Bonus Chapter: Natalie Sharpe.

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Doctor’s notes, Subject #24170. James Toranaga. Session 3.

Notes and recommendations of attendant therapist, Natalie Sharpe:

  It has been three weeks since the previous session, due in large part to my own overloaded schedule in the aftermath of the elvish attacks. During the last week it has become apparent that James did in fact manifest abilities in the aftermath of his assault. For this reason, use of the David pseudonym has been removed. Current classification is a tentative type three. Directed self-levitation combined with aerokinetic abilities, and some form of transformational spell. He has recently initiated metaphysics training with a team of master-level field assets (his grandparents.)

  James’ parents both note a more secure sense that James is no longer hiding things from them since the discovery of his powers, and the household seems to be adjusting well to the integration of Casper Sullivan. Parents do note, however, that the relationship between the two seems to have grown slightly tense over the past few days. Sarah notes that she heard the two of them fighting, shortly before James asked to be allowed out for a walk.

  Additionally, during the elvish attack, it seems that James was struck at least once by some form of lightning blast. Be prepared to address the subject, should it be raised.

  Personal note from attendant therapist: ‘Jeez. Why did this have to get so complex?’

  Doctor Sharpe is reminded that even if the patient is not privy to her notes, professionalism does still have an inherent value.

Transcript of audio-visual session recording taken down by Supervisor Pearson is as follows:

James enters, closes the door behind him, and remains still for several seconds. He watches Doctor Sharpe, apparently nervous.

Doctor Sharpe: “Hi, James. It’s good to see you again.”

James: “Hey.”

A pause.

James: “So. Um. You know about, uh, everything, right?”

Doctor Sharpe smiles.

Doctor Sharpe: “Yes, James. I know you have powers. I’m a little jealous, actually. The flight sounds very freeing.”

James smiles.

James: “Heh. Yeah, you have no idea. It’s like I’m all alone up there, you know? I dunno why it feels so good.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Wanna show me?”

James: “Kinda.”

Doctor Sharpe chuckles, before moving to close her window blinds. James takes a seat on the ceiling.

Doctor Sharpe: “Comfortable up there?”

James: “I feel like kind of a dork. Do I look like a dork?”

Doctor Sharpe shrugs.

Doctor Sharpe: “Maybe.”

Doctor Sharpe returns to her seat.

Doctor Sharpe: “So. Your parents told me your nightmares have been getting better.”

James: “Yeah. They have. I mean, they’re not gone or anything, but they’re not every night any more. I kinda went through some stuff lately. It feels a little smaller now.”

A pause.

James: “Is that weird?”

Doctor Sharpe: “It doesn’t need to be. Do you mind telling me what you think it was that changed things?”

James: “I… A friend of mine. I uh. I told her about what happened. She…”

A pause.

James: “She said it didn’t stop me being strong.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Sounds like a good friend.”

James: “She is.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Speaking of friends, how are things going with Casper? I heard he started cooking dinner lately.”

A pause.

James: “Things are fine.”

A pause.

Doctor Sharpe: “Is he a good cook?”

James: “Yeah. I guess.”

A pause.

James: “Okay, yeah. It’s really good. Just… He’s. Ugh. He’s such a doof.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Language.”

James: “Sorry.”

Doctor Sharpe: “So. Why’s he a doof?”

James scowls.

James: “He-”

James hesitates for several moments.

James: “Nothing.”

Doctor Sharpe: “You sure?”

James folds his arms.

James: “Yeah.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Okay.”

Neither James nor Doctor Sharpe speaks for several seconds. Doctor Sharpe tilts her notes so that James cannot see them, and begins doodling small cat faces in the corner of a page.

James: “Alright, fine.”

Doctor Sharpe stops drawing cat faces.

James: “So, we were at school playing wizard cards with some friends of mine, and one of them hugged me.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Okay. And?”

James: “And… And I kinda blushed, okay? And Casper kinda saw.”

A pause.

Doctor Sharpe: “And?”

James: “And now he thinks I like boys or something. I dunno.”

Doctor Sharpe: “And you’re saying you don’t?”

James: *Indignant* “No!”

A pause. James flushes slightly.

James: “I mean. I don’t think so.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Well, I have to ask. Would it be a problem if you did?”

James glares at Doctor Sharpe, who does not react. After a few seconds, he looks at his knees instead.

James: “I don’t wanna be gay.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Why not?”

James: “Cuz I don’t wanna be like the guy who hurt me.”

The two are silent for roughly thirty seconds. Doctor Sharpe sighs.

Doctor Sharpe: “If I offered you a soda, would you please come down off my ceiling? It’s hurting my neck having to look at you up there.”

James detaches from the ceiling, and seats himself in the chair, hugging his knees.

James: “Have you got coke?”

Doctor Sharpe stands, moves to the fridge, and retrieves two sodas. She places one on the table beside James’ seat, and returns to her desk. The two are quiet for a minute. Doctor Sharpe takes a drink from her soda.

Doctor Sharpe: “James. I’d like you to give me four words to describe the man who hurt you.”

James: “I told you, I don’t remember what he looks-”

Doctor Sharpe: “This isn’t about looks. Just tell me four words that thinking about him makes you think of.”

James thinks for a moment.

James: “Liar.”

Doctor Sharpe nods.

James: “Meanie.”

Doctor Sharpe nods.

James: “Pervert.”

James hesitates for a few seconds.

James: *Quietly* “Asshole.”

Doctor Sharpe nods. James sniffs.

James: “Sorry. I shouldn’t have said a swear.”

Doctor Sharpe: “It’s alright. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been that restrained about it, if it were me.”

James nods.

Doctor Sharpe: “Being gay doesn’t have to make you like him, James. Those are the words that would make you be like him.”

Doctor Sharpe chuckles.

Doctor Sharpe: “Are you an asshole, James?”

A pause. James presses his face in against his knees, mumbles something the camera microphone is unable to pick up, and shakes his head.

Doctor Sharpe: “Then you’re not like him, are you?”

James doesn’t reply.

Doctor Sharpe: “Let’s take a break for a minute, here, okay?”

James nods. Doctor Sharpe stands. Camera shuts off.

Ten minutes later. Camera comes back online. Feed is obstructed by Doctor Sharpe, before she steps away, and returns to her seat. James takes a drink of his coke. He appears significantly calmer.

Doctor Sharpe: “So. How do you really feel about this boy?”

A pause.

James: “Which boy?”

Doctor Sharpe: “The one who made you blush.”

James goes slightly red.

James: “Charlie’s cool.”

Doctor Sharpe chuckles.

Doctor Sharpe: “I assumed.”

James: “I-”

A pause.

James: “I kinda, um.”

A pause.

James: “I kinda had a dream about him one time.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Oh?”

James: “Yeah. Before, uh. Before the rape.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Was it a good dream?”

James: “It was… Tingly.”

A pause.

Doctor Sharpe: “What were you doing in the dream?”

James: “… Stuff.”

Doctor Sharpe: “Any particular kind of stuff?”

James: “… Pass.”

Doctor Sharpe chuckles.

Doctor Sharpe: “Well, try not to worry about it too much. You’re twelve. It’s called puberty. Having thoughts about boys every now and again doesn’t automatically make you gay.”

James nods.

James: “Right. Thanks.”

Doctor Sharpe: “That being said, even if you were, do you really think it’d make you anything like the man who raped you?”

James: “… No.”

Doctor Sharpe nods.

Doctor Sharpe: “So. If you did turn out to be gay, would it really be the worst thing in the world?”

A pause. James looks at the floor.

James: “Think I should apologize to Casper?”

Doctor Sharpe shrugs.

Doctor Sharpe: “Only if you mean it.”

Natalie Sharpe returned to her apartment that evening almost haggard. She held a four pack of lager in one hand, a burrito tucked awkwardly under her arm as she fumbled her keys with her free hand. Getting inside took longer than it really should have done.

When she finally got the door open, she immediately dumped her beers on a table along with her keys, and began peeling off her shoes, ignoring, for the moment, the sounds of Apache yowling at her from his bed. It was only after she got the shoes off and took a step forward into the main area that her brain became aware of the smell of cat urine. Less than a second later, she recognized the feeling of something cold soaking into one of her socks. She shifted her tired eyes across the room, and gave Apache a glare of pure, concentrated death.

Apache gazed back at her, unconcerned. After a few moments, he licked his nose, and pulled himself out into a stretch.

“… Fuck you.”

Apache yawned.

Natalie continued to glare at the cat as she drew her burrito out from under her arm, slowly unwrapped it, and took a bite. Then, she trudged off into the tiny laundry room for some cat litter.

Five minutes later, she was feeling a little better. The pee was covered, the sock was slowly soaking clean, and her feet were covered by her favored pair of fluffy rabbit slippers. She was also kicking people’s asses in multiplayer while sprawled upside down on her couch, so that was cool. She hunkered her character down on a lookout post, and took aim for another player’s head.

Maybe the cat wouldn’t have to die for his crimes.

Her phone chimed.

She took her shot, watched her opponent fall, and dug the phone out of her pocket, expecting the next in her and Jack’s ongoing motivational war of post-workout selfies.

When she saw the screen, she groaned.

It was Liz.

‘I’m at the speed dating place. Where are you? You have to at least try this with me!’

Of the small collection of relationships Natalie had managed to maintain from her college days, it was being friends with Liz that most often came back to bite her in the ass. Her old roommate knew far too much about her to leave well enough alone.

She scowled.

‘I already told you I wasn’t going to that thing,’ she sent back. ‘It sounds like genuine hell.’

Off to the side, she heard the telltale click as the front door pushed open, the rubberized bottom brushing over cheap carpeting.

“Hey, Jack,” she called. “No selfie today? I thought you were gonna show me how ripped you are again.”

Her roommate gave her a tired chuckle as he stumbled his way inside, still in the cheap business suit and tie that made up his working clothes.

“Didn’t go,” he muttered. “Too busy at the office. Had to draw up finance plans for the entire upcoming quarter based on half a file of notes and a memo. God, I need a shower.”

Natalie winced in sympathy, then returned her eyes to her phone.

‘It’s a hell that could get you laid, Nat. When was the last time you did that? Or are you still pining over that hot new roommate boy of yours?’

‘… Shut up.’

‘… Want me to tell him what you think of his abs?’

Natalie glanced behind herself at that, tilting her phone to ensure Jack wouldn’t see the message, then swore under her breath at her friend.

‘I swear to God, Liz. I will end you.’

From somewhere behind her, she heard Jack’s phone chime.

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2 thoughts on “Bonus Chapter: Natalie Sharpe.

  1. I really liked this chapter. The character interactions once again shining. You really know how to write people having genuine conversations. Your characters all act and feel like real people, man. It’s crazy. And that small moment where James admitted his fear about being gay got to me in an emotional way, I won’t lie. You handled the whole thing in a way that was tactful yet believable and not forced.

    *insert gif of clapping audience*

    I also liked the down time on Natalie. I honestly don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I felt so tense during the last part of the chapter because of it. Happy to see that it just a small insight to the life of Natalie and her hobbies.

    The way you showed what her life was like is great too. No exposition, things flowed quite gracefully. You didn’t stop the narration just to explain something about her. You really have a talent for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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