"I'm sick?" I asked.
"Well…" the balding man paused. "In a sense."
"Explain," I demanded roughly.
He sighed like he was about to oblige, but he hesitated too long
I coughed pointedly. "Come on. Just tell me what sort of whatever
it is wrong with my body I've got so I can go." I was being
demanding again, and I'd decided a long time ago that I didn't
always have to make sense to get my point across.
"Well, Ms. Hammond, it seems that--it seems that he is your
I snorted. "I've told you fifty-two times: call me Alexii. And
what do you mean, he? You shrinks need to learn to actually speak
at a level your patients can understand."
The shrink sighed again, but he spoke without hesitation this
time, "I mean, that you're sick because of him. Because of your
feelings for him."
"Who is this him you keep talking about?"
My shrink sat still and quiet for a moment, looking as though he
might have been trying to think of a way to answer my question. I
could tell he was trying to be careful with me. But really, was
this him's actual identity enough to make me psychotic or crazy?
Would it make me explode? Implode?
I chewed on the thought with my eyes closed, nibbling at my lip a
little. Images of possible matches for 'him' scrolled across my
mind. It halted on one, and many emotions crashed over my
head--all of them senseless.
Him had a name and a face, now.
Movie clips played in my thoughts. Liam smiling, Liam saying
hello, Liam saying my name, Liam's face turning upside down like
some evil villain, Liam throwing me over his shoulder, Liam
yelling at me to just shut up already, Liam dropping me on the
cold basement floor, Liam injecting sedatives into my arm, Liam
saying goodnight, Liam hitting me, Liam going soft, Liam saying
sorry, Liam holding me, Liam kissing me, Liam--
I opened my eyes abruptly, cutting off the last clip. "You're
meaning Liam," I said.
"I'm not sick."
"I'm afraid you are, Ms. Hammond."
"It's Alexii. And no, I'm not."
"Okay, Alexii--I don't want to get into an argument over your
health, but you must understand, that you are--indeed--very, very
"I'm not sick," I said through gritted teeth.
"It's called Stockholm Syndrome, Al--"
"I'm not sick!" I yelled, jumping up from my chair.
"A condition in which the victim of rape, abduction, or abuse
shows affection towards their assailant--"
"I'm not sick!" I screamed. The scream burned all the way up my
throat, over and over. "I'm not sick! I'm not sick! I'm not
I saw the shrink press a white button on the wall behind his desk
just before I sank to the floor, hands over my ears,
screaming--without words, now. Three men dressed in white
uniforms came into the room. Two of them snatched me up from the
floor, while the other conversed briefly with the shrink. The
balding man handed over my yellow folder and the two men carried
me away with the third man close behind.
People in the hallways stared at me as I kicked and screamed,
desperately trying to get away from the men. But they were much
too strong. I didn't have a chance. I wanted Liam, and a big
piece of my heart swelled at the thought that Liam might be
wanting me, too.
I worried for my Liam, all alone in a cold prison--sleeping on a
hard bed, eating bad food. Not knowing what was coming.
I wondered if he was thinking of me, and when my mind assumed
yes, I calmed a little. And when I was completely calm, I felt my
weight being transferred. I was only being carried by one man
now. I suppose I should have seen it as a chance and fought to
get away, simply because I could have, but my mind was cozily
wrapped around Liam in a futile attempt to shield him from the