By Friday, Arnold’s disposition had not improved and it had not taken long for the two psychiatrists to notice his behavior. Maddox took it upon herself to go upstairs while he was pacing and insisted on taking him on one of her walks across the Souk.
She attempted to get him to talk, but he was unresponsive. After several minutes of his stonewalling she gripped his paw and forced him to face her, ”The last time we really got the chance to talk you scared me half to death.”
“I didn’t try to,” he mumbled, and she knew that she had won.
He requested they talk more when they got home, but he insisted that she eat something and after the meal was done the cat rolled up his sleeves and started to work on the dishes without being asked. It didn’t take her training to realize he was avoiding the issue.
She had a guess as to why he was upset at least, “You know why I made you stay with me.” She noticed his tail and ears twitch when she brought it up. “I need you here and I can’t bear you going off and getting hurt where I can’t help you!”
“You and Ifurita took care of that nicely this time,” Arnold said as he scrubbed the plate into the water. “Everyone is on watch to make sure I don’t get near any more ships, or urchin balloons.”
She sighed and put a hand on her stomach, rubbing it softly . “You still don’t understand what you mean to anyone…Ifurita is helping me, but because Erehwon told her to. And I don’t need you running off to do things that can be done without you.”
Arnold took the plate out of the water, and frowned. There was still food on it, “I’ll be here, but I’ve heard about the asylum recently. Beatrixe has been constructing the place unchecked… remember what happened last time that happened? When she made the pentagon buildings?”
Maddox chuckled and patted her stomach to soothe the baby. “Yes. Bea is more independent… She likes doing things that she finds pretty…”
Arnold didn’t think that pretty was the word, but he let it slide for now. He took out the plate again and found that there was some kind of black stain on it. He threw it into the water, putting more strength into his efforts.
She looked up, her concern becoming even more apparent on her face. “Arnold, you’re being more evasive than usual. I can find my pad and pen to take notes if you need an official session to open up. And besides, I have all the time you need right now…” She reached out her hand to touch his shoulder and she slipped. She didn’t want to fall out of her rocking chair, but all she could grab was his tail.
Arnold shrieked as he smashed the plate against the sink. His eye twitched in pain, but the doctor righted herself and let go. He turned on her angrily, rubbing his tail soothingly. “What was that for?!”
The doctor explained and then added pointedly, “Perhaps you should look at me while we’re talking.”
Arnold shifted uncomfortably, unsure whether or not he accepted that as an excuse, and then sighed as he looked down at her. She was just concerned and he wasn’t helping. He turned back and began to wash his paws five times, “I’ll get your notebook then.”
The doctor waited while he got comfortable, which took some time as he nursed his tail. Eventually he began, “The first thing I have to tell you is that…Kristos knows something about me…something I’ve been hiding from…everyone. From you. From the world.”
Her look of concern grew deeper, lines of worry creasing her eyes and a frown began as she listened. He didn’t look at her, instead looking at the floor in front of him, “And now someone knows. He’s always known…”
“You know you can tell me anything.” Maddox reassured him.
“I…wasn’t…” Arnold sighed and tried several times, but the words would not come. This wasn’t going to work. He tried to think about how he could tell her. How could he keep hiding it from her when someone else knew? It was wrong that Sonnerstein knew more about him than she did.
But there was something that no one else knew, though, now that he thought about it. The name he was born with. If he told her that then she would know more than Sonnerstein did about him by the time he was done. He looked up at her resolutely and yowled. When she stared at him confused for a moment he explained, “That was my cat name. I think it means Beryl.”