Wall, ugly chicken clock, other wall, repeat. Her eyes bounced back and forth trying not to look at the woman in front of her. This was the third court appointed shrink she’d been to and she wasn’t about to change her tactic. Avoidance always made them go back and tell the judge they couldn’t do it. Tick. Tick. Tick. That clock was loud too, not just ugly. It was fucking loud.
“Eve.” the woman’s voice was warm, but tinged with impatience. She didn’t look up. Eve knew she’d only get patronizing, insincere looks if she did. This wasn’t the first session she’d been to. She had already been through this twice with the other shrinks; that tone was nothing new. She heard the rustle of the legal pad get jostled as the woman flexed her ankles and re-crossed her legs, no doubt sore from sitting the way she did all day.
“Eve. You promised you would co-operate. It was one of the conditions set by the court. In order for me to report to them my opinion, you need to talk to me.” The woman (what was her name again?) reminded her, a hard tone entering her voice.
“I am not crazy.” Eve blurted out, just as the shrink began to speak again.
“No one said you were.” Indifference. When Eve finally looked up to gauge the woman’s expression all that she saw was indifference.
“Obviously they do or I wouldn’t be here, wasting both of our time.” she replied boredly, quickly building up the wall that she’d carelessly begun to let slip.
“People are worried Eve. They want answers. You can’t blame them for that.”
“What does it matter?” she asked looking away again, “I’m stuck. I’m locked up. I can’t hurt anyone anymore.”
“That doesn’t mean that this is over. Life still goes on. Elliot and his family are picking up the pieces. They’re trying to move on and you should too.”
“Since when do I have the right to move on.” she snapped bitterly, fingers tugging at the sleeve of her ugly orange jumpsuit. What she was wearing should have been all the evidence this woman needed to see that she didn’t deserve to move on.
Eve made the mistake then, of looking at her. There was a mix of emotion on her face, sadness a bit of sympathy and something else that she didn’t catch because she looked away too quickly. Mistake. Mistake. Mistake. A flood of guilt and hurt settled in her chest and shattered the fragile barrier she’d put up to keep the overwhelmingly dull ache away.
“Eve.” Teeth clenched she didn’t reply, “Eve?”
“Eve of course you deserve to move on. You need to understand and reflect on your actions and you need to be properly punished for what you did, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to move on.” the woman’s voice had grown increasingly soft and it only made Eve feel worse. Damn. She should have been able to hold out longer than this.
“Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about what happened.”
There it was. This woman didn’t want her to move on or reflect. This woman didn’t care about her. All she cared about was what happened to Elliot. At least the other shrinks had been forward about what they wanted. This stupid woman had to go and make her have a shred of doubt about all the self-deprecating thoughts that had been overwhelming her. For a moment Eve had had hope.
Sniffling she rubbed her nose against the rough sleeve of her jumpsuit and damned all her tears to the deepest pits of hell. She was supposed to be a rock. Emotionless. This was the complete opposite.
“You must have read the paper or watched the news. You don’t need me to tell you anything.”
“I want to hear it from you. I want to hear your story. Will you please talk to me?”
Persistent, Eve had to give that to her. This woman was at least persistent. They were already on their sixth session and she still hadn’t given up. Instead of answering, Eve turned her entire body away, a clear indication that she was done talking for the day.
Two more sessions went by in the blink of an eye. And during those sessions Eve hadn’t spoken a word. It was much easier to not break if she just became completely unresponsive. By the ninth session though, both of them had gotten tired of it. They’d started off as usual, but after the initial questioning Scarlet didn’t try anymore. Instead she put her legal pad down and stretched. That wasn’t what caught Eve’s attention. It was when scarlet pushed a foot to the back of her heel and slid one of her shoes off. Then the other came off followed by a short sigh of relief.
“What are you doing?”
At the wide smile that split across Scarlet’s face, Eve realized she’d mistakenly just lost their little stand-off. Instead of reacting the way Eve expected, she stretched herself out as best should could on the arm chair and put her arms behind her head.
“Well since you aren’t being cooperative I might as well use my time for something. I’m going to take a nap.”
“You can do that?” Eve gaped at her.
“Why not? Are you going to tell on me?” Scarlet grinned at her. Eve stared at her uncertainly.
“Are you ready to talk? Because if you are I’m still ready to listen.” Scarlet sat up with a welcoming smile.
“No.” she answered shortly.
“Well, then I’m going to take that nap. You can wake me up when you’re ready to talk or when our time is over. Whichever comes first.” With that she settled back into her resting position and shut her eyes.
Eve watched her apprehensively was this woman actually going to nap? Was that even allowed? Who would believe you if you told anyways she’s the one with all the power here, a voice from her head reminded her. Shaking that thought away she gnawed at the inside of her lip trying to decide what to do. Let this woman have the peace and quiet for a good nap? Talk? Would she even listen if Eve talked?
“If I talk,” Eve hesitated before continuing, “Are you going to listen? No one has listened so far. I wonder. Are you going to listen or just let yourself draw all the conclusions before I tell you?”
With a wide grin Scarlet opened her eyes and sat up. Eve bit down on a snarky remark picking at her clothes, a habit she normally displayed when nervous. Scarlet had thought she’d won. This was a victory for her. Ehh. Let her have it, the voice waved Eve’s thoughts away nonchalantly.
“Yes. I promise to listen to your side of the story.” Scarlet told her with a warm reassuring tone in her voice.
Looking at her with one last assessing stare Eve sighed and slumped down in her seat, “okay,” she said defeated, “I guess it started somewhere this year. I can’t really give you a time period because with this kind of thing, you don’t notice the change. It’s so gradual that you don’t notice and when you do it’s because of the long, long build up finally causing the dam to break.”
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