Heidi sat in her favorite place among the dunes, watching the waves hit the beach and disappear back into the ocean, the lapping sound they created soothing her and making her feel at peace, as did the silence that occurred between each set of waves. The color of the ocean was a magnificent blue, with tinges of green every now and then in different spots along the water's surface. It was seven o'clock in the evening, the best time to sit and watch the ocean. There was nobody walking on the beach at this time, so it was perfect to enjoy the landscape and the scenery and snap a few pictures without people getting in the way. Heidi loved it. In a couple of hours she would come back here and watch the sunset, which was just as amazing as the view was right now.
She was sat alone, the rest of the team back at her and Dean's house. Dean was in the middle of a game of volleyball along with Lachie, Chase and Jordan when she left. Lara was the referee and Vince and Michelle were observing, as well as watching the barbecue. Heidi had left them all to it and silently wandered off, knowing where she wanted to go. It wasn't far away, she could see them on the beach running around and throwing the ball over the net, little stick figures in the distance, but it was far enough away to be quiet. She couldn't hear their shouting and screaming, and Lara blowing the whistle whenever a team scored a point. All she could hear was the ocean and the silence. She knew that eventually they would notice she was gone and come looking for her, but right now she enjoyed the isolation and the time to think that this secluded spot gave her.
This was the first time in a while that she had been able to just escape from everything that had happened in her life and just forget about it. It was all still fresh in her mind, like it was yesterday that her world had come crashing down for the second time. The day that she found out that Lara had slept with Mack. In reality it was a year ago and since then the team had managed to find their feet again and get back on track. There were still some trying and awkward times where the past would be remembered or moments when they would all start fighting again, but that had also happened before the team had problems, not just now. However they couldn't take the credit for sorting themselves out after the whole thing with Lara, no, that had to go to Head Office and the team counsellor that the Emergency Services Minister had insisted the team see in order to become qualified as a proper team again.
Heidi didn't know what went down between Lara and the team, the day they confronted her about her confession. She didn't want to know. She didn't want the details of what had happened between her and Mack, and she didn't want excuses. Dean had given her a brief rundown about what had gone on, but Heidi had stopped him when he started to tell her what Lara had said. She never wanted to know. She had forgiven Lara for cheating with Mack, and knew there was no point in dwelling on it, considering it was over three years ago. Heidi now just wanted to move on with her life, and try to get back to normal, even though everyone knew that they would never be able to go back to their life before.
They had stopped their counseling sessions two months ago, and since then things had been pretty good. Lara had returned to the team after taking a four month hiatus until the whole situation calmed down, and everyone could work with her again. The trust issues were the biggest part of the therapy, and they still remained after the counselor decided to clear them to go back to work as a team, knowing that therapy couldn't fix everything but he had faith that they would overcome this obstacle in time. The whole team had been working on it and things had been going well. The only issue that the counselor had was the relationship between Dean and Lara, and he recommended that Lara be paired with someone else other than Dean in the future, because their problems lay deeper then Lara's problems with anyone else on the team, including Heidi. However things there had improved over the past two months as well, so all in all as a team and as individuals they were all doing better and the counselor was impressed and happy with the progression they had made.
Despite all this happiness and relief, Heidi was still struggling a lot with her personal recovery over what had happened to her, especially since they saw the police report that was released three weeks ago on television. Since then she had been upset and distant with everybody, apart from Dean. She remembered the promise she had made him about not keeping secrets and so had known that she couldn't keep herself locked up when she was with him. So she had told him everything, but no matter how much she told him and how many times she let herself break down about it in front of him, she still felt like she was all alone in dealing with it and felt like nobody would ever understand enough to help her. And there was no way for her to help them understand.
She heard footsteps behind her, and then felt somebody lay their hand on her shoulder, and recognized the touch. He was still all sweaty from the volleyball game and was breathing hard like he had just sprinted from their house all the way to where she was.
Heidi: 'Who won?'
Dean: 'Who do you think?'
Heidi: 'Chase and Jordan.'
Dean: 'Right all the time. I don't know how they do it but we will beat them eventually.'
Heidi: 'Yeah, you will. All it takes is a little faith.'
Dean: 'I came to tell you that we're ready to eat.'
Dean: 'You alright?'
Dean: 'You thinking about him again.'
Heidi: 'Yeah. Its hard not to. I see him every time I close my eyes. But this time, the images don't scare me like they used to, whenever I thought about him after he attacked me. They make me sad, but I wish they didn't.'
Dean: 'It'll take time for them to disappear, and as for not wanting to like them, that will take time as well. Once upon a time Heidi, you loved him. Once upon a time you were happy and thought you would be together forever. That may not have been the case, and he may have caused all of our problems, but the fact still remains that you loved him. And now that he's dead, all of the good memories are there in your mind, and even though you don't want to think about them the only way to make them go away is to confront them, no matter how painful it is. Just remember that I am there with you.'
Heidi let a few tears fall as she listened to Dean's words and knew that he was right. She thought he was the one, and she loved him so much that despite everything he did to her, knowing that she would never see him again hurt her so much more than what he did to her.
Dean gave her a few minutes to gather her thoughts, and then took her hand to help her up. He gave a hug and kept her in his hold as they started walking back to their house and their team, Heidi using this time to let some more tears make their tracks down her face before composing herself so no one, except Dean, would know that she had been crying, wanting to remember this day as a happy day, the day where they all started their lives as the new team they had become, leaving their old, broken one behind.