Title: The World Turned Upside Down
Author: CGB (email@example.com)
Category: The Sopranos (Dr Melfi)
Rating: PG - 13
Archive: If you have a Sopranos archive please tell me about it!
Disclaimer: Much respect to Mr Chase and HBO
Spoilers: Up to Big Girls Don't Cry.
Summary: "I know where you're going with this," she says.
Set in the early second season after Tony tells Dr Melfi that it's safe to come out of hiding but before she takes him on as a patient again.
"You woke up this morning, the world turned upside down" -
She's touching her face, as if she's expecting lines there, grooves in the patterns her fingers follow.
Her fingertips are cold. She slips her hand beneath her jacket and places it on her belly. When it is warm again she trails it down the side of her face, relentlessly pushing her hair behind her ear.
You are giving yourself agency, she reminds herself. You are telling your body that your hands are instruments of protection.
There are other hands, his hands, that suggest other things, that remind her of what hands are capable of.
There is his hand grabbing her wrist. There is his large hand, tight around her wrist, holding her down.
She started touching her face then. She was in a hotel in New Hampshire and she was too scared to call her mom. The woman in the room next door played The Supremes. "Everywhere I turn, seems like everything I see, reflects the love that used to be... "
After he grabbed her hand she sat in the car, unable to move, staring at the rear-view mirror. The keys sat in the ignition half turned, and the radio was on. She turned it off again, rubbed her wrists and made star bursts with her hands to get the blood flowing.
He said it was OK and she knew she was supposed to understand that, to understand the connection he makes with her when he tells her to trust him.
But she sat in the car with her hands cold and her wrist aching where he grasped it too hard. She knew then and she knows now that she can't outrun her life. She's been trying since she was ten.
She drove the car back to her practice and changed the furniture around. She made phone calls and Deborah's mother told her that Deborah cut her veins open and bled to death in the bath.
In the bathroom mirror she studied the lines in her face glistening under smeared tears.
She's scared but Deborah's dead.
She wiped her nose and splashed water on her face and called Elliot.
There was a time when they didn't live far from here. She was ten when they heard gun shots nearby and her mother pushed her and her two brothers under the table. Pete and Nicky cried. The look on their mother's face was worse than the sounds of gunfire and screaming. Her mother held them against her shoulders.
Jennifer bit her lip, too scared for tears.
When the shouting had stopped and the blue flash of the sirens no longer lit up the kitchen sideboard, her mother insisted they were moving out.
"We're going," she told their father. "Whether you come with us or not."
"Your mother was a strong woman," Elliot says.
"I know where you're going with this," she says. "You didn't want to see her afraid. You always thought she could protect you but even she knew she couldn't. You saw that."
*Hand across her eyes, fingers down the side of her face.*
"I can look after myself."
"And you should."
When she got home again she was surprised to find it just as she had left it. No drawers opened or upturned. No locks broken or forced. Glass in the windows intact.
She found nail scissors and cut her fingernails. She ran short nails through unwashed hair, thinking about unseen dirt and oils traveling from her fingers to her follicles.
She washed her hands. Once. Once again.
He tried to kiss her once and she wasn't scared. He's twice her size and she wasn't scared.
When the Crime Victims Unit sent her a boy for counselling who had been mugged at gunpoint, she asked him if he was still scared. He said he wasn't afraid because he knew now these things would happen and he would come out the other side.
"I want to be all these things," she tells Elliot. "I want to be professional. I want to help people. I want to be strong."
"You do," he says. "And you are."
*Hair tucked behind her ear, finger tips sliding along the rim of her glasses.*
She touches her face and yes, she's still there.
She's still there.
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