I had so many story alerts for this fanfic that I had to get this done! Thanks everyone who reviewed, faved, alerted, etc. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sonny with a Chance or the book War and Peace.
SHRINKING THE HEAD OF A BIGHEAD
A dark cloud formed in the office of Lucy Meyer all afternoon, though it all came from one corner. That corner happened to be where Chad was sitting on the couch.
"She hates me," he said frankly.
Lucy placed the file from her last client in her drawer. "Have you ever thought that maybe you shouldn't be treating her the way you do?"
"She didn't really deserve it," he admitted, slouching on the couch and propping his head on the armrest. "She's a nice girl."
It was a rare sight to see Chad Dylan Cooper so down in the dumps. Lucy had to note this was the first time the actor had ever felt guilty about something; and it was for another person, above all else – which was what prompted the therapist to lean closer, the clicker part of her pen pressed against her chin, and ask, "Do you care about her?"
The sudden question caused the boy to snap out of his sulking, gawk at the woman wide-eyed, and sit back up on the couch. "Whoa, whoa, you better not be getting the wrong idea here," he quickly defended, holding a finger up as he affirmed, "Chad Dylan Cooper isn't concerned about anybody but himself."
"I hadn't the slightest notion you cared about yourself."
Chad continued on despite her sarcastic reply. "Sonny is from a show that is rivals with mine. I have absolutely no interest in her at all."
Lucy nodded and inquired, "Why is there a rivalry between you two?"
"We're constantly competing for ratings, but there's no need to worry; MacKenzie Falls will always be first." Chad grinned, back to his usual state of cockiness. "We actually have a real profession, whereas Chuckle City is only full of clowns who think they're funny."
Lucy barely wrote a single note on her paper. Chad frowned at this.
"They're really not funny," he insisted. "I've watched their 'Check It Out Girls' sketch with Sonny in it about six times and didn't laugh once, except at Sonny's tacky-looking outfit."
His therapist finally had a reaction to his insults. Her eyes got a little watchful this time.
"Sonny, whom you have absolutely no interest in at all," she repeated for confirmation.
She started to scribble several lines in his file, and Chad wondered if he had said something wrong.
"You know, the only people you've mentioned throughout all of our sessions have been Sonny and yourself," Lucy observed. She was flipping through the pages in his rather large folder and glazed her eyes over the same repeat of names written. "Let's talk about some other people now. You've said before you don't acknowledge your co-workers. How about your friends?"
There was a long silence as Chad stared vacantly at his therapist.
"You don't…" she started, until the boy cut her off.
"I have friends! And for your information, they should all be honored to be worthy of my acquaintance," he said, flipping his jacket collar up. "Like, for example, Portlyn. She plays my love interest in MacKenzie Falls." Chad then thought for a moment. "Actually, nevermind, she gets on my nerves. Not the brightest bulb, if you know what I mean."
Lucy patiently waited for his actual answer. "Then who else?"
"Uhh…" His eyes wavered around the room until he spotted a few letters on the table. "Jeff."
"That's right. I think that's his name." The skeptical look Lucy gave Chad pushed him to add details about Jeff he knew were true. "He's a mail carrier at the So Random! studio."
Lucy cocked an eyebrow and asked exasperatedly, "What're you doing there if they're your rivals?"
"I had to follow him around one time to practice my role as a mail boy for a movie. Of course, he was really no help," the blonde muttered his last sentence.
"So it was only one time you met him?"
Once again, a silence followed after her question. Chad stared dumbfound at the woman, and supplied weakly, "We hit it off really easy."
Lucy did not respond, but quietly wrote something instead. Chad cursed the fact that she never wrote the good things he told her.
The hallway of the So Random! studio became the hunting ground for Chad Dylan Cooper – and when he saw his prey, Jeff the mailboy, he immediately made his attack.
"Jeff, my brother from another mother!" Chad hollered, swinging his arm around the spectacled boy. His sudden shout almost gave the mail carrier a heart attack.
He gawked at Chad and replied nasally, "It's Josh."
"Uh-huh. You know, I was just thinking, I haven't paid my buddy Jeff a visit in a long time," the blonde continued coolly, and then leaned closer to him. "Because we are friends, right?"
Josh gave him a bland look. "No we're not. Now get your arm off my shoulder."
Chad threw his arms in the air, but not to follow his order. "How can you not want to be friends with a guy like me?!"
"Because you're obviously planning on using me for something. Why are you even in the So Random! studio, anyway?" Josh wrinkled his nose at the actor. "You keep on visiting the set even when you have no business here."
Chad's mouth gaped open, but he quickly thought of an excuse. "That's so I could hang out with my bro right here! I've been looking around all over for you, man."
"Yeah right," he snorted, and then started wheeling his cart away. It was the first time Chad had ever been rejected. Suffice to say, it did not feel very good. "I doubt there's anyone out there who could tolerate a self-centered guy like you."
Ouch. Someone was in a grouchy mood. Chad glared at the back of Jeff, Josh, or whoever he was (honestly, he should stop changing his name and confusing Chad) until the boy turned a corner. Did the guy really believe that not a single person could bear the celebrity? There were plenty of people, plenty!
But when Chad tried to think of those plentiful of people, his mind drew a blank. With a defeated sigh, the actor turned around to leave, and spotted a giant framed picture of a smiling brunette next to her So Random! cast members on the wall.
Maybe there had been someone, but he had already pushed her away.
"So I've recently come to the conclusion that I am the biggest jerk in Hollywood," Chad said, echoing Sonny's words from when she kicked him out of her room two weeks ago. He was lying on the couch again, staring up at the ceiling with a blank gaze.
"You realize this now?" Lucy asked incredulously, but regretted that a second later when he shot her a look. She put a fist up to her mouth and coughed. "I mean, this is good. Becoming more aware of your character is great development."
Chad furrowed his eyebrows. He honestly didn't see how this was development, but Lucy seemed enthused anyway. She leaned forward and, tapping her pen on her notebook, continued, "Perhaps the reason why you've been absent to your show's set so much is because of your dissatisfaction with your social life."
The boy merely blinked at his therapist. "What're you talking about?"
"Well, your attitude sets people off and stray them away from you; you're discontented by this situation, so you—"
The woman's attempted diagnosis was quickly cut off by a laugh. Grinning, Chad tossed a hand and said, "Oh, please! Just because I said I realized I'm a jerk, doesn't mean I regret being a jerk!"
Lucy gaped at the boy. "But, your friends…"
"A guy like me doesn't need friends," he confidently assured, "because when you're a celebrity, people will hang out with you no matter what. In fact, you wouldn't believe the number of people who showed up at my Chadtastic birthday party…"
Chad went on and on, oblivious to the baffled therapist who wrinkled her forehead trying to figure out the boy. Throughout their sessions it was clearly noted he was egotistical; she had thought the results of that trait were what affected the boy's recent in-and-out behavior his director had been complaining. But if he was so content with his life, what could be the reason for all these unusual mishaps?
"… And the only person who rejected my invitation was Sonny Munroe. But she even had the nerve to crash it later and shove my face right into the cake."
He scowled at this memory, but Lucy just sighed and muttered, "Somehow we always end up talking about Sonny."
But Chad didn't respond this time. Instead, he rolled over to the other side of the couch and quietly mumbled something.
"We haven't talked in a week…"
Lucy Meyer did not have framed degrees and awards in her office for this. She did not go through all those years of studying in college and pulling all-nighters only to find all that hard work slipping down the drain by one little case unsolved. At this point, even the craziest and most troubled of her patients already had breakthroughs – why was it that Chad Dylan Cooper did not show any progress?
Actually, the actor was showing some changes. It just wasn't the good kind. Lucy discovered this when the director of MacKenzie Falls opened the door to her office.
"Dr. Meyer, I've been looking for you," he called. From the hasty tone in his voice, Lucy figured this wasn't just a visit.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Tuckerman?"
Disgruntled, the man took a seat in front of her desk. "It's about Chad. How's your progress with him?"
Lucy bit her lip. She didn't like having such an incomplete answer, but this was the truth. "I'm still working on a few leads with his problem... How has he been acting on the set?"
"That's why I'm here, actually," he stated. He frowned deeply enough to draw wrinkles above his forehead. "He shows up to all our shootings now, but his attitude are worse than ever. Did anything happen to him recently?"
Lucy opened her mouth, then closed it shut. She didn't know what to say. Chad never talked about anything that happened to him besides his encounters with Sonny.
"I hope you know how important this is. We're shooting the season finale of MacKenzie Falls soon," he warned, and then waved his arms in the air, proclaiming dramatically, "If our lead actor is still troubled when the camera rolls, our show is doomed!"
His theatrical-like flailing definitely showed the man was no other than the director of the hit teen drama show, but she had to admit he was right. They had spent the past sessions just talking about Sonny and So Random! that she had strayed too much from looking for the core of this problem. She had to remember why Chad was here.
"I understand," Lucy replied. "I'll figure out what's wrong, I promise."
It was a mere observation, but it turned into something greater. As Lucy quietly wrote down notes, preparing for a series of questions to ask, Chad had been observing something else and broke her train of thought when he asked an unexpected question.
"Is that a copy of War and Peace?"
Lucy followed the boy's eyes and turned to her bookshelf, consisting of all the books she had borrowed in her college years. "Yes, that is," she said, surprised by his knowledge of the title. "You've read it at your age?"
"I used to." He drummed his fingers on the leather seat of the couch. "My father made me read those kinds of books a lot. Said they'd be good for when I become a doctor or a lawyer."
Lucy tapped the end of her pen on her notepad and stared at the boy curiously. "Where is he now?"
The boy shrugged, showing not the least bit of interest. "He kicked me out a long time ago when I wanted to become an actor instead. He said I was no better than a comedian. That was the last we ever spoke."
An out-of-place silence followed. The ceiling fan spun silently over their heads.
"How do you feel about your father?" she asked softly.
Chad watched the fan spin round and round, and said with the most utter simplicity: "I hate him."
Silently, Lucy opened to a new blank page and started writing. Her expressionless face was able to cover her inner enthusiasm that Chad had finally made some real progress. Domestic conflicts were common reasons why people were so troubled.
But unlike her other patients, Chad didn't seem remorseful at all – instead, he turned his head to her, smiled, and added, quite confidently, "Which makes it all the more better for the name Chad Dylan Cooper is spread nationwide as the biggest teen actor in Hollywood."
Lucy stopped her pen and blinked at the boy slouched on the couch across from her, who had just talked about a certain special wall on his set. "Why do you have Zac Efron on your banned wall?" she asked dubiously.
"Because," Chad responded quite simply, "I like people knowing I banned Zac Efron."
"But you've never met him before."
His therapist made a wry mouth as she went back to writing pitiable notes. It seemed the issue wasn't disliking someone as she had thought.
Back to square one… unfortunately.
"Sonny and I made up today."
The sudden comment made Lucy raise her eyebrows and snap her head up at the grinning actor. "Really?"
"Yeah. We're finally talking now."
She stared at him, and her lips slowly curled up. "Why don't you tell me what happened?" She knew she shouldn't be talking about the girl anymore and going off-topic, but she figured today could be an exception; the boy seemed very enthused to share. Besides, it was nice to see him stop slouching and finally sit up straight and boldly again.
But when Chad told her Sonny had forced him to call his father ("I lost all my chances of talking to mine – if you don't do it now you'll regret it forever!" she reprimanded), Lucy began to wonder how whenever he talked about that girl it seemed like he had no problems at all.
Their sessions had been easier since Chad and Sonny had finally started talking to each other again, but now it seemed to be too effortless for Lucy when she received a basket of sweets and a ticket to a live filming to MacKenzie Falls from Mr. Tuckerman on her desk. A thank you note had been placed on top. A bit miffed, she opened the note and read the contents.
Thank you for finally fixing him. He was a top-notch in filming. I smell an Oscar!
P.S. What was your final diagnosis for him?
The woman furrowed her eyebrows. She hadn't identified his case yet, but it was strange enough that the boy was finally acting normally again on the set.
But then again, Chad had always been normal. Lucy dealt with patients who were much worse off than him mentally, and though he was definitely more complicated to figure out, he was basically just like any other boy. The only time he ever behaved out of character was that week when Sonny stopped talking to him and he did nothing but act sluggish and slump all over the couch.
Then again… most of the time, he was only talking about Sonny.
Lucy began playing back previous sessions from before, all those endless talks about Sonny and his visits to the So Random! set, and the conclusion was so simple she wondered why she didn't figure this out sooner.
Chad couldn't help but grin shamelessly and shake his head at the magazine cover. The latest issue of Tween Weekly Magazine displayed a snapshot of him and a particular brunette. He threw the brightly colored book onto the table for Lucy to view the picture in its full glory.
"The paparazzi are eating this up," he beamed. "Now everyone thinks Sonny has a thing for me."
His therapist eyed him apprehensively. "Does she, really?"
"She probably does but won't admit it."
Chad flipped the collar of his jacket up coolly, and Lucy swore his head looked bigger than it usually was today. Funny, she thought, how he never cared when girls were screaming for him, and yet the slight idea that Sonny could possibly like him made the boy feel on top of the world.
"I'm going to try something different today," Lucy said, and rolled her chair towards the nearby drawers. She fished out a hand mirror and held it up to Chad's face. "Can you tell me what color your eyes are right now?"
He blinked. "Pastel indigo – what does this have to do with anything?"
Chad stared back at his confused expression in the mirror, but then saw Lucy's smiling face once the object was lowered. "It means, Mr. Cooper, that this will be our last session."
Mr. Tuckerman, this patient is the most egotistical, narcissistic, self-absorbed person I have ever met, and has a seriously strange obsession with his hair – but amazingly, there is nothing wrong with him. At first I had a lot of difficulty trying to find the problem, expecting it to be some psychological issue or inner conflict with himself, but the real truth is that he's just a normal boy. He showed up late to your set a few times and is distracted just like any other boy with a crush.
To be honest though, it might be good for him. It's the first time he's cared for another person other than himself.
This was a once in a lifetime chance.
The cafeteria lady had a date last night, and her good mood meant everyone could eat beefsteak and prime ribs. Sonny licked her lips as she stabbed her lunch with a fork. Bringing the whole steak up to her mouth, she opened wide, preparing to savor the succulent meat, to delish in the soft, tender—
Chad pulled up a seat next to the brunette, who was now staring tearfully at the dropped food on the floor. She sniffed and blinked back the water in her eyes at her ruined lunch.
"You jerk! The one time we get good food, you made me drop everything!"
"Oh, quit whining, you can take mine."
Sonny quickly shut up once her companion pushed her tray over with his, forgetting the nice gesture was rather out of character for Chad. With a much better mood, the girl happily cut up her steak in pieces this time, until she realized he was there.
"Hey, what're you doing here?" she asked. "I thought you usually go see your therapist at this time."
"Nope. Apparently I'm cured now," he replied.
Sonny cocked an eyebrow and eyed the Falls star up and down, trying to spot the little to no changes in his demeanor. Straightforwardly she blurted, "So what was wrong with you?"
Holding a finger up, Chad said, "First of all, there is nothing wrong with Chad Dylan Cooper." He didn't see the girl roll her eyes when he thought for a moment. "And secondly… all they said was that I was 'lovesick'."
It took a few seconds of thought for Sonny to come to her own conclusion and smirk at him. "They probably meant you're in love with yourself."
Chad shrugged. He had to admit that was true. "Yeah, you're probably right." Because who could Chad possibly fall in love with other than himself?
Sonny shook her head, but kept the smile on her face anyways. The two didn't say many words after that as Chad watched the girl eat the steak cheerfully. He unknowingly smiled to himself. His therapy sessions weren't as bad as he had thought, but he missed moments like these, these few minutes of the day where the actor could take a break from celebrity life and prank, argue, or just spend time with Sonny.
Crazy, problematic, deranged or not, it seemed Sonny Munroe was the only person who could accept him nonetheless.
Author's Note: Hallelujah I'm done! I really don't like the second chapter as much – you probably noticed my writing has gotten lazier. That's how quickly I lose inspiration. :\ I received so many reviews and story alerts, so I hope it's still OK though…
Also, if you don't remember from the first chapter, Chad had said that his eyes were periwinkle blue, and only 'pastel indigo' when he's really happy. That's why Lucy held up the mirror. Haha, it's almost been a week since I updated, so everyone probably forgot about that part.
P.S. Thanks to larrythestapler for recommending War and Peace. :)