Client 0013897

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by lxngdon, Nov 30, 2015.

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    • 1x1 between Vorian and LYDIA

      17 | JUNIOR

      17 | JUNIOR
    #1 lxngdon, Nov 30, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2016

    "Aspen, Mom wants you to go down to her clinic," said Lewis, leaning against Aspen's doorframe. "She wants you to get her grocery list and go shopping, then pick up Kylie from dance class."

    "You know," said Aspen, not looking away from her notes, but pointing her pen at her twin brother. "I bet she told you to do all this, but you just want to play Call of Duty like your mindless friends."

    "Shit, she's onto me," said Lewis, snapping his fingers. "You know, sometimes I forget you got Mom's psychologist gene and can tell when people lie."

    "Or maybe, you forgot you have the brain capacity of a three year old and the lying skills of Pinocchio," said Aspen heatedly, snapping her notebook closed. She slid off her bed, shrugged on her black leather jacket and purse and slapped her brother on the arm as she passed. "I'll do it, but you owe me."

    "Sure," said Lewis, returning to his own bedroom. Aspen knew she would never get a favour out of her brother, but someone had to be the responsible one in the house. Carstairs men were immature -- Lewis was only good at football and video games, and her father owned a chain of toystores in the area. The younger Carstairs girls were too young to be considered sensible, so it was up to Aspen and Bethany to keep the family together.

    Aspen drove the car she shared with her brother to Dr Bethany Carstairs' psychiatric clinic on the Main Street of their town. She parked behind the building, reveling in the power she attained from being the doctor's daughter, and walked into the clinic just as her mother walked out of her therapy room with a teenage boy she vaguely recognised from school. He had long brown hair that seemed to be hiding his face.
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    Riley Stonewright muttered to himself as he quickly puts on his heavy pea coat. He looked over the quiet, earthen-tone room and the equally quiet woman sitting in it. Doctor Carstairs' office was as appealing an a doctor's office can get, yet Riley felt naked and cold. When that woman looked at, no, looked through him, he could feel that which he had so hidden away stirring up to the surface. How could Riley explain that the psychologist did the very opposite of help him? Last time he had explained the way he saw people in his mind's eye it hadn't ended well.

    Riley turned and left the room, feeling the doctor's presence just behind him. As the two left the office and returned to the hallway, the high pitched ding of the door's bell broke the silence. Standing in the doorway was the silhouette of a teenaged girl. As his eyes adjusted to the oddly-bright-for-Washington-state sunlight, Riley recognized the figure as Aspen Carstairs, the doctor's daughter. With a familiar turning of his stomach, flashes of high pitched giggling and Starbucks cups moved through his head as though Aspen had some telepathic aura. Riley quickened his pace, stepped past Aspen and slipped out the door before it closed.

    The crisp, misty air hit his face and Riley could breath again. Riley walked down the concrete porch of the business park, nearing the back of the building. When he turned the corner, he opened his coat and dug out the cigarette he had been mentally pushing away for weeks. Leaning against the wet brick wall, he stared back and forth from the light to the cigarette, to the lighter again. With a sigh of someone much older than he had any right to sound, Riley lit the cigarette and took a long drag.​

    "Aspen, I asked Lewis to come," said Dr Carstairs.

    "Well, Lewis is a prat," said Aspen, shrugging nonchalantly.

    "Aspen, don't talk about your brother like that," scolded Bethany. She fished around in her pocket until she extracted her shopping list, passed the creased paper to her daughter and scratched her nose, a habit she adopted when she was stressed. "Sorry about this, but can you get this stuff from the store and pick up Kylie from ballet? She finishes at five, and I have three more clients before I come home."

    "Sure, Mom," said Aspen, nodding. "It's no problem, I was getting a head start on my homework anyway."

    Bethany smiled and kissed her daughter on the forehead. "Thank you, Aspen, you're such a big help."

    Aspen smiled proudly. She loved pleasing her parents and teachers.

    The sun was miraculously out, pouring very weak sunlight down upon the tiny Washington town. Aspen reveled in the light. Heat, a phenomenon the tiny town rarely experienced. It made the football team suffer when they played, and the crowd pissed when they sat on a wet bench for a ridiculous period of time just to see their sons, brothers and boyfriends lose.

    The grocery store was a few stores down from Dr Carstairs' clinic, so Aspen decided to walk to pick up the milk, bread and stuff for dinner. It wasn't much, anyway. As Aspen stupidly took out her phone to play Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana through her headphones while she was walking, she lost her sure footing on the wet sidewalk and feel to her knees. Her keys slipped out of her hands, landing at the feet of the teenage boy from her mother's clinic.
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    The recent heatwave was a thorn in Riley's side. It was a grueling task to walk to school in the ever-present humidity in of itself, now the sun had to add to his plight? Catching himself Riley closed his eyes and tried to remember what it was Lao Tzu had said about taking things personally... Fuck it. Lao Tzu didn't live in Washington during August.

    A scratchy jingle of metal sliding on pavement pulled Riley into reality, eyes darting to the source of the sound. Car keys lay at his feet and a girl, Aspen again, fallen a few yards up the narrow side street. She looked up at him, lingering on the cigarette butt hanging from his fingers, then down to her keys. Riley was tempted to squash out the cigarette on her keys and walk away. The thought brought the beginnings of smile to his lips. Thinking better of it, he slowly lowered himself down to reach the keys, then rising at the same time as the girl.

    Uncertainty filled Riley's head. Should he reach out with the keys, inviting her forward? That would lead to conversation, thanks would probably be extended and it too would have to be answered. Should he just wait for her to walk up to him, holding the keys loosely at his side? That's ridiculously, you picked them up, you can't not acknowledge them further. He could leave the keys on the stack of pallets to his right, high enough to easily see and reach, then he could walk away before she got within speaking range. Yes, that's it. Wait why the fuck are you even debating this? just put the keys on the stack and leave -

    She was right next to him. He could smell the perfume on her wrist as she held out a hand for the keys. As he silently gave her the keys to her car, Riley made the mistake of making eye contact.


    "Thank you," said Aspen quietly as the boy from school handed her the keys. She tucked her hair behind her ear before extending her hand to him. "I'm Aspen Carstairs, I'm pretty sure you go to my school."

    The smell of the cigarette smoke made her feel slightly nauseated, but she could stand and speak, so Aspen figured she was alright. She could feel the dampness on the knees of her jeans -- her dark black jeans, so it didn't make a difference. Her hair was a light blonde haze around her head. Aspen wondered what she looked like to the boy.

    With Nirvana playing through her earphones, loudly enough he could probably hear, Aspen waited for his response.
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    Noticing her upturned nose, Riley dropped his cigarette and smothered it with his heel. As he looked up again, he heard a familiar guitar lick radiating from the girl's headphones.

    "You know, with the lights out," Riley gestured to the sun, a half smile playing on his face, "it's less dangerous."

    He slowly stretched out his hand to shake, with a soft but articulate voice he introduced himself. "I'm Riley Stonewright, and yes, I believe I do."

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure you're in my psychology class," Aspen realised. She silently thanked Riley for putting out the cigarette, and smiled at the Nirvana reference. "You know, I had finally lost hope of finding someone who actually knew Nirvana in this tiny little town," she grinned. "You have restored my faith in humanity. Thank you, Riley."
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    I restore her faith in humanity. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Riley wondered why she was still standing there. He had tried to come off as casual and light hearted but he was unsure how much longer he could hold this half-smile thing on his face. It wasn't that he hated her company, she was an attractive girl. The sunlight glistened through her blonde hair in a distracting manner and the light eyeliner brought out the deep blue of her eyes. Riley just didn't know what she wanted from this interaction. She had her keys and there had been the little Nirvana exchange.

    "Maybe you're just hanging out with the wrong group, if you don't hear grunge music in Washington then I don't know where you'd hear it." I mean it's almost always in my head, but then again, what isn't.

    Aspen shrugged. "I don't know, maybe I haven't met any grunge fans yet because everyone's either into One Direction, Justin Bieber or some crappy hipster indie stuff," said Aspen. "I've got to go, shop for my mom. It was nice meeting you," she smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow, in psych."

    Aspen left, ducking into the grocery store before it started raining again. While shopping for chicken breast and herbs, Aspen couldn't stop thinking about Riley. Why was he seeing her mom?
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    Riley's face twisted into a frown. In every interaction he had seen Aspen in, or been involved with himself, he had always come away as he would any normal social interaction, with a sense of repulsion. Like two positive sides of a magnet. Yet, he found himself genuinely smiling as the girl walked away.

    As the air around him cooled, signalling the daily rain, Riley folded up his coat collar, picked up the cigarette butt, and began to walk home. Occasionally the wind would blow just right and Riley smelled her perfume again. It wasn't that strong so he was surprised it lingered so.

    When morning came, Riley felt back to his old, fugue-state self. Going through the rituals of the morning, shower, clothes, teeth, vision, walk, school, vision, sit, notes, hallway, vision, sit, notes, hallway. The day passed like every other in his high school career. By the last period, psychology, the only thing in Riley's mind was the cigarette in his breast pocket, it seemed to whisper louder and louder. ​

    By the time sixth-period psychology came, Aspen was exhausted, sick of pretending to be dumb for her friends and carried a book full of notes on her classes. Her friends thought they were drawings. Idiots, Aspen thought as she arrived to class. Psychology was the only subject Aspen took that didn't have any of her popular friends; they were all too dumb to understand even the basic concepts Mrs Oliver taught, and Aspen pretended it was a timetable mix-up to not allow her friends to think she was geeky. In reality, psychology was Aspen's favourite subject. She was always the first to answer a question.

    "Alright, kids," said Mrs Oliver, once the class was settled. "Today, we will be beginning a new research topic. I've put you all into partners -- oh, stop complaining. You and your partner will be researching a mental illness of your choice, due this time in two weeks. Alright, partners. Christie Hannigan and Jonathan Leeson, Penelope Garcia and Naomi Irwin, Aspen Carstairs and Riley Stonewright ... "

    Aspen looked around until she saw Riley. Once Mrs Oliver listed all the pairings, Aspen picked up her books and moved to sit in the empty seat beside Riley. "Hey," said Aspen in a friendly tone. "So, what did you want to research? Any ideas?"
    #12 lxngdon, Dec 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2015
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    That damn perfume again... Why did it keep coming to him?

    "Any ideas?"

    He looked up from the his drawing. to see the source of the invasive smell sitting in the seat to his left. She was looking at him like he should know what she was talking about. Ok, psych class, new unit, she doesn't usually sit here, any ideas... group projects.

    "Do you have anything in mind?"

    "Well," said Aspen, opening her psychology notebook and reading through the first few pages, when the class had gone over major mental illnesses. Aspen could read abnormally fast, able to read entire pages crammed with notes in about twenty seconds. "I was interested in things like schizophrenia and PTSD when we did it a the start of the semester ... what about multiple personality disorder?" Aspen asked, reading the definition she had written beneath the green subheading. "A rare dissociative disorder in which two or more personalities with distinct memories and behaviour patterns apparently exist in one individual. We could probably watch that movie with John Cusack and Ray Liotta in it -- Identity, I think it's called."

    Aspen looked up at Riley, waiting for his response. Her speedy brain noted little details she hadn't picked up the day before -- the way his hair curled like it was wet, his defined jawline and blue eyes. The way he never smelled like tobacco, though she guessed he smoked often.
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    Riley looked over to Aspen, suddenly remembering the cigarette he had been smoking when they met yesterday. Feeling a twinge of almost...embarrassment?... Riley turned and scooted back his chair to face her. The chair touching the side wall, he still felt much too close to Aspen. His eyes slid past her and toward the teacher, then the door. At some point her soft but excited voice stopped, and he returned his gaze to her, surprised to find her looking him over in a way that reminded him of Doctor Carstairs.

    "Schizos are definitely interesting," Riley replied. He wished he could blame the shit that comes into his mind's eye on another personality. But no. The visions were his own and his alone. Trying to sound like he cared at all about the project, Riley asked, "What do you think about looking into psycho or sociopaths?"

    "Well, studying people with a psychosis would definitely be interesting, as it's such a broad term and can mean a variety of different conditions," said Aspen, reading over her notes again. "But if we looked into a more complex disorder it would be better for our grade and studies. I can probably ask my mom, not for information but for expert opinions, that will back up our argument and we'll get a better mark -- I sound pretentious, please don't think I only care about my grades. My mom will just disown me if I don't get an A on this assignment."

    Aspen scratched her temple with her pen. The sun shimmered through the window, basically turning her blonde hair white. She found schizophrenia in her notes and passed the book to Riley, praying he could understand the old-fashioned, calligraphy-like handwriting she had taught herself in grade school. "There we go, schizophrenia. You want to do that?"
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    "As you wish," Riley mumbled as he read over the exhaustingly extensive notes Aspen had slid over to him. He was surprised by the sophistication and intelligence shown in her paraphrasing of Mrs Oliver's lecture. Pushing back the notebook, Riley said, "I'm sure your mother would be very helpful. Does that advantage sit well with you?" gesturing the notes, "You clearly take this class quite seriously."

    "What is it like to see people you think you know come out of your mother's..." Riley's train of thought was derailed by the shine of Aspen's hair in the sun light protruding from the window. when she looked up to acknowledge his response, his eyes met hers, the light making her eyes glisten like the Pacific on a rare, calm day. Riley was beginning to be concerned by how often this girl was showing herself into his head, interrupting whatever immaterial things he had been thinking.

    "Yeah, she's helpful on the rare occasion I actually don't understand something we do in class," said Aspen. "My brother never did any remotely intellectual classes -- he takes after my dad -- so I feel kind of pressured to do well by her ... it's my favourite subject."

    When Riley asked what she thought of her mother's patients that she knew from school, Aspen paused and looked right into his eyes. "Well, when I see them leaving her office, I just hope she can help them. She told me once of a patient she had when I was little -- she didn't mention any names, so it wasn't violating the doctor-patient-confidentiality law, but she said that teenage girl had been seriously physically and mentally abused by her stepfather, and her mother was too drunk all the time to help her. But my mother helped her with her depression, anxiety and anorexia, and now that girl is a kindergarten teacher. So when I see people, I hope Mom can help them. It's what I want to do."
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    It's courtesy. She's doing it because that's what normal people do when someone says something stupid like that. There is no threat. Just smile, she'll let it go.

    Riley's usually steeled face tightened, his jaw clenched and eyes widened. The girl's staring into his eyes, the clearly personally directed comment incited a gut reaction. Riley had to fight not to physically shut his eyes to the violence that played out like stop motion in his head. With the speed that only continuous practice gives, Riley mastered him expression and returned Aspen's comment with a half smile and a question, "So how do you want to go about this?"

    He looked at her with his usual, dead eyes and waited for a reply. Meanwhile, in his head, Riley walked out of the classroom and wiped his brow, kicking a corpse out of the way of the door.

    Aspen wondered if she had touched a nerve, or upset the boy in any way. She could see his hardened expression, and realised what she had said might have come off as insensitive. She most certainly had not meant to hurt him in any way. He seemed nice to her.

    Deciding against speaking further about it, Aspen turned back to her notes. "Well, I guess we'll split the question sheet -- you know, when she stops telling Daniel what to do for the eighth time -- and collate the question answers? Unless you wanted to get together after school and have a proper discussion about the questions or something."
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