It was the fourth day in a row that I witnessed the same skeptical green eyes peering into the tinted windows of my office. Always the same routine: Look in. Turn away. Pace a bit. Leave.
I wish he'd just come in already. The police may pick him up before anything, for being so fucking shady.
"Pfft." Zoe, a thin woman in a startlingly white doctor's coat, scoffed playfully from the front desk. Sitting a little ways back from her, my eyes had been idly going over client files as we began to clean up for the day. However, perhaps seeking some form of amusement in this otherwise dull atmosphere, my eyes shifted up to her looming figure as she waved off a sandy haired teen.
"Goodbye, Mr. Clarkson! Please, feel free to return to us any time you wish!" She shouted in a sing-song voice, her eyes crinkling with an impish grin. Followed soon after was an outburst of something between a wheeze and a snort as she clapped a hand over her mouth to silence her giggle fit.
Lowering the papers in my hand, I hummed in agitation to let her know that she was in trouble. Despite my best efforts, the deeply tanned woman made no attempt to straighten herself out, and soon her honey-ish eyes were on me.
"Vaughn, can you believe that boy came in here asking if he could speak to someone-" Her sentence became broken with laughter as she struggled to keep a straight face, "-about how to ask a girl out? To prom!"
My unimpressed stare did nothing to wane her merriment with the situation as a sigh escaped my lips. I rose from my chair and adjusted my tie, setting my papers down as she continued.
"Oh come on, don't be mad. Vaughn, please. He came to a therapist's office for dating advice... that's some next level desperation. With confidence that fragile, I could've reassured him with a pat on the back and a lollipop."
"And this is why you're still a trainee." I chided lightly, and I could tell the freckles on her face wrinkled in disgust at the word without even looking at her.
"That's so mean! You know I've been trying to get licensed!"
Walking over to the blinds, I parted them to check for the teenager. "Yeah well, if you treat your clients like that, you never will-"
My sentence died in my throat as the familiar sight of piercing green irises appeared in the frosted glass. I was seeing this so often that it felt like a vision or hallucination by this point. Possibly an image I vaguely remember from a dream, right before I wake up. Nonetheless, I am rattled back into reality when the emerald eyes move away from the window, completely unaware of my presence.
"What? Is someone there?"
Zoe asks curiously, and I am only now registering her figure beside me. Her frizzy brunette hair swayed side to side as she tried to position her head to make out what I had seen. I pursed my lips slightly and stepped away from the blinds.
"It's that kid again."
The young woman's face lit up in recognition as it had become a recurring topic between us lately. The same boy had been coming by the office for the past few days, not entering, and not saying a word to us. It is not uncommon for people not to come in for scheduled appointments, but those people didn't even bother to show their face near the office. This boy, in his usual attire of a dark hoodie and skinny jeans, would just linger outside. This happened consistently each week, and he would always display the same fidgety, nervous demeanor. Honestly though... it was starting to get creepy. It was almost comparable to us having a stalker with OCD.
Zoe merely closed her eyes and shook her head, reaching down to take a sip of decaf from her pastel colored mug.
"Let's hope he actually walks in this time, and has something more substantial than the upcoming prom to talk about." She joked and lowered the mug, swishing its contents about mischievously.
"Young people these days, maybe I should be the one getting paid for fixing people's problems."
I raised an eyebrow at Zoe's musings, throwing a smirk her way for even insinuating that.
"Yeah, that'll be the day." I shot back and raked a hand through my dark colored hair, the humor dissipating from my expression as I look up. In my peripherals I notice the boy outside lean against the large glass window and pull out his cell phone. I frown at this, shuffling through the papers on my desk as I check the time. 4:23 p.m reflects back at me from my watch's face as I go down the list of appointments for the day.
"Zoe...." I mutter, and she barely acknowledges me with a hum as she sips her coffee. Tapping a pen to the ink lined paper, I continue. "Do you think he's my 4:30?"
"The teenager outside who looks like he hates life and hasn't grown out of his My Chemical Romance phase."
I heard the distinct sound of Zoe choking on her coffee before snickering, "now look who's poking fun at potential clients." She uttered snarkily, though with her usual playful undertone as she wiped her mouth clean and turned to inconspicuously look at him. She paused for a moment and crossed her arms in thought before replying.
"Can't say, but he's been popping up here the last few days. Maybe he's just waiting for somebody at this time, and squatting at our doorstep?"
I narrowed my eyes a bit at the thought before standing up from the front desk again. I began to make my way to the front door of the office with purpose, mumbling something along the lines of, "I can't just have him loitering outside though."
Zoe made no attempt to stop me as I approached the door, and upon getting closer to the window I realized something. The boy looked more annoyed than usual and seemed to be typing 60 words per second as his fingers flew around his phone screen.
Who could he be texting so furiously…? I wondered as I slowly pushed open the front door, eyeing the irritated teen whose attention was locked firmly on his phone. I intended to hard press him for his reasons for being out here so often, but I could feel the edge in my voice soften significantly as I called out.
"Hello?" I greeted him, though it was mostly an attempt at grabbing his attention. Boy did it work; he was so buried in his phone screen that he seemed to nearly jump out of his skin at just the sound of my voice. His hand gripped his phone tightly to his chest as he whirled around to face me. Immediately, I noticed the irritation drain from his features in fear, and I recognized the expression of someone who knew they were doing something wrong. In fact, his face was exactly that of a kid being caught with their hand in the cookie jar. My cold disposition seemed to melt even further as I realized this, the other being stunned into silence as I decided it would be best to just move the conversation forward.
"Are you coming in?"
"I-" He started meekly, though seemed to trash that response as he quickly found his nerve again and steeled his tone.