On the Rocks


bella_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif

Scene Title On the Rocks
Synopsis Deckard shows up at Bella's for his second session with a whole new set of problems he doesn't want to talk to her about. She has to get a little unorthodox with her treatment methods to try and squeeze answers out of him in turn.
Date August 30, 2009

Bella's Apartment/Office

It's actually been a while since Bella spent any real time in her studio apartment office. Things look borderline dusty, and she opens the windows to let the air in, though the air is heavy with humidity and the cloudy skies are threatening thunder any time now. Bella doesn't mind; she rather enjoys storms. This is a luxury of not coming from tornado alley.

In defiance of the clouds she's wearing a sun dress, cream yellow, and banded sandles. Her hair is loose, as if trying to tempt a decent breeze in to help clear out the slightly stuffy interior. She's wearing her glasses, sitting cross-legged in her chair, reading 'Swann's Way' in English translation; she took French in school but wasn't exactly a natural. It's almost as if she's not expecting her coming client.

Deckard's knock at the door is distinct in its curt one-two rap of knuckle against wood. Leaves little question as to the identity of the man knocking.

Once upon a time he would know for certain that she's in there, cross-legged and reading alone beyond open windows and a closed door. Now he's limited to giving the peep hole a surly look on his attention's way down to fidgeting with the cuff of his suit sleeve. He's in grey again — a darker, sootier shade of the stuff, with the same ridiculous boots and only a five-o'clock shadow to lend texture to the narrow set of his jaw. He's also five minutes early.

Last time he was ten minutes late.

Bella looks up from the book, momentary perplexity on her features. Then she remembers, oh yes, she's here to see someone. She dogears her page and gets to her feet, setting the book on the kitchenette counter as she passes it and opening the door for Deckard. She smiles, "Flint," she says, "Come in." She steps aside to make way for him, "It's been a while since our last meeting. I'm sure you've all sorts of interesting developments to share." Which is to say: you're going to tell me what you've been up to.

"Hey," is Deckard's traditionally lazy greeting in the way of social niceties. One interesting development he may or may not have to share about becomes a little more readily apparent when he steps into her place out've the kinder light of the hallway: he's rail thin. His chilly eyes are sunk deep into shadow, twin points of blue bright beneath the overhang of his brow and the jut of his skull against his face. The suit he's wearing works to hide the worst of the rest, save maybe for the spidery cast to long fingers and the way wiry muscle lines out in his neck while he scopes out the interior for…cops or terrorists. Or goblins. Who knows. The way he answers her prompt with a shrug isn't all that promising despite his timeliness.

After closing the door and locking it, either for privacy, a consideration for Deckard's apparent paranoia, or both, the psychiatrist moves over to her seat, though she remains standing, waiting for Deckard to join her in the therapy nook. "I don't need a medical degree to see you're not taking care of yourself, Flint. My suppressed maternal instinct is urging me to bake something for our next session, if this keeps up."

Annoyingly, Deckard isn't in a hurry to join her in said nook. He takes his time lingering around the fringes instead, testing around some kind of invisible border as if curious to see whether or not the session will start anyway if he's not standing in The Circle of Trust or — whatever.

Oddly enough, there's a suspicious edge to the way he zeroes in on her and his brow knits after talk of baking. He even waits a beat to see if there's some sort of incoming significance to be found in her posture or…the way she's looking at him. Anything. For a few short seconds he bears some vague resemblance to a grubby kid being asked if he washed his hands (and didn't.) But it's a stupid thing to hang up on, especially if it's coincidence, and soon enough he's winding his way over to lever himself down into the chair opposite her with brows tipped up in hazy, unenthusiastic acknowledgement of the way he looks. Yeah, yeah.

Circle of Trust… activated! Bella retakes her seat, though she doesn't sit Indian-style this time. She smooths her dress over her legs and folds her hands in her lap. "I'm not kidding," she says, "Are you having trouble eating? Any loss of appetite? Anxiety? There's no mind-body dichotomy, they're one and same thing, and mental health is co-substantial with physical health."

"Actually, I'm possessed by a benevolent higher being who sucks the life out of me and gives it to other people out've the kindness of its heart. Figurative heart, obviously." Obviously.

Jaw rested sideways against the splay of his right hand, Deckard forces a thin smile across the Circle's span as he lifts one long leg into a lazy cross over the other.

"For future reference, I'm going to take anything you say pretty much at face value," Bella says, seeing Deckard's smile and raising him just a little more of the same, "Tell me about this higher power. When did you come in contact with it, and why is it being so liberal with your life force?"

"If you didn't, what would be the point of my being here?" asked with the excessively earnest brand of cynical inquiry that Deckard has refined into an art form, he keeps his brows tilted as he settles deeper back into the chair. No kleenex this time. He even looks like he might be getting comfortable over there.

"Technically at this point I'm the one who decides who we get grabby with. I could just tell people no."

"As long as we're on the same page," Bella says, with a nod, "Do you have a name for this higher power? When did you come in contact with it?" She's repeating herself now, but it's an important question. Less chronology, really, than cartography.

"I think if I give it a name, I'll feel like I have to keep it. You know like, how — when you were a kid and you tried to bring stray animals home…" There's a depressed sort've resignation to the way he talks about this kind of stuff. Like he read it in the paper or saw it on tv and he's not actually involved or even all that interested. "By the way, repeating questions would help more if I was hard of hearing and not just refusing to answer them."

"Unless you tell me you don't want to answer a question, I can't know if you were just at a very noisy club last night and actually do have temporary deafness," Bella explains, "Let's call it the BHP, then, just as shorthand. What is the BHP? What do you know about it?"

The corner of his mouth pulling sidelong after the idea that he was doing anything more exciting than cleaning up after other people's messes last night, Deckard shakes his head in a variation on the usual single shoulder shrug. His eyes cast after the nearest open window when a breeze finally trickles its way in, attention dragging to choose words with half-hearted care. "I dunno. It doesn't belong to me." There's a pause there, then another shake of his head, this time with a ghost of gravity layered in under easier-to-identify private annoyance. "People don't tend to elaborate on this kind of crap around me. I think it's because my face isn't trustworthy enough." The fingers of his free hand sketch long on either side of the face in question. Lazy, as far as diversionary tactics go.

"Consider my trust explicit," Bella says, with just a hint of irony, "Do you think that the BHP has chosen you for a reason? Why would it choose to help others at your expense, do you think?"

"It didn't. And doesn't." The hand Deckard still has propping up the side of his head splays out a few degrees, bare ring and pinky fingers slacking into a curl over the flat line of his mouth. Either he's really fascinated with the weather building slowly up on itself outside, or he's really disinterested in looking at her while he mulls this over. "Someone forced its hand. As for the drain — it just works that way. I don't know."

"Flint, I'd really like if you could explain to me exactly what is going on with you," Bella says, with the tiniest hint of frustration, either accidentally released or purposefully inserted, into her voice, "Because otherwise I'm going to spend half my time asking for elaborations," she arches a brow, "Do you need something to relax you? Beer? Liquor? Some other recreational substance?" There's no irony at all in the last offer. She seems straightforward enough.

"I don't know what's going on with me. A bad — a bad guy forced this thing into me and I don't know what it's doing. I don't feel like myself. I can't smoke anymore, I can't hold my liquor." Frustration is repaid with frustration in kind, teeth slivered out white on the edge of something that looks a lot like anger bit into the lines around his mouth and sharded into the harsh blue of his eyes. "I shouldn't be talking about it. Least of all to some — fucking shrink. What do you have?"

Bella is not just any fucking shrink, she's a fucking Company shrink. And this nets her some neat little immunities and rule fudgings. Plus the man sitting across from her is, she knows, someone's who's been on the very wrong side of the law for quite some time. The corner of her mouth twitches into a smile.

"I have some klonapin on hand, as well as some xanax," the way she says it makes it sound like it's totally legal, and maybe it is, she certainly won't say otherwise, "I've also got a residence in California so, thanks to a few small holes where state and federal legislation meet. You said you can't smoke? Are you referring to tobacco only, or does that also include cannabis? Because I can issue you a sessional prescription."

"I dunno." There are a lot of things Deckard doesn't seem to know in this conversation thus far. Meanwhile the offer of drugs has him frowning harder than he already was, like it doesn't sit with him all that well. Hell of a thing for a guy with the record he's packing, but he's back to avoiding her as well as he can while he's sitting in a chair not far out've arm's reach, tension wound into his shoulders and hollow face half hidden by his hand. "Whiskey's fine if you have it. Vodka. I don't care."

Bella moves to the kitchenette, and extracts a pair of glasses from the glass-front cupboard. "On the rocks, or straight up?" she inquires, lightly, as she removes a bottle of Jim Beam from an adjascent cupboard. Whatever his answer, she seems to like a little chill in her spirits, her sandled foot lifting to pull open the bottom-set freezer drawer, the ice tray rattling as she does so.

"On the rocks is fine." Voice graveled into the kitchen at a drone, Deckard shifts enough in his chair to pull out his cell phone. It's flipped open. The contacts list is thumbed through. But in the end, nothing is sent, and past an uneasy glance after the direction of the door, he swallows down the worst of whatever undefined source of tension is eating away at the back of his mind and scrubs at his face. Teo recommended her.

Bella takes the cubes in hand and drops them, clinking, into the glasses, five a piece. She fills each glass with enough liquor to allow each cube to float, then stops. Not too much, not too little. Medication is all about appropriate measurement, though it's unlikely that Bella can hold her liquor nearly as well as Deckard, just taking size as the only factor. Bella slips out from behind the counter, padding over to the vaunted CoT, and offers Deckard his drink, still standing. "A few sips, then you start telling me about your situation. In detail. Your shrink is precisely the person to tell all this too. If I tell anyone else, I lose my job, and then I'll have no marketable skills at all."

Deckard reaches to take the offered glass with his frown still partially intact, long fingers caged around amber whiskey and the ice drifting disembodied around the surface without so much as a, 'Thanks,' for the effort or expense. He doesn't sip right off, aggression faded back into hazy distance in all of the few minutes it took her to get up and take care of pouring him a drink. "I don't want to talk about it anymore. I shouldn't have brought it up."

"Too late for that," Bella says, "There are no takebacks in the Cirle of Trust." She takes her set again, crossing her legs and balancing her drink on her knee, with a hand as support, "Take your medicine and then talk. Don't make me use excessive force."

Brows twitched up as if not entirely averse to the idea of having to suffer excessive force in this context, Deckard does as he's told. Doesn't take much to get him to drink, even if he does take it slow — one measured sip at a time. He's tense. She offered. It's there. "S'just…there are other factors. Abigail and…people who are relying on me not to fuck things up for once." The next draw he takes off the whiskey is longer if not more lax, and punctuated by a rest of the glass against his knee once it's searing down to coat the back of his gut.

"I think the guy who made this happen made it happen because he knew I'd mess it up."

"What he 'knows' isn't necessarily what's true," Bella says. In solidarity with his slow drinking, Bella brings the glass to her lips and takes a small sip, before returning the glass to its careful perch, "But you sound close to convinced. What would constitute 'fucking up'? What's expected of you now that you're host to the BHP?"

"He's good at being right. It's kind of his 'thing.'" Argument handed off with bland absence of affect, Deckard watches her drink in much the same manner, unbothered if only because he isn't exactly sure what to make of it.

"And I'm good at fucking up. I don't — I really don't know what the rules are, or even the whys. I didn't get a manual or how to. I can't google it. I can't answer your questions. And even if I could…I don't know you. I mean, you're hot and you give me booze, but jesus…"

Bella's smile is extremely light and extremely vague as Deckard pays her this last… um… compliment. "What would knowing me change?" In her case, as a Company employee? A whole fucking lot. But no one needs to mention that. "In every way that who I am would interfere with the work we do here, I would be failing as a psychiatrist. But if it will make you more comfortable, you can ask me some questions about myself. But I'm going to require a quid-pro-quo." Okay, so this sounds creepily like the deal another psychiatrist makes with Jodi Foster in a certain film, but hey, it worked for him, so maybe it'll work for her.

"You're a psychiatrist. I'm not supposed to know you. Which is fine as long as we're just — talking about me, but. Here." Here. Here, what? He has to think, expression inscrutible while he muddies around in his own thoughts for something worth tossing out past another sip of his drink. "I slept with Abigail."

Bella's head tilts very slightly, "That decision was something that was weighing on your mind during our last session. How do you feel about it?"

For a beat or two, Deckard is back to looking unsure, eyes narrowed and cheekbones a-jut over the hollow flanks of his jaw. Unfortunately, in the amount of time it takes him to ascertain that she is just going to allow for the subject change, he also comes 'round to the fact that he now has to talk about this thing instead. "I…don't know. Okay. She didn't get upset or…cry. Or anything." His brows twitch down, nearly a wince, and he physically tries to shake it off, jaw clamped all the harder past a short shake of his head. "Do you serve all of your patients alcohol?"

"Only the ones I like best," Bella replies, with a tiny smirk, "How did you feel afterwards? And how are things between you now?"

"…Pretty good," confessed at a mutter, face still locked into cro-magnon recalcitrance, Deckard is slow to elaborate with an equally downplayed, "kind of guilty," once the initial answer is out. Still, out's out, and he's back to looking sideways at Bella before long, glass nearly empty save for a few lonely cubes of ice. "Why'd you get into psychology?"

She did offer a quid pro quo. "Because people never get boring. Their depth is unplumbable. At least I thought so. Turns out, some people are boring, and their boringness is similarly bottomless. But it's all made worth it with the few you can really help, really change," the speech is remarkably heartfelt, and she takes another sip of drink to cover up the moment of silence afterwards, "Why guilty?"

Deckard listens more astutely than might be expected, chilly eyes scraping around across her face in search of he-doesn't-know-what while she speaks. Then there's a silence, and another awkward question to answer. And more silence accordingly.

"Why not? I'm 42; she's 20. I'm a convicted felon with a shitty job. She's going to nursing school or…something." Nothing too shocking there. His glass is balanced in his open palm, ice melting slow against the warmth of it until a tilt angles it up into temporary safety atop another piece. "She trusts me. Thinks I'm better than I am. Are you seeing anyone?"

"No, I'm married to my career. It takes me out to dinner, it buys me exactly the jewelry I want and, as long as I put in the effort, I know it won't leave me for another psychiatrist," Bella replies, matter-of-factly, despite the absurd anthropomorphism, "I know this sounds like a cliche, but have you considered the possibility that that may be what you need? Someone to think more of you than you do?"

"I know what I am." Matter-of-fact, he wraps his hand back around the glass in it to tip it back the other way and finally edges up in his chair to sit there like something that at least distantly resembles a human being. "I know what I was, anyway. I dunno what I am now, but if I haven't already made her cry, I probably will. Do you get off on it?" All spoken in the same breath with no change in tone, and there he is sitting and looking all too earnestly curious.

"No. That's what Toys in Babeland is for," Bella says, succinctly, with the tone of one closing a line of discussion, "Why would it bother you so much if you made her cry?"

For the first time since he's been here, Deckard manages to slant out a genuine smile, even if it is fleeting and thin and remote. The flat of his chest lifts slow over a sigh, but (thankfully?) he doesn't press, apparently content now that he's had a door shut in his face. "Do you feel great about it when you make people cry?"

"It depends on who, and why," Bella says, "But you're shortchanging me. You didn't answer my question, you asked your own. So answer."

Checkmate. Lines etch out flat across Deckard's brow from behind the half guard of the hand he pushes up to scruff at the top of his head. When it drops back down into his lap, he's still eyeing her. And he still hasn't answered.

Bella considers her drink for a moment, then sets it on the table next to her chair, with her pen and pad, the other therapeutic tools at her disposal. She gives Deckard a patient smile, brushing a bit of hair behind one ear, then leaning a bit on one arm of her chair.

Silence stretches longer still, creeping like cement through the slope of Deckard's shoulders to harden in where tension had just begun to ease off on its own. "Is this enough to write me a prescription? I hate myself and think I'm being possessed. That has to be worth a few Xanax for the road at the very least."

"I studied Behaviorism long enough to know not to positively reinforce bad behavior," Bella says, "You're not getting fun meds yet. However, you might actually benefit from anti-depressants. But medication is a stop gap. I'll write you a month-long prescription, and if you want to considering continuing it, you have to come back to me by then, if not sooner."

Discomfort twitches in through the knit of Deckard's brow at her mention of antidepressants, as if the word itself catches him off guard. A tilt of his head and a glance aside later, he's shrugging his half-hearted assent. Better than nothing. If it works. "Fine."

Bella's smile is brilliant, as if his somewhat glum agreement were a ray of pure emotional sunshine. She gets up, "One moment, please," and moves to the the kitchenette once more, this time for another sort of medicinal access. The drawer she opens is full of papers, and of them she tears off a single sheet from a small pad. She returns to her seat, taking pen and notepad, using the latter as a writing surface while the former is applied. "I'm prescribing you Wellbutrin," she says, dashing off her signature which, in accordance with medical standards, is totally unrecognizable as actual letters forming a name, "Which," she offers the script to Deckard, "You'll be happy to know is one of the few medications like it that do not cause sexual dysfunction," she gives him a steady, serious look, "Don't burn your bridges just to protect the people on the other side."

This time when Bella moves off, there's no nervous fidgeting with the cell phone or plotting escape routes. Deckard's slouched into his chair with both hands and his empty glass in his lap when she leaves, and has hardly budged by the time she returns with a piece of paper that promises to hook him up with a bottle of pills that won't make his little Deckard sad. He plucks the prescription from her fingers without enthusiasm, offering off his drained whiskey glass in exchange on his way to pushing up onto his feet. "Thoughtful of you." Wellbutrin. There's no making himself look thrilled about this, but after a moment spent squinting at it, he folds the paper over and pushes it down into his pocket all the same. Her advice gets a sideways look and a tug down at the corner of his mouth. "Thanks for the drink."

"If you find yourself considering suicide, follow these two steps," Bella urges, taking his glass and getting to her feet as well, "Step one: don't do it. Step two: call me. Simple enough?"

No immediate answer there. Deckard gives her a look, hard to read past the fact that he's trying to read after something himself, and he nods. "I'm pretty sure killing myself would fall safely in the category of fucking things up, so." Sooo. He doesn't actually finish, having already established his capacity for fuckups, at length if not in detail.

"I hope to hear from you soon," Bella says, swapping the glass to her left hand and offering Deckard her right, "Third time's the charm. I'm hoping for a real breakthrough for both of us."

Deckard doesn't really deal in hope and promise. He takes her hand anyway, mild mannered as he's been all session, his still cold and damp from the glass. The roughness and yellow staining at his thumb and palm probably has more to do with the passage of brass and lead. "Sure." Then he's already moving himself off in the direction of the door, same as last time. Ready to escape.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License