Will Graham, a young mute, is forced to seek the guidance of a new psychiatrist in the hopes of recovering from his ailment. The doctor in question, Hannibal Lecter, is seemingly perfect- respectful of Will’s social anxiety and careful in his methods. However, Will soon finds, as treatment after treatment fails to provide any results, that the doctor is willing to explore the unconventional side of psychiatry as he fosters a twisted yet delightful codependency.
outside Doctor Hannibal Lecter’s office.
His hands shook so he hid them in his pockets.
At first, Will had been dismayed at the news of switching to a new psychiatrist as he had come to enjoy Dr.Bloom’s company. He had felt progress was made.
But he was wrong and it didn’t matter how he had felt.
Will could recall how her gentle frown curled around soft words, “Will, we have reached the point in our doctor-patient relationship where I can no longer be an asset in your progress. I need you to refocus your attention on getting your voice out, and not learning to live silently. I’m giving you a referral to someone who will provide you the treatment I can no longer give.”
And he had done little more than grunt in response.
The shifting in his peripheral vision as the office door opened lifted him from his thoughts as he came face to face with the psychiatrist.
A quick register of facial features- prominent brow, thin lipped, fine hair, and dark eyes- before Will allowed his gaze to settle on the paisley tie fastened around the man’s neck.
Dr.Lecter allowed a soft smile as he greeted, “Good evening, Will. Please come in,” with accented words.
Will regarded the taller man for a moment, before forcing himself to walk past the doctor into the enormous office space.
Dr.Lecter followed behind Will as he closed the door. In easy strides he was seated comfortably in a black leather chair with an identical chair placed parallel, awaiting Will in open invitation.
However Will opted to slowly wander his way around the office as it helped ease his anxiety some what. He wondered if already a patient as difficult as himself irritated the doctor and to what extend. Despite these concerns Will couldn’t voice them, an imagined disconnect between the pathways of his brain and his vocal cords would not allow it.
”Will, I seek to create a safe environment for you. I will not force you to speak, not if you don’t want to. However, upon the recommendation from Dr.Bloom, these sessions will be more challenging than you’re accustomed to. Without significant progress your condition may worsen and regress into depression.”
Will knew these things. Dr.Bloom often reminded him about the severity of his situation. She often questioned his dedication to his recovery. And she was often right, if not always.
Silence settled in the space only to he filled with the slight shifting of pen against paper. Will noticed that Dr.Lecter’s gaze was now cast at a hardcover journal in his lap. The mute wondered what notes he was taking…It put Will slightly on edge but this allowed him to look at the psychiatrist freely for those dark eyes not longer followed his movements around the room.
Unfortunately those dark eyes returned with a strange fondness, catching Will’s gaze momentarily before before he shifted away.
“I believe it would beneficial to your treatment if you bought a family member or friend who you are comfortable with to participate in our sessions. In many cases, this comfort has sped up the recovery process. Do you have anyone who would accompany you to our next session?” Dr.Lecter asked with ease.
Will thought for a moment and allowed his grimace to show plainly. The psychiatrist had to know that for a mute there were few opportunities for friendship. And family was a whole other issue entirely- an issue Dr.Lecter would likely want explore in the future- just as Dr.Bloom had tried to explore.
Will shook his head slowly, and the psychiatrist hummed in acknowledgement.
Dr.Lecter then set down his pen, tore a page from the journal, and made way for his desk.
Will focused on the shuffling of papers before the doctor’s smooth voice broke through the quiet once again, “Through the means of indirect communication, mutes often find it easier to establish familiarity with those who they are unable to speak to directly. I wrote you a letter, I’d like for you to read it at home and respond when you are comfortable in doing so- but hopefully before our next session.”
From where he stood at his desk, he held a crisp envelope out to Will.
Reluctantly, Will closed the distance between them to pluck the letter from the doctor with a shaky hand, before Will reestablished some semblance of distance with a few meager steps back.
“Did you try this technique with Dr.Bloom?”
Will shook his head.
“Hopefully, this proves to be a fruitful beginning to your treatment.”
Will spared Hannibal a questioning look, focusing his gaze for only for a moment, as he followed Dr.Lecter to the office door.
“Have a fine rest of your evening, Will. I look forward to our next session.”
Will nodded in response as he moved past and heard the door shut behind him.
Left now to his privacy, with his nerves calming, he regarded the envelope in his hand. It had “Will Graham” sprawled across the front in fine penmanship, as well as a stamp in the right hand corner. Will’s brow scrunched in confusion when he saw in the left hand corner not Dr.Lecter’s office address but only what he could assume was the man’s home address.
Either way, Will folded the envelope into his jacket, thankful to be in and out in such a relatively short period of time, and left the building without a word- not that that was unusual in any circumstance.
Within the spacious office Hannibal considered his session with Will, the young man with a ferocious intelligence behind his blue eyes.
He wondered what it would take to pull sounds from such an interesting young man.
I stare at the picture, shocked and feeling so busted. I should have known. I should have known when I ran into Lecter today. No secret stays secret. I should have told Mark. I can’t hear the fast beating of my heart as I count the seconds before I’ll have to look up at him. Delaying the moment, I pick up the picture and examine it.
It was taken through the horizontal blinds on Lecter’s office at the university. Lecter has my face in his hands, the back of his head to the camera, and my eyes are closed. This must have been taken during the nanosecond of shock when I didn’t react. Something more important than this occurs me. Someone took a picture of me. Someone spied on me. Someone sent the picture to try to break us up.
“Who sent you this?” I ask quietly.
“I don’t know, but that’s not what I’m talking about right now.” He snaps, a cold bote in his voice.
“What does that mean?” He asks expectingly.
“He took me by surprise.” I whisper.
“Look at me when you talk to me.” He orders. Reluctantly, I lift my eyes to his. They are hard, impassive, promising so much anger to come.
“I was saying goodbye and he kissed me.” I murmur.
“And you just stood there like this.” He says. I want to say no. That’s he’s crazy, but that’s exactly what the picture shows.
“Listen, I know how it looks, but I did push him away.” I reply, trying my best to make him believe me.
“Oh, really?” He arches an eyebrow. If he’s starting like this, there’s no way I’ll get out of his mess.
“Mark, you have to trust me.” I insist.
“I did not cheat on you.”
He stares at me, struggling to believe it.
“You know that. It’s on your list.” I remind him. He sighs, deeply.
“Okay.” He gives in. “I believe you.” He says. My shoulders sag a little in relief.
“I pushed him away, I was surprised at first. It came out of nowhere.” I explain.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asks.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see him again.” I admit.
“You saw him today.” He counters.
“I ran into him.”
“What was he doing there? Did he kiss you again?” He asks.
“No. And he was…” I’m tempted to lie, because I don’t want to make him even more mad. But I’ve lied too much and I’m not proud of it.
“He owns the cabinet.” I confess.
“He came hoping he’d be able to avoid me, because he didn’t want me to know he pulled strings for me.” I explain.
“He’s selling his stocks so he had to come to talk to his associates. I saw him.” I add. He stares at me, his brow furrowed, his jaw set, his arms crossed over his chest.
“He’s your boss.” He states.
“No, Mrs Springfield is.” I correct him.
“He’s the majority stockholder. He’s your boss’ boss, he can hire you and fire you.” He grinds out, not wanting me to play on words.
“So, it’s okay for him to pull strings for you, but not for me?” He asks.
“I didn’t know until today.” I defend myself lamely.
“You didn’t tell me.” He retorts.
“Instead you both lied to my face.” He mutters. I look down at my lap, ashamed, running out of arguments in my defense. Nothing can excuse what I’ve done. I’m not proud of myself, I wish I handled things differently. I don’t know what to do now.
Sighing again, Mark takes the envelope and the picture out of my hands and turns to leave.
“What are you going to do?” I ask to his back.
“Ruin his fucking career.” He says through gritted teeth as he walks out, determined. I gasp in horror.
“No!” I cry, scrambling out of bed and following him. He can’t ruin his career over a kiss. He should pay for my lies.
“See, this is why I never tell you about things like this, you-”
“Things like this?” He whirls around, and I almost bump into his chest.
“What?” I stare up at him, confused.
“Because it happened more than one time?” He asks. Ah, shit. I gave myself away. Unconsciously, I was referring to the times when guys made a move on me and I didn’t tell Mark. Those where innocent lies.
“No.” I splutter. “I mean yes, but not with him.”
He frowns and scowls at me.
“And you never told me.” He mutters. I swallow. I am so in trouble. I’m realizing I’m not any better than him when it comes to honesty. But I just think those events are not relevant. It’s just some ass grabbing or stolen kisses for former friends who thought we could be more than friends. I cut all ties with all the guys who tried to kiss me, kissed me, or confessed their feelings for me. Mark coming at them now to ruin their lives would be useless and overreacting.
“I knew you’d go thermonuclear.” I reply.
“I have the right to!” He shouts. I remain silent, unable to contradict him.
“Who?” He asks, sighing.
“I don’t want you to try to ruin their lives just because they made a small mistake. They paid for it. Either they got slapped or kicked in the balls.” I reply. He narrows his eyes at me, glowering.
“Who.” He repeats. I lift my chin, convinced that the other guys don’t matter.
“I’m not telling you.” I declare.
“Talk about being honest.” He spits.
“Listen, I’m sorry people want to kiss me, but I am not sorry for hiding it from you. I messed up with Lecter because he’s not in the past anymore, but the others don’t matter at all.” I murmur.
“Because they’re not your boss?” He asks, making me wince inwardly. I just want to solve the problem at hand, not go back in the past when it’s no use.
“I’ll resign if you want, but don’t go look for problems. We don’t need this.” I plead.
“You planned on staying, didn’t you?” He says reproachfully. He’s not asking me to leave, is he? Can he? Would it be legitimate? Would I accept?
“I don’t know what to do. This is my dream job and soon he’ll be gone, but in the other hand it’s not how I wanted to get it.” I argue, and soon realize that even if he doesn’t ask me to leave, I can’t expect him to want me to stay.
“But I’ll leave.” I add quickly, defeated.
“So you can blame me later.” He mutter, accusation filling his voice. He turns on his heels and paces down the hallway.
“No!” I call after him, following his steps. He enters his office and paces around his desk.
“You don’t want to resign because of how you got the job, but to protect Lecter.” He says. Well, in a way, I’m protecting him, but I’m also protection Mark. He doesn’t need to get to upset, it’s useless, and I know how sensible he is.
“I just don’t want you to overreact.” I reply.
“It’s crazy how no matter what you do, I’m always the one who’s wrong.” He mutters, sitting down at his desk. What the fuck?
“When I hide something from you, I’m a sneaky son of a bitch, but when it’s you, you’re the kind woman saving everyone from the awful human being I am.” He says bitterly. My jaw drops open.
“You really have a strange way of boosting my self-esteem, Abigail. Sometimes you do make me feel like shit.” He concludes. So now I’m the one making him feel miserable. Just because I am mad at him? He’s trying to make me look like the bad person, like someone who’s constantly hurting him and belittling him. Like I’m…her.
I feel insulted. It’s like he’d turning a blind eye on all the times I’ve supported him, all the times I’ve complemented. Of course I’ve hurt him before, but that doesn’t make me anything like her.
“Fuck you.” We both say at the same time. He knew I would say that.
“You’re getting predictable.” He mutters. Do I really insult him that much?
Still, I am no Olivia. And if he thinks this is coming close to what he did to me, he’s stupid.
“I didn’t hide some kind of insane affair with an abusive ex, Mark.” I remark.
“No, you’re working for someone who wants in your panties.” He retorts.
“I never replied to his advances, you, you kept that relationship going on for three years. And god knows how long you could have gone with her.” I argue.
“So I’m just supposed to shut up and wait until you fuck up royally to have the right to be angry?” He retorts. I remain silent.
“We’re not keeping track of scores here.” He mutters. He has a point. Rubbing his past mistakes in his face is a low blow, and that’s not a way to solve the situation.
“Okay.” I give in. “You have all the right to be mad at me.”
“I know I fucking do.” He grumbles.
“I didn’t want to hurt you, or betray you. I didn’t handle things well. In fact, I still don’t know how to handle things.” I explain.
“You could have asked me for advice.” He says. “You could have talked to me.” He adds. “You were the one claiming you always felt the need to talk to me. Why did you not tell me?” He asks. Looking down at my feet shamefully, I mumble an answer.
“I don’t like the way you react.” I reply.
“That is something I can work on.” He says, pulling my eyes to his. He’s ready to work on this?
“But you hiding things from me isn’t helping me.” He adds. He’s right, he should face his demons. Not face them and then having me saying how he should handle them. I shouldn’t have forbidden him to react like this. I was way too hostile about it and it didn’t help at all.
“I’m sorry.” I murmur, taking a step forward to reach him.
“Don’t, Abigail.” He holds a hand in the air, stopping me in my tracks. “I’m too mad for this.” He says.
“If the media gets hold of this…” He trails off, rubbing his eyes in frustration. My eyes widen as I realize the possibility of this being blackmailing. If the media gets hold of this, we’re good for a mess.
“I need to find out who did this and what that person wants.” He mutters. Damage control. He’s trying to clean up my mess.
“I didn’t want to embarrass you.” I murmur.
“Stop with that nonsense.” He snaps. I swallow, looking down at my tangled fingers.
“Don’t wait for me, I’ll probably be working late.” He says, dismissing me for good. Unable to risk a glance towards him, I turn on my heels and obey.
I fall asleep before he comes to bed that night, and wake up in an empty bed.
After showering, dressing up and putting my make up on, I adventure myself into the living area and find a petite silhouette in the kitchen.
I scream, scared of the intrudor, and the woman jumps, turning from the stove to face me, her hands flying out in a punch.
“Kate.” I sigh, recognizing our housekeeper. I wasn’t expecting her that soon, but then Mark must have called her early since he left before I woke.
“Abigail, you scared me.” The petite middle-aged brunette brings her hands to her heart. Needing support to recover, I lean against the breakfast bar.
“What are you doing here?” I ask her.
“Breakfast.” She points to the pan of bacon behind her.
“Mr Tuan asked me to tell you he has a breakfast meeting. And he’ll have to work late today, so you should take your car to go to work.” She says. Of course he’ll come late.
“It’s funny who he gets so busy when we fight.” I mutter to myself.
“He seemed upset.” Kate says. Before I can think of something to say, my phone starts to ring from somewhere in the living room.
“Excuse me.” I tell Kate. Escaping from the kitchen, I find my phone on the coffee table. Glancing at the caller’s ID, I see it’s Bea.
“Hi.” I say as I pick up.
“Did you see Page Six?” She asks without greeting me back. I lift my eyes to the ceiling.
“I don’t read Page Six.” I remind her. I’m sick of all the garbage you find in magazines.
“Go read it. Like, now. I’m not joking.” She snaps before hanging up. I stare at my phone, shocked. What is wrong with her? And what’s so important on Page Six? Did they report something true, for once? Entering safari, I Google the website and click on the link.
Teachers’ Pet: After stealing her fiancee and former math teacher’s heart Abigail Kraige is back at it again with her psychology professor.
That’s the headline of today’s news, written across the picture of Lecter kissing me.