Under My Skin
a one-shot
by Silent City

--

"How does that make you feel?" Ah, the question of the hour.

"How would you feel?"

"We're not talking about me here. This is all about you." He stares at her for a long time, giving her that condescending, pretend-I-understand look that shrinks are programmed with.

"This isn't about me." She says. "I'm passed the age where any of this would have anything to do with me." She means that she's not six years old anymore and her parents used to try to out-do each other by buying her lavish gifts and spoiling her just to get back at the other. Now it's at the point where they just want to get away from each other. She doesn't care because it doesn't matter, yet for some reason she was sent here. She sits in a leather chair with her leg tucked under her. It starts to get numb, but she doesn't move it right away. Instead she stares at the smart ass in glasses scribbling stuff on his board thing. "What are you writing?"

He looks up at her, one of those annoyingly polite smiles on his face. "Just some notes. Is that a problem for you?" This particular shrink, whose name she earlier found out was Dr. Winters, leans back in his chair. When she doesn't respond, he puts his 'notes' back on his desk. "Please, continue."

His name sounds fake. Strange. How does a name sound fake? She doesn't have a clue, but she'd be sure to keep that for next week's batch of problems. "What do you want me to say?"

"Whatever you like. This is a private place." Smart ass Dr. Winters is looking at her all seriously and worriedly at the same time. "Anything you tell me is in confidence. You can tell me anything that's on your mind."

"Why?"

"Why what?" His brows furrow together in confusion. She get's that.

"Why should I tell you anything?" The strap of her sandal dangles from her toes as she crosses her legs. "You know the number one rule you learn when you're a kid? Don't talk to strangers. I don't know you." Ugh. Now he was going to think she had trust issues or something…way to add more fuel to the already burning fire. Idiot.

"Do you want to get to know me?"

Pervy Mervy.

That sounded terrible considering he was a forty something year old man and she was only sixteen. Creepycreepycreepycreeps.

"I want to know if the hour is over."

"It's not." He glances down at his expensive looking watch that her parents probably bought for him. The amount of money he was getting out of them was probably enough to buy a small island.

No, not really.

It's funny how they've disagreed on everything else, but when it came to figuring if the apple of their eye was certifiable or not, they'd join hands and act all parenty and rawr because they just had to know.

"You've got 45 minutes left."

"Huh."

"Adelina-"

"Just call me Del." She hated anything else.

"Okay…Del, why don't you just tell me about your day? How about that? We don't have to talk about your parents or about the divorce or anything like that. Let's just talk about you."

Every narcissist's wet dream.

"How are you doing in school?"

Every academic guinea pig's day dream.

"What do you wanna know?" Nobody liked talking about school. Nobody being the kids that were failing most of their subjects-i.e. her.

"What's your favorite subject?"

Uhm…"Math?" Lie. She didn't know one person who liked math and was telling the truth. It was grotesque.

"Really?" Greaaat, now he seemed interested, wiggling in his chair to sit up properly. Probably in excitement. "So you like numbers then? Problem solving?"

"Sure." Was it illegal to lie to a shrink?

Nope, just pointless.

They sat in an awkward silence after that. She didn't know how his silence was sounding, but Del's was feeling pretty awkward right about now. Maybe he knew that she lied, and he was scribbling down on his note-pad that she was a pathological liar, and she'd be shipped off to the nearest loony bin and forced to watch movies that she hated until she liked them and actually meant it. "Sooo…"

Dr. guy looked thoughtful for a moment, tapping the eraser on his pencil against his bottom lip gently. "Do you have any hobbies? Any in particular that you favor?"

"I don't know."

"Why is that?"

As if it was the world's 8th wonder…gosh.

Sighing to herself, Del replies. "I like photography."

"Photography? That's quite interesting. Tell me what you like about it."

She sighs again. "I don't know." And again and again and again until finally it is quittin' time. The hour seemed to slip by so quickly when she was talking about nothing.

"Alright Del," He stood when she stood, walking around her to hold the door open, that annoying polite smile back on his face. "I'll see you tomorrow-same time, same bat cave." He joked, but Del just gave him a blank stare. He coughed, finally feeling awkward. "Until next time."

She didn't bother mentioning that there would be no next time.

--

She's wearing an ugly brown apron that she doesn't like while attempting to scrub a spilt mixture of half and half cream and honey from the counter tops.

"Hi?"

Adelina murmurs to herself. Her jaw juts forward so that when she exhales rather loudly her bangs fly up. She looks up at the customer with a big cheesy, forced grin. "Hi. Welcome to Café café." She thought the name was sweet. The inside was cheerful and brightly colored along with every stick of furniture around. Random pictures of Marilyn Monroe and snapshots of cities like New York or Japan squeeze themselves into nicely decorated frames hanging on the walls. Despite the shit colored apron, the place was cool. Del just wished she could've worn those cool aprons that look like dresses in those cute animes. Those would be pretty cool too. She thought so anyway.

"Thanks for having me." It smiles. The smile attached to luscious lips, the lips attached to a boyishly cute, adorable guy face. The face attached to a full set of hair that was a cinnamon color. Like the cinnamon buns that just came out of the oven. Yum. He was yum. If he was a cinnamon role, Del would eat him. But he wasn't, so she can't without seeming all Hannibal Lector and all. She's still staring at his smile and the way some two dimples pop out in his cheeks.

She glances at the counter, and once she catches Debbie's attention, Debbie just waves her cell phone at her before disappearing through the back. How convenient.

"Just give me one second." She wipes her hands on her jeans and shoves the dirty rag in one of the pockets in her apron. Once she's behind the counter, Del asks, "What can I get you?"

"Vanilla Chai latté. Thank you."

When she gives him his order and he pays, he carefully drops two dollars in the tip jar. After all that, he still stands there smiling. Del asks him if he would like anything else. "I've seen you around before." It's not a question.

"Have you?"

He nods, taking a slow sip of his drink so not to burn his tongue. Del almost always burns hers. "Do you go to Woodsfield high?"

"Well if you've seen me around before shouldn't you know?"

"A lot of people go there."

She does go there, but she doesn't want to tell him that. She just moved here, and has never seen him before. What if he was a serial killer who walked into coffee shops, preying on unsuspecting employees, and he'd always ask "have I seen you before? Let's get re-acquainted." She was probably being paranoid, but she wouldn't risk it.

It'd be nice if that pretty mouth of his became re-acquainted with her dirty rag…

"Huh…" she says.

"What are you?" he asks, leaning against the counter. He's getting much too comfortable for someone who should be leaving.

"What?" she's got no idea what he's saying.

"Junior? Senior?" Sip, sip, sip. "I'm a senior."

She didn't ask.

Del shrugs. "I guess that's up for interpretation."

He stares at her thoughtfully. "You're kind of weird."

"Probably."

"What's your name?"

"What's yours?"

"I asked you first."

"So?"

"I probably should've did this first." He scratches the back of his neck awkwardly. "Sorry," he sighs and holds out his hand to her. "I'm Henry."

Del doesn't take his hand. She doesn't want to tell him her name either. He probably thinks she's an anti-social loner. She holds up her index and middle finger in peace, and after a few seconds finally replies, "I'm…Del."

This boy named Henry holds his rejected hand up in a peace sign too. "It's nice to meet you Del."

"Yeah."

The bell above the door jingles when someone throws it open. This newcomer is standing in the threshold, one foot inside the café, the other outside where he came. He looks at Henry with an irritated expression on his face. "What the hell are you-" He trails off when he looks at Del then back at Henry, a sheepish smirk makes it's way onto his face. "Sorry." And he's gone again.

When Del looks back at Henry, his cute dimpled cheeks look like tomatoes. She wants to nibble on them. That's not a good thing considering that she thinks he's a serial killer. She somehow manages to control herself.

He still looks down at her, that stupid smile plastered on his face forever. "See you around Del."

--

"Welcome back Adelina." Dr. Winters smiles as she takes her seat.

It wasn't good to be back- the opposite of all things actually. She'd planned her day around doing absolutely nothing, yet still having the freedom of the day to do anything. It was around the time where her sessions would have begun, when her mother had promptly barged into her room, figuring out that she obviously had not left yet. She'd all but walked her up to the bloody door herself.

There was nothing left to be said. She was here.

Ugh. That seems to sum up her mood.

"It's Del."

"Yes, excuse me."

"You forgot didn't you?" she sinks back into the same stupid leather chairs, looking up at him, her brow raised. "That's not very professional."

"That was rude, I apologize."

She doesn't care so much. "It's okay."

The dim silence is this time rewarded with the Dr's amused facial expressions. "How was your afternoon?"

"I didn't want to come here."

"Oh?" and thus his clip board thing finally makes its appearance. "May I ask why?"

"I don't like it here."

"What's so terrible about it?"

"It smells like the dentist in here, I don't like it. It's unnerving."

"Unnerving? How so?"

"I just told you."

"Hmm…"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Do you want it to mean something?" She says nothing. He keeps answering her questions with more questions. She could've stayed in bed for this. When she remains quiet, Dr. Winters cocks his head to the side and asks her- "What's on your mind?"

Her mind is a blank canvas. She contemplates telling him about Henry Boy. That would be weird, but somehow it doesn't register that she's already telling him. She tells him how she can't stop thinking about him even though she doesn't want to. He invades her thoughts like he's breaking and entering. It annoys her, the way her heart goes 'thump-thump-boom'. Dr. looks at her like he's interested in what she's saying and she wants to stop herself, but she can't help it.

"He seems like quite a person."

"Uh huh."

"Would you like to see him again?"

"I don't know." She's getting embarrassed and wants to get the hell out of here. Tradition. These sessions always end the same. "Is it time to go yet?"

"Do you want to go?"

"Yes?" That's why she asked…

"Well it is Friday…" he pretends to think about it a minute. "We do still have a lot of time left Adelina."

"Del." She tells him dryly. She thinks he's doing it on purpose now. Ridiculous.

He smiles at her. "I suppose it would be alright. It'll be our little secret though."

"Alright."

"Have a nice day." He's all bright and cheery, and it ruins her mood even more so. Like when you're pissed off and someone keeps smiling in your face. You want to punch them. That's assault though, and she didn't want to go to jail for punching her psychiatrist. Yeah…that wouldn't be very nice at all.

She looks at him suspiciously before reaching for her back-pack. Del doesn't know if she should leave or not. Will he tell her parents? Is this some kind of a test?

"Would you like some jelly beans before you go?"

There's a crystalline bowl on his desk right next to his name plaque thing. It says Dr. Thomas A. Winters. She never noticed before, she can't help but wonder what the 'A' stand for. She grabs a handful of rainbow colored jelly beans a little more aggressively than she meant to, nearly knocking the bowl over in the process. Sheesh.

"Thanks." She says through a mouthful although it comes out more of a 'fenks'.

"Is something wrong?"

She stands up before she can lose her nerve. This time he doesn't tell her that he'll see her next time, especially after what she told him. Instead he tells her how he hopes to see her soon. Del wonders if he ever hopes other people think that they're crazy, and go to him for guidance just so he'll have someone to talk to.

She's far too cynical for her own good.

She stumbles out the door and walks over to Wendy the super secretary's desk to re-schedule next Tuesday's sessions because of a non-existent appointment that she must attend. A tiny orange bowl filled to the brim with Hershey Kisses is on the desk, and Del steals quite a few and shoves them in her pocket. Wendy's not there yet.

There's a lady waiting in front of the secretary station, sitting cross legged in a chair, reading a magazine. She looks exhausted and Del wants to smile at her, but doesn't. Wendy finally comes back from her coffee break or wherever the hell she was; only it's not Wendy…

This pretend Wendy has shaggy brown hair and a boyishly boy face and cutie cute dimples in each cheek. His true blue eyes shine and twinkle when he smiles at her. His eyes match the très prof button up shirt he's wearing.

It's Henry boy.

"Hey!" the volume of his voice makes tired lady look up. He mouths a 'sorry' in her direction before grinning up at Del from his seat behind the desk. "Del, right?"

She nods numbly.

"I guess I've finally figured out where I've seen you before huh?" he laughs, and it would have been like music to her ears if she weren't so terribly embarrassed.

At that moment the world decided that she needed an audience before killing herself with Wendy's handy stapler. Dr. Winters steps out of his office, glancing down at his clipboard friend. He looks up and still sees her here. "Reimburse Adelina for half of her check would you son?"

He's looking at Henry boy.

Henry's boy is looking at her.

And she's looking everywhere else before accidently squeaking out- "Son?"

"Yeah, I work here sometimes in the summer or after school if dad needs the help. Who's Adelina?" the question is directed at Dr. Winters. Dr. Winters smiles and goes over to the desk himself to rummage through the drawers. He hands her a freshly written check. "Henry here is a big help once he gets organized."

Henry turns red.

"That's nice." She's turning red herself. She may just burn a hole in the floor with how badly the heat is crawling up her neck.

"I thought your name was Del?"

"It is. It's a nickname."

"Oh."

"I have to go."

"I guess I'll see you around." He chuckles, and gives her the peace sign just like before.

Even their jokes are nearly the same! How'd she not notice?

Adelina Marie Brier has never been more mortified in her life. Not that the situation was that humiliating, but she couldn't help but think what he thought.

Was he laughing because she went to those stupid sessions?

Did he think she was crazy?

Oh, god.

Normally, Del couldn't care less what people think of her, but for some reason Henry boy gets under her skin.

…and now he thinks that she's nuts.

She doesn't bother waiting the agonizing long wait it takes for the elevator to arrive. Del takes the stairs, two at a time- it's quick and painless. She gets home in record time.

"Deli?" her mother calls from the kitchen and makes her way to where she is to confirm her assumptions. "What are you doing back to early?"

"Uhm…" her mind is a blank canvas. "Dr. Winters had an emergency and had to go."

Mom narrows her eyes suspiciously. She stares at her, hoping she'll crack and fall to her knees 300 style and tell her the hardcore truth. But none of this really happens, and Del stares back at her never wavering.

"What was the emergency?"

"Family." Shameshameshameshameshame.

"That's too bad." Mom frowns, turning on her heel to make her way back to the kitchen. "So…what did you and Dr. Winters talk about today?" she asks over her shoulder.

"If you want to know if I mentioned you or dad, just ask."

"Did you?"

"I'm not allowed to tell you that."

"Why not?"

"I don't want to tell you." She grabs an apple from the fruit basket and crunch crunches into it. "Why do you want to know anyway? It's not like you weren't there."

Mom is stirring something good smelling on the stove, and makes a face at Del. "Go clean your room or something!"

Del groans.

"I'm serious Adelina. That pigsty of yours better be spick and span before dinner is ready. I don't care if you have to stay in there all night until it's done. Clean it up."

Nice- starving a growing child to kill their curiosity. Nicenicenicenicenice.

She climbs the stairs and instead of cleaning, falls backwards onto her comfy bed and stares up at the ceiling. Her room really is a mess, with clothes completely covering the floor, knocked over books, and old dishes. She doesn't feel like cleaning right now. She'd rather drown in self-pity.

And this is how it goes for a solid week- Del wakes up in her toxic waste of a room, goes to school and when it's time for her sessions she just doesn't go. This time she's smart enough to leave the house so her mom won't know. Sometimes she hangs out with her new friends- Tess and Marty, other times she walks around the city aimlessly for one whole hour before heading home. She hasn't seen Henry at school yet. It's a good thing that she won't have to confront him and the awkwardness, but she's…she kind of…

Ah, she won't even go there.

When Del gets home from her 60 minute non-adventure today, she tosses her backpack on the floor by the door and makes her way to the kitchen. Her mom isn't there though; she's left a note and twenty dollars for Del to order a pizza for dinner.

Mom's probably out on one of her dates again.

Del doesn't mind it- that her mom dates. It was bound to happen eventually.

But her mother is a serial dater.

And she hates to say this, or even think it, but it makes her mom seem a tad desperate. Just a tad…

Its ten o'clock and Del devours a couple of slices, and watches some old reruns of I Love Lucy on TV before heading up the stairs to bed. She strips off her school clothes and replaces them with and old large t-shirt and bicycle shorts before snuggling in her covers. Her head hits the pillow and it's only a few moments before she starts dozing off.

She dreams of a 'tick tack' noise.

Tick

Tack

Tick

Tack

Her eye lids peel open, one at a time. She's not dreaming at all. Who dreams of tick tack noises?

Unless she really is crazy…

Tick

Tack

She sits up in bed, paranoid now. What if someone broke in and they decided to make weird sound effects?

She has to escape. Omigodomigodomigodomigodomigod.

Her best bet is to sneak out through the window so they won't see her. Careful not to make any noise, she tip toes from her bed to the window, gently prying open the glass thing only to have a tiny pebble flick her forehead.

"Ow."

"Del?" the voice is somewhere below. "Is that you?"

The girl in question peeks somewhere below and sees Henry boy standing in a flowerbed of her mother's favorite flowers- orchids- with a handful of little rocks in his hand. He stares up at her in the darkness, his white teeth almost glowing.

Oooh. Mystery half solved. "What are you doing here?" she whispers.

"I didn't get that far…I didn't really expect you to come to the window." She can see him, scratching the back of his neck nervously.

They stand bathed in moonlight and star shine awkwardly for a moment before Del coughs. "Right, well seeing as how I was asleep…"

"Come outside."

"Why?"

"Just do it."

She doesn't bother changing; simply pulling on her cherished pair of battered Chuck Taylor's and heads outside, this time through the front door. Henry boy is sitting on her porch trying to juggle the rocks in his hand.

"What do you want?" she questions even though she feels light headed and anxious.

Henry jumps, dropping the rocks on the ground. He gazes at her over his shoulder. "Hey."

Del offers him a small 'hi' and sits beside him. They sit so close that their knees are almost touching.

"Let's go somewhere."

"Where do you want to go?"

"Anywhere."

"I want cake." She blurts out.

He laughs quietly. "Yeah, me too."

They don't make it to the bakery on account of its late and it's closed. Instead, they go to the nearest McDonald's drive through and order two chocolate sundaes. They sit in the parking lot in Henry's Saturn eating their chocolate sundaes in silence.

Del can't take it anymore. "Do you think I'm crazy?"

Henry nearly chokes on his spoonful. "What? Why would I think that?"

"Because I see your dad or I used to."

He shakes his head. "I don't think you're crazy."

"You can tell me the truth, I won't burst into tears or anything if you think I am." But she would. It would certainly be hysterical to see.

Henry boy puts his ice cream in the cup holder and turns his body so he's facing Del. "I don't. It doesn't mean you're crazy because you see my dad, you just need someone to talk to about whatever problems you may have without being judged on your thoughts or opinions." He shrugshrugshrugshruggyshrugs. "My dad's a good listener so no; I don't think you're insane."

"I said crazy. Insane is like…a whole new and larger level that the crazed don't know about."

The awkwardness is over and Del's internal cheerleaders are doing what they do best.

She and Henry laugh and talk about everything and nothing until he notices the time, and clucks that he needs to get her back home before she gets into any trouble. But even though he says this, when they arrive back at her house they merely sit in the driveway, the radio playing. Henry grabs her hand and doesn't let go.

Del's internal cheerleaders do flip flops all over.

"You know where I live now."

There's a small smile on his face. Jolly Henry boy always seems to be smiling. "Yeah," he says. "I haven't seen you lately and I wanted to see you, so I went through my dad's files and found your address."

"What, are you going to stalk me now?" And she has to ask because she's never seen him before today, and she can't help but think how unbelievably suspicious that sounds. But then he smiles and she forgets what she was thinking. Damn butterflies.

"Not unless you want me to."

"Hmm."

"Hmm?"

She dies a hundred times in embarrassment, but needs to say these words. "I think I like you Henry boy."

"I know I like you Del girl."

She smiles. "Good."

"Great."

She leans up and kisses him, intent on kissing him fully but her lips only peck the side of his mouth. She pulls away.

She can't help but look into his true blue eyes.

Henry is staring at her for a minute, shock written all over his face before he leans close. His palm is cradling her cheek and the other is buried deep in her messy messy hair. "I like you a lot Adelina Marie Brier." And then he kisses her, a gentle kiss that leaves her smiling. His jolly boy lips are soft against her own and she wraps her arms around his neck, living completely in this moment. When they break apart, they're both breathing heavily. Henry leans his forehead against hers.

She sighs. But the dreamy kind of sigh, not the obvious depressed kind. "You can stalk me tomorrow if you want to."

He chuckles, placing one last quick kiss on her lips. "Tomorrow it is."

She takes her time getting out of the car, and watches him pull out of the driveway until she can't see him anymore.

"Who was that?" mom asks walking across the lawn barefoot, her sandals dangling from her left hand.

"Somebody." Del looks just in time to see a car pull away from the curb. He honks his horn and waves at her mother before driving away. Her mother smiles to herself. "Who was that?"

"Somebody."

"We're even then."

"Not even close."

--

Yay. I'm finished! I'm so happy. It took me forever to write this and I was so happy. My first one-shot of FP. Woot. I hope you liked it:) I don't know how well I did on the fluff-o-meter but feel free to let me know. Criticism is wanted; I'd like to know what you think. I hope you enjoyed it. Oh yeah and forgive my grammar, I tried to edit it as best as I could. I think this is the most words I've ever written…16 pages. Whoa. Anyways..I'm pretty sure that's it?

Kafuffle. I think that's the coolest word ever.

Love,

Sasha