“What are they telling you to do?” he asked, feigning disinterest as he shot a discreet glance towards the door, calculating his chances of making it to the door before Tristan could stop him.
He had to admit that his chances weren’t very good.
Tristan stood up and walked over to the desk with a predatory gait. For a moment, Tristan simply stood in front of the desk as he stared down at the doctor, further unnerving him. “Doctor, it’s really bad. I'm afraid that……,” he trailed off hesitantly.
Dr. Bryne reached under his desk, slowly, and started to hit the panic button, repeatedly, hoping the damn thing actually worked. “Yes, Tristan?” he asked, his voice cracking as his body trembled.
“Dr. Bryne,” he said, becoming more serious with every passing second, “they’re telling me that I have to take a leak and to tell you that I don’t need therapy.”
Sensations of shock and relief spread throughout his body as his heart pounded in his chest, threatening to burst free as Tristan’s words slowly sank in. He took in a few deep breaths, trying to calm down from the biggest scare of his life, but it was difficult knowing exactly what the man in front of him was capable of doing.
“When I get back in a few minutes I’ll tell you what the clothes in my closet tell me to do late at night,” Tristan said dryly as he headed for the door.
Mildred, his secretary of ten years, came running in with a cell phone clutched tightly in her hand just as Tristan opened the door. When she spotted Tristan, she jumped back, hugging the phone tightly against her chest as she made sure to stay out of his path, making Tristan chuckle.
“Do you need anything, Doctor?” she asked hesitantly, shooting nervous glances at Tristan as he walked past her.
“Nothing, Mildred,…..wait, maybe some cold drinks,” Dr. Bryne mumbled absently as he wiped sweat off his face with a handkerchief, wondering if it was too early to retire.
When Tristan returned to the room a few minutes later, he noted that the doctor appeared to be more composed and ready to continue with the department-ordered bullshit that he would eventually find a way out of. He always did and this time would be no different. He’d have the good doctor signing him off to return to active duty soon enough. For now he was going to have to settle for screwing with the man’s head for his own entertainment.
Well, it had been entertaining while it lasted, he thought dryly as he dropped his weight back on the lumpy couch. If the man hadn’t been an old friend of his father’s, he would have already screwed him over and ended this bullshit his way a week ago.
“Tristan, that wasn’t funny.”
“I’m afraid it was, Doc.” Tristan sighed, wondering why he hadn’t just left when he’d had the chance.
“Fine, I see that you're still being stubborn, so I’ll pick the topic for our session,” Dr. Bryne said, sounding put out.
“Pick away, Doc,” Tristan said as he lay back down on the couch. This time he didn’t bother to pick up his book.
“Do you want to talk about the fire or the shooting?”
Tristan gave him a bored look. “Doc, I understand that while I’m out on medical leave that I’m required to meet with you twice a week so I’ll indulge you in this,” he said, not bothering to mention that Hank promised to keep his ass on medical leave permanently if he didn’t answer questions about the shooting.
“Okay…,” Dr. Bryne said encouragingly.
“I chased a known child molester into a house. I found two missing boys tied to a radiator. I shot the prick and earned a bullet in my shoulder when I jumped in front of one of the boys. I killed the bastard and then his accomplice set the house on fire. We got trapped upstairs where my brother found us and led us to safety,” Tristan explained in a bored tone, as he sat back up, trying to get more comfortable, but it was impossible with his shoulder throbbing. “And before you ask, yes, my brother brings it up every chance he gets and no, he won’t let me live it down.”
“Well, he did save your life,” Dr. Bryne mumbled.
“I heard that,” Tristan muttered, lips twitching as he gestured impatiently for the doctor to continue. “Move onto something else.”
“Do you want to talk about your personal life?” At that, Tristan cocked an eyebrow with a silent warning to move onto a different subject, but the doctor simply ignored it. Dr. Bryne sighed with obvious annoyance as he asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”
“I see plenty of people,” Tristan bit out, not liking where this conversation was heading.
“I meant, are you seeing anyone romantically?” he further explained with a touch of aggravation lacing his tone.
“Do you want to talk about that?”
“You don’t see a problem with that?”
Tristan’s eyes narrowed on the doctor. “Do you?”
“Yes,” Dr. Bryne answered without any hesitation.
“Why?” Tristan asked in a bored tone.
“I find it very odd that a twenty-nine year old man with your good looks and job has never in his life had a steady girlfriend, don’t you?”
Tristan sighed heavily. “My mother got to you, didn’t she?”
Dr. Bryne shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Of course she had. His mother was out to see him married and a daddy as soon as possible. No matter how many times he told her to drop it, the woman just would not give up.
“Of course not,” Dr. Bryne answered as he shifted his gaze to the left. The man was a bad liar, Tristan noted. It wasn’t surprising. The man couldn’t bluff worth a damn at cards either.
“Look, Doc, I’ve dated plenty of women. I just don’t like to think of any of them as a girlfriend.”
“Because it’s a sign of permanency? Do you fear commitment?”
“Just clingy women, Doc.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Look, I’m not afraid of having a girlfriend. I just haven’t found one that I would enjoy spending any real amount of time with or consider bringing home to meet my parents.” It was complete bullshit, but Dr. Bryne seemed to buy it.
“Fine, let’s move onto something else.”
Dr. Bryne took a moment to look through his notes, pretending to look for something to discuss. Tristan sighed inwardly, knowing exactly what the doctor would bring up. The man was like a dog with a bone. “Well, it’s been almost twenty-four years since the incident at your biological grandmother’s house. Let’s talk about how you feel about that.”