“It’s not that bad here, Samantha.” The doctor strolled up to me, putting her hand on my shoulder. I pulled back from her touch.
“I’ll show you to your room.” Dr. O’Neil nudged my hand. My room for the next ninety days was down two hallways. We walked the length of the hardwood flooring not saying a word. I glanced briefly at a sunroom at the far end of the hall. On the left was my room—number 13—great, of all the numbers.
Dr. O’Neil tapped on the door before opening it. A petite girl with fiery red hair, the color of lava styled in a neat shoulder-length bob, sat cross-legged on the bed.
“What the eff!” she scoffed, pulling out her earbuds.
“Your new roommate, Victoria,” Dr. O’Neil said.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” the fiery red-haired girl said, springing from the bed.
She held her earphones and iPod. Her eyes were pale blue and her ivory skin was freckled. She wore a tight pink sweater, showing off her full bosom and tiny waist. Wow, I wonder if they’re real. I almost looked down at my own briefly but caught myself. Her clothes looked to be something bought at a preppy expensive store in the wealthy section of town somewhere. Satisfied with what she saw, she put her earbuds back in her ears.
“Victoria, this is your new roommate, Samantha. We use first names only for privacy’s sake. Now if you want to exchange last names, that’s your prerogative.”
“Victoria,” Dr. O’Neil said with a knife-like shrill voice cutting into the air. Victoria kept listening to whatever was on her iPod.
“Victoria,” Dr. O’Neil repeated. Reluctantly Victoria took her earbuds out.
“What?” she said, irritated, giving me a cold disturbed look as if I were the cause of her pain.
“This is Samantha; she’ll be sharing a room with you. Why don’t you help her put her things where they belong, and please try and be pleasant by making her feel at home.” Victoria nodded and put her earbuds back in her ears.
“At home? This is not my home,” I said.
“Well, it is now—at least for the time being,” Dr. O’Neil said and smiled.
“Bitch,” I mumbled under my breath.
“Excuse me—what did you say? I didn’t think so… Samantha–– I have the power to make your stay here pleasant or not so pleasant.” She held her tongue. “Okay, Samantha?” Dr. O’Neil held out her hand. “Let me have your cell phone.” Puzzled, I backed up a step.
“Hand it over,” she said, staring.
“What!” I stared back.
“Your cell phone,” she asked a second time.
“No—I’m not giving you my phone,” I said, letting my voice get louder. The way she looked at me, I got the impression Dr. O’Neil wasn’t accustomed to anyone defying her.
“It’s best you get rid of the attitude, Miss Hunter. The quicker you know the rules, the better it will be for both of us. Don’t get your panties all in a knot; it’s only for the first week,” Dr. O’Neil said with a smile.
“Ew––I wonder if my father will think that’s any way for a doctor to talk.”
“Samantha––let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. Your father isn’t here. I am, and the quicker you understand that, the better it will be for you. The nurses, the aides and counselors are here to help you. I run the show here. Oakridge Estate is small and isolated so there’s no way for you to try and run home. And––if you do try, you’ll freeze to death before you even make it to the highway. I want to help you—do you understand? So if you have any thoughts like that, put them out of your head now. This is not a punishment. It is a treatment center.”
“Okay, but—I’m still not giving you my phone,” I snapped.
Doctor O’Neil folded her arms across her chest, “And I’m not leaving here until you do.”
“No…I’m not giving you my cell,” I repeated. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I shouldn’t even be here! My dad’s the one who’s crazy, not me.”
“That’s not how he sees it.”
“Of course, that’s not how he sees it,” I said with a frown.
“Samantha, please let me have your phone.” Dr. O’Neil held her hand out in front of my face. By the look on her face, she wasn’t going to drop it.
Defeated, I pulled out my cell from my back pocket. I hadn’t used it all that much since Lucien left. My best friend Emmy from back home was the only one I talked to. I kept it close just in case Cassiel would try to call me.
I handed over my phone to Dr. O’Neil, not happy doing so. For what seemed like hours, O’Neil explained my routine for the next three month. I can’t believe I had to live here for three months with no phone for a week. I’ll never forgive my father for this or Lucien.
My days were penciled in like a prison schedule. At 6 a.m. wake up, shower; breakfast at 7 in the dining hall. Group therapy was at 7:30, followed by art therapy at 10. Each day at 11 sharp, I had to have one hour of exercise––how lovely. I had a choice of yoga or kickboxing. I decided to beat up a punching bag instead of O’Neil’s face. Lunch was at noon and individual counseling at 1 p.m.; unfortunately I still had to have class. It was required so when I got back to my normal life, I wouldn’t be behind. Nothing in my life was normal. My days would end with dinner at 6 and free time until bed––oh, goodie.