The Therapist Pt. 06

Mayıs 27, 2024 Yazar admin 0

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AN INTIMATE ENCOUNTER

Valerie’s marriage has disintegrated after she discovers her husband has been having an affair. At the same time, Karen’s marriage is also ending although her breakup is much less dramatic. Before Karen and Jonah finally go their separate ways, they agree on a mutual settlement and use the money to finish their extension. Karen accepts Valerie’s offer to stay for a couple of weeks but the night before she is due to move some of her things in Valerie kisses her. Her intimate approach has consequences but is she willing to take things further?

Sultans of Swing could be heard in the spare bedroom and Valerie managed a smile as she tucked the blue, striped blouse further into a dark grey, pencil skirt. The song brought back memories of a simpler time, dancing in Anne’s bedroom as a teenager to Dire Straits, she was in her last year of Primary school and Anne was mooning over boys. Anne’s crush at school was a Dire Straits fan and thus Anne became a fan as well. She had moved on from him but stayed a fan, she and Tony seemed to possess that ability to extricate themselves from destructive relationships without making a dog’s breakfast of it. Melody and Valerie on the other hand could go for years in relationships that were going nowhere.

Melody had ended a long term relationship with Marcus some six months ago but he was still in and out of their former home as if nothing had changed. Her attempts to get back into the dating game were hampered by the fact that her ex husband would just turn up with something for her or the kids that he ‘just happened to see on sale.’ It was just one of many excuses and you couldn’t class him as being creepy or violent. On the contrary he was all at sea now that his marriage had ended. Every other month he gave her another self help book to help her come to terms with life. Melody had once joked that she would even pay for a prostitute just to get it out of his system, it hadn’t gone down well.

Where Marcus was clingy, Robbie was the opposite and at first she’d prided herself on breaking the mould and getting with someone who was an alpha male. Robbie didn’t do the clinging thing but there was a part of her that wished he’d clung to her a little more. It was like two sides of the same coin, the clingy man who needed a mother/maid and the alpha male who thought the entire world revolved around his dick.

Private Investigations started playing as she exited the bedroom on her way to Damien’s room. One thing she’d learned about Karen last night had been her love of music, she’d confessed that if she set up her laptop to play her entire collection end to end it would take, “three weeks, five days and seventeen hours to play the lot.” Her tastes ranged from Dire Straits through to old 50s rock, even older ’30s show tunes, the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, 90s, and ’00s and there was also an impressive array of world music. She couldn’t speak another language but reasoned that music and mathematics are the only true universal languages.

The song finished suddenly as she entered Damien’s room and she heard Karen moving around the room, packing her laptop and other items. She was just stuffing dirty clothes into the washing basket when Karen stepped into the room. She was wearing a cream-coloured blouse with beige fluorescent stripes and a matching silk collar tie, the blouse was tucked into a black, buttoned skirt accessorised with a black belt and gold buckle. The white fishnet stockings shimmered in the light and she managed a grin as she adjusted her grip on the laptop bag slung over one shoulder.

“You need a hand with anything?”

“Huh?” Valerie looked up blankly and then came to her senses, “um, no, I’m fine thanks.”

“No worries,” she replied, “I’ve got an early finish today, there’s a department working lunch and seeing as they finish off at the pub I’ll duck out and come home.”

The two women looked at each other for a moment and then Damien held up a toy giraffe.

“Giraffe!”

“That’s right, sweetie,” she took two more steps and bent down, “what’s his name?”

“Giraffe.”

“Hmm, how about Gerald the Giraffe?”

Damien burst out laughing as she rose and winked at Valerie.

“I’ll leave you with Damien and Gerald,” and then she was gone.

How would it work between us? Valerie frowned.

The question still had no answer but she felt as if she was skating on the edge of something much larger, an unknown landscape that hid both delights and dangers. On the plus side, Karen cleaned up after herself and actually offered to help, on the negative side she wasn’t sure how it would work if they were to take things further. Would she find the other woman intruding into her personal space on the premise of just being concerned? It was one thing she feared, being owned totally. One major reason Robbie had lasted so long was simply because he was younger. She could control a younger man in a way she couldn’t if he’d been older.

Is it really as simple as that? A loss of control?

There Betturkey had been no goodnight kiss last night but it wasn’t as if neither of them were up for it, Karen had been upstairs unpacking her clothes while she was downstairs with Damien. No one had said anything about it but Valerie knew that couldn’t last. Even if it was just to clear the air and put it down to an insane urge and draw a line between them but Valerie wasn’t sure she wanted a boundary between them at all.

Was she complicating it? That thought popped into her mind a little later as she reviewed her client list for the day. Aludra was in the other room and she looked up as she heard Damien’s giggling, the child looked on Aludra as being just part of the extended family and indeed the younger woman had become almost indispensable. In time she would no doubt finish her studies but Valerie hoped she’d stay in contact. She recalled a somewhat nervous young woman sitting on a sofa while Valerie went through her resume. When she asked the origin of her name, Aludra had told her it was Arabic and meant the maiden or virgin. Prior to meeting Aludra, she’d always looked upon the conflict in the Middle East as being too confusing but having listened to her talk of it openly, Valerie had changed her perspective dramatically and become a strong supporter of Palestinian statehood.

And that brought her back to the problem at hand and the solution. We evolve, our perceptions will change over time. Prior to meeting Jacqueline she’d never considered sleeping with a woman but the younger woman had triggered something with her flirting some months ago. Could it be that Karen’s rather graphic descriptions had merely done something similar? She found herself drawn to the older woman in a different way. Yes, she was desirable but there was also a maturity to her, Jacqueline would fuck you in an instant and forget you just as quickly but Karen would look for a more permanent arrangement.

What was that line from Shawshank Redemption? Valerie frowned as she sipped her tea in the living room a few hours later after a lunch break.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

A smile nudged her lips as Karen’s car pulled into the driveway.

Okay, let’s see where this leads.

Karen greeted her with a smile as she stepped into the living room. She dropped her bags on the floor as she sank into the sofa.

“Thank God that’s finished,” she loosened the tie, “it turned out the department meeting wasn’t a thing I needed to be at so I came home early.”

“So you’ve got the afternoon off?”

“Yeah,” she undid the tie and started sliding it off, “and you?”

“Got three more clients and then I have to transcribe their notes, cook dinner, bath Damien and somehow manage to find some ‘me’ time,” she cracked a wry grin. “I’m always telling clients to find me time and when they do can they give me some too?”

“Okay, how about I cook dinner and you can bath Damien? I’m home all afternoon, got nothing planned at all,” Karen undid the top button of her blouse.

“Deal,” Valerie leaned back against the back of the couch and closed her eyes.

The doorbell caused her to open her eyes again and she sighed.

“That will be the door,” Karen undid the second button.

She rose and slipped a hand beneath her blouse.

“I’ll get it and you get back to work.”

Valerie stared after her as she left the room and then swallowed as she realised she’d been almost turned on by her wardrobe adjustment.

All right, work, Emily Dodson. Focus, focus, focus.

Easier said than done she found a little while later. Normally she enjoyed her work but there were times she found her mind drifting and the sessions that afternoon were a battle to get through, which was a marked change from this morning. Granted she’d been fresher but now she felt as if she was sitting watching herself listening to her clients and yet from time to time she found herself back in the moment and feeling self conscious about it. One such time was when her last client, a thirty something woman called Kim admitted she had a crush on her next door neighbour, Bonnie.

“And has Bonnie given you any signs?”

“She seems interested although it’s hard to say if she’s just being friendly or just waiting to see what I do next. I mean I don’t want to just come out and ask her, she’s the only neighbour I speak to and we get along so well I’d be gutted if it put up a wall between us.”

“So, you value your friendship.”

“Yeah,” she frowned, “but I still think she’s hot.”

“So, why not just come out? Make it sound casual or even sound embarrassed, if you value her friendship then put it out there that you’re that way inclined. You should know pretty much straight away if she’s turned on by the idea or not.”

“Yeah I’ve thought of that as well,” she frowned.

“Then, I don’t know, have her over for a few drinks a couple of days later, get talking about how you feel about women. The important thing is Betturkey Giriş to maintain the friendship but leave the door open for something deeper. Don’t go rushing into something without scouting out the terrain.”

Scouting out the terrain certainly seemed an appropriate term for Valerie because the situation at home very much kept her on the sidelines. Damien missed his father, of that there was no doubt but he was equally intrigued by this new woman who played with him and entertained him. On Tuesday he came down with a cold that kept Valerie and Karen on their toes, it was a mild bout that lasted until Friday but it kept them from each other up to a point. Valerie’s workload was heavier than normal and when not with clients she was reviewing her financial status now that she was single again. The meeting with her lawyer was particularly dramatic when she relayed the demands from Robbie’s lawyer.

“Don’t let it get to you,” Cybill warned her, “it’s a shot across the bow but we haven’t started firing yet, so let’s just keep a cool head.”

That was the Thursday afternoon and that night her mother called and offered to take Damien for the Friday night.

“I feel like I’ve been neglecting you,” she rather casually informed her.

Valerie nearly screamed at that comment, her mother could be announcing she had terminal cancer and she’d make it seem like she was reading a new recipe but she kept her cool and agreed that Damien could stay overnight. Melody was flying in with her kids and would be staying with their mother, at least Damien could meet his cousins.

“I haven’t seen Melody in twelve months,” she confessed to Karen as she sat folding clothes, “we keep in contact several times a week on Facebook but she’s so far away and I know she’s got a lot on her plate.”

She frowned and shook her head.

“And there’s my mother talking,” she sighed.

“Tell me about it,” Karen chuckled, “it’s one of those things that comes as a shock. You spend so many years trying not to be like your mother and wind up being like your mother.”

“We’re both experts in denial,” she moved one pile of clothes to the couch, “he’s been at this for months, I just found out from Aludra the other day that he’d made passes at her behind my back. She was too ethical to take him up on the offer but it slipped out when I dropped her off tonight, she’s actually relieved he’s gone.”

“Jesus,” Karen winced, “how old is she?”

“Twenty one, the age difference isn’t what bothers me though, I’ve seen bigger ones but she’s a babysitter slash receptionist. I pay her out of my salary and he’s been trying to bed her,” she shook her head as she kept folding.

“And that brings me to the next point, these boys weekends. I got a call from one of his old mates, who hasn’t seen him for three fucking years, the last time they had one of their boys weekends. Oh they keep in touch but they’re all married with kids or they’ve moved away, so even before we were married he must have been doing something on these weekends and he wasn’t with the boys.”

Karen shifted in her seat slightly and their eyes met. Valerie felt it then, a desire to get out of her seat and move over to her but instead she swallowed and looked away.

That night was a restless one. Two or three times she woke up and looked at the door, almost expecting Karen to make an appearance. What was she waiting for? It came to her as she drifted off to sleep for the last time.

She’s not a man she’s a woman. She’s waiting for you.

That morning she woke to the alarm on her phone. It was the same tune she’d been waking to for the last twelve months, a live version of ABBA’s Waterloo. She rolled over to find herself looking at that picture of her that Jacqueline had taken a lifetime ago it seemed. For a few moments she lay stock still, staring at that picture of herself, the blouse partially open and a seductive smile on her face as she leaned over the chair.

If it’s meant to be it’s up to me. The saying popped into her head, she’d heard it from a client who was an A.A member and she loved its simplicity, it implied both acceptance and a desire and hope for change. You could either sit in your shit and misery or get up and change something.

She propped on her elbows and squinted at the bedroom door, mentally planning her day, sorting things into different priorities and finally she sat up and turned the alarm off.

“Let’s do this.”

Karen was half asleep when Valerie opened the door of her bedroom. She blinked as the younger woman propped on the door.

“What’re your plans for tonight?”

“Um,” she rubbed her eyes, “I have to meet Jonah after work to look at the extension but after that I’m free, why?”

“I was thinking,” Valerie glanced over her shoulder as she heard Damien giggling, “that perhaps you could pick up a bottle of wine on the way home.”

“Wine,” Karen rolled onto her side and propped on her palm, “red or white?”

“White, we’re having fish,” Betturkey Güncel Giriş she pushed away from the door jamb, “a little birdie told you were quite partial to fish.”

“I do have a preference for anchovies,” she smirked.

Valerie winced at that remark but didn’t reply as she left the room to start getting ready for the day and when Karen finally farewelled her an hour later, Valerie put an arm around her waist and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

“See you tonight, remember the wine.”

It set the tone for the rest of the day, one that saw her counselling four clients, two other clients cancelled at the last moment and she took the opportunity of a break to start marinating the fish. Her mother arrived on time and she thought that perhaps she’d lost her mind when her mother actually gave her a hug.

“I’m sorry, I should have come earlier.”

“I’m fine,” she replied.

“And there’s no chance of a reconciliation?”

“None,” she pulled back, “it’s been going on for far longer than I thought. The woman I know of is just one in God knows how many.”

“Well that’s that,” her eyes shifted as Damien stepped out of the living room, he had his Spiderman mask on and her mother smiled as she held out her arms for him.

“But at least you have my favourite little man here, he’ll save you. Just look at him.”

“Yeah, he’s Spiderman.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come over tonight as well?”

“Positive, mum,” she smiled, “I’m having someone over for dinner.”

“Oh?”

“An old friend,” she blushed at the lie.

She had to laugh at the lie some twenty minutes later as she stepped out of the shower and started getting dressed. No doubt her mother knew more than she let on, although Anne would never have let the cat out of the bag but her body language had given too much away. She chose her outfit with care that night, the blood red, pussybow blouse and black three-quarter skirt she’d worn for that first photo shoot for Jacqueline.

If that doesn’t send out a message then nothing will, she adjusted the bow, short of throwing her onto the bed.

It certainly did send out a message because Karen did a double take when she stepped into the kitchen some forty five minutes later.

“I’ve seen that before,” she ran an eye over her, “nice.”

“Not so bad yourself,” she looked at her. This morning Karen had worn a short-sleeved pink blouse and black trouser suit, “you’ve changed clothes, I like it.”

Karen smirked as she flicked at her bowtie. It was one of those old fashioned bowties that left the ends dangling. Her ivory-coloured blouse had a mandarin collar, two wide pleats on each side of the opening had black edging to match the black buttons. It was tucked into a black, satin pencil skirt adorned with a silver belt buckle, black boots completed the outfit.

“I bought this for a fancy dress party a couple of years ago,” she looked down at herself, “but I wore a skirt similar to the one you’re wearing tonight.”

“Ooh that could’ve been nasty,” she teased her.

“So, how were things with your mother?” Karen changed the subject abruptly.

“She actually hugged me,” she picked up the bottle of wine, “my mother isn’t very tactile at the best of times.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Karen wondered out loud.

Valerie merely rolled her eyes and smiled but didn’t reply.

The dinner had all the atmosphere of an intimate occasion, with candles, pleasant music, and stimulating conversation. The only thing that seemed out of kilter was the fact she was with a woman instead of a man. There were times she actually forgot that Karen was a self confessed lesbian and thought of her just as a woman, and then Karen would come out with a comment or story of someone she’d been with in the past and it came back.

It was during one of those accounts that Valerie became conscious that she was becoming aroused and it was not one of those stories about Karen’s first love, Jolene although that did conjure up pictures in her mind. Rather it was the fact she’d been sitting at the table for the better part of an hour and a half just talking. Even when she and Robbie were just dating this never happened and she found herself going back before Robbie, trying to find other men who might have been content with just talking. She eventually found one, Gavin, a gay guy she’d befriended when she was in university. She could sit and talk for hours with the gentle young man who called himself a citizen of the world long before phrase that became popular. Now she was in a similar situation but this time the other party would sleep with her.

“How would it be between us if we fell into bed?”

“That’s hard to say,” Karen replied, “a lot depends on how we go forward. We could have sex on the couch through there but it doesn’t mean you’re gay but you already knew that,” she paused.

“I’ve got a home to go to, but if you want to know how I feel about you?”

“I’m interested.”

“So am I, you’re one of those women who come along once or twice and I don’t want to rush in right away, I just want to sit on the sidelines and check her out. You and I could just stay friends and I’d consider myself fortunate, anything over and above that is a bonus.”

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