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 Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]

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bubbelah



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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:56 pm

Didn't have the money?  She'd known poorer people existed, of course. But she hadn't ever spoken to one-- at least none that weren't subordinate to her.  Unable to help herself, she stammered after a moment of confusion, "What... What's that like?" As if it was a fascinating new lifestyle she was too tentative to try.  It seemed a bit callous at face value, to ask what poverty was like, but then it was as much curiosity that he'd questioned her with-- he was right that she had no opinions of him, so she had no reason to condescend.  

"I've been to... Spain, france... Italy, America..." She didn't like any of them.  "Many places.  But I'd much rather be home." She didn't think it would be the same for a poor person. "Not many people speak German, compared to something like Spanish... But enough people.  I know some Russian, and no Japanese." Even though she probably should have, for all the Japanese tourists walking around in Lederhosen.

At his admission of his location, she wrinkled her nose slightly in distaste.  Maybe she didn't know Japanese or enough Russian, but she'd observed enough of what went on there to pity him.  "That must be a hell of a place to be, huh?" If he was poor, it probably was hell.


Broos smiled.  "I'm talkative too-- good, we have something in common, then?"

As Citra got up to leave, he frowned.  If Niels would only talk to her this wouldn't be a problem.  Who *would* want to sit near someone who always seemed to be where she was, nearly all of the time?  Administration didn't count as a relationship.  It didn't even count as being acquaintances, if he was hardly ever there.  

"I do hope she feels better-- I suppose it's just the three of--"
And then Niels exploded.  "HEY-- NIELS...!!" It was too late.  And he was too tired of talking the normally intelligent man down.  Sighing, exasperated, he turned back to Darya.  "I think so... He'll be back, once he's... Better." How was he going to explain this? "My oldest brother had his business in Indonesia.  Then Niels took it over, and he... 'fell in love' with her... Or something.  He'd only seen her once or twice." It was too big a mess.  "And I don't think she really saw him, equally.  She only really knows him as, well.... A stalker." Then, not wanting to make his brother seem terrible, added, "But he's a good guy, you know... He's a judge-- a human rights judge.  He's just too shy to talk to her." An understatement.  "Imagine if... If you saw the most beautiful person you'd ever seen.  Like, I don't know, an angel or something like that.  It would be hard to talk to them, wouldn't it?" Not that he thought Citra was beautiful.  Hardly at all.  But to Niels she must have looked like the only woman in the world.  

Citra, unaware she was being talked about, or that Niels had also escaped, had finished thinking about going back in the bathroom.  She decided she would go back, and just try to ignore him.

But when she opened the door, she saw the same man doubled over the trash.  He'd followed her here, too?? Maybe that was a little conceited to think, but not unfounded.  

Retreating until the door was only open a crack, she called out to him, "What are you doing...?" Then, a little more bravery, "I didn't throw anything in there.  Why do you always follow me?" Not to mention she could feel the tension from him from sitting next to him.  It all confused her to fear.  This was a place full of crazies, after all.


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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:43 pm

((SORRY, I AM ALWAYS REPLYING OUT OF ORDER WITH THESE THREADS--/sob))

"I might have suggested 'Zonya'," he drawled, pulling back his hand and inspecting his fingernails absently, "But that sounds a little too similar to the diminutive for 'Zona'." He wriggled the tattoos indicitavely, "Slang for 'prison'."

"So in the interest of not associating you with anything unsavory, I believe 'Zorya' is passable."

He apparently had no more to say on the subject, and so he turned his attention to Anthony, clicking his tongue dismissively, "But he seems so much more interested in you, and I shouldn't like for your poor heart to be broken. Besides," he casually brushed his fingers across the Belarusian's hair, tucking it behind one ear, "don't you know I am already madly in love with Motya?" A total lie. Created out of the blue, for no reason other than that the idea came to his mind. It didn't occur to him how she (or anyone else) would feel about it, nor did he care. It simply seemed like something that would illicit an interesting response.

He fixed the Englishman with a deadly serious gaze, one eyebrow twitching upward ever so slightly, prompting a reaction.

--

At first, he was surprised--didn't everyone know what poverty was like? Who cared, anyways? It wasn't exactly exciting. "I don't know," he rubbed the back of his neck, "Um... I work for a Russian fishing company, but I think sometimes they don't always pay me what they're supposed to. I can't prove it, though, because I can't read." Smiling, he waved a hand, as if to wave it away, "But it's not nothing, not like before, when I was only in the army. Now there's some money for my little siblings."

It didn't seem to occur to him that she wanted to know how poverty affected him, personally. He didn't struggle to make a living in the modern world because he couldn't survive in it--he could, easily, as he'd done for hundreds of years. His culture may have died, but survival skills were not so easily forgotten. It was his family that he needed to support, in the aftermath of the chaos Russia and Japan had caused for them.

But now there was no family for him to take care of. He was free to interact with the world, instead of just trying to eke out an existence within it.

"I love this place, much more than home--though I do miss the outdoors." The ocean, the forest, the fresh air. He didn't belong behind closed walls. "It's a lot better here, than there. Here, you're never cold or alone, or worried about what's affordable," he shrugged, with a rueful grin, "But 'there' is all I have to compare it to, so I don't know." Maybe there were even better places, with even better people. But it was hard to imagine.


Feeling an odd mixture of alarm and reassurance when the situation with his brother was explained, she reserved her personal judgment for the time being, and instead spoke to the floor, as though she were not actually addressing him, "If I witnessed an angel, inshallah, I don't believe it would be the most beautiful person I'd ever seen." A corner of her mouth twitched upwards, though not quite with happiness. But the moment passed, like a random breeze, and she quickly ceased to appear even slightly melancholy.

"No, Mr. Van der Haven, I can't personally imagine being afraid to speak to anyone," she went on, this time directed very strongly at him--as though she was daring him to argue (and she very likely was), "What kind of man is afraid to address a woman? What kind of person, gender aside, is afraid to address anyone? Only a weak or submissive one. That's not acceptable, for a man."

Adjusting her scarf, she leaned back in her chair, "Citra Khanoom is something like my responsibility now, so this concerns me. I can only imagine that she's not done anything by this point, because her capability in English prevents her from voicing her objections." Literally, that was the only reason she could imagine. Why else would she quietly go along with it, not raising a fuss? "But I'm rather impatient, and I don't appreciate wishy-washy men. So please tell your brother to be more forthright with his intentions, in the future, or I'll raise hell, on her behalf." It was not an empty threat. She'd violently won her freedom, dignity, and place in her family by throwing off the yoke of domineering oil tycoons, from various 'superior' countries. And here, economic, political, and social standing in the world meant nothing. It would be all too easy. But even if it wasn't, she would still have been just cheeky enough to try, anyways.


Niels froze so completely that he almost wondered if he'd died from anxiety and gone into rigor mortis. For once, he was not in her vicinity by his own conscious doing. His first thought was to duck behind the garbage can, on the wild hope that she'd somehow think she was just seeing things, but even if he was crazy enough to try it, he was too paralyzed to undertake such a reflexive reaction. So instead, he forced himself to turn to face her. The way he moved, jerkily, and with definite fear, one might have thought he was turning to face someone who held his happiness, his sanity, and his life in their hand, by a thread. And was very likely to cut it.

But really, that was exactly what it was, unbeknownst to her.

What had she asked? What was he doing? He rushed to answer, while at the same time, terrified to speak. Barely any sound came out. Clearing his throat, face several shades of red, he stammered, "I'm throwing up--NO, I m-m-mean, I felt sick, and I wasn't f-following you, this time, I just, it was all of a sudden and I didn't know--" Clamping a hand over his mouth to physically force himself to shut up, he just managed to squeak out, "S-sorry...!" Sorry that he'd accidentally ended up in the same place as her, instead of purposely? What was wrong with him, she wasn't going to appreciate that, it would just make her hate him more--

And was he sweating? Could she hear him breathing? Was he breathing too loudly? He tried to stop breathing entirely, but then his heart pounded too loudly, and surely she could hear that. He started getting overwhelmingly dizzy, and the nausea still lingered, threatening to make him look even worse. It was too much; he wanted desperately to just run away, from this tiny being he worshiped and feared more than God Himself.
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bubbelah



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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:50 am

She practically balked.  "You... Can't read?" Not just 'don't read'... Was he really not capable?  Thanks to her 'White King' Maximillian I, she could read and write in practically every language of every land her empire ever cast a shadow over.  For one to simply not be able to read... Anything was almost unheard of, to her.  Trying to be open (normally she would be condescending, but he'd done nothing to warrant that but be nice), she offered, "If... If you did learn to read, what would you want to read? Would you read in English?" 

It was sadder than he thought, to her, that he thought this sterile prison was better than his own home.  That he'd never seen anything different.  Could that be a crime? "You know... I have some... Pictures that I brought from home, to remember it.  I don't know if you'll like them, but I'd be happy to show you." There was no clue how long they'd be there, he might as well get a glimpse of real life (her opinion) when he could.  

"And if you'd like, I could help you learn to read..." There was a shortage of people who would even give her the time of day (granted, she deserved it), here.  But there wasn't a shortage of children's books (because apparently the staff thought them all completely mentally defective) or her need to feel appreciated.  It seemed selfish, but there was something generous there, underneath it all.  


Like always, Broos didn't see that single frame of sadness, nor did he pick up on any other meaning.  "Maybe not an angel then... More like a celebrity or one of those women that wins beauty contests." Really he had no idea-- the three brothers didn't quite function well as a family should.  They usually kept to themselves as far as internal feelings went-- he had no idea of the extent Citra was exalted in Niels' mind.  

Well, then.  He hadn't expected all this to come out of someone who seemed to not even know her own name, in therapy.  He couldn't stop the surprised smile from spreading across his face.  "I'm sure there have been men afraid to talk to you, Ms. Nankali.  I'd be one-- except my favorite hobby is talking to pretty women." Niels was petrified by only one woman, Broos was a smooth-talker, and Diederik seemed to travel from complete silence to senselessly passionate sex in an instant.  Sometimes the youngest wondered if he was the only one normal.  

"Trust me, I've told him this many, many times.  He doesn't listen." Once he had asked Niels what he would do if citra was his (again).  He'd never known a stalker that just wanted to marry his victim and make her happy.  But he suspected that Niels would never stay good at the latter, if he did.  

Raise hell for her?  "I have to know-- since he is my brother, I want to make sure he's okay.  What would you do to him, if he never... Announces his intentions?" She seemed so formal-- and with a subject like this, it was hard not to be amused by that.  


He spoke up, that was a first.  She smiled uncomfortably (though it never looked so.  She smiled when she was happy, annoyed, uncomfortable... It was a cultural habit she couldn't break, and probably contributed to his encouragement to keep watching her) when he admitted that he followed her on other occasions.  "Ah... So that's really so..." 

For a moment she just watched him change from green to gray to white to bright red, like a chameleon who was unsure of how to blend.  

"Mr. Haag..." (surnames had never been her strong suit) "Why is it... That I see you always? I wonder if you expect me to say things to you? But when I go searching for you you suddenly... Disappear." For the first few days she'd genuinely thought she was being hunted by a ghost (this hospital had a flat roof, that was the problem). 

She peeked out a bit more from the bathroom door, trying to assert herself as best she could. (she was never good at that) "You... And your people... Don't own me any longer." And she'd hardly seen him when they did, which made this all the more confusing.  "So I want to know.  Why do you follow me?"

Really she should hate him, but since she'd never seen much of him, she decided to hate the monstrously tall smoker who'd been around more.  He looked much more hate-able than the man who was shaking like a leaf in front of her, now.  
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:26 am

((HOLY SHIT, I just found all of these photos I've never seen before of Iturup-- http://englishrussia.com/2011/10/29/beautiful-iturup-island/ Let's see... So I was right about the bears, the ocean, the snow, the military, the fog, and the depression that is living there seriously, look at Kurilsk, that place is the very picture of glum and hopelessness vs the beauty of the surrounding nature. Didn't know about the skiing, hot springs, and geological research, though. Good to find out. B) Also, read the bear sign, the very last sentence had tears rolling down my face from laughter--/shot))

He grinned, somewhat nervously, and shook his head 'no'. There it was again, that note of disbelief. He didn't know why it was so unbelievable that he couldn't read, or why it was so difficult for him to learn--it seemed to him that since it apparently came so naturally to others, it should have to him, too. But it didn't, so he got discouraged and quit. Did she think he was stupid, for that...? She probably did--but he was, kind of, wasn't he? Feeling oppressed under the weight of his own self-doubt, he shrugged with a half-smile, "Russian, probably. Um...I guess it wouldn't really matter, though." English, Russian, Japanese, what difference would it make? He couldn't master any of them.

Laughing, less anxiously now, he admitted, "I would like them. I'd like to see them, too." He already knew he'd like them. He could like virtually anything. "I have some photos, too--you don't want to see them, though. They're pretty ugly." He didn't take them, he had no camera. A Russian tourist had given them to him--though he'd kept most of the nicer-looking ones, so Itakshir himself had been left with gloomy-looking scenes of the perpetually misty city, with a handful of botched (blurry, too-dark, finger in front of the lens, etc) images of the sea and the mountains. The only reason he'd brought them was because they were the only ones he had. Not to mention some of the only belongings he owned, in general.

Back to the reading issue--shifting uncomfortably as he considered her offer, he deliberated, "I don't know..." It was a generous offer, but it would undoubtedly only make him feel worse, when he failed. At the same time, it would be a lie to say he wasn't open to an excuse to spend time with this beautiful girl. "I want to, but I don't think I can," he smiled painfully, "I'm not that smart..." It was embarrassing to admit, but it was what he'd been lead to believe was true.


She couldn't help but scoff, "I don't need to talk to men like that, anyways." Anyone that weak wasn't worth the time or effort. But if she were going to judge based on the amount of men that actually were brave enough to face her, then she'd say there were indeed a lot of weak men in the world. Or maybe she was just a tad too strong. Which was why his next statement took her a bit by surprise. Blushing, she dismissed the would-be flattery, "And I don't need to talk to men like that, either."

Nevertheless, she went on without quite looking straight at him, adjusting her scarf again, to cover more of her hairline. "I wouldn't do anything to him, of course, don't be silly. I would take it up with the staff." Now, if they decided to do something to him because of what she did... Well, it wasn't really her problem. He was a judge, he should already be well aware of how consequences worked. Really, he should have been aware that stalking was a crime, too, but apparently that wasn't the case.

"My favorite hobby is negotiating. I'm quite good at persuading people," she smiled, "And at raising a fuss when they won't be persuaded. They'd have you think that you can't get what you want in here--unless you want to be punished--but that's not true at all." You just had to know who's buttons to push, and how hard.


She was smiling... She said his name (sort of)... Underneath the multiple layers of terror, there was that bliss he associated with seeing her--he could have confessed his love for her right then and there, if he were a bit braver. Though it was probably good that he wasn't, seeing as it would have only served to make him look even creepier.

And now that he was being called out on to explain himself, the terror overrode all other senses, once again. She was lucky that she had the door; all he had was the trashcan, which wouldn't have hid him even if he was willing to try and duck behind it. He certainly wanted to. There was nothing for it but to treat it like he was making his own case, acting as his own lawyer. Clearing his throat, forcing his knees not to buckle, he tried to speak as evenly as possible, "I..... I....."

No good. His voice was caught in his throat. And he didn't have any words, to begin with, anyways. How did one go about confessing this sort of thing? How did people talk so freely and easily about their emotions? He certainly couldn't. And now he was about to be in big trouble for it.

Finally, in a moment of what could have only been complete insanity, he blurted out, "Y-you're so beautiful, I don't know what to say!" Hyperventilating now, but not knowing what else to do besides continue, he went on in a stream of no punctuation, "So I just watch because I'm afraid that I'll say something wrong and you'll hate me again even though you probably already do because of the colony which was an enormous mistake and if you do hate me then I don't know what to do because I already worry so much becauseallIwantisforyoutolikemewhenIdon'tevenknowhowtotalktoyou--!" He ran out of air at the end, which didn't help with his struggling to breathe, in the slightest. He looked as though his heart were about to give out, right then and there, from the stress and the emotional shock to his otherwise composed system. If she rejected him now, she'd almost certainly get to see a grown man dissolve into tears.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:34 pm

Had anyone even tried to teach him? Was he teaching himself? He was right to think she didn't think he was that smart... And she was sure he couldn't teach himself, like that.  

"I don't think there's many Russian books here." And Piter's would be off limits.  "Besides I can't read much of it.  I can teach you to read English though-- and that might serve you better." If he could only read Russian he would only read what Russians wanted him to read.  And that never did any good for anyone.  

"So after this... Bring those pictures and I'll start teaching you? It's much easier with a teacher.  A good teacher." Even when being generous, she was still vain.


Broos laughed at her blush.  "You're talking to me right now, aren't you?" 

She was clearly overshooting the strong personality.  "It doesn't seem too persuasive to talk to the staff and hope they do something.  Why not take care of it yourself?" ...He couldn't say he didn't enjoy having fun at his brother's expense just once in a while.  "It seems a bit... Weak, to rely on the establishment, don't you think?"

Raising an eyebrow at her hobby, he realized it could be of use to him.  "Do you think you could persuade them to give me my leg back?" Back when Diederik was still allowed outside his box it was all too easy to almost *accidentally* push his youngest brother down the stairs.  He hated the wheelchair, and in a sense, also didn't want to seem weak.  


From what she'd heard about stalking, it seemed too malicious to be applied to him.  He was too nervous, and looked too terrified.  She was still surprised when he blurted out how he felt. What was she supposed to say?

"Thank you..."

And when he admitted that he would understand if he was hated, that those centuries of colonial power was a mistake. Was it that easy to forgive something like that? No.  But over the years she'd tried to understand.  Perhaps she really couldn't.  But she was always treated better than the rest of her family under Dutch power, until she had decided it was no good for her anymore.  Yet she didn't know why.  

Peeking out more from the door, she murmured after a moment, "...I don't think I hate you." Should she have? "I just don't... Know you. And... You're everywhere I am... I hope you can see how it would seem odd..." 

But, in the interest of making amends... And she did enjoy the compliment, though she wouldn't say so. Couldn't say so.  "If you calm down, if you can talk to me... I'd like to know you...?" She'd never been so assertive (well, not since she'd rebelled).  But she didn't want him to follow her closer than her shadow anymore. 


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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:29 am

He still wasn't entirely sure--but as long as she was willing to offer something so life changing to him, he supposed there was nothing right to do but accept. And gratefully. Especially since the vanity had flown clear over his head.

"Okay," he grinned toothily, "I guess it doesn't hurt to try." At least, he hoped it wouldn't.

--

Diederik didn't have anything to say to that. This was usually not exceptional, but in this case, his demeanor became somewhat more somber (somehow) in his silence. He was going to assume that 'outstanding heroism' didn't mean anything cheerful; the heroes of that war were the ones who'd suffered the most. (Even Piter, now that he thought about it--shithead though he was--had earned that title.)

Whatever it was she'd gone through, he didn't want to hear it. It would only be just another thing he'd try desperately to forget, to get rid of. Better not to have it, to begin with.

So he remained quiet as the grave as he descended the last step (a better person would have at least smiled at her guiding him like he was landing on the tarmac), and glanced out of the stairwell, catching sight of group therapy in session. And...ah. A familiar face, across the room.

"There he is," he muttered around the cigarette.

--

"It's their job, not mine," she replied indignantly, ignoring his quip at her embarrassment, "Am I here to keep other patients in order? No, that's what they're getting paid for--that's what my government's money is paying them for. I'm their customer, I deserve proper service. It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that I should have to go out of my way to control people that should already be controlled. It's ridiculous that I should even have to go complain about it!"

Huffing lightly, she backed off just a bit (almost literally; she was leaning forward, on the offensive) and added, "If they don't do anything, though, I'll certainly have a word with him myself." Even without knowing what he was really like, she wasn't afraid of him.

Despite the somewhat heated response, though, she didn't have to think twice before saying, "Of course I could." She was argumentative, aggressive, but not heartless. And she had known too many men and boys who'd similarly been broken in war. Expression softening, she was about to inquire politely as to whether or not that was the case with him, but her eyes suddenly grew wide at something slightly above him.

A large hand descended on his shoulder, tapping out some glowing cigarette ashes, followed by a string of Dutch, "Where's Niels? Jacking off to little girls in the shower, again?"

--

Niels was experiencing a strange mix of the greatest relief of his life, and a fresh set of worries.

On the one hand, she didn't hate him. She was willing to give him a chance--she'd like to know him, even. It was more than he'd ever hoped or dreamed for. It was quite possibly the greatest thing anyone had ever said to him, and certainly the greatest, in terms of calming his frazzled nerves.

But there were new things now, just waiting to fry them. He'd officially taken the first step from being a passive observer to being expected to actively interact with her. Before, he couldn't mess up what was in perpetual limbo, but now... Now he had to make double the effort not to let it become a catastrophe.

"Y-yes," he cleared his throat uncomfortably, though he was noticeably more relaxed (in that he didn't look like a time bomb ready to go off), "Yes, it must have seemed...odd-- I-I'm sorry. I just get...nervous...easily." This was followed by a short laugh that only served to demonstrate his point, as he fiddled with the collar of his shirt (the closest substitute for his tie). 

And yet, no, he was not normally a nervous man (a stressed and anxious man, yes, but not fearfully nervous). Not like this. No other person elicited such a reaction from him. He could only assume it was because he wasn't deeply in love with any other person.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:26 pm

She assumed his silence was just him being used to being locked up.  It would probably wear off in time.  She didn't equate his unusual somberness with what she'd said-- she assumed he wouldn't know what it meant, and was really glad he didn't ask.  

Wasn't he looking for his family?  Then why did he pinpoint the man in the wheelchair as if he was a target, instead? 

Proper service?  Customer? Maybe she was a bit crazy.  "You do realize where you are?" Broos stifled a confused laugh.  "This is a mental hospital, we're not exactly here as customers." At lease she said she could get his leg back.  She'd get it no questions asked, as well-- what kind of look was that, she was giving him?  

He didn't have time to think about it, once a heavy hand had descended onto his shoulder and he heard that tell-tale gravely voice.  Turning to face him with both confused surprise at how he got out and horrified surprise at that fact that he was out, (how did he get cigarettes?) he was speechless for a moment.  Until he saw who he was with.  

"I'm surprised you aren't doing it, too-- you don't have any money on you, what are you paying her with?" He hoped she didn't understand Dutch.  But she was already being reprimanded by the therapist for being lost for however long.  

He was starting to wonder if Niels was alright, himself.  Or if Citra was coming back.  Or if she was alright-- but Niels wasn't that type of person.  Was he? 

"Niels got sick.  Or something, I don't know.  He left." Mentally cringing (he hated having to do this), he gestured to Darya.  "Darya, this is my brother, Diederik." Every time he met a nice-looking woman she inevitably fell into Diederik's hands.  But the Iranian woman didn't seem as... Revealing as the rest, so maybe she was safe.

"Who's getting you cigarettes?" 

---------
Slowly, she made her way out of the bathroom and got a bit closer to him.  

"So... You don't have to follow me anymore." She didn't know if that was clear or not.  "If you want to see me, you can..."

Now that she knew he wasn't just strange, a million questions began to pop into her head.  What kind of house did he have?  How much money did he make? But she quickly reprimanded herself-- it was apparently impolite to ask questions like that.  Citra found that she just knew nothing about him.  

"Have you... Ever been to Indonesia...?"  She doubted it-- he was just too white.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:10 am

"It doesn't matter, does it?" She responded neatly, shifting which leg was crossed over the other, "Generally, if you require medical services, you get into a nicer hospital if you pay more--whether it's for mental or physical health. If you have more money, you can get better operations, equipment, therapy, and so on. It's all a question of business. Our governments pay for this, and thus we are customers by proxy." It didn't matter what kind of a shithole loony bin this place actually was; the key to getting one's way was to not only believe you were entitled to more, but to know how to argue that you were. Without letting the other person win when they tried to insist that you weren't.

Though even she might have thought twice before arguing with this giant who'd suddenly appeared on the scene. ...She did consider it, though. Who did he think he was, knocking ashes onto a person in a wheelchair?

Diederik clamped the cigarette between his teeth, speaking around it, "That," he indicated the blonde woman as her back was turned to them, "is Odessa. Place I brought that engineer to, to help design." He traced a curvy outline in the air, "Now she's all grown up... And I don't have to pay a dime for her company." All that bombshell wanted from him, a man nearly old enough to be her father, was to hang around with her--as if he wouldn't have, anyways.

The wonderful thing about having a reputation for being brutally honest was that even things people wouldn't normally believe...well, if he said it, it had to be true. It didn't even bother him that he came off as a complete sleaze for it.

And that sleaze's attention was now turned to the young Muslim woman (he ignored the issue of Niels completely; just as long as he wasn't coming back anytime soon, that was all Diederik wanted to know). "Darya, this is my brother, Diederik." He looked over the girl his brother had probably only just barely made headway with. Hm... It was hard to tell what kind of body she had, underneath all of those layers, but it was guessably not bad. Was she worth stealing from him? "Hn," he muttered in quasi-acknowledgment.

"Pleasure," Darya replied to the introduction in a clipped tone. She didn't look like it was a pleasure. She looked like she thought his brother was the scum of the Earth, from the way he traced the other woman's outline in the air the second she wasn't looking. She didn't even have to speak the language to know what he said something unsavory. It wasn't like she was convinced the woman in question was a saint (she'd heard rumors that she wasn't sure whether or not to believe, but which definitely weren't flattering), but she didn't deserved to be looked at so lewdly, either. This was the benefit in hijab. For all the good men in the world, there were some that simply couldn't be trusted.

Meanwhile, said scum was exhaling a stream of smoke from said cigarette. "Zwarte Piet." Broos didn't need to know where he was getting them from. He might tell Niels, and Niels would almost certainly do something about it. So instead, he changed the subject back to sex. "You get her naked yet?" He gestured at the woman who was consistently being cut out of the conversation, via language barrier.

--

He nodded eagerly in total agreement. Yes, now he didn't have to follow her, now he could just see her. All the time. Though it could be difficult; he hardly dared to breathe now, when she edged closer to him.

Incidentally, he wouldn't have minded if she'd asked any of those questions. Besides that he wasn't exactly from the Land of the Tactful, the answers he could have provided were probably the only assets he had with which to impress a woman. Other than wanting children. Lots of children. But as it was, that wasn't what she asked.

"Yes, a few times..." Every vacation he got. "A long time ago. You probably d-don't remember..." How stupid. Obviously she didn't remember, or she wouldn't have asked--blushing, he grimaced and shut up. But it was true that he had been there, and saw her, and it was the day his life changed dramatically. He didn't go back as often as he liked, because (other than that he just didn't have a lot of free time) he was prone to motion sickness, making travel unpleasant.

He wanted to tell her that it was his favorite place to go to. That he thought it was beautiful. But he was rapidly losing confidence in his ability to speak without saying something embarrassing. 
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bubbelah



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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:04 pm

Broos laughed again-- shorter and with less mirth than he had with Darya.  "Good luck keeping her company.  A few days ago she somehow got out on the grounds." She was picking dandelions.  All of them saw.  She sat there for a while, and then got up, and went inside.  As if there was no one armed in the watchtowers.  As if she had no idea, as if she was a different person in a different place.  "They almost shot her in the head."

He could have added 'good luck with the sex', as well, but he felt too bad for her.  And if Diederik contracted some terrible disease then it had to be karma.  Broos was just glad Darya didn't seem too interested in him.  Rolling his eyes when his brother refused to tell him where he got his cigarettes and exploding into a coughing fit as the smoke entered his lungs, he maintained enough composure to reach up (if he was going to be stuck in a wheelchair, his arms weren't going to be weak-- besides, he still had one leg) and snatch the cigarette, throwing it on the ground and sniffing it with his shoe.  

"Sorry, Darya," He explained in English. "He was just leaving." It was the naked comment that had done it. Switching back to Dutch, he muttered without looking at him, "Now why don't you leave and find somewhere to stick your shriveled old dick before it dries up and falls off." They hadn't been on good terms in a while.  

-----------

"I don't remember." She admitted innocently.  "But I don't think you'd remember it as the same place." She'd tried to make it modern, to not be left behind in the world.  It failed miserably.  In a way, this place was like a spa vacation.  She didn't have to worry about the mess of Jakarta now.  Frowning, she leaned against the wall next to him and slid to the floor. "I don't think I'm the 'Queen of the East' anymore." Now she was 'Big Durian'.  Not quite the same. "The next time you go you should go to Bali." Her sister, the pretty one.  The one who only bit off as much of the world as she could chew and was living pretty because of it.  

He was lucky-- she was perfectly glad to do the talking for him.  "I don't know if I want to go back home.  It's too hard." 
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:51 am

He didn't give any sign that he was paying attention to what his brother had to say about his young escort, though it was certainly...interesting. Whatever, he didn't really care. He didn't know what could have possessed her to do something so suicidal, but he could gather that maybe it had something to do with why she wanted him around. So what? Big deal, how hard could it be to keep an eye on one woman?

He did not, however, ignore it when Broos stamped out the cigarette. In the end, there was a reason why he'd been put in the third ward. And he proceeded to demonstrate it. Violently.

Grabbing him by the front of his shirt, he snatched his brother out of the wheelchair (which was turned over in the process with a loud clatter) and held him in the air, with his toes just a millimeter from the ground. If the raised fist was any indication, he was ready to pummel him in the face. "Hey!" Darya jumped up from her chair in shock--what was he doing??

There was a pause.

With a massively unpleasant scowl, the giant tossed him aside. No point in getting sent straight back to third ward again. On reflex, the Iranian girl made a lunge for the younger Dutchman in an attempt to catch him. But she couldn't support his weight, at that angle and at that velocity, and only ended up getting dragged down with him.

By that point, the therapist was already (or finally, depending on one's point of view) rushing over with Vesna in tow, exclaiming shrilly about how she was supposed to be keeping an eye on the third-warder--nevermind that it was the therapist who'd pulled her away in the first place.

((This is my birthday gift to you: ONE WORD OF ACTUAL DIALOGUE. /shotdown))

--

He wanted to tell her that he'd been there quite recently, that he frequented the Indonesian restaurants and wherever else the Indische community might be around to gossip, and checked the online news several times a day for news of her--so he was quite familiar with how Jakarta was now, as compared to 'back in the day', so to speak. But that would have probably come off as mildly creepy.

And when she sat down on the floor, it presented a whole new set of problems for him. He wasn't exactly inclined to sit down next to her (besides that he just wasn't accustomed to sitting on the ground, he wasn't sure if she intended for him to), but he didn't want to talk down at her and potentially offend her, either. Which was the appropriate choice? Finally, after some deliberation, he lowered himself slowly to the floor as well, sitting in an awkward cross-legged position. He frowned right along with her, "I don't care about Bali... I only go to see--" He cut himself off quickly, with a blush. "Um, I mean..." Thankfully, a new topic presented itself, "H-have you...have you ever thought of...living somewhere else...?" 

With someone else? Maybe in Holland? Strictly speaking, they didn't have to stay in their respective cities or regions or countries, or what have you. Though few lived elsewhere unless it was for marital reasons. ...Which was exactly what he wanted, ultimately.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:19 pm

Broos wasn't afraid of getting punched-- it wasn't anything new.  He did, however, brace himself for hitting the floor.  Though, to his surprise, he didn't.  He fell on some...one else.  

Taking a moment to replace the air that was knocked out of his lungs, he opened his eyes and realized... "Darya--!" Immediately he felt lucky he had at least one leg to be able to roll off as fast as he could.  He hadn't seen her move to catch him.  "Why didn't you move...?!" 

Vesna was almost rethinking her decision to use him as her anchor.  There would be no point, if he was just going to be put back in a cell.  Although a part of her-- which she unknowingly latched onto as the possible beginning of a new fugue-- couldn't help but find the whole thing a bit attractive.  But it wasn't the dominant thought in her brain at the moment.  

Latching onto his arm again, she tried to out talk the therapist's shrieking.  "No-- no please! Listen-- he won't do it again, I promise! He promises! You can't put him back there, he--" And on and on it went, until the doctor relented, going back to the rest of the crowd.  

Pulling him aside, she gave him a good glare and jabbed him in the stomach before muttering, "If you want to keep the cigarettes coming you better think before you do shit like that!" Normally she was too tame to justify restraining on the off chance that she'd change, but too volatile to want to be alone.  She wasn't going to blow the opportunity just because he wanted to kill someone or something.

-------------

Why did he twist his legs up so oddly? Maybe he was too tall to cross them correctly. The speculation vanished when she caught on to what he had almost said.  Not knowing what to say to it in return quite yet, she held his eye for a moment before blushing herself and turning away just as quickly.  There were so many other members of her family that lived in better places, and sisters that had become more beautiful since she stopped being "queen of the east".  

Taking off a bracelet and playing with it to not have to look at him (normally she happily made eye contact, but not everyone were speechless because they thought her so beautiful), she mumbled unhappily, "I don't have the money to live anywhere else..." Everything was a mess at her home and she couldn't fix it and she couldn't run away.  "And it would be too difficult to start over, I think." 
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:50 pm

Darya, for her own part, had fallen in such an awkward way that only one of her arms had really suffered anything from the impact (though hitting the floor itself was not exactly pleasant). Not anything serious, though; at the most it would be bruised. It was enough. Just enough for the inspiration that came to her, in that split second.

It took a minute to get herself oriented as the blonde woman pleaded her own man's case. As soon as the both of them were gone, she shook off the shock of the fall and readied herself. Getting up and straightening out her hijab indignantly, she whirled on the therapist, "Do you see what happened here, ma'am? Well? What are you going to do about it?"

Without allowing for a chance to reply, she listed off her grievances, aggressively, "I don't consider myself an expert on how hospitals are run, no matter their quality, but I would consider allowing a patient to be manhandled and thrown at other people--by someone who is supposed to be locked up, no less--to be against some sort of regulation! And on your watch--who's your supervisor? I want to speak to him, this instant!" 

Her tone grew louder and more impassioned as she berated the woman whose nerves were very likely already shot, by that point, "I'll have you fired, do you understand? I would like to be properly attended to, right this instant, or my attorney will hear about this!" She'd learned pretty early on that the one thing the people at this place feared was the threat of the law getting too nosy into how the hospital was being run. While the mass hysteria of "Personification Syndrome" had been sensationalized all over the world media, what happened after the lunatics were rooted out and put away, was largely kept quiet. Or so her half-brother (who still walked free because he'd kept his true identity a secret) from Gilan told her, when he came to visit. They didn't want people knowing what went on there, which was why the visitor's center was considerably nicer than the rest of the place. So Darya sometimes used the knowledge to her advantage, in a pinch.

(What surprised her was that The Hague was even here, given his profession. It wasn't like everyone knew about the threat of the law, but she'd expected that he, of all people, would have realized. She'd never figured it out until that very day. If he was really so intent on gaining Citra's affections...then maybe he had a reason to stay.)

The only thing was, she didn't actually have a lawyer. But no one needed to know that Mirza wasn't one, and that his visits where they talked in rapid, heavily accented Farsi (it was too risky to talk in English; the visitor's center was tapped, everyone knew this), wasn't them discussing her case. And she was not afraid to fudge the truth. A lot.

"And give this man his leg back, for God's sake--if you people hadn't taken it away to begin with, this wouldn't have happened! Well? Well!? Get on it!"

The woman tried to reply, tried to say something to perhaps defend herself or deny the demands, or threaten the patient to hold her tongue least she be locked up. But the Iranian woman interrupted her, talking over her to drown out any argument.

"No, don't talk back to me, I don't want to hear it, do I look like I'm joking to you? Do you think I'm making this up? I'll bring you to court, if you'd like--you'll be the center of an international scandal. You'll never get a job in the mental health profession again! Now go get your supervisor, or get something done yourself, right now!"

There was a silence so tense in the air that one nearly expected to hear the walls crack, under the pressure. Finally, the therapist broke down, "Go...go back to your room--you, too, Ambroos. I'll send someone to see to you."

Relaxing her stance, Darya smiled (with maybe just a hint of smugness) and turned to face the Dutchman as the therapist rushed away from the overbearing Iranian woman. "That's how it's done, Mr. Van der Haven. Why not come meet me at my room, after you're fixed up, so I'll know they kept their word?" Despite being flats, her shoes somehow managed to click audibly against the tile floor as she swept past him.

--

Diederik raised an eyebrow when Vesna insistently pleaded with the therapist, but otherwise didn't comment. What exactly did she need him for, so badly, that she was going to this trouble? He was starting to wonder.

Allowing himself to be dragged out, he scowled and rubbed his midsection where she'd prodded it, without saying anything. Other than a disgruntled grunt of agreement. It was his way of showing acquiescence.

Running a hand through his hair angrily, foot tapping almost of it's own accord (despite the extreme lack of outward caring, all the stress he often caused for himself by his own actions had to go somewhere...without an outlet, it just got bottled up), he threw her a glance. He needed another cigarette. Damn, was he really that dependent on them? He was so used to having them on hand all the time, he didn't pay attention to how often he lit one up. But surely she couldn't last like this, if she had to keep supplying him constantly.

At least, not if she was only feeding one of his multiple addictions.

The Muslim woman's voice could be heard from within the therapy room, raising a fuss. It irritated him. "Let's go back to third ward," he muttered at last, "I wanna be somewhere quiet."

--

He was trying to decipher whether or not that was a good blush. Was she flattered? Mortified? Why didn't he ever know the right thing to say?

And it was about to get worse. This was the moment of truth. With what he was about to say, she could either be too disgusted with him to ever speak to him again, or...or what, he didn't even dare to dream. (Well, he did. Often. Just not at that given moment.) "What if...what if someone helped...a little? To support you, I mean." He wasn't very good at being vague or subtle. Throwing caution to the wind for what felt like the umpteenth time that day, he decided to just come out with it.

"I-I realize that whatever hardship you're facing is partly--largely, my fault. I did some terrible things." He shifted uncomfortably, not quite able to look her in the eye, either (which was incidentally also rare, for him), "I took advantage of you--and your family. I got...too controlling...I'm told." Swallowing as his throat threatened to close up, he soldiered on, "You don't know how much I regret it, every day..." Because it lost him his hold on her. Otherwise, he would have continued on ruling over her--a fact he wouldn't acknowledge, even in his own mind. 

Pleading with her, he forced himself to brave looking directly at her face, so she could see that he wasn't lying, "I could make it up to you, even if just a little... I know it won't ever be enough to make it right, but I could help you...if you'll let me." Except that it was a lie. Partly. He didn't want to help her chiefly because he regretted what he'd done. But it was probably the only way to her heart that he could safely pursue, at this point.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:19 am

Broos spent most of her heated conversation attempting and then finally succeeding to right and then return to his seat in the wheelchair.  But he'd caught most of it-- a part of him was mortified.  Yet the other part was in awe of her (weren't Muslim women supposed to be meek? Hadn't he read that somewhere?).  She'd chased off a medical professional and guaranteed the return of his leg.  

He was sent to his room before he had a chance to speak, and before he had a chance to thank her, she had already walked off-- with a certain measure of attitude.  He never saw that in the support group.  

He returned to his room and waited, wondering if it would ever get there.  It did.  Fully charged.  He couldn't get anything with his height or presence, yet a small Muslim woman could get whatever she wanted.  Huh.  She was right after all.  He fastened it over his horribly scarred dead-end of a thigh, and turned it on.

At first a little unsteady, he got back on both of his feet like remembering to ride a bike-- although each time one is no longer disabled seems like a miracle.  

Although he wanted to run (he missed doing marathons, but running wasn't allowed here), he settled for fast walking, satisfied with the quiet whirr of his leg as it moved almost seamlessly with him. 

How was he supposed to know which room was hers?  Ah-- they had names on them, and some were decorated.  Not like there was much else to do, here.  He passed by Citra's (it had to be hers, there was no one else with a last name like that--), which had shadow puppets and photos taped generously to it.  So he was definitely in the correct place.  

There it was.  "Nankali".  With new confidence, thanks to the mobility, he rapped on the door a few times.  "Darya...?"

-------------------

She blinked for a moment, making sure things weren't getting cloudy.  Safe, for now.  The stress was making staying difficult.

Noticing the look, she raised an eyebrow as if to ask him why.  He had his cigarettes but she had the lighter.  She wasn't going to let him waste them all before she had a chance to secure a new pack.  

"Please," She responded to his plan.  There was no way she wanted him to be tested in public again today.  Although she had to remind herself that she did the same to other women if they stepped out of line.  She still had to ask-- she would never throw around her sister like that-- as she made her way with him back to the stairs, "Don't you... I don't know... Feel bad?" He was in a wheelchair, for god's sakes.  

Once they were alone, maybe she'd tell him why he had to stick around.  Maybe. 

--------------------------

She did need the help.  Desperately.  But the worst thing was to put someone out over what she saw as a weakness.  She couldn't compete with everyone else, and yes, life was hard, but not impossible.  She'd known impossible (incidentally, under his hand), and knew she could push through.  

Even his apology made her uncomfortable-- he was so nervous, it was embarrassing-- uncomfortable enough to accept the help.  

"Please..." She raised a hand slightly to the apology. "Please don't say things like this-- it wasn't only you." She didn't even remember him.  But she did remember the Dutch presence.  Which wasn't always kind.  But there were other unkind people there, too.  

Having to think hard for a moment, she shrugged off the humility (she suspected he wouldn't stop until she agreed) and smiled at him lightly.  "I'm sure anything you can do for me would help more than enough." Because she really had no idea what to do.  She wasn't supposed to be drowning in office work she didn't even understand-- she was supposed to be married, and with her kids, and have a real life.  

"Please don't feel so bad... You aren't horrible to me now, are you?" 
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:12 am

Medical aid was taking considerably longer to get to Darya. Maybe they weren't coming at all. Oh well, it wasn't that big of a deal--she wouldn't have thought to even ask for treatment, if she hadn't had ulterior motives, anyways. ...Though she would have certainly complained about his brother's behavior. What a monster.

In the meantime, while she waited, she starting removing the layers of clothing that covered whatever injuries she had. She knew that they would send a woman to tend to her, so it shouldn't have been a problem.

Off came her headscarf, and then the elastic band that held her hair into an expertly-fashioned bun. It fell around her shoulders in waves, reaching down to the small of her back. She'd never had the heart to cut it. Next, went her coat-like shirt, leaving only a camisole and the scars and discoloration from her burns. Once upon a time, there would have been ropes of gold, too, around her neck and wrists. Not anymore; she'd left them with her half-brother, out of fear that it would all be confiscated.

When she looked down at her bare arms, she missed the tinkling and the sparkle of her numerous bangles and bracelets. Without them, all she had to look at were the mottled patches that snaked from the backs of her elbows up to her back, growing into severe scars along the way. She'd been splashed from behind with mustard gas. Now she had some light purple bruises to accomany them, but against the graver injuries, they barely stood out.

Sometimes, secretly, she was happy to have an excuse to cover it up, all the time.

Just as she felt herself slipping into that detached state, out of her body (the Austrian woman was wrong; she wasn't trapped, she could leave any time she wanted), a knock at the door snapped her out of it. Along with the thunderous booming that registered in her head. Shaken to, and disoriented, she staggered to the door, not hearing who was calling--though she assumed it must have been the nurse (or whoever they'd sent). Who was certainly a female, since they wouldn't have sent a male nurse to the women's wing, anyways. Therefore, there was no reason to cover herself again.

That it might have been the man she'd told to come meet her there didn't register to her; she assumed it would take much longer than that. She wasn't familiar with the mechanisms of false limbs.

So, shaking her head as if to clear it first, she opened the door... And found herself face-to-face with a man's torso. Her breath caught in her throat in surprise, as her folly immediately dawned on her. Very nearly looking up on instinct, she just managed to avert her gaze (as was the only correct action), and quickly slammed the door in his face. For a moment, she just stared at the back of it in shock.

She hadn't realized he was that tall.

Clearing her throat, she called to him from behind the wooden barrier, "S-so sorry--I thought it was someone else... Ah, hold on a moment, please!" Accidents were accidents, and so she knew she hadn't sinned--still, she couldn't help but feel embarrassed as she hastily threw her hijab back on. And it showed on her face when she opened the door once more. A naturally proud person, it was unpleasant and difficult for her to bear shame in any fashion. Which was why she often ended up 'drifting off', instead.

Stepping outside (it wouldn't have been appropriate for them to be alone in the room together), she cleared her throat again, hastily gesturing towards his leg, "So, everything's fine, then? No problems, I assume?"

--

Leading them back in the direction they had just come from, he didn't bother telling her why. Putting up with the stress was better than having to explain the stress. Rather than being a man of few words, he generally always preferred to be a man of no words, if he could help it.

Which was why, when she asked if had the capacity to feel guilt, he made no response other than to continue frowning at nothing in particular. Of course, he felt guilty. Often, he felt guilty. Incredibly, immeasurably guilty. Or at least, he would, if he didn't spend half of his life those days forcing himself to forget guilt and other unpleasant things. In here, though, he didn't have any way of forgetting it--cigarettes weren't nearly enough, regardless of how many he had.

And yet, it did not stop him from doing guilt-inducing things. Which was, perhaps, the thing to feel most guilty about.

Or perhaps, a better word for it all was 'ashamed'.

--

And then, the biggest relief of the day. Perhaps of his whole life.

He didn't even care for the moment if she thought it was only him or not that had caused so much trouble in her country, just that she was going to give him a chance to win her back. Of course, he didn't express to her that that was what he intended it to be, but it was, to his mind. And he knew, thankfully, that as long as she had agreed to give him an opportunity to be involved in her life...it wasn't as though he had nothing going for him. Quite a lot, actually. It would be an understatement to say that he was just a successful man.

Of course, in here he wasn't, but that could change. He wasn't stupid, he knew that if anyone was going to get out of here, he had considerably better chances than the average Joe. Even if he wasn't a big-name judge and international authority figure, knowing the legal system helped immensely. It made sense to him to stay here, for a while longer. In here was a unique opportunity to have her nearby at all times, without his career constantly overtaking all other priorities...

...Though it said a lot about his "priorities" that he could push aside all of his supposed devotion to justice and human rights to completely ignore all of the atrocities that went on in this place, just so he could better pursue this one woman.

"Oh, I'm so relieved...!" He broke in a smile that for once did not feel forced or awkward on his face. He finally seemed to be relatively comfortable in his own skin, for the first time while speaking to her--though his laugh was still nervous, "I hope not... Maybe just talking to me is horrible--I'm not...ah... I don't interact with people, much, outside of work." (In a sense, he could be bluntly forward in a way awfully similar to Diederik. Though unlike his brother, it just caused him anxiety in situations where being blunt did not help, yet he didn't know how else to respond. And then, consequently, he started choking on his own words and stammering. If only legal jargon was an acceptable form of conversation, he would have been a social butterfly.)
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:10 pm

She told him to show up.  He did.  So when she opened the door, he started moving forward... Only to be slammed in the nose with the door.  Barely suppressing a yelp, he clutched onto it right up until she opened the door again.

Unlike his brothers, he was gifted with a sort of tact that the other two lacked.  When she was visible again (well, not in the clothes-- although he hadn't seen much to begin with) he flinched a little and tried to smile.  

"No problems-- well-- not with my leg but that's a..." He exhaled painfully.  It wasn't broken, just very sore.  "Anyway I wanted to thank you... For the favor.  I guess I owe you one." 

Uncovering his bruised nose, he lifted up a pant leg, showing a bit of the metal.  "Looks great, huh?"

He wasn't really sure how to go about befriending a Muslim woman.  Was he even supposed to be around her?  If not, he at least gave his gratitude.  

-------------

The stress was still hanging on her.  And she knew it was possible for that to turn her.  Though she never knew when it would happen, and couldn't feel it happening.  Maybe if he had talked to her, kept her mind off of the stress.  But it didn't seem like he was in the mood for it.  About to open her mouth to ask him what was wrong... Something else came out instead.  Within an instant, she was different.

Hanging on his arm, she glanced up at him with a sly grin. "Why the face, huh...?" She walked her fingers up his arm. "I've got an idea..." Nodding towards a closet at the end of the hall, she revealed it.  "That's where they keep the pills.  The really good ones.  We can have some fun, huh...?" 

She wasn't about to wait for him to answer.  Her other self was a vandal, a remnant from her past she had been trying hard to leave behind.  Releasing him, she skipped to the closet, and pulled out a key, stolen earlier and kept in the incredibly safe cavity in her brazier.  

"You can't come in here-- you're too big.  Lookout." She declared, and disappeared into the dark room.  In not too much time, she was back out, empty-handed.  But most certainly not empty-bra'd.  It was important to not make the theft seem obvious, of course.  She locked the door and ran back to him, reaching into the safe and brandishing a bottle.  "I think these are for you." 

Pills were nothing to her.  She took too many a day (most of them potent antiretrovirals-- and required, lest she get loose with herself yet again and accidentally infect someone else) to worry about what a few more would do.  There were just no other drugs to be had in the place.

--------------------

Perhaps she didn't remember every atrocity and who commuted them, from back then... She was quite hooked on opium, at the time.  But he still seemed nice enough-- and she knew what he did for a living.  Good things.  

"How much do you work?" It was amazing to her-- he was so good of a person that he sacrificed himself for his already selfless job.  She found herself beaming, too-- though it wasn't a new expression to her.  "I'm no good at my job-- no matter how long I'd stay to do it." 

She was the family's cash bringer.  Yet she was terrible at it.  Many of her siblings still lived in tribes, and off the land.  They got married, had children, and were happy that way.  She felt privileged, but also cheated.  That simple of a life was enviable.  

"And you aren't horrible." She assured.  "I don't know why you would worry about that... I think you're very interesting..." She blushed and looked sympathetic, though what she said sounded less so.  "Please, Mr. Haag, don't embarrass me by being so nervous." 
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:05 am

Giving him just a slightly strange look at first (Why was he covering his nose like that? Did he realize that it was bad that he'd seen her unveiled and think that this was somehow the proper etiquette for such a situation? Or was he actually just having a go at her?), she half-smiled, half-smirked, "You're very welcome. Don't feel particularly indebted, it was a favor I was more than happy to do. I enjoy negotiating, like I said, so consider winning my 'payment'." She did like to win. Though it had been more like demanding than negotiating.

Glancing down as directed--she assumed it was permissible to look, since it wasn't his real leg--she looked appropriately fascinated, "I've never seen one quite like this--" (And she'd seen a lot, after the war.*) "It must be very advanced technology?"

Directing her attention back upwards for his answer, she gasped slightly, having just noticed his face, "What--your nose! What happened to it?"

((*Because I can't help but link you to this: http://www.payvand.com/news/11/apr/1242.html ))

--

For a minute, his immediate internal reaction to the sudden and bizarre moodswing could be summed up thusly: ...What.

Staring at her blankly, eyebrows still furrowed in that same expression she questioned, he tried to discern if she was behaving normally. It didn't seem like it. And he wasn't sure if he cared. Especially not when she reappeared with what seemed to be exactly what he needed: a bottle of Dexedrine.

(It was probably also the worst thing for him, personally. Effects on irritability and aggressiveness aside, someone like him did not also need an increase in libido and impulsiveness...coupled with a decrease in fatigue.)

He took it without question or comment. Hooking his arm through hers this time, he steered her back to his cell, closing the door behind them in the padded room. Someone would come to lock it, eventually. There was no window, either, so they likely wouldn't notice the young woman in there with him--even if they did, they likely wouldn't care. Some nagging voice in the back of his mind told him that something was up; this was what was wrong with her, whatever it was. And if it made her do crazy things like wander onto the grounds, then it was in her best interest to be locked up, with someone keeping an eye on her.

...He might have also had some ulterior motives. Perhaps.

Unscrewing the lid on the bottle, he knocked out a small handful of pills and downed them in one go. He was no newcomer to this business. Holding them out to her, he muttered, "Thanks. You?" Or did she have something else hidden in there, for herself?

--

He grimaced, rubbing the back of his neck as he thought about it, "I work...about 100-120 hours a week." He didn't know what to do with himself when he wasn't working. Except think about her. Working overtime had become more than just a coping strategy after he 'lost' her. Realizing it made him sound like an extreme workaholic (which he was), he added, "It's not that I have to, I just...have nothing else to do..."

Fidgeting slightly, he was about to ask about her job, but before he could attempt to form a coherent sentence, he caught sight of her. Beaming at him. Struck dumb, he blinked at her with something akin to awe. A very red-faced awe, but awe nonetheless.

Shaken out of it by her voice, his heart rate seemed to increase exponentially when she assured him that she found him interesting. Gulping audibly, completely flustered, he tore his eyes away again. Barely finding his voice, he managed to sputter, "S-s-sorry--I mean, thank you--I..." Biting his lip, he forced himself to take a deep breath before continuing, "I...I can't help it--" Not around her.

Attempting to gear the conversation back towards something he could talk rationally about, he forced his tone to be even, "Job...! What's your job?" Well, relatively even.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:28 am

"You're very good at it," He remarked. "And I've seen some pretty strong negotiators." He was an architect, one of the best, and thus knew everything that could or couldn't be formed into a safe structure. Many of his clients, however, didn't. And expected him to make them homes or businesses like Escher, without them falling apart around them. Yet none of their "negotiating" ever came to fruition.

He patted the back of the leg and grinned. "It's only a few years old-- and very expensive. I've had a few before this... and it's important to shell out what you can." For a moment he thought back to when he only had money for crutches (in part thanks to his brother's reckless spending in Asia) and fought back some bitterness in his tone, "I earned every bit of this myself-- if you want to get ahead you have to get the best."

"My nose?" He asked incredulously, as if he had forgotten it was even there. "Oh... well you threw a door at it. It's alright, no hard feelings and all that." After all she did just give him the ability to walk. And besides that, growing up around brothers, showing pain was something he'd learned to stop.

----------------------------------------------------------

She couldn't tell from his expression, but there seemed to be a lifting of his spirits going on. If he had spirits.

Getting a good look at the inside of his cell for the first time, she couldn't help but feel a bit envious. "Wow... this must be so comfortable." Nevermind that it was probably difficult for him to stand up. She pressed herself into the padded wall for a moment, and then bit her lip, giggling through her teeth, at a joke so obvious it wasn't really funny. "If I lived in here... I'd sleep on the ceiling."

Sitting on the edge of the bed he had (padding on the walls but not on a bed? What kind of place was this?) to take inventory, she pulled out two more bottles and placed them beside her. Taking back the dexedrine bottle with a mutter of gratitude, she shook out two and then placed the cylinder by the others, shaking out one of each of those. "I usually have... two red ones, a blue and a white. But maybe it's more of an eggshell." Closing her eyes, she swallowed them, a smile growing on her face.

Blinking them open again, as if she'd just had a profound spiritual experience, she indicated the other bottles, "You can have these, too, just not all of them."

Reflecting on the stressors that caused her change, or at least what the then her remembered of them, she added, as if the conversation had been going all along, "At least you have family here. I just have my sister, and we don't like each other much." Especially not since they were sent here, under similar circumstances. "I think they called this place and told them to get her because she's crazy. I know they called here to take me away." Things had gotten bleak. She'd stopped leaving her apartment. Scars on the insides of her elbows and in-between her toes indicated that they had a good reason for wanting her away from her situation. But she still needed some way to get out of herself, and here, it had to be stolen.

"So what's your story, huh?"

-----------------------------------

The beaming became a confused half-smile when he disclosed his working hours. On reflex, she started counting on her hands, but realized it just wouldn't be possible. Were there even that many hours in a week? Either way, it made her heart sink. "Don't you have hobbies...? Friends? A family...?" She didn't see what was wrong with asking personal questions, but those she immediately chastised herself over. "Well... this must be nice, then. Like vacation."

He must have been sick, his face was red, he seemed disoriented. She bet the next time they talked he would be fine. "I work in an office. For a shipping company." Immediately she burst into a giggle-- compared to him, she was a terrible worker. "But all I do is sleep...! I hate it!" Of course, even if she loved it, there would be alot of sleeping going on.

She was her family's cash cow, the one child they pay to educate. Citra couldn't help but think anyone else would be better at it than her. She shopped too much for what she made, none of it went back to them. Industry was practically alien to her, yet she was in charge of it. And her family still made traditional demands of her-- why wasn't she married yet? She would have been, had they not pushed her.

"I like it here, sometimes. I don't have to work, and I can sleep all I want." One reason why she was in the first ward. If she wasn't around, she was likely napping somewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:48 am

She smiled with unabashed satisfaction, "Thank you. I've been working in the oil industry for years, so I've had opportunities to practice." Nevermind that by 'working', what she referred to was her persuading a British man to marry her in the 30's. That the 'negotiations' had been her insisting that it was in his best interest to take her as his wife, and earn his people the right to build a refinery in Abadan, and then secure her a mahr. 

She was fifteen at the time. With no birth certificate, though, it was easy to tell him she was of marriageable age, by his standards. It was unlikely that he bought it, but he told her and perhaps himself that he did. And thus she, an illiterate street rat, made the move that pulled her out of poverty.
That wasn't to say that she herself paid no price, however. She lost her purity. The city of Abadan would never again be an untouched place that couldn't quite decide whether it was Arabic or Iranian. It grew up quickly, modernized, and was given over to the Western world.

And eventually she decided that she was tired of her husband and his friends, and decided to divorce him. Riotously. Then she took over his business, and that was when she officially entered the oil industry herself.

But really, it was a business deal from the start.

"Hmm, you're a sharp man, Mr. Van der Haven," she approved, though with something of a challenge tacked on, "It's not quite enough to have the best, though. You have to also be the best." It was a very familiar concept to her. Her college education had been cut short by the war, but she hadn't gotten in based on nothing. Back then, if you wanted higher education in Iran, you had to be in the top 10%. Period. There was no room for anyone less.

"Ah," she looked away, embarrassed, "I'm sorry--I thought you were the nurse." Knowing that many Westerners did not understand, she explained, "I didn't have my headscarf on, I don't know if you saw." Hopefully not. "It's not allowed. Otherwise, I would never do such a thing, I assure you."

--

Even if it weren't obvious, he wouldn't have found it funny. There was almost nothing he found funny. Well, unless he was tripping, but he was on speed now, not shrooms. So no. It wasn't funny.

Sitting on the floor with his overly-long legs stretched out in front of him, he slumped back against the wall and watched her prepare her own cocktail as the drugs began taking effect on him. He never used the bed, since it was far too small for him (and he didn't understand why a bed was in there, anyways--having something a psychotic patient could hurt themselves with basically destroyed the point of a padded room), but the fact that she was sitting on what was technically his bed was not unenjoyable.

"There's no story," he grunted, "Got drunk and fell into a canal. Then I woke up in this rathole."

That was it. Or at least, that was the abridged version of it. It didn't mention how he'd basically shut himself away in his house for a matter of weeks beforehand, his only visitors the abundance of call girls he threw away money on when he wasn't in a drug- or alcohol-induced stupor. Not to mention the fast food delivery people, each of whom were successively more and more shocked by the sight of the man who opened the door. When he got to the point where even prostitutes wouldn't have him, he downed the rest of everything he had at once, stepped outside, and walked into the welcoming embrace of the ice-cold water.

Then he woke up in this rathole. Where they made him clean up, at the increasing cost of his sanity. His addictions ran deeper than even he realized--and he wasn't willing to give them up.

Beckoning to her with a finger, he said, shamelessly, "Come here. I haven't seen a woman in ages." The drug was working.

--

He blinked, and gave the easiest reply yet, "No. Well...I have a family, but we're not close." They hadn't been for a long time. When the eldest brother had failed to take responsibility for their affairs, he'd stepped up to the plate instead. He wasn't their brother, he was their boss--and he hadn't always been a very good one. There would always be a barrier between him and his siblings. Perhaps it was part of the reason why he was so desperate to create his own family.

"I-it is like a vacation," he was beginning to breathe easier. Talking about work wasn't hard. All he did was work, so there was plenty of things to say. He even managed to smile, "I used to hate my job, before it got better." (Rather, he used to hate his job when it focused his attention away from her. And then it got better when he needed something to focus his attention away from her, after losing her.) "But I still want to just sleep, sometimes..." He barely met the minimal requirements for recommended amount of sleep. If it weren't for coffee, he would likely collapse--as it was, he was only just ever on the verge of collapsing.

He nodded. "I know... I mean--I know what you mean--" Close call. She didn't need to know he usually spied on her while she slept. He frowned, looking at the floor, "I don't have to worry about making everyone happy, in here..." Which he never did, anyways. Never could do, even after he threw his personal life away in the attempt to do it. Clearing his throat, he corrected himself hastily, "A-ah, that's not to say that I like shirking my international duties--it's just...at home, it gets stressful... That is--you're a capital, so you probably...know what I mean...?" He hoped she did, or else this would be awkward.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:41 am

For both of them, it could be said that their success hinged on giving something away for good.  For Broos, it wasn't a choice.  But all of the pity just solidified in him a reason to push forward and show that he wasn't any different-- and that he was better than his brothers.  

Which was why he was considerably taken aback when she didn't get that... He *was* the best.  "You must not know me well, then." He wasn't one for boasting, but when something was true (still subjective to anyone else), he wasn't about to let it go.  "I'm the best architect in Europe-- maybe in the world, even, I don't like to brag." Not to mention the marathons. Or the triathlons.  Or any of the other endless competitions he entered to be the absolute best at everything.  "So I don't really carry all my trophies with me.  But stop by sometime-- I'll show you."

For all the 'best' he was, sometimes he was a bit ignorant.  "Not allowed? I don't mind.  You don't have to wear it around me if you don't want to." This wasn't Iran.  And he wasn't religious-- not anymore, so he didn't really see the point or the need.

-------------------------

She frowned but it quickly accommodated a breezy, mentally absent laugh.  "Rathole?" This place was clean as a whistle compared to where she lived.  She was dim-- context never really reached her.  "I haven't ever seen a rat in this place.  It's really nice here." She got her medication and more, food, and didn't have to pay a thing.  Not to mention the male staff was incredibly good to her for reasons she should have caught on earlier.  

She laughed some more.  "And what a lie, saying they took you in for that.  I've gotten less for almost the same thing-- I've gotten way less for turning tricks, even." Of course, she didn't do that anymore, unless she really had to.  In here, she didn't (she didn't remember the times she actually did). 

Making a face, she got off the bed (the floor was more comfortable, anyways) and stepped over to him, slumping the same way he did.  "What are you talking about-- up there women were all over the place." She reached up and took his jaw in her fingers and shook it gently.  "And I haven't seen such an old man in ages.  I was done with old men-- but you're handsome.  Like Gregory Peck or Sean Connery." She loved old movies.  "So I don't mind."

It was hard to draw the line anymore, thanks to the drugs, what was her and what was... Well the other.  It would just be a matter of remembering all this of it was the former.  

----------------------------


Not close? What in the world did that mean?  It was sad, in any case.  Her family lived so differently, but they were still close-knit.  "Oh..." she finally murmured.  Few things could quell her unabashed inquiry.  

"Why would you work so much, if you just want to sleep?  You can't be expected to work well if you haven't slept well... Right?" All of these were like mind-shattering existential questions of life to her: why stay up if one wanted to sleep?  

Smiling again, she joked, "Let's nap together then, sometime." Sleeping was always better with more people.  She remembered how as a child she would sleep with all her siblings in that one-floor stilt house.  Before she started getting special treatment for being the 'royalty' by the sultanate.  She didn't know how she earned it-- just didn't ever have the credentials.  

Even now, it was hard to sleep alone, and many of her new friends would wake up with her still asleep after she wandered in in the middle of the night and made a little bed on the floor.  

"I think I know what you mean. Maybe it's different." One side of her lips turned down from the frustrated confusion she felt about what she did.  "They tell me that I need to have money for myself, that I should go to school more and get a better job.  And then they get mad at me for not being married." Her lips turned into a full-out frown and she pressed her cheeks into her palms, elbows resting on her knees.  "I do what they say and then they want something else." She thought about it and smiled, embarrassed. "Sorry... Maybe that isn't the same thing.  I don't think so."
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:31 am

Darya was used to bullshitters--she could be one herself, when it was beneficial to her. Thus, his claims fell on highly skeptical ears. Ears that were used to hearing similar claims and understood that they were not intended to be taken 100% seriously.

"Trophies for being an architect?" She laughed lightly, with a crooked smile, "No, I must not know you well; I don't believe I've ever heard of such a thing. So I think I really will have to see this for myself." She truly did not think there existed any major international rewards for architecture in trophy form. Of course, she could be wrong, and then it really would be impressive.

And even more so, if she'd known he also meant for marathons and triathlons. She would never have laughed, if she'd known that.

Smirking (she was quite used to this type of response), she asked him, "Do you think you're particularly special, Mr. Van der Haven? That I should have to wear it around other men, and not you?" Adjusting her scarf pointedly, she brushed away the offer, "Rest assured that I do what I want to--and I do want to wear it." She did not drop the smile, but neither she she drop her gaze, that both silently dared and prompted an argument.

--

"I never lie," he snorted, slightly put off. It was quite possibly the only good thing he could say about himself. (...Well, arguably. He often took 'honesty' a bit too far to be considered a good thing.) Turning tricks, though--that interested him. So she probably wasn't going to be surprised by whatever he decided to do next.

(Though if he thought about it--and he probably would, later, in one of those moments he would have desperately liked to block out with something illicit--it should have been upsetting. Was 'hooker' the image he'd had the night before, when he compared her ash art to Van Gogh? Was that even close to the impression he'd had of her, prior to the sudden shift in personality? Was it even maybe, unknowingly, partly his fault for helping to shape her into whatever she became? Wasn't it actually quite sad? Like so many things and people and himself, if he ever stopped to think about it, wasn't it sad?)

If he were one for laughing, he might have laughed. When he said he wanted to see a woman, he meant, always, that he wanted to see all of her. He barely caught a glimpse of the women up there, by his standards. Of course, he didn't bother putting this into words, though. There was a much simpler way of saying it.

Brushing some of her hair behind her ear with his too-large fingers, he murmured unabashedly, "I haven't had any in ages; you're driving me nuts," before leaning down to kiss her feverishly.

--

"I can't sleep, usually," he explained, "Unless I'm worn out from working. My mind races too much, otherwise..." Usually with longing for her, when it wasn't filled with work-related stress. So he worked more to temporarily wear out the stress, but inevitably only adding to it in the long run. It was a vicious cycle, of sorts, but at least in here it had come to an abrupt halt. Which meant that very nearly literally all he thought about was her.

So in a way, this was worse. It certainly didn't help any argument that claimed he wasn't really insane.

And it was a wonder his glasses hadn't fogged up by that point, his face felt so hot. Nap...together...?? Swallowing, he tugged at his collar with a short laugh, forcing himself to not think about how he'd immediately imagined that scenario. Mind out of the gutter, mind out of the gutter! Smile strained, he managed to stammer, "Y-yeah, m-m-maybe I sh-should get more...s-sleep..."

Feeling somewhat dizzy, he tried to breathe without it being too obvious that he was...well, unable to. It was difficult to think straight, though he was intently focused on not missing what she was saying. She needed more money, her family wanted her to get married (Did that mean she wanted it?)--he could fix that. He could...if only he knew how to win her over without passing out first. So far it was hard enough just talking to her.

"No, I know--I know what you mean, it is--it is the same," he tried, and failed, to say without gasping for air. "S-sorry, I... I don't feel so well--" Swallowing again, he tried to take a few deep breaths to steady himself, fanning himself with a hand for all the good it did.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:51 pm

He didn't think it was so hard to believe. "Yes. A few." It was a shame people didn't usually notice the buildings they were in. If they did, architects would be more famous. "Come on, I'll show you." He extended his arm, but quickly retracted it-- no use looking stuffy and chauvinistic. In any case, he wasn't going to wait for her to consent to following him-- he had something to prove.

Did he think he was special? "Well... depending on how you define it, then yes." It took him a minute to realize she didn't mean in general. "Oh-- well guess if it's what you want." It didn't stop him from thinking she was somehow brainwashed into it. "Have you ever... tried not wearing it? I don't think it would be so bad."

He walked down the hallway to the men's rooms, every once in a while gesturing for her to hurry up. He got to a door with his name on it, and opened it all the way. Unsure of whether she was allowed to go all the way in, he pointed to the interior "decorating". Only allowed to bring a few boxes of his personal belongings... he had decided that half of them would be his awards. There were glass trophies on nearly every surface, and marathon and athletic id papers lined the walls like wallpaper. "That's the Aalto medal" He pointed to a series of awards on the dresser. "The Pritzker, the UIA Gold... and the Daylight and Building Component award." He waved away the rest as if they were trifles. "And the others are just regional."

One could say it all made him narcissistic-- but that wasn't the case. Since he lost his leg, his achievements had become how he saw himself. Without them, he was nothing, like he was the first few months of being an amputee. He'd given up, then, and he still would have, if not for his desire to prove he wasn't any less than he had been, originally.

--------------------------------------------------------

She laughed, too jovially for her to really take it seriously. Never lie? That in itself was a lie. Everyone lied, sometimes not even consciously. "Bullshit."

Maybe it was the drugs, or maybe she really had air for brains like everyone said, but she didn't react in the way that she probably should have to the abrupt advance. She'd kissed many smokers in her time, and she even used to be one herself-- nothing really could compare to the kiss-- it was like inhaling the contents of an entire ashtray-- and how long had he been without cigarettes? But there was something else there, more powerful than that. It was that feeling of blind desperation that she'd seen when she first came across him. It might have been foolish to think so, but what if he died without this, too?

At least she was back in her right mind-- the snap back was made easy with the medication, and the familiar person-- no matter how bad of a judge her right mind really was. And after all, she had learned long ago that it didn't matter one bit who a person gave their body to. It only mattered who had their heart-- because that's the only thing they'd die without.

She pulled away, just barely for a minute to ask, "You'll still be my friend...right?" It wouldn't do for her if he just used her and then refused to escort her again. "Don't lie..." She thought about telling him about the tattoos and everything else that came with it but... eventually he'd find out.

----------------------------------------------------

"Well, what do you think about?" He must sleep better, here. She always knew business work was bad for people. It was why she didn't really do it when she should have.

All too late she realized what she'd said to a man who'd called her too beautiful for words. Her face went equally red. "I didn't mean anything by it...! Really...!" It was kind of a weird habit of hers, she wasn't sure how to explain it. "I just... I sleep better if someone else is sleeping there, too." And, as if suddenly her innuendo tracker was turned off again, she defended herself, "It's not how it sounds, I sleep with girls all the time..."

She began to worry-- he seemed to look sick all the time. Maybe he was in the wrong type of hospital. "You're sitting next to a trash can," She pointed out, and stood, extending her arms out to pull him up. "You go sleep-- I can go ask someone to get you medicine. Darya said she would."
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:45 am

She was going to take his arm, thinking him awfully polite, before he snatched it back. Then she thought him awfully rude. It wasn't as if she expected him to escort her, but why extend the offer if he was going to immediately detract it? Slightly affronted, she nevertheless followed him, struggling to keep up with his longer strides. Which somehow made it all the worse. If he wasn't going to give her his arm, the least he could do was match her pace.

"Yes I have, thank you," she retorted very matter-of-factly, "Around my ex-husband, from England, who also seemed to have the impression that I didn't know what I was doing." Western men were all the same.

Though apparently not entirely the same. Huffing indignantly when she finally caught up with him, and preparing herself to treat him to a large helping of scorn if it were really not that impressive and if it turned out he'd dragged her there for no reason other than undeserved ego, she peered inside...and was stumped. He hadn't been blowing smoke.

"Well," she allotted him as she stepped back, after taking it in, "that's not bad." Which of course meant it was very good, or so she'd been taught in England.

--

It was true, in a sense, that he could die without this.

Human beings are an essentially social species, and without social interaction, they become depressed, anxious, self-harming, suicidal, even delusional. Of course, Diederik didn't know or care about any of that, but he did have the basest instinct that he needed something. He had nightmares of death that only alcohol could solve. Tension that only nicotine alleviated. Moods that only drugs could fix. An emptiness that he, a grown man of 40, only knew to fill with sex.

And he'd gone a long time abstaining from all of this, facing the darkness of the emptiness in his cell with nothing but the emptiness inside him. He needed her, in that moment, as much as he needed pills and cigarettes to keep himself together.

Face buried in her neck, he pulled her closer to him by the waist before making quick work of becoming acquainted with the rest of her. If he wasn't so preoccupied, her question would have struck him as strange--when was the last time someone had considered him their friend? As it stood, it was easy to answer, "Yes," and, repeating in a growl, "I never lie." 

--

What did he think about? He fidgeted with his glasses, pretending to push them up on his nose despite that they hadn't slipped, "I... A lot of things." One thing. One person. He laughed shortly, without any joy, "Mostly regrets..." Regrets about all of the things he could have, should have done to avoid losing a relationship that was almost entirely a figment of his own, slightly delusional, imagination. He thought about it so compulsively that it felt like it was eating him alive, at times. It was necessary to be overwhelmed with other work and worries, least he crack under his own obsession.

He had absolutely nothing to reply with to her own embarrassment except for increasingly incoherent sputtering. Especially at the last statement, to which he narrowly avoided whining pathetically at the thought of by biting his lip. (Though somewhere in the back of his mind flared up with jealousy--who was sleeping with her? Female or not, that was his right alone, not theirs--)

It was becoming increasingly clear to him that he needed to get away, at least for a moment, to cool off. "I...I think I just n-need to splash some water on my--my face," he stammered, quickly declining the offer of medicine. Or worse, sleep; he would probably go into cardiac arrest if she decided she wanted to take a nap, too. That said, he couldn't resist taking her hand when it was extended to him, despite that he could and did easily pick himself up off of the ground. Towering over her when they were both standing, he marveled over how tiny she was--a fact he'd momentarily forgotten while they were seated. 

Realizing he was holding her hand longer than he was probably supposed to, he quickly released it and excused himself, escaping to the men's restroom. As soon as she was out of sight, he felt himself calm down exponentially. Frustrated by his own nervousness, he took off his glasses and splashed some cold tap water on his face and neck. Gripping the sides of the sink as he let his breathing and heart rate even out, he stared at himself in the mirror.

A blur stared back at him, unfocused without his glasses. Just in the way that he couldn't see how delusional his fixation on this one girl was. How hypocritical it was to call himself a man of justice when he'd committed so many atrocities against her family, just so that they couldn't stop him from having her. How irrational it had been to mourn 'losing' her for years afterward, when she barely even knew him. How dangerous it was to be pursuing her now, again. For both of them.

But even if he could see it, it might not have been enough to deter him.

Drying his face off with a paper towel, he slid his glasses back on over his nose and steeled himself this time before stepping back out to face her again. "Sorry about that...I just...needed to calm down--"
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bubbelah



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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:29 pm

Without context, what she said only reinforced his belief that she had everything a bit backwards. Almost incredulous, he asked, "You were married?" When? She didn't look hardly old enough. Then again was it really that hard to believe? His oldest brother only ever noticed women in their twenties, and his other brother, years ago, had lusted after a sixteen-year-old (it didn't matter that she was older now). And he did expect worse from an englishman. He shrugged it off, finally. "Nevermind-- do what you want, I guess."

A rush of happiness went through him when she looked considerably impressed. But his heart sank almost immediately. Not bad? "What...?" He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Maybe a normal person wouldn't think much of it, but for a man who had spent almost all his adult life trying to prove to everyone or maybe just himself that he could be normal again-- even better than that, he was miffed. No, he was more than that. He sucked in a breath and closed the door. "Listen..." He tried to say evenly, "If this is... boring to you or something, you didn't even have to be here. I wanted to show you this because I thought you would like it." Apparently not. "So thanks for the help, I needed it. But I don't need your pity."

--------------------------------------------

Like him, all she really knew was drugs and alcohol and other distractions. So even before he agreed to stick by her, she had resolved to help him. Fix him. With those things that were all she really knew. Plus, she couldn't remember (although, of course it had happened) the last time she'd been with any man-- and she wasn't a prude, fun was fun. So before she pulled him by his collar all the way onto the padded floor with her, she silently sealed her promise to him, kissing him sweetly on the temple.

After that she filled the room with sharp giggles and pleased noises as she found inventive ways to remove clothing (whether it was hers or his, she couldn't tell, the pills still blurred her mind). She felt suspended in time and space, as if she would stay entwined with him forever (if he could hear her fantastical thoughts he would probably call bullshit: she had always wanted a fairy-tale romance. No matter how twisted it actually was)-- mostly because the only clock in the hall could be obscurely seen through the chicken mesh of the small window in the cell.

And if she had looked at it before she'd unzipped his trousers, she would have seen that it was getting alarmingly close to the time of the therapy appointment with her sister-- the sister she was committed to repairing her relationship with, the sister whom she'd already made it her mission (on similar to her plan for Diederik) to show her sister that she could still be loved.

But as the clock ticked closer and closer outside the walls of the cell, her sister could not even have existed to her.

----------------------------------------

If he'd only told her that she was the sole occupier of his mind, or that he desperately (manically) wanted to have her, she would have believed it-- unfortunately she wouldn't be afraid of it. She nearly always felt unappreciated and overworked-- especially next to her sister, for whom life was easy and beautiful because she was.

She smiled a little-- it seemed humbling, to her, that he would admit it. "What would you have to regret...? He was too successful.

Not knowing what to make of his nervousness (he'd only ever said she was beautiful. It couldn't have been the reason), she stared at the door worriedly, listening carefully for any sound of him falling, or injuring himself somehow. She wanted to keep talking to him-- but she almost felt bad about it. There wasn't much to lose if she just told him she couldn't talk to him.

Frowning pitifully when he admitted that he needed to calm down, she fidgeted for a minute and murmured, "I... I don't think it's good for you... I don't want you to embarrass yourself... This should be the last time that we talk... don't you think?" She had no idea how much more horrifying that would be for him. She thought she was helping.
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nahn-SEK-wuh-tuhr



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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:00 pm

"Yes," she answered unabashedly, "When I was fourteen. And thank you, I certainly will do what I want, just as I always have." The last part was in rather clipped tones. Did people just not hear themselves when they said these things? Do what you want, be independent. But you shouldn't wear the veil, even if it's what you want and was a choice that you independently made. They had the desire to oppress just as much as the Iranian government, and they were just as in denial about it, too wrapped up in their own self-righteous ideas of how other people should live. It was irritating.

And it certainly didn't help her irritation when he suddenly sounded like he was trying and failing to hide the fact that he was ticked off. She responded in full force, "Excuse me, but I just gave you a compliment--if anyone here has the right to sound insulted, it should be me." Placing both hands on her hips indignantly, standing at full height as though every bit convinced that hers matched his, she jabbed him harshly in the chest, "You're no one special to me, Mr. Van der Haven, so don't you dare have the gall to suggest that I could be bothered to pity you! Do you think that just because you have a fancy mechanical leg instead of a real one, it means everyone will automatically feel sorry for you--and that you have to show off your decorations to them so that they won't?" She waved a hand dismissively at his closed door, "Please! Don't flatter yourself!"

Unfettered, she continued, increasingly impassioned, "And who exactly do you think you are, to judge my personal choices, on top of that? 'Have you ever tried not wearing the hijab', as if it's any of your business! I did you a favor, is this how you think to repay it? By implying that I'm some stupid, oppressed woman? After I argued with them to get your leg back--is that something a stupid, oppressed woman would do? When you couldn't even do it for yourself, apparently?? If I was impressed by your accomplishments for a moment, I'm certainly not, anymore. You're just the same as any other close-minded, self-centered man!"

She hadn't allowed him a word in, edge-wise. But she now had to pause for breath.

--

If he'd had any room for thought, he would have marveled over how lucky he'd gotten. Repeatedly.  As it was, the combination of the speed and her sighs had eliminated anything resembling a rational thought process in his mind. Rolling over so that he hovered over her, he assisted her in ridding them both of their clothing. Whereas she'd half-disappeared into a personal fantasy, the drugs surged through his veins and directed all of his focus towards one ultimate goal: raw pleasure. At the most intense level possible.

Perhaps in a way, the effects were not entirely different.

Pulling away from her neck after ridding her of her undergarments, his eyes fell to the anchor on her chest. Somewhere in his brain dully registered that there were other designs scattered across her body, but in the heat of the moment, he only had eyes for that one. A shudder ran down his spine, at the nautical symbol stamped across her ample breast. It was sexy. And he didn't waste any more time not acting off of that notion. Monstrously large hands and ashtray mouth ravishing her with such a senseless passion that the line between 'fucking' and 'making love' wavered and tangled and burst, he dropped next to her, abused lungs heaving for breath, only when the high wore off and he was physically incapable of moving any longer.

A good amount of time had passed.

--

And just when he thought he'd calmed himself sufficiently to face her like a normal person, the world shattered and collapsed around him in a million pieces. In an instant, his face drained of all color--a sharp contrast to the thick blush he'd sported just minutes previously. On reflex, he clutched at his heart-region, which was suddenly shot through with such intense pain that he wondered in a wild moment if it had ruptured. The room spun violently. He was going to die. He was going to literally, physically, DIE.

"No--!" He pleaded in a strangled voice--a lump was rapidly forming in his throat. He was losing her all over again.

In no part of his skewed mentality did he hear her offering to remove herself from his presence to benefit him in any way. Everything she said was just the sound of her, again, becoming so permanently removed from him that she might as well have been dead. "No, please, I'm not embarrassed--I am, but I don't care--I can be not nervous, I promise, I just need time, please give me a chance! Please!" He begged her so pathetically that he might as well have gotten on his hands and knees and wept. ...Not that he wouldn't, if it came down to that.

Feeling that he was spiraling downwards past the point of no return in his ineptitude, he cracked under the pressure, laughing almost manically at himself. It was almost a little sad. "I'm so stupid, I have no idea what I'm doing--don't you see?" The final straw had broken, and his tone exhausted itself, finally becoming measured and flat. Nevertheless, he physically shook so badly that he felt like lying down and letting himself wither away. He laughed again, smaller, more sadly. It wasn't funny. He hated himself, in that moment. "Can't you tell? I'm so in love with you--I've always been, I just don't know what I'm doing." He sounded so defeated that it was like he was giving himself up to some disease that had plagued him relentlessly for years: take me if you will, I've been holding on for too long. And in a way, he was. Cursing at himself quietly in Dutch, he muttered, "I don't know what's wrong with me...I couldn't even talk to you before now, and now I..."

He couldn't finish. He couldn't bring himself to admit that he was ruining everything all over again before it could even begin.
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PostSubject: Re: Group Therapy [CALLING ALL 1st AND 2nd WARDERS]   Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:07 am

He couldn't help but balk at her admission of being married at fourteen. That was worse than his brothers, for sure. But it was eclipsed by her long-winded argument.

Finally getting a chance to speak, he raised his volume equal to hers (nearly making a crowd gather around the noise) and began a tirade in reply. "Compliment? [Compliment!?/i] What kind of compliment is "not bad"?? It's not! Unless, of course, you're scrutinizing someone taking a shit-- because that is the highest praise you could give [i]shit, that at least it isn't bad!"

He seemed more agitated by the second. There was so much he wanted to say, but it was coming out too fast. "Obviously you aren't oppressed, I can definitely see that now, the whole hallway can see that now--!" He threw and arm out to the mostly afraid mental patients that had peeked out of their doors. He felt like jabbing her the same way she had, but it just didn't seem right. That said, he still really wanted to.

"You want to know why I wanted to show you all that??" He asked her heatedly, although it didn't fit what he was about to say. "Because you got my leg back, and I thought that was special! And that maybe you could be someone special to me! Is it so terrible that I wanted to prove to you that I'm not some invalid? That I wanted to impress you and all you came up with was 'not bad'?"

------------------------------------------------------------

If she had remembered any of her escapades before in the hospital, or remembered well her time as a prostitute, she could have said that neither compared to what had just transpired. Could they have, to a man that was nearly 7 feet tall?

She wiped the sweat from her forehead after she could process that it was actually over (shame) and sat up wearily and took a look at herself. From her neck to her knees, red marks that suspiciously looked like handprints were streaked across her skin. It wasn't like she cared enough to worry about other people seeing. But hearing his labored breathing, she worried about him, instead. After all, that was her new goal. She turned closer to him and kissed his cheek. "Do you need a cigarette?" Obviously it was the last thing he really *needed*, but aside from the reproductive system, she didn't know much about health. So she hoisted herself up, got them anyway, and found her lighter among a pile of clothes. She would have even lit one for him, had she not noticed the clock when she was up. She was late. Very.

"Shit...!" Pivoting, she tripped over her clothing in attempt to pick it up, and almost nearly did a few more times when she put everything back on. There wasn't time to even button her blouse correctly (and it was never that high a priority anyways--). "I have to go! Is that door unlocked? I have to go--" She ran her hands through her knotted hair nervously, cursing the fact that there wasn't a mirror. At the last minute she dropped to her knees to kiss him one last time, assuring him she would be back the next day, and tossing the lighter and cigarette box to him as she got back up again.

Her legs were sore, she was clumsier than ever, and managed to run into the door as she was grabbing for it. She cursed some more and was finally gone.

--------------------------------------

Should it have been so unexpected that he would react that way? All Citra could do was stare, wide-eyed, as she was begged to give him another chance. Chance...? What was he even saying? "You're sick--" She repeated quietly. He needed to be in a real hospital. He had a heart condition, or...or...

And then he said it. And for once, she wasn't sure what to say. "You... love me?" And he thought she was beautiful-- she remembered that. She was important to him-- and she was no longer important to anyone else. "You're in... love... with me?" She had the overwhelming urge to ask why, but it might drain the last dregs of life out of him. But the idea in itself warmed her-- that he thought of her, loved her, and she had no idea. It was like the beginning of a romance novel.

Face slightly red, she avoided looking at him, murmuring with a small smile, "I guess... I don't have those feelings yet..." She tried not to damage him anymore. "But I like you... Niels." He was sweet, and modest, and remorseful, and successful, and handsome in a way she hadn't expected-- when he wasn't so nervous, she noticed a deliberateness about him. "I'm not going disappear, you know... I'm not going to scare off. I think I might like you better if... you believed that." Believed that and calmed down. "...Do you understand?"

Still, something seemed not right. If someone was in love, they would have made an effort to show it, wouldn't they have? Flowers, gifts, dinners (or whatever the equivalent was of all that, here).... but the way he just watched her, combined with what she had learned, made it seem like she wasn't even part of the relationship at all.
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