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A Long Time Waiting

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“Victor, may I ask what you’re doing?” Wide brown eyes stare up at Adelle in confusion, and she quickly adds, “I know that you’re sitting on the floor. Would you like to tell me why?”

“I promised Sierra that I’d wait for her,” Victor replies. “Will she be back soon?”

“I think,” Adelle says carefully, “that you will be waiting for a long time.” She should have known. The words Would you like a treatment? are on the tip of her tongue, but she swallows them. She’s no longer certain that another attempt to scrub away Victor’s longing for Sierra will be any more successful than that last… she’s lost count of how many times they’ve tried. Now, of course, he's unlikely to ever see Sierra again.

“Friends keep their promises to each other,” Victor insists.

“They do,” Adelle agrees, “when they can.” She tells herself that she has more important things to do right now than try to explain things that he can’t hope to understand: concepts like loss, and the future; like permanent imprints and impossible choices. “Friends also want each other to be happy, even when they’re not together. Do you understand?”

“Will Sierra be happier after her treatment?”

“I expect that she will.” The hell of it is, Adelle knows that she’s not lying. This particular… client (and she can think of a few other things that she’d like to call him) has always preferred a fantasy woman who (believes that she) is positively thrilled to be with him. “Do as you wish, Victor.” She can allow him this small illusion; it is, after all, what she does best.