Chapter 17. Here is the new chapter…not really a lot to say about it except that I had limited control in writing it…it has a mind of its own…anyway I hope you enjoy it.

To KandiiKane96: I know I said I would have it up by last weekend…I really can tell Wednesday and the weekend apart things just got complicated…thanks for waiting.

Disclaimer: I own Elise not Sweets

Spoilers: None

"Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough."

Richard M. DeVos

Sweets was thumbing idly though the latest copy of Physiologists Weekly when there was a soft knock on his door. "Come in," he called quickly shifting, so he was sitting up straight in his chair.

Slowly the door swung open, and Elise poked her head around the corner looking as if she was not sure she was supposed to be there. "Do you have a moment, Dr. Sweets?" she asked politely, and Sweets was slightly shocked, not by her request, but by her respectful tone. Over the past few years he had grown so accustomed to almost everyone looking down on him that he forgot that was not a normal situation.

"Sure," he said hurriedly setting his magazine down on the table, "What can I do for you today Miss Dogood?"

"Please," she told him with a charming smile as she sat down on the couch opposite him, "Call me Elise."

"Alright," he told her, smiling back without realizing he was doing so, "What can I do for you today Elise?"

"Dr. Saroyan has made psychological evaluations mandatory for everyone on the team," Elise explained.

"For everyone on the team?" Sweets asked emphasizing the word everyone.

"Yes," Elise replied, "Why?" Then it hit her. "Oh you're worried about Katharine."

"Not worried," Sweets clarified quickly, "Just a little apprehensive. She can be a bit…" he considered his word choice carefully, "much at times."

"Oh I know," she said with an air of smugness, "I knew her in high school."

"Why don't you tell me about that?" Sweets suggested, figuring that it was as good a place as any to start with the psych evaluation.

"Well in our senior year, I was Prom Queen, and she was Valedictorian," Elise explained as if that explained everything, "but it started long before that. In fact I think it started the first day of freshman year, I don't know what she thinks I did, but she was always terse and sarcastic with me. She wouldn't work with groups with me in class either or talk with me at lunch."

Sweets thought about that for a moment, while he believed every word Elise had just said to be true he still thought there was something missing. He could tell from his interactions with both women that there had to be something that had sparked the feud because otherwise it would have become an arrangement of mutual apathy. Neither would have turned indifference into a fight without provocation, Elise because she was the type who liked peace and harmony, and Katharine because she did not deliberately make her life more complicated without a good cause.

"Was there any kind of confrontation between the two of you?" Sweets asked after a few moments.

"Several over the course of the years," Elise replied fingering the cross hanging around her neck, "I tried so hard not to, but she was just a poor lost soul. I was worried that if she did not find God she would be doomed, but she would never listen to me. I think it was her sister's influence really."

"Did you ever tell her that?" Sweets questioned.

"That she needed to come to Jesus?" Elise asked, "Of course I did, all the time, but she kept reading those dirty books. She never understood that I was just trying to help her."

Sweets found that he was deeply taken with Elise. She was sweet, gentle, and genuinely seemed to care about other people, even her enemies. She also seemed to have a good heart, which had somehow escaped the damage the world had inflicted on so many other people he knew. He found it refreshing to meet someone so alive and happy.

"Okay," he told her, "I have a few routine questions I need to ask and then you can leave."

"Alright," she replied with no hint of annoyance or trepidation.

"What was the nature of your family situation growing up?" he questioned, making a mental note to make a physical list of questions for these interviews.

"It was absolutely normal," she told him serenely, "My mother and my father loved each other, and they loved me and my brother. We lived in our little dream house and had our own little version of the American Dream."

"Interesting," Sweets said nodding his head and looking down and his blank notepad, "Now would you mind telling me the real version of the story?"

"That is the real version," Elise told her eyes widening in shock.

"No," he replied thoughtfully, "I don't think it is. I think you have repeated it so many times, to so many people, for so long, that you have begun to believe it as the truth."

"You think I'm lying?" she asked, still perfectly calm.

"No," he said with a shake of his head, "I just don't think you're telling the whole truth."

She thought about it for a moment. "You are very good at what you do, Dr. Sweets," Elise told him thoughtful, "I can see that. So I will tell you that yes, it was a little more complicated. I just don't like to talk about it."

Sweets looked at her for a moment, and it occurred to him that this was one more blatant difference between Elise and Katharine. When confronted with the need to talk about a bitter part of the past, Katharine, while generally not happy about it, would usually tell you whatever it was or tell you to go away because it was 'not of your damn business.' Elise on the other hand had simply come up with a more pleasant edited version.

He mentally shook himself that was not relevant right now. "So which part do you not like to talk about?" he asked, realizing as he did so just how unfeeling that questions sounded, but Elise did not seem to mind too much.

"My father," she explained, "he loved us all, but he wasn't around a lot because of work, and he missed a lot."

Sweets almost smiled. It rather anticlimactic compared to some pasts of the other people he worked with, and he found that almost as refreshing as Elise's easy charm. "I have a meeting I need to go to," he told her, "but if you want to pick up this up again later I make you an appointment."

"I would like that very much," she replied with a wide smile, "and one more thing."

"Yea," Sweets said watching her as she gracefully stood up.

"May I call you Lance?" she asked him.

"Sure," he replied with a little smile and a nod.

"Well then," she told him, "I will see you later Lance."

Yea…so…about that…what did you think? Please review and tell me what you think…