Wendy Hunter: Drug-Crazed Bitch


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Scene Title Wendy Hunter: Drug-Crazed Bitch
Synopsis Aaron shows up for his second therapy session, with grim tales featuring none other than Bella's personal friend, Wendy Hunter, who is, apparently, a… well, you can read the title.
Date September 17, 2009

Bella's Studio Apartment Office

Aaron had actually been looking forward to this session. After the one the day previous, he slept the best he has in a good long while — of course, crying one's heart out does tend to lead to that sort of thing. But now he's awkwardly approaching Bella's door, somewhat concerned by the information Peyton gave him. He can't help but be a little leary while he's under the assumption that he is seeing the same therapist as Wendy, given their very unusual and less-than-pleasant history.

While he may not have knocked without the information, there is again that familiar gentle knock on the door frame as he enters, gently touching the door closed once inside, and pulling off his shoes for once. Then he proceeds to the chair this time, sits down, and pulls his feet up on it. Of course, his assumption isn't his only reason for being slightly nervous today. There are certain things he needs to get off his chest, and he'd prefer to say them rather than have them slip out at some point. Besides that, the situation around those particular memories of his is causing him the most distress anyway.

Bella is not in the main room when Aaron arrives, but the knock causes a, "Come in, Aaron!" to issue from the bathroom. Shortly after the man has taken his seat, the chair as she will note with some interest, she emerges from the bathroom, shaking her hands free of some stray water droplets. "Trying contacts for the first time," she says, by way of explanation, "But I forgot to put them in until I realized you would /be/ here. Sorry about that!" She takes her own seat, gathering herself. She's in pressed khaki's and a turquoise button-up today, with matching dangly earrings and a couple bangles, sort of a professional-post-hippy-chic. "So…" she tilts her head slightly, "Anything we should talk about? Anything new?"

Ah, contacts. Aaron is eternally grateful for having good vision. "'s OK." Then comes the incredibly loaded question he knew was coming, and is thankfully somewhat prepared for this time around. Of course, not much new has happened since yesterday. Well, Gillian stopped puking, so that's good, but he's not about to get into that yet. He sets his chin on his knees and nods. "There are a few things," he says, "I just don't know how to talk about them."

Bella folds her hands in her lap, leaning back a little. "Well… just give it your best shot, and I'll try and help you along. We're in no rush."

And how does he get into this Wendy story without bringing her up? Aaron rubs his eyes. "Nothing I can say can leave this room, right? Unless like, you think I'm going to hurt myself or others?"

Bella gives a single nod. "Everything said in this space is confidential, entirely. With those notable exception." She doesn't say more. This is obviously something important.

"I met this girl at a shop in Chinatown back at the start of August. I was just wandering around and found myself at this shop." Yeah, so it's an odd story. "I remembered my boss-slash-landlord was looking for his monkey wrench and couldn't find it, and thought I'd be helpful and take a look while I was there." He pauses a few moments to breathe for a bit because he knows what's coming and wants to be able to tell the whole thing without throwing up. "I found one, but there was this girl there. She was bugging the shopkeeper and me, telling us what our abilities were." He shakes his head, "I was an ass, of course she was invading not only my personal space, but the shopkeepers, so I felt justified." He doesn't anymore, only because of all that has transpired since then.

"Anyway, apparently she thought I could use a pick-me-up. While I was leaving, she tossed me something. I didn't know what it was until I ran into her — and Peyton — again at a club the night after. It was Refrain."

Bella knows Wendy is a detector, but she can't easily assume she's the only detector that has a good time going about and revealing people's abilities. While Bella thinks of it as a frankly endearing aspect of her personality, she does chalk some of it up to the predilection for revelation that would naturally correspond with a revelatory ability. But Refrain? And this 'girl' was with Peyton? Bella's brows arch. "I'm looking forward to someone running clinical trials on Refrain, but until then I can only remark anecdotally on it. Go on…"

"It sucks. Peyton and I agree. All it did was remind us of what we didn't have anymore," Aaron says bitterly. No, he's not much a fan of Refrain, and is more than happy with its newly restricted status as Schedule 1. "That's how, well, I met Peyton years ago at a gig. She was this annoying little party-girl with no personality of her own. I ran into her at the end of July and said some terrible things to her… It's just… it's so easy to snap at people, and I've never been like that, ever. But anyway, it was after both of us woke up at Wendy's after taking the Refrain that we started to bond." He doesn't seem to notice he mentioned Wendy's name. "I invited Peyton to an audition I had two days later at a lounge in Greenwich Village." This is where he starts to get pale and begins to fidget.

"I, uh… Peyton invited her to the audition, which I suppose would have been OK. I wanted to give her the Refrain back — she'd shot Peyton and me up from her home stash — because I had no intention of using it again. But she harassed these two cops with her ability, and they left. The manager thought Wendy was my friend and didn't want someone to play there whose friends were scaring off his patrons." At the same time he feels angry at Wendy, reliving that humiliation, he feels sick because he knows the things he has to get out next.

Now it is patently clear that Aaron is talking about the selfsame Wendy as has Bella acquaintance, but without explicit naming it would require her to make logical (however tiny) leaps just a little too much to interrupt and ask 'are we talking about Wendy Hunter?'. She keeps her peace, then, wanting to be neither disingenuously withholding nor inappropriately open about her conclusions. "Have you spoken

"You know she actually said she was trying to piss me off, intentionally?" He leaves out the part where he heard her telling the cop he was gay. Aaron licks his lips as he starts to sweat. Yeah, he expressed his irritation all right. "I, uh…" he closes his eyes so he doesn't have to watch the room spin like that. "I don't know what came over me. I was so angry. Peyton threw both their names around and suddenly the manager was willing to have me there and yet it wouldn't have been necessary if Wendy hadn't done what she did, or said all those things. I saw red and I gave her back her syringe of Refrain. In the back of the neck." The last words are said hurriedly and the bathroom Bella came out of when Aaron arrived is where he almost literally flies. His lunch is lost to the toilet and he lies on the floor shaking after he flushes, his face on the side of the cold porcelain. The fact that the story isn't over yet does nothing for his nerves.

Bella moves to the bathroom as soon as she hears the last retch issue from it. She lingers out of the line of sight, not wishing to force Aaron to be exposed when in a space that is always understood to be private, but she calls to him. "We can continue in there if you'd rather," she says, "Or… take a break. Whatever suits you. I would like to keep talking, though. Obviously this is a matter that has a powerful emotional effect." And partially somatic effect, but it would seem to gauche to mention it explicitly.

Aaron just threw up in his therapist's bathroom after admitting to an active of aggravated assault. It can't get much more mortifying. He remains silent a bit while he lets his stomach settle down, and once it returns to some semblance of not churning, he asks: "Have any mouthwash?" Because he'll be damned if he's going to carry on a conversation with the taste of vomit in his mouth. "Then we can continue. There's more." Just verbalizing more makes him shaky. He knows what happened after that. And it was anything but good.

More conversation, Bella hopes, but certainly doesn't vocalize. She steps gingerly over the threshold, reaching over the sink to pop open the medicine cabinet. There's a little bottle of Scope in there, which she hands down to Aaron before stepping over him and taking a perch on the edge of the tub. "So… how did you feel after? Immediately after?"

After quickly rinsing his mouth with a capful of mouthwash, and subsequently spitting that out into the toilet, Aaron looks up at Bella from where he lies on the floor, tears in his eyes. "It was kinda hard to stay mad at her after she screamed and started to have a bad trip. I've never seen emotional pain spawn before. It freaked me out. Peyton and I got her into a cab. I sang for her for eight hours, even long after she'd passed out afterwards. I couldn't talk after, and I just kept going until I had nothing left." He brushes tears away and looks peaky again. "I had a headache, so I went to my coat to get my painkillers. I knocked over Wendy's purse and there was another syringe of Refrain. I found three in all." Yes, he raided Wendy's purse. It was altogether a pretty crazy night. There's a long pause, a lot of breathing, and more tears before he finally can say it: "I tried to kill myself."

Suicide is a dreadful subject, one wrapped up deeply in the cultural consciousness, laced through with shame and recriminations, as well as remarkable symbolic power. Approaching it can be difficult, and Bella does so delicately. "Why did you want to do that?" she asks, without any weight to the words, no tone save one of gentle curiosity and openness - the very opposite of judgment.

The Refrain incapacitated him faster than his broken mind expected, much to his benefit. "I don't know," Aaron says at first, his voice strained. "I just…." He takes a few breaths, "I'm not a violent person, I still don't know how I could do that. I just… I felt like I deserved it for what I did."

"It must have been a terrible weight, to find yourself capable of doing something you might find unforgivable in another," Bella says, adjusting her seat on the tub's rim very slightly, trying to get comfortable, "It's an experience that's jarring to have, to discover that you are not entirely the person you believed yourself to be. But always keep in mind, Aaron, that you were just answering with violence against yourself. That the same part of you that you were punishing yourself for was doing the punishing."

Aaron actually bumps his head against the floor with that remark. He'd never quite looked at it that way. Then again, he wasn't exactly in his right mind while trying to end his own life. Or his suffering — it really is a fine line in his mind. "It's just so confusing. I tried to apologize, but I don't blame her for having none of it. Peyton, though, she … she cared. She saved me." He sniffles and wipes more tears onto his sleeve. "It was a good thing, too. I'd already missed so many days of work from my ability that my boss-slash-landlord finally let me go, which was also an eviction. Peyton too me in and, well, we already talked about what happened after that.

"I was so focused on Peyton when she came back that I never got to see Wendy, to see how she was. It was a while before I tried. She wasn't happy to see me."

"Is it important to you to receive her forgiveness?" Bella asks, reaching out to draw a towel from off the rack and, after folding it, she slides it under Aaron's head, or tries, if he's willing to lift it again. "There…"

"Thank you," Aaron says as he lifts his head for the makeshift pillow. He's still not quite ready to get off the floor. It's cool there. He nods, making the towel slide back and forth under his head. "When I went to see her, she wasn't happy to see me she made sure I knew that. And I… A part of me knows she was a victim in the whole thing, but … She blurts out who's evolved and what their ability is, and, I guess I assumed that's how they got abducted. I yelled at her, and blamed her for nearly getting Peyton killed." He shakes his head back and forth repeatedly, "It was the wrong time to see her. I didn't give it enough time."

"You seem preoccupied with blame, Aaron," Bella says, "Be it directed at Wendy, or yourself, or any of the other agencies active in your life. And while I'm certainly not saying that there isn't a place for responsibility in this, I'm going to urge you to try and give that up. It's another weapon you turn against yourself, when you should just lay it down entirely."

"But how? How do I give it up?" Aaron asks. Because he doesn't know. Letting things go has never been his strong suit. "How can I let it all go?"

"It's a matter of taking things step by step," Bella says, "About stepping back from a situation and assessing things, particularly the outcome. It may be hard, particularly if you're used to doing things by the seat of your pants. But while you can't control what life does to you, you can control what you do back. It's about breaking the chains of cause and effect, blame and retribution. Given the chance, for example, how would you have behaved differently that night? Starting with the things you couldn't control: Wendy's behavior… how would what you /can/ control, your behavior, be different with some consideration to consequence?"

Well, Aaron normally does think before he acts. Normally. That's become harder with the frequent insomnia. Never feeling properly rested puts him on edge from minute one. "I… certainly wouldn't have stabbed her," is the first thing he says. "I'd have just given her the syringe back and told her go to rehab, maybe have someone teach her how to be tactful." There's still a bit of bitterness there. "And that stuff's nasty, by the way. I only had it twice, days apart, and I still think about it sometimes, like a hunger." He lets out a sigh and slowly moves into a sitting position, rubbing his face slightly, and blushing a bit red. How embarrassing, lying on the floor like that.

"Don't you imagine you'd still be upset at her?" Bella asks, lips quirking to the side, "For ruining your gig, for behaving in the way that she did? You still sound upset now!"

"Of course I'd still be mad at her. She nearly lost me a job I subsequently lost for myself as a result of what I did in retaliation. But what's the point of being around her if she's going to be so much trouble? Just as soon let her fall out of my life," Aaron says. "Of course now, I feel I owe her something for what I did." Which he also sounds resentful over.

"Then you should cut that tie," Bella says, "And don't let your sense of obligation bind you to her if you genuinely feel she's a destructive influence. You're asking for a continuation of your troubles by tasking yourself. If she comes to you, asking for recompense, you can answer her. But don't initiate it yourself. If you want out, get out. And once you are out, try not to dwell on it or on her. You need to concentrate on getting your own life on track."

Aaron nods as he wipes the last of the tears from his eyes. He finally stands, ready to go back out and sit again. There's a brief glance to his watch and a fumble for his cell phone, but it's fine. When he takes his seat, it's far more relaxed than before. He got the worst of it all off his chest, and that's quite something. "Thank you," he says.

"I'm here to at the very least listen, and ideally also to help," Bella says, leaning forward, supporting her elbows on her knees and her chin on her clasped hands, "Getting your life in order is often a matter of taking stock. Easy, practical solutions get overlooked, often because of what we feel we /have/ to do. Turns out, other than feed ourselves, we don't /have/ to do that much. But plenty of people skip meals so they can fulfill this or that social obligation."

"Yeah, I know," Aaron says. "The simplest things always go overlooked." He takes a good and long breath and settles back into his chair. "That was a lot to get out. I know there's still going to be a lot of work but, I think I'm OK now."

Glad to be out of the bathroom, though there is something to be said about treating it as a crisis space. It's the location of purgation, a weirdly cathartic zone. Bella smiles, "Glad to hear it. When you get a chance, take stock of everything that's been bugging you. Don't obsess, just mark them down and figure out what you /actually/ have to deal with, and what you can afford to leave behind you."

And that's when Aaron's cellphone vibrates. No more ringtones for him. "I will, thank you," he says, looking at the message. "I have to go pick a friend up. When do you want to see me next?"

"Next week, around the same time?" Bella suggests, "I'm glad you're committed. I'm very optimistic. You should be, too."

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