Chapter 1: The Princess has Arrived
The elevator doors opened on the seventh floor to the young petite blonde that stood inside. She rushed out, passing Carol.
"Miss?" Carol called over to her.
"What?" she sharply asked, stopping dead in her tracks before Bob's office. She turned and looked to Carol, her expression telling to hurry up and not waste her time.
"Dr. Hartley is with a patient right now," Carol stated. "You can take a seat there for now if you would like. I can let him know you're here," she offered.
"But it's eleven," she whined. "This is supposed to be my time."
"It was supposed to be my time ten years ago, but it still hasn't come," Carol stated and then laughed at her own joke. After she saw the lady just staring at her, she looked down in her book. "Ms. Stephanie Vanderkellan?" she questioned, making sure that she had the name right.
"Yes," she curtly answered and finally sat down in the chair. She might as well just wait. It wasn't like she was really that excited to be there in the first place.
Just as Carol was about to pick up the phone, the door opened. Bob walked out with Mr. Carlin, who was carrying a deck of cards.
"Good game today," Bob started. "But next time maybe we could actually talk."
"I don't know about that Dr. Hartley," Elliot replied. He was about to head over to the elevator, but stopped and smiled to Stephanie. "You can join in on the game next time," he offered.
Stephanie looked up to him and smiled. "I don't think so," she replied.
"Mr. Carlin? Why um, why don't you just go ahead and try working on that decision making problem that was briefly brought up during the game," Bob suggested.
Elliot turned and looked to him. "I would love to, but I can't decide on which decision to work on first. The new rug or what color of toothbrush to buy," he stated.
Bob stared to him for a minute. "Why don't you make that your first decision?" he implored.
"All right, I'll do it," Elliot stated. He walked over and pressed the button for the elevator. "By this time next week, I will have a new rug and a new toothbrush," he announced.
"Very good Mr. Carlin," Bob said and then turned and looked down to Stephanie. "You can come in now if you would like," he offered.
"Well I wouldn't like to," she murmured as she grabbed her purse and stood up. "But I guess I will."
Bob waited for her to pass him into the office before he closed the door behind him. "Take a seat," he instructed, gesturing to the couch.
Stephanie ignored him and headed straight over to the chair behind his desk. She set her purse down and then propped her feet up on the desk. "My Name is Stephanie Marie Vanderkellan. I am twenty five years old. I come from New Port Rhode Island, where I have won twenty beauty pageants, fifteen talent competitions, and was a runner up for Miss Rhode Island last year. The only reason I didn't win was because they thought that it was unfair that I get blessed with the stunning looks, great personality and wealth. They thought that some poor girl should have a chance. Two weeks ago my parents cut me off, so now I am out here living with my cousin and looking for a job," she quickly explained.
"I see," Bob replied as he went around to the side of the chair closest to the desk and sat on the arm. "How did you feel about being cut off?" he questioned.
Stephanie took her feet off the desk and sat up, leaning forward. Her eyes narrowed on him. "They had no right," she stated. Calming herself down, she sat back in the chair and crossed her legs. "One morning they're calling me their little princess and telling me how pretty I am, and how perfect I am, and then the next day my daddy tells me that I have to get out and start working for my own money."
"Well, Ms. Vanderkellan, you're not the first person to be kicked out of their parent's house. As a matter of fact, a lot of the population enjoys being out on their own and having more freedom," Bob stated.
Stephanie laughed. "That's because most of the population isn't nearly as privileged as I was," she responded.
"Why, why don't you tell me what your normal day was like back at your parent's house," he suggested.
Stephanie sighed. "Well, I woke up at eight and had breakfast with my parents. Then I would go up to my room and get ready for the day, you know get dressed, make up, hair. Then I would go out shopping. Get lunch with one of my friends. If it was a nice day, sometimes we would go out on the yacht, or we would go out to the tennis court or watch a movie. Then there was dinner. After that I would go out with which ever guy I liked at the moment until eleven thirty and then I would get ready and go to bed at midnight."
"Why should you get to do all of that stuff while everyone else has to go to work?" Bob asked, hoping that she might start getting the point.
"Weren't you listening? My parents are loaded and I look better than professional models. We can't chance the wold losing someone like me to a greasy grill at some disgusting restaurant. I mean, really. Look at what could go wrong. I could get grease stains, my hair could not put up with that heat and I run the risk of sweating," she answered.
"We certainly can't have that," Bob said. He then stood up and stepped closer to the desk. "I think you should join one of my groups," he suggested.
"You want me to help the underprivileged psychos?" she inquired.
"No. Not, not really," he answered, watching her, trying to figure out how serious she was about that remark. "I, I just think that maybe you should get used to being with other people," he explained to her.
Stephanie just looked to him with confusion. "Aren't I doing that now by talking to you?" she asked.
"It's a start," Bob assured her. "But I think you need to get used to being in a group of people."
He leaned over and took a notebook out of the top drawer. He stood up and started skimming the pages. "There's two groups that don't already have a lot of people in them," he stated. "There's one for overweight people," he read out loud to himself.
"And I can be the one to inspire them to lose weight!" she exclaimed, sitting up. "Of course, we have to be careful though. I mean, they know that no matter how much weight they lose, they'll never look like me, and that might discourage them."
Bob paused a moment to let her talk, but ignored her comment and went straight to the other group. "And then there's one just for anyone. I have a few groups that are created with random patients that would rather discuss their problems with a group of people. Know that they're not alone," he explained.
"I don't think so," Stephanie laughed.
"Why not?" he asked.
"Please. Random? That means that I can end up in a group with a serial killer and a bug eater. I don't think I wanna take my chances of sitting between those two," she reasoned.
Bob stood there a minute. She had quite the imagination. "This isn't some sort of insane asylum. These are just people that have problems in their lives and want to talk to people about them," he said.
Stephanie over dramatically sighed as she rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll join a group of wackos."
Bob looked to her with concern. "Are you by any chance here on your own choosing? Or is someone else sending you here?" he questioned.
"My parents felt bad, so they're paying for me to be here," she explained.
"I see," he replied, wondering if this was really going to work. "Most times, this works out better if you go in with an open mind. Most people who choose to be here rather than those who are forced seemed to have a better outcome," he told her.
"Hey, if this is making them spend more money on me after they kicked me out, then I'm all for it," she stated, a slight smirk on her face.
"Fine then," he sighed, still having his doubts. If anything though, she would get a chance to be with other people and have to learn to listen to others. "You can either join next week here on Wednesday at two, or you can come over to my apartment tonight. We're having a small meeting about the marathon this weekend that the group is having. That's where we go away for a couple of days and spend time together," he offered.
Stephanie thought for a second. "I'll come tonight," she decided.
"All right," Bob said and then pulled out a piece of paper and wrote his address on it. "The meeting starts at seven," he informed her as he handed her the slip of paper.
"Okay," Stephanie said and then slid the paper into her purse. Looking back up to him, she rested her elbows on her legs and lay her head on her hands. "Are we done now?" she questioned, sounding bored.
Bob looked down to watch. "In about fifty minutes we are," he answered.
Stephanie just sighed.
Emily walked out to the living room and set a tray of drinks down for everyone.
"Thank you Mrs. Hartley," Michael said, smiling as he took the glass.
"Your welcome," she replied and then looked over to the blonde next to him. "Something wrong with your drink Ms. Richardson?" she questioned, watching as she took a napkin and thoroughly wiped the edge of the glass.
The woman smiled up to Emily. "Joanna," she corrected and then held up the napkin. "I can't stand any sort of germs," she confessed.
"Oh, I see," Emily stated and then headed back into the kitchen.
There was a knock at the door. Bob, who had just hung up the phone, went and stood by the couch, looking to the group. "All right everyone, I wanna give you all a small warning here. The new person that is about to walk through that door happens to think a lot of herself. I just, I just want you all to be a little easy on her today. She still hasn't seemed to learn yet that the world doesn't revolve around her," he explained and then headed to the door.
"I thought you said seven," Stephanie said as she hurried into the apartment.
"I did," Bob responded as he closed the door. "I just had other things I was busy with at the second and couldn't get to the door," he explained.
Stephanie sighed. "All right. I'm here anyways, so why not get this thing started," she mentioned more to herself.
"Come this way," Bob instructed. He lead her down to the living room. "Everyone, this is Ms. Vanderkellan," he introduced her.
"Stephanie," she corrected. "Ms. Vanderkellan makes me sound older than I am."
"And we certainly can't have that," Bob remarked.
"Of course not," Stephanie agreed. "Although, who would believe it?"
"Anyways," Bob sighed. "This is the group here," he announced, motioning to them.
"I'm Larry," the man in the chair started at the end. he took a moment and played with the tie around his neck before looking back to his brothers and nodding.
The first dark haired man came forward. "I'm Darryl," he softly stated, almost inaudible. He then pointed back to the blonde one. "And that's Darren," he mumbled.
Stephanie didn't even catch their names, but she still smiled and nodded.
"I'm Joanna," the blonde announced. "I can't stand germs and I really like to clean a lot. I thought you should know that," she stated.
"Well I need a maid if you're interested," Stephanie offered.
"No," Bob answered for Joanna.
Stephanie rolled her eyes. "Fine," she huffed.
"Michael Harris," the next one introduced himself.
"Kirk Devane, and that's the truth," Kirk announced as he introduced himself.
"About time," Elliot remarked, looked over to him from the chair. He then looked over to Stephanie. "I think we met in the office," he stated.
"Yes, we did," Stephanie flatly replied.
Bob looked down to him for a minute and then "All right, now to get down to business," he said.
"Before I leave, does anyone else need anything?" Emily interrupted.
"Water?" Stephanie requested, turning to face the kitchen.
Emily smiled. "Sure," she said. That had been the easiest request so far. She got the glass from the cabinet and turned on the water.
"You're not seriously getting it from the tap are you?" Stephanie questioned.
"Yes I am," Emily laughed.
"Ew," Stephanie replied, scrunching her face in disgust. "Never mind," she curtly stated and then walked around and sat down in an empty seat.
Emily turned the water of and set the empty glass down on the counter. "Okay then," she stated, annoyed with the behavior.
Michael quickly looked over to Stephanie. "I agree. Imported water is the way to go," he announced.
Stephanie smiled over to him. "Finally, one of the crazies have some sense," she stated.
"That's me," Michael agreed, laughing.
"The suck up's at it again," Mr. Carlin announced.
Bob sighed. "Can we please get on with the meeting now?" he requested.
"Bye honey," Emily said as she walked up from behind him and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"Bye Emily," he replied.
"Wait!" Michael called out to her. Emily stopped right before the door and looked to him. "Mrs. Hartley? Is it true that you went with another group to their marathon?" he implored.
"Yes," she answered, wondering why this was even coming up now.
"Two as a matter of fact," Mr. Carlin mentioned.
"Well why did you go with them and not with us?" Michael asked.
Emily shrugged. "I was invited to go with them. It didn't work out so well though," she assured him.
"Tell me about it. We spent the entire time discussing your marriage. Most unproductive weekend we've ever had," Mr. Carlin commented.
"That doesn't sound too bad," Kirk mentioned.
Mr. Carlin blankly looked over to him. "You weren't there," he replied.
"I just want to know why she likes them, but not us," Michael whined.
Emily could see where this was going and decided that it was best to just get out before things got worse. "I don't favor any of Bob's groups over the others," she insisted. "But I really have to get going now," she stated before she walked out the door.
"Now that she's gone," Bob started.
"Where are we staying this time?" Larry questioned. "Because we need to know what sort of luggage to bring with us. That phopa of us bringing camping gear to that hotel slash resort could have been avoided," he explained.
"Actually, this time you will need your camping gear. The only place that I was able to get on short notice were the cabins at Camp Crystal Lake," he explained.
"That'll certainly be a challenge for me," Joanna said.
"Well hopefully you'll be able to over come some of your compulsion to clean everything," Bob responded.
"Either that or she'll have a panic attack," Mr. Carlin suggested.
Bob saw the look of terror on Joanna's face. "Don't, don't worry Ms. Richardson. Just remember to keep calm," he instructed.
"Darryl wants to know," Larry started, but was cut off by Bob.
"Why do't you let Darryl tell us?" he suggested.
Darryl sheepishly looked around the room and then muttered something incoherent. Larry watched his brother as he spoke and then turned to Bob. "Did you get that?" he questioned.
"No, not really," Bob admitted.
"Let me try this time," Kirk offered. He sat up and looked over to Darryl, studying him for a moment. "He wants to know if…" he trailed off, trying to think of what he could have said. "If there'll be a place to swim!" he exclaimed jumping up and looking to Bob.
"Correct," Larry responded.
Bob just looked between the two for a moment, trying to figure what just happened. "Yes, yes there will be a lake there if you want to go swimming," he answered.
"Now, we'll meet outside my office on Friday at two. That's when the bus should arrive. Then we will leave the camp on Sunday at four," Bob explained.
Joanna raised her hand. "I would like to take this opportunity to volunteer to take care of the meals," she announced. The thought of anyone else touching her food before she got it bothered her.
"All right," Bob said.
"Is Stephanie coming with us?" Michael questioned.
Bob shrugged. "I don't know. Are you?" he implored, looking over to her.
Stephanie laughed. "I don't think so," she answered.
"Why not?" Joanna asked. "I'm pretty sure if I can handle this, anyone can."
"I don't think I want her to come," Kirk stated, crossing his arms and sitting back into the couch.
"Yes you do. I saw you checking her out when she walked in. You wanna see her in a bathing suit," Mr. Carlin accused him.
"Well, I guess if I would be doing you guys a favor by going," Stephanie started.
"You would," Michael quickly assured her.
"All right, all right. No need to beg here," she gave in to them. "I'll go."
"I think that answers your question," Bob told Michael.
"You can charge the trip to my parents. Actually, charge everyone's share of this trip to them. I have to make up for what I would be spending if I were there," Stephanie said.
"Why thank you Ms. Vanderkellan. The three of us greatly appreciate it," Larry stated.
"Don't mention it," Stephanie replied.