Chapter Three

Back at my apartment, I waited for Kate to come home. Today was just so crazy that I needed some good old friend time to get my mind off of it. Kate had been too caught up in some lab work to meet with me for lunch, so I just ate in the outside courtyard alone. My body wouldn't stop shaking when thinking about the moment Christian had offered his help to me. Ooooo that no good guy! One of the most famous therapists just waltzing up to me and offering free sessions so that he can learn more about me. This all just has to be one really long dream. It just has to. Maybe I'll have Kate pinch me when she gets home.

The intruding thoughts kept me on my feet. Walking up and down the hallway in a loop, my mind just kept diving deeper and deeper. Getting angry at him probably wasn't the best idea. The shakiness I'm feeling must be from the adrenaline wearing off from that moment. It was a pretty bold thing to do to somebody famous like that. But if he really is just scamming me to make me obsessed with him and then dump me the day after then he deserves it. On the other hand, if he was sincere then I feel pretty bad for lashing out like that…..ah who am I kidding it was super rude of him to make that assumption about me anyway. I never said I needed help. He just decided to pity me without even knowing anything about me. Maybe I hate people and don't want to touch them anyway! Bet he didn't think about that one! Then again… maybe he's right and I do need some help….gah! Would you look at that! He's getting into my head again! Well…but I've never gone to seek out therapy before and maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I could get rid of this and start living a normal life again…..wait no I'm definitely fine my life has been great. Who needs to be normal! Normal is so overrated anyway.

I continued to pace back and forth in the apartment having an internal war with myself while waiting for Kate. It seemed like she was never going to show up. Just when I thought all hope was lost I heard the sound of the door opening.

"KATE!" I burst out in an overly excited tone and ran toward her before she could even finish getting through the door.

"Jeez Louis what in tarnation's is going on here? Why are you so excited to see me?" She finishes coming inside and starts to take off her shoes.

Realizing that what I just did was kind of embarrassing, I stop in front of her. "Oh you know it's just been a while since I've gotten to see you. I was feeling pretty bored sitting in the apartment all by myself."

"You don't have any homework or anything to do?"

"Nah. The start of the quarter has been pretty slow."

"Well in that case, let's cook dinner together and watch a movie while eating. We haven't done that in a while."

"Sounds great!"

Agreeing one hundred percent with her suggestion, I skipped off to the kitchen to look for some ingredients to prepare the meal. A nice movie night with Kate should be just what I need to get my mind off of things, I happily thought while purposefully sliding through the kitchen on my socks. Managing to find some tomato sauce and pasta, as well a thing of garlic bread, I decided on spaghetti for tonight's menu.

Kate joined me by the counter, and we prepped everything for the meal. Cooking together was really fun. We blasted some of our favorite music off of our playlist. The two of us danced around the kitchen like maniacs while waiting for the water to boil. Kate tried her best to do a K-pop dance cover impression, but failed miserably. It was pretty entertaining to watch. She often got inspired after staying up all night watching music videos. One of her life long dreams was to be a dancer after all. Too bad she just so happened to suck at it. Guess we can't always have what we want, I smiled at her as she thrashed about the kitchen, nearly slipping and falling on her face. It never stopped her from dancing though.

After much giggling and singing into the noodles to make it taste better, our fine cuisine was ready— well, at least fine cuisine in the standard of broke college students. Can't get any fancier than garlic bread!

We brought our bowls out to the couch, and huddled in front of the computer screen on the desk, since we were of course also too poor to afford a real TV. Kate put on a romantic comedy. Not exactly the kind of film I was hoping to watch right now…

"Hey how about a horror movie tonight?" I asked. "We haven't seen one in a while."

"While we are eating spaghetti!?" She didn't seem too thrilled.

"Yeah I mean I'll make sure not to choose a gory one. Only a thriller. What do ya say?" Batting my eyelashes at her and doing my cutesy look, I was hoping to convince her with my irresistible face.

Rolling her eyes at me she agreed. I was usually pretty good at getting my way with her. She was far too much of a pushover. Not wanting to take advantage of her, I usually just went with whatever she wanted. Today was a special occasion though.

We turned on the first horror film that we could find, but only thirty minutes into the movie, I somehow found that even the screams of people being haunted by demons wasn't enough to keep me distracted. The silence left my brain to think on its own. I kept squirming in my seat. My body was just too restless with all of the thoughts. My endless fidgeting didn't go unnoticed by Kate.

"Hey you okay today? You seem pretty distracted. I thought you were the one who wanted to watch this, and yet it seems like I'm the only one that's actually interested in it right now."

"Huh?" Her questioning snapped me out of floating off into my own world. Seeing her expectant face, I jumped up from my slouched position. "Oh yeah the movie. I'm watching it. It's getting pretty good."

"Oh really," she asked skeptically. "So which character just died then?"

She was obviously not buying it, for she was right about me not knowing the answer to that question. "That one guy. I forget his name."

"Wow that's funny," she crosses her arms. "Guess he was so unmemorable that you can't even remember his gender either." Her look became really stern "Because he was a she."

Caught red handed. There really is no fooling this girl. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm just not feeling in the mood for a movie today."

She exits out of the page and closes the laptop, her body now turned directly facing me. "Alright what's up? You've been acting really strange today. First you are overly excited to see me when I get home, then you don't like my choice in movie, and now even though we put on the one that you wanted you keep shuffling around in your seat not watching it at all anyway. Is something on your mind?"

I try my best to convince her that everything is fine but she still won't fall for it. She just raises her eyebrow at me and gives me the "uh-huh" look. "Alright. Alright," I give in. "I guess I'll tell you what's up. But you have to promise not to freak out, okay? Also that you won't tell anyone."

A sly smile creeps up onto her face. "While I can promise that I won't tell anybody, I can't, however, assure you that my reaction will be to your liking."

Sighing heavily, I decide to proceed anyway. It's not like she's ever going to let it go after that. "So…." I start off. "I kind of had an episode in the hallway today."

"An episode? What do you mean by that? Did somebody try to touch you?"

"Yes," I reluctantly replied. "Remember the girl from my class that said she wanted revenge on me? Well, she grabbed me from behind on my way into class today. I screamed so loud that it echoed through the hallway, and then pushed her off of me to such an extent that it caused her to fall back into her friend and me to fall on my ass."

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?" She jumped up in her seat, holding her arm on the side of the couch for support from the shock. "I thought she was just saying it because she was mad. I can't believe she actually tried to go after you!" Removing her hand from the arm rest she sits crisscross on the couch facing me with her head down in shame. Switching to a more apologetic tone now she adds, "Man I'm really sorry Anastasia. I should have taken it more seriously when I heard it before. Instead, I got carried away and only focused on talking about Christian. But obviously there were more important things to have my attention on."

"That's okay," I tried to sooth her with my soft tone. "Nobody would expect that she would approach some stranger just because they sat next to her idol on accident. Besides, it's not like you could have done anything about it anyway." A smile meant to cheer her up lifted on my lips.

"Boy I ought to smack that girl right in the face," she says as she makes a fist with her right hand and punches it into her open left hand. With intense eyebrows she keeps pummeling into it over and over while going "Rah!" The open hand signifying Jessica's face that was about to beat right off because of my dear friend whom was currently blinded with rage.

Her little demonstration made me crack up. "Hey there, hey there," I waved my hands. "No need to be so drastic. Nothing much really happened other than some extreme embarrassment and a possible ruined reputation. Ha-ha!" The way I spoke was both excited and sarcastic at the same time in an attempt to lighten the mood. "But you know, at least she ended up not doing anything further after that."

"She didn't? Why not?" Quitting her antics to look at me, her face showed some clear signs of confusion.

"Well you see….speaking of Christian…" My voice trailed off as I directed my eye contact away from her.

She leans in close to me with the biggest, slyest grin I had ever seen her give. "Oh? Whatever could he have to do with this my dear?" It could have just been my imagination but her eyebrows almost appeared to be doing a little dance.

Shaking my head at her insinuation, I tried to shut her down. "Good lord! Don't get too ahead of yourself Kate! It's nothing like that. Let me tell you what happened first."

"Okay sorry. Go on."

Clearing my throat I went on with my story. "First off, what happened was Christian was somehow right behind her right as she did that. Then I guess he felt bad about the whole ordeal occurring because of him, so he kind of covered for me and helped me up."

Kate stared at me for a moment seeming to be lost in some other world. Her hand lifted up to her forehead as she fell back into the couch making it seem like she was passing out. She laid there for a few seconds as I raised my eyebrow at her. Popping up after finishing her dramatic act, she shouts at me "How can you say that so nonchalantly!? That's amazing!" her arms threw out in the air as she spoke. "Oh man, I always knew that guy was a sweet heart and that you two would end up falling in love." She clasps her hands together and looks up into the sky all dreamy like.

Rolling my eyes at her yet again I say "Please Kate. You're so rash. He just helped me up. That doesn't mean we are dating. It was j—"

"So what happened next? Did he say anything specific? How did Jennifer react? How many people were around? Are you in the news now?" Before even finishing what I was saying she interrupted my sentence to throw her millions of questions at me. Clearly she didn't want to stop to listen to reason. She just wants the juicy details on me and Christian so that she can write her new fanfiction about us or something.

I lazily but efficiently answered all of her questions. "Yes, Jennifer was there and she looked extremely jealous. No, I'm not in the news but a bunch of people in the hallway saw everything that happened." Shifting in my seat I tried to get off the topic so that I could continue with my story. "So as I was saying, after that we just went back into the classroom and sat in the same seats as last time." Not wanting to get too specific with the details on what occurred, I just gave her a brief summary so that she wouldn't conjure up some ridiculous fantasy from Christian's words. For some reason this seemed to settle her down.

"Alright time to get serious now," she sat up straight. "I said that I would focus on your safety more than your love life from now on, and I'm going to stand by that. So you think you'll be okay? Jennifer probably hates you even more after that. As well as a ton of jealous people who will now know he single handedly helped you out. Looks quite suspicious."

"Yeah…" my saddened voice agreed with her. "I was extremely nervous about that as well. I couldn't focus on the lecture at all. I don't know about the others who saw what happened, but I do know now that I won't have to worry about Jennifer and her friends."

"Whyyyyyyy?" Her eyebrow lifts in suspicion.

"Because during our break he took her out to the hallway to make her swear that she won't try to mess with me again or he will do something about it."

Kates face twists into something unreal. Her happiness turning into a look so bizarre that she could be mistaken for a creature from another dimension. "My god," she stops for a second. "I just knew he couldn't help but to fall in love with you the second he sat next to you!"

Just about having it with her delusions, I tried to put an end to it. "Kaaaaaaaate! For the last time! We are not in love he was just being nice and taking responsibility for himself!" She was about to say something, but before she could, I spoke again. "Actually," I pointed my finger up. "As I later found out from his actions I believe that he's just doing all this because he's upset that I'm not in love with him like everybody else in the school. So now he wants to woo me into becoming obsessed with him because he can't stand the thought of me not giving a crap about him."

"What would possibly make you think that!?" She holds her hands out in front of her with her palms faced up, beckoning me to give her an answer to a question that she finds obvious.

"He and I were partnered up in a discussion, and instead of doing our work he goes on about how he realized I have Haphephobia because of his great skills as a therapist. Then he suggests that he wants to learn more about it and offers me some free sessions to help cure me."

She says nothing as she keeps looking at me, staying completely still. Just as I expected her to give some ridiculous grin again, she instead stands up completely blank faced and walks over to the bathroom nearby. Shutting the door, she disappears into the room and nothing but silence could be heard for a good thirty seconds.

I just stare in extreme confusion at the closed bathroom door. What prompted her to suddenly use the restroom without a word in the middle of such an important conversation? Puzzled, my question was answered as the half minute of silence was broken by a very loud "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL!? LORD PLEASE HELP HER!"

Her shouting was so loud it could have awoken any of our sleeping neighbors. The door handle twisted to the left and she emerged from the inside of the room immediately following her outburst. I really didn't know what to say. All I could do is blink and watch her as she came calmly back to the couch.

"Sorry about that just now," she apologized as she sat down. "I had to let my emotions out somewhere without disturbing you."

"Disturbing me?" I placed my hand on my chest, appalled, shouting out "Forget me! You probably just disturbed all the neighbors! I'm surprised we haven't gotten any knocks on our door yet! What was that all about anyway!?" My shock was clearly apparent in my voice as I threw my hands into the air.

"You are just so oblivious sometimes I felt the need to go and pray for you. These kind of things have to be done in private you know."

"Oblivious? What am I oblivious about!?" my frustration starting to show now.

"The man offers you free therapy sessions at his top clinic because he wants to learn more about you and the first thing you think is that he's plotting against you? Are you serious?"

She obviously wasn't able to see what I was because of her lack of detail. "Okay, first of all, he said that wants to learn more about my phobia. Not about me. Second of all, he directly told me that he was intrigued by me because I didn't give a crap about him. What kind of person seriously thinks like that!? It must be because he was irritated by it."

"Or," she emphasizes. "Maybe because he is so famous it was refreshing to see a person who didn't automatically love him for his fame. You ever think about that?" Kate seemed to seriously be judging me. The look she was giving implied that I was a bad person for demonizing him once again.

"Look, I know that you're probably thinking that I am just jumping to conclusions and making him out to be a bad guy again because he's famous, but he seriously pissed me off when he just assumed that I wanted his help with my phobia like that! I don't need help! I'm doing just fine on my own. He should stay out of it and mind his own business." I crossed my arms in annoyance.

"You know what Ana? This is kind of what I talked to you about before. I think you try too hard to seem strong all the time. You want to make everyone else as well as yourself believe that you are fine when you're not. I know that you're an extremely tough and intelligent person that has gotten through so much. I have always idolized you for how strong you are, and wish that I could be as amazing as you. You may be fine on your own, but maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to accept someone else's help. I love you either way, but it wouldn't hurt to start trying to finally get rid of this phobia that's been hindering you from certain aspects of your life. You just kind of accepted that you had it without ever going in to see anybody about it. But the more I think, the more I wonder what the reason for letting it continue is."

Kate's heart to heart struck me hard. Why have I been letting it continue for so long? I guess I never really did consider the fact that I could change it. I just accepted it as a new part of my personality.

My thoughts didn't match my words as I lashed out "Because it's who I am, and I like the way that I am! Why would I need to change myself?" Even though I knew that Kate was right, I still got really angry and defensive about it. Maybe it isn't part of my personality as she says. It's just so hard to say…

"No Anastasia. It's not part of your personality." She spoke with an extremely firm tone, as if she took the words right out of my thoughts. I had never seen her look so stern and serious with me before. I couldn't help but shut up and listen to what she had to say. "It's something that you developed because of that asshole. It's only a part of your life now, not a part of you. This phobia would have never existed if it weren't for him. Thus you shouldn't let that bitch continue to control your life even now. I think that maybe now is the time to start getting the real revenge, and that's being happy and free despite everything that he put you through."

I was at a complete and total loss of what to say now. Her words came tumbling onto me like a thousand pound of bricks. Each brick jumping up afterwards to reach out a giant white gloved cartoon hand and give me a big ol' slap on the face before finishing with me. It was the wakeup call that I needed. I fell silent and drooped my head down in thought. She just kept her eyes on me, awaiting a response.

We both sat there without a word or movement for quite some time as I tried to get my thoughts together. Finally deciding that she spoke the truth, and that I was trying too hard to be in denial, I raised my head and looked at her in defeat. "Okay, let's say that I was to decide that I should seek help to try and start getting rid of this thing."

"Yes, okay," her head perked up.

"How can I be sure that Christian's intentions are good and that I am not going to just end up even more hurt and used in the end?"

She looked at me with a complete and total serious face. "To be completely honest with you Anastasia, you cant. But that doesn't me that you shouldn't give it a try. In my opinion, it seems like he's actually being earnest and isn't just trying to mess with you for his enjoyment. I would suggest going for it. But if your gut feeling tells you that this isn't the case, then at least go find a different therapist."

This was the first time she hadn't gotten all giddy and joking about the matter between me and Christian. It really made me start to trust in what she was saying for the first time. "Alright you win," I finally gave in, with the last sigh of the day let out. "I'll go in tomorrow and tell him that I was mistaken and would like to apologize." Her face started to brighten up, but before she got too excited I stopped her with a, "BUT."

"But?" she tilted her head to the side.

"But, I won't be accepting his offer quite yet. I still need to think on it first."

"You'll think on it!?" she bounced up in excitement. "So that means that you haven't denied the idea and might actually go for it!?"

"Hey, I said I'll think on it," I firmly assured her. "It's not a guarantee. But yes, I will put it into consideration."

Kate's face was shining with so much pride and content that it could have blinded me.

*NOTE: Sorry for the slightly late update guys! I'm on a business trip and the hotel I was at didn't have Wi-Fi =.= Like what hotel these days doesn't have Wi-Fi, am I right? Lol also, to those that were following me earlier, I temporarily changed the rating to T so that it would stop getting filtered out until the M rated chapters are posted.