Singin' In The Rain

Chapter 7

Tina keeps to her conviction by staying away from Room No. 3 for the next few weeks. Whenever Artie passes by, she just gives him a firm smile and a ‘Hi’ before walking steadfastly on. She does it so often that Artie doesn’t even look at her anymore when she sees him around. She’s not quite sure whether that’s a good thing, but she does feel slightly hurt. When you distance yourself from anybody for long, let alone an autistic person who has adapted to a new routine, it’s possible that they might forget you and forget how it feels to be around you. She doesn’t want Artie to forget her, even though she feels like that’s the only way to put distance between them.

She decides to stay away from the musical rehearsals (and is appropriately apologetic towards Blaine), but still keeps track of the musical’s progress (and indirectly, Artie) through Blaine’s lunchtime stories about how everything’s falling into place. They have started rehearsals a few days ago and Blaine says that Artie had some trouble expressing himself at the beginning, but it seems like it’s all working out (and Tina needn’t worry, to which she responds that she doesn’t need to).

Jacob starts to speak more without moving his hands as much and starts to maintain better eye contact than usual, so Tina’s reports only get more and more positive. She wishes she can feel a lot better about it, but it seems that there’s a problem... elsewhere.

Artie had been sullen for two mass games sessions in a row and Emma wasn’t having him sitting in a corner watching everyone anymore. The third week that he had wheeled himself to the corner, she confronts him about it. What she says exactly, Tina has no idea. But it sure didn’t make Artie look very happy. Instead, he turns around and faces the wall. Emma straightens up and shoots Tina a helpless look.

Tina really doesn’t want to interact with Artie, but at the rate things are going, it looks like she has to do something about it. She rolls her eyes and walks over, her hands on her hips.

“Artie Abrams, what are you up to?”

Emma retreats while Artie continues to face the wall in silence.

Tina forcefully turns his wheelchair around and is met with a furious glare. She hasn’t seen Artie so angry in a while and it makes her insides twist every time she sees that expression.

“You said I’m independent,” growled Artie. “Let me do my own things.”

“Facing the wall is incredibly productive,” says Tina, even though she knows he’s not going to catch the sarcasm well.

To her surprise, he says, “Yes, it is.”

She’s not sure whether he is saying that because he really thinks he is, or if he’s in a bad mood, or that he’s throwing the irony back at her. The fact that she never really knows what goes on in his head makes her frustrated and she has to take several deep breaths to calm herself down.

“Didn’t I tell you not to feel sorry for yourself?” Tina manages to sound even.

“But I am sorry.”

“Sorry for what?” Tina’s voice comes out breathy.

He doesn’t respond, so she has to squat and look upwards at his face. He turns away, but she holds up a finger.

“Don’t make me turn your head, Artie,” she warns.

He turns his head of his own accord and glares at her. “I’m sorry for not playing. But I’m really not interested today.”

“You haven’t been interested in weeks.”

“I’m just tired. The musical is stressful.”

“Blaine says you’re doing very well. You’re on your way to creating a wonderful project, Artie.”

“It’s fun,” he concedes.

“That’s great,” says Tina. Then inexplicably, she feels like smiling. “That’s really, really great.”

He looks confusedly at her. “Why are you smiling?”

Tina’s smile dissipates. “You’re enjoying yourself. That’s a good thing.”

His eyes widen. Then he seems to be thinking hard, before he says quietly, “Will you come to our rehearsal?” His eyes now harbor a tinge of hope. “It would be nice.”

The fact that he needs validation from her warms her to the tips of her toes. Yet, she knows that if she obliges him, he’d be expecting to see her every single rehearsal. The last thing she wants is for him to expect anything from her.

“I’m really busy,” says Tina. “I’ll see if I can come some day.”

Artie seems to accept that answer as his face brightens up a bit.

“Artie, mass games are a great practice for working with people.” She’s said this before, but she feels like it needs to be drilled in him once again. “You may be comfortable with your cast members and crew, but what if somebody falls sick or can’t perform any more? Somebody new might come in, and it might make you feel very uncomfortable. You don’t like other people changing the dynamics of your musical, do you?”

“No,” says Artie, immediately.

“So, will you try? Even if you’re in a bad mood. It might put you into a good mood too.”

When Artie doesn’t argue, Tina wheels him towards the circle. Emma takes over and continues introducing the game to everyone. Artie doesn’t look back at Tina; he participates, albeit not very enthusiastically. She leaves the game halfway to help Sue with plans for an upcoming workshop. When mass games are over, Emma comes to thank Tina for helping her get Artie back into the fold. Tina brushes it off and says Emma did well in holding his attention.

He’ll do fine without me. He’s doing fine in the musical. This is just a once-off.

Mike and her have dinner dates on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (the rest are his family dinner nights). On Saturdays, they take turns to choose an activity to do, like picnicking or sunbathing or a movie. Mike tells her about his life, how his parents have always wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer and how he had sneaked off to sign his own contract with a dance company when he was done with high school. His father nearly disowned him, so out of filial piety, he decided to pursue a sports therapy degree that fairly alleviated his parents’ worries and stayed in Lima to work in the Autism Center.

It’s all romantic and sweet; he drives her out, he holds her hand, he’s candid about himself and promises never to withhold secrets from her. Mercedes and Kurt both swoon when Tina talks about their dates, and even Santana gives her a nudge and wink every time Mike walks by her desk and surreptitiously leaves a note or a flower.

The problem is, Tina’s no ordinary girl. She’s touched by Mike’s gestures but she feels awkward every time he opens the car door for her or spends constantly on dinners and flowers. She’s tried telling him that she’d rather go to a burger diner or eat Chinese in her room and have a conversation about people around them, but Mike merely teases about the calories in the food and the bitching sessions they’ll have.

It’s the same every week.

She tries to tell him about her life. She, too, had dreams to become an actor, a singer – musical theatre would be the best fit.

“Is that why you’re so interested to help Artie?” asks Mike. “Or maybe that’s why they picked you. And Rachel.”

“I’m sure that ‘dreams’ don’t exactly feature much in my CV,” says Tina, with a laugh. “But it does make it easier to connect with him.”

“Is it hard?” Mike looks at her intently. “Not working with him anymore? You’re always observing him during mass games.”

Tina stares at him.

“Don’t look so surprised to know that your boyfriend is checking you out,” says Mike, with a wink.

But what makes Tina surprised is that she’s been watching Artie – that often. That intensely, that Mike can even notice it. What was all that about letting go? Artie knows very well when she observes him; keeping him tethered by her gaze isn’t going to help him break that ‘attraction’ he has.

“So... you did community theater and stuff?”

“A bit.”

“Your parents were okay with it?”

“I think my parents would rather me work at a theater where the boss is a friend of my dad’s, rather than at the Center...”

“...where the boss is pretty much a bitch?” Mike grinned.

“Something like that.”

Mike’s grin fades. “You aren’t very happy here, are you?”

“If this is about the time I cried about work, it was just one time, I assure you.”

One time, out of sheer exhaustion, she broke down in the middle of their date and he was so alarmed. Once she starts, she takes ages to stop. Mike held her and whispered encouraging words into her ear, but somehow she just couldn’t stop and it made her even more frustrated.

“If you say so.”

Mike hesitates for a while before he says, “Tina, I’m right here for you. You don’t have to bottle up everything.”

It’s not that she wants to. It’s that she doesn’t really know how to phrase whatever’s bugging her. She also doesn’t really want to discuss it with Mike, of all people, so she just shakes her head with a smile.

Part of the burden is lifted however, when Emma finds her one day with a bright beam lacing her delicate features.

“I took Artie today for an hour,” says Emma, excitedly. “And he says he wants to learn directing.”

Tina arches a skeptical eyebrow. “Um, isn’t he already...?”

“No, I mean, properly,” Emma clarifies. “He wants to study it.”

Both of Tina’s eyebrows shoot up this time.

“He also says that he knows it’s usually a postgraduate degree, so in the meantime, he will study theater design and production because he thinks it’s something he can improve on in terms of knowledge, and maybe even a finance program if he can get it because he thinks helping people with bills and investments is a good thing!” Emma clutches at Tina’s sleeves. “Did you hear that? Oh my God, I was so shocked! But in a good way, I mean, it’s just that Artie has never ever voluntarily spoken to us about anything, let alone his future, and in such detail! I thought you’d like to know, because really, I think his amazing transformation was due to you and –”

Tina’s mind is in a whirl as she tries to process whatever Emma has said. A Masters’ in directing? And in the meantime, a degree in theater design and production with a finance minor of some sorts?

He was taking that step forward.

“...told Sue about it,” continues Emma, her eyes shining. “You can bet your bottom dollar that that young man is going places. Sue is absolutely, one hundred percent behind him, and we will probably be able to work out college admissions and all for him.”

Tina takes some time to compose herself, before she whispers, “That’s incredible, Emma.”

Emma nods vigorously. “I’ll need your help with some of the admissions though, if you don’t mind. I think you coaching him through writing his resumes and essays would be a much better –”

“Must I?” Tina hates herself for sounding so weak.

Emma looks alarmed. “I told Sue that you’d be helping and she insists that you should, too. Please do it, I don’t think I could really get the same results with Artie and we all want the best for him.” She leans forward a little. “Right?”

“Yeah,” is all Tina can say.

“Great!” Emma claps her hands together. “Of course, he’ll be working on the musical here first, but we figured it’s best to get everything in full swing so he can have something to look forward to once he’s done with his directing.”

“Sure,” says Tina, hoarsely.

Emma continues to chat a bit more about what she has heard about the musical and how exciting it sounds, and how the media is planning to do a big showcase on it and all of that. Tina’s mind is far away from that, however – it has launched itself a few years ahead.

But the visions in her mind dissipate and are replaced by new ones when just before Emma leaves, she adds,

“Oh, and Artie has specifically requested that he wants to study in L.A. So maybe we can try looking at the colleges there first.”

L.A.? Out of Ohio?


Tina returns to her desk in a daze. She’s really, really happy that Artie’s mapping out his future, but at the same time, she’s filled with dread and worry.

Tina, you want him to be independent – that’s what you tell all the parents, not to have their child dependent on them! Why’re you not walking the talk?

She never really walked the talk when it came to Artie, anyway.

Santana comes to inform her that Jacob wants to finish up his writing for the day and whether Tina still wants to have her session with him. Tina passes it on because she has found something very intriguing on her desk to look through.

There’s a file, neatly labelled ‘ESTELLA’ in Blaine’s smooth handwriting. The musical. She flips it open to see the latest draft of the script in which Artie’s stage directions have been added to. Another section of the file involves minutes of meetings that they’ve been to, typed out meticulously by Nessie, and it certainly shows that Artie has been very involved in all the planning. His ideas have been carefully researched and presented, then co-opted and modified for the play. The list of cast members have also been finalized. Everything’s worked out to a T, and she can’t help getting excited over it.

Estella, Estella, always down in the cellar,
Estella, Estella, where art thou your fella?”

Tina’s gone through all the sheet music as well, and this particular piece of music sticks with her for the whole day as she types up her workplans. It’s catchy and yet with a tinge of melancholy beneath that makes her breath catch as she sings it quietly to herself. The songs of the mischievous boys on the streets calling out to Estella, teasing her as a maidservant even though she’s been brought up like a lady... she can almost imagine the whole set-up on stage as per Artie’s direction in the script, and it looks and sounds incredible. At the end of the day, she retrieves that piece of sheet music again just to double-check a few notes. What she notices instead makes her drop the paper in surprise.

The composer is not Zoe, the girl Blaine has been raving about.

It’s Artie.

Tina takes out the rest of the music and it’s all composed by Zoe and written by Matt. But this piece in particular, the title piece ‘Estella’, is written andcomposed by Artie.

She takes the piece of sheet music with her as she heads out of the office and towards Room No. 3. But Artie’s not there.

Her pace quickens as she goes past the various therapy rooms. He’s not in any of them.

The security guard at the dorms insists that Artie’s not back yet.

She crosses the courtyard to the other rooms. Not there, not there, not there...

Artie... where are you?

The soft strains of guitar and a voice come floating by as she moves towards the music rooms. She’s never known that Artie comes here, but as the voice strengthens, she knows that it’s him.

“I’m dreaming beyond the silence,
Sounds beyond my conscience,”

The acoustic version of the title song, she realizes. So much more heartbreaking than what she had imagined.

“But still I lie here waiting,
Waiting and hating,
Hating and baying
The boys, the men, they know no love
That I’m not down below, but up above
Their world of deceit and debauchery
I will break their hearts... break their hearts...”

The guitar stops there even as his voice lingers.

Tina can’t help but clap as she approaches the room. She sees his eyes widen through the window and he hurries to put the guitar back into its case.

“No, wait!” Tina walks into the room. “You can continue; it was beautiful.”

“I’m tired,” says Artie, quickly. He shuts the case and releases his wheel locks. “Goodbye.”

“Artie,” says Tina. “You wrote that song?”

Artie’s gaze flickers. Then he bows his head. “Yes.”

“It’s the most beautiful song in the catalogue, I’m not gonna lie.”

His head shoots up. “Really?”

“I love it,” says Tina, smiling.

“Thank you.”

“When... when did you learn to play the guitar so well? I heard that Blaine tried to teach you before, but you weren’t very interested.”

“It’s painful,” explains Artie. “But when I want to sing, I’ll come here.” He looks at her. “I practiced till it didn’t hurt anymore.”

He holds up callused fingers.

“You...” Tina tilts her head to the side. “You love music, Artie. You love to perform in all ways – singing, playing an instrument, dancing...” Artie stiffens visibly at the mention of that. “Yet you always put up a front as though you can’t care less about all of that. That what matters to you is just watching West Side Story over and over again.”

Artie doesn’t respond. Once again, he picks at his fingers.

“Emma told me you want to pursue a Masters’ in directing.”


“In the meantime, you’ll do a degree in theater design and production.”


“Why don’t you consider performing?”

Now he’s really rigid. He’s clasping his handrails and looks like he’s trying to calm himself down.

“Artie, take your time,” says Tina, and she reaches out to cover his hand.

Slowly, he relaxes – and to Tina’s surprise, he takes her hand into both of his. It seems to calm him down tremendously as his breathing stabilizes. Tina tries very, very hard to ignore the fact that her hand fits perfectly in his clasp – and really warmly as well...

“They’ll laugh at me,” he says, quietly.

“Who will?”

“Everyone,” says Artie. “Everyone laughs at me when I say I want to become a... a music star. They never hear me play because – because I don’t play often. It reminds me of...” He takes a deep breath. “It reminds me of them.”

Tina looks confused for a moment, then her look softens. “Your parents?”

“My parents,” Artie affirms. “My parents brought me to music and dance lessons.”

“So you did want to become a music star?”

“They said I was stupid and always angry and would never make it. They’d go and have their music lessons and play all these terrible songs to make me angry.” Artie clenches his fists. “I hate them.”

“The children at the orphanage?” Tina guesses.

“Quinn would sing with me,” says Artie. “But she thinks I’m silly too.”

“No, she doesn’t,” says Tina, remembering what Quinn had told her. “She just wants you to be strong.”

“I’m strong,” argues Artie. “I just get angry very often and she doesn’t like that.”

Tina thinks wryly that Quinn gets angry pretty easily too, but brushes that aside. “So, you’ve given up on those dreams?”

“Angry people become directors, right? That’s what Quinn says.”

Tina stifles a laugh. “She said that?”

But then she realizes that Quinn has a point. Artie’s directing is so good because he is so precise, so sharp and so adamant about what he wants. He knows everything to do with music, but when he’s angry, it means that he wants things done a certain way.

“Yes,” says Artie. “Is she wrong?”

“It’s not a fact,” says Tina. “But you definitely make a good one because you get angry. It makes you more critical.”

“I have more control,” says Artie. “It feels good.”

“You’re so bossy,” teases Tina.

“I am the boss,” says Artie.

Tina suddenly feels a wave of affection, only to groan inwardly. What is she opening herself up to?

“Tina?” Artie asks, his voice now much more tender.


“Can I...” He hesitates, then looks at her warily. “Can I have a hug? I miss you.”

At that moment, Tina’s heart just melts. He misses her. He freaking misses her. Even when he’s doing well on his own, he still wants her by his side. The worst thing is, he still misses her even after all the times she’s been clearly ignoring him and hurting him at the same time.

She lets out a big sigh. “Artie, I can’t –”

“Friends... friends hug too, right?” he asks, even though he looks really sad now.

“Artie, I’m so sorry,” she whispers.

He blinks. “Why are you sorry?”

“I don’t know, I just –”

“Is this because you have been avoiding me?”

Tina can’t help smiling weakly. “Is it that obvious?”

“I know you have been avoiding me. It’s not very nice, but I think it’s because you have a boyfriend and it’s not nice for him if you keep being friends with me.” Artie hangs his head. “But I like being friends with you and it’s sad that we can’t be.”

“Oh, Artie,” says Tina, at once. “Who said we can’t be friends?”

She sighs again. “Look, that was all just me being sensitive and paranoid and –” Artie doesn’t really seem to catch on, but she rambles on anyway, “– I don’t want to hurt you anymore. If distancing myself from you makes you so upset, then I’m not going to run. I’m just going to be here, by your side, encouraging you to pursue your dreams. You are going to make that musical a success and I’m going to watch you achieve it. I –”

Before she knows it, Artie has leant forward to give her a big hug. A gasp of breath escapes her mouth as she barely registers the sensation – the familiar tingling charging through her.

“I miss you,” repeats Artie, his voice slightly muffled by her hair. “Thank you for being my friend again.”

Tina decides not to tackle that sentence; instead, she says, “Don’t give up performing either, Artie. You’re extremely talented in it too. Even if you don’t pursue it as a career, it can always be your hobby. You’re always so much happier and at ease when you’re performing.”

He gives a nod against her shoulder.

“Come on,” says Tina, as she pulls back, though her hands are still on his shoulders and his are still resting on her back. She knows her eyes are shining just as much as Artie’s and she has a huge urge to put her hands on his cheeks. “Play me the whole song. ‘Estella’.”

Artie obliges as he lets go of her and opens the case again. When he sings, Tina forgets everything else. She only sees the young man before her smile as he strums and sings. Artie the autistic boy with a bad temper and needs to be cured of his West Side Story obsession, is no more.

This is Artie, the young man with hopes and dreams, well on his way to achieve them.

This is Artie, her friend.

When Tina makes her way to the front gate after work, she notices a very familiar car pull into the lot. She lets out a squeal as she bounds over. Kurt steps out of the car, locks it, and barely has time to look ahead when Tina throws herself onto him.

“Oh my God!” Kurt nearly drops his keys.

Tina pulls back, delighted. “What a welcome surprise, Kurt!”

“Uh,” Kurt adjusts his collar with one hand, the other hand at the small of Tina’s back. “Yeah, great surprise to see you too, Tina. I thought you’d be buried under your work again.”

Tina looks at him in confusion. “You’re not here for me?”

Kurt clears his throat and Tina swears he’s turning red. “Uh, I...”

“Hey, Kurt!”

Kurt snaps out of his awkward moment and waves enthusiastically ahead at...

Tina gasps loudly. Then she bursts out giggling as Kurt stares at her in annoyance. “What?”

Blaine comes over, his eyes twinkling. “What’s the joke?”

“You two!” Tina can’t stop giggling. “The two of you are dating?”

“You’re a great friend, Tina,” says Kurt, wryly. “Haven’t you noticed Anderson’s always dressed to the nines on Tuesdays and Fridays?”

“Hey, I always dress impeccably,” protests Blaine. Then he grins at Tina. “Want to be the third wheel?”

Tina reaches out and smacks his arm. “When you put it like that, how could I be?” Then she clasps her hands together. “Aw, was I the unintended matchmaker? I feel so blissful knowing that.”

“Yes, you were, now shut up and leave,” says Kurt, even though he’s still blushing.

Tina sticks out her tongue and clings onto him mockingly. “I see how much you value my friendship.”


All three of them turn around to see Artie wheel towards them, waving a file. “You forgot your –”

Artie trails off as he notices all of them. “Oh, hi, Tina.”

Kurt draws in a deep breath. “Well, well, here’s the Merrymaker to your matchmaker.”

Tina smacks him this time.

Artie’s gaze flickers to Kurt, whose arm is still around Tina. “You are Tina’s boyfriend.”

Kurt stares at Artie. Then he turns his head slowly to Tina. “What’s –”

“No, I –” Tina begins.

“He’s very good-looking,” says Artie. “He’s good for you.”

Good for me?

“Thanks?” Kurt says, amusedly.

Tina glares at him.

“Thanks, Artie,” says Blaine, taking the file from him. “Time for you to go back.”

Artie obliges, even though Tina’s still trying to formulate her words. But he’s gone by the time she figures something out. She lets out a groan. “Why didn’t you let me finish what I had to say?”

“I won’t let you say anymore either,” says Blaine, apologetically. “Because Kurt and I have a show to catch, and we’re gonna be late.”

Kurt jumps as he regards his watch. “Christ! We really are. Okay sorry, Tina, but we have to run.” He gives her a quick peck on the cheek and gently shoves her aside. “Bye!”

Tina watches them climb into Kurt’s car and waves goodbye. Then she can’t help but turn and look back at the center and fervently prays that this afternoon’s painstakingly-reformed friendship has not been ruined.

That night, Mike comes over to her place with a DVD and a pint of ice cream. But both items are forgotten when ten minutes into the film, his hand starts wandering all over her. Her head tilts back to give him a kiss, but it soon evolves into a lot of tongue and heat and it’s snaking through her entire body. Random lyrics are running through her head and she’s imagining a harem of cherubims singing above her.

He holds her in his arms
Would you? Would you?

He presses on top of her head, eyes asking for consent, and she responds by arching her back to give him access under her blouse. The contact with her skin is instantly electrifying and gratifying... her body craves the warmth that his hand and lips are providing her with. He’s whispering sweet words against her ear and her lips have fallen open as he trails his down her neck.

He tells her of her charms
Would you? Would you?

But the moment he strokes at the delicate skin over her ribcage and ventures further, she suddenly puts a hand on his arm.

Mike looks at her in surprise. Then disappointment overtakes him as he retrieves his hand from under her blouse.

“Sorry,” Tina breathes, “I... I’m just –”

“No, no, it’s okay,” says Mike, who has the grace to look embarrassed. “I totally understand. Too fast. We’ll take it slower.”

“I, uhh, would like to continue the film, if you don’t mind,” says Tina, awkwardly. “It’s a – it’s a great film.”

“Sure,” says Mike, as he sits up. He curls his arm around her and she shifts against him.

She shifts a few more times throughout the show. His thumb stroking circles on her arm sends tingles, but it feels – it just feels –

He’ll kiss her with a sigh
Would you? Would you?

She’s not too sure what it really feels like per se. But when she hugs Mike goodnight before he leaves, she finally figures out that it’s not that she doesn’t feel something. It’s that she has felt it before, in the most chaste of situations.

And if the girl were I
Would you? Would you?

Tina slaps herself on both cheeks and shakes her head. She makes her way to the kitchen and is surprised to see her mother there, doing a book of Sudoku.


“Hey, honey,” says Tina’s mother, smiling till her eyes crinkle in a way that Tina loves. “Had a good night?”

Tina blushes. “Yeah. Sort of.”

“Mike is a good boy.” Tina’s mother eyes her knowingly. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks, mom.” And Tina proceeds to boil water for her glass of hot milk.

“How’s your day at work?”

Tina sighs inwardly. “Fine, I guess. The usual.” Then she turns to face her mother, who is still scribbling in the puzzle book. “It’s kind of nice to know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives, as clichéd as that sounds.”

“You know your father and I still have reservations about this,” says Tina’s mother. “But as long as you’re happy, darling. Are you still working with that – that boy – what’s his name...”


“Yes, how’s Artie doing?”

“He’s great, mom. He’s planning to go to college and study theater design and production, then move on to directing classes.” Tina breaks into a smile. “I... I’m really, really happy for him. He’s going places. Sometimes, we try to believe in a person and hope that they get motivated by it but it doesn’t always materialize. This time? It really did and I just –”

Tina’s mom looks up at her and puts down the pencil. “Just?”

“I’m afraid for him too, Mom. He wants to go to L.A. all alone. He’s an independent young man, yes, but there’re so many things that are new for him and when he’s exposed to new things, he tends to run away from them. If there’s someone to be there with him, he won’t be so scared. When he does try new things, he always ends up excelling and making the most out of it.”

“My dear, that boy has to go out into the world one day without any of you holding his hand,” says Tina’s mother, matter-of-factly.

“It’s not about holding his hand, he’s not a baby!” Tina can’t help but laugh nervously. “It’s really about – it’s just trying to be there for him, you know. I just want to –” Tina stops short and feels a hot flush at her neck.

“Tina,” says her mother, a little worriedly. “You can’t be there for him once he’s going to college.”

Tina slumps into a chair. “I know.”

“You have to make sure he knows that too.”

“I’m not... I’m not in charge of him anymore.”

Tina’s mom frowns. “Then shouldn’t the other therapist in charge of him be worrying about it?”

“He’s not under any therapist now, he’s just... he’s on his own.”

“Isn’t that good? He sounds quite... independent.”

“Mom, I’m tired,” mumbles Tina. “I’m going to bed.”

They met as you and I,
And they were only friends
But before the story ends...

“Do you need me to save you dinner tomorrow night? Or will you be out with Mike?”

The mention of Mike makes her heart ache for some inexplicable reason. It feels like both Mike and Artie shouldn’t be in the same conversation.

“I’ll let you know again,” says Tina, wearily.

“Goodnight, sweetheart.” She can hear the worry in her mother’s voice, but she chooses not to think too much about it.

Would you dare to say
‘Let’s do the same as they.’?
Would you?
...would I?

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