Living in a maze of mirrors

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chapter 3

Jeanette Beauchamp

Never mind the heat trickled down her back underneath her kimono dress, Jeanette walked around the neighborhood as if she was in one of her travels. Her red sequined sandals lit up the dark cement bringing life to the quiet street.
She's used to gawkers, even the ones who nodded hi and whispered
after she walked past their gates. With a cigarette in hand, she took a puff before she threw it on the concrete and crushed it with the bottom of her sandals and pushed the door open hoping for a cool break in the late summer afternoon. The kimono made a squishy sound as she entered the living room and tipped her head against the soft cushioned sofa. She looked around the surroundings and thought that she'd need to change the interior to make it art nouveau, simplistic decor was definitely out of her realm. Not to mention this cryptic silence part of the world was too tragic to live in when there was a lot going on on the other side of the block.
She ran her hand against her glossy midnight bob, the heat and sweat had dampened her bangs but no sweat had stopped men and women from throwing a second glance at her. Jeanette had always been a firm believer that sex should be enjoyed without the complications of emotions.
She remembered her first with an expressionist who poured paint all over her body as she laid facedown rolling down on the room sized canvas from corner to corner. The endless heat had put a stop on her reminiscing the good old days.
Bored out of her mind, she rose to the book shelf and pulled out a book that was sticking out of the shelf with a glossy cover titled Shadow. She pulled it out and dumped it in the trash, she didn't need to look at the cover to guess a depressing story in it. Must be an inheritance from the previous tenant which needed to be rid off. People and their misery, she chuckled when she heard footsteps through the front door as if they were already in the house.
"Hi, I'm Raphael Hart, I'm here to see Sophie." The visitor paused, his expression was unreadable but he maintained a polite eye level and a safe distance from Jeanette who didn't move an inch from where she stood.
" We had a meeting scheduled here when I saw the door was opened and called out a few times but no one answered. I hope I didn't startle you."said a man who offered his hand and a polite smile in his light blue and khaki ensemble.

"Interesting. I'm the only one here. But how do I know you're not trying to break into this house," Jeanette asked while scanning the blonde visitor from top to bottom.

"I can show you a picture ID" he reached back into his wallet and flashed her what was stored inside the plastic window in his wallet.
Satisfied to see his name and photo matched with what he said, Jeanette looked at Raphael and shrugged,
"Okay so you are who you said you were but I'm sorry to have wasted your time but like I've mentioned earlier that I'm the only one here." She didn't shy away from taking a step toward him.

"This is embarrassing because this was the address she'd given me and I could've sworn I've checked..." He went to reach into his phone and let out a grunt when it didn't pull up after he pressed a button.
"Look I'm very sorry maybe the heat got to me. I didn't mean to trouble you." He wiped the pearly beads on his forehead with the back of his sleeves and took a step back when Jeanette asked,
"Would you like to cool off just a bit I could get you a cup of iced water?"
She signaled him to come in.
"If it's not too much trouble, I'd love a cup of water." He said with a sheepish smile.
"No it's not, I could've bathed in iced water as we speak."
her voice trailed off as she walked into the kitchen.
"You have a decent place here" he said it loud enough for the whole house to hear.
She replied until she shut off the faucet.
"This is just temporary until I find a better place to live in."
She emerged with a cup of water in hand and a bottle of iced beer in the other.
"Thank you, Miss..." He offered a handshake and took the glass as if it was godsend
"Jeanette Beauchamp, charmed" she accepted his hand and clinked her bottle with his glass.
"Is Sophie a friend of yours?" She asked after a sip of brew.
"She's a patient." He said while deciphering the woman whose voice was so uncanny to the person who had been leaving him messages for help.
"I didn't know psychiatrist still make house calls this time of the century"
Raphael paused.
"Did I have a sign painted on my forehead?"
She let out a laugh
"I could smell you from a mile away."
"That didn't sound like a positive response at all" he said.
Jeanette shrugged and sat on the arm of the sofa as if that was her throne before she continued,
"since you didn't get to meet your patient, what are you going to do?"
"I'm not sure, maybe I should head back to my office and find her number to reschedule." He nodded to himself.
"So soon? Its too hot to walk outside Doc, why not stay in until the sun goes down" she ran the cold bottle against her neck and up and down her arms with eyes closed.
"I'm afraid I can't." He rose from the chair and placed the empty glass on the counter careful not to make sudden movements to interrupt the hostess who made no attempt to raise the neckline that starting to undo from too many movements.
"Thank you for letting me in but I have to get going" Raphael walked slowly towards the door.
"Don't you want to wait for Sophie?" Her eyes locked into his but she never stopped running the glass against her dewy skin.
"I must've made a wrong turn somewhere" he replied in calm tone he'd been trained to, not to be dissuaded to look lower than her eye level
"What if I told you I knew her?"

Raphael paused
"Did you or did you not know who she was?" He asked
"Maybe I did" she said with a coy smile.
"Miss Beauchamp, I came to see her because Sophie needed help."
Jeanette heard the desperation in his voice, she rose from her throne and placed the empty beer bottle on the counter next to the empty glass that they almost clinked.
"I'm sure she'll be back soon but I want to know why you're here. She's not going postal is she?"
"How well do you know her?"
"Well enough"
"Whats your relationship to her?"
"You've heard the term before, friend and enemy. We knew each other since we were kids and it all started until a boy came into the picture. He chose me over her and she never got over it."
"Why did you two stay friends?"
"Sophie's dependable despite how rigid she could be, not really her fault it was the way she was raised."
"How was she raised?"
"Prim and proper, a perfect picture of a graceful ballerina."
"What about you?"
"I'm the bravest one, I wasn't raised with a silver spoon in my mouth. My parents were hippies, they weren't even married let alone attached but I manage fine."
"You seem to be surprised when I said I came for Sophie earlier."
"Maybe I wanted you to stick around and talk to me" she peered at him through the lashes.
"Please" she gestured him to sit back into the chair he was in.
"So how long have you been a shrink for?"
"For 5 years now" he replied, hiding his impatience by placing the unreadable expression that he usually wore in sessions.
"Are you married?" She nodded towards the ring in his finger
"I am"
"That's a shame" she replied as she crossed her legs glistened in gold flecks.
"Have you been involved with a patient before?" She asked
"No I haven't."
She shrugged.
"I have"
"Why do I feel I'm being interrogated here?" He crossed his legs and took out a thin square paper from his pocket to pat on the string of sweats on his forehead.
"I don't believe in small talks, I say what I want to say"
She noticed an absence of fat from underneath his clothes and how he was groomed from roots to tips.
"Do you know if she's coming home soon, I need to talk to her do you know where she could be?" Raphael started to lose his patience.
"Sophie doesn't talk much, she's not exactly sociable if you catch my drift. It must be a pretty severe deal for you to come on a house visit"
"She can't leave her house,I'm worried about her," he said.
"Look, Sophie got her spells once in a while but she doesn't like to talk about it. Besides she's probably in her dance class."she rolled her eyes to the ceiling.
"You mentioned spells. How often do the they happen and why?"
Jeanette sat down and uncrossed her legs, she picked up the cigarette box on her side and placed one between her lips
"Do you mind?"
Raphael shook his head, trying to remain calm despite the game of wiles that she kept throwing at him but he had to stay for the sake of Sophie.
"Do you like her Doc?" She asked while watching him intently with a lit cigarette in hand.
"I think she's a lovely woman with a lot of potentials"
"Yeah yeah, so she is then why are you here?"
"She hasn't left her house in weeks, that's not normal don't you think?"
"What's normal these days? She's had some rough start but who hasn't?" You're not the only shrink in this world that she's been to"
Raphael froze.
"Apparently someone hasn't been truthful" Jeanette said as she tugged at the necklace hanging over the neckline while her pewter lined eyes assessing the man that had caught her interest in his nerdy nurturing way.
"Sophie never mentioned prior treatment. How long ago was that?"
"Eons ago, I don't know exactly when but that's Sophie to you, so what now. Are you going to refer her to someone else?"
"No I'm not and I won't unless if that's what she wants."
Jeanette made an Hmm sound while blowing clouds in the air.
"I hope you don't mind if I stay around until she comes back" he sat back in the chair.
"Suit yourself."
"Miss Beauchamp, did you happen to know the last therapist?"
She smirked.
"The therapy didn't last very long. He referred her to another therapist but Sophie was declared well to function by the last one."
"Miss Beauchamp, why did the first therapist referred her to a different one."
"Because he had a weak mind and will..."She said in a whisper.
"From who?"
"From me. He went putty in my hands in minutes"
"How did you two meet?"
"He saw me during one of his house calls when Sophie started having her spells again"
"Sophie needs my help." Raphael said.
"That's why you got paid the big bucks to solve people's mental problem."
"You don't have that problem?"
"Nope, I don't allow anything to limit my freedom"
"Well, my next appointment won't be until 4:00 so I think I will just wait until she comes back."
"While you're waiting for dear Sophie to waltz back in, you can answer another question I had in mind."
"What was that?"
"Have you always known that you're gay?"

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