“Welcome back, Eve.”
I smile at Dr. Woodrow, but don’t say anything. For some reason I’m nervous to be back here in her office. After coming back from Italy with Lainey, seeing Dr. Woodrow is effectively making me feel . . . well, like I need a shrink.
“You are very pensive today. Would you like to tell me what’s going on in your head?” Dr. Woodrow’s tone held no judgment, but I still couldn’t help but feel guilty. I don’t know why. I didn’t do anything wrong.
“Not really.” The words came out sharper than I intended and I cringe inwardly. Damn it get in control, Eve!
Dr. Woodrow studies me for a bit, making me shift uncomfortably in my seat.
“Very well, how about you tell me about your trip?”
“What about it?”
The doctor let out a small sigh as she sat back and crossed her legs. Placing her ever present notebook on her knee, she silently writes notes.
“What do you write?” I ask, curiosity getting the best of me.
“In your notebook. Do you write about how crazy you think I am?” Okay, so the question was completely childish, and I could kick myself for asking. But it’s out now, so I wait for her answer.
“Do you believe I think you’re crazy?”
My nostrils flare with frustration. The standard answer a question with a question is irritating!
“Are you going to answer my question, Doc, or just continue jotting whatever it is you’re jotting?”
“Does this bother you?” She asks instead of answering, lifting her notebook. She then lifts her hands in a placating gesture when she sees me getting angrier. “Alright, Eve. If you’re truly curious, I’m writing notes about you. I don’t record the sessions for security reasons. When I take notes, I’m basically noting what your reaction to something is. The animation of your face, whether you laugh or cry, whether you cringe or smile. Your eyes hold many answers that you don’t say out loud. If you would like to read them, you’re welcome to. But I do not believe you’re crazy. In fact, I believe you’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.”
“Right,” I snort.
“Why do you doubt that?”
“Because I’m here. Obviously I’m not strong enough to get over whatever it is that’s keeping me from painting.”
“Eve, what you have been through would make a lot of people give up living all together. You not only lived, but you thrived. That, my dear, is strength. Needing help doesn’t diminish that strength. I actually think it makes you stronger that you have the courage to seek guidance.”
I take a moment to let her words sink in. Do I believe her? I’m not sure, but I’m trying.
“I apologize for my attitude,” I say quietly.
“It’s alright. Would you like to tell me why you were so irritated?”
“I don’t know.” Of course, I’m lying. Well not really lying, but not exactly being completely truthful. Dr. Woodrow says nothing. It’s as though she’s waiting on me to get to the truth. Sigh. “Fine. I’m afraid to learn how you feel about my trip with Lainey.”
Dr. Woodrow’s eyebrows furrow. “Why would you care what I think about that? Eve,” she continues before I could answer, “that wasn’t meant to be a negative question. I honestly would like to know why my opinion on that matters to you.”
“I don’t want you to judge me,” I confess softly.
“Did you do something with Lainey?”
“No! Of course not!”
“So, you believe I would judge you merely for going out of town on business with your associate?”
“Lainey is more than an associate, you know that.”
“You’re right, I do. So that’s why you think I would judge you? Because I know there’s more there?”
“Eve?” She waited for me to raise my eyes to hers. “Did you want something to happen while you were in Italy?”
I felt the blush creep up my neck, and abruptly stood up to pace. I tried so hard to keep my mind on business while in Italy. I made sure we were never in any situation that could become intimate. When Lainey and I weren’t out working or exploring, I was on the phone with Adam and Bella. Yet, I still felt those familiar feelings when I was with her. And, I hate myself for it.
“I can see you beating yourself up for whatever you were feeling, Eve. I believe that’s a large part of the reason you cannot paint. You are trying to close a part of you because it scares you.”
“I won’t hurt my husband like that.”
“Eve, I’m certainly not telling you to continue your affair with Lainey . . . ”
I whip my head around and stare at Dr. Woodrow with a scowl. “I was not married when Lainey and I were together!”
“You’re right. But she was,” she reminded me gently.
I blew out an exasperated breath, and unceremoniously slumped back into my chair.
“I know, okay. I knew! And, I still pursued her! What kind of person does that?”
“From what I can understand, you didn’t force Lainey to be with you. It takes two, Eve. To be honest with you, I think your relationship was extremely beneficial to both of you.”
“It was wrong!” I exclaim, quite loudly.
“I’m not advocating cheating, Eve,” she explains calmly. “However both of you needed something that no one else was successful in giving. Can you deny that it helped you open your heart to Adam?”
“It almost destroyed us, and now I can’t paint.”
“You’re afraid. Do you feel if you open your heart fully again you’ll fall back into bed with Lainey?”
I was stunned by the doctor’s frankness. “My answer to your first question is yes. When we were in Italy together, I thought about it.”
Dr. Woodrow made another note before looking at me, waiting for me to continue once again.
“I can’t help how I feel about Lainey. She was the first person that made me feel safe. Someone I knew would never hurt me. I didn’t have to be in constant control with her.”
“You didn’t feel that with Adam?”
“I felt more with Adam than with anyone. But I was always hesitant.”
“Can you tell me why?”
“Adam is a wonderful man. He’s intelligent, funny, attentive, extremely sexy. Everything a woman could possibly want in a man.”
“I was afraid of losing him if he found out that I was a whore.”
“Eve. I find that description you use for yourself offensive.”
“It’s the truth, Doc.” I shrug, trying for nonchalance. I don’t think she’s buying it. “You can try prettying it up by calling it something else, but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck . . . ”
“Eve, you were forced! It was completely beyond your control and I do not want you to belittle yourself like that!”
I was startled speechless by her outburst. I know Dr. Woodrow cares about me, she told me as much before. But to hear her so exasperated threw me.
“You’re right,” I concede. “I’ve always used that description as a way to keep myself closed off.”
“I’m apologize for my little outburst there, Eve.”
I wave away her apology. “It’s fine. I was just trying to explain why I felt so different with Adam. He was an extremely jealous person. If someone looked at me for too long he didn’t like it. He was never mean about it, but I thought if he found out about my past he would never forgive me.”
“And Lainey seemed more accepting? Was it easier because she is a woman?”
“Yes. To both questions.” My eyes closed as I thought of the differences between Adam and Lainey. “My fears about Adam were unfounded. He’s the most understanding and loving man. If only I had trusted him before I let my emotions get away from me with Lainey.”
“Playing ‘what if’ never works, Eve. We’re not here to talk about what you should have or shouldn’t have done.”
“I know,” I sigh. “I am afraid.”
“Of letting go again?”
“Yes.” I whisper. Whatever she saw on my face or in my eyes at that moment had her scribbling in her notebook.
“I don’t think you’re ready for this yet, Eve.”
“What did you just write?”
She tilts her head, regarding me for a moment before handing me her notebook.
The subject of Lainey and the feelings that invokes in Eve scares Eve so much I’m afraid she will shut down even more. Take care during this subject.
I hand the notebook back to Dr. Woodrow.
“You saw all of that on my face?”
“In your eyes, yes.”
I sigh deeply. The note was completely correct. When I talk about Lainey I feel like my life is unraveling. I can’t lose Adam. I love him too much. But I can’t lose Lainey, either. My heart starts pounding faster, and I can’t seem to catch my breath.
“What do I do?” I gasp.
Dr. Woodrow leans towards me and places a gentle hand on my knee. “Relax. We don’t have to figure everything out right now. In fact, when we last spoke we were supposed to talk about the time you turned yourself in and left Paris.”
Hard subject, but not nearly as difficult as talking about Lainey. So, I nod.
“Good. I think this is a good time to call it a night. I’m sorry we got into a subject you weren’t ready for.”
“We have to do it sometime,” I tell her amicably.
“You’re right. And, we will go into it more when the timing is right. For now, go home to your husband and little girl and just try to relax.”
“Thanks, Doc. Next week?”
“I’ll be here,” she smiles. “Goodnight, Eve.”