Human Crutches


allison_icon.gif bella_icon.gif

Scene Title Human Crutches
Synopsis Bella unloads on Allison before another scheduled round of hypnotherapy.
Date April 20, 2010

Allison's Office

With the snow as deep as it is, it's probably only crazy people venturing out today. Which makes it a good day to be a shrink! Allison is in her office, as she has been most days. Denying people who need mental help a visit to their doctor is rarely a good thing. And it seems that business is indeed doing well, because Bella is kept waiting a few minutes, unlike her previous visit.

Allison's office door opens and an older man steps out, him and the doctor sharing a few quiet words before he moves to the receptionist to deal with making his next appointment. Alli then glances to Bella and smiles. "Hi Bella. Come on in. Want something warm to drink? I have coffee."

Bella's leg seems to be doing better, though at this point it's still impossible to tell if it's because of Allison's intervention, natural healing or both. Still, Bella's confidence is such that she's come back - only right, considering she herself is a practitioner, albeit with a different focus. She was bundled up well for the insane weather, and has stuffed her snowy coat, scarf and hat under her chair in the waiting room. She quickly pads down her atrociously staticky hair, pushes off her boots and swings over towards Allison's open door, giving the other doctor a smile.

"Coffee would be wonderful, if it doesn't make me too jumpy to be put under," she says, halting at the entrance to the office proper and waiting for Allison to motion her in. "Happy April 20th, by the way," she adds, with a slight slant to her smile.

Allison laughs and steps back, motioning for Bella to head on in. "No, it won't make you too jumpy. Not unless you intend to down a few pots of coffee in a very short period of time. In which case I think you'd have bigger problems than whether or not you can be hypnotized," she says with a grin.

After Bella's stepped inside Alli shuts the door and moves to the coffee pot, pouring a cup. "How do you take your coffee though? Lots of cream and sugar like me? Or black like most of our associates seem to prefer it?" Another soft laugh and a shake of her head. "As though drinking coffee black makes them more macho."

"I /believe/," Bella says, easing her way to the couch and settling down, setting her crutch to one side, "It's supposed to put hair on your chest. Or at least that's the common wisdom," she makes a face, "Can you imagine what the waxing would feel like? Cream and /plenty/ of sugar, please!"

The redhead runs a hand through her hair again, trying to bring it to some semblance of order. "So… as we share an employer, I know there are certain restraints on traditional confidentiality. I want to talk about some things, but I might need to get vague for reasons I hope you'll understand as a professional necessity, rather than an attempt on my part to be evasive. You understand, right?"

Allison glances over her shoulder and smiles. "Yes, I understand. For now I don't think that it will make any difference though, so don't worry about it." She turns back to the coffee, preparing it as asked, then moving to Bella and passing over the cup.

Settling down, Alli crosses one leg over the other. "So how have you been since I saw you last?"

Bella reaches out to take her coffee and cradles it in both hands, blowing softly and taking a sip, taking the time to collect her thoughts.

"I think I've been well," Bella says, peering into the caramel surface of her well-sugared coffee, "But I don't know how well I should be. These past months have been… unusual. And I'm in a situation that I think would make normal people break down temporarily," she looks up at Allison, "This is about to turn into a list of unfortunate and peculiar events, so prepare yourself. I'm… not actually looking for sympathy. I'm okay, or at least I seem to be behaving like I'm okay. I just worry that things are getting jammed up, mentally. The way they must have with my leg."

Allison shakes her head. "I'm not here to give sympathy, Bella. I'm just here to talk. To give you an ear open to listen, and to explain things, when I can. That's all. I don't judge, and I don't placate," she explains. Her lips curve again. "So you just say whatever you feel you need to or want to. If it's jumbled, I'll sort it out."

Bella nods appreciatively, "Then I'll get right to it," she takes another sip of her coffee, another moment to collect herself. "So, here's how it is…

"I told you how I was shot, twice, in the same place by two different men. They were both clients of mine, from private practice. It turns out they're both involved in some deranged paramilitary clique of some kind or another. After I was first shot, though… well, I guess I had a sort of brief 'carpe diem' type post-near-death experience phase, and I started seeing two people at the same time. One man, one woman," Bella smiles, a little ruefully, "Because I had to demonstrate just how /open minded/ and /libertine/ I am. God. Okay, so I'm seeing this guy and this girl, both separately. And the guy, well… I prefer guys pretty much unequivocally, and he was a hell of a sugar daddy. A real one, not a college girl's idea of one. The girl… she had some control hangups, but that played right into the crisis I was having at the time, the crisis with the leg, the whole fear of losing control. So… rather than just settle for one or the other, I stuck it out with both, all while running a big project of mine, the one I mentioned before, the one that came crashing down on my head."

Bella takes a moment to clear her throat, tapping her chest lightly with one hand, "Right. Then, after the project came to an end, my good friend - basically my only friend - dies. I made it to the funeral, at least. I start to figure my leg is tied up with my control-related trauma, so I tell the girl I'm seeing that I have to take a break. She tries to sidestep my resolution, but I stick to my guns, so… that was good. But then… the guy I was seeing disappears, rumored dead as well. So… you can imagine how /most/ people would feel. Destroyed, right? Grieving, or at least in shock? Lonely? I self medicate a bit, but not too much, I get briefly suspended because of how my last project ended, but then I get approached for a new assignment and, rather than say that I need time or anything, I take it. Not even as something to 'get my mind off of things', but because it's a chance to do something interesting. But here's the real cherry on top - this new assignment puts me in direct control of the girl I broke things off with. I did not know when I signed on, about the girl's involvement. I find out only after."

Allison nods as she listens, but says nothing while Bella explains. She did say Bella could ramble, after all. "How do you feel about the girl's involvement? Do you want to back out, to get away? Since in a way choice was taken out of your hands?"

Bella's thumbnail flicks against the rim of her mug, back and forth, back and forth. "No," she answers, "I feel… almost nothing about it. Inconvenienced, at worst, since it places a certain limitation on me. But really… I don't even feel conflicted. I have no interest beyond doing my job. And even that doesn't worry me. What worries me is that I'm not even worried."

"Why do you think it doesn't worry you? Could it be that you just don't care about this girl?" Allison asks, head tilting. "People have flings all the time, where there's very little emotional attachment involved. It's not unusual, and it's certainly not anything to be ashamed about. Perhaps this girl was simply what you needed at the time, and now you're past her. You've moved on."

Bella nods, "I…" she pauses. How to put this in such a way that she doesn't say too much. "The specifics of my job mean that she's put pretty regularly at risk. It's not just that I don't care… or rather, it's not that it's a problem of me not caring in the normal way, the 'moving on' kind of way. It's that, when I put her at risk, /considerable/ risk, it doesn't present itself as anything like a struggle for me. It's not that I don't care, it's that I seem to be /totally uncaring/. If you understand the distinction I'm trying to make?"

"I do, yes. But let me ask you this…You won't just be putting her in situations where she's at risk, right? Do you feel the same way about the other people who are in her position?" Allison asks.

This questions requires some thought. Bella tries to tease out the particulars of her emotions, her attachments, trying to find some snare or imbalance amongst the ostensibly orderly inventory of her mind. At length she replies, "At most I feel as if I /should/ feel differently, but I don't. They are," the words she should be using here are 'experimental test subjects', but instead she substitutes, "Human resources," Bella gives a wry smile, "To use corporate jargon."

"If she is no different than the others, then why do you focus on her, Bella?" Allison asks lightly. "Why is it her who sticks out in your mind? Do you think that she should be different?"

"Because I know her," Bella says, "Because she has trusted me before, because she felt something for me, however unreciprocated, and it feels like a decent human being should have some respect for that."

Allison leans forward, uncrossing her legs and resting her arms on her knees. "Hold on there a second, Bella. You said she felt something for you, and that you didn't reciprocate. Her feelings shouldn't affect yours, or make you feel guilty for yours. You can't help that you didn't feel for her what she felt for you."

Bella quirks her lips to the side, "I am not trying to be stubborn. God knows, what you're telling me is what I tell myself. But that's just the thing, I /don't/ feel guilty. It's that I am worried that I /ought/ to, or that some part of me /does/ feel guilty but I'm thoroughly repressing it. And I don't want that to spring up and bite me in my blind spot when I'm not expecting it with… I don't know… psychosomatic headaches or something."

Allison smiles and shakes her head. "You don't have to feel guilty though. So why be worried that you're feeling something that's completely normal? She sounds like she was just someone that you needed to get through a rough time. And now you feel steadier, and no longer need her, so you've put her aside." She motions to the crutch. "Like you'll put that aside when you no longer need it."

Bella regards Allison over the rim of her mug, taking one last sip before leaning forward and setting it down. "Not a very flattering comparison, but I get your meaning. You don't think a propensity to use people as crutches could be pathological?"

Allison laughs softly. "It's meant to be accurate, not flattering. And if you use people as crutches repeatedly, then it might be. It could be as simple as a codependency issue. Do you find that you lean on people often, Bella?"

"No," Bella answers, without hesitation, "This, right here, is one of the few times I've gone to anyone with my anxieties and troubles. Which, as it turns out, are actually more about /not/ having enough anxieties and troubles."

Allison smiles and shakes her head. "Then I don't think there's anything wrong with you on this count, Bella. We all need a little help sometime. At that time, this girl just happened to be the help you needed. I wouldn't worry about it."

Bella chuckles, "All right, then. I'm satisfied. If I'm abnormal, I'm not abnormal in a way that should be of any particular concern to me. Good. That was the answer I was hoping for. Now," she pats her wounded leg lightly, "I think I'd like another round of hypnotherapy from the accomplished Dr. Richards."

Allison laughs softly and nods. "I'm glad I could help. And hypnotherapy, coming right up. Just get comfortable, and we'll go through the same process as last time. I'll try to add a little don't worry bit in there this time though. Stress isn't healthy either, especially when you put it on yourself!"

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