By: Leddy Harper

Her eyes moved from mine to the wall and then back to mine, over and over again. We sat in silence for nearly a minute while she did that. I was waiting for her to respond and, as usual, I was getting nothing.

“Is that a problem, Ivy?”

“No. I think I can move some stuff around. It should be fine,” she responded in an even tone. Her tone didn’t offer me a glimpse into her mind one bit. I wondered what she was thinking about when her gaze was constantly darting from me to the inanimate objects that filled my office.

“Okay then, I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

I watched as she stood up and made her way to the door. Not a word escaped her mouth, nor did her eyes ever meet mine again. Even if they had, I doubted that they would hold anything conclusive. There was something about her that I couldn’t figure out. She seemed depressed maybe, definitely stuck within her own head. I was sure once I figured it out, I would be able to help her. I hoped so at least.

Once the door was closed behind her, I turned back to my desk. I busied myself with putting files away and shutting down my computer. Leaving too soon after a patient had proven to be a bad idea. It can sometimes be difficult for women to separate my work from emotions. I’d have to say that was the hardest part of my job, when they’d become convinced they were in love with me. If only they knew I was incapable of love, they’d never even try to pursue me in that arena to begin with.

But for some reason, if you tell a woman that, they feel the need to fix you. I guess I could somewhat understand their logic. After all, they come to me with intimacy issues and the first thing I want to do is fix them. But I can’t be helped. It’s what makes me so good at what I do. I can teach intimate behavior, I can correct their longstanding fears of sex, and can make them overcome anxiety issues all while staying completely devoid of romantic emotions.

I finished packing up my work, setting myself up for the next day, and headed out of the office. All I wanted to do was go home and grab a beer. No. Not a beer. I needed something stronger after the day I had survived. I simply needed to clear my head. It didn’t happen often, but there were times when clients would open up about their pasts and it somehow brought up my own. I reserved the hard liquor for those days. And Ivy had done that to me, made it one of those days.

It was strange because she hadn’t shared much, yet she had managed to accomplish setting my thoughts in motion. Thoughts that were buried deep within my cavernous mind, the dangerous thoughts that held the power to haunt me.

As I made it to the front door of the office building, I could see the sheet of rain through the glass. Well, that’s just fucking great, I thought to myself. I must have been so in my own head that I hadn’t heard it from my office. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it with it coming down as hard as it was, pelting the glass like tiny bullets. I guess that only shows how deep within my own thoughts I had been. It was definitely a hard liquor kind of night. Maybe I’d call Alyssa, too. Yeah, liquor and a blowjob would make it go away.

I opened the door, preparing myself to run to my parked car, when I noticed a woman sitting on the curb. It only took a moment to see it was Ivy. Shit. She was waiting for me. I didn’t have the patience for that, but something inside of me made me go to her. Humanity. I may have been a bastard when it came to women, but I did have some compassion when it came to my patients.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, yelling over the pouring rain around us.

She looked up at me, letting the water fall into her eyes. She didn’t even try to shield her sight from the torrential downpour. I noticed her golden hair was now much darker as it soaked in the rain and clung to her body. It was long and thin. When it was dry, it hung limply against her tiny frame, not bouncy like some of the women I had seen. It looked shiny and well taken care of. It also looked as if it were strong enough and meant to be pulled. I silently cursed myself. I had to stop thinking about that with her. My client—my new and clearly disturbed client—was sitting alone in the pouring rain. I needed to focus on that, not her hair.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were leaving,” she answered, but I barely heard her over the water assailing the pavement. She immediately stood and began walking away without another glance in my direction. What the fuck was that all about?

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