After a sip of tea, Brinker looked over the notes. Included was Candy's lack of self-control to stay quiet so her throat would heal. Calla not wanting to help, and Betty going overboard. Antwan hitting on Betty and having to be lectured. Kara's blow-up. The camaraderie everyone shared, with Noel's personal opinions.
"Mmm. That had to be pretty rough on you as well, knowing Kara was vocal about not being able to protect you. Let's focus on that first, but I definitely want to know how you felt about Betty wanting to serve, and her teaching you... That sounds enjoyable for both of you." Brinker said calmly, handing back the phone. "Kara first. Were you surprised that someone cared about you that much that they had actually wished they could have prevented something from happening to you?"
Noel took a sip of her tea as Brinker spoke, She placed the cup down on the saucer as she spoke.
"Well umm yeah, I kind of thought that I was the protector, but as she said how she felt. My mother always said that my father's number one concern was protecting me, and that is why I stayed home, and trained a little different from my brothers. So it was a little jarring" Noel admitted.
"I am not completely sure how I feel about it."
"So it stirred misgivings about her?" Brinker was surprised at Noel's answer and hesitantly asked the question; her own tea forgotten as she typed on her laptop. Her reading glasses slid down the bridge of her nose and she was looking at her over the top of them. She looked and sounded like this was a great revelation that even Noel should see as 'wrong think'. "I would see it as proof of her love and that it shouldn't be all on you or her. It's a partnership. You both protect each other." She stopped typing and sighed as she looked at Noel. "You like Superhero movies right? There's a line Lois Lane says in the 1978 Superman vehicle with Christopher Reeve. When she was falling to her death and Superman caught her, he said, 'Don't worry, I got you.' Her response made for a great one-liner, but if you really think about it... 'You got me?! Who's got you?!' does seem a trifle lot like this wasn't her first traumatic event, and she usually got herself out of her own fixes, right? Maybe a tad ungrateful that he interfered before she could save herself?" She leaned back. "I use that scene a lot, because I can allow someone like you, trained to only depend on themselves, that is definitely okay to depend on others also. You aren't in this alone."
She looked thoughtful for a minute or two. "Thank you, Noel. Between what you said on your notes and what I witnessed Wednesday evening, makes me think she should be in therapy for a different reason than yours."
Noel shook her head in answer to Brinker's question.
"I don't think misgivings is the right word, I love her and don't have any hesitation or second thoughts about being with her, I just, it was jarring is all." She admitted before listening to Brinker some more.
"I know we can defend each other, protect one another, I just had figured we would do it in different ways, though I guess we can both do it in all the ways we can"
When Brinker told Noel she should be in therapy for completely different reasons she froze for a moment and looked a little panicked.
"Wh-wh-what r-reasons?" She placed a hand to her chest, thoughts of her being thrown back into the hospital again coming to her mind, having to wear that horrible jacket again for hours, even days on end.
Brinker smiled softly and said reassuringly, "Relax, Noel. Just from the little I've spoken with you, and your reaction that Kara needs counseling, just continues to prove I am correct in changing your prime diagnosis to PTSD." She stopped and finally took a drink of her tea. "I need to actually talk to her to diagnose her properly, but she doesn't seem healed from past wounds, and by your own comments, you didn't understand why she verbally attacked Stephanie. Even after it was explained." She raised an eyebrow. "From your own experience with the mental health field, by being a client (Brinker abhorred the word patient), what would you say she suffers from?"
"Separation Anxiety Disorder. Right the second time." Brinker tapped her nose with a smile. "I did say different than yours."
She took a deep breath. "Now, let's talk about the waitressing lesson you also alluded to. That sounded like it was a good experience. Did it teach you anything regarding social interaction? And how did it feel doing a job like that?"
"My umm, the other, therapist I had said I had that as well," Noel added, though was not sure if Brinker already knew that or not.
"Umm for the waitressing, well it was only for the people here, and honestly it was more about holding the plates. I had served food to my family before so it was not much different than that, I have three brothers including Jeff, and my parents so we often had a pretty full table." Noel paused a moment.
"But as for like, actual waitressing, I think it might be okay, I mean the worst part about socializing for me is, like, I don't know, why am I even there? do they want me there? should I just leave? What do I say? That kind of thing, but as a waitress, none of that matters, you go to people, take their order or give them their food, easy, I know why I am there, and they definitely want m there because I get them the food they went there for." Noel explained.
"It like, takes away so many variables to talking with people I don't know."
Brinker shook her head. "His charts and diagnoses were FULL of opinions, mostly. If you had it at first, it was exasperated into PTSD, as well as the actual separation anxiety become even worse with all the separation you were put through. You also now have merithophobia. Or, in layman's terms, the fear of being literally tied up. This from constantly being put in and left in a straightjacket for long periods of time. That's why you have a fear of them now. There is to my knowledge, no actual name for it except... 'fear of straightjackets'. Noel. Most of your fears were created by your ex-therapist and the abuse you suffered at his hands under his so-called care. You probably had the PTSD and some anxiety from your growing up... Maybe some abandonment issues that would have been easily treated with group sessions, starting off with one on one, and building up, gradually adding more people, but probably stopping at around six. I really hope to help you break out of this vicious cycle of phobias about mental hospitals and of going crazy, which is dementophobia. What really happened, Noel, is actually criminal and they will be investigated by the FBI, if it hasn't started already. I hope that puts your mind at ease, because I intend to do everything I personally can, to keep you from EVER having to be put in a mental ward or mental hospital again. I just need your help to do that. Sermon over." She gave a smile. "Let's get back to putting you back together. What else do you want to talk about?"
Brinker sighed. "We all are, actually. Even me. Some need a bit more patchwork than others... Don't focus on what's missing, but what's there. Let's finish the session on that. What are your strengths?"
Brinker blinked. "What about personal attributes, Noel? I can think of at least two you possess off the top of my own head, and I hardly know you. I'm sure if I was to ask Maria, she could name one. Detectives Anderson, Brown, and Canyon could probably name one. Each. Your friend Stephanie could probably name at least one... And if I asked Kara or your brother Jeffrey, we'd probably be here all day. With either of them. See, strengths doesn't just go on physical, but you can also have strengths in your character. Who you are as a person. So... Are you sure that's your only strength?"
Brinker heard the car door. "They're back? It's only 7:45, we still have ten minutes. Stay here and just listen to what they say about your character attributes pretend you're listening to me like I'm on the radio.." Brinker was sure she was right on this. Sure enough as she went into the living room as Pat answered the door... Candy walked right into the reporter. Using her best interviewing voice. "I'm live with Candy Pop, newest pop sensation and her entourage. Candy, everyone knows you hate talking about yourself... So, what do you think a strong character attribute of your rival Noel Sterling is?"
Candy pointed to the box she was holding, and the skillet breakfast with eggs and bacon, as well as vegetables would started to waft towards Noel's nose. Kara was bringing her the largest burrito she would have ever seen! "Hungry?" She quipped. "Seriously, though, only the Beatles do the Beatles better than her. She's got a real ear for music."
Christine, introduced as Candy's bodyguard was "interviewed" next. "Just one thing? You're kidding. Okay, I'll bite, but I have no idea what the hell you're up to, Doc. She's been very cooperative with our investigation. Detailed where she can. So that's mine. She's great at cooperating with us to solve a crime."
"One?! ONLY one?!" Kara balked, as she was introduced as a "backup singer".
"We don't want to be here all day and we have to interview the manager yet."
Kara rolled her eyes and chuckled. "Athletic, then. You should see her jogging or playing basketball. Whatever activity she's in, she gives her all."
"Sticks with it, then? You sneaked in a second anyway! Last but certainly not least is Candy's manager, who just happens to be Noel's brother. What do you say is a strong character attribute of your sister?"
Candy would have delivered the breakfast burrito box, and Kara would have snuck in a hug, although technically, Noel was still in her session with Dr. Brinker, roving entertainment reporter, by the time Jeffrey answered.
"Oh, well the others made several fantastic points and I would have taken those if they were not already said. But luckily there are more than those, she is thoughtful, always putting others before herself. Not to mention she is a mean cook. And by that, I mean a good cook, not a cruel one." He explained.
Noel took the burrito snd thanked Candy, surprised at the size of it, offering to split it. She happily returned Kara's hug.
Candy passed and patted her stomach with a smile. "That's what we girls had. It was my idea to bring this as Kara there couldn't make up her mind." She then tittered slightly as if remembering the look of pensive thought on Kara's face.
Brinker came back in and shooed the two females out. She then looked to Noel. "That's what character strengths are. You heard the answers?" After the answer, it would be time for the session to end. "Monday you're going to be on foreign territory, so your homework is fairly simple and it's two parts. Study the layout over the weekend, and really go over it, then walk in to Cascadia West like you would face those guys who tried to hurt Kara. Unafraid. The second part should also be easy... Try to talk to one of the students there... Try to make friends, or at the very least set the ground work for making one. After all, you'll be there for the rest of the school year. Same time next week?"
Brinker nodded. "I think you can do it. Get back into practice in both education and basketball... And try to make a friend there at Cascadia West High, right? And I have you down for next Friday morning at seven, okay? You can tell me all about your first week back." She packed up her laptop. "I'm going to give Pat both notes in a sealed envelope, excusing you and Kara from the last week you were to be in school. This week didn't count as nobody was in school."
It wasn't Brinker's first visit, and since she was a regular guest... Just on business only, usually, she seemed puzzled by Noel's reaction. "That isn't necessary, Noel... You can sit and eat your breakfast now. We have a weekly schedule. Shaking hands is more for business associates striking deals, rising even to see a lady out is for the gentleman or everyone rises to see a judge either in or out." She grinned, "And I'm a lady, but not a judge. You can just relax around me, okay?" She added with a wink.
Brinker could be heard chatting briefly with Pat about Kara as she talked briefly about what she had witnessed. She was careful not to convey any of the things Noel mentioned as that was privileged information, but since Brinker displayed her own concerns from Wednesday evening, it did open the door for Noel to display some of her own for Kara's mental health, from the verbal barrage Stephanie suffered when Kara went off on her. Especially since Pat seemed wavering on whether or not to have Kara in therapy.
Candy sighed as it started to sink in that if it hadn't been for the Zorels, she and Jeff would have had to look for a place. She commented about the band being split between several homes. Chuck and Wendy at Chuck's fiancee's. Calla had to move back in with her folks. Antwan with his parents while they visited. Betty at Captain Wainwright's only because of Stephanie. She admitted she was most worried about the trumpet player being at a hotel for the next few weeks when they were in a condo community, Betty in a residential neighborhood, and the more richer members in a gated estate. She wasn't seeing the safety factor for Antwan, Betty and themselves, and needed reassuring (even if worrying about her band members was admirable). Maybe a small karaoke game could be offered by Jeffrey?