"Miss Shannon Adler."
My head snapped up as his crisp voice rang through the cold, musky air. My eyes, which had previously been trailed on the puke green carpet that adorned the floor, met his ice blue eyes across the room.
He was the kind of man whose whole demeanor just screamed authority. His suits were always perfectly molded to his shape and there were never any creases in sight. His bright orange hair stood out from a crowd and looked like the color you'd expect to achieve from a bottle dye. I knew only from the one family photo that he kept in his office that it was a color that ran in his family, the color of his mother's hair.
It was these little observations that I always made that made him fear me. Whenever he thought I wasn't listening I could hear him mumbling about how my keen deductions would one day be his undoing. We could both only hope that we would ever be so lucky.
Without greeting each other, I rose from my perch on the uncomfortable plastic chair and followed him down the winding corridor. The first time I had ever set foot in the building I couldn't stop the giggles that had threatened to erupt. To any passerby that never took the time to read the company's names, the building would seem to be completely average. For those of us who had found ourselves obliged to stop and take the time to read the signs, we were rewarded with an endless stream of strange companies that all seemed to have no better place to locate.
Located in the corridor that I was being led down was a dentist, Gustav, that always smiled too widely to be considered normal, a doctor, Mr. Noonan, who seemed to have only one , who had been the worst hypochondriac I had ever had the displeasure of meeting,a young jeweler, Vernie, that looked so sketchy I was shocked the police hadn't taken him in yet, a sex shop that was ran by a woman, Yasmine, who always felt the need to talk to you about her own experiences in a place that nobody wanted to know about, and finally, at the end of the hall stood 'Simmons' & Sons', the place where I was heading. The receptionist sure did have to deal with a handful.
As I followed him down the corridor, I did my usual glance inside the rooms. That was another strange thing about it there. None of the them ever seemed to close their doors, other than him. His door was always shut tight so that no peepers like me could see in.
As suspected, Gustav was flashing his pearly whites at some poor unsuspecting woman, Dr. Noonan was of course attending to one of 's delusions, Vernie was looking as sketchy as ever and Yasmine was rambling on to some teenage boy about flavored and novelty condoms. That topic always had her roaring to go, especially when the conversation was with a teenager. She liked to see how many times she could make them blush. When I had first arrived, I too had been subjected to the torture. She soon came to realize that it really took something to make me turn into a tomato.
He stopped outside the polished wooden door at the end of the corridor, pushing it open with one hand and strolling inside. He never offered to let me inside first. He wasn't that kind of guy.
I took my seat in the armchair pushed against the furthest wall, him in his office chair he had pulled in front of his desk. His leather notepad was already there waiting for him with his fancy pen that I knew my dad would have gone nuts for. He had always said the day he bought us a nice pen was the day we would officially become adults to him. I never bothered to question his logic.
We sat in silence for a moment before he spoke.
"So, how was your week Shannon?"
I cringed at the use of my full name. Only my mother and grandmother ever called me Shannon. It was much too girly for someone like me.
"I've told you to call me Shay," I grinded out. His brow rose as he watched me. He seemed to always be able to tell what I was thinking.
"And I keep on telling you to call me Kevin, but tells me that you still only refer to me as 'him'," he replied, his lips threatening to smirk at me in victory. He knew well where he could put that smirk if it showed itself.
I cursed Matthews for selling me out again. Matthews was the school's best attempt of a counselor. He had been the most unhelpful man I'd ever crossed paths with in my life and yet he made a living out of helping teenagers who never really wanted his help.
Matthews had decided that school counselling wasn't enough torture for me and had recommended me to a therapist outside school hours. Which was why I was sitting across a victorious Kevin who made it his mission in life to make me uncomfortable.
My parents hadn't been wild about the idea of me having a therapist. That was more to do with their fears than mine I soon found out.
"Tell me about school,"he said, sitting back in his chair and folding his legs.
My eyes narrowed at him as I spat out my reply. "You know well what happened in school this week if you've talked to Matthews." That always annoyed me. When he asked me a question that he already knew the answer to.
His reasoning was always the same. "I want to hear your side of the story. Matthews was very concerned about your well-being this time. He would ask you himself but..."
I knew how that sentence was going to end. Practically everybody who knew the poor Adler's story did.
His gaze watched me as I curled more into myself. We both knew that these past few months hadn't been my finest, and my recent expulsion from the local high school had only been the cherry on the cake.
I looked at him with tears forming in my eyes as I spoke. "Before I tell you, please understand something." I took a deep breath. "I'm not a bad person. Please understand that it hurts me to know what I've done in the past few months, that if I could go back and react differently I would." His nod encouraged me to keep talking."I know that I've never spoken to you about that night, and well, I haven't really told you anything at all. But, I suppose for you to really understand where I'm coming, why I did that thing, I think you really need to know why Matthews sent me here."
The room went completely silent in anticipation for the words that were about to come tumbling from my mouth. Words I'd heard whispered in the corridors, but had never said to anyone myself.
I took a deep breath before I uttered the words.
"My sister committed suicide. And I'm the one who found her."
This is the first story I've ever written that uses my own characters. I sincerely hope you'll come to like them as much as I do.
This story has been running around my head for a long time now, and it took a bit of courage and a push from my Dad to convince me to put something up here.
I know from writing in the past that I'm quite an infrequent writer, so don't worry if it's another six months. I'll remember it at some point.
Thanks for reading,