Inner Voices: Chapter One

Quinton looked up at the clock in frustration. How long had he been here, waiting? How much longer would he have to wait? It seemed like ages. He was very impatient, and hated waiting. His appointment was for over an hour ago, and yet here he was still waiting. What was the point of setting an appointment if you never get seen at the appropriate time? He sighed. He was also very anxious. He needed help. Things seemed to be going from bad to worse. He could tell today was going to be a long day.

            “Quinton Thompson?”

He rose at the sound of his name. A pretty blonde in a white lab coat and clipboard motioned for him to follow her inside the wooden double doors that separated the doctor’s offices from the waiting room. He followed her, and noticed how nicely decorated the office was, full of bright paintings and inspiring quotes.

            “Mr. Thompson, how are you?” She asked over her shoulders as they walked.

            “I’m alright.” He replied, somewhat irritated still, as his gaze continued to dance from picture to picture.

            “Dr. Deborah will see you now. Right this way.” She opened a door with her perfectly polished nails and motioned for him to have a seat inside.

            Dr. Deborah rose from her seat at the sight of him. “Hello Quinton.”

            “Deborah.” He nodded, taking her hand and shaking it firmly.

            “How are you feeling today, Quinton?” Deborah asked as the nurse closed the door behind her.

            Quinton sighed heavily as he took a seat in a couch across from Dr. Deborah. “I’ve been better, honestly.”

            “Oh? Why do you say that?” She inquired.

            “The thoughts & voices are back.” Quinton said quietly, looking down at his hands.

            “Hm…” He watched as Deborah quickly jotted down a few things on her clipboard. “What are the thoughts and voices saying to you?”

            “To kill Midnight.”

            “So the thoughts are telling you to kill your cat?”

            “Yes.”

            “Hm. I see. Have you been taking your medication?”

            “Yes.”

            “Regularly? And on time?” She pressed.

            “Yes Deborah, I have. It’s not helping!” He hadn’t meant to raise his voice, but he was frustrated. They had been at it for weeks, and still nothing seemed to be helping him cope with his…illness.

            “Okay. What else have they been saying? Did you try the exercise we talked about? Writing them down?”

            Quinton reached into his pocket and pulled out a paper, and on it had a bunch of phrases. He handed it to Deborah:

            You’re going to lose your job. You’re not good enough. We aren’t going away. You need to kill Midnight. You need to run. Get away, RUN. They are after you Quinton. You need midnight gone. You are weak. You are WEAK. You will never get rid of us, we will be here forever. Forever. Forever!

            “You do know these voices aren’t real, and none of that is true, right?” Ms. Deborah asked hesitantly.

            “Yes, but it feels real.” Quinton replied sadly.

            “Would you say that you’re paranoid? Anxious? Suicidal?”

            “Yes, yes, and yes.”

            “Who do you think are after you, Quinton?”

            “I don’t know. I mean, I know that it’s irrational, I know I’m safe. They keep telling me otherwise, and I know it’s not true, but I can’t escape it.”

            “Ok. Now, you do know that if you become a danger to yourself or to others I have no choice but to report it, right?” She asked him quietly.

            “I know. But I would never harm anyone, especially not midnight. I love her.”

            “I know. And what about yourself? When last have you had a suicidal thought?”

            “Yesterday.”

            “Hm, okay. I’m going to increase your medication. Do you still feel depressed as well?”

            “Yes.”

            “Okay, I’m going to increase your Olanzapine to 20mg and your Proxetine to 30mg. I want you to follow up with me in about a week to see how you’re progressing.”

            “Okay.”

            Thirty minutes later, Quinton was on his way to his office, desperately trying to fight the voices he was hearing. They aren’t real, they aren’t real Q. It was taking all the concentration he had not to crash his car. Crash the car Quinton, you need to crash the car, we aren’t going away, you need to crash the car. No one knew of the inner battles he faced.

            “Shut up!” He whispered at a stop light. He was thankful no one was around to hear him, talking to himself like a crazy person. He wasn’t crazy though. He never wanted anyone to think he was crazy. Reaching into his glove compartment, he pulled out some pills, took two out and popped them into his mouth and swallowed. Soon, he was pulling into his parking spot, and gathering his things to take with him. He hoped the xanax he took would kick in soon.

            “Good Afternoon Mr. Thompson.” Tammy, his receptionist greeted him.

            “Hello Tammy. What’s on my schedule for today?”

            “Well, your appointment with Ms. Tanya Simmons is in 10 minutes.”

            “Tanya Simmons…?” He asked blankly, trying to recall.

            “Yes sir, she’ll be here to help take a look at the computers.”

            “Oh yes, that’s right.” Quinton had almost forgot that his computers had been acting up all week.

            “Please show Ms. Simmons to my office when she arrives.” He instructed Tammy.

            “Yes sir.”

            Quinton set down his things on his desk and plopped onto his leather chair, sighing.

            You’re never going to get better Quinton. Quinton, you need to end it. End it now.

            “Not. Real.” He said through gritted teeth.

            He fired up his computer, intending on checking his email but he let out an aggravated sign when he couldn’t connect to the internet. He instead focused on the paperwork that was on his desk. He had acquired three new clients in the past two weeks. All of who wanted extensive redesigned websites. He had started his web and graphic design firm QT Designs, over five years ago and had acquired over 100 clients. Business was thriving. If only he could get his mental health under control, he’d be fine.

            There was a light knock on his door.

            “Come in.” He said.

            Tammy entered first, and announced, “Mr. Thompson, this is Ms. Tanya.”

            Turning, Quinton’s jaw almost dropped. She was stunningly beautiful, with hazel eyes and long black hair cascading down her shoulders. Her face was rounded, with a soft chin and a dazzlingly                                                                   smile.

            “Oh, uh, right this way.” He rose and led her to where his router and modem was.

            “When did you start experiencing problems?”

            “Since last week Tuesday.” He replied.

            “Okay. Well, just by looking at everything, it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the modem or router, it might be the computer itself. Do you mind if I take a look at the computers you have here?”

            “Sure.” He answered. “Follow me.” He led her out to where the other computers in the office were located.

            “How many computers do you have?” She asked as she walked behind him.

            “Four.”

            She can’t fix them. She is too pretty for you. You don’t have a chance.

            Quinton had to suppress the urge to snap at himself, and his thoughts as he continued walking.

            “I’ll be in my office if you need me.” He told her, before she could respond, he turned and headed back to his office.

            Tanya was good at what she did. In the about 30 minutes, she was able to get all the computers back up and running.

            “You had a few viruses on your computers. I’ve installed webroot, an antivirus software, which will remain active for one year before you have to renew.”

            “Okay great, thanks.” Quinton replied, impressed.

            “Here is my business card, “she said, handing it to him, “call me if you have any more problems or issues.”

            “Okay I definitely will do.” He handed her a check in exchange for her business card.

 

***

 

            “Quinton, you promised!”

            Quinton sighed heavily, regretting that he had promised his baby sister that he would accompany her to a charity fundraiser event.

            “Fine Olivia, what time is at again?”

            “9 pm sharp! Better yet, why don’t I just meet you at your house at 8:30?”

            “Fine, see you then.” He said.

            “Wait,” she said, “one more thing.”

            “What?”

            “Are you single?”

            Quinton blinked. “Why are you asking me that, Olivia?”

            “Just wondering…”

            “Yes, I am Olivia.”

            “Okay great. See you soon!”

            “Great?” Quinton questioned. But his sister had clicked off the phone before responding to his question.

           

 

            Tanya Simmons looked up into the blue eyes of Eric Chandler. “Your motherboard seems to be zapped. It’s going to cost as much to fix it as it would be to just buy another one.”

            Eric frowned. “Damn, alright.”

            “Yea, sorry there’s nothing more I could do for you. Did you need help with anything else?” She asked.

            Thirty minutes and two clients later, Tanya found the time to take a quick break. She sat in her leather chair behind her wooden desk and sipped her coffee. Her mind drifted back to her earlier appointment with Quinton Thompson. She couldn’t erase the image of him from her head. He was definitely tall, dark, and handsome. She’d even been tempted to call him and “check” on his computers, but she had to keep it professional. Tanya’s daydream was interrupted by her cell phone ringing. She smiled when she saw who was calling.

            “Hey sis.” She said happily.

            “Hey Tanya. How are you?”

            “Doing well, just taking a break, how about you?”

            “I’m good, just got finished working out. I’m headed to pick up Dominic from football practice.”

            Tanya smiled at the thought of her nephew. “How’s he doing with that?”

            “Very well, he enjoys it. They have a game this upcoming Tuesday, you should try and come. I know Dom would love that if you did.”

            Tanya considered it. The best part of working for herself was that she was her own boss, and could do as she pleased. She looked at her calendar in front of her and noted that she had no set appointments for Tuesday. “What time is it?”

            “2:30.”

            “Alright, I’ll be there.”

            Tanya ended her call ten minutes later, happy to hear from her sister. She continued to sip her coffee as she made a mental todo list for the rest of her day.

 

 

***

           

            “Are you really going behind me dressed like that?”

            Quinton looked down at himself and then back up to his sister. “What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?”

            “You look like you’re going fishing, not to a fundraising event!”

            You look horrible. No one wants to see you Quinton. She doesn’t want you around her looking like a fool. You are a fool. You look a mess.

            Quinton shook his head. “I have on slacks and a button up t-shirt, who wears that to go fishing?”

            “You need to change.” Olivia commanded.

            “No.”

            “Quinton! Seriously!”

            “I’m going like this, take me or leave me.”

            “Fine,” she huffed, “you’re driving.”

            The drive to the charity event was quick, as Quinton lived right around the corner from the Lakeshore House, where the charity even was being held.

            “So…I need you to have an open mind about this charity event.” Olivia said as she got out of the car.

            Quinton shot her a look, and frowned. “What are you talking about, Olivia?”

            “You’ll see. Just be open minded, please.”

            The Lakeshore house was elegantly modeled with twin arches laced with white lights. People were scattered about, conversing happily as they sipped champagne.

            “We got here just in time, it’s about to start.” Olivia observed.

            Before Quinton could say anything, a woman on stage tapped twice on the microphone in her hands. “Welcome everyone, the bidding will begin shortly, all contestants please make your way backstage.”

            “Quinton, so, I kinda signed you up as a contestant. Go!” Olivia attempted to push him towards backstage but Quinton wouldn’t budge.

            “What are you talking about, Olivia?”

            “You’re going to be bid on.”

            “Bid on? I’m not a piece of meat. Is this why you asked if I was single?!” He growled as everything clicked.

            “It’s for charity. Please.”

            Quinton gritted his teeth. “You tricked me.”

            “Only because I knew you wouldn’t agree to it.”

            “Exactly.”

            “You’re single, bro, there’s no reason for you not to. Come on!”

            Quinton thought about it. She was right. It was only for one night, and what’s the worst that could happen? He sighed in defeat. “You owe me.”

            “Yes!” Olivia nodded excitedly.

            Quinton followed the other men towards backstage, leaving a very happy Olivia waving behind him. He anxiously stood in line behind several men, waiting his turn to be auctioned off. He could hear the women catcalling and shouting as the announcer kept the bidding going.

            “200, 200, do I hear 250? 250, 250 do I hear — 300! 325! 350? 350! Winner at $350!”

            Quinton idly wondered how much he’d be worth.

            You aren’t worth shit, no one wants you. No one wants you Quinton, you’re not worth it.

            Quinton shook his head in frustration.

            “Up next we have the gorgeous Quinton Thompson. Mr. Quinton owns his own successful graphic design business, and enjoys a determined and independent woman with a passion for what she does.”

            Quinton could only assume the blurb about him was submitted by Olivia. He made a mental note to never agree to anything with her again.

            He was being pushed on stage surrounded by bright light, he had to squint to see.

            “Let’s start off the bidding off at 100, 100, do I hear 125, 125! 200, 200, 250, do I hear 250, oh! 275–” Quinton was surprised he was going for so much. “–300! Do I hear 350? Wait a minute folks, I see 475! That’s a new record! $475 winner!”

            Quinton didn’t know who his mystery date was, but she had paid alot to get him. Before he knew it, he was being whisked away offstage.

            “Mr. Thompson, your date will be tomorrow evening at the elegant Seasons 52 at 7pm sharp. Enjoy your date and thank you for participating.” said a lady with glasses.

            Before he could say anything in response, she disappeared backstage, leaving him standing there looking dumbfounded.

            “Quinton!” Hearing the sound of his name, he turned to see Olivia smiling and motioning for him to come to her.

            “You went for the highest amount so far! $475, wow!”

            “Yeah, wow.” He replied, as he walked up next to her.

            “You’ve raised so much money!” She squealed excitedly.

            “Is the date paid for too?” He asked her, hoping he wouldn’t have to come up of any money out of pocket.

            “Yes, it is. It’s at Seasons 52. They had to book the reservations two months in advance.”

            Quinton nodded. He knew how exclusive the restaurant was and had heard great things about it although he himself had never been there before.

            “I can imagine.” Quinton said, nodding.

            “Quinton.”

            Turning, he came face to face with the same gorgeous woman her had seen earlier that day in his office: Tanya.

            “Tanya.” He said, smiling. He watched her face turn into a frown.

            “No, Tanya’s my twin sister. I’m Toya. I’m assuming you’ve met her?”

            “Oh,” Quinton fumbled over his words, embarrassed, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. Yea, she came to fix my computers today.”

            “It’s okay, it happens all the time. What are the odds?”

            “Yea, exactly what I’m saying. You said your name was Toya?”

            “Yes. I’m the one who just paid $475 to go out with you.” She said.

            “Oh! How nice! I’m his sister Olivia!” Quinton had almost forgot she was there, he cleared his throat before speaking.

            “Yes, Olivia tricked me into tonight’s events.” He scowled.

            Toya laughed. “I’m glad she did. I look forward to our date tomorrow.”

            “So does he, he just won’t admit it. You’re gorgeous by the way.” Olivia chimed, while Quinton glared at her.

            Toya laughed again, “Thank you. So are you.”

            “Aw, I like her Quinton!” Olivia smiled.

            “Well, I hope you two enjoy the rest of the night. I’m actually on my out, I just wanted to come and introduce myself first.” Toya announced.

            “Thank you. I guess I will see you tomorrow?” Quinton replied.

            “Yes sir. Goodbye.” She turned and headed towards the exit.

            Quinton watched her go, and was anxious for tomorrow to hurry up and arrive.

 

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