His head pounded as he rubbed his temple. Three patients down and he was close to finishing. He wanted to go home, back to his empty house, back to his unfinished bottle of bourbon and his paperwork. There was no comfort for him other than his privacy and even that had been invaded over the past few years. Two scandals and a failed marriage.
An exasperated sigh left his lips; his gaze flicking over the dark crevices. He hadn’t heard anything outside, no nurse or orderly had beckoned for him. Perhaps he could leave now, perhaps he could slip away to his car and get home early.
He found himself imagining a different job, what would have happened if he had gone down the route of Politics. He imagined himself being prime minister by now, alas he had chosen psychiatry. He had chosen to be a therapist to the dearly deluded and the blissfully content patients.
There was nothing wrong with having a mental illness, he knew that. He would constant chastised the new worker for being ill-mannered when referring to the patients. One, he had even fired for calling a patient psycho cow.
He wasn’t the owner of this establishment, no the owners would find themselves caught dead in the building. He was the head doctor, the head therapist. The big boss, not that he liked it. He was far too old, he thought, to still be helping people. No-one wants to listen to a has-been.
A knock at the door disrupted his thoughts as he straightened his back in his chair. His suit jacket fitted perfectly around his torso, he leaned back before ordering them to come in. As the door opened he immediately wished he’d played dead, hidden behind his desk and turned out the light.
“William, did you read the new transfer patient’s file?” Emma asked as she strolled across the room. He kept his eyes on her, his face unfazed by the question. He hadn’t read the file, he hadn’t even noticed it. “William, I told you about her this morning”
He looked at the small box that contained the unread files, the top from a separate facility. Kensington state institute. Ran for prisoners not patients. Inmates with no hope and little freedom. The two owners would sit in their expensive offices and drink wine whilst everyone else ran the place.
“I’ve read it” he lied, a common thing he did. He was a master in the art of lying. He’d lied most his life, he’d lied to his mother that he was happier than ever with Caroline. He lied about his happiness all the time. He had barely anything to live for, his wife had left him, and his son had died. He had no heirs, no family left.
“Please William, if you want to lie to someone, lie to the staff” She quipped as she picked up the blue folder. She placed it in front of him and he looked over it. His green eyes reading the names plastered over the cover. “Dr Lehzen had her moved especially to this facility. She had also moved to this facility. It appears Conroy wanted her gone.”
“Dr Lehzen?” he inquired his mind turned back as he tried to picture a face for the name. He’d heard of it before, somewhere but he couldn’t remember. It was his old age, he supposed, that was affect his memory.
“German born, brilliant doctor. Average height, good build. Could take down Conroy with her little finger” Emma responded picturing Lehzen. He gave into the chuckle that emitted from his throat.
“Victoria. Her notes just state delusions of grandeur” He remarked as he flicked the front page open. He looked towards Emma who was heading back to the door.
“She’ll get along with you then” Emma stated as she opened the door and headed out. He frowned.
“I don’t have delusions” he called back. His voice dying down as he realised she’d probably left already. She had a habit of turning up randomly and disappearing with just as much randomness.
He glanced back down at the folder before him. This would stop him from leaving, from heading back to the cold home.
“Victoria” he sounded out again. He skimmed over the words. “Believes she’s the queen, also believes it’s the Victorian era.”
He was not well versed in the Victorian era. He knew the bare essentials of the period, the fashion, the etiquette, and the politics at the time. Ever since his childhood he’d been primed for politics by his father. He was the second son, his mother favourite son.
“Preferred treatment from doctor; re-enactment therapy. Immersion into the time period to help combat the source. Source for illness: unknown” He read out loud. He caught himself clenching his jaw. How could some use immersion to combat an unknown source? Maybe Dr Lehzen had allowed herself to get too distracted by the patient. Too focused on the immersion and not the reason.
The sharp noise of shoes on concrete filled the silent air. It was morning by the time he had managed to finish his research. He had spent all night thinking about the therapy, he had forgotten to visit the patient.
Alas she was in her room. On the orders of Dr Lehzen it had been decorated for the patient. He hadn’t interfered with the order, he hadn’t decided to block it like he could have. His suit clung to his strong build as he turned the corner.
Emma stood by his office door, her eyes brimming with joy as she walked to meet him. He could tell that she had obviously had a good night. She only ever waited for him to enter work when she was excited.
“So” she began. “Did you read the file? Did you meet Victoria?”
He furrowed his brow and sighed. He could still smell the alcohol that clung to the fibres of his suit jacket. The coffee heavy on his breath as he unlocked his office door. He placed his suitcase on the desk and unbuttoned his jacket turning on the spot.
“I’ve read the file, no I have not met the patient. Do I dare to ask why you’re particularly happy this morning?” he countered as she rested herself in one of his chairs. He hadn’t asked her to sit and yet she had. She seemed too comfortable in his office.
“Wake on the wrong side of the bed?” She inquired only for him to glare at her, “Yes actually. I met Victoria. She calls me Lady Portman and thinks I’m a lovely woman. My god you have a brilliant patient. I’d love to be her therapist”
He held out the file, his own way of saying that she should have it. That he would be fine dealing with his usual patients and needed no more. She hesitated before pushing the file away.
“Love to but I can’t. I’m backed up on sessions.” She replied her eyes looking over at the clock. “Which reminds me, I have a session in five minutes. Bye William.”
He grumbled under his breath as she left. The file now hung on loosely in his grip, his eyes closed as he thought about his jobs today. He wouldn’t get home until late, too late to visit the rooks like he normally did on a Friday.
“Dr Melbourne” a thick German voice called out to him as he headed down the corridor. She was stood outside the room door, her hands in front of her. She was dressed like she’d just walked off a period drama and he inwardly cringed.
“I take it you’re Dr Lehzen, I read your reports on the patient. Is there anything that wasn’t on the notes I should know about?” He questioned her.
“Yes, she thinks you are the prime minister and this is Buckingham palace.” Lehzen answered. He rolled his eyes. The prime minister, he thought, a role he wished he could have taken up.
“Very well, Dr Portman has your patient files. If you would be so kind” he informed her motioning for her to move away from the door.
“I thought I would-“ she paused noticing his grumpy exterior.
“Thought you would stay as her therapist. Lehzen you haven’t found out the source of her problem. She will be a shared patient with me, you and Dr Portman. When you are not tending to Victoria you will tend to your sessions with selected other patients. Any complaints you may have may be written down and filed away. If you do not like how I run this institute then you can go back to Kensington.” He growled, it was harsh of him to do so. He was stressed; but that was no excuse for barking at a new doctor who wasn’t to know the order of the place. He opened his mouth to apologise, but Lehzen scuttled off down the corridor.
It was his turn to face the patient. Emma had visited her and come out smiling, Lehzen was clearly attached to her and neither of them had a clue of the problem. He shifted on the spot his hand outstretched, mere centimetres away from the handle.
A strange feeling filled his chest, he was nervous. He knew what he had to do, he’d been in the game longer than most. Experienced patients with delusion before. Why was he hesitant to open the door? Did he think he would become attached to the patient?