Life as the brother of Emily Grofield had never been easy, but it had gotten a lot harder recently.
I couldn’t begin to tell you what triggered her changes. I couldn’t even tell you if the personality shifts were instantaneous or gradual. She was always just either Emily or Emerald.
It was easy to tell which I was dealing with. They were like night and day. Bright, cheerful, and spacey versus lively, assertive, and confident. I’d say it’d be hard to like one over the other, but the cheerful girl was my sister… I don’t know who Emerald was.
Not that I believed her lie that Emerald was a separate person. It was obviously some sort of psychological break that occurred in response to the whole creepy blood thing with Remington.
Emily: “And then I asked the waiter if I could have a refill and he looked at me like I was crazy!”
Jett: “What do you expect? You asked him for a refill of ketchup!”
Emily laughed in glee.
Emily: “Yeah, but what was I supposed to call getting more ketchup?”
Jett: “Uh… I don’t know!”
Emily laughed and just smiled.
Emily: “This is nice.”
Jett: “What is?”
Emily: “Talking. Like normal people…”
Jett: “What do you mean?”
Emily: “You always treated me like a kid or like I was made of glass.”
Jett: “I didn’t treat you like you were made of glass…”
Had I? Or maybe the question was… Had I started treating her differently in the last few weeks? Was her behavior as Emily really so mundane that I hadn’t been treating her like a ticking time bomb?
Emily: “You did. I get it… I’ve been… hard to deal with. I always felt like I was torn in two, but not anymore. I feel sort of free.”
Emily: “Mmm hmm.”
Jett: “So the whole Emerald thing?”
Emily: “Emerald? Gosh… I haven’t heard her voice in weeks… I guess she fell asleep for good.”
A familiar voice interrupted our conversation.
Westley: “Hey Grofields, I’m glad I’m not late for the meeting of the good looking greens.”
Westley Damico, my best friend since childhood. He’s the son of my parents’ best friends, Amy and Duane.
Emily: “But I’m not that green!”
Westley: “Let me take a peek under that cowgirl outfit at your cow print so I can be the judge.”
Emily started to giggle uncontrollably and she shook her head no.
Jett: “Hey watch what you say about Emi.”
Westley: “Relax. It’s just a little harmless flirting.”
Jett: “This is Emily we’re talking about here. My sister?”
Westley: “Your very hot and suddenly emotionally stable sister.”
While I was contemplating whether or not I ever stomach my best friend to hooking up with my sister, she was introducing herself to a strange man at the end of the bar.
Emily: “What’s the matter? You look so grumpy! I know a lot of good jokes that would cheer you up.”
???: “No, that’s okay. You just smell of grave dust and vampire. I can’t stand it.”
Emily: “Oh um sorry. Okay, bye I guess. Have a nice day.”
Emily: “I’m going to go dance. You guys should join me!”
I looked at my mostly full pint of beer.
Jett: “I’ll be down in a minute.”
Westley: “I’ll go with you, Emi.”
Emily: “Great! I’ve got some awesome new moves to show you.”
Westley: “I’ve got plenty of moves to show you too.”
I groaned in disgust.
Not too long after that, early morning…
It was early. I woke up to the sounds of Emily and Tia chatting. Wasn’t it too early to deal with Tia?
I grabbed some left overs and ate on the couch. Tia and Emily flopped down next to me.
Tia: “So Emi was telling me that your friend might have a little flame burning for her.”
Jett: “Westley? He’s just playing around.”
Tia: “How about you play around with me and the four of us go on a double date.”
Jett: “I… uh… I’m late for class.”
I scrambled up and shoveled the last bits of sandwich into my mouth. Smooth move, but I didn’t really have an answer.
Emily: “I told you it wouldn’t work. He’s very busy with school.”
Tia: “Are you sure he’s into girls?”
Jett: “I’m still right here…”
Tia: “Get to your dorky university so we can talk shit about you.”
I got dressed and made the drive into the city to my university…
Today was the first debate of the school year for the Debate Guild.
I was excited to be a part of the debate, even if the topic of the debate was sleep inducing and my opponent was droll as dirt.
From my spot on the podium, I could see into the small audience. That strange man Emily talked to yesterday was sitting in the crowd. Maybe I was the paranoid one now, but he seemed to be watching me.
I tried to shake off the feeling and finish my argument.
I passed by the man as I took my seat. He rose to look at me. The corners of my lips raised in a nervous smile.
Jett: “Can I help you?”
???: “No, I was just seeing what sort of men the Grofields had become.”
The woman besides him laughed and stood up. My anger was flaring up as they walked off together.
20 minutes before sunset…
Westley: “So Tia seriously wants to go out with you?”
Jett: “I know.”
Westley: “Hey, was it Tia that went around telling everyone she had studied a year abroad in Simgrala and had a baby there, but had to put it up for adoption?”
Jett: “No, that was that one girl that wore the eyepatch until the face planted into the gym door.”
Westley: “Oh yeah! Then Tia seems like a good choice.”
Jett: “You’re just saying that because you want to date Emi.”
Westley: “Am I that transparent?”
Jett: “You’re a window. Fine, I give you and Emi my blessing, but I’m not in the mood to date anyone.”
Westley: “Oh come on, Tia isn’t that bad. Live a little. You’ve never had a girlfriend.”
Jett: “I haven’t had time.”
Westley: “But you have time now.”
Jett: “No, I don’t. Being Emi’s caretaker is still a full time job. It’s even more of a job now that Emerald is a thing.”
Westley: “Okay… now you’re going to have to explain.”
Jett: “My stupid ass cousin tried to use his vampire blood to cure her and she went from schizophrenic talking to herself to outright multiple personality disorder!”
Westley: “Wait what?!”
I told Westley the ordeal that I had been dealing with for the past little while. He took everything in stride. I guess I wasn’t too surprised he could accept vampires since he had been told growing up that his family were descended from aliens- there were weirdoes with delusions of being supernatural everywhere.
Jett: “And now she’s running around in a bodysuit calling herself Emerald and dancing with a bunch of vampires.”
Westley: “That’s pretty nuts. So do you think she’s just pretending?”
Jett: “That’s the problem. I can’t tell. I’ve tried to ask Emerald probing questions, but she just blanks out on me and doesn’t answer them. I’m not sure if it’s the doesn’t know the answer or if it is just playing dumb.”
Westley: “Emi has never been very good at playing dumb. She typically just floods you with answers.”
Jett: “I know… and her personality is so different as Emerald. I don’t want to believe it, but… I really feel like she might be a whole different person.”
Westley: “Have you considered bringing in outside help?”
Jett: “You don’t mean yourself, do you?”
Westley: “Nah, like a specialist. Maybe they could give some insights into what’s going on.”
Jett: “That’s a remarkably intelligent solution you offered. I’m surprised.”
Westley: “Got to have at least one. Damn though…”
Westley: “I was just thinking of Emi in a body suit. You should I can’t come see her and her vampire friends?”
Jett: “No way.”
Westley left and I was alone with the tendril like shadows of dusk wrapping around my feet. Looking for professional help wasn’t a bad idea, but I knew any working mental health care professional would want to examine Emily and that wasn’t going to happen. She had see a lifetime’s worth of shrinks and was unlikely to want to meet more. That left me with a conundrum…
I found the solution in the university’s newsletter. The answer came in the form of a brilliant psychology student named Talia Phoenix. She was in her last semester of medical school and was slated to begin an internship at the best hospital in the City.
She agreed to meet me at the library.
A sunny morning outside the Laurel Library…
Talia: “Mr. Grofield?”
Jett: “Yeah, you can just call me Jett.”
Talia: “Alright Jett. You said you wanted to discuss your sister’s mental health?”
Talia: “It’s pretty rude to talk about someone else’s mental health without them being present.”
Jett: “Err… yes well… It’s sort of a special circumstance.”
Talia: “Is it or are you just the meddling brother?”
Jett: “You know… you are pretty judgmental and abrasive for someone who agreed to meet me knowing the circumstances.”
Talia: “I don’t like people that look down on others for their mental wellbeing.”
Jett: “I’m not looking down on anyone! I love my sister and I’m just worried about her!”
What was with this ice cold bitch? She agreed to meet me just so she could be a crispy twisted up twat?
Jett: “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think. I just need your medical expertise. My sister is a diagnosed schizophrenic that has experienced a psychotic break and is now suffering from multiple personality disorder!”
Talia’s eyes widened a little as she took in the information.
Talia: “Oh, that is interesting.”
Jett: “I don’t find it very interesting! I’m worried sick about her.”
Talia: “Tell me about the personalities. Are they distinct? How many are there?”
Now she was actually paying attention. I told her about Emily and Emerald. I left out all the vampire nonsense. Somehow I didn’t think a psychologist would want to hear about things like that unless they are looking to commit someone. Talia’s eyes burned with an intense fire as we discussed my sister’s psychoses.
She didn’t offer any suggestions as she gathered her data, but she didn’t give any judgements either. I guess it was understandable that I hadn’t brought Emi after all.
It’s a shame that Talia’s personality seemed to range towards icy bitch on the normal or passionate inferno about her work. She was probably the hottest girl I’d ever met. Wait- focus. This is about Emi, not attractiveness.
Talia: “Are you listening, Jett?”
Jett: “Of course. So what do you suggest I do?”
Talia: “I’ll be frank with you… I think you should bring your sister in for observation.”
Jett: “I can’t do that… She’s been so happy.”
Talia: “Then I would suggest you monitor her closely. Become a part of both her lives.”
Talia: “That includes when she’s with her goth friends. They are important to her.”
Jett: “I know, but…”
Talia: “You want her condition to stabilize don’t you? Get to the root of what Emily Grofield wants and you’ll understand why Emerald exists.”
Talia: “I have to get to office hour with Dr. Carter. I will talk to you soon.”
Jett: “Right. See you later, Talia.”
Talia: “We’ll discuss your sister’s progress over dinner soon. I like pho.”
Bye Ms. Phoenix…