November 6, 2018
The visits with Doctor Bosworth were frequent now since she had the availability and Chloe needed the support. Over the last two weeks, she managed to tell most of her story to a relatively complete stranger; something she never thought could ever happen. The hardest part of her story was yet to come. As she waited in the lobby, Chloe kept her eyes closed, her phone off, and took deep cleansing breaths.
“I’m ready for you, Chloe,” Doctor Bosworth said. Chloe stood and entered the office she had been spending so much time in lately. Chloe plopped on the couch and straightened the skirt of the plum-colored dress she picked out for today. “So.”
“So.” Chloe repeated.
“Am I right in assuming that we’re nearly caught up? Besides current events, I mean.” Doctor Bosworth smiled pleasantly. Even Chloe knew she would have preferred to have just talked about the night she got into bed with her step-father, but it wouldn’t have made sense, at least to Chloe, to start the story there. Because a lot had happened in the past year.
“Essentially, yes. After David and I broke up things stabilized. I focused on work and picked my classes for the fall term. I was still debating whether I wanted to meet my father—or rather when I would want to meet him. And I didn’t know what to do about my mother; I still don’t.”
“If you don’t mind, before we dive into this last part, I do have a few questions I want to ask you.”
“Of course.” Chloe nodded, motioning for the questions to start.
Doctor Bosworth pulled a clipboard from the bottom drawer of her desk, flipping through some pages. “You’ve mentioned a couple people, like Amber—the stylist—or Megan—the receptionist—but haven’t ever elaborated on whether those became friendships or just stayed professional. Is there a reason for that?”
Chloe thought back. “Oh, we did touch on that yesterday. I only saw Megan the one time. I’m not really sure why her name stuck, but it did.” Chloe shrugged. “Amber and I have been slowly becoming friends. We’ve hung out a couple times, but we mostly talk on the phone. With all the drama going on, it’s been somewhat difficult finding time to enjoy our chats.”
“Does she know a lot about your situation?”
“Not really. I told her a little bit here and there, especially since she’d seen my mother in action, but I told her I didn’t want to weigh her down. I wanted to deal with the issues, and then we’d have a legitimate friend-date.”
Doctor Bosworth smiled, nodding. She seemed pleased. “Do you think the reason Megan’s name stuck is because you may have been attracted to her?”
Chloe’s face reddened down to her chest. “W-W-What?”
“Maybe I’m wrong, but it was interesting that you would mention she looked like a pinup girl.”
“She did!” Chloe didn’t look at Doctor Bosworth as she tried to collect her thoughts. “I’m not a lesbian.”
“I never said you were. There are more ways one could identify than just lesbian, straight or bi; more than I can count. Just observing that the only men you talk about are Nathaniel, David, and Daniel—though just so. But you point out the women that catch your eye, even if you never saw them again.” She paused for a moment. “I apologize if I made you uncomfortable.”
Chloe straightened the skirt of her dress. “It’s…it’s okay. I like to believe I’m more weary of women because of my mother.”
“That makes a lot of sense. Again, I apologize.” Doctor Bosworth truly looked apologetic.
“It’s alright.” Chloe chuckled. “You never know what you’ll learn going to a shrink, right?”
Doctor Bosworth chuckled, too. “Exactly.” Clearing her throat, she added, “Before all the drama, did you have other friends?”
“I actually do have a lot of friends, yes. I know I didn’t really talk about it, but there were times when I would go hang out with some of them, or we’d form study groups, things like that. It was really only during the summer that I didn’t see them much because I wanted to work instead of taking classes like they did.”
“I’m glad to hear that. It was sounding as if you were isolating yourself from friends during the times you were the most stressed out.”
“The only time I felt like I was consciously doing that was after David and I broke up. We have a lot of friends in common, so I was worried they would all hate me.”
“What changed that?”
Chloe had to ponder the question for several moments. “Honestly, I really don’t know. I like to think it’s because, as much as our breakup hurt, David has learned it was the best for us and decided not to slander my name. I haven’t really asked, and I don’t really want to, either.”
“Or he hasn’t told anyone.” Doctor Bosworth said.
“Could be that, too,” Chloe said. She shrugged again.
They sat in silence for another moment before Doctor Bosworth shifted like she was going to talk. “The last major question I’d like to ask is this: even in your heart-of-hearts, did you ever feel anything for Nathaniel, like how you felt about David?”
Chloe’s eyes dropped to her lap. “I don’t really know. I think I loved David more like a brother; we had a lot of fun together and had a lot in common, but I didn’t really miss him that much when we were apart. With Nathaniel…he’s always put me first, above everything. He has always taken care of me. We have a lot in common…”
Doctor Bosworth didn’t push the subject until it was apparent that Chloe wouldn’t finish the thought. “Did you miss him after you moved out?”
Chloe lifted her eyes to meet Doctor Bosworth’s. “All the time.”