“Sorry I’m late.” I take off my jacket and sit in the chair in front of Dr. Woodrow. I am so tired that, for once, I wish she had a couch that is so cliché for psychiatrists’ offices. Then again, I would probably just fall asleep if she did.
“It’s alright. Thank you for calling to let me know.” Dr. Woodrow smiles kindly before continuing. “I see you’re here alone. I thought Adam wanted to attend another session.”
“He does. He will. However, Bella wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed home with her tonight.”
“The poor dear. Will she be okay?”
I smile at the doctor. “Yes. A bit of a cold, I’m afraid. At least her temperature is leveling off.” Suddenly, I find it a bit odd that we’re sitting here talking about everyday things as though we were friends. Which, I suppose we are to some degree. It isn’t like we haven’t seen each other outside of the sessions. In fact, Dr. Woodrow has purchased a few pieces of art from me, and she and her husband have attended many functions with Adam and me.
“Is it uncomfortable to speak to me as a friend, Eve?”
I blink at her for a moment.
“It’s uncomfortable that you seem to be able to read my mind,” I respond teasingly.
“Have I?” she chuckles.
“I was just thinking that it was odd to speak to you about other things besides my problems. But no, it’s not uncomfortable.”
“Good. Would you like to tell me about your week? How were things between you and Adam after our session?”
“Um, quiet,” I confess. “First, my week has been busy. Auctions, speaking with artists about shows, charity functions. All very normal for me. But what hasn’t been normal is my and Adam’s love making,” I finish quietly.
“What do you mean?”
I hesitate for a moment, trying to find the words to express what has been going on in the bedroom.
“I think Adam took what we discussed here a little to personally. He feels like he’s been too dominate in our love making, and he’s . . . changed. Not that it hasn’t been wonderful,” I add hastily. “It’s just been different.”
“He’s very gentle. Passionate.” I let out a frustrated sigh. I’m not explaining this right. “He’s been that way before, and I love it. What I’m trying to say is that he hasn’t been, um . . . ”
“He doesn’t dominate you anymore?”
I actually blush a little. I didn’t think that could happen anymore after all I’ve been through.
“No, he doesn’t. It hasn’t been rough or dominating or reckless. It’s like he’s consciously making the effort not to lose control. He’s holding back.”
“Have you discussed this with him?”
“No,” I sigh. “I want to, but I don’t want him to think I’m not enjoying the sex we are having. I am. I just . . . ” my voice trails off, and I hang my head.
“Eve, it’s understandable that you would want your sex life to continue the way it was. I don’t think you’re complaining, and I don’t think Adam would see it that way either. Communication is imperative in any relationship. If you don’t tell him how you feel, how will he know? Are you still climaxing or have you had to . . . ”
I didn’t think I would ever see the day that Dr. Woodrow would blush. Surely this isn’t the first time she’s talked about this subject. That aside, I think I know what she’s trying to ask and I’m quick to answer.
“I have never faked it with Adam. I never have to and I never will. Yes, he still gives me orgasms this way. Like I said, it’s still wonderful. But I don’t want him to hold back anymore. I want him to be who he is. And sometimes that person loses control, and I love that.”
“Then I suggest you speak to him about it. Let him know that when we had our session, you weren’t complaining about anything with him. It sounds to me as though he’s scared. That maybe if he gives you what he thinks Lainey gives you, you won’t have to have those feelings for her anymore.”
“Ugh!” I slump a little in my seat and lean my head back. “That’s not even what it is. At least not all of it! I don’t know why I’m drawn to Lainey. Believe me, I’ve tried to stop it, but I can’t. Adam changing things in the bedroom with me isn’t going to help.”
“And that’s what you need to tell him,” Dr. Woodrow suggests. “May I ask you a question?”
I chuckle. “Isn’t that sort of your job?”
“I suppose it is,” she smiles. “Was sex with Lainey as fulfilling for you as it seems to be with Adam?”
Oh God. Don’t ask me that! “Um . . . ”
“You know you don’t have to answer, Eve,” she says gently as I’m sure she sees the reluctance in my face.
“Please don’t write this down in your notebook.”
Dr. Woodrow closes her leather bound notebook, and lays it and her pen to the side.
“It was different,” I begin. “Sex with Lainey is – was – beautiful. Yes, it was fulfilling, and exciting. Being with Adam is exquisite. He’s powerful and talented. Sincere and loving. It’s extremely fulfilling.” I bring my legs up, curling them under me in the chair. I wonder if Armani envisioned one of his power suits being used in such a childish way. “It would be so much easier if the sex hadn’t been wonderful.”
“With Lainey or Adam?” Dr. Woodrow asks softly.
Well, isn’t that the million dollar question. I’m a coward. I know this, I accept this. And because I’m a coward, I refuse to answer that question.
“I want things to go back to the way they were with Adam,” I say instead.
“The only way that will happen, Eve, is if you tell him how you feel. I realize that talking about your feelings is difficult for you. You’ve held them in for most of your life. But if you want your marriage to work, you have to be honest with each other.”
Just the idea that my marriage could be in trouble makes me shiver with dread. I love Adam so much. So why in the hell do I still have feelings for Lainey?
“How are things with Lainey?” Dr. Woodrow asks, interrupting my internal chastising.
“We’re fine. We’re still close, but there are moments when there’s awkwardness between us. We’re trying to get back to the friendship we had before we . . . ” Before we what? Ruined it? Made a mistake? Why don’t I feel like being with Lainey was a mistake? Perhaps it was wrong because she’s married, and I was with Adam. Do I regret it? I can’t.
“Can you tell me what just went through your mind?”
“I was trying to think of being with Lainey as a mistake. I was trying to regret it.”
“But you can’t,” she guesses.
“No. I can’t.” I hate that even though I don’t regret it, my voice still carries a bit of guilt.
“I don’t think that’s wrong, Eve. You did what your heart told you to do at the time.” She smiles at my raised eyebrow. “I’m not an advocator of cheating,” she says gently. “But I can’t find fault in something that helped both you and Lainey so tremendously.”
“Helped me so much I can’t paint.”
“I don’t think your affair with Lainey is what caused you to stop painting, Eve.”
My eyes snap up to hers. Had I really said that out loud? “You don’t think it plays a part?”
“Actually, no. Perhaps Adam finding out the way he did plays a small part, but I think everything concerning your past, your parents, Agent Donovan and Laurence is what is blocking you. Your love for Lainey and Adam opened up your ability to let those deeply buried feelings out. That’s not a bad thing, you just need to learn how to manage it.”
“They’re all dead. What am I still fearing?” I whisper.
“I’ve gotten to know you pretty well, Eve. You’re very good at showing that confident, strong side. When people look at you, they see a powerful, successful woman. Inside, you don’t feel that way all the time. Your fear is being the victim you were all those years ago. Your fear is that you’ll be weak enough to let all of this take away the confidence you so carefully built. When you buried those emotions a long time ago, that was your defense. Now they’re out in the open, and it has left you feeling vulnerable.”
“I hate it.”
She chuckles. “I know you do. But it’s a process you have to go through. Eve, you have people who love you and want to help you. You’re not alone in this. Don’t be afraid to lean on those people. Remember, it’s not weakness to need help.”
I take a deep breath. “I’ll do my best.”
“That’s all anyone can ask,” Dr. Woodrow smiles, then looks at her watch. “Would you like to stop here?”
“Very well. Perhaps Bella will be feeling better next time, and Adam can attend with you. But until then, Eve, talk to him. Don’t make him have to figure this out on his own.”
“I will talk to him. I promise.”
“Good. Perhaps you should just attack him tonight. Let him know that slow and gentle isn’t what you need all the time.”
I laugh heartily as I make my way to the door. “Why Dr. Woodrow, I’m shocked! Who knew you had it in you?” I tease.
“It’s always the quiet ones,” she smirks. “Good night, Eve.”
“Good night, doc.”