Ten: Obsessive-Compulsive

Andrea was relieved to see that she awoke the next day in her own bed. It was nine o’ clock when she bothered to look to the clock that sat on the clean desk beside her. Getting up, Andrea shrugged off her nightclothes and shrugged on some light clothes for the day. Although the sky was patterned with the familiar cloudiness of Autumn days, there was an extraneous string of warmth in the air, so the cotton Andrea slipped into would suffice until the evening became colder.

She had just put in her contact lenses, her hair still a conundrum of curls, when it became apparent that Lucas was already awake and downstairs. Considering the sounds drifting up, he was busy in the throttle of life, wrenching open a cupboard, a loud crash and a good deal of low-scale cursing which followed.

Andrea crept out of her own bedroom so that she could more easily search for the source of the commotion. She gently knocked on Lucas’ adjoining bedroom, pushing the door open when it was clear that he was definitely downstairs. She didn’t know why she had entered without her boyfriend, but Andrea surveyed the chamber, as if she would uncover a truth to what Lucas was currently doing in the large, orderly room.

The bed had already been made, where a piece of paper had been discarded onto his pillow, too, an afterthought, perhaps. Noticing that it had line after line of typed writing, Andrea advanced and lifted the paper from the bed, her eyes widening as she noticed the heading: ‘Redshire Hospital’.

She stared down at the rumpled script in her hands, instructions that, in Andrea’s opinion, she should have been privy to when she first started the relationship with Lucas. However, he was a man of mystery, and his so many concealments only added concern to her attraction of him.

“Take the benzodiazepines twice daily...” Andrea knew the words well from her own prescriptions. Before she could read any further, however, the sound of Lucas re-sorting rather a lot of things downstairs captured her attention.

“Lucas?”

Andrea hurried from her bedroom and shuffled down their stairs. She found him indeed rooting about in one of the downstairs cupboards, ever so often tapping his left hand against his leg. Besides Lucas, one of the two smaller coffee tables had been uprooted; the man often turned his head to it, but, other than his look of despair, he did nothing to plant the table back in its place.

Too, his mobile lay a metre from his position, evidently having been placed on the table before Lucas had caught the latter with one of his legs. Andrea knelt and reattached the unreliable back-plate, noting as her boyfriend shook with surprise when he noticed her presence. Unconsciously, Andrea slipped the phone into her own pocket.

“What are you doing?” She stopped her pestering at the look of rabid concern on his face. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing wrong with me, really. No, there isn’t. It’s Léa and I said I’d help her, which is fine. So there.”

“Lucas...” Andrea knelt once more, attempting to tackle his frantic fingers. “It was a silly idea in the first place.”

“What?”

“Léa and Keith. I thought I saw a glimmer of attraction, but you must know that my psychology can let me down sometimes.”

Lucas stopped, still, and he stared at her blankly.

“Oh no,” he finally added, his voice softer there, “she’s happy to be of assistance. I rang her last night and she thinks that’s just what Keith needs.”

“So, what is this?”

“Oh, she text me this morning. Something about not remembering... She was going to head home soon, but then she got a call from her work to sort out some minor publishing dispute in Spain in two weeks.”

“Spain? Wow. So, what are you searching for?”

“Her passport,” Lucas replied, diving back into the cupboard. “She gave it to me on the Twelfth Night performance, and I put it somewhere…”

Andrea gave the living room a glance and spotted the aforementioned object lying strewn under the second coffee table.

“Where did I put it?”

“What gives you the idea you put it in a cupboard?”

He didn’t reply, merely stopping to tap another set of four on his leg.

“Lucas!”

“What?”

“Lucas…” Andrea guided him out of the cupboard, grabbing his twitching hands. “You’re panicking for no real reason. I know what you’re like.”

“I’m fine. Really-”

“Don’t. Darling, the passport is under the coffee table. I’ll get it in a minute.” Andrea sighed as she, resigned, knew that it was time. She cleared her throat, clutching Lucas tightly. “Darling, we’ve skirted around this enough. We need to talk about your OCD.”

In one second, he turned bright pink and pulled away. Lucas marched over to the second coffee table (making sure to pull up the one he had knocked a-kilter) and snatched the discarded passport from the floor. His glance towards Andrea was not the gentlest she had ever seen him put on.

Nevertheless, Andrea knew how crucial this moment needed to be.

“Lucas, I could count the many times that you have turned away from this problem. As if drinking will solve everything just because it flips your negative emotions positive! At the dance, on the phone; that first moment you told me, you shouldn’t have marched off. We could have sorted it together.”

“Sorted it?” cried Lucas, advancing. “This is stupid. I don’t think I need to be cross-analysed on a subject I certainly know more about than you.”

“That’s not true, both points. I studied OCD for my degree; I’ve studied you in your times of disquiet; I will certainly study the effects later. I can understand the common problems...”

Lucas snorted.

“Lucas! Please, please, please. I know...” She drew in her breath sharply. “...that this is hard for you, but...don’t you want...? Will you think about listening to what I say, just for five minutes? Can you do that one thing for me?”

Lucas’ expression went through several cycles of disenchantment, eventually settling into his picture of sorrow.

“Please stop appealing to my adoration for you. Okay, I’ll listen. I don’t like seeing you so...” He sighed. “I don’t want to make you unhappy. That’s the reason why I’ve pushed away my symptoms: I never wanted you to be involved, or to be made unhappy because of my condition.”

He took her hand and gently kissed it, keeping his sympathetic eyes locked into hers.

“I know you don’t want to focus,” Andrea affirmed, “to drag your condition out after its diagnosis, but you have been ignoring your original doctor’s advice.” She drew in another shattered deep breath. “I saw the initial instructions in your bedroom; you’ve given up taken those pills that were prescribed two years ago, haven’t you?”

Lucas guiltily nodded.

“They were making me physically sick.”

“Oh, Lucas. Aside from that, I think you repressed those feeling; perhaps that’s why you couldn’t settle: because you wanted to remain with someone who fulfilled all the criteria of a subconscious list. Shh. Could you go back to a doctor, for me? Could you try and get better, because you’re not healthy? I can do all the paperwork, if you want; I can easily arrange counselling sessions where you wouldn’t be required to do anything than be yourself.”

“I don’t want to!” he cried. Lucas threw his hands into the air above him, before sulking away into the kitchen. Andrea followed, hands rising nervously to tug at the strands of untamed locks.

In the kitchen, Lucas set about tearing paper for a minute. When he turned, his emotions had been calmed and he stepped up to Andrea.

“All right. That’s a fair point. Andrea, I don’t want to aggravate a situation that has died down-”

“Please admit it, Lucas; it hasn’t died down.”

“-but I am willing to let you book an appointment, maybe even a couple of ‘sessions’.  You can use the Redshire Hospital information, if that’s what you want to do.”

Andrea sigh hissed into the air as condensation, quickly dispersing between the two lovers.

“Good. I’ll get it settled today, dear. Now, let me eat! I’ve not yet had breakfast today.”

The couple smiled together, but behind their sweetness still resided two pairs of tired eyes and worried hearts still beating for the future and the advent of safety to near.

The End

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