"So," said Sydney. She watched Addison settle in with her muffin and her coffee and her fashionable but patently inappropriate shoes. "How are things?"
Addison fiddled with a stale crumb of muffin crust, crumbling it between her fingers. Pissy Mode today, Sydney guessed, meeting the answering glare with her usual impassive neutrality.
"Things suck, Sydney. Thanks for asking."
"Thanks for telling me. What happened?"
More fidgeting. She smothered the impulse to snap at her to sit still already.
"I just feel…I don't know. All over the place."
She had feelings! And she was articulating them, in words! This was progress. Sydney pushed. "All over how?"
"Just…I don't know. I cry sometimes."
"Like yesterday. Tough day. Thought I'd treat myself. So I did a little shopping. Went to my favourite upscale boutique, found a killer pair of boots. And…they didn't have my size. And I just…"
"God, it's so embarrassing. I was just so frustrated, Sydney. I felt these…these feelings, just welling up, and my heart started beating really fast, and I could feel my blood boiling over…"
She broke off, took a deep breath. "Look at that. Telling you, it's working me up again. Such a stupid, stupid thing to get worked up about."
"Feelings are never stupid," Sydney said.
"You realize it wasn't really about the boots, right?"
"Oh. I mean, yes. Of course, it wasn't really…but that other stuff…"
"Derek, you mean?"
"I'm over that. I mean, he's moved on. He's happy. And I accept that, and that's it's okay, and that there's no anger, or blame…"
"Maybe so. I still need convincing, but maybe so. But there can be pain, even without sadness and blame, you know. For both of you."
She fidgeted again, looking faintly ill. "I'm feeling it again. Like with the boots thing."
"I don't know. Bad. Weird. My heart's beating really fast."
"Do we need to talk about deep breaths again, hon?"
"I shouldn't be feeling this way."
"But you are."
"I shouldn't be."
"But I shouldn't be. For God's sake, Sydney, stop this already!"
"You are in a transition period," Sydney explained gently, again. "During a transition period…"
She was hyperventilating, in full-on panic attack mode. "Screw that," she managed shakily. She drew up her knees, body curling in on itself as Sydney coached her through a few deep breaths. This wasn't serious. She was making progress, after all. It wasn't serious.
"We have to end this," Addison said. "Just tell me how."
"It doesn't work that way."
"I'll do whatever you tell me. I won't miss any sessions. I'll work at home. Anything you want."
"I'm all over the place. Some days, I cry too much. Some days, I feel like I can't stop laughing. And I hate it, Sydney. I miss stability. I miss control. I want it back again."
"Oh, sweetheart, I know, But…"
"Don't tell me it takes time. It shouldn't. Because I'm fine, you know. Lots of people go through this, and they don't come unglued."
"Sure they do. In their own way."
"They go through this," Addison insisted. "And they don't even have it as good as I do. We're very mature about it, Derek and I."
"Yeah. Even so. Sydney?"
"I've been working for twelve hours straight. I just really tired right now. Can I have my homework please?"