|Alice in Wonderland
Author: castironcanine PM
A friend from high school returns to LA, she's now a psychiatrist who treats genius kids. Prank phone calls, hero worship, stalkings, and stabbings. Please R & R! 525-JUST MINOR EDITS, NO NEW CONTENTRated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 11 - Words: 24,758 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 05-17-05 - Published: 03-05-05 - id: 2293309
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Hello all. There was some trouble with the way I uploaded this earlier, sorry. This is my first posting to and I'm mostly computer illiterate, so I'm still working out how to get everything working. Hopefully this is better, if not, please stand by. And please, please review, let me know what you think of it. Especially Alice, I'd worried she smelled a bit Mary Sue, so I married to off to try and make it better. Let me know if I should keep tweaking. But, be kind, I do have an ego.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not for money, I'll give them back when I'm done.
Alice Guinyard was nearly asleep waiting for her dinner to reheat when the phone call came. It was 12:45 in the morning and she'd just gotten home from work, after nearly sixteen hours at work; not exactly the life she'd expected when she'd become a psychiatrist. Sure as hell wasn't the nine-to-five life most of her colleagues chose, but then again, Alice's clients weren't exactly most people. She had only fourteen families in her files, compared to most psychiatrists' hundreds. Fourteen families from the whole population of New York City.
And the common denominator to them all? Genius kids.
For probably the fifteenth time that day Ali thought of Charlie.
That's why she'd gotten into all of this; the psychology, the psychiatry, the drama amongst parents and their children, children and their parents, older siblings, younger siblings, the resentment, the frustration, the pride, pride, pride. Pride with reason, pride without reason, pride with ego, senseless pride, resentful pride. If it hadn't been for Charlie, she'd never had known this side of psychiatry even existed, never would have pondered whether or not it existed.
Damn you, Charlie, Ali chuckled, as she plopped onto her couch and groaned out of high heels, feeling blood finally circulated into the compressed heels and bunched toes. She didn't mean it, well, not entirely. He was the catalyst a dozen years ago, everything since then had her elegant chicken scratch signing ownership. It sure as hell wasn't his fault she returned to her apartment only five and half hours before she'd have to get back to the office. She was the one who kept at it, long after everyone else had been smart and gone home. But still, every kid that came through her office reminded her of Charlie, of Don; every adult she sat and counseled brought images of Alan and his wife.
Truth be told, Ali wasn't disappointed in the constant reminders to her past, to LA, to her high school years. It could just be damn annoying. She was thirty-four years old! She had no right to be remembering her teenage years a dozen time a day!
Groaning, Alice pulled herself out of the sinfully comfortable recliner and gently padded her way into kitchen in stockinged feet to heat the plate of food her dear, sweet, almost-too-understanding husband Ryan had left her, covered in foil in the fridge with a sticky note attached, playfully reminding her, again, that if they were to divorce, he would be the one getting an alimony check. This was the game they played two, three times a week. Alice got caught up in her work, Ryan would leave her plate in the fridge with a reminder to come home earlier attached. She'd feel guilty while heating the meal, he'd wake up with microwave timer, sit with her while she ate, half-asleep but still listening to her talk about her day. Then they'd go to bed, where she'd collapse from exhaustionphysical? emotional? mental? did it matter? she'd ponder in the twenty seconds her head lay on the pillow before darkness claimed herand would wake up at 5:30 to begin the cycle again.
Thankfully Ryan understood her devotion to her work and the underlying reasons for it; he'd been friends with Charlie when they'd been in high school, he'd been next to Alice walking him to his classes to keep the young boy from becoming an easier target than he already was. Ryan had even stepped between a few punches in those days, earning him Charlie's eternal gratitude, and a bit of a messiah figure in the mathematician's eyes then. Thankfully now, as Charlie approached thirty his reaction towards the whole gang was now one of peerage rather than vulnerable little brother to protective older siblings. All of them had been glad when Charlie grew out of that opinion of them.
But this time, it wasn't the microwave and it's hideously shrill buzzer that woke Ryan, it was the phone. Alice knew he'd wake up, come out, find her talking on the phone, and finish fixing her dinner while she dealt with whomever it was that was having the crisis. At this hour of the night, what else could it be but a crisis? Unfortunately the subconscious mind didn't understand that humans buried things there because they didn't want to deal with them, and so vomited it all up at it's owner's most vulnerable moment, reeking havoc on the poor children, too damn smart for their own good and damaged because of it, that Alice treated.
Or else, it could be easy and just be her family calling to say Grandpa had died, uncle Chuck was in the hospital, the family dog was hit by a car... At least that way Alice could get some sleep tonight.
"Hello?" Alice said, answering the phone between it's first and second ring.
"Hi, Doctor Guinyard, it's Emily Seed-Koepnick, I'm sorry to be calling you so late."
Victims of the Subconscious Mind: 1
Alice's Sleep Cycle: 0
"Don't be, Emily, what can I do for you? And it's Ali, please," Alice asked, rubbing her forehead, wondering what possessed people to hyphenate their names. While she did this the irrational, smart ass portion of her brain that Alice's rational and professional side tried to hard to ignore made a comment about smearing her coverup into her forehead and the various ways to make acne look professional; and Alice dropped her hand immediately. "How are you all doing?"
Emily Seed-Koepnick was the mother of Christopher and Derick Seed, the younger the genius, the other the resentful older brother. She'd married Walter Koepnick four months before and they'd all moved out to Los Angeles, California two weeks before. Alice had been getting daily e-mails from Emily on her family's condition, and it was worrisome. Derick, a shy, introverted twelve-year old to begin with, was declining steadily. He'd stopped doing his schoolwork, was becoming disruptive in class and at home, verbally abusive to his new stepfather, taunting his older brother into fist fights. He stopped sleeping, stopped eating, stopped speaking, stopped making eye contact, and was sinking deeper and deeper into his mind. Ali had been speaking to Derick twice a day, before school and after, and had even blackmailed and verbally battered a former professor in the UCLA psychology department into taking this kid as a patient. Well, not so much blackmailed as bribed, seeing as how the man was tenured and Alice had nothing dirty on the man except the well-known fact that he tended to fall asleep during class and had a penchant for verbally harassing students who made asinine leaps of logic. (Wonder where Alice developed her tendency for verbal battery...)
Phone calls at one in the morning didn't fill Alice with a sense of a job well-done.
"Walt and I took the boys to Dr. Forker today for our first visit, and, I just got home. You see, well," Emily gave out a breathy chuckle that whistled across the phone line. "He committed Derick."
"What!" Alice practically shouted. "Son of a bitch!"
Ryan came out of the bedroom at this point, looking at her confused at his wife's normally even-keel was thrown for a loop. "Alice?" he asked, concerned. She waved away the concern, and nodded back to the bedroom door, knowing already this conversation would take a while. Ryan nodded, but came over any ways and planted a kiss on her forehead, before turning back to the bedroom and another six hours of beauty sleep.
Meanwhile Alice continued, "I'm sorry, Emily, I thought I had made it clear to Dr. Forker that Derick wouldn't respond to brute force, but apparently he didn't get the message."
"I don't know, Ali, but I think Dr. Forker may have been right. I mean, Derick's doing so bad lately. I knew the move was going to be hard on him, but I thought we'd done a decent job preparing him and Christopher for it. I guess we were wrong."
For the next hour Ali Guinyard listened to Emily Seed-Koepnick's concerns for her youngest son. Most of what she detailed Ali had heard over the past two weeks, but the mother needed to say it, and Alice wasn't going to put an end to the purging. She was, after all, psychiatrist to the whole Seed-Koepnick family: mother, father, stepfather, and both boys. She wasn't going to ignore a family in crisis.
How the hell did I let it get this bad?, Alice thought, yawning for the fifth time since the phone call began.
"I don't know, Ali, what am I going to do?"
"What if I was to come out there?" Alice said, speaking aloud the thought which had been quickly gaining in reason and need as she'd listen to the mother speak. "It's clear that Derick's in crisis, and you don't like you're too far behind. Christopher could probably use some help as well."
"But you have other patients," Emily said, but Alice could hear the relief in the woman's voice. This was the requisite protest, but the woman's heart wasn't in it.
"Whom I'd do the same for, if they needed me," Ali interrupted. "I'll try to get a redeye out there, hopefully we'll be able to get Derick out of the hospital by noon."
A few polite yet sincerely meant thanks were exchanged, as were the offers to pay for her flight, and the use of the guest bedroom, both of which she refused, as tempting as they were, before Alice hung up. Immediately Alice pulled the phone book off the shelf and within ten minutes she had a plane ticket booked for a 5:57 flight out of La Guardia to LAX, with an hour layover in O'Hare. Then came the call to one of her partner, Dr. Vicky Clasby, explaining the situation. There was little resistance, Alice hadn't been expecting any, just concerns for Derick and the news that they'd shuffle the cases amongst the practice. Thankfully Alice kept decent notes on her sessions and clients, the slack would picked up be the others.
When she finally came into the bedroom, Alice looked at the bed regrettably, before turning on a lamp and beginning to pack as quietly as possible.