Every Year Ch. 02byaparadise©
Mandy sighed as she closed the Internet tab she was browsing on which had displayed information on mental disorders. Nothing seemed to sound like what she was experiencing. She looked up from her position at her desk and stared intently out the window in front of her. The best part about being a wedding planner was being able to work from home and the amazing view of her peaceful backyard was just what she needed to calm her mind.
She let the sore muscles that had grown tight from stress relax as she took a deep breath. The sun was shining brightly outside and she heard water dripping from the house along with laughter from children having snowball fights which could be heard through the frosty window.
It was the day before Christmas Eve and Mandy knew she should have been doing something other than sitting in her office trying to convince herself she wasn't crazy but the gravity of the situation was too much.
She hadn't imagined what had been happening to her for the last five years. It was very much real and she couldn't just turn her head like she did all the other times. She looked over to the phone sitting adjacent to her desk and sighed heavily. Either one of two things could come from what she was about to do.
One: she wouldn't be taken seriously and dismissed as some attention craving wacko. Two: she would be committed to the closest insane asylum as soon as the words left her lips.
She wasn't much into the whole paranormal thing but she could rule out insanity as one of her options; she promised herself she would look into it.
Mandy returned to the Internet, clicked on her favorites bar and scrolled down until she came to the bottom of the list. She clicked on the link titled 'Dr. James Bronson' and hurriedly dialed the contact number that popped on the screen. He was the only doctor whose office wasn't closed yet and she needed to do this before she changed her mind.
"Hello. You've reached the psychiatric office of Dr. Bronson. How may I help you?" A woman in a well-rehearsed monotone spoke through the receiver.
"Umm, how soon will the doctor be back in? I want to make an appointment for as soon as possible please." Mandy replied with a shaky voice.
She had pulled her sock covered feet into her chair and was chewing on her bottom lip nervously.
"The office will be closed until a week after New Year's and he's already booked solid for that week."
Mandy felt intensely disappointed that she couldn't get in to see him sooner. She ran her fingers through her curly locks and sighed in defeat.
"I could... uh, let's see..." the woman said trialing off before perking up again. "Oh, seems that he has a cancellation today actually," she replied with a smile in her voice. "You have to be here in an hour if you want it though."
Mandy thought about it and became nervous once again. She knew she wouldn't get any rest unless she did this but an hour was pushing it and she was having second thoughts about finally talking about her situation with another person.
With all the courage she could muster, she made the appointment. "Yes, I'll be there in an hour. Thanks."
She was about to put the receiver down when she heard the receptionist say something else. She brought the phone back to her ear.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I need your name for the appointment." she said amusingly.
Mandy felt her cheeks get hot in embarrassment as gave her full name to the lady. Her mind was everywhere except where it needed to be.
After disconnecting with the receptionist Mandy headed for her bathroom. Thirty minutes later she was showered and ready to go. She dressed in a simple white fitted tee and skinny jeans with low white heels. She considered herself a real girly-girl and refused to wear sneakers for anything other than working out or bowling.
Her eyes were lined with black liner and her lips were touched up with red gloss. Her hair was pinned into a messy ball of curls on her head and held in place by sequined clips and bobby pins. If she was going to be labeled crazy for the rest of her life, she would be the best looking crazy girl.
She grabbed a light grey pea coat from her closet and left the house, careful of the still icy steps the snowfall from the previous day left behind. It only took about fifteen minutesto get to the small practice and when it came into view Mandy felt as if she would go into cardiac arrest.
The brick building was still covered in snow but the parking lot and steps had been shoveled and de-iced. It looked plain enough to pass for a small house with the exception of the parking lot and sign advertising the office out front. The sound of her heels clicking against the pavement reverberated loudly through her ears and she only calmed down once she was inside the warm cozy waiting area.
"Hello, ma'am. Are you here for the four o'clock?" the receptionist asked her.
She was obviously the same one she spoke to earlier. She was a petite looking blonde lady, maybe mid-twenties like herself and had a fake smile on her face. She was wearing a pink square neckline dress that matched the pink undertone of her fair skin.
"Yes, I'm Amanda Lockwood." Mandy replied with a nervous smile of her own. The receptionist motioned for her to sign the sign-in sheet.
"The doctor will be just a moment. He's just getting some paperwork straightened. The spot you took is an hour long session although you can leave at any time. There's a flat rate of one hundred dollars and its nonrefundable so I would stay for the entire hour if I were you."
Mandy nodded as she finished her signature and sat down on the comfortable looking burgundy couch. She heard the lady announce her to the doctor but turned her attention to something else to calm her growing nerves.
The floor looked to be mahogany and there was a neat little moving picture frame near the floor simulating a fire across from her. There were a couple of exotic looking plastic plants scattered around and a small table to the right of the couch holding a few magazines. She was about to pick one up when the intercom on the reception desk went off.
"Emma, please send Ms. Lockwood in." she heard a masculine voice say.
Mandy froze in her spot as she heard the receptionist respond. Emma rose from her desk and walked over to the door to hold it open but Mandy never rose from her spot. Emma gave her a strange look and asked if she was okay but Mandy's only response was to run out of the building and straight to her car. She pulled her keys out of her pocket and fumbled with them for a moment before she was able to get the door open. Her hands were shaking as she slammed the door and started the car.
Mandy's breathing was labored and she couldn't seem to remember how to drive anymore. She shifted her attention from the steering wheel to the gear shift to the window and back to the steering wheel. She felt hot tears prickling at her eyes and wished she could just make light of her situation. If only she could learn to laugh it off and live life normally; but she couldn't do that because she was sure it would eventually get her killed and the last thing she wanted was for her friends and family to read about her murder at the hands of a crazed biker while she was dressed provocatively.
Mandy almost jumped out of her skin at the sound of someone knocking on the driver's side window. She looked over to see a pair of dark green eyes staring at her. The man possessing them was slumped over at her window with a worried look on his young, pale face. He had thick bushy eyebrows the same color as the brown messy cut hair on his head and pink lips, the top being slightly thinner than the bottom. He had on a black coat that hid his physique but he was very attractive none the less. Mandy rolled down her window and was assaulted by the cool air and his bright smile.
"Hi. You okay?" he asked carefully.
His voice was very soothing but deep and if she closed her eyes he could pass for Vin Diesel. Mandy nodded her head after a moment and realized she was staring. She turned away and fought the urge to show how embarrassed she was.
"You look like you could really use someone to talk to. You have a whole hour to do it if you come back in." the man told her.
Mandy's head snapped back to the man who was careful not to seem as if he was pressuring her. Realization hit her hard. He appeared to be too young to her doctor. His bio on the internet said he was thirty-seven.
"You're Dr. Bronson?" she asked shocked.
"Yes, and I would love to talk to you about why you ran out just now. You have no reason to fear me. I won't judge you in any way. I'm here to listen and help." he added after nodding to answer her question.
Mandy adjusted a lock of hair that had fallen into her face as she looked down at the purse in her lap. 'I have to do this' she thought to herself before turning her hazel eyes back towards the doctor's face.
"Yeah. Okay, I'll come back in."
James gave her a small smile before standing upright again and backing away from the door. He watched as Mandy rolled her window back up and turned off her engine. His breath caught as she stepped out of the car.
He thought she was really beautiful even if she was a little shorter than what he usually went for. Her hair looked silky smooth in the messy bun on her head and her eyes contrasted perfectly with her skin. The coat she had on hugged her frame and couldn't help the feeling of longing that washed over him. He shouldn't be having thoughts like this about his patients. Whether she was dateable or not had nothing to do with the reason she was there. He mentally shook off his thoughts and spoke to her.
"Are you ready to go inside?" he asked.
Mandy nodded, avoiding eye contact and led the way back inside. She couldn't help but notice how tall he was and fought hard to admire his handsomeness. She realized that the same man who seemed nice and decent just now was probably going to be sending her to a mental institution in just a few moments.
She walked past the receptionist who gave her a strained smile and entered into the office. It was just as inviting as the sitting area except there was beige carpeting and much more space. There was a different type of comfort there than the front room. His desk was sitting in a corner to the right in front of a massive bookshelf that took up the entire wall. The infamous chase lounge was to the left of the room sitting behind a single seat couch and both were a cheery blue color.
"Can I take your coat?" he asked.
Mandy responded by pulling it off and mumbling a thank you. She was never that timid and reserved but the circumstances didn't exactly allow her to be outspoken and confident.
James motioned for her to take a seat so she walked straight over to the chase lounge. When Mandy looked up he was putting his coat up on the rack where he placed hers and she finally got to see him. He didn't look overly muscular or super built. He actually looked like he could afford to work out more from what she could see. He didn't look pudgy or soft, but definitely not toned. He turned and walked back towards Mandy after retrieving a notepad and pen.
"Let's start simple. Do you go by any nicknames?" he asked her as he relaxed into the couch in front of her.
"Uh, Mandy. You can call me that." she answered. She was surprised, to say the least, at how comfortable she felt already; but it didn't take the dread away of what she was really there to say.
"Okay, Mandy, how about your life? Has it been good to you?" he inquired.
Mandy stared at him and thought he couldn't possibly want her to sit there and tell him her entire life story. She didn't have time for that and for the first time since walking out through the practice doors, she was ready to get her story off her chest.
"I'm here because for the past five years, I've somehow managed to lose my mind around Christmas. It always hits me at night but I'll be in the middle of doing something and suddenly I'm not myself anymore. It's almost as if I'm possessed but I can see and hear and feel... EVERYTHING!" she said throwing her hands into the air.
She looked at Dr. Bronson waiting for his reaction but he simply raised his eyebrows like he was waiting for her to continue. She sighed and continued with her head down staring at her trembling hands.
"It's always a week before Christmas. I'll feel this- force; or something take over my body. It makes me get dressed in really tight or revealing clothes and then it forces me to get in my car and drive to these bike bars. It's always a different bar and it's always somewhere I've never been before. I've been so afraid that I'll crash the car or end up dead because some racist biker doesn't like me intruding on the property.
I talk and everything but it's not me! I can't control anything. I'm just there like a prisoner in my own mind watching as some random man gets his rocks off. And..." Mandy looked up before she started the last part and was surprised to see Dr. Bronson with a furrowed brow staring at her.
"Please continue Mandy." he said in a clipped tone. He hoped his voice didn't display that he wasn't very pleased with what he was hearing.
"And... I always have... orgasms." she said in a whisper.
He seemed to mentally dismiss that detail like it wasn't important. Instead, he asked his own question.
"And this has been going on for five years. Correct?"
"Yes. The same year I moved into my new home. It was a graduation gift from my parents."
James absorbed the information before asking his next question. "And where do you live exactly?"
Mandy was hesitant to tell him. "Uh, 1534 Tucker Lane in Hanson. It's just fifteen minutes from here actually. Do you think..." she was cut off by a very angry Dr. Bronson as he stood above her enraged.
"Get out!" he yelled at her as he pointed to the door.
Mandy was instantly afraid and she could feel her heart pounding in her chest. Her eyes were wide with fear as she looked around wondering what she could have said.
"Get the fuck out of my office! You think you're funny coming in here telling me these things? About Christmas and fucking biker bars and that house!" he yelled.
Mandy had no idea what was happening but the doctor was pacing with veins bulging out of his now red neck and face, pointing an accusing finger to her with every word he said. She knew she should have left but he was in the way of the exit and she was too petrified to move.
James stalked over to the coat rack and threw Mandy's jacket at her. He was more than just angry. He was damn near homicidal. She finally jumped up from the chase as the coat hit her and made for the exit but he couldn't control his tongue.
"I swear, if I ever see you again you'll regret ever trying to pull this shit on me!" he said menacingly through clenched teeth.
Mandy opened the door and flew out of the building as fast as she could. James saw Emma standing in front of her desk looking very worried.
"Dr. Bronson, what happened?" she asked, afraid that he might lash out at her also.
"If she ever comes back here, call the cops and don't tell me. I won't be responsible for what I do to her."
James stepped back into his office and slammed the door. The pain he had been trying to forget resurfaced suddenly and a pained sob escaped him. He hadn't cried about it in three years and he was even more upset that the stupid woman brought it up. He would definitely not be able to control himself if he ever saw her again, that was a fact.
Mandy sat in the driveway of her home with tears running down her face and so much going through her mind. Trying to tell someone else about her problems only got her yelled at and accused of doing something wrong that she had no clue about.
She knew she didn't do anything bad but the doctor thought otherwise. He thought she was playing some joke on him but Mandy couldn't fathom why. She tried her tears with her hand and stepped out of the car. If she had to do this alone, she would. She had an entire year to figure out what was going on and how to stop it and she wasn't going to stop until she got her answer.
Mandy was mentally exhausted and all she wanted to do was sleep. She kicked off her heels and pulled off her jeans and crawled into bed. It didn't take long for sleep to overtake her and she was snoring in minutes. The sound of the house phone ringing woke her from a dreamless sleep and she quickly answered it to stop the sound.
"Amanda honey, where have you been? I feel like I don't know my best friend anymore!" Erica yelled into the receiver. Mandy groaned and looked at the clock. It was just after nine. She had been asleep for over four hours.
"I suppose you're calling to try to fix that?" she asked even though she knew the answer.
"Damn straight! Now get ready to go out because I'm coming over in ninety minutes and we're going to Trio!" Mandy groaned again.
Trio was a club that they often frequented but it wasn't really her style. It mostly consisted of black guys trying to get with the white girls who were too drunk to say no and white guys who were trying to get with black girls like it was their favorite hobby. She wasn't up for dodging men for three freaking floors.
"Eriiicccaaaa! You know I don't like that place. If you want to get me out the house you could at least offer to drag me someplace decent."
Erica laughed but Mandy knew she wouldn't change her mind. The alcohol was cheap and they had some sort of special on liquor every Thursday night. Since it was Thursday, that's where they would go.
"Don't make excuses, hun. You have been a hermit for the past four days and it stops tonight. Get up and get ready!" Erica ended the call before Mandy could object again.
She sighed and rolled out of bed. She figured if she was going to try to keep what happened earlier out of her mind, she needed something else to think about. Having a few shots wouldn't hurt and she needed her friends to make her feel better.
She showered again but put back on the same outfit from the day only changing her shirt to a cute pink top. She wasn't up for completely getting dolled up since she wasn't looking to bring anyone home. All she wanted was to drink a little and dance. It would make her feel loads better and help her relax if only for a night.
Her growling stomach alerted her that she hadn't eaten since lunch so she made herself a turkey and pimento cheese sandwich with lots of turkey and cheese on both slices of bread. She grabbed a handful of grapes to go along with it and ate as she watched World's Dumbest on TV. She jetted into the bathroom when she was done eating to attend to her breath before Erica arrived. She had just brushed her teeth when she heard Erica use her spare key to come in.
"Hello, fashion diva! I am here to bring you joy!" she heard her yell from the front room.
Mandy chuckled and checked her makeup quickly before leaving the bathroom. She really did miss her friend. She promised herself that she wouldn't let her problem ruin her work or social life. They were the only two things keeping her sane.
Erica was wearing a shimmery red halter top what complimented her honey colored skin tone perfectly. Her slim hips were being hugged by tight black denim jeans and she wore black knee boots to complete the outfit.
"Um Erica, where is your coat? It's thirty six degrees outside right now." she said as she moved to give her friend a hug. She was five-eight without heels on so she naturally towered over Mandy.
"If I had on a coat, you couldn't see how good I look right now." Erica replied with a dramatic eye roll.
Mandy shook her head, smiled at her best friend and the two left. Once at the club, the girls met up with more friends including a cute dark skinned guy Mandy had never seen before. She sucked in a deep breath in preparation for what she knew Erica was planning.