As I waited alone in Dr Harpers office I gazed around the room, closely studying all of objects inside of it for what felt like the first time. Typically when I was in a counseling session I stayed in a protective haze and didn’t pay much attention to anything other than the questions I was being asked. As my eyes took in the furniture and the decorations I couldn’t help but take note that compared to most Doctors offices, this was very different.
Instead of white walls covered in personal attributes like diplomas and the various other achievements you would usually find in a psychiatrists office, there were several pictures of landscapes and scenery. Deep, dark, forests beside clear, still lakes. There was one in particular that I was drawn to of a tall, old oak tree. It was set in a shadowy fall forest and the colours of the leaves were deep and rich, depicting the season of autumn perfectly.
Her desk, though cluttered with papers, held no computer, only a pad of paper (now blank) and a ball point pen. Even her name plaque was wood, her name carved deep into the grain instead of the usual gold or silver plated you would expect.
Three of the walls were painted a warm brown, and the fourth wall was entirely bricked creating a cozy and warm environment. There was even a fireplace. No shit – this was not the average therapist’s office. This however, did not come as a surprise for me; I already knew that Dr. Harper was anything but average.
I could hear her in the hall as I inspected the room, talking to a nurse whose voice I didn't recognize. The nurse was obviously trying to get some gossip out of her about me and a few fellow patients. Dr. Harper was either oblivious or smart enough to ignore her as every attempt the nurse made, Dr. Harper quickly thwarted and changed topic. Finally I heard her excuse herself and enter the room, closing the door quietly behind me.
“Well Bella.” She said breathlessly. “Sorry about that…the poor girl doesn't know how to take a hint.”
She crossed the room to the desk in front of me and gave me warm friendly smile. She was in her early thirties, and I always thought she was subtly pretty. Her hair was deep auburn brown like mine but she wore hers in a short contemporary bob. She always wore comfortable, but professional clothes and she seemed to have an extensive shoe collection because I don’t think I ever saw her wear the same pair twice.
Taking a seat in her chair, she opened a drawer in her desk and removed a pair of thick rimmed glasses. She slid them over her ears and onto her nose, positioning them quietly before gazing up at me again.
“Now.” She smiled. “Eventful day, huh?”
I nodded and pressed on my stomach in attempt to quiet the butterflies that were still fluttering around joyously. I couldn’t stop playing and replaying the events of the day in my mind and anytime I recalled Edward’s face or how his lips felt on mine the butterflies would reappear all over again in a pleasant but nauseating swarm.
“Well it doesn’t take a genius to see his presence today had quite an effect on you. You are practically glowing.” Her warm expression reminded me of the way a mother would look when pleased with her daughter. Not that I would know that look from experience.
Peering down to her blank pad of paper, Dr. Harper picked up her ball point pen and began scribbling, or as she liked to call it, taking notes.
This reminded me of another odd quirk of Dr Harper’s; her openness about her medical notes. Usually, in therapy sessions with other doctors, if they so much as caught me glancing towards their notes I would be scolded or they would make every attempt to hide them from me. Dr. Harper however, made a point when she first caught me looking, to read aloud everything she had written. She challenged me that if I ever wanted to know, all I had to do was ask. I never did, nor did I intend too, but it was always a comfort to know I could if I wanted to. It made me trust her that much more.
“So,” She said bluntly, glancing up at me from behind her glasses, her warm eyes kind and friendly. “How are you feeling?”
I loved when Dr. Harper asked me this question. Again, with most doctors the question itself would seem cold and impersonal. Whereas with her, her tone and her body language gave the impression she actually gave a shit.
I heaved a sigh and tried to clear my head of any anxiety I might have of telling her every detail of the day. I knew she was expecting me to spill my guts and I was also aware I should do what was expected of me if I wanted to keep up the visits from Edward. I cracked my knuckles and then launched into a thorough description of the day’s events. I did not hold back and I disclosed every little detail without hesitation. I knew I could trust Dr. Harper, I always told her everything.
Well, almost everything. I have never once mentioned what I was about to tell her now.
“Um..so there is something I've been wanting to discuss with your for some time now.” I mumbled, stalling. I stared down at my hands and twisted them anxiously.
Dr. Harper didn't look up from her notepad; instead she continued to scribble furiously without speaking. I continued, gulping loudly.
Here goes nothing, I thought as my insides tightened uncomfortably making me feel sick to my stomach.
“I know we've been over..that day..in school before.” I paused, eyeing her for a reaction. “But I didn't tell you the entire story.”
We had discussed the reason I had been kicked out of Forks High School during the first week I came to Crossroads, but it had mostly been her talking and asking for details whilst I sat quietly, deep in thought letting her assume answers to her own questions.
I now felt extremely guilty for that. I should have known I could trust her, she had been so good to me and I had been purposely holding back. I could only hope she wouldn’t look down on me for my lack of full disclosure.
“Mr. Bennett and I...I didn't...What I mean to say is I didn't..” I trailed off, nervously, my words running away from me.
“You didn't initiate it, Bella?” She asked sounding calm and professional. She never stopped writing notes and did not look up once.
“....No.” I whispered with a deep breath and a sigh. I felt like several pounds had been lifted from my shoulders. I looked up at her hesitantly and was surprised to see her grinning at me.
“Well!” She slammed her pen down on to her desk loudly, making me jump. “Finally!”
I blinked confused. “Finally?”
She nodded, her grin stretching even wider, her laugh lines crinkling happily.
“Finally!” she exclaimed again, clapping her hands together. “You've finally admitted it wasn't your fault! My dear child..do have any idea how long I’ve been waiting to hear this?”
I shook my head, unsure of anything let alone her question.
“Quite some time.” She replied.
Dr. Harper stood up from her chair and made her way round the desk to my chair. Kneeling down to my height, she removed her glasses and looked straight into my eyes, reading my face.
“I'm terribly proud of you today.” She said quietly. “You've shown great improvement.”
She smiled once more then with a gentle pat on my shoulder, she stood and turned towards her desk.
“Of course..this is not all credited to Soap..is it? I have a feeling Edward himself is due some applause as well?” She turned her head to see me nod once then turned back to face the window behind her desk.
“Yes.” I agreed again quietly.
She placed her glasses silently on the desk and then stood there for a while before finally letting out a sigh.“Same time next week Bella?” She asked, still not facing me.
I wasn't sure if this was a dismissal or not so I made a point to stand.
“Um…sure. Next week.” I shrugged biting my lip anxiously. Was she going to tell the school? My father? My mother? Would I get released? Would Mr. Bennett get fired? Would I have to make an official police statement? All of these thoughts were rushing through my mind and I wanted to ask her what would happen but I was too nervous.
I cautiously crossed the room, and my arm was outstretched towards the doorknob when Dr. Harper spoke again.
“Oh and Bella?”
I turned to find her back in her seat behind her desk shuffling through papers.
“Yes?” I asked.
“I will be contacting the school and alerting them of this news. You will most likely have to make an official statement but I will be there when this happens. I’m sure your little pixie looking friend will be around to fill you in on all the gossip going around at school. But just in case she gets sick and can’t come for a visit,” She lifted her head and winked at me mischievously, “I'll be sure to let you know.”
I smiled lightly at the thought of Alice and wondered how Dr. Harper knew she was my source for outside gossip. I assumed the nurses were probably eavesdropping on every little conversation Alice and I had during her visit.
I didn’t mind. I was just thrilled that I had been brave enough to turn in Mr. Bennett and he would never be allowed to do this to anyone ever again.
Almost a week had passed since Edwards visit and my breakthrough session with Dr. Harper. I had heard nothing from her or Alice and though I was curious, I took this as a good sign and instead focused my attention on Soap and his training.
Things were going well and as I lay on my bed gently stroking Soap’s head as he slept soundly on my stomach, I couldn’t help but think about Edward.
My Gamer. My Love.
I hadn’t realized how much I missed him until he was back in my life. The world seemed a happier place to live in now that I knew he was a part of it again. He even made my existence this horrible institute they called a care center, with its mundane white and beige walls, and its dreary dust encrusted drab pink furnishings, more bearable. I hardly noticed the heavy feeling of suffocating depression anymore. I had my Edward back.
Even my fellow patients didn't seem to bother me as much anymore. Whereas before I would feel alone and helpless surrounded by people to whom I referred to as “FREAKS” in my mind. I now found them all a little bit easier to cope with. If I were honest with myself I could even say I considered some of them to be friends.
For example, there was a young woman with long blonde hair named Erin, who stuck out most in my mind. When I had first arrived she had greeted me by bursting into my room at 2am screaming at the top of her lungs.
“Jazz Hands!” She cried. “Meat Curtains!!! MR POTATO HEAD? ASS GRENADES!!!”
I had quickly written her off as clinically insane as I watched her be dragged away by the nurses who acted like this was a normal occurrence. As I fell back asleep I hoped I never had to run in to her again.
Then one morning, after the breakthrough, I actually took a moment to speak to her. It was during breakfast and she approached me whilst I sat alone, as usual, eating with Soap tucked away in my hoodie. I wasn’t supposed to have him in the cafeteria but I couldn’t just leave him so I was trying to be extra careful not to bring attention to myself. Erin must have seen him because she made a bee line for me and sat down in the empty seat to my right. She stared at the moving bump in my hooded sweatshirt and gave a little laugh when Soap poked his head out. She reached over and patted him softy and then looked up at me with bright, clear, intelligent eyes.
When she started talking I was completely taken aback by how lucid and normal she seemed. She even apologized for my less than warm welcome my first night here.
“I'm a bit of a goofball!” She shrugged, grinning sheepishly as if this was explanation for her strange behavior. Before I could inquire further our conversation was abruptly ended when she swung suddenly around in her chair.
“Belly button lint? CHEESE WHIZ!” She shrieked loudly, catching the attention of the attendants.
She twirled her chair back to face me and grabbed at my shoulders causing me to scream in fright.
“Plus!” She let one hand of hers free to point up as if proving a point. “They give you extra drugs if you’re EXTRA crazy!”
She winked wickedly and with that she took off parading down the hallway. Her nightdress open at the back, exposing her bare behind.
“CRABCAKES!” She screamed off in the distance and I chuckled to myself.
Goofball or not, I thought, the girl was no idiot.
I smiled to myself as I lay in bed remembering how the nurses had to chase her down before she finally calmed enough for them to take her back to her room. I ran my fingers over Soaps soft fur and closed my eyes letting my mind wander. I reached my free hand into my pocket and wrapped my hand around the small cell phone Edward had given me. Even though it wasn't him, it was enough of a reminder that he was close if I needed him.
I gasped in shock when the little plastic rectangle buzzed in my hand.
I carefully lifted it out of it's hiding place and flipped it open my eyes constantly checking the doorway to make sure no one was outside.
Miss U. Love UR Spklepuss. X
I felt myself swoon at the sight of it and I blushed profusely. Clinging onto the edge of the bed I felt my heart pounding wildly which was causing me to feel dizzy. I never pegged myself to be the type of girl who'd faint from a text, but there I was. Reading, re reading it over and over again. The letters never changed and neither did my reaction.
Oh god...I'm turning into a sap! I thought as I adjusted the sleeping Soap so I could quickly tap in my reply.