“You have no idea what it’s like—the whole world’s addicted to me.”
Dr. Jim Burns merely raised one eyebrow as his index finger tapped the electronic notepad resting on his knee. “Tell me, Sophia, what are you addicted to?”
Sophia catapulted off the leather couch and paced across the luxuriously appointed office.
Cushioned chairs in dark plaid, a wide couch, a teak coffee table with matching shelves accompanied by a large cherry desk set the room’s dignified tone.
Sliding one finger down a framed family photo, Sophia smiled coyly. “Me? I’m not addicted to anything—unless you want to count my morning cup of coffee—dark Columbian with a hint of cinnamon. It’s all I ask before I go on each morning and face the multitudes.”
The doctor’s gaze followed Sophia’s stroll around the perimeter. His foot jiggled slightly. “Yes, multitudes. I believe that’s where we left off last time. You felt you were being—”
Sophia snatched up a polished stone with the word “PEACE” engraved on its shiny surface. “They won’t leave me alone. It’s killing me!” Facing her therapist, her eyes gleamed with frantic fury. “Yesterday, this little ol’ thing came toddling after me, waving her handbag, yoohooing to wake the dead, and she swore upon her dearly departed mother’s grave that she watches me every single day. G-O-D! I’m the reason they get up in the morning.”
Jim closed his eyes and inhaled a long, slow breath. After a brief moment, he tapped the space bar and unclenched his jaw. “You’re making several unfounded assumptions—”
Hunching her shoulders in tune to her eye roll, Sophia strode over to a marble counter and poured herself a cup of coffee. “This isn’t decaf? You wouldn’t dare—”
Rising, Dr. Burns cleared his throat. “Don’t be rude, Sophia. I always offer the best—as well you know.”
Sophia scooped three healthy spoonfuls of granulated, brown sugar into her cup and stirred meditatively. She peered over her cup at her doctor. “I pay you enough.”
Placing his notepad on his desk, Dr. Burns glanced at his watch. “How was the show this morning? Sherrill said you’ve been calmer and—”
The sound of her high-pitched, hysterical laughter forced Jim to rub his temple.
“Like that woman knows anything about what I have to deal with. She’s as high strung as a bat outta hell. She better not be—”
“Her son has Leukemia, right?”
Sophia’s dismissive wave tossed that concern aside. “It’s the curable kind, and she’d got the money. Don’t give me other people’s high-drama.”
A firm tap on the door froze them in mid-motion. Dr. Burns regained his composure with deep intoned, “Come in” and stepped to the door.
The door opened and a man in his late twenties, slim, and clean-shaven poked his head forward. “Mr. Marshall has arrived a little early, but you said you wanted to know….”
The doctor nodded. “Thank you, Carl. I’ll be right there.” He turned to Sophia. “We’ll have to wrap this up early today. I have a pressing—”
“Pressing? More pressing than me? I appear before millions every damn day, and you have more pressing matters?”
Carl backed out and closed the door.
“Mr. Marshall happens to be my brother-in-law. My sister has been very ill, and they need my help. I’ll be out of the office for several weeks—”
The rage in Sophia’s eyes stabbed through Dr. Burn’s calm demeanor. “You spring this on me now? You know perfectly well that I have pressing matters of my own. I never let them get in the way of my meetings with you. I make you a priority because so many people are counting on me.”
Dr. Burns laced his fingers together as his jaw clenched. “I’m sorry this is causing you so much trouble, but I had to choose. I chose my sister.”
“Like hell! I pay you to help me, not wallow in your own family escapades.” Sophia grabbed her tiny, red purse and stalked across the room. “Don’t worry, I’m used to people letting me down.”
After Dr. Burns stepped aside and watched Sophia stalk out of his office, he unclenched his hands and set free a long, cleansing breath.
A tall, heavy-set man in jeans and a blue, knit sweater shuffled forward. “Sorry about that, Jim, I can tell she’s put out. If Jean weren’t so—”
Jim shrugged his shoulders as he reached under the desk and pulled out a small traveling bag. “Forget it. Ms. Grant thinks that the universe revolves around her—the truth is a bit of a shock.”
“She always looks so happy and self-assured in public. I’d never have guessed.”
Jim stared at his brother-in-law as he passed him in the doorway. “Really? It’s always been clear as day to me.”
Novels by A. K. Frailey
Last of Her Kind http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg
Newearth: Justine Awakens http://amzn.to/2pq0vWN
Coming in 2018…
OldEarth ARAM Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Ishtar Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Neb Encounter (In production)
OldEarth Georgios Encounter (In production)
Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r
The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5
The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings http://amzn.to/2lWBd00