessis' office door, wondering whether she should knock or run. Dr. Duplessis had been her doctor for the last six years, and was like a big sister. They could talk about anything, and sometimes Twylite would hang out at her office even when she didn't have an appointment.

She wasn't sure if she wanted anyone to know what had just happened to her, but Dr. Duplessis seemed to be the safest bet. The doctor wouldn't judge her. Although she would be disappointed in her, she wouldn't yell at her like her momma and daddy would. Speaking of her parents, how was she going to call them? Her backpack was still in Peanut's car.

How could he rape her and then leave her like that? Had it not been for the cab in the Winn Dixie parking lot a mile away, she didn't know how she would have gotten to the doctor's office

Now here she was, so close, yet so far. She stood at the door, afraid to knock. Afraid to face the truth. Afraid to recount what happened nearly an hour and a half ago. She pulled at her torn shirt, trying her best to keep herself covered.

"Stop being stupid and just open the door," she told herself quietly. "Get some damned help!"

She shook her head. It was almost nine o'clock. There was no chance that Dr. Duplessis could still be at work that time of night. Maybe she'd just go home and face the music.


They came from the other side of the door.

The doctor was there after all!

Suddenly, panic struck. Her mind was being made up for her way too fast. She still hadn't convinced herself that she was ready to talk to anyone, but soon someone would take one look at her and ask what happened. She wanted to run, but her weakness wouldn't allow her. Instead, it turned her feet into lead, keeping her planted in that hallway, leaning and sobbing against the wall.

The voices had reached the hallway. Two women were laughing, but within seconds the laughing stopped.

"Twylite?" a voice asked.

She knew it was the doctor, but she couldn't answer. She tried, but only louder sobs surfaced.

Someone touched her shoulders, but she snatched away as if the lady's fingers were made of white-hot steel.

"Baby? You okay?" an older woman's voice asked.

Twylite was sure that voice came from Dr. Duplessis's nurse, Ms. Kay, but she couldn't bring herself to look up. Neither woman said anything for a minute. She guessed they were standing there watching her, wondering what they should say.

"Twylite, sweetie," Dr. Duplessis beckoned, gently pulling her by the shoulders. Twylite snatched away again, but the doctor was undeterred. She guided her into the office anyway. "Come sit down and talk to me."

Twylite did as she was told, but kept her head down and face covered, afraid of what she would reveal if she looked Dr. Duplessis in the eyes. She hadn't even looked in the mirror. It wasn't hard to know that her once pretty face was now beaten, burned and tear-stained. Why look at something like that?

Dr. Duplessis guided her to the sofa in her waiting room. Twylite's hands remained over her face. She knew she couldn't hide her wounds forever, but she would delay the inevitable for as long as she could.

"Ms. Kay, can you get her a cold drink or something?" Dr. Duplessis asked. "Twylite, you want something to drink?"

She shook her head no and continued sobbing.

"Baby, what happened to your clothes?" Ms. Kay asked. "What happened to you?"

Twylite sighed and uncovered her face. The moment had come. Both women gasped and covered their mouths when they took in the horror that had overtaken the young girl's beauty.