Session Nine


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“Hello, Eve.”

Dr. Woodrow greets me with a friendly smile as I sit down in front of her. Her office has always been relaxing to me. It’s painted in a mute mint color and the furnishings are understated, yet impeccable. Like the doctor herself. Just being here brings me a feeling of peace.

Today, however, I feel agitated. I don’t really want to be here. I don’t want to talk about my past. I don’t want to be vulnerable.


She tilts her head and studies me long enough to make me fidget. I hate it when she does that. I don’t want her to see into my soul.

“Are you having a bad day?” she asks gently.

“Not really,” I lie. In reality, it’s been a tough day. I chose today to ask Lainey if she would be willing to come in for a session. I sigh inwardly as I remember what happened.

“Can you tell me what the sigh was for?”

I look up sharply. I hadn’t realized I had sighed out loud.

“Today I asked Lainey if she would be willing to come in for a session,” I explain.

“I see. How did that go?”

I sigh again. “It was fine. She was hesitant at first, but asked if it would help me if she did.” I look at the doctor. “I really don’t know if it will, but since you suggested it, I said yes.”

“I think it will,” she states, then waits for me to continue.

“She agreed. I thanked her by hugging her. I didn’t think about it, it was just natural for me.”

“Eve. Lainey is your best friend. Why wouldn’t you feel natural hugging her?”

“Because of everything that has happened between us.”

“I don’t think you should withhold all affection because of that. In fact, I think that would be harmful for you both. It would put an even bigger strain on your relationship.”

“The strain my affection for Lainey puts on Adam is killing me,” I mutter.

She frowns a bit. “Did something else happen between you and Lainey?”

I feel tears start to fill my eyes, and I blink rapidly to keep them at bay. I’m sure I don’t fool the doc, though, since I see her writing in her notebook.


“I almost kissed her.” My confession was said so fast that it almost sounded like a five syllable word.

“I see.”

“What does that mean? What do you see?” I ask irritably. “Please tell me, because I don’t see! I’m in love with my husband! What is it that draws me to Lainey? Please. Help me.” My plea sounds pathetic to my own ears, I can only imagine what the doctor thinks of me.

“Eve, what you felt for Lainey is not going to just go away. It doesn’t just stop. She was the first person you trusted completely. Lainey is the one that helped you begin to break down the walls you built around you.”

I shake my head. “I am married, doc. I love my husband with every fiber of my being. Lainey is married. What we feel is wrong.”

Dr. Woodrow did something she rarely does. She showed her emotions. Her eyes flashed with what I thought was annoyance, and her fingers clenched her pen.

“Eve.” She takes a deep breath, and I can only assume it’s to calm herself down. “You have this notion in your head that life and relationships are black and white. You are letting this guilt about having feelings for Lainey consume you. We will not be able to move forward until you can forgive yourself for being human.”

“Adam walked in when I was hugging Lainey,” I confess softly. “The look on his face shattered me. He tried to hide it, even tried smiling at both of us, but I saw it. I saw the distrust and sadness. How do I forgive myself for that?”

“Did you explain to him why you were hugging Lainey?”

“Of course. But I think it only made things worse.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I asked Lainey before asking him.” I leaned forward, putting my elbows on my knees and burying my face in my hands.

“Why do you think you did that?” dr. Woodrow asks while writing down notes. When I shrug, she continues. “You do know. Don’t come up with an answer that you think will satisfy me, tell me the truth.”

“Because I hate when Adam sees me vulnerable,” I confide. “I know he asked me to come here and talk to you, but knowing that and actually having him here to see me . . . like this . . . ” my voice trails off as that thought makes me extremely uncomfortable.

“How do you think it makes Adam feel when you shut him out like that?”

I know her question wasn’t meant to be mean, but it still felt as though I had just been slugged in the gut. “This isn’t who he fell in love with,” I murmur.

“I beg to differ, Eve. You, are exactly who he fell in love with. Flaws and all. You are also the one he stood beside during everything that happened. Even after learning of your feelings for Lainey.” When I didn’t respond, Dr. Woodrow sighed, wrote a note, and looked up at me again. “Did you ask Adam if he’s willing to sit in on a session?”


“What did he say?”

“He readily agreed.” I raise my head and look at the doc solemnly. “He deserves so much more. He would be better off with someone who can give him all he deserves without all the damn problems.”

“Eve, you just told me that you love Adam with every fiber of your being. You are not whole at the moment, for many different, very legitimate reasons. I think Adam realizes that. You both deserve to live and love without the past hindering you. But I don’t think Adam would be better off without you.” She reaches over and places a comforting hand on my forearm. “He would not be happy without you, Eve. I’ve seen you two together outside of the office enough to know that. You need to give both of you a chance. I would like to see you and Adam next time. Are you ready for that?”

“Adam first?” I ask hesitantly. I want to work this out, and I want Adam to know that I love him completely. But it’s still hard for me to let my vulnerable side show.

“Yes. I think Adam needs this as much as you do, Eve. I believe that one of the reasons you still feel so drawn to Lainey is because you’re still closing a part of yourself off to Adam. A part that you still feel safe only showing Lainey.”

I consider that, then nod. Maybe she’s right. Hell, she is a psychiatrist. Am I ready for this?

“I will ask if he will join me next time.”

Dr. Woodrow smiled brightly. Maybe she thinks this is a breakthrough. I sure hope so. These conflicting feelings, plus not being able to paint is beginning to wear thin.

“Very good. I look forward to speaking with you both next session.” She stands, as do I. “It will be okay, Eve. Remember you’re safe here. Adam wants to be there for you, I think you know that.”

I nod. I do know that. I just have to let him in.

“Thank you, doctor. Have a good night.”

“Goodnight, Eve.”

Session Eight


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Disclaimer: Please be advised that the following session has bad language and talks about sexual abuse. 

“Let’s discuss the night you decided to turn yourself in, Eve.”

I flinch a little thinking about that night. Not only because of what happened to me, but because it makes me think of the two people who almost destroyed me. My father was a terrible man, but what Laurence did to me, and ultimately what Billy did nearly broke me. Hell, maybe it has broken me.

“Okay,” I say softly, but don’t continue. I don’t know how, or if I want to.

Dr. Woodrow sat quietly, waiting me out. She was extremely unnerving. Most people are intimidated by me, but she certainly isn’t. Sigh.

“Laurence and his buddies finished with me, and I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to take my chances with the authorities. I thought it couldn’t get much worse than what happened to me. Even if they threw me in jail, it would have been better than what happened to me.” I pause. “Death would have been better,” I whisper.

“Let’s go over what happened to you,” Dr. Woodrow prodded gently.

“Do we have to?”

“Of course not. But I think it would help you.”


“Call it a cleansing of the soul. A purging of all of the horrible things that happened to you.”

“I’ve already told Adam and Lainey. Shouldn’t my soul be cleansed by now?” I smirk.

She cocked her head to one side and regarded me until I was shifting in my seat from uneasiness.

“When is the last time you had a nightmare about that night?” she asks.

Crap. My night terrors have, or had, all but stopped after I told Adam and Lainey what had happened to me. But after what happened with Laurence and Billy, they’ve made a sporadic comeback much to my, and Adam’s, disappointment. Obviously my soul still needs some cleansing.

“Two nights ago,” I admit grudgingly.

“Same one as usual?”


“And it’s about that night?” I nod. “Is it a memory?” I nod again. “So, not a nightmare necessarily. You are defenseless when you are sleeping. You cannot keep your brain from recalling those events. What we’re trying to do is make your brain believe that it is over and those men cannot hurt you anymore.”

“I already know that,” I say defensively.

“Yes, you do. But your defenseless brain has not made that connection yet,” Dr. Woodrow counters. “You’re still holding on to it. Holding on to everything. By doing that, you are keeping a part of yourself closed off to everyone. Including your daughter.”

I want to argue. I want to yell that I love my daughter with all my heart. And while that’s true, I know what the doctor is saying is true. I hold back. The realization of that makes a tear escape and roll down my cheek. Dr. Woodrow silently hands me a tissue, then writes something in her notebook. I wonder what the sight of me crying means to her.

“It was my seventeenth birthday,” I begin quietly. “All I wanted to do was paint. I had already decided by then that I wanted out of that life, but I didn’t know how. I was going to take that night to come up with a plan. But then Laurence showed up.” I shudder, going back to that night. “He had three men with him, and had paid Bussiere to disappear. He watched as the other men . . . ”

“Take your time, Eve. And remember, you’re safe here. No one can hurt you.”

I take a deep breath. “Two of them held me down. They didn’t need to, I didn’t struggle. I knew from before that if I struggled, it would be worse. But it didn’t matter to them. They wanted it rough. They wanted to hurt me. They wanted me to struggle. When I just laid there, I would get slapped. I still didn’t fight back. So they hit me again and again until I finally tried to block them. They laughed then. I heard Laurence say ‘finally’, but I didn’t understand what it meant at that time. He walked over to me, grabbed my hair and pulled me towards him. He told me that he bought me, and I will give him what he wants. I tried to tell him I wasn’t fighting, but he just hit me again and yelled at me. ‘Fight back, bitch! If I wanted a wet noodle, I’d be fucking my wife!‘.”

God. I don’t know if I can do this. It occurs to me then that I had never gone into detail with either Lainey or Adam. They know I was brutalized, but they have no idea what actually happened.

“I fought back. I hit, kicked, bucked with all my might. It only seemed to spur them on, make them more brutal. I was so torn. A part of me wanted to stop fighting because I knew it’s what they wanted. And another part of me wished that I was stronger. I wanted to hurt them. But they were too strong for me, and they would rotate. Two would hold me down, while the other did what they wanted to me. It didn’t matter to them if I was bleeding, if . . . if I had never been taken a certain way, if I were trembling with pain. They just kept going. Then, Laurence decided it was his turn. He waited until I was barely conscious and did things to me that . . . ”

“Okay, Eve. That’s enough,” Dr. Woodrow said kindly. “No one should ever have to go through what you went through. Especially a child.”

I noted that her knuckles were white where she clutched her pen. It was as though she were trying to rein in her own emotions as she listened to my tale. She took a breath, and I imagine she’s attempting to calm herself before continuing.

“How did you get away?”

“Bussiere came in to check on me after they . . . finished. It was the only time she looked even mildly ashamed. She helped me clean up, promising that I would have the next day off. Not that I believed her since I should have been alone that night, but perhaps she thought no one would want me since I was bruised and battered.”

I took the offered tissue from Dr. Woodrow, dabbing my eyes that keep leaking with tears for my teenage self.

“Thank you,” I murmur. “Anyway, Bussiere left my door unlocked that night. Maybe she didn’t think I was in any shape to try and escape. Or perhaps she was disturbed enough to forget,” I said, and I know my voice is tinged with disbelief. Bussiere had kept pictures from that night, she couldn’t have been that disturbed. “When I didn’t hear the lock click, I waited until I knew Bussiere would be asleep, and I left. I didn’t take anything with me, I just ran. I don’t know how I made it miles away with the way I was feeling, but I was finally far enough away to feel marginally safe and called . . . Agent Donovan.”

“How did he act with you back then?” She asked cautiously.

“At first he was annoyed with me because I had made him look like a fool letting a fourteen year old get away from him. Then we became friends. I knew at one point that he was becoming infatuated, but I never encouraged him. I liked him, and with the way I was feeling about the opposite sex at that time, I decided it was better for him if I didn’t get involved with him.”

“Did he become belligerent at any time because of your decision?”

“By that time I had begun drinking heavily, taking pills, smoking and doing my own kind of revenge. I don’t think I paid much attention to him. Maybe he resented me for that. I don’t know. He was always kind to me, helping me. That’s why when he did what he did, I was . . . shocked. Completely stunned. He hurt me so much by what he did. I thought he was my friend.”

“I certainly don’t know the Agent Donovan’s psyche at the time he did this to you, Eve, so I can only speculate.”

“Anything is better than nothing, I suppose.”

“Well, I believe he thought of himself as your protector.”

Protector!” I shout. “Some protector! He nearly got me killed! He would have killed Adam!”

“Eve, please.” Dr. Woodrow lifted her hands in a calming gesture. “First, I wasn’t finished. Second, I told you this is only an opinion based on what I know of the case and what you’ve told me.”

“Sorry.” I hung my head sheepishly.

“It is understandable for you to find anything positive said about this man to be offensive to you. Just let me finish the thought, and if you want to discuss, we will.”

I nod.

“You were young when he came in contact with you. He was an FBI agent assigned to keep you safe. When you ran away, it affected him. When you called him to turn yourself in, he became your protector again. He watched you become a woman. It’s no secret that you’re a beautiful woman, Eve. You have admirers everywhere. I can only imagine Agent Donovan became one himself, then became dismayed by your continued disinterest.”

“But he was married,” I argue. “He moved on.”

“Do you believe that? You called him when you were in trouble, correct?”

“Yes,” I mutter. This was all my fault. If I hadn’t called Donovan when my father was after me, Adam would never had been put in danger.

“I can see you beginning to blame yourself for Agent Donovan’s actions.”

My eyes widened. How could she possibly?

“You have a very expressive face, Eve. What Agent Donovan did was not your fault. I mentioned you calling him because I imagine it brought him back to being your protector, even after he became married and had children. He never let you go. He may have continued on with his life had you not contacted him, but I honestly believe he would have reached out to you at some point. Especially if he had read about your marriage to Adam.”

“But why? Why couldn’t he just move on with his life? We never had anything. I told him I wasn’t interested. He was a part of a time in my life I didn’t want to remember.”

“Obsession,” she answered matter-of-factly. “Some people have the mindset to move on. Others let it consume them. Agent Donovan let it consume him until he believed he was the only one that could keep you safe and make you happy.”

“I can’t be sorry he’s dead. I’ve tried. But Adam was hurt, and my marriage was almost destroyed. If Laurence hadn’t deviated from the plan, Donovan would have let Adam be killed. I can’t forgive him for that.”

“By not forgiving him, you are keeping him close.”

“Then tell me how I let go.”

“Only you can do that. When you are ready,” she answered softly. “You don’t have to feel bad that he is gone, but you need to let go, Eve. Let him go. Let Laurence go. Let Tony go.” She placed a gentle hand on mine. “Let the past go. I know that is easier said than done, but it is something that we will continue to work on. Okay?”

I nod.

Dr. Woodrow leaned back in her chair, and studied me for a moment. “I would like to ask you something before we finish for the night.”


“How would you feel about having Lainey and Adam join you for a session? Separately of course,” she said quickly when she saw I was clearly panicking.

“I – I don’t know.”

“That’s alright. I know it would be difficult for you, and possibly for Adam and Lainey, but I think it would be beneficial for all of you.” She waited, but I don’t respond. She sighed softly then said, “Will you at least think about it? If you feel you might be able to do it, then talk to both Adam and Lainey and see how they would feel. Is that okay?”

“Yes. I will think about it. I promise.”

“Good. Now I know tonight was extremely difficult for you, so my advice is to go home, take a relaxing bath and let Adam hold you.”

I smile slightly. “That sounds like something I can do. I’ll see you next week, Doc.”

“Next week. Goodnight, Eve.”

Session Seven


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“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.”

Greetings from Italy!


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I’ll be missing my session due to the fact that Lainey and I are in Italy! It’s late here, but I thought I’d drop in for a moment to say hello. Italy has been wonderful. The weather is great, and the art is even better. We’ve procured four wonderful pieces so far, including a magnificent sculpture from a local artist that is looking to expand in the US. I have a good feeling about this artist.

Lainey is missing her family, which I understand completely since I miss Adam and Bella terribly. But we’re determined to make the best out of our trip. We have one more full day here, and after an early meeting with an art dealer, we will hit some of the museums. And, of course, shop! If I don’t bring something back for Princess Bella she will never forgive her mama!

Okay, signing off for now. I have an overwhelming need to call my husband.


Session Six


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As she does in every session, Dr. Woodrow hands me a cup of hot tea.

“Thank you.” I sip gingerly, testing the temperature, and almost choke when the burn of brandy hits the back of my throat. My eyes pop open wide as I stare at Dr. Woodrow incredulously.

“You asked for it.” She chuckles softly at my mock scowl. “Are you relaxed?”

“You could have warned me,” I tease before taking another sip. Interesting mix of jasmine and brandy. Not something I would think of myself, but not necessarily displeasing.

“Ah, true, I could have. But what fun would that be?” she smirks.

Hmm. Seems as though Dr. Woodrow is in a feisty mood. Perhaps she is just trying to make today easier for me. It’s going to take much more than a splash of liquor in a calming cup of tea.

“Tell me how your week has been going.”

“Are you procrastinating for me, Dr. Woodrow?”

“Not procrastinating, Eve. However, there is no ethics law that says we cannot have a normal conversation.” Her smile is kind, and I can’t help but return the smile.

“Very well. My week has been busy, actually. I’m getting the gallery ready for a show for a local artist. I believe it will be successful. Which reminds me, I will have to miss next week.”

“The showing is next week during your session time?” Dr. Woodrow asked skeptically.

“No.” I grin at her disapproval. “I’m not avoiding my session, Dr. Woodrow. I just won’t be in the country. Lainey and I have to travel to Italy for a couple of days to procure a few items for the Los Angeles gallery and hopefully a new artist.”

“Italy? How exciting. Would you like to discuss how Adam feels about Lainey traveling with you?”

My eyebrow raises at her question. We have yet to get into the whole “Lainey relationship” portion of my life. It was only eluded to when we did the preliminary interview.

“You don’t think I can see the depth of your feelings for Lainey when you speak of her?” Dr. Woodrow asks gently.

I close my eyes briefly before locking gazes with her.

“Adam trusts me,” I say a bit too harshly. “We’ve discussed everything, and he knows Lainey and I are just friends. Now.”

“Eve, I did not mean to upset you or imply that . . . ”

“I know,” I interrupt. “I apologize for my attitude.” I lower my gaze. It’s not the doctor’s fault that I still feel guilty about Lainey. Guilty for our affair. Guilty that I still think of her in that way. I force myself to think about something else. Even going back to my past may be easier than dealing with the shame of my feelings.

“Eve . . . ”

“I’m here to talk about when I ran away to Paris and what happened to me, correct? That is where we are now?”

Dr. Woodrow sighs softly and nods. She picks up her notebook and rolls her pen between her fingers. Waiting.

“My father took my mother and me to Paris once when I was small. He had had a particularly good week gambling and was feeling generous, I suppose. Of course, he went there to gamble more, or do whatever else he did, but mother and I had fun. We stayed there for a few weeks in a small bar that had rooms for rent. Wasn’t the greatest place, in fact it was quite filthy, but I didn’t mind it. Momma was with me and that’s all that mattered to me. Tony spent most of the nights down in the bar or somewhere else, sometimes never coming back to the room. After Tony was arrested for my mother’s murder, I fled to the only place I remembered. Madame Bussiere’s.”

I know I’m talking fast, and I hope I’m making sense. I take another drink of my tea to stall, scrunching up my nose as it had become cold.

“Would you like more?”

I nod, handing the doctor my cup.


“No, thank you. I can do this sober.” I hope. Dr. Woodrow refills my cup, handing it back over to me, and settling back into her seat.

“Was this Madame Bussiere kind to you and your mother when you had visited before?”

I detect a small amount of distaste when the doctor mentioned Bussiere’s name. I smile to myself, knowing instinctively that she dislikes Bussiere merely for her part in what happened to me. I am fortunate to have found a therapist who actually cares. I mean, if I must go through therapy I might as well be comfortable, I think wryly.

“She was pleasant enough, I suppose. I didn’t give it much thought, though. I just didn’t feel I had any other options. I was young. Money would have eventually run out. I was hoping that Bussiere would agree to let me live there if I helped out around the place.”

And, oh man, did she. I just never imagined how she would make me help.

“When did things change for you?” Dr. Woodrow asked gently.

“When I was sixteen,” I murmured. I remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. “I had once believed it was because my body had began to change, and the men in the bar began noticing. I only learned recently that Bussiere had betrayed me and told Tony where I was. He began paying off his debts with my body.” I pause, taking a sip of my tea, wishing I had accepted the offer of brandy.

“Would you like to stop?”

“No. I want to get past this part.”

“Alright then. Take your time, Eve.”

“We only have an hour session,” I joke lamely.

Dr. Woodrow smiled. “You’re my last session for the day. It’s okay if we go over.”

Again, I find myself lucky to have found such a caring shrink. Though, I’m quite certain she would disapprove of me calling her a shrink.

“When Bussiere came to me one night, she noticed one of my drawings. She thought it was good and demanded I paint for her. She figured she could make a lot of money off of my paintings. I thought I’d be able to get what I needed if I agreed, so I asked her for supplies and agreed to paint for her. Huge mistake.”

“You must know that whether you had asked her for supplies or not, she would have demanded the things she demanded from you,” Dr. Woodrow said into my silence.

“Logically I understand that, Doctor. But for years I believed that that was the thing that made Bussiere ask those things of me. It was a catch 22 for me. My art helped me survive, but the way I got the supplies was slowly killing me.” I take a deep breath, closing my eyes. “When Bussiere asked me to go up to the room with a man, I didn’t know what to expect. She told me it was to paint a portrait. I became hopeful that I had misunderstood what I had originally thought she wanted from me. That hope grew when the man really did just want a portrait painted. When he returned a few more times for portraits, I should’ve been more wary and less hopeful.”

“You were still a child, Eve.”

“But I had already seen evil, Dr. Woodrow. I shouldn’t have been that naïve. I should have prepared myself for what I knew in my heart was coming.”

“You hold so much guilt inside you.”

Oh if you only knew, I thought silently. The guilt never seems to go away.

“If I had just prepared myself for that night,” I said out loud.

“Then what, Eve?” Dr. Woodrow asked. “Do you think you would have felt different about it? You were a virgin and someone was taking advantage of you. Raping you. How could you have possibly prepared yourself for that.”

“I agreed to it,” I protest weakly.

“Did you feel you had any other choice? Did you want it?”

“No,” I whisper.

“It was rape, my dear Eve. You should hold no guilt for that. That woman, Tony and those men are the ones to blame. They are the ones that should hold guilt. Not you, Eve.”

Logic is so much harder than emotion.

Dr. Woodrow reached over and squeezed my hand briefly.

“Do you know how many there were?”

The question was asked hesitantly, as though she didn’t want to have to ask me. I almost wished she hadn’t. I shake my head.

“I lost count.” My voice sounded so small and childlike to me, and it shocks me. A chink in my armor. Damn it.

“It’s okay. Let’s stop here. We don’t have to talk about this anymore if you don’t want. Next time, we can begin with how you got away.”

“Okay.” I force my voice to be stronger. Stronger than I felt at the moment.

“May I ask you something?”

I nod, still not trusting my confidence.

“When you leave here, do you find comfort with Adam or Lainey?”

The question had me expelling a shocked gasp. Even though there was no hint of judgment, I wasn’t prepared for my defensive response.

“I’m in love with Adam. He is the one who comforts me,” I retort hotly.

“Eve, please.” Dr. Woodrow lifts her hands in a placating gesture. “I meant nothing by that. I wasn’t judging you. I’m merely trying to get to know all there is to know. It’s not uncommon to feel strongly about two people.”

“I love my husband,” I state again.

“I have no doubts about that. But you also love Lainey, correct?”

“Why are you doing this?” I whisper. It’s too much. I’ve been trying to bury my feelings for Lainey since Adam found out about us. I’ve promised Adam that nothing would ever happen between Lainey and me ever again. I won’t hurt him like that again. I can’t.

“Eve, the whole point of therapy is to be completely open and honest. Not only with me, but with yourself. If you don’t, how do you expect to let it all go?”

“I’m not ready for this. Please.”

“Okay. It’s alright. I’ll stop.” Dr. Woodrow closed her notebook and set it on the table next to her, laying her pen on top. “I’m sorry I upset you, or if you feel I’ve pressured you.”

I nod slightly, standing up.


I pause with my hand on the doorknob, and turn to face the doctor.

“I am sorry.”

I can see the distress in her eyes, and I wonder if she thinks she’s lost my trust.

“I know. And I understand why you asked. I’m just not ready to face those questions right now.” I offer her a slight smile. “I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, doc. We’ll get through my past, and then we’ll tackle my feelings. I can only handle one at a time.”

“I promise, I’ll let you set the pace.” She smiled back, and stood to approach me. “Have a safe trip.” Dr. Woodrow squeezed my forearm gently.

“Thank you. Good night.”

I close the door gently behind me, and stand there for a moment with questions running through my head. Lainey is picking me up tonight on her way home from the gallery while Adam is home with Bella. Will I confide in Lainey? Normally I wouldn’t hesitate. But now . . . now I have to wonder if it’s because I’m looking for comfort from Lainey or just friendship.

Why can’t it be both?” I whisper. It doesn’t mean I want anything more. Right?

Session Five


, , , ,

“Why did you feel you needed to run after your father was arrested, Eve?” Dr. Woodrow placed a cup of hot tea on the table next to me before returning to her seat.

I picked up the delicate cup, bringing it to my lips, thinking about my answer. Jasmine tea. Light and calming. Of course, knowing where this conversation is going, I could use something hard and mind-numbing.

“Decided against the brandy?” I ask teasingly. I’m procrastinating, I know. I hate this part. The first time I spoke of my past to anyone was when I finally opened up to Lainey. I thought then that it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. Until I had to tell Adam. You would think it would be easier by now, but just thinking of that time in my life depresses me immensely.

“Do you really need alcohol to get through this?” Dr. Woodrow asked, her pen poised to write my response and what she thought of that. Sometimes I want to take that notepad from her and see what her real thoughts about me are. “Are you worried about what I’m writing?” She raises her brows in question.

“Reading my mind? That is true dedication for a head shrink.”

“You’re not answering any of my questions, Eve.”

“Because I don’t want to,” I sigh. “I’ve never made it a secret that I didn’t want to do this, Doctor. This isn’t easy for me to talk about.”

“I can’t imagine it is,” Dr. Woodrow readily agreed. “But you need to let this go. Let me help you, Eve.” Dr. Woodrow paused, taking notes, then looked up at me again, holding my gaze. “You should be doing this for you, not because you feel it would make Adam and Lainey happy.”

“I am. Believe me, if I didn’t feel like I needed this, I wouldn’t be here. Needing this and wanting it are two different things.”

“Alright. Then back to my original question. Why did you feel you needed to run?”

“My father threatened me. He told me that no matter where he was, he would be able to get to me. I knew he had people within the authorities, I just didn’t know how far up they went. I ran because I didn’t know if I was safe.”

“You were so young. How did you know where to go? How did you even get past customs?”

“I am a very resourceful person,” I answer vaguely. “I just didn’t know he would be that cruel,” I snort derisively. Of course I knew he could be cruel. I was just too naïve to believe he would hurt me anymore than he already had.

My last statement was said so quietly, I wondered if Dr. Woodrow heard me. I knew she did with her next question.

“Why would you say that?”

“I found out that Tony orchestrated everything that happened to me in Paris. Just one more way for him to hurt me. He did the same to my mother.”

“Did the same?”

“Whored her out like he did me. Used us and our bodies to pay off his debts.”

Dr. Woodrow cursed softly, then laughed softly when she saw my raised eyebrow.

“Sorry. I try not to let myself get emotionally involved with my patients. But when I hear how a father put his daughter through so much pain, it . . . well, it pisses me off.”

“My my, Doctor. Don’t hold back,” I gave Dr. Woodrow my most charming smile, and a quick wink. I appreciate her anger towards what I went through. Anger for my father is much better than pity or even disgust towards me.

Dr. Woodrow chuckled. “I’ll try to refrain from personal dialogue while we’re in this room.”

“Fair enough.”

“Have you ever felt safe, Eve?”

I pause. “I do now. After Tony died, I started feeling safe and letting myself feel happiness. Lainey helped me with that. And when I decided to let Adam in, I found my safe haven in his love.”

“And when the latest problems occurred, you regressed?”

I shrug slightly.

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves. I want to go back to your time in Paris before we get into everything else.”

I sipped my now cold tea, closing my eyes, trying to get past the heartache I still felt when I thought of what Adam went through because of me.

“I was a whore. What more do we need to discuss? It’s over.”

“Eve,” Dr. Woodrow gave me a look that is normally reserved for mothers who are disciplining their child. “You know very well you were not a whore. You were forced to do things no woman, and especially a child should have to do.”

It was the same thing Adam and Lainey tell me all the time. I say it’s over, yet I can’t really let it go.

“Very well. What would you like to hear about it?”

“I don’t want details, Eve, unless you feel you need to discuss them. I want to know how you felt.”

My hands trembled as I set the tea cup back on the table. Dr. Woodrow surprised me when she laid a gentle hand on mine.

“Let’s continue this in the next session. I don’t want to push you too hard.”

“Afraid I’ll close up?”

“Honestly? Yes. It’s your defense. So, we’ll take this slow. I can’t offer you alcohol, but I can offer you my expertise and understanding. I can offer a sympathetic and non-judgmental ear. Will that be enough for you?”

“As long as you don’t put me on any medication, we’ll be fine, Doctor,” I smile, silently thanking her for making me feel safe within these walls.

Session Four

“You’ve missed a few sessions, Eve.” Dr. Woodrow glanced up at me, and I noted the slight disapproval.

“Sorry about that. I am a busy woman.” I’m not used to feeling guilty about having to work. However, not only do I have to worry about Dr. Woodrow’s disappointment, but Adam has also been hounding me about missing appointments. Damn it.

“Have you been able to paint?”


“No.” I can’t help the sheepish grimace. “I’m not avoiding this. I want to paint. But I do have galleries to fill and run.”


Dr. Woodrow scribbled a few notes in her ever present leather bound notebook, then focused on me again. Her face gentled, and I find myself apprehensive about where we’re about to go. That apprehension is justified when I hear the question.

“Would you like to talk about the day you found you mother?”

I fought back the bile that is my automatic reaction when I think about that day. My head screams NO!, but if I’m ever going to get past whatever it is blocking my creativity I’m going to have to go through all of this shit. Man, Adam and Lainey better be glad I love them so much.

“What about it?”

“What do you remember about that day?”

“Coming home and finding my mother dead,” I answer flatly.

Dr. Woodrow sighed quietly. “Eve. In order for this to work, you’re going to have to let go of the attitude. I realize you use it as a defense mechanism, but it has no place here.” In a display of unusual affection, Dr. Woodrow leaned forward and touched my hand briefly. “There’s nothing to be afraid of in here.”

I take a deep breath, closing my eyes and feeling completely raw as I think back to that day.

“What do I remember about that day?” I repeat. “I remember my life coming to an abrupt end. I remember losing the one person in this world that loved me.” Tears brimmed, but just like that day, they don’t fall.

Dr. Woodrow looked at me sympathetically, writing a couple of notes before continuing.

“You knew right away that it wasn’t suicide, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” There were no doubts, even in my fourteen year old mind, that my father killed my mother. No doubts that the “suicide note” was forced. Momma would never have left me with Tony if she had a choice. Never.

“You were the one that brought your father to justice?”

I felt the gun in my hands, the struggle to gain control, the squeeze of the trigger and the warmth of blood flowing through my fingers. His and mine. Yes, I brought him to justice. But I know that’s not what she is talking about.

“I turned him in, yes.”

“How did you feel about that?”

“Like I was too late.”

Dr. Woodrow looked up sharply. “You didn’t feel as though you got revenge?”

“My mother was dead. Tony was alive. Even in jail he was able to make my life hell. He killed my soul that day. So, no, I didn’t feel vengeful. I just felt . . . late.”

“Did that change after Tony died?”

“From my hands, you mean?” I ask, the huskiness of my voice making it almost unrecognizable even to me.

“Well, since you brought that up, did you feel remorse for Tony’s death?”


There was no surprise in Dr. Woodrow’s eyes, just understanding. With a slight nod of the head, she makes a couple of notes.

“Okay.” Dr. Woodrow glances at my hands, and I grip them tightly together to try and stop the shaking. “I think that’s enough for today. Next session, we’ll talk about what happened after you ran away from the authorities.”

Fantastic, I think sarcastically, something to look forward to. My only hope for getting through today and my next session is knowing that Adam and our baby girl, Bella, are at home waiting for me. That, and the fact that Lainey is picking me up from here. On shaky legs, I stand, smoothing my black skirt free of wrinkles.

“You should have wine for these sessions, Doctor.” I give her a wry grin. “Or perhaps some brandy.”

Dr. Woodrow chuckled. “I’ll keep that in mind. Eve.” Her voice stopped me as my hand reached for the door. “For what it’s worth, I think your lack of remorse for your father’s death is natural. You were defending yourself and someone you love dearly. You did for Lainey what you felt you couldn’t do for your mother. You weren’t too late.”

I felt the faint flush creep up my neck, and a lightness settle over me that I haven’t felt in years. Maybe ever.

“Thank you.”

Session Three


The sound woke me up from a deep sleep, and I felt my lips start to tremble. I wanted to call out for my mommy, but something kept my mouth shut. Then, I heard the yelling.

Daddy was loud. I had never heard him sound like that before, and I wondered if it was really him, or if someone else was here. But, mommy called him by name, pleading with him to just calm down.

Smack! Crash!

I didn’t even bother trying to stop the tears. I’m only nine years old, but I know something is terribly wrong. I know daddy is hurting mommy, and I need to help her. But, he’s scary. I hear mommy crying, I can hear the pain in her voice, and my little legs scurried to the door, flinging it open.

“Daddy! Stop!”

He had his hands around mommy’s neck, and I could tell she was having trouble breathing. She looked at me then, her eyes widening with shock. She tried to shake her head. She tried to speak, but couldn’t because of the hold daddy had on her. Daddy looked back at me, his face contorted with anger.

“Get back to your room! Now!”

“Daddy, you’re hurting mommy!” I ran to him and jumped on his arm, putting all of my weight on it. He didn’t budge his hand from mommy, but he used his free hand to push me away. When I tried pulling him away again, he finally released mommy. That was the last thing I remember before seeing his fist come flying to my face.


“Damn it.”

I’m back in Dr. Woodrow’s office, safe and sound. Momma is dead, but so is Tony. The latter was my doing, and I still feel no remorse. Should I?

“Are you okay, Eve?”

I nod, not trusting my voice.

“That was a pretty powerful memory. Is that the first time you recall knowing your father was abusive to your mother?”

“Yes,” I respond quietly.

“And, the first time he hit you?”

“That hard, yes.”

“He had hit you before that?”

“He’s always been abusive – in one way or another.” I know I’m being evasive, but I’m not ready for that conversation, yet. Dr. Woodrow just nods, and writes notes in her leather bound notebook.

“And, is that the last time you tried helping your mother?”

I couldn’t help the stab of guilt that shot through me. A lump formed in my throat, and I struggled to swallow it down.

“Eve, you were so young, and he hurt you so badly. It is only natural for you to have been afraid to stand up to him again.”

“I should have risked it for my mother.”

“Do you think she wanted that?”

I hesitate, hearing momma’s voice in my head. ‘Don’t ever do that again, baby girl. I can handle him. Please don’t make him hurt you like that again. Stay away from him as much as you can.’


“No. She didn’t want that.”

“Can you begin to tell yourself that you did what you had to do to keep from being hurt? Can you forgive yourself for doing what you know your mother wanted you to do?”

I take a deep breath, and let it out slowly.

“I can try.”

Session Two

“Eve,” Dr. Woodrow set her leather-bound writing pad aside, and slipped off her glasses. “If you expect these sessions to work, you have to be honest with me. With yourself.”

“What would you like me to say, Doctor?”

I don’t fidget. For many years, I have trained myself to remain calm and strong. In my line of work, it’s extremely helpful. After everything I’ve been through, it’s extremely essential. Yet, here with Dr. Woodrow, my therapist (Christ, having a therapist is hard enough for me to believe), I can’t stop twisting my wedding ring around my finger.

“It isn’t my job to tell you what to say, Eve. It’s my job to listen to what you need to let go.”

She sat back in her chair, her elbows on the arms of the chair and steepled her fingers. A show of confidence. That’s something I know. She’s also waiting, patiently, for me to open up to her. It took me years to open up to someone. So far, I’ve only trusted two people with my sordid past. And, I’ve slept with both of them. Sitting here in front of someone who wants me to divulge every secret, without any other pretense, somehow makes me feel more exposed.

“You asked me to help you forgive your mother,” Dr. Woodrow said over my silence. “Are you sure that’s what you feel?”

“Obviously you’re not,” I answered dryly. She said nothing, just kept waiting. Damn. She’s good. “I don’t know what I feel to be honest with you. I wanted her to be honest with me, but she wasn’t.”

“She’s your mother, Eve. You’re a mother now. What would you do with Bella in this situation.”

“Adam would never hurt me,” I seethed.

“I know that,” she said softly at my outburst. I should really control that in front of a therapist. “I’m not saying Adam would hurt you. I merely want you to think about how you would have reacted if the tables were turned.”

Sigh. Of course, I would have done the same thing mama did. She thought she was protecting me, and she did the best she could in her situation. Blaming her is blaming the victim, and I know better than most not to do that. The truth is, I’m not blaming her. I’m not even mad at her. It is not my mother that I need to forgive.

“Eve? Many emotions just crossed over your face. Do you want to tell me what you were just thinking?”

“It’s a bit overwhelming for me that you can read me so well after a short amount of time.”

“It’s my . . . you know, that’s not true. I was going to go with the line of it being my job. And, while it is, and I’m damn good at my job, it’s more than that with you.” Her eyes flickered with amusement when she obviously sensed my uneasiness. “You remind me of my niece. I feel particularly protective of you. It may be unprofessional to some, but I think it will give me a better insight to you.”

“You barely know me.” My voice was a mere whisper. I haven’t had a mother figure since I was fourteen. I don’t know how to react to the feeling I had when Dr. Woodrow said I remind her of her niece.

“I believe you of all people know that feelings can occur quite instantly and without warning.”

I nod, still feeling slightly off balance by the admission. I felt the same thing with both Adam and Lainey. It was – still is – intense, scary and immensely satisfying. I felt another brick fall out of my wall of protection. When the hell did I start trusting people I hardly know?

“Now, are you ready to tell me what the emotions were all about?”

“I realized it wasn’t my mother that I need to forgive,” I answered honestly. I hesitate to elaborate when I see her questioning look. I can’t help it. It has been a defense mechanism for me for so long, it’s second nature to me. “I should have been able to help her.”

“Eve – ”

“I know,” I interject quickly. “I was a kid, what could I have done? But, there had to have been something. Something that would have kept her alive. Kept her with me.”

To my utter horror, I felt tears flood my eyes.

“Do you think that’s why you would do anything to keep those you love safe? Even go as far as stepping in front of a gun – twice?” Her tone was even, though I still heard a hint of disapproval.

“My life means nothing without the people I love,” I stated simply.

“Can you not see they feel the same about you?”

“That’s not what I think about. I wasn’t able to save my mother. I’ll be damned if I don’t save those closest to me when it’s because of me they were in danger in the first place.”

She shook her head slightly, picking up her writing pad again and jotting down notes. When she looked at me again, she smiled kindly.

“Before we get deeper into that, we need to spend more time on this guilt you feel towards your mother, Eve. If you can’t forgive yourself for something that isn’t your fault in the first place, I’m afraid you won’t be able to get rid of this block you have.”

The threat of not being able to paint or create art again caused me to shudder. Art is an important outlet for me. Without it, I’m frightened by what it will do to me. I used art to get me through the most devastating times in my life. I need it. Hell, I need it as much as I need Adam and Bella. As much as I need Lainey.

Without art, I’m not me. If Adam or Lainey can’t see Eve, how long will I be able to keep them? How will I be able to raise my daughter with confidence and potential?

“How? How do I forgive fourteen year old me for not being able to save my mother?”

“We go back. You’ll have to relive it all in order to give yourself a different outcome.”

“It will never be different, Doctor,” I tell her grimly. “She will still be dead. I will still have been brutalized. Innocent people will still be killed or threatened because of me. Reliving it just means going through that pain all over.”

“It is not the outcome outside I am talking about, Eve. It is what happened inside. Starting with the first time you knew something was wrong in your household.”

As much as I want to walk away, to never relive this through words since I relive it in my dreams enough, I agree. I don’t have any other choice.

Session One

“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.