Home > Until I Break(14)

Until I Break(14)
Author: M. Leighton

I’m not really in the mood for playful banter. “What’s up?”

“Your presence has been requested at a great blogger event Monday night.”

When he doesn’t continue, I quickly deduce that this is not the bad part.

“Okay. What’s the catch?”

His pause tells me that this is the bad part. “It’s in Portland.”

“Portland? Portland, Oregon?”


I sigh loudly. After giving it a few seconds of thought, however, I begin to think a short trip might not be such a bad idea. At the very least, it would be a distraction.

“Is that it?”


Oh, God! There’s more?

“A-ri,” I say warningly.

“Well, there is a huge book retailer out there that is holding a signing and would love for you to come.” I’m just about to breathe a sigh of relief when he adds, “On Friday.”

“What? That’s almost a week, Ari. You know I can’t do that.”

“You can. You just don’t want to.”

“I have responsibilities here. You know that.”

“You mean the cat.”

“Yes, the cat. Among other things.”

Vaguely, I hope he doesn’t ask for a list. Sadly, Jinx is the biggest reason. Really, there’s no one else in my life who would miss me if I left for a week. Other than Chris. And maybe my parents. Besides them, my life is sorely lacking in loved ones to fill it.

Alec’s face flashes through my mind. If I had plans with him, my answer would be a definitive no. But I don’t. Because he hasn’t called.

Maybe it would be good to get away for a while. Maybe that’s what I need. Maybe my judgment is compromised by all that has happened lately. By Alec. And Mason.

Impulsively, I agree. “Okay. I’ll do it.”

“You will?”

Judging by his response, Ari really didn’t think I would. It’s terrible that I give him such a hard time over things like this, but I really do hate leaving Jinx with Chris. And Chris hates it, too.

But this time, I think it’s needed.

“Yes. I will.”

“Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

He gives me the details of my itinerary, assuring me that all of it is with my assistant, Annabelle, who will be forwarding the information via email so I won’t forget.

“Thank you so much for doing this. Really. It will be great for us. For you.”

“Mmm hmm, I like how you added me second.”

“Hey, what’s good for you is good for all of us.”

I glance at the clock. Time to go log on for my session.

“Gotta run, Ari. Will we be flying together? Or am I meeting you there?”

“I’ll meet you there. I’ll find you at the baggage claim carousel.”

“Okay. See you then.”

I hang up and go to the secure site Dr. B uses for therapy. Although I’m still a couple of minutes early, I’m surprised to see that she hasn’t logged on yet. As I wait, my mind spins toward Alec once again, Alec and the dilemma I face with him. Seven minutes have passed by the time Dr. B logs on. It’s just enough time for me to talk myself into asking her opinion about Alec.

She should be good enough at her job to be able to give me sound advice without knowing every detail of my past yet, right?

I see the notice that she has logged on, and before she even has a chance to greet me with her usual brief-but-pleasant therapist “small talk”, I launch into my question.

(LauraDrake): I know you have lots of delving into my past to do, but I have a question. I need your advice about something, if you don’t mind.

There’s a short pause during which I wonder if she’s considering if she should agree or stick to her own methodical psychological dissection.

I’m pleasantly surprised and relieved when she agrees. Well, when she sort of agrees.

(Buraquinho_Dr): What’s the question?

It’s my turn to pause as I think of the best way to word it. It doesn’t take me long to realize that I won’t be able to get her best guidance if I don’t go ahead and tell her at least a little bit of what my problem with Alec is.

(LauraDrake): For reasons we have yet to discuss, I haven’t been able to have an orgasm. It has to do with some things that happened to me when I was younger. The problem is that it’s very problematic in any sexual relationship I attempt.

There’s only a short pause.

(Buraquinho_Dr): Go on.

So I do.

(LauraDrake): I’ve met someone. He reminds me of Mason Strait, my main male character. I know that’s probably a whole session right there, but I need more immediate help.

I frown when I read her response.

(Buraquinho_Dr): So what’s your question?

I don’t want to get into a discussion about Alec per se. I just want to know if engaging in a sexual relationship with him could possibly help me.

(LauraDrake): I’m considering a sexual relationship, but they always end badly. Devastatingly, actually. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve even attempted it. I’ve not really been interested until now.

Her question is a good one.

(Buraquinho_Dr): And why are you considering one now? With this man?

I have to take my time answering, simply because I know what she’ll probably say if I’m blunt and honest.

(LauraDrake): I’m very attracted to him.

(Buraquinho_Dr): Why?

And there’s the kicker. Is it because of Alec himself, of who and what and how he is? Or is it because he reminds me so much of a man that lives only inside my head?

When I don’t answer, Dr. B prompts me.

(Buraquinho_Dr): Is it because he reminds you of Mason?

She reads me well. Even though it’s not only because he reminds me of Mason, it has a lot to do with it.

(LauraDrake): Yes. At least partly, I think.

I can almost hear Dr. B clearing her throat. At least that’s how I imagine the session going.

(Buraquinho_Dr): Do you think it’s healthy to begin a relationship, especially one that you already expect to have issues with, on grounds such as those?

Who’s the therapist here? I’m supposed to be asking the questions and she’s supposed to be answering them.

(LauraDrake): Probably not, but do you think there’s a possibility that this might help me in some way? Be cathartic somehow?

The cursor blinks as I wait.

(Buraquinho_Dr): Well, first of all, I think you’d like to think it will help you, but I believe you have your doubts that it will or you wouldn’t be asking me. In my opinion, you are seeking someone to agree with you, to justify you going forward in this relationship. Secondly, I can’t know if it might be cathartic if I don’t know the root of the problem. There is the possibility that it could worsen things. I can make deductions and assumptions, but those won’t really help. I’ll need more information.

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