Chapter Two:

From the notes of Dr. Hailey Bennett: Thursday, November 5th, 2009

...

Madison was my last appointment today. During my other sessions, I looked forward to it. In the past, I have experienced feelings of pride, accomplishment, and stress because of my job, but never anticipation. It reminds me of when I was a child, squirming in front of the TV on Saturday mornings, waiting for my favorite show to come on.

In my experience, there are three types of patients: the ones that like talking about themselves and their problems, the ones that like talking about themselves and avoiding their problems, and the ones that don't want to talk at all. Madison is the second type. She has a smart mouth and an answer for everything, and enjoys answering questions with questions.

"Do you get along with your mother?"

"Does any teenager you know get along with their mother?"

"Do you enjoy school?"

"A bunch of cruel, hormonal teenagers confined for eight hours in the same place? It's not a school, it's a prison camp. Someone should notify the UN. It clearly violates the Geneva convention."

She had a point there. My own memories of high school were just as bitter and painful.

"Listen," she finally said, obviously tired of our back-and-forth session, "I know exactly what my file says. I'm uncooperative, antisocial, and disrespectful towards authority."

I arched my eyebrows. "In other words, you have a smart mouth. That usually doesn't get you sent to therapy."

"Oh, I forgot violent. That's in there, too, right after 'disrespectful towards authority'."

"You know that I know why you're here. I just wanted to hear it in your own words instead of relying on your teachers and mother for the whole story."

That loosened her tongue. She really was a pretty girl when she stopped spitting venom and retracted her claws. "Some people were giving me a hard time. There's a rumor going around school that I'm a lesbian. Two jocks took it too far, one tried to put his hand up my blouse, and I gave him a nice red handprint and scratches to show off to the steroid-abusing assholes he hangs around with."

"It sounds like he provoked you. Why are you the one in therapy?"

"My mom's idea. They were going to suspend both of us. Mom promised to put me in therapy or whatever, and they let me stay in school. Unfortunately, they haven't invented a nice little pill to make you stop being stupid yet."

I was curious about what she meant. Or maybe I was just curious about her. "How do you feel about the rumors going around at school?" I asked.

Madison gave me a curving, seductive smile. "They're true. Are you interested, Doc?"

I ignored her, not wanting to give her any reason to continue baiting me. But in the back of my mind, something about the offer bothered me. I tucked it away, trying not to think about it too much.

...

From the Notes of Dr. Hailey Bennett: Thursday, November 12th, 2009

...

Today, Madison revealed a completely different part of her personality to me. Normally, she covers her emotions with a cloak of smart answers and seduction. This time, the cloak was gone, showing – or replaced by – a different layer.

I was waiting for her inside my office when I heard a loud cry from the waiting room. Disturbed, I went outside to see what it was. It was late in the day, and Sharon, my receptionist, had gone home – that sometimes happened when I scheduled late appointments. So she was alone when I found her...

I did not see anyone in the waiting room. Thinking I had imagined the whole thing, I turned to go back to my office when I heard another groan of pain. The building that my partners and I rented offices in was several stories high, and there was a stairway leading up from the ground floor all the way to the seventh. My office, unfortunately, happened to be on the fifth floor, and the elevator was known to be temperamental at best.

The sound came again, and I opened the door to the stairwell and peered down. Madison was somewhere in between the fourth and fifth floor, crumpled on one of the steps. "Oh my God," I muttered, hurrying down the steps as fast as I could to check and see if she was all right.

I knelt beside her. Her eyes went vacant, and her hands trembled. For a second, I thought she might be sick. Her face was so pale. "Madison?" I asked, leaning forward to touch her arm. She jerked away at first, and then held still, letting my fingers rest on her forearm. "Maddie. Are you all right?" My heart was racing and I was not sure why.

She shook her head 'no' violently; dark curls spinning around her head. She tried to open her mouth. Her dry lips stuck together, and she swallowed back a moan. "My foot – it hurts," she admitted. "I – I don't think I can stand on it..." She tried to force a smile, adding, "I didn't think I'd have to work this hard to get your attention, Doc. Care to rescue a damsel in distress?"

"Let me look at your foot," I said, rolling up the left leg of her pants. They were cute pants, I noticed, despite the urgent situation. Flared, very feminine. Cute shoes, too, with leopard print spots and a pointed toe and an impractical heel. No wonder she tripped, I thought to myself, walking all the way up the stairs in those things.

Her ankle was already round and puffy, turning an ugly purple-green color, and it was clearly bent at an awkward angle. Something was definitely wrong. "Here, let me take your shoe off before it gets even worse..." I removed one of the spotted shoes, with a good deal of effort and several winces of pain from Madison.

"What now? I can't make it up the stairs," she said. "It hurts so much that my head is starting to feel funny..."

"You aren't going up the stairs. You're going down them. And I'm going to take you to the emergency room." And that's what I did. Madison didn't even make any suggestive comments when I picked her up (she was lighter than I thought she would be, but still pretty heavy for me to carry) and took her down the stairs. It wasn't very ladylike, but it got the job done.

The next few hours were a blur. A lot of waiting, a lot of beeping noises, a lot of outdated magazines. I ate a bag of stale chips that gurgled around uncomfortably in my stomach and a pack of flavorless gum.

Her ankle was broken in two places, the doctor told us. Bed rest for a while, and then crutches. It was pretty bad, as far as broken ankles went. But what I remember most happened after the doctor left us alone. I was waiting for Madison's mother, even though I knew she would be fine on her own. I felt compelled to stay with her.

"So, did you like my shoes, Doc? At least, for the two seconds you got to see them."

"They were impractical," I said, still worrying about Madison.

"You're taller than me. I figured the heel would give my leg some shape and bring me a little closer to your beautiful face." I was used to Madison's cheeky attempts at flirtation, but this one seemed irregular. The teasing note in her voice wasn't there. Instead, she sounded tired. I purposely decided not to answer her.

"Hey, Doc?" she said after several moments of silence.

"Yes?" I asked, turning to look at her. She had a thoughtful expression on her face that I could not quite place.

"Thanks. For helping me. Carrying me down the stairs, and driving me here, and everything. It meant... uh – just thanks, I guess."

Later that night, I wondered if I would have given the same care to any of my other patients. I would have gotten them help, but would I have stayed with them for hours at the hospital? Personally carried them down the stairs? Would I have been so worried?

Probably not. There is just something about Madison. I can't put my finger on what it is. Care to enlighten me, journal?

...

Docket Number 12295: People v. Rose

...

"You said you had a sexual relationship with Dr. Bennett, correct?" the defense lawyer purred. Her eyes were green with flecks of yellow. Cat eyes. Madison hoped that this woman was not as clever as she looked.

"Yes." Madison gripped the arm of her chair tightly. All the blood rushed out of her hand, leaving it as white as bleached bone.

"And you say it was a consensual relationship?"

"Yes. I was the one who pursued her." She's beautiful. Intoxicating. And I love her, she thought. Cat woman was treading on dangerous ground now. She began tensing her muscles, getting ready to pounce.

"A consensual relationship with a woman twice your age?" she asked, digging her nails farther into the wood. Madison pictures her claws sinking into the soft flesh of her arm instead; leaving bloody, crescent-shaped slivers...

She shrugged. "She's a beautiful woman. I fell in love with her." She was not going to say anything negative about Hailey, no matter what.

"You just turned seventeen, right, Ms. Rose?" Cat woman leaned forward.

"My seventeenth birthday was back in November, ten months ago," she said, just in case it made a difference. "You keep trying to rephrase the question, but the answer is the same. I fell in love with my psychologist, and started a consensual sexual relationship with her even though I was underage. I'm not ashamed."

"Since this is all out in the open, why hasn't Dr. Bennett been charged for what she did to you? Whether you saw it as consensual or not, she was clearly in a position of power over you, and you are clearly under the age of consent."

Yeah, by a few months. Madison toyed with the idea of pretending that she had gone selectively deaf. She refused to answer the question. "Could it be that your testimony here today is the result of a deal with the Prosecution? You testify against your mother, and the charges against Dr. Bennett magically disappear?"

Cat woman clearly did not expect an answer, so Madison did not give one. Instead, Sullivan charged in, even though the whole court knew that Lawson hated dealing with numerous motions and objections. "Objection! Your Honor, she's trying to attack the character of one of the victims, and my witness!"

"Withdrawn. I'll move on." But it was too late. The jury knew now that Madison had a motive for testifying. Some of them are probably wondering how I could say such horrible things about my own mother, she thought. Sometimes, she asked herself that question.

...

From the notes of Dr. Hailey Bennett: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

...

"Maddie, would you mind waiting for a moment?" I asked her. Her back was turned to me as she reached for the strap of her purse. I caught myself staring, and quickly looked away. A stupid, physical reaction to a pretty seventeen-year-old girl, I told myself earlier today, that's all it is. But that was not the first time Madison's appearance had distracted me. More like the hundredth. So far, I have not gotten used to ignoring it.

A personal note to myself: ignore this. Madison Rose does not need any more problems in her life, and neither do you, Hailey...

"Sure," she said. She was breathtaking, with the thick, smooth hair I've never had and high, proud cheekbones I've always dreamed of.

Seventeen years old.

Jesus, Hailey, you're a pervert. I don't know what this journal is becoming, but I have to be honest with it, at least, if I'm going to find a way to deal with the situation. I can't let Madison find out what's going on in my head.

Physician, heal thyself? If only it were so easy for psychologists.

"You look a little tired today," I said. "Were you bored during our session?"

Madison winked. The corners of her mouth twitched upwards. "Nah, I'm never bored in such attractive company, Doc. I don't mind coming here to get my head fixed, even if it doesn't need fixing. I'll just enjoy the view while you peer into my brain."

Then she was out the door, and I was left alone and flustered.

To be perfectly honest, hours later, I'm still alone and flustered.