“Adam, it’s so nice to see you, again.” Dr. Woodrow took Adam’s hand as he leaned in to kiss her gently on the cheek.
“It’s good to see you, Dr. Woodrow.” His deep voice reverberates through me, even though he’s speaking softly. I’ve always loved my husband’s voice. I find it soothing, not to mention incredibly sexy.
I give the doctor a small smile. It’s all I can muster up at the moment since I don’t trust my voice. I’m always nervous when I come here, but having Adam here intensifies that nervousness tenfold. Adam sits next to me, immediately grasping my hand, and begins rubbing my knuckles with his thumb.
The silence is uncomfortable to me, but I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m certainly not going to be the one spilling my guts first. I see Dr. Woodrow watch me for a while, scribble something in that damn notebook, and then turn to Adam.
“Do you know why I asked you to come here, Adam?”
Great. Perfect way to start the conversation by making me feel guilty for not discussing this in more detail with Adam. But honestly? What would I have said?
“Eve didn’t say much about it, just that you wanted to see both me and Lainey.”
Now, it could have just been my imagination, but I could have sworn that Adam’s voice shook as he mentioned Lainey’s name.
“I had no idea what to say,” I defend myself, irritably. “I told you that she wanted to speak with us together because that’s what she said.”
“I didn’t mean anything by that, beautiful. I was just answering the question honestly.” He squeezes my hand gently before turning back to the doctor. “I’m willing to discuss anything you think would help.”
I instantly regret my little outburst. He’s here trying to help me, and all I can do is be a bitch.
“Eve?” Crap. “Would you like to tell Adam why you asked Lainey about these sessions first?”
Uh, no! Sigh. “Can’t you?” Yes, I’m being childish, and that only serves to piss me off more. This isn’t who I am! After everything I’ve been through in my life, I’ve learned to be strong. Why do I feel so vulnerable with Adam here? And, why does it scare me so much to have him see me that way?
Dr. Woodrow stares at me for a long moment, and writes more in her notebook. “I saw a lot of emotions on your face just then, Eve. Why don’t you say what you just felt out loud?”
Wow. She really is trying to destroy me. Okay, so I know she’s not, but it sure as hell feels like it right now.
“I don’t like feeling vulnerable,” I whisper low enough that Adam had to lean closer to hear me.
“Eve. You’re safe here. No one in this room wants to hurt you,” Dr. Woodrow says softly. “Adam wants to help. Look at him and tell him how you feel.”
I consider giving the good doctor a death stare, but decide against it since she’s in no way intimidated by me. Hell, if I met the “me” in here, I wouldn’t be intimidated either. So, I turn to my husband, seeing nothing but compassion and love in his eyes.
“This isn’t who you fell in love with. This shell of a woman that can’t paint, who isn’t strong, and is scared all the time. I didn’t want you to come here because I didn’t want you to see me this way. I’m afraid.”
“Afraid of what, beautiful?” Adam’s eyes are glimmering with unshed tears. It reminds me that the last time I saw him cry was when he found out I had betrayed him.
“Afraid that you won’t love this person,” I barely whisper.
Adam drops to his knees in front of me. “Eve, do you think my love for you is that superficial?”
He pauses long enough for me to answer, so I shake my head.
“When we got married and I said my vows, I meant every one of them. For better or worse. I love you unconditionally, beautiful. When you’re strong, I’ll stand beside you. If you need help, I’ll be there to hold you. Let me in, Eve. Please?”
A tear slides down my cheek and he lovingly brushes it away with his thumb.
“I’m so sorry.” My voice breaks and I fight to control the sob I know wants to get loose. “I don’t mean to shut you out, I just . . . ”
“You just find it easier to be open with Lainey?”
To my surprise, I don’t hear any accusation or resentment in his voice. I shrug.
“And, is that why you . . . had the affair?” Now I hear the hurt, and it tears me apart.
I don’t know how to answer that question. How do I tell my husband that I’m inexplicably drawn to someone else, even though I love him with all my heart? Hell, even I don’t understand it.
“I don’t know,” I answer honestly.
He studies me for a minute, then nods. “I can’t say that I enjoy seeing how close you still are with Lainey, beautiful. It makes me feel like an outsider sometimes. And, I’ll admit that I sometimes feel insecure, and untrusting.”
“I haven’t slept with her!” I tell him hastily. “I swear!”
“But you still think about her that way,” he says sadly. “I can see it. I’m trying to understand, Eve.”
“May I say something,” Dr. Woodrow interjects. When Adam sat back in his chair to face her, she continued. “From what I’ve been able to determine, Eve is as confused with her feelings as you are, Adam. She knows she loves you, and that she doesn’t want to hurt you. But, if I may, she feels a certain kind of protection from Lainey.” She quickly raises her hand when Adam begins to speak. “I’m not saying she doesn’t feel safe with you. I’m saying that she is able to let down these barriers with Lainey because Eve feels in control in that relationship.”
My brow furrows as I listen to the doctor. Do I feel control with Lainey? I am the one who pursued her. Adam pursued me. Lainey was the inexperienced one with me. Adam taught me what making love really was, and all the different ways to do it.
“Because she’s a woman?” Adam asks.
“No,” I answer. “I’ve been hurt by a woman.” I thought of how Madame Bussiere used to treat me. Use me. Beat me. “It’s because of who she is, and our dynamic. With you and me, you’re more dominant.”
“So I shouldn’t be that way?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying, baby. Look,” I sigh and run my hand through my blonde hair. “I’m not really clear on all of this, yet. It’s just, something clicked with me when Dr. Woodrow said what she said.”
Adam looked at the doctor. “I would like to come back to discuss this further. Can I do that?”
Wow. That hurt. These are my sessions, and yet he doesn’t ask me how I feel about him coming to more of them. That control thing really does have some relevance.
“You should ask Eve that question,” Dr. Woodrow admonishes gently.
He looks downright contrite as he turns to me again. “Damn. I should have asked you. I’m so sorry, beautiful. Forgive me?”
I nod silently.
“May I come back, Eve? I really would like to explore this further. And, if I’m doing something that makes you shut me out, I would like to change that. Please, baby?”
“I think that would be good,” I answer softly.
He grins that lopsided grin I love so much. “Thank you. And, if you need Lainey to come in before that, I don’t mind. Or if you need us both here . . . ”
“No! I’m not ready for that!” The fear must be evident in my voice and my eyes, as he places his hand on my thigh, and rubs it gently.
“Okay. You tell me what you need, when you need it. I’ll accommodate you. Deal?”
“I think that’s a good place to end tonight,” Dr. Woodrow announces as she glances at her watch. “I don’t want to give you homework, but if you do decide to keep talking, make sure you listen completely to each other without judgment. Honestly, I think you should just go home and hold each other.”
“That’s homework I can do,” Adam tells her with a smile.
“Sounds good to me,” I agree. “I’ll see you next time, Doc.”
Dr. Woodrow smiles at both of us. “Goodnight you two.”