I watch as my first 'patient' - for want of a better word - enters the room. She looks like the normal type: about seventeen or eighteen, ripped up clothes, looking pretty battered around and, inexplicably, carrying a guitar case and a thick book. Then again, that wasn't the first time I'd seen it.
"Sit down," I say, trying to put her at ease. She does so. After her trails her author, a girl several years younger than the character herself and looking very ashamed. "Ah, you must be Ms Telcontar?"
"Del," she replies, looking very shame-faced.
The two sit on my sofa. After a while, Mel starts to get impatient. "Well? Are we going to sit here all day? I have, you know, things to do..."
"We are just waiting for the others to arrive," I assure her. "It shouldn't take too much longer." But this does not seem to be the right thing to say, because Mel instantly goes white and gets up.
"You said this would be private," she hisses to her author. "You said this was somewhere we could talk and be safe! And now I hear there are others?"
Ms Telcontar - Del - shrugs. "Mel, I don't run this place. I told Alex about it, but I don't know if he'll be coming. You know what he's like. And anyone else is nothing to do with me. I think you'll have to ask Anna here what she means by it."
Mel glares at me. "You know, Miss Therapist Who Thinks She Knows Everything, I'd rather not discuss my issues in front of a bunch of random strangers. It's hardly something I'd share with the world."
"They have issues too," I tell her. "And besides, you might find it helpful."
Mel harrumphs and sits back angrily on the couch, waiting. I take a deep breath. Obviously, she's going to be a bit of a handful. Now we'll just have to wait for the others to arrive.