Keely thought she’d be good at this. She was supposed to be, after all, so many music critics had praised her for the wit and cleverness when she was writing. Yet she couldn’t even think of a word to say as she sat there awkwardly.

If you’re so funny; why are you on your own tonight? If you’re so clever; why are you on your own tonight?

Scowling at The Smith’s song that popped into her head, she blew the bangs away from her eyes impatiently. However, that still didn’t get the doctor’s attention who was staring blankly at the same place on his clipboard. It was the same doctor she’d been coming to constantly since she’d come back, Keely was under the impression that she was starting to annoy him. And he’d been staring at that same spot for the last five minutes.

Awkwardly she shifted on the little bed in the clinic’s examining room, the paper cover crunching with the movement. But he didn’t even glance in her direction. Finally running out of patience, she gave a not so subtle clearing of her throat, though it turned out to sound more like a coughing fit. She apparently had no talent in the attention grabbing clearing of her throat area.

“Yes, Miss Staub,” the doctor answered with a weary sigh, “I know what you’re doing. What do you want me to tell you?”

Wetting her lips dry lips with her tongue hastily, she sent him a sheepish look. “An update?”

Shaking his head, he finally put down the clipboard. “What am I going to say that I haven’t already told you? You’ve come in here enough. Your voice is making great progress, just keep taking what I’ve prescribed to you, plus the lozenges and don’t sing a five hour concert tonight.”

“That’s all?” she questioned.

In response he just sent her a bland look.

With an uncomfortable little smile in his direction, she gathered up her bag before slipping off the hard bed. But it wasn’t until her hand was on the door handle, about to escape the sterile room that’s smell made her queasy that the doctor spoke up.

“Oh and Keely? Your voice is a muscle, you can’t stop using it completely and think you’ll be able to just jump into doing concerts again; you’ll just blow it out again that way. Keep exercising it like any other muscle. Start building up again, just do it slowly or you’re going to be back here and the results might not be so pleasant.”

Not trusting herself to speak, Keely just gave a relieved sigh, walking out of the door and soon out of the clinic to her car.

Slowly. She could do that.

Plopping down in the front seat, she just leaned her head back against the seat. She was going to be okay, she wasn’t quite there yet, but it was all going to be okay.

Knowing she had promised to go pick up Joe – even though he would demand to drive despite the fact it was beginning to annoy her – Keely didn’t linger long on the one way street. Instead she backed up carefully, turning the knob of the radio up to a normal volume. Something she hadn’t dared to do since her first day back in Bellingham with the ABBA ordeal.

It wasn’t just the song that scared her; she was simply taking Rose’s advice of avoiding all forms of paparazzi and news about herself. She needed to heal, and she wouldn’t be able to do so with rumors and nasty stories about herself circling around her mind. Avoidance of pop culture was key. Keely had been sticking to her vinyls and CD’s at home; not watching television, listening to the radio, reading magazines or newspapers. Held up on the farm, it wasn’t very hard to stay hidden from the world.

But now was as good time as ever. She needed to go back to the real world – well, her real world – sooner or later.

A smile touched the sides of her lips as she recognized Arcade Fire’s Keep The Car Running flooded from the speakers. Her hand began tapping along, but she didn’t allow herself to sing. Her palms got a little clammy at the thought, but she assured herself she wasn’t singing just because she wanted to do it right… right?

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