By the time I pulled back into Dr. Garrett's parking lot I felt like a huge weight had been lifted on my shoulders compared to leaving on Tuesday.
I immediately returned back to work and put in for a three week vacation. My bosses thankfully didn't blanch too much after I assured them that Forks had internet and cell phone towers. From afar I'd keep track of my accounts along with my team so I wasn't too worried. We had landed a few bigger accounts that caused a bunch of chaos in the office, but since that was now settled everything moved along seamlessly.
Essentially the only portion of my vacation that hadn't been set up was how I would continue my sessions with Dr. Garrett. I could continue at the same times if that worked for her or we could change them since I'd be three hours behind my current time zone.
Shannon greeted me with a smile and told me to walk right in.
Dr. Garrett was already seated in front of the couch with her clipboard.
"I leave tomorrow," I opened with as I sat down. "I took three weeks off. I fly out tomorrow after I get off from work."
"That is good to hear. Was your brother excited to hear the news?" she questioned, but I shrugged.
"I didn't call him. I figured I'd kind of show up and surprise everybody," I explained as she nodded. "I did want to figure out our schedule though. We can meet at the same time if that works for you."
"That is fine with me, but that makes your Tuesday appointment early morning for you, will that be okay?" she questioned.
"I'm an early riser anyway, so it's fine," I answered so she jotted it down.
"Well then, let's get straight into it shall we," she started as I laid back on the couch. "What happened when you found out Lauren hadn't gone through with it?"
"Angry would have been an understatement," I replied before drifting off into my own memories.
"So, is it over now?" I asked Lauren the next morning. When I got back from my trip and essentially took her without much regard for control, it didn't give us time to talk. Instead, we both fell asleep and it wasn't until I was sitting eating breakfast that I asked.
"Is what over?" she asked aloof as she poured a bowl of cereal for herself.
"The whole open thing. We both did it, so it's over, right?" I clarified a bitter taste in my mouth as I said it.
"Well, I don't know," she stated cautiously not meeting me in the eye. "My plans kind of fell through."
I paused, half a bite of cereal still sitting in my mouth. My brain was slowly catching up to what she had just said and what that meant in the grand scheme of things.
"When did you know?" I asked first.
"Know what?" she asked, her back still turned away from me.
"That your plans had fallen through," I said carefully. "When did you know?"
"The night you left, he, he um got called out on business," she replied cautiously as she turned around.
"I was pretty sure I heard my spoon hit the glass bowl before I began yelling. Everything from wondering why she hadn't told me to how she could do this and on and on.
"By the end of my screaming Lauren was crying, I felt like an asshole for that, my heart hurt because I had been the first to step out and I had to get to work," I recalled though I knew was half assing my true response. I was vicious when I tore apart Lauren that day and it took almost three days before we spoke again.
"You're holding back," Dr. Garrett accused as I sat up.
"I am," I admitted.
"Why?" she asked.
"It's been two years and I still feel like an idiot," I explained vaguely as I tried to reach for the right words. "Even now, part of me feels like Lauren planned this. Like she wanted this, not the divorce of course, but the relationship. The whole point of being open was to see other people, but she never talked about those people. I know of one guy, I've never met him, but I know his name. Lauren could easily name three people without blinking. As I start to remember more and more about the small stuff, it's making me wonder how much of this was planned on purpose. But then I wonder how bad of a husband I must have been to have a wife who wanted the house, the car, and the money, but not the relationship that comes with it. Am I even making sense?"
"You are, I just think you're jumping ahead. I just can't figure out why you're pushing so hard so quickly when you were fine with the slow play by play just last week," she explained.
"I'm not sure I even know that answer. Maybe because I'm terrified of going home," I expressed.
"Now that I can work with, you're excited, but terrified, why?" she pushed.
"I'm scared of what my brother is hiding, scared of what I may find. I've thought of everything from my father being laid off to someone being sick to maybe a divorce of some kind. It's all running through my head, but I feel like it's not news I can take over the phone so I'm forcing myself to wait," I answered.
"So it's not because you think you might see somebody there, somebody like he elusive her?" Dr. Garrett didn't beat around the bush in asking.
"No, she lives here, in the city," I answered. "But if whatever I'm going home to, is enough for my brother not to want to tell me over the phone, am I even going to want to come home? Is this city even home?"
"You once told me you were here for yourself and not her," Dr. Garrett started before cutting herself off.
"I am here for me. But the almost too tiny to see piece of me, is here because of her," I answered.
"So, what if we go backwards?" she suggested. "Why don't you tell me about her."
"Talking about Bella, talking about Bella is easy," I rushed out before I even realized I had said her name.
"So, her name is Bella." Dr. Garrett smiled before jotting something down. "Was she more than just a one night stand?"
"Oh, yeah," I answered. "I dated Bella for almost eight months before our relationship ended."
This time, it was Dr. Garrett's turn to look shocked. I wasn't sure she was ready for that answer. We hadn't gotten to the point where I had talked about Jessica or Kate; both who would take the title of girlfriend before they did lover. Of course, Jessica was fun, but the reason for my three solid rules when it came to being open. With Kate, I abided by the rules, but then I met Bella. And I broke all the rules with Bella.
"Who ended it?" Dr. Garrett asked.
"Bella did," I replied with a cringe.
"Why?" she pushed.
"Because I failed her," I ansswered sadly. "When she needed me, I was doing what I thought I should have been doing."
"And how does that make you feel now?" she questioned.
"Like an idiot. Not just because I let Bella down, but because I didn't see that for more than half the time, it wasn't me and Lauren with Bella on the side, it was me and Bella with Lauren on the side." Even as I said it, I didn't look Dr. Garrett's way. It was the hardest truth I had to accept once Bella walked away from me that day and part of why I stormed to Lauren like I did.
Only now, I wanted it back to me and Bella, just without Lauren.
"Well, it looks like our time is up," Dr. Garrett said, "But I look forward to talking to you on Tuesday. And have a safe flight?'
"Thank you," I said as I stood up and walked out of her office.
Sorry it's late, I may have had too much to drink on New Years Eve/My Birthday! Oopsie...Tote tomorrow.