Disclaimer: I don't own House or the O.C., sadly
Summary: Marissa's life isn't going so well. Messed up from drugs and alcohol, she now resides in a rehab center. But that doesn't last long when she sees the person, that she let go many years ago, on TV. Mostly the O.C. at first, but House will come in eventually. It takes place years after season two of the O.C. and during the fifth season of House.
Author's Note: Sorry that it's kinda similar to the first episode of the sixth season of House when House is in rehab. Also, enjoy!
Chapter 1: From Where You Are
"I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they'd mean everything to me
Yeah I miss you
And I wish you were here"
Marissa sat cross-legged on the linoleum floor, floating lazily through her thoughts. She was supposed to be forgetting those thoughts, though. It was part of her new therapy. She was supposed to be meditating, but she found it to be an impossible task. How could she empty her head? It was impossible. However, they never found that out. She would tell them about the therapeutic results of meditating. How it rescued her from everyday troubles. How it helped her stop thinking about vodka, cocaine, and how much her life sucked. They loved that she was improving so quickly. She loved that she could fool them so easily.
The Sandra Day Rehabilitation Center was located in the back woods in New York. Marissa could still hear her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, "It's one of the best in the country and my Marissa deserves only the best". Marissa scoffed at Julie's fake compassion. She did admit, though, that it would be nice to be far from her mother. Plus, Seth and Summer lived in New York. Maybe she could catch up with them… If they even remembered her…
Marissa opened her eyes cautiously, allowing them to become adjusted to the light. She blinked a couple times for effect before saying, "Oh, I'm sorry. I was just meditating. My mind was getting a little crowded, you know?"
"Of course, sweetie." The nurse replied with a smile. Marissa returned the smile, thankful that her façade was still believable. "When you're ready, there's a phone call for you." She closed the door snugly behind her as she left.
Marissa had been for a little under a year and never once got a phone call. She wondered if she was just being allowed this luxury and the doctors had been withholding all her calls. Pulling on a large sweater, Marissa walked to the front desk and addressed the nurse sitting there. "I have a phone call?"
"Name?" The nurse asked lazily. Marissa hated this man. He never bothered to learn the names of the patients. She could tell that he thought they were all scum.
"Marissa." His gaze didn't shift down to a paper, nor did it move an inch. His eyes narrowed, waiting for Marissa to continue. "Cooper. Nurse Green just came into my room…"
She was hushed the by the phone receiver being shoved into her face. She thanked him and walked around the corner for privacy. "Hello?"
"… Marissa? It's, um, it's me, Summer. From high school…" Marissa stood with her mouth hanging open.
It had been years, maybe nine or ten, since she had spoken to Summer. They were so close in high school, practically inseparable. Even through the hard times, Summer was there for Marissa. However, when Summer and Seth went off to brown together, they lost touch. Summer tried to call every day. Then every week. Then every month, until the calls stopped altogether. Marissa was stuck at home with Kaitlin, Julie, and Julie's flavor of the month. Ryan and Marissa never stayed together and he went off to college and never contacted her again. And thus began her downward spiral into drugs and alcohol.
"Is anyone there? Hello?"
"Yeah, yeah, sorry. I'm here. How did you know I was here?" Marissa asked, still a little dumbfounded.
"Umm… Your mom called me. She said that we should talk."
Marissa smacked her forehead. Of course! It was the next step in her treatment; "mending old wounds". Dr. Brighton must've called Julie, told her about my "next step". "I'm sorry, Summer. Now's not a good time. Can I call you back?"
"Yeah, I guess so. My number's 361-7862. Just don't call at ridiculous times or during the weekends."
"Okay. I'll call you soon. Bye." Marissa gave the receiver back to grumpy Nurse Greg and headed back to her room. She clenched the slip of paper with the number on it. I don't need Summer's pity call, thought Marissa. The crumpled paper was thrown into the wastebasket and forgotten about.
The TV flickered on in all of its black and white glory, flashing images of pre-approved shows. They were mostly documentaries, cooking shows, and, very rarely, inspirational reality shows. The VCR buzzed as the recorded show began.
Marissa sat on a couch with some of the other patients. Not many people bothered watching the TV during the scheduled times. The shows that they played were hardly worth it, but Marissa found everything else boring. The TV time was the only thing that she looked forward to. Well, that and eventually getting out.
Yes, Marissa exclaimed in her head. Reality show! It's that one about people changing themselves for the better. A bit boring, but much better then another documentary about the evils of fast food. Marissa leaned back in the couch and noticed the excitement concealed in her peers.
This episode was about a boy with a deformed face. He was scheduled to get plastic surgery so that he could look normal, but it turned out that he was sick and couldn't get the surgery before he got better. Is this even for real? I doubt this kid was actually sick and delayed his surgery. These shows are so obsessed with the dramatics.
Marissa took comfort in the familiar action of watching TV. She relaxed just a little, letting the message of the episode sink in. She also found it funny that the hospital it took place in was in New Jersey. Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. She inwardly laughed at the honor given to this hospital. She just couldn't take New Jersey seriously. It was always just a dirty and disgusting place in her mind. I guess I was wrong… That gimpy doctor seems nice. The other doctors don't make much of an appearance but- What the Hell!
Apparently that last thought escaped the walls of her mind. All eyes on her, waiting to see what she was yelling about. The doctors whispered and got ready for the attack, with their hands being armed with syringes of sedatives. Marissa got gave a sheepish look and got to her feet. "I just remembered that I forgot something in my room. Ugg, I'm such a space cadet." She shook her head for emphasis and half-walked half-ran to her room.
God, where is it? Marissa pulled a tattered picture from the bottom of her underwear drawer. Aha, got it! She dashed from her room into the activity room. The doctors still looked at her like she was having a psychotic break. Unfortunately, she couldn't really blame them. She wasn't exactly happy when she first got there; refusing to take orders, picking fights, yelling, and others things she wasn't proud of. She gave them a toothy smile and they backed down, seeing that everything was fine.
A desperate Marissa kneeled in front of the TV. When she saw a nurse approaching her, she pleaded, "I'm sorry. It's just that I think I saw my friend on the show." She flashed the picture in his face as confirmation. He nodded and she returned her gaze to the TV.
Her hand gripped the photo and held it next to the screen. Her eyes flicked hopefully from the picture to the TV show. Come on! I know that I saw you! Where are you? Ahh, gotcha. Marissa quickly pushed the pause button on the TV, comparing the picture to one of the doctors on the screen. A smile crept across her face. Alex.
The clock was Marissa's metronome, counting the empty hours. She sat in an oversized armchair across from her therapist. Everyday they would have a meeting and talk about Marissa's "feelings". She was good at being forward about certain thoughts and withholding others. Lying was what she did best. That meeting, though, was going slowly.
No words had been exchanged since Marissa got in there. She would say that the silence was uncomfortable, but she welcomed it that day. It allowed her to think about recent events.
Alex was a doctor in New Jersey. She was brunette and still as hot as ever. …and I still love her. Marissa regretted ever letting Alex go. It was all for Ryan. Ryan, who seemed amazing at the time, never loved her. Not really. He ended up getting together with Theresa again. Their love for each other grew and evolved each day. They were made for each other. Marissa began to think what would've happened if she had stuck it out with Alex. Would she have been happy? Was she meant to end up with her? She wished she could find the answers.
"Marissa… tell me about today." Dr. Brighton suggested when a few more minutes passed in silence.
"Umm, I woke up at eight. Then I meditated and did yoga. Then I had a muffin for-"
"What happened with the TV?"
"I thought I saw someone that I used to know. An old friend."
"An old friend? Hmm… it didn't end up being this person, though?"
"No, I was mistaken," Marissa lied. She didn't want him knowing where she was planning on going. As soon as she figured out a way, Marissa was going to break out and find Alex. She had to.
"What do you think it means that you saw an old friend on TV?"
Oh God… Does he really have to psychoanalyze this? "It doesn't mean anything. The person on TV looked almost exactly like my old friend. It's not like I was looking for her or anything."
"Are you sure that you didn't just want it to be your old friend?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. Even if I did imagine her, it wouldn't have been as a doctor. She wasn't that kind of person."
"Okay, Marissa. Now, I heard that you spoke to one of your old friends. Summer Roberts? She used to be your best friend back in high school?"
Marissa shifted her eyes to the ground. How does he know that Summer called? And, more importantly, why is he just bringing it up now? That was weeks ago.
A loud guffaw shook the walls of the small office. Marissa could only stare at her laughing therapist with wide eyes and an open mouth. He wiped an invisible tear from his eye as his laughter died down. "There's no need to look so frightened. You act as if I just caught you with your hand in the cookie jar. Your not in trouble for ignoring your friend. It's perfectly normal to be afraid during this last step. It's difficult for people in your position to face people from their past. For some people, they think that if they go back to people from their past, they will inevitably go back to their old habits. That is the whole point of this last step, though.
"If you connect with your past in a safe environment, you will go back to being your old self, minus the bad things like drugs and alcohol. Do you feel ready for this last step, Marissa? If not, there is no rush. We can always come back to it."
"I'm ready. I'm ready to get back to my old life and my old self." Marissa couldn't contain herself. Too much joy was rising up her spine. She felt like jumping for joy. "So, this is really the LAST step? I can leave after I mend things up with Summer? I'm all done with rehab?"
"Ha-ha, Marissa, you have to pace yourself. You have to take small steps so that you don't have to repeat this all again in another year. It's hard to get back to your old self. It's easy to get back to drugs. Calm down, you're not going anywhere fast."
Marissa's mood instantly dropped. She didn't want to take anything slowly. I bet this is all Julie's doing. She probably paid them off to keep me as long as possible. She just doesn't want me to go back home. She doesn't want to have to deal with me. Marissa nodded her head somberly and got up to go as the timer went off.
"Marissa, wait. What're you feeling? It's not healthy for you to keep your thoughts in."
"I was just hoping to get back to my old life soon. I'm tired of living in here and I miss my old friends. Could you call Summer and ask her to meet with me here? I could really use a friend. She used to be my best one, so why can't she be it again?"
"Of course, Marissa. I'm very proud of your dedication and effort. Rehab isn't easy, I know. But you're doing well and I can tell you want your life to be better. I will call her."
Marissa sat on the couch in the corner. All around her there were conversations and arguments. Laughing and crying. Smiles and frowns. However, nothing was happening in her private little corner. The brunette sitting next to her looked as uncomfortable as Marissa felt.
"So, Marissa, what's been going on?" The woman said, clearly trying to expel the awkwardness.
"What happened to 'Coop'?" Marissa turned to face Summer, waiting for an answer.
"What do you mean?"
"You used to always call me 'Coop'. Don't you remember? You were the only one who called me that. Why aren't you calling me that now?"
"I remember, yeah. I don't know why I didn't call you that. I guess it doesn't feel like you're still 'Coop'. We haven't hung out since high school and we've both changed greatly."
"But, this meeting is supposed to be nostalgic. How can I remember the past if you won't even give me the same nickname?"
A silence drifted between them again as Marissa looked at Summer incredulously. "I'm sorry, Marissa. Maybe this was a mistake…"
"No, it's not. I'm sorry. I just wish things could go back to the way they used to be. I miss you and Seth and even Ryan. I know things can't go back to the way they were. We've all grown up. Can we at least try to be friends again? Start from scratch?"
"Yeah, of course. I've missed you, too. I'm sorry for not keeping in touch. It was all my fault." Summer and Marissa both sighed deeply at their falling out. "So, really, what've you been up to since we last spoke?"
Marissa filled Summer in on everything up to a few weeks ago. She didn't intend to talk so much or share everything that she did, but it all just started pouring out of her. She forgot how easy it was to talk to Summer. For a moment it seemed like the old days. It seemed like nothing had happened at all and all of those years had gone by.
"Ten minutes," Called one of the nurses. Summer hadn't gotten to tell Marissa anything that had happened to her. Maybe next time. I still need to tell her about Alex.
"Okay, Summer, I'm sorry, but there's just one last thing."
"The other day, I was watching a reality show…"
"You watch that crap? It's so fake and everything's rigged-"
"Summer, focus! The show isn't important, it's who I saw in the show that's important."
"Did you see Orlando Bloom? I swear, he did something with his hair, or something. He looks so weird.."
"What did I just say? I don't give a rat's ass about Orlando Bloom's hair, although I know what you mean. I think it's just poofier than normal. Anyways, I saw Alex!" Marissa waited for Summer's reaction. However, it wasn't what she expected.
"Marissa, that's not possible. It's just not."
"It was! I mean, she was brunette. And a doctor… I swear, though, it was her. She works at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey."
"I'm telling you, it couldn't have been her."
Ignoring Summer's protests, Marissa asked Summer one last question. "Will you do me a favor?"
"Of course. What do you want me to do?"
"I'm going to New Jersey and you're going to help me. Here's what you have to do…"
How'd you like it? I think the whole story's going to be from Marissa's point of view, but I'm not sure. I would love it if you wrote a review. It doesn't even need to be related to the chapter, I don't care. Yeah… I'm that desperate.