He pressed the phone to his ear, pacing back and forth in a small circle around the carpet of his apartment hallway. Claire answered in a heart beat.
Anxiety bubbled angrily in his chest, as if he couldn’t get anymore disgruntled. His shirt had been wrinkled, his hands were sweaty, his face had been bright red from the struggle he made to find his phone.
He grew anxious at certain things, but they were all very reasonable he thought. Nobody likes getting told what to do, nobody likes to be touched without permission, and nobody likes not knowing were something is.
“Shaun.. I can’t understand you.. What? What about being stuck?”
“My apartment.. -I left my keys on the counter, I left my keys on the counter.”
Shaun Murphy felt morally obligated to always be in order. It was just how he was, He made sure to stick to his strict routine and strict rules. Things like locking himself out of his own apartment was not part of his strict routine.
“I made a list. I made a list. I left my keys on the counter, I left my badge on the drawer, I left my keys on the counter. Stuck- I’m stuck-“
His breathing got heavy, nerves tingling his finger tips and making them feel like they were on fire. He tensed his shoulders and dropped them quickly, only to do it again while lifting a hand to his left ear, Just hovering. He flexed his hand a little, trying to let out some of his extra energy.
“Shit.. Okay. Look I’m going to be right over alright? I need you to breath in the meantime. Keep your hands safe..”
He slid down to the dirty floor.
Shaun shakily returned his phone into his backpack’s side pocket, next to his scalpel. Dr. Glassman had weened him off of needing it in situations like this, of course he planned on exercising that today.
“I left my keys on the counter..” he explained to himself.
Crescent shaped marks found there way to his face, his nails dug deeply into his temples, harshly scratching all the way down to his cheeks. He rubbed the skin with his nails, up and down, again and again. It made his hands busy.
His red face contorted into something of disgust, he messed up, he messed up. He knew he could’ve done better he could’ve done more to prevent it.
He could’ve done more to help Steve.
The doctor didn’t realize he was crying until he choked on a sob. He scooted himself back and touched the ugly creme painted wall with his spine, he couldn’t feel his legs.
Clammy hands found their way to his hair. He tugged. Sharp. Everything felt dizzy.
Claire was here.. Oh.. Claire was here.
And didn’t she look a mess. If it wasn’t for his current state he would’ve commented on it. Her long hair was unkept and tied up in a bun on the side of her head. He knew it was meant to be on the top. Her shoes were unusual, black flats that seemed to be heavily worn. Though he never seen her wear them.
“I-I.. left my keys on the counter- I-“
“I know Shaun I know.. I’m going to get your keys-“
“The door is locked.”
“I know.. I called a locksmith they’re on the way, They fix things like this all the time.. I promise they’ll be here soon.”
Shaun’s breathing sped up, More people? More people meant more sounds, meant more hands, More touching, More-
“Shaun? Get out of your head please.. Look at me, Look at me. Breathe.. Breathe..”
The uncomfortable shift of his eyes to hers lead his deep breaths. They really did help him relax, it made the pool in his stomach smaller. He grew uncomfortable with her eyes on him, his knees suddenly grew so much more interesting.
“Thank you..” Shaun pressed his right cheek into his right knee, causing a shift in energy.
“Did you do that to yourself?”
Claire carefully squatted down to his level, watching his body language to make sure she wasn’t making him feel uncomfortable. “Can I touch your face?” She asked gently, following his eyes to the floor.
A few fingers brushed against the raised skin, inspecting it. A sigh left her, one small open wound stared back at he among all the other closed ones. It was angry and jagged from his nails, not deep enough to cause any problems but it was a cut nevertheless. She examined the area further, finding the same jagged markings on her friends neck. Those of course were healed over leaving scabs and some even scars.
Now she finally could put two and two together..
“You have to tell Dr. Glassman about these.”
He glanced at her briefly, in a panicked kind of way. Only to return to his blank stare off onto the floor.
“Then I will tomorrow.. He’ll be mad.”
She huffed, seeing as she got tired of squatting for so long. She decided to join him on the floor. “And why- uhm.. I doubt he’ll be mad at you. It seems like you’ve been doing it for a while Shaun.” She caught herself, always forgetting not to ask questions.
“It was something I did as a teen. I started doing it again only recently.” If it was possible, his normally robotic voice sounded disappointed. He was disappointed in himself.
“I can talk to him about it if you like.. I’m sure if he’s upset about it he’ll take some of it out on me and be a little less harsh on ya”
“Claire.. Why are you so nice to me?” he asked in his robotic tone, lifting his head to politely look at her face.
“The real question is, why aren’t more people nice to you Murphy.”