My Calm Ch. 03


Glass surrounded me. Icy windows separated the hot summer's day from the freezing office interior. Other offices glared into this one and the large building blocked any city views that may have been promised. Strips of blue sky was barely visible with the block of grey that stood in front of this block of grey.

The office was large and empty with strategically placed ornaments that must've cost a fortune just to stand. Most were made of glass, either stained or transparent. White walls mimicked the clean and sterile atmosphere, whatever walls there were. The floor seemed too polished. It resembled a hospital, without the smell of bleach in the air.

The world seemed like a million floors below my feet. I watched the cars drive by like leaves drifting on a steady stream. My knees remained pressed to my chest, my toes pressed against the soft cushion and my back pressed against the arm rest. My bubble of security.

My left hand faced palm up with my arm draped over both my knees, facing the window. The sunlight felt strange on my arms. The soft skin glowed with a bronze tint, like gold in the sunlight.

"Don't do that!"

The screeching voice of my sister didn't push my mind from peace. I sat there without a care about the real world. I watched as the beams came through the window, a little distorted, and tanned my new skin.

It was a strip of red and pink soft skin, held together by black stitches.

The doctors stitched up my wounds but they couldn't stop my heart from bleeding. Physically, they healed my body. However, my mind, heart and soul were far from the mend.

It had been two weeks after he left. Those two weeks were hell on earth in my house. I came to terms with my feelings for him immediately when I felt how cold my bed was after our night together. The wedding was over and reality set in. I never realised that the situation between my parents were that horrible. The constant fighting and arguing turned into a cold war between them, with me in the middle.

The day Nadinne and Yurik arrived from their honeymoon, my parents broke the news of their 'long overdue' divorce. I never had a perfect family and I was okay with it, but seeing them like that, made me see the extent of their hatred towards each other.

"What are you thinking about?" the doctor asked me. Did I mention that I was in the middle of therapy, family therapy, with Nadinne and her husband.

I looked over to the doctor. She was blond and pretty but her attempt to distract everyone from her wrinkles, with horrible purple lipstick failed horribly. "You're a therapist. How do you make people feel comfortable and trust you when your office is so fucking cold?" I asked honestly. The question didn't faze her.

"Mind your language." Yurik just had to chime in where he clearly didn't have any say. We barely spoke full sentences for the weeks I'd been there in Dallas.

"I don't think the ten frames of degrees on your little wall does the trick. Everything in here is so glassy." I stated my opinion quite frankly. "I don't trust you. He pays you for every hour I'm in here and I'm sure you're milking him for all he's got. However, I'm positive that you have more important patients to tend to."

"Patients that are on the brink of suicide?" She said. " You've already jumped off, Nala."

"Well played, Doc."

"Now that we have established where we stand, I have pressing matters to address." Dr Williams seemed very professional. I didn't appreciate it. "How are you adjusting to the new living arrangements?"

"She's doing well." Nadinne said. "We want to decorate the room as soon as possible. She's starting school tomorrow. We want her to finish up her last year so that she can start college straight away."

"How do you feel about this, Nala?"

"I'm sure she'll handle this well. We can't just sit by and let her ruin her future by going back to that place." Nadinne rambled on. It had been a long time since we had family sessions together.

"Mrs. Kryger, I would like Nala to answer the questions directed to her." Doc Williams did have a backbone after all. Mrs. Kryger was her title now. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it would've. What happened between her husband and I was something of the past.

"Finishing up high school is one of the requirements to stay with my sister. I hate it, to be honest. I don't feel like I need them to play parental roles in my life. I hate the fact that I'm not home, where I should be taking care of my mother." I said frankly. Lying or hiding small truths from any of my therapists in the past didn't help anyone, especially not me.

"Yes, I'm aware of your past."

"Being aware is much different than understanding." I snapped. "My birth mother is very ill and I need to travel back home and take care of her. I can't go back before the divorce is settled and my custody too. Nadinne has temporary custody of me."

"Is that why you've been acting out?" She asked and nodded to my arm.

"I'm not acting out!" I barked at her.

"She is acting out." Nadinne whined. "She's irritable and moody and mean. I don't know what to do with her. It's been two weeks."

That was why I hated family therapy. I refused to deal with other people's emotional issues because I could not even deal with my own. "This is bullshit!"

"Do you see that, doctor?" Nadinne let her head fall into her hands in defeat. "They confiscated most of her pills at the airport. She's imbalanced. Mental!"

"That brings me to another important issue that we need to discuss. You are on several prescriptions, mostly to deal with anxiety and depression. Two of those are illegal in this state, like Ketamine. They contain substances that are seen as uncontrolled..." She paused very dramatically and continued on. "We have tried extensively to persuade the government but it's completely off the table."

"I've been on those meds since I can remember." Strangely, I felt really calm about it. "What is going to happen know? Will I be off my drugs?"

"Oh God no!" Nadinne sobbed. I rolled my eyes at how dramatic she was. "I remember what you were like before those drugs. I don't want to see you like that ever again. Doctor, what are our options?"

"I assure you, money is not a problem." Yurik added. He draped his arm around Nadinne to console her. I curled tighter in my chair. Just hand over a blank cheque.

"Look at it like a scale. Your combination of drugs and dosage were all balanced. Now we have an imbalance. I will work alongside your doctors and previous therapist to find the correct combination of pills and the correct dosage."

"However?" Yurik asked her.

"It will take time for the trails to work, we need you to be clean. This will take about three weeks."

I sat there, staring at her. "I'll be off my meds, medication that I've been on since my early childhood, for three weeks?" I asked her.

"Maybe a month." She replied. "Your pills were very strong. I'm surprised that they prescribed it to you at such a young age."

"I assure you that it won't be a problem doctor." Yurik chimed in again and I felt like taking one of those silly little ornaments on the table and shoving them down his throat. He couldn't promise that. I couldn't promise that. "We will have eyes on her. I'm just not sure about school. Should we postpone it until she gains back control of her mental stability?"

"Can you juts shut up!" I screamed. "You will not control me."

"It is all going to be okay, Nala. We are all here to help you." Doc Williams said with an eerily consoling tone to her voice. I hated it when people talked to me like that. Hate. Hate. Hate.

"We just want to help. For God's sake, take it!" Nadinne really added her melodrama to the scene.

I turned my back to them, after I swallowed all the harsh words I was prepared to spit at her. My focus returned to the stream of cars. This was my life. I wished that I never boarded the plane a few weeks ago. So many things changed that I wished were nothing but dreams. My present situation was fucked up beyond the scope of sanity. I was alone in a room full of people.

Clean, for a month. How liberating and terrifying all at the same time. The thought seemed so insignificant. It was funny, actually. It was never an option. I wanted it to be for so long. The want was soon diminished when I heard the strict warnings of therapist in the past. It's hard to see the silver lining when you're the monster lying under your own bed.

"Do you understand that?" her voice was something I had to get used to. Dr Williams was my BFF, confidant. She was on his dime anyway. What type of friend was she really? I never trusted anyone who required remuneration to help people. "You will go through withdrawl symptoms until we get you back on the pills. You may experience anxiety, muscle spasms, tremors, insomnia. There are a few pamphlets on the table if you want to read more about it."

I wasn't paying any attention to her babble, but Yurik took the lead in answering her questions. Nadinne was in her own world of despair. It felt odd to have Yurik care for me in that way. It seemed genuine for a second but then I realised that he paid for discretion.

Mirrors surrounded us. I leaned against the steel walls that joined to form a corner. Above us was a speaker that played some popular elevator tune. I watched my feet. The elevator stopped with a ding. Just as I lifted my head, I noticed Yurik watching my reflection in the mirror. I retreated and watched my feet again.

The doors opened to a long hallway, paved with black porcelain tiles. White walls had burst of grey paintings. Above us, we had a view into the blue sky. The blue, with puffy clouds reflected in the tiles. It was like walking on the sky. I loved it.

The hallway opened up to a large living room. The sleek couches and fireplace wasn't really important. They were plain to force everyone who stepped into the space to notice the view. Two floors of glass windows allowed the most breath taking views I've ever seen. If I stood too close, it was scary and lonely. The window was cold too, even on the warmest Texas day.

Nothing else about the place screamed home. My room was cold too but I loved the lights which looked like little circular stars. At night, the lights reflected off the black floor. I paced back and forth until the late hours of the night just to walk amongst them. It felt like a fairy tale, sometimes. I was Rapunzel in her tower made of glass and nightmares.

"Family meeting." Nadinne said just as the elevator doors closed. She moved in front of the fireplace. Yurik sat on one of the couches and unbuttoned the ridiculous blazer he wore. I had to remind myself not to notice how hot he was. Hitting myself wasn't an option, but it would have to be.

I sat on my own to participate in the ridiculous scene. Nadinne took a deep breath. "Nala, we love you. Love surrounds you, even if you don't feel it all the time. I want you to see this house as your new home. We care. We only want the best for you."

"We just came from an intervention, do we have to do this again?" I asked Nadinne. Yurik chuckled. God, I despised him.

"I'm glad that you both find it so amusing." She snapped. She was angry and emotional. "Do not hesitate to ask anything from us. We are here to take care of you." Just as she was about to continue with her outpouring of love, the elevator door dinged open again. It was weird because you needed to have a special key card to access the floor. "Just keep an open mind, okay."

A man strolled in. He was very big, like a bodybuilder. He tied his strawberry blond locks into a ponytail. Tendrils hung loose and framed his face. A sharp nose resembled Yurik's but he had brown eyes. All in all, he was pretty. He looked like one of those typical gym models I saw on social media. They were obviously just for show, they weren't really strong or athletic, just muscular. His style mimicked Yurik's; black everything with a white shirt.

"Nala, this is Alfons." Nadinne introduced us. Alfons only nodded to my existence. "He's Yurik's cousin and your new bodyguard."

"New?" I asked with so much sarcasm that it irritated Yurik. "You're acting like I had one before. Why do I need a bodyguard that looks like he's from a bad mafia movie? I do not need a bodyguard."

"It's important that you are protected, especially now." Nadinne was content with being the bad guy. Yurik just sat there.

"Now that I'm a danger to myself. Is that what you mean?" I asked Nadinne.

"Now that you may pose a threat to yourself and others." Nadinne said calmly. "He'll be there to do the things we can't. Alfons will take you to school, pick you up, take you out wherever you want to go. He's there to help you. Dr Williams suggested that..."

"I need a babysitter?"

"The decision is final!" Yurik barked his orders and the room fell quiet.

I stood, without acknowledging Yurik, and walked toward Alfons. He stood his ground. I sized him up. He was tall, wore an expensive black suit. Family money? His eyes were distant, uninterested in what was happening. I took off my long-sleeved white shirt before him. "Nala! What are you doing?" Nadinne screamed.

Alfons kept his eyes on mine. "Do you see this?" I lifted up my arm with my fresh cut. "Fourteen stitches, it's my best work thus far." I held out my other arm up, which only had little scars on it. "Wanna see more? You have to know what you're dealing with."

Just as fast as I took off my shirt, I dropped my jeans. I pointed to the scars on both of my thighs, they were small too, compared with my new one. They faded nicely. However, Gloria did try her best to convince me to undergo lazar corrective treatment. I denied it, at first. The thing that got me though, were the stares. People don't care why you did it. They only knew that people who cut were insane and a spectacle. I hated being a spectacle. However, they were just cuts so that I could remember that could still feel.

"For God's sake, why do you do this to me?" Nadinne continued with her pity party. I was in the middle of my own.

"I haven't hurt anyone as of yet." I said to Alfons. Pity became clear in his eyes. "I think I hate you, but I'll think about it for now. I know you work for whatever he pays you. Everyone around here seems to have their checks signed by him."

My attention fell on him. Yurik seemed unfazed. "Is your money going to stop me from doing this again? Do you wanna take the role of my father? Keeping me in a prison isn't gonna help me."

"Go to your room." He said. "You are in my house and you will follow my rules. I'm not trying to be your father. You will respect me, none the less. Alfons will report to me at the end of everyday. He will inform me about everything you do, or try to do. There will be extremely harsh consequences to your bad behaviour. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir." I smiled wickedly at him. Those words would not have had an affect on me if it came from any one else's mouth. They came from his. It wasn't a threat, it was a promise. Oddly, I wanted to test it. I feared him, I did. I wanted him, I did.

I stormed to my room with Alfons in tow. He was my shadow from then on but I knew he couldn't step into my bedroom, so I slammed the door in his face. My uniform laid out on my bed. It was ugly. A navy-blue plaid skirt, hideously pleated and a white shirt. The tie was black with the school's emblem stitched on it. They must've had a meeting where they decided on the short white socks to prevent us from looking like every pervert's fantasy. They failed.

Completing my final year was a requirement. After that, I had permission to see my mother for a month, then I had to return for college. I prayed that my father would win custody and I could twist his heart so that I could stay with my mother indefinitely. It was my only hope. I couldn't stay with them.

I loved Nadinne, but my betrayal was too much to bare. I remembered all the things her husband did to me and the fact that I liked every single one of them made me feel even worse. It made me sick, I made me sick. I don't regret it. Just like a razor to my skin, Yurik made me feel, really feel.

My coping systems were easy to the normal person. I identified what triggered my magnetic pull toward him. I refused to look into his eyes. Those damn green eyes got me every fucking time. One glance was like a bulldozer to the walls that surrounded me. I focused on his sharp nose but occasionally my eyes wandered and I watched his lips move. They appeared so innocent. Puffy and pink. However, I knew what fatal venom they spat. God, his scent was intoxicating. Just him walking by became a problem. My body shivered each time I inhaled that sweet and strong smell of Yurik. I made sure to leave the room with some lame excuse. I couldn't make it obvious for Nadinne. Being in the same room for too long wasn't an option. I had two weeks down, a year remained ahead.

The big day came too soon. Starring in the mirror wasn't the best idea. If I stood there too long, I always managed to break myself down. I tied my hair back and clipped a black bow just above my ponytail. Just as I stepped into my polished black shoes, there came a knock on my bedroom door. It was Alfons.

"Miss, we need to leave or we'll arrive late." He said. His Polish accent was more profound than Yurik's.

As I stepped foot in the living room, Nadinne had her phone in my face with the flash on. "You look adorable! How do you feel about going back to school?"

"Like I'm on death row." I smiled wide for the video and then she switched it off.

"Take your lunch money." She placed a few notes in my hand. Her smile was kind of contagious. "Have fun and behave. Remember that many of our clients' children attend the school too."

With that statement I bolted for the elevator. Alfons was already waiting inside. The doors dinged shut. "Alfie, mind if I call you that?" I asked him, breaking the awkward silence in the cramped space.

"My name is Alfonzo, really." He said with no emotion in his voice at all. "I never liked when my cousins called me Alfons."

"You grew up with Yurik and Yunnes?"

"We were raised like brothers, Miss."

"Has he always been so..." I paused to choose my words carefully. I didn't know how true his loyalty was toward Yurik. "... uptight?"

"He was the wild one." He chuckled a little, just a little before he caught himself.

"What happened then?"

"He took on the responsibility of being a Kryger." The sadness in his voice was clear enough to me. They were probably very close. More research had to be done.

I arrived late but turned out, the principal waited for me outside the large iron gates with ivy slithering through each loop and elegant design.

"I'm Mrs. James and let me be the first to you to St Matthews Prep." She said. "Nala, we are so excited to have you attending our institution."

The woman was in her late fifties and wore a hideous but sophisticated grey pant suit. She had jet black hair and big dark brown eyes. They didn't seem friendly to me and her hands were extremely cold, when I shook them. Her smile was too wide.

"Follow me."

We entered the school. Everything about it screamed rich. The design of cream walls with dark polished wood finishes suited it well. Glass cases of awards aligned the hallway. The kids were smart. Good for them.

Mrs. James went on about the school's history and such. I pretended to care. Honestly, all I really focused on was how tight my shoes were and how my tie was too tight. My palms were sweaty and my heart pumped irregularly fast. Thee throbbing in my head became a constant feeling. I was nervous, obviously. I forced myself to focus on my breathing which my body refused to do.

She opened a door to the auditorium filled with other students. There weren't a lot of kids but the auditorium wasn't that big either. It was quiet, except for the principal's clicking heels. I took a seat in the corner, avoiding eye contact with any of the other kids who seemed very curious about me.

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