Road Movie: Chapter 14

“Hey, why didn’t you talk about what’s been happening in your life? Is everything okay?” Veronica messaged Dakota later that night. The brunette was half-expecting this message from her. “Honestly, I’m still getting over something, and it’s been a little rough. Sorry, I didn’t want to ruin our reunion.” “Dakota, we went through hell and back together. Even if you’re having a bad time, that won’t dampen our reunion. Spending time with my pledge sister, even if it means comforting and helping her overcome whatever shit she’s going through, it’s still an enjoyable experience for me. That’s what sisterhood is all about.” The blonde insisted. “I’m so sorry I could not tell you. I’ll let you know everything that happened in due time, I promise.” The brunette sent back. “Alright. I hope everything works out. You’re a strong, capable person, Dakota, whether you care to see that quality in yourself or not. Just wanted to let you know that.”

Dakota sighed to herself. But it was a sigh of relief. For the first time in a while, she was not feeling lonely. Being around Veronica and Monique reminded her that friends are just around the corner. Looking at her watch, she knew it was time for her next appointment with Pamela. This time, they were going to do a Myers-Brigg test, something she had to do during her time in business school, taking the Managing in Organizations course in UChicago. How she missed that course; there, she was put into a group for the entire semester, and worked closely with several other individuals who wound up becoming some of her closest friends in college. The last time she checked, Dakota was an ISFJ: introverted, sensing, feeling, and judging. According to her professor, that meant that she got energy from being alone, she liked to base her actions on prior experience, she is more empathetic than logical, and she liked to stick to a strict schedule. Looking at how much has changed in her life, the brunette was slightly nervous. She was pretty content with her old score, and she did not want to be re-labeled so quickly.

“Alright, Dakota. So what are your results?” “So I’m ENFP?” She was shocked. Dakota did not think that almost every part of her personality had changed. She was now extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving. “Why are you so surprised? What did you get the last time you took this?” Pamela was intrigued by Dakota’s reaction. “I was ISFJ when I took this in college. I did not think adulthood would change me so much.” She admitted. “Well that just means that where you get your energy from has changed. That’s understandable, given what you’ve been through.” Pamela nodded her head. “Being an extrovert just means that you get re-energized by being around others, not being alone.” “I see.” Dakota sighed. She was hoping that she would have stayed the same. “I think it’s a wonderful thing that you are extroverted. Especially given what happened to you recently, I would be worried if you did not want to be around other people right now. You need to be in the company of friends and family.” Pamela stated. She was correct in saying that. Being alone when you are depressed will not solve anything. It might actually make the situation worse. Being with people you can trust, it makes life better.

Pamela decided that Dakota was emotionally stable enough to return to work, but would need to continue monthly sessions until the brunette was deemed stable enough to not need therapy anymore. Dakota was thrilled, mostly because she missed being around her co-workers. That night, she could hardly sleep. It felt almost surreal that she was returning to Hillary Jenkins the next day. She could already imagine Frida’s antics, Maria and Virginia rolling their eyes at said antics, and Justin talking about sports to the irritation and disinterest of everyone else. At this point, Dakota was slowly getting over the death of Phillip. She had filled her life with so many other outlets that distracted her.

“I’m finally back!” The brunette announced as she stepped out of the elevator. “Dakota!” She was immediately tackled by a thrilled Maria. “We missed you!” Virginia walked out of her office, saw her youngest co-worker, and immediately followed suit. “What’s all of this noise about?!” Frida and Justin walked out of the conference room. “Oh my stars! It’s Dakota!” Frida gasped. “Oh, wait. I knew you were coming back.” She laughed to herself. “Sorry, still a bit buzzed from my mimosa.” She was referring to the empty glass in her hand. The room went silent. “What? It’s Thirst-day today.” The elderly woman shrugged before almost dropping her glass onto the hardwood floor. “Uh, here, I’ll take that.” Justin grabbed the glass out of her wrinkled fingers. “Dakota, it’s great to see you!” He grinned at her. “It’s great to be back!” She squealed excitedly. “Thank god. Covering your clients for you was so boring.” Frida admitted, still under the influence of her drink. “Well, at least you were honest about that.” Dakota rolled her eyes as she started to walk back to her office.

As excited as she was to get back to working, the brunette started to notice an immediate problem: her clients were in the medical field. As much as she was trying to get over Phillip, anything related to medicine, especially hospitals, just did not sit well with her. But Dakota was hired specifically to take over medical clients, and she knew that nobody would want to switch portfolios with her, nor would she be good at marketing to anyone in the sports, hospitality, or fashion industries anyways. She just had to power through it. It was like ice skating for the first time. It was terrifying, and the brunette was afraid of falling. And she did fall. And it hurt, a lot. But once she did that, she was not afraid. She was able to start enjoying herself, and slowly adjust to the movements and eventually, ice skate naturally. Going back to consulting with professionals in the medical field, it was like recovering from that first fall. She just had to get up, and keep trying. She had to push Phillip and the emotional side of this experience out of her mind and focus on trying to help the client.

That night, Dakota went out to get dinner with Monique. The two were going through Millennium Park, taking photos while eating hot dogs. As much as she was embarrassed to admit it, Dakota loved eating hot dogs because they reminded her of when she was a kid, going to watch Cubs games with her dad at Wrigley Field. Even though she knew they were processed and the furthest thing from good for her, it did not stop her enjoyment of them. It was her guilty pleasure, so to speak. “Oh, look over there!” Monique pointed at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a bandshell in the park, where there was a small band playing. “Hold on, I’m going in for a shot.” The brunette smiled, taking aim with her camera. There was something about seeing the band playing in this area that just put a smile on her face. She had never really bothered to stop by the park and watch people perform, so it was a new memory for her to capture.

“So how’s grad school like?” Dakota looked at Monique. The two were sitting on a bench, looking through their photos. “It’s alright. I’ve got a paper due soon, but it should be fine.” She shrugged. Monique did not want to bore the brunette with her school life, mostly because it was all papers and research. “How does it feel to be working as a manager though? Is it as great as they say it is?” The dark haired girl looked at the marketing executive. Dakota felt herself holding back her laughter. It was very rare that she was somebody to look up to, or at least look to for advice. In school, at work, even in Omicron Pi, she never picked up a little. She was always the youngest, or the most inept, in almost every case. “It’s fun. To be honest, even though I’m a manager, I do not manage people. I manage sales accounts, so it’s very different. But it’s fulfilling, and it pays well. I make about $75K a year.” She smiled. “I see. Sounds like a good life.” Monique nodded in agreement.

Going home that night, Dakota felt relieved. She was nervous about how her return to work would be. But she found herself picking up right where she left off and it was a good feeling. Even after all this time away from the office, Dakota was still okay with going back into that environment. Going home, the brunette sighed to herself. As much as she was moving forward with her life, she felt like this apartment had too many memories. No matter how much process she made, having to come back to here felt like she was being pulled back to square one. It was painful for her to think about him. No. She shook her head. Grabbing her laptop, Dakota started to look for apartments. She needed a change of pace. She needed to get away from all of this. Wait, what are you doing? She frowned to herself. Her lease was not over for another four months. She was not about to abandon her apartment just yet.

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