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The continued adventure of his favorite coffee girl.
The next morning brought another blue-skied and breezy day to Crosswinds. Most clients at the center, so exclusive that it only accommodated six at one time, spent the morning in educational sessions one-on-one with staff selected to address their specific needs. For Annie it was drug-awareness talks with a recovering addict-turned-therapist followed by exercise and several hours of lying on the sand, her minder nearby. The food was every bit as exclusive as she was accustomed to; French-trained chefs prepared all three meals. This was not a boot camp, but meant to be a familiar and safe haven. On the surface it was just like a vacation except for her enforced residence at the Center and the interminable sessions with Dr. Scarpelli.
She dreaded her meetings with him. She missed the depressants, too. You'd think lying on the beach surrounded by vacation homes would allow her to forget about the world, but for her the real world was creeping steadily and menacingly back in. She couldn't remember what had happened the prior weekend before she'd found herself wrapped in a blanket in the back of a Virginia State Police sedan speeding south on I-95.
She recalled riding Gantry up the trail behind her mother in the morning sun, dreading what would likely be a day of forced intimacy. She knew her mom had a heart-to-heart talk planned before she went back to Hollins and she hated the idea. The Ludes were meant to make it bearable.
There was a big blank between that scene and the backseat of the cruiser on Sunday night. It scared her. If she let her mind drift toward that missing time she caught flashes of a young black man with no shirt on who looked, bizarrely, like President Obama. That couldn't be real, could it? OK, she voted for, even secretly campaigned for, Obama so probably she'd had some kind of drug trip or something.
Her fear of knowing and terror of not knowing kept her stuck. She just wanted to go home or someplace safer. But as the week slipped by in infuriatingly boring drug education lectures, phony group confession sessions and aimless waiting she realized that no place was safer. She couldn't face her mom without knowing what happened. She was about to crawl out of her skin.
When she had awoken in the cruiser she had heard her mother in the front seat talking to the trooper driving but couldn't make out what was said. It was clear she was in trouble and mother was furious.
Her mother looked relieved but no less angry when she said she couldn't remember the last 36 hours but then she'd dragged her to this laughably phony drug treatment place and left her here. Mother gave her a smothering hug and a kiss on the forehead before tearing off with the trooper to do damage control back home. Annie understood she was in deep shit and to keep her mouth shut at the risk of destroying her mother's life. Bad publicity was the boogey man and public shame was the death he would inflict on the family. Her mother's fears had become her own.
Her mother's last words to her on leaving were, "Do not say anything to anyone about what happened Saturday night, no matter what." The fierce intensity in her eyes was the scariest thing she'd ever seen.
Dr Scarpelli's argument began to make sense to her as she curled in the pain of her uncertainty. She was half afraid but half eager to open up to him in today's session. Annie needed to know just what she was in trouble for.
"My mom is overbearing and demanding and never wrong and manipulative as hell. I wish I had some sisters and brothers for her to dissipate it all on but I'm her only one, so... I thought going to college would get me out of her orbit, but hell no!" Five minutes into the session she'd looked into his kind eyes and it had all begun spilling out. This is what he'd been waiting for.
First came the resentment and anger of an over-protected child, then the tears and fears and vulnerability.