A/N Oh my god, I am so so sorry this has taken so long to get out to you. I don't want to bore you all with a massive A/N. But I do want to let you know that I was working two jobs for a while, but I'm not anymore. And then writers block hit but the words are flowing now and you get an extra long chapter this time.
I DO want to add though how much I appreciate your continued support and all your lovely words of encouragement over the last few months (its always nice to be missed). And I feel its important for you all to know that I am committed to finishing this story and to giving you regular updates from now on.
So really hope this was worth the wait :)
"It's okay, I'll speak to her about it," Alice said quietly to him before saying bye to him again and closing the door.
"What's going on?" I asked her, trying to keep my voice calm, even though I was getting a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Bella, Jasper and I have decided that he isn't going to have anymore sessions with you for the time being."
And with those words the bad feeling suddenly got a million times worse.
I clenched my jaw, willing myself not to let out the tears that were pricking my eyes.
"Okay, and what exactly does that mean?" I asked, trying to keep the panic out of my voice. As scenarios of what might of caused this, ran through my mind at break neck speed, and none of them were good.
Alice started to laugh then, and I wanted to punch her in the face.
"Oh my god, look at you Bella. You look like I just killed your cat," she said through her laughing. I really didn't see the funny side of this and so I told her.
"Alice, what the hell are you laughing at?" I asked in a voice that I knew was far too hostile, but I just felt raw.
"Bella chill, it isn't anything you've done wrong. God are you on your period or something?"
I gave her a tight smile. "Well are going to tell me what's going on then?"
Alice's words were slowing sinking in and the panic was starting to recede. I was really hoping that I had totally misunderstood the situation. So I looked at Alice and eagerly awaited her reply.
She came and sat down next to me on the large sofa, and turned to look at me.
"Okay, firstly calm the hell down you loony."
"Okay Alice, but will you just tell me already."
She laughed again before finally continuing. "I've had a couple of really good sessions with Jasper this past week. And you have said that your sessions have been going well too, right?"
"I feel like I am just on the brink of really getting to the root of his intimacy issues. He's starting to understand the difference between intimacy and sexuality, and I plan to work intensely with him over the next few weeks on this. And I'd like to do this without the distraction of his sessions with you!"
This was something we had done in the past, so I buried down my disappointment and put my professional head on.
I smiled at Alice and said, "Are you sure that's necessary?"
After the kiss we had shared in our last session, I really didn't want to halt our sessions and lose the momentum. So I added, "As you know our sessions are going really well."
"Bella I really want to try this, please just give me a few weeks with him. And then he's all yours she added with a smirk."
I slumped back in my seat, defeated, I could never say no to Alice.
"Fine, fine, fine. Whatever!" I said with a wave of my hand, trying to look indifferent. And probably failing miserably, as Alice knew me far too well.
The next two and a half weeks crept by far too slowly. Jasper would smile shyly at me and say hello and then goodbye when he came and went from his sessions with Alice. But as the days and then weeks went by I felt like he was slipping away from me and that a distance was growing between us. Alice reassured me that she was making great progress with him, but I couldn't help fear it was at the expense of MY working relationship with Jasper. These feelings were gradually making me a little resentful of Alice. But most of all I just simply missed Jasper. This was something that I had great difficulty admitting to myself, as I tried desperately to maintain my professionalism.
But finally Alice told me that she had made a big breakthrough and that she needed to meet with me to discuss it. I didn't know whether to be excited or nervous. But as I made my way to our shared apartment, I felt sick to my stomach. I let myself in with my key and shouted to see of Alice was here yet.
"In here!" she called from her office.
I walked with heavy footsteps in the direction of her office. I'd had an awful dream last night. In it Alice had told me that Jasper was happy with what he had achieved with her and now felt confident enough to go it alone and didn't want my help anymore. Although it was only a dream, I really feared that it was something that might happen. And the worse part of it was, is this did happen it was something I should be happy about, as it would be great for Jasper. But the selfish side of me wanted to continue my contact with him.
With a heavy heart and a rather troubled mind I sat myself down on one of the comfy arm chairs in Alice's office. I looked over at her, she was sat at her desk, her little fingers flying at top speed across the keys on her laptop.
"I'll just be a minute, I just need to get these notes wrote before we talk," She said without looking up from a screen.
"Okay, no problem," I answered, trying to sound casual.
As promised a minute later, she looked up from her computer.
"Bella, I've just sent you these notes in an email, so you can look over them properly after we've talked."
"I'm presuming these are Jasper's notes?"
"Yeah, sorry," she laughed.
She picked up her notebook and came and sat in the armchair close to mine. I always felt like one of her clients when I was sat in here, especially with Alice sat looking me, notebook in hand. I guess she felt the same as she said.
"Let's go sit on the sofa in the other room shall we!"
I nodded and followed her into the main room. I sat down next to Alice and looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to tell me the reason she had suggested the meeting. She flicked through her notes until she obviously found the bit she was looking for.
"Bella, I thought it would be useful for us to have a meeting about Jasper, so I can discuss with you the content of our last few sessions."
I nodded for her to continue.
"Jasper has given me permission to share with you the notes I've taken and that is what I've emailed on to you," she stated in business like mode.
"But I'll tell you some of the main details now and then we can discuss how we want to take it forward from here. Okay?"
I nodded again, eager for her to get to the point.
She smiled brightly then. "You'll be really pleased by the progress he has made Bella. It's all come together a lot quicker than I originally thought it would. It's obvious that he really wants to overcome his issues and that has made him determined to make progress. He's now eager to continue his sessions with you and I think you'll find you can move along quite quickly with him."
Her words sent a wash of relief through me and also a shiver down my spine. I couldn't stop the huge smile from spreading across my face.
"That really is great news."
"Yeah I know, I'm just the most amazing therapist ever," she joked. And we both laughed, me maybe a little too much but the relief I felt was making me feel a bit light headed and giddy.
Alice's face became serious again. "But he has shared some really sad things about his past and he's asked me to share them with you."
I quickly sobered up too and waited for Alice to continue.
"Jasper is an only child, and he grew up in a rather quiet and lonely house. His mother never really wanted a child and only had him due to pressure from both families for the couple to have a baby. His mother resented him as she was a social butterfly, and Jasper got in the way of this. So he was often shipped off to his paternal grandparents, who were extremely religious, like his father."
Alice paused then and looked back at her notes.
"So as we've already talked about, Jasper's mother left the family when Jasper was 11. Although he never saw a lot of his mother, he always idealised her and craved her attention. She rarely hugged or kissed him but when she did Jasper can remember feeling secure and loved by her and he can also remember her telling him that although she was unhappy with his father, she would never leave him with him. So when she left without him, Jasper's world was shattered. He never knew as a child where she had gone but his young imagination imagined her living with another family and loving them. He convinced himself that he was unloveable. And this was reinforced by the very cold treatment he received from both his father and his paternal grandparents."
I could feel my chest getting tight and tears began to prick my eyes. Alice knew that I was a very soft hearted person and that I alway felt things greatly with all my clients. So she wasn't surprised by my tears, she looked at me with sad eyes
"I know its really sad isn't it. Do you want to take a break?"
"Yeah actually I think I will. I'll make us a coffee and then you can tell me the rest."
My initial feelings of relief and excitement were still there but they were overshadowed by sadness now. I took my time making the coffee before returning to my seat next to Alice, who took her coffee cup from me and continued Jasper's story.
"So he entered his teens feeling like he was not allowed to enjoy someone else's touch. His father had made him feel that it was wrong, evil and sinful, and that he didn't deserve it. He even felt that he was unworthy of love."
"So he has never had an intimate relationship?" I questioned.
"No. He hasn't even really had any friendships. He had some acquaintances in College but he always kept a distance from them, and at times he would hear them talking about him, saying that he was weird, and this obviously knocked his confidence even more."
I nodded sadly.
"It was once he entered high school that his issues around girls and touch really started to kick in. He asked a girl to a dance in his freshman year and she said yes. But then once he was at the dance and dancing, she tried to embrace him and held her body close to his. This caused him to get an erection. But because his feeling around love and lust were so mixed up, he freaked out and just left her in the middle of the dance floor and literally ran home. Once he returned to school, he found out that the girl, who was quite popular, was very pissed off at being dumped and so had spread lots of malicious rumours about him"
"Fucking bitches!" I spat before having chance to put my brain filter on.
Alice raised her eyebrow at me but said, "Yeah, exactly. So you can imagine what this did to his confidence."
"This experience stuck with him throughout high school and because he was so reclusive and awkward in his manner, he was always talked about and bullied. As time went on his issues around touch and sexuality got worse. By the time he graduated high school he would have a panic attack at the thought of being in a crowded room where a woman might touch him, as he was scared of getting an erection if a woman accidentally brushed up against him."
Alice looked down then and flicked through her notebook again. Before looking up again and continuing on.
"So I also have a little history around his dad. Jasper told me that his father would preach about women being evil, as he was still so bitter about Jasper's mother leaving him. His father would drink and spend hours shouting and ranting about Jaspers' mother, and warning him to stay away for women, saying they were the devil and impure. And this combined with how the girls at school treated him, just messed with Jasper's mind even more. Jasper started to both fear and dislike women, but also still find them sexual attractive. So as you can imagine, he was just basically in a fuck up place."
I nodded my head in agreement.
"That's basically all the important historical events you need to know. And throughout college he just kept himself to himself and was a loner. He got a job where is could work from home majority of the time, and continued to internalise his thoughts and feelings and never got any better. Until he read your books that is and decided that he needed to make a change and let go of his baggage."
I smiled at that.
"So he's determined to make a change now?" I asked .
"He is and I've already worked through a lot of these past issues with him and he's in a much better place now. I've also taught him some coping strategies to deal with his anxiety. And he's having lot of success with them."
"And he's ready to start our sessions again?" I clarified.
"Sure is." Alice smiled, before adding. "I've reduced my sessions with him to once a week now. So you and he will have to work out a schedule for your sessions."
"Okay great, well I'll go look at my diary and give him a call now to arrange our next session."
"Eager much!" Alice laughed.
I got up and turned away to hid my telltale blush and threw a 'ha ha' over my shoulder, before disappearing into my own room.
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