I lied in my bed tossing and turning. The party just ended and everyone went home, but I could still not fall asleep. Finally giving up I sat up looking around my room. There laying on my desk I noticed my phone. Getting up to check it I picked it up realizing it was dead. I found my charger and started charging it waiting for it to turn on. I sat in my chair staring at my phone just waiting. Seeing my phone light up, it slowly loaded and turned on. Bryce must have been wrong I had no missed texts or calls. Putting it on silent, I left it there to charge and went back to bed.
I was woken up to a knock on my door. Man I do not know what time I finally fell asleep, but I feel like I was asleep for five minutes. Yelling come in to whoever was out their interrupting my sleep. I saw my mother peek her head inside.
“Isabella, you have to get up know and get ready today is the first day of your therapy.” WIth that she shut the door. Letting out a sigh, I pulled the covers off and rolled out of bed. I couldn’t wait or this therapy to be over, so I could come back and catch up on sleep. Not caring what I looked like today I just threw on shorts and a t-shirt. Slipping on one shoe, I made my way downstairs. My mother was standing by the counter holding a coffee cup. I walked over to the fridge looking for something to eat and drink. Pulling out a bottle of coke, I know it is bad for you especially this early in the morning, but I wasn’t a big coffee drinker and I need some sort of caffeine.
“Are you ready to go, we’re going to be late if we don’t leave now.”
“Yea, I am ready.” Still wishing I could just go back upstairs and go back to bed. I followed my mother out and into her car. The drive there went by way too fast. All too soon we were standing in the lobby, and my mother was checking me in. Taking a seat my mother walked over with a clipboard of a papers I needed to fill out. Looking it over it was a whole list of questions with boxes next to them to check yes or no. I started filling it out, these questions was ridiculous; Are you depressed? Have you ever had a panic attack? Are you an alcoholic? Have you ever tried to commit suicide? Have you ever thought about committing suicide? I looked over at my mother and she was also looking at the paper intently and almost with a hint of worry, what did she really think I was going to check yes to any of these. Thinking about it for a moment I almost did just to mess with her, but considering I didn’t need to give her anymore of a reason for me to be here I started checking no on all of the boxes. However, when I got to the last question I froze. The question was; Have you lost someone close to you? I know this is an easy answer, but seeing it written there and having to put a check in a box seemed to make it all surreal. How could something as tragic as what happened be simplified into a simple yes or no question? Not answering that one I handed the clipboard back to my mother.
After she took the clipboard back to the front desk her phone rang, answering it she walked outside as there was a sign no phones in waiting room. Playing with my fingers in my lap I heard a door open and my name being called. I looked up to see a woman standing there looking at me waiting.
“Hello Isabella, I am Dr. Turner.” She said sticking her hand out, looking around she must have been confused on why I was there alone.
“My mother brought me she just has to take a phone call outside.”
“Oh that’s ok will she be joining us when she is finished.”
Just shrugging I answered, “I don’t think she will be.”
“Ok, well you can just follow me then this way.”
Heading into the office I started looking around the it was a typical therapist set up. A book shelf along one wall, and a desk. Then on the other side of the room was a couch with a simple arm chair. I know I was supposed to sit on the couch, but the armchair looked so comfortable. While Dr. Turner was looking at something on her desk I walked over to the chair and sat down.
“Ok Isabella,” she started saying, but as she turned around and saw me she stopped with a hint of surprise on her face. “Oh, I...”
“Oh sorry, I can move if you want, I just thought this chair looked more comfy.”
“No, no it is fine, I have just never had someone sit there before. That is usually my chair. I have never held a session sitting on the couch.” Now feeling slightly embarrassed I offered to move again and she declined. “No please stay, whatever makes you more comfortable is fine with me.” Smiling slightly maybe I was wrong about therapist, she seemed very nice and not scary or threatening. “So today I just want to get to know you, will worry about going into anything deep another week, just tell me about yourself.”
“Ok, so where should I start?”
Shifting herself on the couch again, clearly a little uncomfortable with the seating arrangement she answered, “How about some simple things, how old are you what grade are you in, stuff like that.”
“Oh, I figured you had all of that in a file somewhere.”
“Yes we do, but I like to not look at it. I like to learn about my patients from them.”
“Well let’s see, I am 16 about to turn 17 in a month. I am in my junior year of high school, but when I go back I will be a senior.”
“When is your birthday?”
“It is June 14th.”
“And why are you no longer attending school, I thought school’s weren’t over for another couple of weeks.”
I knew that was coming, she may be cooler than some other therapists, but this was still their job to pry into your life and try to fix it. Deciding to just be honest I took a deep breath before answering. “My best friend Kate died. She was really my only friend and after I just haven’t felt like going back and facing everyone. The school decided to let me finish all of my work at home and then start coming back my senior year once the summer is over.”
“Wow, you must get really good grades for the school to allow you to do that. Letting you take time off is unheard of.” Not really expecting that to be her response, I looked at her questioningly.
“Again like I said I just want to get to know you in this meeting. We will get you to open up in other sessions, but only with what you are comfortable with. I do not like to push my clients until I know that they are ready and can handle it.”
So maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought. With that we just talked for a little bit longer she told me about herself as well. She is currently dating a man that she has been seeing for five years. I asked why he hasn’t proposed yet and she just laughed and rolled her eyes. I guess it was a bit of a touchy subject for her. She had a dog, a corgi, that she showed me a picture and it was adorable. She told me sometimes she brings it into work to play with the clients during their sessions. I made her promise that she would bring it in for me. All too soon the hour was over and I was back in the waiting room with my mom signing us out.
“Mom, could you just drop me off at Aunt Millie’s house?”
“Yes that is fine I have to go into the office anyway, I will drop you off on my way.” I thought for sure when we got in the car she would start asking how it went, but to my surprise she didn’t. She actually didn’t say anything to me the entire car ride. We pulled into Milie’s driveway. Getting out I looked over at my mom she still didn’t say a work and as soon as I closed the door she sped off. Sighing I turned to head into the house. Pulling out my spare key that Millie gave to me I let myself in.
“HELLOO!” Looking all around I didn’t see her anywhere. Deciding I would just wait til she returned home I went into her kitchen to find something to eat. Opening her pantry I couldn’t help but smile it was fully stocked with goldfish. She always kept a supply, because she knew it was mine and Kate’s favorite snack. Grabbing a bag I made my way into the living room and sat down on her big sofa and turned the TV on. Flipping through the channels I decided to put on a movie since their was nothing on. Getting up I searched through her selection and decided on watching The Proposal. Grabbing a blanket on my way back to the couch I laid down and put the movie on.
Sitting up later I stretched, I didn’t make it very far into the movie before falling asleep. I forgot how tired I was this morning. I stood up noticing that the tv off was already turned off, I was wondering how that happened when I heard voices coming from in the kitchen. Making my way in their I saw Millie standing at the stove and Bryce sitting at the island.
Hearing me come in my aunt looked at me, “Oh look who finally decided to wake up.”
“What time is it, and how long have you been here?”
“Well dear, it is almost 5 and we have been here for a little over an hour. I am just starting to make dinner now, and where are your crutches? You should not be hobbling around it is bad for your leg.”
“I left it in the living room, those things are annoying.” Hearing that Bryce got up and went to get them for me. I took a seat on the stool he was on. “Why didn’t anyone wake me?”
“We weren’t expecting you to be here, and you looked so tired. How did you get here anyway?”
“My mom dropped me off...umm after therapy.” That caught Bryce’s attention as he was coming back into the kitchen. I guess no one really knew considering my own parents just told me last night that I was going.
Millie now put down what she was doing. “I didn’t know you were going to a therapist. How is it going?”
“Today was actually my first day, my parents just told me yesterday that they were making me go.”
“Well how did your first day go?” I proceeded to tell them all about it everything from sitting in her chair to how we just talked about ourselves.
“That sounds good dear.”
“I was surprised. I didn’t want to go at first, but Dr. Turner is actually really nice and it’s so easy to talk to her.”
“Well dear I know Bryce here is, but are you staying for dinner?”
“I don’t know I should probably head home, just incase my parents are there.”
“What if you get home and they aren’t even there, then you will be alone all night.” Looking over this was the first time Bryce said anything since I walked in the kitchen.
“Yeah, why don’t you give them a call and find out if not we can have dinner and have a movie night.” Agreeing with them I realized I left my phone at home though. I really need to start remembering that thing. So I called my mom using Millie’s house phone. Turned out they were right my parents left on a business trip and wouldn’t be home for a few days. Can’t say i’m not used to this they tend to leave without telling me.
Walking back into the kitchen I let them know that it looked like I could stay for the night.
“Oh yay, I am so happy, we haven’t all hung out in a while. We have so much to catch up on.” She started rambling on about what we were going to do and the movies we should watch. I couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t going to be as much fun as before considering we weren’t all really here. I didn’t want to bring the mood down. I wanted to have one night where we could just have fun and not think about it all. Deciding I would try to actually have fun I put on a smile and refocused back on what she was saying.
“So, what are we having for dinner?”
“Oh dear, I am trying a new recipe.” She turned around to tend to whatever was on the stove again. I looked over at Bryce and he was already looking at me trying to hide a smile. Let’s just say Aunt Millie wasn’t a terrible cook, she just could not for the life of her cook a new recipe. She was always trying to cook new recipes that she found and they always turned out horrible. I don’t know if she didn’t focus on the ingredients, or the amounts to put in or what it was. So then we would always ended up ordering pizza and for the next 3 or 4 night she would remake the same recipe until she actually got it to taste edible.
“Now don’t you two look at each other like that, this one is going to turn out good.” This caused me to laugh. I don’t know how she does it she wasn’t even facing us, and knew what we were doing. “Why don’t you two go do something until dinner is ready.” At that I stopped laughing, I didn’t really want to go and be left alone with Bryce.
“That’s ok I can stay and help you with dinner.” I was really hoping she would agree and accept my offer to help her.
“No sweetie you go on and put that leg up, I can manage this myself.” Great now I was stuck with him. Turning around I made my way into the living room sitting down on the couch propping my foot on the ottoman not sure of what to do til dinner. Bryce followed me in and sat down on the opposite end of the couch.
Sighing he looked over at me. “Why didn’t you tell me last night that you were going to therapy.”
“I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal.”
“I know, I just want you to be able to talk to me about anything. I just want to be here for you, if you need someone to talk to or anything, I am here for you.” I looked over at him and he was staring straight at me. I could see the sincerity in his eyes, it was also mixed with sadness and what looked like regret. Looking away again I couldn’t help but want to look back and see if it was still there. I don’t know what he could be regretting, I didn’t have too much time to think about it as suddenly the fire alarm started going off. We both looked at each other and he ran into the kitchen, and I followed as quickly as I could. Bryce beat me into the kitchen and when I came through the door I didn’t realize he had stopped right in the doorway causing me to run into his back. Before I could fall from the impact he reached his hand out behind him and grabbed my arm. Using his arm to steady myself, I slowly stepped around him so I could see what was happening in the kitchen.
My aunt was standing over the sink looking very frazzled, and there was smoke completely filling the sink. There was something all over the stove that had from the looks of it been spilling over the side of the pot. By this point both me and Bryce were almost on the floor laughing. Millie just turned around and was glaring at us waiting for us to stop. I guess she had enough of it after a couple of minutes.
“Are you two about done, someone go call the pizza place and help me clean his up.” With that she turned around muttering she that she was certain this recipe was easy and she would get it right. Bryce looked over at me tears in his eyes from laughing so hard.
“Why don’t you call the pizza place and put that leg up. I’ll help her clean up in here.” I hobbled back into the living room grabbing the phone of the table. Sitting down I propped my leg on the ottoman again, I did really need to start being more careful my leg was throbbing right now. I think I left all my pain medicine at the house. After placing our usual order, I laid my head back and was hoping the pain would stop. A couple minutes later I felt the sofa dip down next to me. Peeking my eye open Bryce was sitting there with a glass of water and some pain Medicine. Grabbing them I quickly swallowed them and then put the glass back down.
“No problem, did you ever get to check your phone, like I said.” Looking down I thought about the night I turned my phone on and there was no texts or call from anyone.
“Yes I did, I didn’t get anything from anyone.”
“That can’t be possible. Is your phone broken? I have sent you a few texts and even tried to call you.” I explained how I turned it on didn’t have anything and then went to bed and haven’t looked since then. What he did next really made me mad, he started laughing at me. I do not know if it was because something was wrong with my phone and he thought it was funny or if he laughing because I have no one that is texting and calling me. Not wanting to deal with him anymore I slowly tried to stand up. With that he stopped laughing, “No wait, don’t leave.”
“Why would I stay here if you’re just going to be rude, there is nothing to be laughing at right now.” He grabbed my arm to pull me back down so I was sitting next to him.
“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have laughed. I just think it is funny your knowledge of technology hasn’t improved at all over the years.” Thinking back I remember all the time he would help me when my laptop or phone wasn’t working right. He always amazed me with all his talents. He was an athlete, but was also very smart and was good with computers. He always said one day he would give me a crash course on technology, but he never got around to it. Giving him a questioning look he started to explain. “You know if you have your phone turned off when you turn it back on it can take a little while for any notifications to actually come threw on your phone. I bet if you were to check now you would have a lot of missed calls and text.” I didn’t know what to say after that I knew he was probably right, but I still didn’t know who even would have had my number.
Not saying anything back we just fell into an awkward silence, I wasn’t really sure where we stood. I know we used to be friends, and then we weren’t really. Now he is being nicer again to me, so does that mean we are friends. I admit I still don’t think I am over that stupid crush I had on him all those years ago, but I know that will never happen. Leaning my head back on the couch and closing my eyes, it was all too much to think of. The fact was he had Valerie and as long as she was in the picture she wouldn’t let me even become friends with Bryce.
“What happened to us?” Bryce quietly mumbled this. I opened my eyes and looked over at him. He was sitting forward with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. I was sure I heard him wrong.
“What was that?”
Sighing he turned his head to look back at me still sitting hunched over, “I was just wondering what happened to us, we used to be friends or so I thought, what changed.” Thinking about it I knew what changed when I started liking him more than a friend, since that was never going to happen it was easier to shut him out until he stopped trying and then he ended up with Valerie. I knew we could never even be friends again with her in the picture, and if it came down to an ultimatum between me and her I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance. It was just better this way not letting myself get close to him. After awhile I didn’t answer he got up and made his way into the kitchen. While he walked away I whispered “It’s just better this way.” I thought I saw him freeze for a moment, but he still made his way into the kitchen . I doubt he heard me anyway. Soon Millie came back downstairs, I guess she was up cleaning herself off.
Looking around confused she asked where Bryce went.
“He’s went back into the kitchen.” Huffing she turned and went into the kitchen. Not sure what that was about, but I didn’t have too much time to think about it I heard the doorbell ring. Neither of them came out of the kitchen and the person was repeatedly ringing the bell. Deciding I was going to have to get it because they were busy I got up grabbing my crutches and made my way to the door. Whoever was there was really starting to make me mad they would not stop ringing the doorbell. Finally getting to the door I flung it open, standing there was a guy that looked fairly familiar holding the pizza in one hand and his other was still on the door bell.
“Stop, what is with the constant ringing of the doorbell, I was going as fast as I could.” Now the guy looked a little flustered his cheeks turning pink.
“Sorry I am just in a hurry, I have a lot of deliveries and I got lost on my way here making me later.” Now I kinda felt bad for the him, he’s just in a hurry and I yelled at him.
“Oh it’s ok, sorry for snapping at you.” Handing him the money I was trying to figure out a way I could grab the pizza and still be able to uses the crutches to get to the kitchen. Seriously where was Bryce and my aunt they should be helping. Reaching one had out to grab it he pulls the pizza back closer to him.
“Please, let me help you I can take it into the kitchen for you if you want.” Looking at him I was debating if it was a good idea to let a stranger into the house or not. “I promise I’m not a serial killer or anything.” Laughing I decided to let him in, as I was clearly not going to make it by myself. He followed me into the kitchen, where Millie and Bryce were standing and looked to be in a deep conversation. They didn’t even notice when we walked in. Clearing my throat they both looked over at me.
“Matt, hey man how have you been? I didn’t know you were working at the pizza place now.” Bryce must now this guy.
“Hey Bryce, yea this is actually my first week.” He looked a little flushed again as he rubbed his neck and looked over at me. Now I felt even more bad about yelling at him, he was just trying to do his job and not get fired his first week. ’I’m actually running late so...”
“I’ll walk you back out.” Turning to head back to the front door Bryce tried to stop me. “It’s fine it’s not that far away I can manage I’m not completely handicap.” Huffing I started making my way to the door again. When we got there Matt opened the door for himself.
“Bryce is really protective over you huh?”
“He used to be, I don’t think he cares too much anymore. How do you know him?”
“I went to your high school I graduated last year I was on the swim team with him.” It’s not really a surprise that I didn’t know him besides Kate, I usually kept to myself and only talked to some people in my grade and Kate’s friends.
“Well thanks for the pizza I hope you aren’t late getting everywhere else.”
“No problem, I hope to see you around again.” With that he smiled at me and left I watched him walk to his car and he looked up and gave me a small wave. Realizing how creepy I probably looked standing staring at him I closed the door. Turning around Bryce was standing there with his arms folded across his chest, and he didn’t look to happy either.
“What?” Not sure what his problem was, I started making my way back to the kitchen to get the pizza.
He grabs my arm as he passes me. This causes the arm he grabbed to drop my crutch and I ended up falling. I barely caught myself with my hands before my butt hit the ground. Now I was just aggravated every time he is here I end up falling, I am going to break my other leg at this rate. “I am so sorry, here let me help you up.”
“I got it.” Slapping his hand away I grabbed the crutch I dropped and used both of them to hoist myself up. “What did you want?” He just looked at me confused, like he didn’t know what I was talking about. “You grabbed my arm to stop me, why?” Man I didn’t know where this confidence was coming from, usually I would be stumbling over my words just trying to get a full sentence out in front of Bryce. I guess I finally realized I was tired of being the quiet girl no one knew. If I was ever going to have any friends I needed to open up more and not be so shy and awkward. I know it would be hard as you can’t just turn off shyness, but from now on I am going to try. Feeling a lot more confident in myself I realized I tuned Bryce out during my little rant in my head. “What did you say?”
“I said that you should not be hanging around Matt, he’s not that great of a guy.” I don’t know where this was coming from.
“What are you talking about he just dropped off the pizza I’ll probably never see him again.”
“I saw how he was looking at you, just be careful with him.”
“Thanks dad, I’ll be fine I’m a big girl I can make my own decisions,” with that I scooted around him and made my way into the kitchen. I don’t know what Bryce is trying to do, I barely talked to him for years before everything happened and now he acts like we are best friends. He hasn’t shown signs of caring for me when I truly needed him and I don’t get what changed and why he is now if anything after Kate died we have no connection anymore. He can go on with his life like he has been with me not in it and I can try to figure out my life now.