A/N This is the result of a ridiculous conversation with Monroe-Militia (I should really stop responding to messages at 2 am). Let me know what you think! :-D
Jeremy sat down at his computer and pulled up his daily appointment calendar. Three things caught his eye.
B.M. 9 am
C.M. 1:30 pm
M.M. 3 pm
Damn. It was going to be a very long day.
"What would you like to talk about today, Bass?"
Sebastian Monroe. Patient number 043. He sought help on his own a little less than a year ago after yet another one of his many girlfriends left him because he wouldn't 'open up' to them.
Jeremy sat in his favorite chair by the window watching his patient pick at the many boxes on his shelves. Tall and well built, the man was a bit terrifying, but he'd been treating him long enough to know that it was all a part of the mask he wore.
Bass shrugged and plucked a container of multicolored beads from a lower shelf. "Beads? Really?"
Jeremy, who was used to his patients mocking what he liked to call 'the arts and crafts method', simply smiled. "Women like jewelry."
The other man looked at the box thoughfully for a moment before sitting down at the small table in the room and began picking beads put of the box. Jeremy pretended not to know the significance of the color green.
Clearly Bass wasn't going to make it easy today so Jeremy went straight for the easy question. "How's Miles?"
Despite the fact that Jeremy thought his drunken friend was a bad influence on Bass, Miles was always a good conversation starter on the days Bass was feeling particularly difficult.
"Good. He's good."
Oh, no. One and two word answers usually meant he had something on his mind. That something was almost always Charlie, though Jeremy knew that he would never just come out and say it. Bass obviously wanted to talk about her, he just wanted someone else to bring her up.
"What about Rachel and Ben?" Jeremy knew that Bass would use Charlie's parents as a safe segue to bring her into the conversation.
"They're good. Their daughter, Charlie, she just graduated from college. They're really proud."
As Jeremy watched him thread the varying shades of green beads onto a length of string, he wondered if Bass really had any idea of how often he spoke of Charlie. He wondered if Bass even realized how important she was to him.
"That's great, they should be proud. What about you, though, what do you think about her graduating?"
Sniper-steady hands slipped and a bead hit the tiled floor with a tiny 'click'. Bass was silent as he bent to pick it up, Jeremy could see the effort he was putting into remaining calm.
"I think it's great," he said in a falsely cheery voice. "She's been working her ass off for years, she deserves it."
Yes, Jeremy knew all about how he worshiped her Matheson work ethic.
"Do you know what she's planning to do now that school is finished?"
Silence. That worried Jeremy more than any of Bass' other usual ticks. A slip of the hand meant he was caught off-guard or slightly irritated. Silence meant that he was stuck, stumped by something he didn't quite understand.
"She's moving to Los Angeles," he said abruptly, and Jeremy wondered - again - if Bass even understood what Charlie meant to him.
"Los Angeles, huh?" He paused. Technically, he wasn't supposed to tell people what they should do with their lives. So as much as he wanted to tell Bass to stop acting like a little girl and ask Charlie out already, he couldn't.
But he could give him a push in the right direction.
"That's pretty far. When does she leave?"
"Next week." The hopeless tone in his voice made Jeremy wince.
"Are you going to see her before she leaves?" Which could technically be seen as an innocent question.
"What?" Apparently, Bass didn't think so.
"Will there be a going away party?" Jeremy clarified for him.
"Oh." Bass lowered his head back to Charlie's beaded necklace. "I don't know." He went quiet.
Normally on days like this Jeremy wouldn't push him, but given the small window of time they had to work with before Charlie moved across the country, he made an exception.
"Do you want to see her?"
Bass pursed his lips and tied the ends of the string in a knot. "I don't know." Holding the necklace up, he admired the different shades of green with a smile. "Yeah-I mean, it'd be cool to see her off. You know?"
Jeremy nodded and smiled warmly. As the other man left he shook his head. "What a moron."
"So, how was graduation?"
Charlotte Matheson. Patient number 028. She was recommended to his services by one of her school's advisors almost three years ago because they thought her 'anxiety' might impede her ability to complete her assignments. The anxiety was actually the result of her fear of not living up to her parents expectations. They'd worked through that, though. He figured she only kept up with the sessions because she liked having someone to talk to.
"Oh, it was great. Mom and Dad threw this huge party and everyone got super drunk, Uncle Miles got up on the coffee table and told everybody how awesome he thinks I am and then starting singing 'Firework' by Katy Perry."
Jeremy snorted with laughter. "You're kidding, right?"
Charlie shook her head with a huge smile on her face. "Nope. Then he passed out and fell off the table and Bass had to take him to the Emergency room to get stitches because he hit his head on the window sill."
"Sounds like a great party."
Shrugging, Charlie pulled the project she'd been working on for the past few weeks down from one of the shelves. The papier mâché bookends were square on the bottom, one had a globe, half-painted, stuck on top and the other had a little army man with a bayonet. The dates of the Civil War and a few historical names were painted on the sides.
"This is our last session before you leave for California, do you think you'll finish your project today?" Jeremy asked.
She wrinkled her nose. "Probably not."
"Well you can always take it home and finish it."
Charlie bit her lip as she continued painting the ocean on the small globe. "I can't take it home, I made it for you."
Jeremy frowned at her even though she wasn't looking at him. Did she really think that he didn't know her little project wasn't meant for him? He wondered if she even knew that it wasn't meant for him.
"I didn't know they were for me."
Charlie shrugged. Which was Charlie-speak for 'change the subject'. Normally, Jeremy took the little hints she gave him but considering that this was their last session, he decided to push it.
"I don't even like history."
She narrowed her eyes at the paintbrush in her hand like it had personally offended her, but quickly let it go and rolled her eyes instead. "Fine, I'll find somebody that likes history and give it to them. Happy?"
Yes, that was something he could work with.
"Your uncle's friend, Bass, didn't you tell me that he likes history, once?" Or a thousand times. "Maybe he'll want it," he suggested.
"I doubt it," Charlie muttered.
"And why is that?"
She glared at the little army man. Jeremy could tell that she was debating whether she wanted to talk about this again or not.
Because that was where Charlie and Bass were vastly different. Where Charlie was willing to admit that she liked Bass, though she would list one hundred reasons why she shouldn't right after, Bass was barley even capable of admitting that he knew she existed, nonetheless that he had any sort of feelings for her.
Try as he might, Jeremy had never been able to convince Charlie to discuss her feelings with Bass. Actually, as far as he knew, they didn't talk at all. He didn't think that either of them even knew that the other attended therapy sessions, but they definitely didn't know that they were seeing the same therapist.
He imagined that neither of them would be happy about it if they found out.
"I'll just give it to my dad. He loves history stuff." The finality in her tone made it perfectly clear that Bass was not a subject she wished to discuss.
"Well, I'm sure your dad will love it."
As he watched Charlie cross the parking lot through his office window, Jeremy sighed. "What an idiot."
"What happened to your head?"
Miles Matheson. Patient number 052. Required to attend mandatory sessions after an incident in a bar involving three other men and a broken tequila bottle four months ago. Diagnosed with PTSD that he'd never even attempted to deal with and an obvious drinking problem.
Miles shrugged. "Party."
Jeremy was used to his behavior by now. Miles never spoke more than a few sentences during their sessions and that was usually only if he came in hung over. However, the other man appeared to be sober today. Or at least as sober as Miles ever got.
"Sounds like some party. I'm disappointed that you didn't invite me."
Miles rolled his eyes and huffed. Clearly he was upset that he would actually have to speak today. "It wasn't my party so I couldn't have invited you even if I wanted to."
Sarcasm. That was Miles' best defence for everything. Jeremy's best counter weapon was to ignore it completely.
"So whose party was it?"
Miles frowned and picked at a hole in his jeans. "My niece. She just finished college."
"That's great news."
He shrugged again. "I guess. Kids planning on moving to California. My brother is really upset." Miles seemed to get a little angry with that last sentence. "I tried to tell him to back off and give her some space, but he wouldn't listen. Now she's leaving because him and Rachel won't leave her alone."
Now, given the rules of confidentiality, Jeremy wasn't allowed to tell Miles that Charlie was actually leaving because she was hopelessly in love with his best friend, but he could say something else.
"Have you talked with Charlie about it? Maybe she would stay if she knew you wanted her to."
Though he knew for a fact that it wouldn't make any difference. The only thing that would stop Charlie Matheson from fleeing Chicago was Bass Monroe.
Miles shook his head. "Nah, the Kid doesn't even like me hanging around. She only puts up with me because of Bass."
Now that was something new.
"Your friend? What's so special about him?"
Miles sighed and rolled his eyes. "She's... I don't know... she's like... in love with him or something."
Finally, someone else had noticed. Jeremy paused, he'd have to play this just right.
"Really? That must be a little awkward for you."
"Yeah. But not as awkward as him pretending not to like her."
Oh God, this was it. His last chance at actually helping these people.
"Maybe he's worried you wouldn't approve."
Miles snorted, then looked thoughtfully at the shelves of craft boxes. "I don't - or - I didn't." He sighed with frustration. "I don't know."
Jeremy waited. Despite what people thought of his drunken antics, Miles was actually one of the most intelligent people he'd ever met. He knew that Miles would come to the right conclusion on his own.
"It was weird... at first. Now it's just annoying. He always makes up these lame excuses to hang out when he knows I'm going to see Charlie, and when we're there he stares at her and then looks away like he thinks no one saw it. And she always looks so sad when he's 'not noticing' her. I wish that they would just... get it over with already."
Jeremy smiled. That was better than he could have ever hoped for, now he just needed to nudge Miles in the right direction to actually do something about it.
"Maybe you should talk to Charlie about it. You're her uncle. She'll listen to you."
Miles gave him a surprised look. "You want me to tell my niece to screw my best friend?"
"Well, I wouldn't be so crude about it, but maybe encouraging a relationship between them would prevent her from moving away."
Miles turned again to look at the shelves of craft supplies, his face contorted into a look of pure concentration. Jeremy left him to his thoughts.
After a few minutes Miles stood up and ran his hand over a stack of construction paper. "She'll never listen to me - I'm just her crazy, drunk uncle - but maybe I can make both of them listen to each other."
"How do you plan on doing that?" Though Jeremy would have been willing to bet his favorite chair that the answer wasn't going to be a good one.
"I'll make little love notes for each of them, from each other," Miles answered gleefully.
Jeremy watched Miles make what he could only describe as Valentines, complete with very bad love poems and excessive amounts of glitter glue. He shuddered to think about what Charlie would say when she read, 'roses are red, violets are blue, flowers are pretty, and so are you.'
It really was no wonder that Miles was still single.
Jeremy could think of a billion ways that Miles' plan could go wrong, but having come to know Charlie and Bass, he couldn't help but hope that the half-baked idea just might work.
As Miles prepared to leave, Jeremy asked, "are you sure that's a good idea?"
Miles gave him a skeptical look and said, "I thought you weren't supposed to tell me what to do."
"I'm not, I merely asked a question."
He looked down at his childish Valentines and shrugged. "It's either this, or I never see my niece again. I'll take a little glitter over that any day."
Jeremy stared at the place where Miles had disappeared from. "Good luck."
The green and gold sparkly banner read 'Congratulations Bass and Charlie!' Jeremy wandered under the pavilion with a smile and instantly found himself nearly being strangled by an overexcited Charlie.
"I'm so glad you came!" She squealed.
"I've spent the last three years listening to you go on, and on about him, there's no way I was going to miss this." He smiled down at her and found that he truly was happy, not just because he'd managed to help her, but because she was happy. "Come on then, let's see the ring." She held out her left hand to show off the glittering diamond on her finger.
Jeremy whistled. "Man, that thing is huge."
"I know." Charlie bit her lip nervously and looked around to make sure no one was listening in. "I told him that it was too much, but-"
"Charlie, stop." Jeremy put his hands on her shoulders in a comforting way. "Bass loves you and if this one of the ways he wants to show it, let him."
She nodded just as Bass came over and wrapped an arm around her. "Oh good, you guys met." Charlie frowned up at her fiance but before she could even begin to ask what he meant by that, the couple was whisked away by more well-wishers.
Later in the evening, Jeremy found himself at the makeshift bar having a drink with Miles. The other man frowned at him over the rim of his glass. "I thought you weren't supposed to encourage my drinking."
Jeremy shrugged. "I'm not here as your therapist. I'm just a friend, here to celebrate, like everyone else."
Miles nodded and looked over at the smiling couple. They really did look happy together. "I almost can't believe that those stupid cards actually worked."
Chuckling, Jeremy poured them another drink. "And you thought arts and crafts were stupid."