“How are you today, Eve?”

I studied the woman in front of me. Poised. That’s probably the first word that came to my mind when I first saw her. She had to be in her mid-fifties, well-groomed with warm chestnut hair that sparkled with a touch of gray. When I did my background check, I found that Dr. Willamena Woodrow has been a psychiatrist for more than twenty-five years, with a degree from the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. She had a soothing voice, but it still aggravated me. It’s not her fault, really. I just don’t want to be here.

“I’m fine.”

She smiled, a nice, understanding smile. “You realize we have an hour together? It may be helpful if you were more elaborate with your answers.”

I felt the corners of my mouth twitch for the first time since walking in this office. That actually made me like her a little more.

“I’m actually not sure what to say.”

“Why don’t you start with why you’re here.”

I laughed. “Because my husband and best friend thought I needed to talk to someone.”

“You don’t think you do?”

I watched her twirl her pen in her fingers, but noticed she still hasn’t written anything down. Of course, I haven’t said much.

“I’ve done well enough on my own so far,” I answered.

“Hmm.” This time she did write something, and then picked up a stack of papers to her right. “I’ve read your story, Eve. Anyone would have a difficult time in your situation. It isn’t uncommon to seek someone to talk to.”

“I’m not used to seeking anyone out.”

“Maybe it’s time you do.”

Whether it was time or not, I didn’t feel I had much choice. Adam and Lainey bombarded me with this request, practically giving me no choice but to agree.

Dr. Woodrow watched me silently, patiently, but when I still said nothing, she sighed. “Have you started painting again?”

The question made me wince, and wish that I hadn’t disclosed that bit of information to her in the preliminary interview.


“Why do you think that is?”

I couldn’t bite back the sigh. How the hell should I know why I couldn’t paint. My relationship with Adam is strong again. My friendship with Lainey is wonderful. Even Adam and Lainey’s relationship was mending. So why can’t I paint?

“I don’t know.” My voice sounded smaller than I would have liked, but not being able to paint is killing me.

“Then, let me help you find that out,” she said softly.

“I’ve survived a lot in my life. I just don’t understand why I can’t get past this.”

“You may have survived, but are you certain that you’ve gotten over your past, Eve?”

I thought about her question. Okay, yes, I’ve had moments when the past catches up with me, but mostly I’m fine. I think.

“No.” My answered surprised me. I opened my mouth to say yes, so why isn’t that what came out?

“Then we should start there. In fact, why don’t we start with your childhood.”

I honestly tried to stifle the snicker at how clichéd that sounded to me.

Dr. Woodrow’s expression held the tiniest bit of disapproval at my laughter. I didn’t think psychiatrists were allowed to show emotion, however, that she did, made me trust her a little more.

“Where should I start?”

“What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?”

I closed my eyes and thought back to things I wanted to forget. The first image that popped into my head was of my mother, bloodied and crying, huddled in the closet with me. She would rock me, whispering that everything would be okay, and I would believe her. Until it happened again and again. Eventually I stopped believing her, even resenting her more and more each time we huddled in that closet.

“Help me forgive my mother.” My voice was barely a whisper, and the words that were said brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea I still harbored feelings of blame for my mother. My love for her had always overshadowed everything else.

Well, hell. I guess there is something to this shrink business after all. I’m glad I’m rich. With as many things as I have gone through, it’s going to take many, many hours to get through them all.