She tilted her head and gave him a look. She was already used to this. Six sessions under her belt, and he was still borrowing from fiction. He wasn't even trying to use rare examples that she wouldn't be able to recognize. The first session, it was Gilligan's Island; he kept talking about how he tried to build a raft with bamboo he cut down himself and how he worked on fixing the radio he salvaged from the wreckage of the boat. Then it was Robinson Crusoe and he talked about how he caught fish and built himself fire and a shelter.
She was surprised that it took her actually four sessions to realize what he was doing. She was taking notes on her iPad as usual, nodding occasionally, when he heard him talk about pine trees and mud, contradicting his earlier descriptions of palm trees and pristine beaches. He was explaining in detail the smell of the trees and how he slipped and fell in mud several times a day during his first days before his body got used to it. Then he talked about how he started hunting down small animals to eat with the hatchet he had with himself, and that was when she finally realized. Oliver Queen, the heir to Queen Consolidated, the self-described multimillionaire playboy who had just came back to Starling City after being stranded for five years on an unchartered island, was summarizing Hatchet to her. She had read the book back in high school so her memory was a bit fuzzy, but when he talked about a storm sweeping his shelter away, she was sure.
She lifted her head from her iPad and looked at him. He was lying on his back on the couch, deadpanning the synopsis of the book to her. She took off her glasses and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
"Mr. Queen, I think this is enough for today. Next time, please tell me about your own story and not some survival book you read in junior high."
That seemed to get his attention as he lifted himself and turned to look at her. When she put her glasses back on, she saw something she had never seen before. Oliver Queen was smiling. It seemed to be a genuine smile, not the kind he used to charm her assistant into delaying his appointments or those she saw plastered all over the covers of magazines. She expected him to deny it, or give her some sort of an apology. Instead he stood up, turned on his heel and was gone the next second.
She kept expecting that he would somehow actually open up to her, like he was supposed to, and tell her what really happened during his time on that island, explain to her the causes of the scar tissue that seemed to cover, according to his medical records, 20% of his body, but the very next session, he was talking about how he painted a face on a Wilson-brand volleyball and talked to it. She didn't even bother continuing the session and asked him to leave.
He didn't show up for his next two appointments. She had already given up on him when he showed up three weeks later in her office, sat down and talked about what seemed to be the first few episodes of Lost. The only details missing from his account were the smoke monster, the polar bear and the Dharma Group. She was sure if she didn't interrupt him, pleading with him to tell the truth, he would also find ways to incorporate them into his story. She had to give it to him though, he was a good story teller.
"So I told myself, 'every man for himself'."
She didn't mean to, but she snorted trying to hide her laughter. She didn't know if she was laughing because her most high-profile client was quoting Sawyer to her or because she was trying to replace her anger with amusement. It wasn't unheard of clients to lie to their psychiatrists to avoid confronting their own issues. As a professional, it bothered her. She really wanted to reach out to her clients and help them, but they weren't even helping themselves by avoiding the truths. Oliver Queen wasn't making things easier for himself, and was making it even worse for her.
She was pretty sure it all had to do with her age. Despite what the diplomas covering one section of her office walls showed, she had seen the look on his face when he first stepped in. She was used to it. Even though she had made a name for herself in medical and psychiatrical circles, it was hard to convince her patients. It was rather rare for a patient to accept that a young psychiatrist such as herself would have enough experience to help them with their problems. She thought that Oliver Queen would be an exception.
"And you are now quoting Lost. That's new."
He stopped and moved into a sitting position on the couch. He looked at the ceiling, then at the floor, and finally at her. He opened his mouth to say something, but he didn't.
"Mr. Queen, I watched the entirety of Lost twice, went to Comic-Con three times to see the cast, even ran a blog for a couple of years about my theories on the Dharma Initiative and the smoke-monster. You really should stop summarizing the show to me and start telling me about your island."
"It's Oliver. Mr. Queen was my father."
"Right, but he is dead. I mean, he drowned." she started, then realizing what she said, she paused and cleared her throat. "But you didn't, which is why you are here so that you could explain to me what happened on that island and I can help you."
He continued looking at her. That fake smile she was used to seeing was back on his face. "I think we are done here, Dr. Smoak." He got on his feet. "Thank you for your help." he said as he walked to her and held out his hand in an attempt to shake hers. She didn't budge. He then finger-gunned her awkwardly, which she found odd, then turned around and left.
She remained at her seat until she heard her office phone ringing. Her assistant informed her that Oliver Queen canceled all of his remaining appointments. She really wasn't surprised, and if she had to be honest, she was a bit relieved. She didn't want to waste any more of her time, and the Queen family's money, on someone who didn't take her seriously and who kept lying to her. She would use her time to help those who really needed her help.
She had already forgotten about the whole debacle given her schedule and she was focusing on other patients. One patient in particular was taking the most of her time, telling her stories about his encounters with a man in a dark green leather suit, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, putting arrows in the crooks of Starling City after dark. She had heard stories and news about the vigilante with the bow and arrow, but it wasn't something she was really interested in.
It wasn't until after two months that she saw Oliver Queen again. St. Walker's Hospital, where she used to intern, was throwing a charity ball and she was invited. She really wasn't the type to attend charity events on her own where the rich and the famous of Starling City would be in attendance in abundance, but her mentor had personally invited her and she wanted to contribute to the hospital.
She was standing at one corner with a glass of red wine in her hands when she met his eyes through the crowd. She immediately looked away and turned around. The next thing she know, he was walking towards her.
"Dr. Smoak, good seeing you here." he said as he held out his hand. Out of courtesy, she shook it with her free hand. "I didn't know you were a charity ball attendee type of a person."
"I didn't know you were one, either." she replied. She didn't look at him, but looked at the person standing behind him. There was a tall man standing close, looking around discreetly. The suit he was wearing didn't hide his bulky physique. She figured out he was Oliver Queen's personal bodyguard, she had heard of her assistant talking about him before.
"So, are you enjoying yourself, Dr. Smoak?" he said. Before she could answer, they were interrupted.
"There you are." she heard a feminine voice, addressing him. She turned around to see Laurel Lance, whom she recognized from articles about him. "I thought I lost you, they were looking for you for the speech." Laurel Lance paused and acknowledged her. "I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Laurel, Oliver's girlfriend."
He pressed his lips tightly and pulled Laurel close to him. Before she could open her mouth to introduce herself, he spoke. "This is Ms. Smoak. She is working at QC. She was helping me set up the routers at the club."
She was confused, she gave him a look. Her brows were knitted together, out of her will. She found herself nodding. She didn't try to correct him in order not to contradict him. She simply smiled and shook hands with her. A second later, he was nudging Laurel Lance towards the direction of the stage and they were gone.
When she was alone and he showed up at the stage with that smile plastered on his face, she opened her small purse and jotted down under her other notes in her cursive handwriting on her leather-bound notepad: compulsive liar.