When the alarm went off four and a half hours later Eddie and Janet were still in the same position they were when they fell asleep; on their sides, Eddie's front pressed to Janet's back with his arm holding her close. When that annoying beep pulled Janet out of her deep sleep she reached over without opening her eyes, hit the snooze button and promptly fell back asleep for nine minutes until the alarm went off again. This time, she turned it off but she didn't fall back asleep. She lay perfectly still relishing in the feel of her husband's arms back around her.
"You awake?" Eddie whispered and she nodded. "Good Morning."
"How did you sleep?"
"Like a rock. You?"
"The same. I am so comfortable that I don't want to get up."
"Okay. We don't have to."
"As much as I would love to sleep the day away, we do have an important appointment today."
"We could reschedule." As much as she wanted this appointment with Mark so that they could finally discuss everything that has happened to their relationship since her rape there was part of her that was scared that by bringing up and reliving all of their horrible actions over the last few months would be what broke the single piece of thread that was barely holding their relationship together.
"I don't want to reschedule it. I want to be able to move on." Tears filled Janet's eyes.
"Do you want to move on from me?" She asked with a shaking voice and he gently rolled her over on her back so he could look at her.
"No Janet. I don't want to move on from you. I want to move on from your rape and my drinking. I want to move forward with our life."
"I want that too."
"To do that we need to keep our appointment."
"Well then I guess I should get moving." Janet slowly sat up and Eddie followed her lead.
"Before you run off to the shower, can I kiss you good morning?" He asked softly.
"I would like that very much." Eddie leaned forward and gently brushed his lips against hers. It was a quick and sweet kiss. In fact, it was perfect.
"Good morning." He whispered as he rested his forehead against hers.
"Hmmm. I have missed this." She responded with closed eyes.
"Me too." They stayed in that position for another minute until Janet reluctantly pulled away.
"I need to shower."
"I'll make the coffee."
"Why don't you two come on back?" Mark had stepped out of his office. Eddie and Janet looked at each other and then stood.
"This is it." Eddie whispered taking Janet's hand and leading her into Mark's office.
"Hello Eddie. Hi Janet." Carrie, Janet's rape therapist greeted. She was invited to join this meeting.
"Did you have a nice holiday?" Janet asked.
"I did. How about you?" Janet looked at Eddie and smiled shyly.
"I…we had a very nice holiday."
"Glad to hear it." Mark sat down in a chair across from the couple. "Still sober Eddie?"
"A few but nothing I couldn't get through."
"That's good, especially considering Thanksgiving was yesterday. A lot of people with drinking problems backslide during holidays."
"Yesterday wasn't a normal Thanksgiving. We had pizza at Janet's work which probably was why I got through the day."
"So things are going well between you two?"
"Yeah. I think we are getting better every day."
"Would you agree Janet?"
"Yes I would. "
"Am I correct to state that you guys have not discussed your rape and your drinking?"They both nodded. "It's time to discuss it." Mark told them.
"Things have been going so well without discussing it. Do we have too?" Janet asked.
"You can't keep it on the back burner because when it finally does surface, it will not be pretty."
"I know, I just…I…"
"What is it Janet?" Carrie asked. "Remember what we talked about? This is a safe room and you can say anything you need to say."
"Go ahead honey. It's okay. Say what you need to say." Eddie encouraged.
"I'm afraid that when we talk about what happened to us that we'll…that I will lose you again."
"That's not going to happen." Eddie squeezed her hand.
"Eddie, why don't you start and explain to Janet why your drinking got out of control?" Mark suggested.
"I can do that." He turned to face Janet. "I love you so much and I never want anything bad to happen to you. When Matt started his creepy stalking stuff my protective instinct went into high gear."
"I felt it was my job as your husband to protect you from anything bad happening to you and I failed. I let Matt get to you and he did the worst thing a man could do to a woman; he raped you. He took something precious from you and from us."
"It wasn't your fault." She whispered softly.
"I started drinking more than normal because I felt like a failure and the alcohol made me feel better. I was able to forget that I let you down."
"You didn't let me down."
"Once I heard Matt's version of what and why your rape happened it just got worse. He raped you because of something that I did. If it wasn't for me, you never would have been raped. You would have been safe."
"That's not true."
"I realize that now but when I heard Matt's explanation for why he raped you, it was my worst nightmare come true. One of my dumb ass decisions came back to haunt me and you were the one who paid for it. A good husband would never have let that happen."
"Eddie I…"He wouldn't let her talk.
"Hearing it from Matt's mouth was bad enough but when I heard you say those words; blame me for your rape…it was just too much. It was one thing that I thought it was my fault but to have you think the same thing pushed me over the edge. I felt so damn guilty which is why I really started drinking. As long as I was drunk I didn't feel as guilty. I could look at you and not hate myself. Without the alcohol, I hated myself for what happened to you."
"You have nothing to be sorry for Janet. You did nothing wrong. Don't ever think that. It was all me. I couldn't handle what I was feeling or with the guilt that I shouldn't have had so I solved the problem with drinking instead of talking to you or anyone for that matter. I put you through hell baby and I am so sorry."
"If I wouldn't have blamed you then maybe none of this wouldn't have happened."
"Janet you can't blame yourself for Eddie's actions." Mark added.
"He's right babe. I am a grown man who made my own decisions and over the last few months I made some really bad ones; decisions that I hope one day, you will be able to forgive me for them."
"Were you going to divorce me?" Eddie's eyes filled with pain. He didn't want to answer her but he knew he needed to be honest with her.
"I was." He admitted softly.
"Why? Because I was raped?"
"Oh God no Janet. I wanted to divorce you so I could quit hurting you. I knew that I was hurting you and I couldn't keep doing that. Matt hurting you was bad enough. You didn't need to be hurt by me and the only way I could see to stop hurting you was to leave you. You didn't deserve what I did to you."
"We both made mistakes Eddie. We hurt each other. I'm not innocent here. I was angry and I blamed you for my rape and I know that hurt you. I never, ever should have blamed you for my rape. I'm so very, very sorry." Tears fell from Janet's eyes. "I was just so damn angry."
"Please babe, don't cry." He begged, tenderly wiping away her tears with a tissue. She grabbed the tissue out of his hand and blew her nose.
"The last thing I ever wanted to do is hurt you and I never would have hurt you if I had been sober. I was selfish and only considered what I was feeling and how I could stop feeling guilty and by doing that, I hurt you. I'm sober now Janet and I will never drink like that again. I will do whatever it takes to never hurt you again. I promise you. I swear on everything I have to never put you through the hell I put you through."
"I believe you Eddie." Now he was the one with tears rolling down his face and this time Janet was the one who tenderly wiped them off of his face.
"Janet, why were you so angry with me? Was it because I couldn't protect you?"
"No. I wasn't angry because you couldn't protect me. I was angry because I was raped."
"And I was there?"
"And you were there." Janet looked at the floor. "I was so angry at Matt but he wasn't there. You were. I am so ashamed of how I treated you but I…"
"Go ahead Janet." Carrie encouraged. "Tell Eddie how you felt."
"I felt so many things. Where do I begin?"
"Try the beginning."
"When I woke up in that horrible room, I was confused and scared but comforted at the same time because you were there Eddie. You've always been my rock and you were there right beside me being my rock and voice of reason. At the hospital during that awful and embarrassing exam you were right beside me; without you, I don't think I could have gotten through that humiliating experience."
"Something changed." Eddie noted.
"I had no memory of what happened with Matt. I was under the influence of the date rape drug and I had no idea how I responded to what happened. I was terrified that maybe I enjoyed it. I couldn't get that thought out of my mind. All I could think about was this was the second time that I slept with someone else while we were together and I knew that this time you would never forgive me and I…I would lose you again."
"Never once did that thought cross my mind. What happened with Roster and what happened with Matt are two totally different situations. You did nothing wrong. There is nothing for me to forgive."
"You say that now but at the time, I thought I was losing you."
"Why did you think that?"
"That night you asked me if I wanted you to join me in the shower."
"Yeah and you told me to take Jasper out."
"And you did."
"I thought that's what you wanted."
"I thought I was giving you an easy out."
"Easy out? What are you talking about?"
"I knew that you didn't want to touch or see me."
"Why would you say that?"
"Because you only asked to join me if you were joking and then you never actually wanted an answer; you just came in and that night you didn't."
"I didn't know if you wanted me with you. I didn't know if you wanted me to touch you."
"I didn't know if I wanted to be touched or not but I guess I wanted you to want to touch me."
"By the time I went to bed I had pretty much convinced myself that our marriage was over. I cried myself to sleep and you didn't even know." Eddie hung his head.
"I knew." He admitted. "Even though you were sleeping, your eyes were swollen. I knew you were crying but I couldn't acknowledge it. I didn't know how to acknowledge your pain."
"You told me you loved me."
"I remember. You said it back."
"Hearing those words made me feel better but by the time I woke up the next morning you were all the over on your side of the bed. Seeing you so far away from me in bed made me think that our marriage was heading in the divorce direction. I was so scared."
"I didn't know what to think. I tried to get you to talk but you refused."
"I wanted to Eddie, I really did but I think I was afraid if I actually talked about what happened with you it would push you further away." Janet wiped the tears that were falling. "I think that was the beginning of our downward spiral."
"I think you are right."
"I made your favorite dinner and we sat through it like strangers. It was probably the most uncomfortable meal I had to sit through."
"I didn't know what to say Janet." Eddie ran his hand through his hair. "It's not like we could talk about the weather. It just wasn't right. I couldn't have a regular conversation with you after what you had been through."
"But I wanted that. I wanted "normal." With normal I could forget what had happened to me; think about other things but we weren't talking so all I could think about…"
"Was your rape."
"Yeah that and the fact that our marriage was falling apart. I was so scared that I…that we were losing us. That's why I wanted to make love. I thought…I hoped that we would reconnect but we didn't."
"Not even close."
"It was the worst sex ever." Normally, Janet would never discuss their sex life with anyone or in front of anyone but by this point the two of them were so into their conversation, they forgot that they were not alone. "You never had any trouble before and that night it was an effort for you and it made me think that it was me; that you were so disgusted by me."
"I was never disgusted by you."
"Then what was the problem?" Eddie didn't want to tell her but he knew he had to be honest.
"I didn't want to make love." He admitted softly and flinched when he saw the hurt cross her face.
"Why?" She whispered.
"Because you were raped Janet and I couldn't get that out of my mind. All I could think about and see was you and Matt."
"So it was me?" She began to cry softly and Eddie took her in his arms.
"No baby. It wasn't you."
"It was. You just said…"
"I am not explaining this right." Eddie looked at the therapists for help.
"Janet can you look at me?" Mark asked. Slowly, Janet raised her tear stained face. "Janet, it was the rape that was holding Eddie back. It was not you. It's important that you understand that."
"But I was raped so doesn't that make it about me?"
"No Janet, it doesn't." Carrie explained. "Eddie was preoccupied with what had happened to you; your rape not you. Eddie built up a wall when you were raped and that night, he couldn't see past that wall. What happened that night between you two was about the rape; the action of what happened to you not about you personally."
"If you didn't want to make love then why did you?"
"Because you wanted it and since I thought that it would help you I did it. I wanted to help you any way that I could."
"I thought it's what I wanted but what we did was the last thing I wanted or needed. Maybe if it was like it was before it would have been what I needed but it wasn't and it just made things worse."
"I couldn't think about you; I couldn't think about me; I couldn't think about us; all I could think about was Matt and what he may have done to you."
"Me too." Janet admitted. "I couldn't help but wonder if Matt did to me what you were doing. Maybe if you had touched me or actually looked at me it may have been better. I may not have thought about Matt."
"You flinched when I…I felt you flinch and then tense up. I thought I hurt you."
"I didn't realize how sore I was until…I guess we should have stopped."
"We should have done a lot of things differently."
"When it was over we didn't even kiss. You walked out of our room and got drunk while I laid alone in bed and cried into a pillow so you wouldn't hear me."
"And I sat in the living room drinking my pain away."
"Did it work?"
"Not even close." They both leaned back against the couch mentally exhausted.
"You two are doing really good." Mark complemented them. "Would you like to take a short break?"
"I'm good. Janet?" He asked.
"I'm fine. I would like to finish this."
"Okay then. I believe the turning point for both of you was the day that Janet recorded Matt's confession. "
"That's right. That's the day I blamed Eddie for my rape." She said quietly. "I was so angry and I shouldn't have done that. I will always regret that."
"Why were you so mad at me? What did I do?"
"You were there." Janet took his hand. "I was angry at Matt for raping me; I was angry that my rape and Matt were ruining our marriage. I was angry that you weren't with me when I went to trap Matt and I was mad that you weren't there at the park when it really hit me that I was raped."
"You didn't tell me what in the hell you were doing. You didn't wake me up so how could I have been there? You should know that I would have been there."
"I didn't tell you because you were DRUNK! You would have been no help to me in your condition."
"You're right. I was no good to anyone; especially you. I let you down."
"I let you down too Eddie. I never should have blamed you for my rape. I knew deep down Matt raped me because of some sick revenge plot against you but hearing Matt actually admit to it…I think it just pushed me over the edge. I was hurting and wanted you to hurt too."
"I was already hurting so that was easy to accomplish. Hearing you blame me, knowing you believed what had said, broke my heart. I never thought you would forgive me; hell, I never thought that I could forgive myself. I didn't think that we would ever be able to find our way back to each other."
"Have we found our way back to each other?" Janet whispered tearfully.
"I think we have. Don't you?"
"I hope so. There is nothing I want more."
Eddie and Janet spent the remaining time continuing with the progress that they were making. They talked more about the rape and their reaction to it. They talked about not talking to each other and in the end they realized that was one of their biggest problems. They kept everything inside; they assumed that the other knew what they wanted and they assumed wrong. Due to the lack of communication and the assumptions made they finally realized that's why they and their marriage fell apart.
By the end of their three hour session Eddie and Janet were mentally and physically exhausted but the exhaustion they felt was a small price to pay for all they accomplished. A huge weight had been lifted from their shoulders and their lives and they were confident that they could move forward with their lives together.
"You okay?" Eddie asked once he climbed into his truck. Janet hasn't said anything since they walked out of Mark's office and to the truck. She turned and smiled at him.
"I'm great. Better than I have been in a long time. How are you?"
"I'm good. I am really good." Eddie started the truck. "So where to?"
"Janet, I would like to come home. I've got my drinking under control and I'm ready to come home. I've missed you. Can I come back home?"
"I never said you couldn't come home. That was your choice."
"It was what I needed to do to stay sober."
"I understand that and I supported that."
"I know you did."
"Eddie our home hasn't been the same since you left. It's so lonely. I have been lonely so if you are ready to come home I will welcome you with open arms."
"I want to come home."
"Then come home."
"If you insist." Eddie said with a grin.
"I do insist." Janet leaned over the seat and pressed her lips to her husbands'. "I really insist."
"Let's go home." They linked hands and Eddie pulled out of the parking lot and pointed his truck in the direction of their home.