Ah, whatever. Just read it, if you want. If not, don't. I'll update soon, this time for real. Not that anyone's reading...
Chapter 24: Shrink me
Gia sat on the black leather couch, curiously inspecting the room. A large desk by the window, a bookshelf filled with various books of all sizes and colors, the black leather couch she was currently sitting on, and the comfortable looking blue armchair directly in front of the black couch. A low, round glass table was positioned between the seats, and on top of the table there were only three items; a glass of water for her, a cup of steaming hot coffee, and a box of tissues which she eyed warily. She wasn't sure what was expected of her, but for certain she wasn't going to cry.
A tall man was sitting on the blue armchair, and Gia guessed him to be about 40. His long fingers held a thin pen as he scribbled something into a notebook, and she began to wonder what exactly was so important that he has to write it down. After all, after they had sat down, they hadn’t said a word. That was five minutes ago. Five long, quiet minutes that were about to drive Gia to insanity. Also, Gia was pretty sure that this therapy thing wasn't exactly cheap, so this was just a waste of money.
When Gia’s eyes were scanning the diplomas and framed photos on the walls, the man finally spoke. He smiled in a way that Gia was sure was meant to be comforting and relaxing, but that’s not quite how it came across.
“Now, why don’t we begin,” he suggested. Gia had no idea what his first name was, and when he had introduced himself, he had put a lot of emphasis on the word Doctor. Dr. Watkins, he had said. “Is there anything in particular you would want to say before we begin?”
Gia shrugged, feeling mostly awkward to be sitting here with this strange man. She could only imagine what her father had told him. Yes, it was the first appointment with the therapist whom Gia had promised to see, and Gerard was waiting on the other side of the door, waiting impatiently for his turn to talk to the shrink. The plan was that they see Dr. Watkins separately at first, and when the time is right, they combine their little sessions and get together.
"Tell me a little bit about yourself, Gia," Dr. Watkins said, staring at her from behind those rectangle glasses. Gia didn't quite know what to answer, so she shrugged. Realizing that she wasn't perhaps the easiest client, Dr. Watkins continued. "Any hobbies?"
Again, Gia shrugged. "I used to play the piano and then guitar. Not anymore, though."
"I play a little bit of piano, myself. Any friends?"
"A couple. I'm sorry, but how is this relevant? I thought I was here for an attitude adjustment."
The man chuckled. "An attitude adjustment, you say? The plan is for us to get comfortable at first, get acquainted."
"Can we skip that part?" Gia asked hopefully. She wasn't one for useless chitchat, and she was pretty eager to get this over with as soon as possible.
Dr. Watkins looked down at his notebook, nodded knowingly and scribbled something down. "Let's talk about your childhood."
Gia frowned. This had just turned into a Hollywood cliché. Soon he'll be handing her tissues while she weeps and he'll ask her how a certain memory makes her feel. "What about my childhood?"
"How was your relationship with your parents?"
For a moment Gia considered making something up. It would've been fun to throw him off, but then again... She had promised her dad. "I was raised by my dad. Mom left us when I was four."
"And how does that make you feel?"
Gia stifled a laughter. She had expected that question to pop up, and there it was. "Look, my childhood was okay. Sure, my dad was an alcoholic and a drug addict and I thought my mom killed herself because she didn't love me, but all in all, I'm not complaining."
Dr. Watkins wrote furiously on his notebook, probably figuring he had hit a goldmine. But Gia had said all she was going to on that subject.
"Continue," he encouraged, his pen ready to scribble away, but Gia simply shrugged.
"That's it. So what should we talk about next? What's up with you?"
When Gia's hour was up and she finally stepped outside of that office, she felt relieved. Not because she had actually used that hour to talk, but because the awkward silence that had taken over the last fifteen minutes was finally over. And why was there an awkward silence? Well, Dr. Watkins had thought it appropriate to ask Gia whether she had a boyfriend or not, to which Gia responded by asking Dr. Watkins about his sex life.
"How did it go?" Gerard asked her excitedly when she entered the waiting room.
"Great," Gia lied, and smiled sweetly. "In fact, it was so great that he told me I don't need to come here anymore. Ever."
"Nice try," he answered before going into the office. Gia sighed, sat down on the chair Gerard had been sitting, and picked up a magazine to read.
Dr. Watkins introduced himself to Gerard and they sat down. "Now, Mr. Way, we -"
"I'm not crazy," Gerard interrupted.
"We don't actually call people crazy," Dr. Watkins answered.
"What did Gia say about me? I need to know. She said something mean, didn't she? I was a drug addict! I drank a lot, I was drunk for three years straight!"
"Mr. Way, can you slow down, I -"
"She's mad at me because I got married and had another kid, and because she thinks I missed most of her childhood which I did, but seriously though, I'm not crazy. I mean I've been to a shrink before but he said it's just the drugs, you know what I mean? I'm not really a bad person or a bad father, I mean maybe I'm a bit bad as a father because I did hit Gia's boyfriend but, really, it was for their own good. I'm not crazy," Gerard stopped rambling for a moment to take a breath. "Is it hot in here? I need some coffee, is there coffee here?"
"I think you've had enough coffee," Dr. Watkins said. He wasn't sure which one was worse, the daughter with the inappropriate questions and inability to speak of her problems, or the father with the uncontrollable rambling. "But that was good, why don't we go from there."
Gerard nodded, and began. "It all started when I was still just a kid. My childhood was pretty average, I guess, but I had this pet turtle."
Dr. Watkins allowed Gerard to talk about details of his childhood for a half an hour, and then carefully steered the topic to another direction.
"-- and so then my turtle died, and I suppose I never really got over it."
"Why don't we discuss something a little bit more current next, okay?" Dr Watkins started. "Let's talk about Gia."
Gerard was thrown off by this. Sure, the whole point of this therapy was to get over the problems with Gia, but he had another 30 minute lecture prepared about his childhood pet. "Well... She's my daughter so of course I love her. She lived with her mom for two years, and now that she's back, I guess I don't really know how to deal with her anymore. I never did, but now I'm like completely out of the loop. And I kind of feel like she doesn't know how to fit me into her life, either."
Dr. Watkins smiled. Now we're talking. "And how does that make you feel?" he asked, and the remaining of the time was spent not talking about turtles.
Janie was a complete opposite of Gia, and not only by appearance. While Gia was pale and blonde with blue eyes that weren't the icy blue shade but still reminded Lucas of two small blocks of ice, Janie had chocolate brown hair and her eyes were a warm shade of brown. Unlike Gia, Janie was easy to be with. Janie didn't nag him about cleaning up and she didn't call him an idiot on a daily basis, which Gia always did. Janie was polite, never whined, her biggest problem was that her little brother was slightly irritating, and in short, she was pretty much perfect.
When Lucas had introduced Janie to Danny, he had immediately noticed this. Danny's theory was that Lucas had found the exact opposite of Gia in order to get over her. And Lucas hadn't understood how true this was until only recently when Gia returned to New Jersey. Being with Janie had been great, and Lucas had considered himself pretty lucky, but now that Gia was back, he found himself comparing the two.
It's not that he didn't like Janie, no, he did. It's just, perhaps Janie was too perfect. Boring, even.
"Are you still crying about having two chicks who want you?" Danny asked, entering the kitchen where Lucas was staring at his bowl of cold noodles. "All I'm saying is that you should be happy about it."
Lucas ignored his words and asked: "Are you finally going to take a shower today? Maybe go out?"
"No, there's a Family Guy marathon on TV. But there's this party soon, I might go," Danny answered. "Okay, but let's get back on the subject. Which one are you dumping? Because I haven't gotten laid in two months."
"First of all, I only have one girlfriend."
"Cool, so I can have Gia?"
"No! Just... Shut up."
"Oh, burn," Danny said, rolling his eyes. "Where are you going?" he asked when Lucas got up to leave.
"Gia wants Jersey so I'm taking him over there."
"Remember to wear a condom," Danny reminded as Lucas was leaving, and ducked as Lucas threw a box of cereal at him.
Gia laid on the couch on her stomach, a piece of paper in front of her. The paper was on top of a random book she'd picked up so it'd be easier to write, and on the paper she had drawn a circle as instructed. The circle was divided into three segments, which were titled as friends, family, and others. When Gia agreed to this therapy thing, she had no idea it would involve homework. So when Dr. Watkins had asked her to draw him a circle with names of all the important people in her life, she had nearly told him to piss off. Yet here she was, doing as instructed.
Gia frowned, biting the end of the pencil. The family segment was a tricky one. Her dad and sister of course, also her mother and Jersey. But did she count Thomas and her mother's new kids as family? And most importantly, what about Lindsey?
The friends section was even more difficult. Hazel was one of the first to get their name on the circle, and was soon accompanied by a couple of friends from Connecticut. But what about Lucas? Did he rank as a friend?
Lindsey and Lucas weren't the only problems. While Mikey and Ray had been immediately placed in the others section (a few years ago they would've been considered family, now Gia wasn't quite sure anymore), Frank proved to be a problem. He was a friend, he was certainly the closest to her of the three, and before she found out about him being forced to avoid her and him agreeing to it, she had considered him to be family.
Gia sighed, deciding that she was making this too difficult. She quickly scribbled down Frank's name on the others section, as well as Lucas', and decided to leave Lindsey out. Whenever she thought about Lindsey, she got this weird, nagging, guilty feeling in the pit of her stomach, so she'd rather not think about the woman too much. Not that she'd admit it.
And speak of the devil. Lindsey walked into the living room, with a mildly alarmed look on her face. "Lucas is at the door," she said. "What is he doing here?"
"He's dropping off Jersey," Gia answered, she folded the paper in two and got up. "Do me a favor and keep dad busy."
"Of course," Lindsey replied automatically. She had picked up a habit of agreeing to everything the girl said, a habit which she did not enjoy, yet found necessary. Gia left the room to get the door, and Lindsey glanced at the folded piece of paper. She knew what it was. Gerard had been doing the same assignment a few hours ago, and Lindsey had caught a glance of the circle before it was hidden.
For a moment Lindsey battled with her conscience, debating whether to take a look at it, but in the end she decided she was too weak to resist the temptation. Making sure Gia was still at the door, Lindsey snatched the paper and looked at it.
Her very first thought was how empty it was. Gerard's circle had been so full that he ended up drawing a bigger one, but this circle was just pathetic. Then Lindsey realized something else. Her name wasn't on the circle at all.
Lindsey wasn't a very emotional person, and she did not get upset easily. In fact, the last time she got emotional was when Bandit screeched out the word 'mama' for the very first time. Now, discovering that her stepdaughter not only didn't consider her family, but also didn't consider her to be a part of her life at all, that made her upset. But still, she wasn't going to give up. Not because she wanted Gia to like her, but because she knew what it would mean if she didn't. Gerard would be forced to choose, and Lindsey didn't want to drag him into this.
Unaware of Lindsey's internal battle, Gia rushed to the door. It had been a risk to allow Lucas anywhere near the house. After all, her father seemed to have developed a sixth sense and the alarms in his little head went off the second Lucas was too near. But for some reason, Lucas had insisted that he bring Jersey all the way there. Most likely to spend a little more time with Jersey before returning him to Gia. She understood how he felt; Jersey was their baby and it was difficult to be away from him.
The second Gia opened the door, Jersey leaped on her and started drooling all over her face. The dog was so happy that he made his happy whiny noise that sounded like a baby was being tortured, and wagged his tail so fast that it was virtually invisible to the naked eye.
"Need help with that?" Lucas asked, laughing at the ridiculously excited dog.
"No I'm fine," Gia assured, pushing the dog off of her. "You got here fast."
"Yeah, well when he must still remember this neighborhood. So when realized where we were going, he kind of started running."
Gia nodded understandingly. When Jersey decided to hurry somewhere, there was no holding him back.
"Here's his stuff, leash, toys, you know the drill," Lucas said and handed her a plastic bag filled with doggie toys. "If you need anything else, just call."
"I will, thanks."
They stood there awkwardly in silence for a moment with Jersey rolling around on the floor happily, not believing his luck. Lucas made a quick exit the second they heard some noise from the stairs, and was gone. Gia closed the door and glanced at the dog that was now listening quietly to the stairs.
"Who was at the door?" Gerard asked, holding Bandit in his arms.
"Uhh, no one," Gia answered with a shrug, but knew that it was useless. One glance at Jersey and all was revealed. But Gerard didn't have time to start screaming that he was going to kill Lucas, as the little girl in his arms had started to squirm. Gerard had no other option but to put the toddler down.
Bandit had spotted a new friend. "PONY!" the girl screamed from the top of her lungs and at the speed of light she ran to the dog. Luckily Jersey wasn't very shy, and knew when to not be aggressive. For the rest of the day Bandit enjoyed the company of her new pony, riding on his back, petting him, playing with him and throwing toys for him to catch. It was a lucky day for the both of them.