Seamus woke to find himself staring into the chocolate brown eyes of a beautiful woman. The edges were lined in a deep, sleepy purple, and it made him feel calm, though his heart fluttered and beat itself mercilessly against his ribcage. She had a long sweep of ink-like hair that fell perfectly over one shoulder, that clung to the curve of her body as she leaned forward to inspect him.
He stiffened. He wondered in a mild panic what Sawyer had done this time to land himself here. Would they be compromised together? Had he decided to confess to the incident? However, as he noticed the depth and trust of the woman’s eyes, the unbridled innocence and honesty that lurked behind the shade of her lashes, he understood with a wave of dismay why Sawyer had entered this office.
“He’s gone,” he snapped at her. He hadn’t meant to sound harsh and callous, yet had somehow managed to do so. She recoiled slightly at his sharp tone. “He’s not here anymore. It’s just you and me.”
If she was confused, as he suspected she would be, she did not let on.
“I see. So, who are you then?”
“Seamus… last name?”
“I dunno. Just Seamus.”
Seamus was struck by how beautiful she was as he listened to her soft, soothing voice. It was breathy and quiet, as if she were struggling to take a gulp of air. Her eyes narrowed at him before she spoke once more.
“Well, Seamus, what can you tell me about yourself?”
“Look, lady, I-”
“Look, Amelia, I can’t tell you all that much, just for your own sake. What I can tell you is that you gotta stop seeing Sawyer. Send him to another therapist if you’re worried, but get him out of your life.”
“Well perhaps he is, but only to himself.”
Seamus could hear his voice raising at this woman, this beautiful, beautiful woman bent on helping Sawyer, but something in him was desperate to make her run from him as soon as possible. He failed to understand why it was that she remained in the couch opposite him, regarding him with a pensive, but otherwise unconcerned expression.
“Lady, he’s bad news. You don’t know. You don’t know him, you don’t know his life. You don’t know the people he’s hurt, the things he’s done, I-I’m just trying to protect you.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do as you say until I’m granted more information on these circumstances.” Seamus swore audibly. Running his hands through his already tousled hair, he stood up, paced, sat down, stood up and paced before sitting down again. Amelia didn’t move a muscle.
“Fine. What do you want to know?”
“What exactly-forgive me for being so blunt. What exactly are you?”
“I’m the guy that cleans up Sawyer’s messes. We go together, but not exactly by choice.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I don’t exactly approve of the things he does. Doesn’t really matter all that much though, since he doesn’t know I exist.”
“So you appear every now and then?”
“Yeah, I guess. Whenever Sawyer can’t handle something in his life, I’m there.”
“So why are you here now?”
“You mentioned his babysitter.”
“His childhood babysitter. You mentioned her.”
“Can I ask-”
She looked vaguely irritated, but said nothing.
“So why is it,” she began, “that I need to discontinue my sessions with Sawyer?”
Seamus contemplated how he could explain that Amelia might one day find herself on the news. How could he explain that her family might turn on channel five to find her body being fished out of a river, or scraped off the pavement beneath a several-story building? He imagined her response. Her eyes would widen, and fill with tears as she’d realize that the man warning her about her death was also her executioner. She would place her manicured hand over her mouth, and begin to sob helplessly. Seamus would sit there, across the room from her, merely waiting until Sawyer decided to take the reins once more. At least she would know the truth.
“He’s done things…Things that would keep you up at night.”
“I’m a therapist. I’m licensed to listen to people tell me things they think would keep me up at night.”
He groaned in frustration, and began to beat his fist against the couch cushions. The cool fabric felt nice against his fist, but blood pounded in his ears and he felt dizzy and lightheaded.
“You don’t understand! You’re in danger, even as we speak.” She looked intrigued, and we wished he could shake sense into her, force her to run from her office and never return. “When he comes back, you won’t be safe. I won’t hurt you, but he will.”
“But his depression-”
“Please. Just listen.” She fell silent. “I don’t want you to be stuck in a situation you’ll regret. A kind, intelligent, and beautiful woman such as yourself deserves so much more than-”
“Than what?” Her voice was gentle, but there was something else. An edge. A slight lilt of interest. Perhaps desire, but he could never be sure.
“Than what Sawyer’s going to… Than what Sawyer will do to you. What he’ll give you.”
“And what’s that? What will he do to me? What will he give me?”
Seamus sighed, exhaling until his lungs hurt. “Death.”
The word hung in the air like poison, tainting everything it touched.
Amelia had frozen in place, but she was not in hysterics like he had imagined she would be. Something about her seemed unlike any other woman he’d met during his short time in control.
“He’s going to kill me?”
“I can’t say when, but eventually, yes.”
“I can’t say. I know how his mind works, but I’ve never been privy to the intimate details of how he selects his victims.” She mouthed the word victim, as if the word itself tasted odd in her mouth.
“So, if Sawyer is dangerous, couldn’t I just turn him in?”
“You could, but I’d really prefer you not.”
“Why? He’s going to kill me, isn’t he?”
“Well, you see, if you turn Sawyer into the authorities, chances are he’ll be imprisoned or executed for his crimes. As much as I’d like to take the high road, I don’t particularly want to die.”
“In a manner of speaking, I suppose I am.”
“I don’t want to die either.”
“So long as I’m here, you won’t.”
“How can you be sure?” She sounded curious. Or suspicious? Seamus was having trouble reading the woman.
“Well, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always acted as a sort of restriction for Sawyer. I clean up his messes, prevent all the tragedies I can. I pride myself in my ‘justice work’, if you will.”
She seemed skeptical. One eyebrow raised, hands on hips.
“Besides, you don’t seem like the type of gal to be able to sleep at night knowing she could’ve tried to help someone in need of it but instead chose to put him away, do you?”
She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it. She cast her eyes down to the floor, and slowly, slowly shook her head.
“Fine. However, I want to learn more about this situation. About your situation. About his. I want to see you and him once a week.”
Seamus paused. He wanted to refuse her. But what choice did he have? To protect himself and Sawyer, he would have to abide by her request.
“With that said,” Amelia Edwards told him sternly, the shadow of a grin gracing her features, “please show yourself out before your other half decides not to waste his time in ending my life.”
He saw the smile vanish from her face just as her office door shut behind him.