I Want You Off That Stuff


bella_icon.gif wendy_icon.gif

Scene Title I Want You Off That Stuff
Synopsis Bella calls up to gossip and check on a friend. Certain things spoken steer the conversation a different way.
Date February 8, 2010

Telephone Lines, New York

Bella has been an extremely busy bee of late. Her work has borne considerable fruit, one of her project goals realized, and others expected to come to fruition very soon. That such a harvest suggests the autumn of her endeavors does not occur to her. Hers is an endless summer when things are going well. The leg doesn't hurt at all, and while that shouldn't be possible anyways, it's still a comfort. Whatever ill humors produced what must be a somatoform disorder have been bottled or banished, and either way are not her concern.

Her concern, however, does include the well being of one Ms. Wendy Hunter, amongst the few Bella would assign the title 'friend'. Her concern is spurred on by discoveries in the course of her project, and while she's loath to mix personal and professional life, this is something she can't just pass over. As soon as a spare moment is hers, the good doctor gives Wendy a ring.

Ring ring ring.

Most people are getting off work, heading home, heading to bars. Wendy's splayed out under a mound of bubbles, hot water, a towel underneath her head and soaking in the tub in her home. Hair up and away from her face, cellphone near her and light music playing in the background. The splint still sits glaringly obvious on her face, bruising fading around her eyes. The ringing of the phone prompts her to squint at the number and then pick it up.

"Bella!" The perkiness brought on by the very thing that Bella's been conducting studies on. "How are you?!"

"Good!" Bella says, interpreting Wendy's tone just as a good mood, and warmed by it, "You sound pretty good yourself. I hope I'm not interrupting anything. A gentleman caller?"
There's a snort and then a groan as she remembers that she can't quite do that right now. "No gentlemen callers, just some blue fairy and a hot bath. Take away my troubles followed by a night in my studio. How's your pet project coming Bella? And gentlemen callers for you? Or Dema, you should give Dema a try" She prods vocally over the phone even as she's getting up out of the water.

Okay, this blue fairy bit takes the snuff out of Bella's good mood. This is precisely the problem. Brushing past questions of her love life, questions she'd otherwise happily gossip about, she fixes on that mention. "Wendy, I'm actually calling about something serious. About the Refrain. Remember what we talked about? About the sleepwalking? The nightmare?"

And Bella's quickly snuffing out her good mood as she pins the phone between shoulder and ear, reaching for a towel. "I know about it. The stuff you gave me didn't stop it at all, for the most part it did, but then, I had another one. I haven't had any recently" She kindly informs the shrink. "Not doing it as much as I did before maybe one a week, two at most" The cream fluffy cotton is wrapped around her and Wendy heads off into other parts of her place looking first before the rest of her follows. "I got worse things to worry about"

"Well, I'd like to hear about those worse things," Bella says, "As your friend. But I need to tell you that I've confirmed the link. It's the Refrain, Wendy. The sleepwalking, the nightmares, the near-suicides… I've had numerous independent reports, besides my study. I'm worried, Wendy. If there's something bigger than that, please, let me help you. You know I've got resources."

"Oh well Bella, how about the fact that the guy who shot my ear off and my fingers, is walking around free as a bird"

She lets that sink in as she pad's off into her room and towards her closet. "I knew about that. Peyton told me. Probably got it from her friends, wants me off the stuff too" Wendy glances down to the triple gold chain around her wrist before dismissing it and reaching for a pair of jeans. "She's worried he's gonna come try to finish up some loose ends Bella. I've been sticking to staying at friends for a bit or hotel rooms"

"Who's 'he'?" Bella says, attention snapping to that unassigned pronoun, "You know you can always come here, Wendy. But if there is something going on, give me the head's up."

"Emile Danko, Humanis first, that's who he he is Bella" Come where? "Back to the government place? No, much as I'm sure I'd be fine there, god knows how long i'd be there. You just want me there so I can get clean from the Refrain" She points out. because the odds of getting refrain there, were next to none and impossible.

"I won't lie, I do want you off that stuff," Bella says, "I know better than most what it can do. Wendy, what's happened? Why are you using again? I'm not judging, I swear. I understand the need for medication, self or otherwise. I just want to know what's going on." Emile Danko. If /that's/ what's going on… it's serious business. "Have you approached my associates? Denton, for example? They might be able to help, to protect you from him… Damn, Wendy. I thought he was dealt with! What happened?"

"You act as if I have all the answers Bella. I don't. And you of all people know what the blue fairy does and I would think given what it is that you do for a job know that the craving for it never goes away. It takes one bad moment and a weak will and…" A bunch of layering shirts are tossed onto the peacock bed next. "I haven't called any of your associates Bella. To busy getting my nose broken by empath's and being rescued by friends who then fight over the broken nose, and my ear and my fingers"

She hasn't forgotten that she promised Logan she'd let him ask his boss. "I tried Bella. Seriously, just… It's the blue fairy, it's not like it leaves you unable to function and do your job and it's not like I hold down something nine to five. My job is a fucking easel and paints and clay and I can't do that right now, so…" She went back to the blue fairy.

"Why can't you do that?" Bella says, "Why not throw yourself into your art?" There is an uncharacteristic urgency to Bella's voice. She is confronted, now, with the fear that Wendy might slide into oblivion, and this is troublingly unpleasant to contemplate.

"Could you be a shrink with a part of your brain gone?" It's an honest question that has Wendy standing in front of the mirror, looking at the phone, the rebuilt ear then letting her eyes drift down to her left hand. She quickly buries that out of sight and turns to finish getting what she needs to get dressed.

"The brain is an incredibly flexible thing," Bella insists, "It rewires itself to compensate for damage, re-purposes underdeveloped parts to take over lost functions. It's a matter of forging new neural connections, a matter of /doing/ until it's /done," there's a pause, a weird and unusual moment of desperation, "If you really want to sink away and disappear, I respect your agency enough to let you. But not before I at least offer a hand to help pull you up."

"It can't compensate for missing parts of finger or lost hearing" Wendy counters as she slips one foot into the pants and then another, hopping a bit to squeeze in. "It's not easy to get off the stuff okay. I know that it looks like I did that once but I cheated. I knew someone who knew someone who has an ability that could help. But it doesn't take away the mental craving and it's just…" Easier to just buy another vial of blue stuff then to really truly get off of it. "I took the easy way out, and I did it again Bella. I'm sorry that in this aspect of my life, I fail"

"You and the rest of this nation's populace," Bella says, frowning and tugging at her hair in an unconscious gesture, "I don't like to hear yourself getting down on yourself like this. Drugs are one thing, but self destruction's another. Like I said, if you need me to fuck off, I'll fuck off, no hard feelings on my end. But until you explicitly tell me to, don't think I'm gonna keep mum, okay? I'm learning more and more about how that stuff works, what it does, and I can authoritatively tell you that there's some serious shit going down around it."

Wendy sighs, shoulders dropping as Bella keeps it up true to her words and it only makes her start to roll her eyes before dropping her voice low. "But I like it" There's a whine to her tone, the sign that whatever Bella's saying, she's winning the battle. "I like how it makes me feel afterwards Bella. It's… I haven't felt like this since Humanis First."

Bella has to restrain giving a snort. Because it's always good to bring back feelings that relate to a traumatic experience at the hands of a bunch of anti-Evolved lunatics."Then let me get you the number of a nice, liberally minded colleague," she says, "Hook you up with some grade-A drugs. Legal ones, that won't open your mind up to some creepy cabal of homicidal dream manipulators. I'm not joking, Wendy. I've been doing the tests, there's a definite link between Refrain use and long-term susceptibility to dream manipulation, including seizing control of motor functions."

"Maybe if they found the dream manipulator who's doing this, there wouldn't be that problem" It's a grasp at a straw, a way to justify keeping on refrain, but link she's saying, Wendy'd seen it, experienced it. "I saw the papers, the high rate of suicides of people who take refrain. How many of them actually did it because they were depressed Bella, compared to those who.. had dreams that made them do it?" There's an audible fwump as the dark haired woman plops down on her bed, staring up at the ceiling. "I'll let you help Bella"

"I'm not going to start up with paranoid claims," Bella says, "That's someone else's job. And so far, all I know is that there might be someone with something against you and yours in particular. The only confirmed cases I've heard about are yours, Aaron's and Peyton's. But the evidence rests on its own. So… how can I help? What can we do to help you off the stuff? Obviously I can't treat you, because that would be crazy unethical, but… what do you think might help?"

Wendy snorts "Aaron and Peyton already think you're my shrink" When in truth the woman isn't. "I can't go into a rehab, not going to go through that again" That'd be like waving a flag to her family and admitting weakness. She could go to John again but there'd still be same issue. Physical cravings gone, but the psychological ones would still be there. There's a baleful glare aimed at her closet for no good reason other than she needs to glare at something.

Closets are well known repositories for all sorts of bad things. Skeletons, childhood monsters, the alienated desiring self. A repository of the repressed. An analyst from another age would make a great deal of the seemingly incidental glance. But Bella can't see it and wouldn't worry about it - she's of a modern school. "How little do you trust yourself?" she asks, "Do you think you could, with some encouragement, break the habit on your own? Or do you need your control taken away from you?"

"I don't know Bella. last time all it was was a guy who can manipulate chemicals who was keeping it from hooking in or something like that. That's how he described it. But all it took was one really bad fucking nightmare and I was searching the floor of my closet and shooting it all up again" What is she kidding. "Maybe if every drop of this shit wasn't in the city. Bella I went through withdrawal once already, they're not kidding, this shit is bad as heroin and I never tried that stuff before. It makes your skin crawl and your stomach feel like it's eating itself and everything hurts"

Her subjects remains well supplied, so Bella hasn't witnessed the gruesome sight of Refrain withdrawal. "Then maybe you need to get anonymously engaged with a private clinic," Bella suggests, "Somewhere upstate, maybe. Away from the bustle. I have a car now, so I can visit you!"

"I have a job Bella, An honest to god job, I can't just up and leave it. It pays crap but.." But she likes it, like being in the dusty bookstore and helping run it. Putting in her hours. "I don't fucking know. I want to give it up but I don't. I mean, maybe they'll find whatever dream guy who's pulling this shit is and deal with him and I won't need to worry about sleepwalking off my balcony again" Excuse, she's trying to find an excuse. "Find a place Bella, just.. just find a place"

"I'll do some research," Bella says, her tone conciliatory, supportive, "For now… try and reduce whatever dose you're taking by twenty-five percent, okay? Wean yourself off. It's never too early to start."

Fine" She mutters across the line locking very much the chastised child. "Reduce it twenty five percent" She'd need to find another group. She needed to go to the fucking meetings. "See if I can get a friend to stay with me to make sure I don't slip. See if I can find an AA group that's not overflowing with evo's too" The reason she'd left her last one. "I should go, I have plans. Was gonna go catch up with some other friends"

"Take care of yourself, okay?" Bella says, all earnestness, "I'd offer to help you, but I'm barely ever at home. The project has… well, there are some crisis management things I've been having to take care of." To say the least. An infiltrator and what will be Bella's unhappy first interrogation session. "But I need to know you're going to be okay, at least by whatever standards of okay you set for yourself. So… have fun, within the recommended daily dosage."

"I won't be throwing myself off any buildings anytime soon Bella. Go work on your project. I'm glad it's working for you, really I am. I probably don't sound it but, I'm glad that you're doing what you love" She remembered the look on Bella's face at the thought of Refrain research. "Sure whatever you've figured out will help with getting the drug off the streets and making it easier for folks to get off it" Because in Wendy's mind, that's what she thinks that the woman is doing.

"My ideal goal," Bella says, and not without some measure of truth, "Is to see if Refrain can be effectively used in therapy. And legal drugs are always easier to control than illegal ones. But right now, I'm worried that the consequences may be too severe. I hate myself for saying it, but it's looking like a distinct possibility," she makes a face, invisible to Wendy, but necessary to stay in communicative practice, "Sorry. Not helping. Go on, be social. It's good therapy."

"More than a distinct possibility" If she's telling Wendy and willing to help her get off of it. "Chiao Bella" She offers up, not lingering longer on the phone. Her thumbs hits the disconnect button, tossing it behind her on the bed before she starts about to pulling on the layers of shirts. 'Easier said than fucking done"

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