“Good morning Dr. Edison,” Angie chimes as I walk through the door.
“Good morning, how are you?”
“Not too bad. You have a new patient coming in today.”
“When’s the appointment?”
“Noon, oh and Sutton is in your office, something about not being able to get a hold of you and it was annoying her.”
“Lovely, is the new patient my first appointment?”
“Besides Sutton,” Angie laughs. I walk into my office to see Sutton lying on the couch dramatically.
“You know I am still going to charge you for being in my office.”
“Here’s your bag of Scarlet swag,” she says, holding up a red bag.
“Thank you, what can I do for you?”
“You didn’t answer your phone last night, and I needed to talk to you.”
“What about Jane?” I ask, sitting behind my desk, looking through the bag.
“She was out with Pinstripe guy.”
“Pinstripe guy? I thought she was seeing the doctor.”
“That isn’t good for her, she’s too much of a type A person.”
“Tell her that.”
“She doesn’t like when I tell her that.”
“I know, so where were you?”
“I was out.”
“Who was the lucky guy, or gal?” Sutton chimes, wiggling her eyebrows.
“I don’t remember.”
“Now what does that say about you?”
“That I don’t want to commit myself to anything that I know may hurt me. And yes, remembering a person’s name is one of those things. But it was a woman, a very attractive woman.”
“Do you remember what she looked like?”
“She was… amazing. Her smile was sexy, her personality, her accent. She spoke to me in French and Persian.”
“You’re such a sucker for languages.”
“I know,” I sigh, leaning back in my chair as I wait for my computer to load, “I should have gotten her name, and her number.”
“You’re going to kick yourself for that one.”
“I know. Don’t you have to get to work?”
“Oliver sent me on a mission to get some bag, he could care less and as long as I show up before lunch with lunch.”
“I don’t have a patient until noon, so you can’t really stay here until then, but you can stay for a little while.” Sutton and I met at a football game in college, she was nice enough to spill her beer on me when Penn State won, only for us to both hug and laugh about it becoming pretty close friends after that. We both then came to New York for work, she got the job at Scarlet, where she met Jane, while I continued going to school at Columbia, and the rest is history as far as the past five years since the initial beer incident. Sutton and I continue to catch up for another hour before she decides to leave. My phone rings on my desk. “Yes?”
“Your patient is here.”
“I’ll be out in a moment,” I chime, ending the call and getting up from my desk, I grab my iPad and set everything up at my chair, making sure there were tissues and a bottle of water, seeing as anything could happen at a first session. I walk out into the lobby to see a woman sitting there looking at her phone, “Ms. Pierre?” the woman looks up with a tight-lipped smile.
“Dr. Edison,” she chimes, walking up to me and shaking my hand.
“Come on back,” I say, leading her to my office, “take a seat.”
“I’ve heard good things about you, a few of my friends here in New York say you are one of the best.”
“Well, I am happy to hear that.”
“Some of them say their parents see your parents.”
“We’re a psychiatrist family,” I tease, causing her to laugh, “so we’re going to start off with you just telling me a bit about you. You’re French?”
“Oui,” she smiles, “I was born and raised in France. My parents owned art galleries which took them around the world, in turn, I didn’t travel until I was in my twenties and took over their small empire, I guess you would call it.”
“Did they primarily show in France?”
“Yes, Paris mainly. We lived in the country, about three hours outside of Paris, but we would spend the weekends in Paris. I enjoyed my childhood, so my seeking therapy doesn’t stem from my childhood.”
“I didn’t assume it did. I don’t like to use this first session as anything more than getting to know you as a person, and then going from there. People seek therapy for several reasons and I don’t assume anything until we are a few sessions in. You could choose not to even come anymore after today. So I don’t want you to feel like I’m reading into everything you say.”
“So, are you in any relationships or anything like that? Do you parents live in the city or are they still in France?”
“They’re in France, I mostly travel for them now. I am seeing someone, and have been for years now,” she says, casting her eyes down a bit.
“You don’t have to feel like I’ll judge your sexuality.”
“I have a girlfriend.”
“Was that something you thought I would judge you on?”
“I don’t know, you can never be too sure of someone, no matter how young and progressive they may seem.”
“Well, this is a safe space, I also counsel teens who may be struggling with their sexuality, and I want all of my patients to know the kind of person I am whether they like it or not.”
“Do you counsel couples?”
“No, I’m sorry. My mother is actually a very good couples counselor if you need a recommendation. Are you and your girlfriend having issues?”
“She tends to get distant when she can’t work like if she’s too caught up in something and can’t create from it, she begins to distance herself, this has been going on for three years now and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“What does she do for a living?”
“She’s a photographer, we met at a showing my father set up with her in France. I was so captivated by her instantly and we hit it off right away. I think the fact that she makes such amazing art and creates good business for both of us, makes it hard for me to say anything about it. We both end up doing our own things until it’s time to go back to France, or she has to go back to Iran.”
“Do you think the fact that she is also a client of yours creates a conflict of interest in your relationship?”
“I don’t know. It’s been going on for so long that I don’t think anything of it.”
“Have you spoken to her about it?”
“She brushes it off, she doesn’t ever want to talk about things that are serious unless she brings it up.”
“Maybe it’s time to move on, maybe it would be better for both of you if you took the initiative to just end things, does it bother you all the time?”
“Sometimes I’m too busy to notice, but that is when she is able to create the best work. There is something that happens in her that shuts down when it comes time to both create and be in a relationship, almost like she can’t physically do both, she isn’t capable of doing it.”
“You seem to be pleasing your careering while at the same time being neglected in a way by your relationship. You should take a step back and think for yourself about this dynamic and then go from there. You see as if you are both using each other for again.”
“That sounds like it may be the case. Ms. Pierre -”
“Coco,” she says with a polite smile.
“Coco, if you think outside of what she does for you, work-wise, and focused on how she makes you feel in here,” I say, placing my hand on my chest, “then I don’t see why you two can’t work it out.”
I walk into the bar to see Jane and Sutton sitting at a table by the window, “sorry I’m late.”
“It’s okay,” Jane chimes as I sit beside her and across from Sutton.
“You are going to have to catch up though, so a shot for you,” Sutton says, getting up and walking over to the bar.
“So how are you and Pinstripe?”
“Sutton told you?”
“Of course, now what’s the deal with that?”
“I’m freelancing on the side and he’s helping me out,” she says as she takes a sip from her drink, “please don’t analyze me.”
“When I first met you I told you I would never do that,” I say as Sutton walks over with a drink in one hand and a shot in the other, “I thought you were only getting me a shot?”
“Hottie at the end of the bar bought you this, apparently, she knew you were a vodka soda kinda gal.” I look over to see familiar dark eyes and a smile that could make the coldest person in the world melt into a puddle.
“That’s her!” I say, louder than I anticipated.
“The girl from last night.”
“She’s hot, how could you forget her?”
“I had too many of these,” I chime, holding up the vodka soda, “should I go talk to her?”
“Whatever you feel like, Babe,” Sutton chimes, sipping her drink.
“She’s attractive, go do it,” Jane encourages. I down the shot before getting up and walking over to her with my drink in my hand.
“So you did remember me?” The woman asks in a breathy tone, her hair was hanging in loose curls under the headscarf that was gently placed over her head.
“How could I forget a face like yours. Especially those eyes, they are magnetic,” I chime, causing her to let out a chuckle that sent a warmth through my body.
“Not the first time I’ve heard that” she smiles.
“Well, it must be a curse then.”
“Or a blessing.”
“That could be.”
“So, Kat, how are you?”
“I told you my name?”
“And I told you mine, you forgot already?”
“You were able to get me quite liquored up, be thankful I remembered your face,” I chime, causing her to laugh.
“Well, allow me to reintroduce myself, I am Adena,” she says, holding her hand out for me to shake.
“Nice to meet you, Adena,” I say playfully, causing her to laugh a bit more.
“So, I’m happy I ran into you again.”
“I could say the same.”
“So, would you like to grab a table or?”
“Uhm, yeah, if there is one somewhere,” I say looking around. I see a free table in the corner, taking Adena’s hand I make my way over to where the table was pulling her through the overly crowded bar, “here we are,” I say playfully causing her to laugh. We sit across from each other, “I should have asked what you were drinking before we worked through that crowd.”
“No, I’ll get you something, what do you drink?”
“Soda with lime, please.”
“I’ll be right back,” I smile making my way back towards the bar, I order our drinks only to have Sutton rush over to me, causing me to jump a bit, “Christ.”
“Sorry, how is everything?”
“Good, I’m getting her a drink, I don’t know if I’m linking back up with you and Jane again tonight.”
“Are you going in for round two?” She asks, wiggling her eyebrows.
“We’ll have to see what happens,” I shrug.
“Uber home of you need to, and walk of shame starts at six,” Sutton chimes, grabbing her drink and going back over to Jane.
“Sorry, I got caught up,” I say when I get back to the table.
“It’s okay,” she smiles, putting her phone back in her bag.
“So, Adena. I would like to get to know you a little, maybe stay somewhat sober.”
“You don’t want to have fun again?”
“We had a lot of fun, didn’t we?”
“Oh yes, we did. I know I would like to have fun with you again,” she smiles, running her finger around the rim of her glass. We fall into quick conversation, regardless of the intentions that were not mentioned again. Somehow in the course of us talking, her chair ended up next to mine as opposed to across from me, she was showing me pictures on her phone of somewhere she traveled to. She tells me of the trip to Amsterdam, how young she was, and everything she did. She looks over at me with a smile, “what?”
“You have such a dopey grin on your face.”
“You talk so animatedly about things you seem passionate about.”
“Is that your way of using your profession to get to know me better?”
“No, that’s just my intuition wanting to know you better,” I smile. She stares at me for a moment before leaning in slowly and kissing me.
“I want to see you again,” she mumbles.
“Okay.” I nod before fully understanding that I’ve said it. She gives me her number and I give her mine before we walk out of the bar and onto the sidewalk.
“I’ll call you?”
“Okay.” Adena smiles, leaning in to kiss me again, “see you later, Kat.”
“See you later.”
I walk into my office and sigh, setting down my bag and taking a seat at my desk answering emails when I get a phone call, “Hello?” I say, not looking at the phone before answering it.
“Hey, is this a bad time?” The familiar breathy tone comes from the other side of the phone, causing me to feel light.
“I have a few minutes before I have to work.”
“That’s fine, do you enjoy your work?”
“Yes, I do. How about you?”
“When I can find the inspiration.”
“I was calling to see if I could see you tonight?”
“I have a conference I have to go to, my father is speaking at it.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. I was hoping to see you.”
“Maybe we can get together after. It should be over around nine.”
“I’d like that,” she chimes. I smile when I hear a light knock on my door, I look up to see Angie letting my know my patient was here.
“I’ll call you later, I have to go.”
“Okay, don’t forget to call later.”
“I won’t,” I chime hanging up the phone. I set everything up for my appointment, knowing it was going to be Coco’s second session and I would want to get into things with her. I walk out into the lobby, calling her back, “how has your week been?” I ask as she makes herself comfortable.
“Good, I was working a lot which I love to do.”
“That’s good, you enjoy your job?”
“Yes, very much so.”
“How are things with you and your partner?”
“She was around all week, which was nice. The only day I didn’t see her was the night of our last session, she said she was out with friends from home.”
“Well, that’s good to hear.”
“Yeah, but she has been on her phone lately and that is something that isn’t really like her, but I didn’t want to think too far into it.”
“No, it isn’t worth it to worry about something like that,” I say, making a point to write that down as a thing she worries about. “Does she make you feel like you should worry?”
“No, but she is a very friendly type of woman. She makes friends all the time, there is something about her that brings people in.”
“Does that make you feel insecure?”
“I don’t know how it makes me feel, honestly. There is something about it that I could feel insecure about, but I am not too sure.”
“How you tried talking to her about her friends? Have you met any of them?”
“Yeah, there have been times we’ve gone out and we’ve met up with her friends, and then I became friends with them. Then we would go out again and she’d have more friends than the time before and I have no idea where she met half of them.”
“How long have you been with her?”
“About three years now. We’ve broken up and have gotten back together more times than I can count.”
“You still love each other enough to get back together then.”
“Yes, I know there is still something between us that keeps bringing up back together, but lately I don’t know if this time is going to be one.”
“What do you mean?”
“I feel her drifting and I don’t know if I can stop it or if I can go back to her if we were to break up.”
“I would like to meet your girlfriend,” I say, putting my notebook down, “I know I said I don’t do couples counseling, I don’t specialize in it, but I would like to hear what she has to say. If it’s easier for me to meet with her separately than I would be open to doing that. Maybe you can talk to her, see what she says.”
“She may not be into it, but we’ll see what happens.”
“Well, you have the number to make an appointment, I look forward to meeting her if she chooses to come.”
"Hey, Kat. You have a new patient coming in today,” Angie chimes as I walk through the door.
“Yeah, she said she couldn’t do a full session though, she has a meeting she can do a half hour, she was referred by Pierre.”
“Oh, okay. Thank you. What time?”
“Within the next ten minutes.”
“Thanks. Send her back when she gets in,” I chime going into my office, setting down my things when there was a knock on the door. I walk over to the door, opening it and letting out an audible gasp, I look up to see Adena, “hey.”
“You’re Coco’s therapist?” She asks carefully, stepping into the office. I close the door behind her and feel her hand grab my wrist gently.
“Do we know what the odds are?”
“Apparently it’s harder to win the lottery,” she smiles, leaning in to kiss me. I couldn’t help but kiss her back, holding her by her hips.
“We can’t,” I say, pushing her back a bit.
“Why not?” she whispers, running her fingers through my hair.
“It’s unprofessional, against the law, you’re officially a patient.”
“If I had known you were Coco’s therapist, I wouldn’t have agreed to this. I wasn’t going to agree to it, but she convinced me that it would be good.”
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“Morally I don’t know if I can see you as a lover, knowing you’re going out with someone else. Professionally, I can’t see you as a patient if we are lovers.”
“So don’t see me as a patient, and if I’m being honest, I’ve wanted to break up with Coco for a while.”
“You’ve been cheating on her with me.”
“I know,” she says with a shy smile, “I don’t regret it.”
“She has told me what she thinks of you, how you make her feel.”
“And she has probably said I’m a person who doesn’t understand her, and gets distant and loves her periodically, but that doesn’t matter.”
“You’ve been with her for three years.”
“And she wasn’t exactly the greatest person to be with either, there were times where she drove me to be distant,” Adena says, sitting down on the couch, “I want to pursue something with you.” I look at her for a moment as she looks at me with the most sincere look in her eyes.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know what?”
“If we could be something,” I say, shaking my head.
“Because of Coco?”
“Because of the circumstances, yes. If you break up with her and she finds out you are seeing me, that could be an issue.”
“Kat, I don’t want to stop seeing you. I’ve never felt this way for anyone. I feel like you and I could be something amazing together.”
“No, I get it,” she says, getting up from where she was sat, “you can’t deny that we had fun.”
“No, I can’t deny that,” I say with a small smile.
“When you change your mind, you know where to reach me,” she says, walking over to kiss me on the cheek before walking out of my office.
“So you’re sleeping with your patient's girlfriend, who your patient has complained to you about?” Sutton chimes as she walks over and hands me a glass of wine.
“Yes, it sounds very fucking strange, I know.”
“Strange is putting it lightly, and the woman your sleeping with is willing to leave your patient to be with you?” Jane asks, looking up from her laptop.
“Yes, and I can’t do anything without it being fucked either way.”
“You like this woman don’t you?”
“Yes, I do. I’m starting to.”
“So keep everything to yourself and just keep seeing her, and don’t tell your patient,” Sutton shrugs as she continues to alter a dress on a mannequin.
“Did she really say that?” I ask, looking over to see Jane nodding, “do you want me to risk my job?”
“You need a little excitement in your life, Kat. This is your chance to have that excitement.”
“But is it worth the risk?”
“That you have to determine yourself.”
“You know I don’t want to take that risk.”
“But you like your exotic lover.”
“I do, Adena and I have an undeniable chemistry.”
“So, run with that,” Sutton says.
“I’m keeping out of this.”
“You? I heard you’re juggling,” I say, causing her cheeks to turn red.
“I don’t know whether to go with fun and sexy Pinstripe, or sexy and serious Dr. Ben.”
“Well, your choices aren’t as detrimental as mine.”
“You’ll make the right choice,” Sutton says, patting my shoulder.
I’m sat at my kitchen table, going through emails, and writing up client reports when there was a knock at the door, I take a deep breath before walking over and opening the door to see Adena standing there with a playful smirk on her face, “I was surprised you called.”
“What did you tell Coco?”
“I don’t want to talk about her,” she says, shaking her head as she pulls me in for a kiss.
“Adena,” I mumble against her lips.
“Kat, please,” she whines, kissing my jaw and neck.
“No, stop,” I say, pushing her back a bit, “I want to keep doing this, I do, but you have to understand what could happen to me.”
“I don’t want to put your job at risk,” she whispers, running her fingers through my hair.
“I can’t see you in my office again.”
“Okay,” she nods, kissing me again.
“As for Coco, she deserves to not be jerked around, I don’t want to hear that she is still worried about you going out all the time.”
“You need to relax. You know I’m good at helping you relax.”
“This wasn’t meant to be a booty call,” I chime, causing her to laugh. She takes off her hijab and for the first time, I see her dark hair falling down around her shoulders.
“I know, but still, it could be worth it.”
“I just wanted to see you,” I say, reaching out and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Hello, Coco. I was happy you could come in on short notice,” I chime as she walks into my office.
“No problem, your receptionist said it was important.”
“I have a referral for you.”
“You aren’t seeing me anymore?”
“Something has come up and I have to take a leave,” I lie, handing her an envelope, “I have transferred your file to a friend of mine, Alex Crawford. He is an excellent therapist and will take good care of you. He’s in your network for insurance and is looking forward to meeting you.”
“I’m sorry, we had to end things on this note,” she says, giving me a sad smile, “I look forward to meeting your colleague.”
“You are in great hands, I promise you that,” I smile. I have been treating her for about six months now, and haven’t see Adena since the last time she came by about six months ago. Coco had told me Adena had broken up with her and decided it was time for her to explore again, mentioning that she was going to Peru. One night, after a few glasses of wine, I dove into Adena’s Instagram head first and was able to confirm the fact that she was in Peru, alone.
“I know she was seeing you,” Coco says, looking down at her feet, “I know it wasn’t long, but I knew she was talking to you.”
“You don’t have to be,” she says, shaking her head. “I didn’t know how to handle it when she broke up with me. Honestly, I thought she was going to run off to be with you.”
“I stopped speaking to her a little over five months ago.”
“She said that.”
“I didn’t know she was seeing you prior to me treating you. As soon as I connected everything I called it quits. I couldn’t knowingly be with her, and everything you told me. It wasn’t going to work.”
“I appreciate your honesty.”
“H - how long has she been in Peru?”
“About three months. When she left she wasn’t sure if she was going to go straight to Peru, but she told me she was going to France. I went to see her, we tried to work things out and just after that she was off to Peru.”
“I’m sorry things didn’t work out.”
“If you plan on pursuing her, just know that she has the tendencies to drift. It isn’t just with me.”
“I don’t know what I want to do with her. This isn’t about her either, just so you know.”
“You don’t need a reason, you’re the professional.”
“But I feel the circumstance is what makes me have to say something.”
“We’re all adults, things happen. It was lovely meeting you Dr. Edison,” Coco says, shaking my hand and walking out of my office.
*One Year Later*
“Are you coming with me to this art show?” Jane asks as I sit on her couch with Sutton’s legs draped over my lap.
“Sutton and I refuse to move from the couch.”
“Yeah, Kat’s right.”
“You’re both coming,” Jane says, pulling us both up from the couch. Sutton and I stayed close together while Jane went and networked as well as got information together her article. Sutton got lost in one of the photos taken somewhere in the world. Something about each photo was more captivating than the next. I find myself staring into a photo of a llama standing in the foreground with what looked like ruins in the background. There was something playful about the photo and yet, the ruins added historical value to the photo.
“That llama spat at me after I took the photo, I thought I was far enough away,” I hear an old voice chime beside me. I turn to see Adena standing there with a small smile on her face, “hi.”
“Hi,” I whisper.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Convince me otherwise?” I say, furrowing my brow and crossing my arms over my chest.
“Things happened, a lot of things happened.”
“You fell off the planet for a year?”
“No, I was in Peru. I went home to Pakistan, I was in France for a little bit,” she shrugs.
“You ran away, essentially.”
“I ran away from what was happening with Coco, I ran away to think. I needed time to think about what I wanted and what I was doing. Kat, I left to figure things out. Don’t think I wasn’t torn by everything that went on. I had to leave and be selfish.”
“What was your result? Besides getting spat in the face by a llama?”
“I know what I did was wrong, what I did to Coco was something that I couldn’t fully grasp until I went away. It was time for us to move on from each other, but I went about it wrong. I also know that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about you,” she says, crossing her arms over her chest and looking down at the floor, almost embarrassed at what she had just said, “I’m sorry if I hurt you in any way, and what happened between us doesn’t express my true character at all. I don’t know what Coco has said about me to you, and I don’t expect you to tell me, but just know that what she said may not really be accurate. I would also like to be given a chance to explain things if you’d let me. I don’t know what it is about you, but I mean it when I say I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I was traveling for eleven months and no matter how hard I tried, or who I met, I couldn’t stop thinking about what you were doing. If I could call you if you were busy. If you were seeing anyone. I held back from really contacting you because I knew it wasn’t the right time, I left things to chance to hope that one day we would run into each other again.”
“I don’t know if I can trust you.”
“I don’t know if I want to be… sexual with you again.”
“Also fair. Look every point you will make will be fair no matter what, but just know that I am willing to go through it all just to have you in my life.”
“Don’t beg. This was a duel fault that took place on both our parts, and we didn’t act enough like adults when it happened. You ran off, and I dropped Coco as a patient because I didn’t know whether or not you were going to come back, and let me just say that after the third month of knowing you were gone, I had a feeling I wasn’t going to see you again.”
“I am truly sorry. I don’t expect you to forgive me for what happened. I would like to see you again though, maybe we can get coffee?”
“I’ll let you know,” I say, watching her fight back a small smile that was going to form on her face.
“Okay,” she nods, “thank you again for coming.”
“I honestly didn’t know this was your show. My friend Jane brought me along, she said something about writing an article.”
“I’m who she’s writing an article about.”
“Yeah, my manager suggested it would be good PR. I didn’t want to do it, but I gave in the last minute.”
“Ah, well I’m happy to hear that.”
“I’m happy I made the decision to do it too.”
“I’ll let you know when is good to get coffee.”
“Okay,” she nods with a smile before walking away.
“Yep,” I say, turning to face Sutton who was holding two glasses of wine.
“How was she?”
“Alright, she took all these photos, it’s her showing.”
“Shit, do you want to leave?”
“We’re making plans to get coffee.”
“You miss her don’t you?”
“I barely knew her, but I know that the connection I had for her was something that I couldn’t get over,” I say, looking down at the floor.
“I know. Trust me,” I say, looking over to see Adena talking to a group of people in front of one of the photos.
“I see the way you look at her,” Sutton says in my ear, “you’ve never looked at anyone the way you look at her.”
“And by that you mean?”
“You look at her like you want to know everything about her, almost like your life would depend on it.”
“She isn’t a great person.”
“I’m not saying she is, I’m not even saying that she needs to be forgiven or anything like that. But she could have been something in your life.”
“I know that,” I say, looking at Sutton.
“People change,” Sutton shrugs, “she’s been gone for a year, who knows what’s happened since then if she is the same as she was when she left.”
“I’m going to have to put my fancy degree to work, aren’t I?”
“Covertly of course,” Sutton laughs, causing me to smile, “I love you and will support every choice you make, just know that.”
"I’m happy you made the plan to see me,” Adena smiles as she sits across from me in the small booth of a coffee shop close to my apartment.
“I want to talk this time. I feel like you said enough the other night and I would like to explain things today.”
“Absolutely, would you like another?” She asks, pointing to my drink.
“Coffee, black with sugar,” I say with a small smile. She gets up and walks over to the counter. I watch as she talks politely to the barista, a genuine smile playing across her face. I couldn’t help but stare at her, thinking about everything that happened last year, and all though it wasn’t a lot that happened, what did happen was along the lines of that which couldn’t be taken lightly even now.
“Black with sugar,” she chimes, placing a cup in front of me.
“I want to talk to you, obviously.”
“Yes,” she nods, taking a sip of her drink.
“What is your intention?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I would start with friendship and then go from there,” she says, playing with the lid of her cup, “I don’t expect us to jump right into something, but I would like to start over, start things the way they should be started. There is something about you Kat, I was drawn to you right away. I remember looking at you that night at the bar and thinking about how you were going to be someone that shifted my life, and sure enough, you were. I know I shouldn’t have pursued you while I was still in a relationship with Coco. But that is something I don’t regret, what I do regret is how I handled the situation with Coco, how I became insensitive and wanted what I wanted without caring about the fact that I was going to hurt Coco in the process.”
“Your eyes were the first thing that drew me in to you,” I say, looking up to see Adena smiling at me, “you drew me in with just a look and I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how it made me feel, I didn’t understand it at first. I never felt that way before for anyone. I knew you were something different for me. I knew that if I gave in to you, it was going to be hard for me to stop. I felt that deep within myself. I felt that I was going to be affected by you in more ways than one. I don’t regret meeting you, but I also regret how things were handled. It was very juvenile on your part.”
“I understand, and I am sorry.”
Sutton and I walk into the bar, a local gay bar that was busier than usual, especially during pride month, “do you want to get us drinks?” I ask.
“Got it, meet me at that table by the window.”
“Got it,” I say, walking to the table Sutton pointed to, shoving by some people along the way. Not long after I sit down Sutton is walking over with our drinks, “thank you for coming with me today.”
“I’ve supported you since you came out to me in college, you know that I would do anything for you no matter what. But I don’t know why you waited so long to take me with you to a pride parade.”
“I never wanted to go until now, I don’t know why,” I shrug, holding up my drink, “to our first pride.”
“To us,” she says, touching her glass to mine, “there’s a woman looking at you,” Sutton says as she looks around the bar.
“Your left, just over my shoulder, she’s wearing a blue headscarf.” I look over to see a woman looking at me, turning her head when she sees I was looking at her. I smile at her shyness, looking down when she looks over at me again, “what’s she doing?”
“Just looking at me, but her eyes are magnetic.”
“Are you going to go talk to her?”
“Why not, what have you got to lose?”
“You’re right,” I say, taking a deep breath. I get up from the table, grabbing my glass and walking over to the woman who was sitting at the bar with a small smile on her face as she looked straight ahead, but knowing I was coming up to her, “can I buy you a drink?” I ask, sitting down beside her.
“Soda with a lime,” she says, her accent sending a shiver down my spine. I wave down the bartender, ordering her drink and myself another as I finish the one in front of me, “do you always buy random girls drinks in bars?” She chimes when the bartender places our drinks in front of us.
“Would you believe me if I told you this was the first time?”
“I don’t know,” she chimes, “do I get to know your name?”
“Kat,” I smile, extending my hand for her to shake.
“Adena,” she smiles.
“So what’s going on with you and what’s her name?” Sutton asks as we jog through the park.
“Adena and I haven’t spoken in a couple of weeks.”
“What do you make of that?”
“She’s in the Middle East,” I say with a laugh, “I don’t know what to do.”
“About what happened, about how to handle things with her, about how I want to take things. There’s just a lot going on, and I don’t know what to do.”
“You like her, don’t you?”
“Very much, but there is still the whole thing that happened between her and Coco while she was my client, and I don’t know how to move on from that properly. There’s just a lot,” I say, sitting down as we approach a bench. I catch my breath for a moment, looking over at the different groups of people in the park. “You know, of all the people in this city, I just had to meet her that night, you know. I feel like since she’s been in my life, my entire axis is off.”
“That may be the case, and not everyone will condone it, but what happened between you was pure chemistry, and that is something you haven’t had. Regardless of the circumstance, it was well over a year ago now, people change.”
“But what about cheaters?”
“You don’t know what was truly happening at the moment you hooked up with her, it was one time and you will never know the true story. You’ll have Adena’s version, and Coco’s version, and then the truth.”
“Maybe I should go into counseling,” Sutton shrugs,
“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
“But I think you should talk to her when she gets back.”
“I will, I know I will. I would talk to her now, but she’s been busy with work.”
“What does she do?”
“She’s a photographer, she travels the world and takes pictures.”
“I suppose it is for her,” I shrug.
“Maybe you need some excitement.”
“What do you mean?”
“I know I didn’t stutter.”
“Sutton, I don’t know if I can handle excitement like that. I like my job, I like where I am in my life and I don’t need to be traveling around.”
“Are you happy though?” Sutton asks, catching me off guard a bit.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know if you’re happy?”
“No, I don’t know.”
“Well then, I think someone needs to find that out about themselves.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“Well, you should find the time, seeing as you need to be happy, Kat. For once in your life, you need to be happy.”
“I don’t know how to make that possible.”
“Take some time off, book a flight, and get the hell out of New York. You have been in this city for as long as I can remember, you have barely taken a day off for yourself, you barely have time to go out and get a drink. Maybe chasing after Adena is the kind of excitement you need right now.”
“I can’t risk it.”
“What can’t you risk?”
“I can’t risk getting hurt,” I sigh.
“Kat, you have to take risks, it’s part of being human.”
“Well, I don’t know if she would do the same for me. I don’t want to put myself on the line for someone that wouldn’t do the same for me.”
“There’s only one way to find out about that.”
“Take a risk?” I ask, looking to see Sutton smile and nod, “I hate you sometimes.”
“You just don’t enjoy when someone else is right for a change.”
“No, I don’t. You know this and yet you still make yourself out to be right all the time.”
“It’s in my nature, I love you, and I know you’re in a minor crisis but I have to get going.”
“You should do my job for me sometime!”
“Maybe I will!” She shouts, blowing me a kiss as she hails a cab.
I pace around my apartment, trying to tidy things up after a long week, cleaning had gotten away from me. I hear my phone start to ring, going over to answer it, “hello?”
“Kat,” Adena says on the other line, causing me to gasp slightly.
“Adena. How are you?”
“I’m well. I was wondering if you were home?”
“I want to see you.”
“Yes. I came home a little earlier than I expected, and I - I haven’t stopped thinking about you since I left. I, Kat, I need to see you,” she says, desperation evident in her voice.
“Okay,” I whisper.
“I’ll be over soon.”
“Yeah.” I hang up the phone, thankfully I was at the end of my cleaning and it wasn’t as bad as it was when I started cleaning earlier. Twenty minutes later there was a knock on my apartment door, I take a deep breath before opening the door to see Adena standing in the hallway with a small smile on her face.
“Hi,” I smile, stepping out of her way. She takes the queue and walks into my apartment, taking off her hijab once she crosses the threshold. Adena turns and looks at me curiously as I close the door. I watch as she takes a hesitant step towards me, placing her hands on my cheeks as she stares into my eyes, looking for any form of denial on my part before leaning in and kissing me softly. I wrap my arms around her waist, holding her close.
“I missed you,” she mumbles against my lips.
“I know. I can tell.”
“What for?” I ask, pulling back slightly.
“Everything. I want to try and make things work out, but I know you’re in a place where you may not want to forgive me entirely just yet.” I look into her eyes to see she is almost on the verge of tears as her eyes dart back and forth, trying to look for any signs of an answer in mine. I lean in and kiss her again, feeling her body relax in my arms.
“Things take time, Adena,” I whisper, resting my forehead against hers.
“I still have to give us time.”
“I don’t understand why though.”
“I just am. I don’t know where it’s coming from, or why it’s present, but I know that there is something about being with you that is terrifying me.”
“I’m not that scary,” she laughs, walking over and sitting on the couch.
“It’s not that, it’s the fact that I haven’t been with anyone in a long time, and I don’t know if I’m ready to be with someone just yet.”
“None of that made sense,” Adena says, shaking her head, “how long are we going to be dicking each other around?”
“When you say it like that.”
“That’s what we’re doing though, Kat. It feels like we’re just playing this game of back and forth and I don’t know how to keep dealing with it. Do you want to be with me or not?”
“I don’t know,” I say, bowing my head and running my hands over my face.
“Let me know when you’re ready,” she says, getting up from the couch, gathering her things.
“Don’t go,” I say, pulling her by her wrist.
“I don’t know what we’re doing, Kat.”
“I don’t know either. I don’t know any of it.”
“What do you mean by that? Talk to me.”
“I’m scared like I said. I’m sorry.”
“Are you going to stop with the back and forth?”
“I can’t promise anything.”
“I want to be with you, so either we make things work, or we don’t.” I stare at her for a moment, before pulling her by the waist and kissing her deeply. Avoid what scares you by kissing what scares you the most, that makes sense. I lead her over to the bed, pushing her back and falling with her, making sure not to break the kiss.
I wake up to see that Adena had left, no sign of her at all as I sit up and look around my apartment before noticing a note on the kitchen table. I walk over, looking at the note ‘I had fun last night, but until you know where you stand, I don’t know if it can happen again. I’m sorry, Kat, I know a lot of this my fault, but I also know where I stand in this situation. I’ll talk to you soon. - Adena’. I look over the note several more times, trying to process the words written in such a way, it was captivating to the point where I lost touch with what was being said and fell in love with her handwriting, and at that moment I knew I would have to make up my mind.
I was asked to keep this story going, it's going to be a slow go back into the swing of this one. I refuse to let it die without some kind of fight, even if it is months between updates.
I walk into the bar and she’s there before I am, something that isn’t shocking to me. Adena always seems as if she is early to everything, punctual more so than myself. I smile when she looks up at me smiling that captivating smile of hers, “hello,” she sings, standing up from where she sat to give me a hug, kissing me on the cheek.
“Hey,” I chime, “what are you having, soda with a lime?”
“Yes, thank you,” I order our drinks and feel her hand on the small of my back, “I am going to find us a table.”
“Lead the way,” I chime, paying for our drinks and following Adena closely. We end up at a small table near the front windows of the bar, sitting across from each other with small smiles on our faces as we sit in silence, not an uncomfortable one, but still silence.
“Are you okay?” She asks, playing with the wedge of lime on the side of her glass.
“Yeah, it’s just been a long week.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“You sound like you’re in my profession,” I tease, causing her to laugh.
“I have a lot of respect for your job, but could never see myself doing that kind of work.”
“You need to be creative, I see that about you. I can say I know that very well about you.”
“Have you ever analyzed me?”
“In a fully professional context?”
“Yeah, have you?”
“No?” She asks, sitting back in her chair a bit, cocking an eyebrow.
“I don’t always analyze people. The ones I have an interest in are the ones I don’t want to look into clinically. I want to learn about them properly.”
“I see,” she says, sipping her drink.
“Why, would you?”
“I don’t think so. I would want to learn about someone like you do. There is something about learning about a person, really learning about them, that I find to be the most beautiful thing.”
“It is beautiful. You see the true beauty in someone when you aren’t looking at them under a microscope.”
“What are we, Kat?”
“What do you want us to be?”
“Something. Something more than this.”
“Something more than friends?”
“Yes. I have feelings for you, Kat.”
“I feel like I have feelings for you, too.”
“So then what are we going to do?” Adena asks, leaning forward a bit, resting her arms on the table, “are we going to move forward in a romantic way, or take time?”
“Can we take time?”
“How much time?”
“However much time I feel I need to make sure things are right. I don’t want to waste time on something that could fall through.”
“It won’t fall through. I want to give you my all, Kat. I’m fighting for you and you don’t even know it!”
“I didn’t know that. You didn’t make it obvious enough for me to know that.”
“I knew you weren’t going to realize it.”
“Did you want me to?”
“I don’t know… but I know you would realize your conflicts.”
“That’s a clinical way of putting it,” I laugh, taking a sip of my drink.
“I want this to work. I’ve never wanted to make something work so much in my life.”
“So you’re going to settle?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Settle your life, not travel so much, or just pick up and go as often as you want to. You’re going to rearrange your life aren’t you?”
“If you’re willing to give in to me, I’m willing to give in to you.”
“We’re going to have to take our time.”
“I know, but I don’t have all the time in the world, Kat. I can’t waste time either. I can’t waste time, taking time.”
“I know and I don’t want you to.”
“So we’re at a standstill?”
“So that’s it then?”
“Adena, I didn’t want this to turn into something like this, I just wanted to enjoy time with you,” I sigh, watching her face fall.
“I’m sorry, Kat.”
“I’m sorry too. I just want things to happen at their own pace. I don’t want to rush anything, or make this something it shouldn’t be before we’re ready for it.”
“I know, I do feel the same way. I just also feel like if I don’t make the effort, the opportunity will slip away,” she says, giving my hand a squeeze.
“I don’t believe it will.”
“No, we have a connection, that much is evident and there is a way we can make that into something with the right about of effort and timing.”
“There you go, talking about timing again. Have you ever lived a spontaneous day in your life?”
“No, I haven’t,” I sigh, bowing my head.
“So, be spontaneous. You have one life, are you going to waste it being closed off and just live in this one city for the rest of your life?” Adena says, playing with her glass, “if you ask me, you’re just wasting your own time at this point, and have been for years now,” she says as she reaches into her bag, she pulls out some cash, dropping it on the table and walking away without another word. I sat there for a minute, not knowing what to do as I look into my glass. I take a deep breath, finishing the rest on my drink and throwing some money down on top of Adena’s, making my way out of the bar. I step out onto the curb and look to see Adena was leaning against the wall not far from the door, a smirk playing on her lips, “I thought you were going to take a bit longer.”
“This is me diving head first.”
“This is you diving head first?” She asks, a teasing tone to her voice as she walks towards me, pulling at my waist.
“Out of an airplane without a parachute,” I whisper, looking at her curiously.
“So dramatic,” She laughs, kissing me softly.
“I’m going to mess this up,” I whisper against her lips.
“Don’t be so depressing.”
“I’m not sure about how this is going to go, I just know that I’m not all that sure about it, like, I don’t know if I’ll be good at this, I’ll probably mess it all up.”
“You’re going to be great at this, don’t be so hard on yourself. Everything will be okay,” she says, caressing my cheek, “I would like to see you tomorrow if that’s alright with you.”
“Tomorrow doesn’t work for me, I have a conference tomorrow and then I’m going out of town.”
“How long are you going to be gone for?”
“A few days, I have another conference out of state.”
“Would you oppose me coming with you?”
“You’re a very forward woman, aren’t you?”
“Somewhat,” she shrugs, “I’m surprised you haven’t caught on by now.”
“Oh, I have. Don’t flatter yourself.”
“So, am I allowed to come with you?”
“You’re not going to let up, are you?”
“Probably not,” Adena chimes, leaning in and kissing me softly.
“I wouldn’t be around if you came with me, I do have to go to work.”
“That’s fine, I’ll use the opportunity to explore.”
“You really want to come with me, without knowing where I’m going.”
“I want to go just to be with you,” she smiles, “I’ve told you before Kat, I’ve never felt so connected to someone before I met you. There is something about you that I can’t seem to get over that feeling,” she explains, looking at me with a small smile. “So where are we going?”
“The middle of nowhere?”
“It’s not the middle of nowhere, St. Paul is a decent city, not like this one. But still,” I shrug as she starts to laugh.
“Where are we going there?”
“I’m speaking at the university’s school of psychology.”
“You’ve built up an impressive name for yourself, haven’t you?
“You could say that,” I smile, “we’re both respected in our professions.”
“It seems so,” Adena smiles, leaning in to kiss me.
“We leave the day after tomorrow, just so you know.”
“I need to book it.”
“I’ll take care of it, don’t worry.”
“You’re welcome,” I smile.
I walk into the hotel room after a long day of exploring St. Paul while Kate had to work. I come down the short hallway to see Kat asleep on the bed. I smile, admiring how peaceful she looks. I remove my hijab as I make my way towards the bed, trying not to wake her. As careful as I was, I see her begin to stir, “Hi,” she says, her voice thick with sleep, “when did you get back?”
“Just now, how was your nap?” I chime.
“It was nice, thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” I whisper, leaning in to kiss her softly, “is it bad to say I missed you today?”
“No,” she smiles, shaking her head, “I missed you too.”
“Nice to see we’re on the same page.”
“How was your exploration of the city?” She asks, sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes.
“It was fun. I’m happy I decided to come with you.”
“You mean, force your will,” Kat laughs.
“However we want to define it,” I shrug. Kat looks at me curiously for a moment.
“Do you love me?” She asks quietly.
“At this point in time, I’m not too sure. Can I see myself being in love with you? Of course.”
“Okay,” she nods.
“Okay? That’s all I get?”
“I’m just processing the idea of us. If you can see yourself being in love with me, I think that’s enough to assure me that this is a real thing.”
“It is,” I nod.
“I want to be with you. I have wanted to be with you, there isn’t a lack of feeling the way I do when it comes to the feelings I have. That doesn’t make sense, I just want this and that’s all that should matter.”
“It does matter. All of this matters, we both want the same thing for the most part.”
“Okay,” I smile, taking her hand in mine, playing with her fingers, “do you want to get dinner?”
“How does room service sound? I want to shower and put on sweatpants.”
“That’s fine with me,” I smile, leaning in to kiss her softly, “go shower, what do you want?”
“Some kind of pasta, surprise me.”
“Is there anything you don’t like?”
“No, I’m not picky. Get whatever you want too,” Kat says, standing up and stretching her arms over her head.
I walk out of the bathroom in only a towel, walking over to my suitcase to get something to wear. I turn and see Adena staring at me, watching every move I make with her head cocked to the side, “the towel isn’t going to fall if that's what you’re wishing,” I tease, causing Adena to sit up straighter than before.
“I was just admiring your beauty.”
“So my ass?”
“I have no shame,” she smiles.
“I know you don’t, you never do,” I say, taking my clothes back into the bathroom to get dressed. I come back to see Adena was getting up from the bed, “my turn,” she smiles, walking towards the bathroom, “room service should be here soon,” she adds, kissing my cheek before disappearing in the bathroom. She reappears a bit later, dressed in pajama shorts and a tank top. She smiles, making her way over to sit at the edge of the bed.
“Are you okay?”
“Just wondering,” she shrugs as she begins brushing her hair.
“Are you using this as like a test to see how well we are together?”
“That seems like a question I should be asking you.”
“I know, but I’m still really trying to figure out what this is.”
“Are you really going to spend the next couple of days being skeptical?” Adena chimes, getting up when there was a knock at the door. She walks back in with our dinner, placing on the bed between us, “I just want you to know that I do care for you very much, and I want this to be a serious thing. There isn’t anything else I want.”
“I know, you say that all the time.”
“I’ll say it a thousand times if it means you’ll believe me and just go with it. I don’t think you realize that. I don’t think you really understand how much I care for you, and how much I want to just make this work.”
“But you’re always going to have doubt. Kat, I don’t want you to have doubt anymore. I want you to understand that,” Adena says, taking my hand in hers, “I want the next couple of days spent with you being assured that I want this to work out more than anything. And if it takes this middle of nowhere state to bring us together, then so be it.”
“I’ll stop whining for the next couple of days,” I sigh, watching as Adena smiles.
“Thank you,” she chimes, leaning in and kissing me.
“It was nice being with you these past few days,” Adena chimes as we stand at baggage claim, waiting patiently, “I’m happy I pushed my will,” she smiles.
“I’m kind of happy too,” I tease, laughing at the face Adena makes.
“I’m happy you came with me,” I smile, leaning in and kissing her softly, “it was a lot nice than going on my own.”
“Are you busy tomorrow?”
“I have a few meetings this week, I had to move some things around when I decided to go with you.”
“So you’re busy the rest of the week.”
“I’m sorry,” she says, taking my hand in hers, “I mean it.”
“It’s okay, we both have to work,” I chime, reaching for my bag when I see it, “I’m going to go.”
“Just wait, we’re going the same way.”
“I’m not going home, I’m going to Sutton’s,” I lied.
“She’s not far from me, we’ll share,” Adena says, reaching for her bag.
“No, it’s fine, I’ll talk to you later,” I say, kissing her cheek before walking away, getting into the first cab I saw.
“So you just left her at JFK?” Sutton asks, walking over to where I was sat on my couch.
“And what did she do?” Jane asks.
“Nothing, as far as I know. She hasn’t even tried to call me since yesterday, but she made the point in telling me she was going to be busy the rest of the week. I don’t know how to handle her, I don’t know if she’s genuine or not. I don’t understand how she operates, how her mind works. It’s hard to really know,” I shrug, looking down at the floor.
“Maybe you’re looking at it in a weird way. Maybe she is genuine, and you’re just overreacting because of the circumstances that are between you,” Jane says.
“You actually sound logical with that explanation.”
“You have to give her a chance, give the situation a chance.”
“I have been. We went away together, I know it wasn’t like we went to Europe or something, I was working most of the time, and it was middle America, but still. She talked about what she wants this to be, and how she wants us to be, and then we get back and she brushes it all off by saying she has to work all week. I’ve never felt this way before.”
“We know, you’re giving yourself whiplash,” Jane says, walking over to the kitchen, helping herself to some wine. All of a sudden my phone starts ringing.
“It’s Adena,” I say, looking at the screen.
“Why not answer it?”
“If you don’t, you’re the pain in the ass who can’t make up her mind, more so than Adena is.”
“Hey,” I say, answering the phone.
“I didn’t think you were going to answer,” Adena says timidly.
“Why would you think that?”
“I know I upset you with what I said.” I get up, making my way upstairs to my closet, sitting on the floor in the corner.
“There was nothing to be upset about, we’re adults, we both have to work.”
“This isn’t going to be easy, is it?” I feel myself shake my head before responding.
“No, it isn’t,” I say, swallowing the lump in my throat.
“Is there something you aren’t telling me, something that could explain why you are this way?”
“Are you out for my job?” I tease, smiling when I hear her laugh come through the other end.
“I won’t enjoy it as much as mine, but if it works. Are you going to tell me what it is that bothers you about all of this?”
“I don’t know the answer to that.”
“Can we work to figure out what that answer will be?”
“I don’t know what there is to work out. This is just something I haven’t done before, and I don’t know how to handle things.”
“I’m here to help you through it, that’s what being in a relationship is,” Adena explains with a sigh, “I want to make this work with you so bad, I don’t know how to control it.”
“Have you ever had feelings for someone like you have for me?”
“Not even Coco?”
“No. Not even Coco. If I loved Coco at all, I don’t think I would even be with you.”
“We’re going to be tugging back and forth a lot.”
“I’m ready for it, we’ve been doing it for a while already. Over a year,” she says.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for if you’re willing to finally let me in.”
“I’ll try to. I promise.”
“Don’t make a promise you aren’t willing to keep.”
“I’m not, but I know that I want to really try and make this work. There is just something stopping me and I want to work it out and get over it,” I explain, playing with the corner of the rug.
“Well, next time I see you, you can wear my camera around your neck and pretend to be me, and I’ll make sure I have a nice pair of gold-rimmed glasses and I’ll pretend to be you,” she teases.
“Okay,” I laugh, “we’ll see if that works.”
“I look forward to it.”