Please see part one for all disclaimers.
"Yes, Hi, Nora. Itís Rachel Vincenti ..... Iím feeling like getting back to work. Thank you for asking. You have any teaching contracts I can take? ..... Mmhmm, Iíd love to do some diabetes education programs for pediatric patients. Iíll set them up according to age group, and make sure the parents or guardians are notified. Itís important that they participate..... Sure, I can drive. Iíll come by in the morning to give you copies of the teaching plans and sign the contract. OK? ..... Great. See you in the morning then. Bye." Rachel set the phone down on her desk, then logged on her computer. She was deep in thought, typing up the last of her treatment plans for Childrenís Hospital, when Meg walked in her bedroom door.
"Hey you, I didnít know you were up." Meg felt puzzled, watching Rachel working at her desk, looking focused and efficient.
"Hi, yeah, Iíve been up for awhile." Rachel hit the print button and turned to face her lover. "I have a contract with Childrenís Hospital to organize and implement a diabetic teaching program. And, Iím just printing the plans now. Should be very interesting aaaaannnnd demanding, working with parents and guardians. Itís like trying to teach old dogs new tricks. Iíll enjoy the kids though." Rachel turned to pick up the copies sheíd printed out. "There are so many new methods of monitoring blood glucose levels and methods of insulin administration. Itís always fascinated me. Thereís new stuff out every day."
Meg didnít know how to react to Rachelís going back to work so soon. Sheíd not given it any thought, although she supposed she should have. "So, youíre going back to work soon?"
Rachel heard the slight trepidation in Megís voice and turned away, busying herself with the printouts. "Yes, tomorrow, actually. I have to present my teaching plans in the morning, so Iíll be pretty busy the rest of the evening trying to get the materials organized." She turned back to look at the woman she knew she loved, but just couldnít deal with right now. "You do know I have a career waiting for me, Meg. I canít sit around and play with you indefinitely." She tried to smile to soften the blow she feared her words were causing.
"Of course, of course, Iím glad you feel well enough to resume your life, just exactly the way you left it." Meg hoped her meaning was clear. "If you are hungry, thereís a tuna casserole and fruit salad in the fridge. Iíll be packing up my things. I donít see any need for me to stay here. Iíll go home and get back to my life too....." Meg clenched her jaw to bite off the angry words that were threatening to escape. "Iíll see you later then." She smiled and made a tiny wave with her hand, which remained at her side.
"Yeah, later. And, thank you for taking such good care of me. I really appreciate all youíve done. You know that, donít you?"
Meg nodded. "Youíre welcome. Glad I could be there for you. Donít over do it, OK?"
Now, it was Rachelís turn to nod. "Yeah..... OK."
Meg turned and walked from the room, stunned at the scenario she had just participated in.
Rachel turned back to her computer, swallowing hard to stop the tears that stung her eyes. ĎYouíre a fool. You know that? A stupid fool. Youíre throwing away the best thing that ever happened to you because youíre a fucking coward!í
Moments later Meg knocked on Rachelís bedroom door, surprised to find it closed.
"Yes." Rachel called.
"May I come in?"
"Iím working, Meg." She knew, with one glance, Meg would know sheíd been crying. "Donít forget you have an appointment with Dr. Morgan on Friday at 12:30. I left her number on the refrigerator."
"Thanks. I wonít forget." Rachel wiped at the tears trailing down her high cheek bones.
Meg could hear the tears in her friendís voice. ĎSheís crying. Why canít she let me help her? Sheís running away from me, from us. I hope she keeps that appointment with Ricky. Maybe she can succeed where Iíve obviously failed her.í
Rachel had no time to think about her personal life. For the past two days, she had dove into her work. She enjoyed the feeling of total confidence and professionalism. This was her forte. Her career had always been her security blanket. She knew just who she was and what was expected of her, and she did it better than most.
It was noon Friday, when reality slapped her in the face. 'Rachel, itís time to face the music. Just get your sorrowful ass out to that Park, and tell Dr. Morgan what a son of a bitch youíve been to Meg after all sheís done for you." Rachel sighed as she put Cherry in gear and headed to her rendezvous with the therapist.
"So, is Meg meeting us?" Dr. Morgan asked as she shook hands with Rachel.
"No." Rachel frowned, her heart pounding in her chest.
"Do you want to talk about it? You seem upset."
"Can we walk?" Rachel asked as she quickly turned away.
"Whatever will help."
The two women walked in silence for a few minutes. Then Rachel opened up.
"We had sex..... It was amazing sex. Iíve never been that aroused in my life." Rachelís eyes were focused on the past as she held herself, her arms beneath her breasts.
"I thought you were going to take it slow, do the intimacy exercises and learn to trust her in due time. That was the plan."
"Yeah, well, I didnít wait and now Iíve hurt her." Rachel bowed her dark head in shame.
"How did you hurt her Rachel?" Dr. Morgan was becoming concerned for her friendís physical safety, but tried hard to keep her professional face on.
"I pretty much told her I was going back to work and wouldnít need her anymore..... I couldnít face the feelings. I.....I didnít know if I could do it again....., you know....., let her love me that way, so I got scared and hurt her..... Iím a coward." Rachel sat down on a nearby concrete bench, her hair blocking her face, hands wringing in her lap.
"Rachel, do you want to be able to let her love you?" Dr. Morgan asked as she covered Rachelís worrisome hands with one of her own.
"More than anything." Tears streaked from her sad brown eyes. "I had a dream after we had sex."
"The same nightmare?" Dr. Morgan didnít move her hands from Rachelís.
"No. This one was different..... It was awful." Rachel found it difficult to talk passed the painful lump in her throat.
"How was it different?"
"It was the exact same dream, except I wasnít the victim. Joey was molesting Meggie and all I could do was watch. I couldnít help her. She was calling out to me, begging me to make it stop." Rachel sobbed. "Oh God! But, I couldnít move. I was powerless to stop him from hurting her." Her tears were coming in wrenching sobs now, so Dr. Morgan removed her hand from atop Rachelís, and placed an arm over her shoulders to offer comfort. She was surprised when the formidably built woman leaned her head upon her shoulder.
"Let it all out, Rachel. Itís good to cry. Let it all go. Iíve got you. Youíre safe." Ricky Morgan offered her client the support she needed, feeling theyíd made quite a breakthrough.
Rachel continued to sob and gratefully took her therapistís offered left hand in hers. "Awww, Meggie....., Iím sorry. I couldnít stop him. I tried." Rachel groaned in agony.
"Itís not your fault Rachel. None of it was your fault. You were only a child. You must stop taking responsibility for what you had no control over. But you must take responsibility for your behavior as an adult." Dr. Morgan stated, gently.
Rachel nodded her head as she accepted a tissue from the ever prepared therapist. The tall beauty wiped her eyes. "I need to talk to Meggie about how Iím feeling, and let her know that I love her..... And, apologize for being such a chicken shit." Rachel grinned.
"That would be right." Erica Morgan gave her clientís shoulder a little squeeze. "How about you bring Meg on your next visit, say Tuesday, same time, same place."
"I will. Thanks." Rachel gave a grateful smile.
"You are very welcome." Dr. Morgan helped her client to her feet. "Talk with Meg. And, donít neglect your health. You look exhausted."
"Thanks. I think. Iíll see you Tuesday, Doctor."
Rachel drove Cherry through City Park, thinking of how to apologize to her friend for running away from her, from their love. The candy apple red, 1964 and 1/2 Mustang glided out of the park and down Rue Esplanade to Toryís Gym. It was too early for Meg to be home from her office, and Rachel was feeling the need of her best friendís companionship.
"Well, hey there, stranger. What have you been up to the last few days? Donít you listen to your messages anymore? I was getting worried about you. But, then I figured you were in good hands with a certain little blonde." Tory rambled as she continued stacking the towels for her clientele to use.
"Iíve been busy with a new contract. Sorry, I didnít mean to avoid you."
"Youíre back at work, already? I thought you and Meg would want to take as much time as possible to get to know each other better." Tory stopped what she was doing to take a closer look at her friend. "Somethingís happened. Are you alright....? Rach....? Come on, now...., youíve been crying." Tory locked the door and turned the Open sign around to Closed. She took her friendís hand and led her up the stairs to her apartment. They entered her kitchen, and Tory poured them both a cup of coffee with chicory from the pot that was always brewing her favorite beverage. She sat them down at the dinette table, and they both put their feet up on a vacant chair. "So, start talking."
Rachel filled her friend in on her fears and how poorly sheíd handled herself. "Gosh, it was awful. I pretended like nothing happened, like I just had to get back to work. You know, Ciao baby, donít let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. I was a complete jerk. I just woke up terrified from that damn dream again....." Rachel took a ragged breath and the tears hung on her long lashes. "But this time he was attacking Meggie and ......and I was helpless to do anything about it..... Nothing, just watch it happen....."
"So, you got scared and ran to your work, where you feel safe and confident. I get the picture. So what now?" Tory asked.
"Now, I go crawling back and beg her forgiveness."
"Are you going to hang in there this time? You know you canít keep running away from her when things get hard. You either stay or you go. She deserves to be treated better." Tory got up and walked behind her best friend, placing her hand on her friendís shoulder. "I love you, Rachel. Nothing is more important to me than your happiness. Meg is offering you an incomparable gift. Take it. Let her help you, baby."
"Iíll try harder, Tory. It just scares me sooo much."
"I know, baby. I know." Tory leaned down and kissed Rachelís dark head.
The doorbell rang, pulling Megís attention away from the files she was working on at her coffee table. ĎWho could that be?í. Meg looked through the peephole and quickly opened the front door, but, left the screendoor locked.
"Hi. Sorry I didnít call first. Are you busy?" Rachel managed to ask.
"Umm, no. I was just doing some paper work. You want to come in?" Meg offered.
"Yes, please. If itís alright," Rachel stammered.
"Itís alright." Meg opened the screen door. "Would you like some coffee?"
Rachel followed the petite blonde into the kitchen, trembling ever so slightly with fear as Meg busied herself with the porcelain coffee pot, and set a sauce pan of water on the stove to boil. "So, howís work going?"
"Great. I enjoy working with the kids. The parents....well, they can be a trial." Rachel was becoming more comfortable. Work was always an easy and interesting subject for her.
The two friends sat uncomfortably, avoiding each otherís eyes, wondering what next to say. The silence went on painfully until Rachel could no longer take the stress.
"Iím sorry." Rachelís voice was barely a whisper, her throat constricted with emotion.
Meg looked into pain filled brown eyes. Rachel searched her friendís face for any encouragement, then continued.
"I know I have no right to expect you to forgive me and if you want me to, Iíll leave. But, I swear to you Meg, Iíve never loved anyone like I love you, and if youíll give me another chance, I promise Iíll do whatever you and Dr. Morgan want me to. I just want to be able to be with you in every sense..... Jump right in wherever you see an opening, cause Iím dying here." Rachel joked, but her expression was filled with fear and hope.
Meg noticed the water simmering in the sauce pan and walked over to the stove. "It hurt, you shutting me out. I wonít deny it." Meg poured the hot water into the coffee pot and listened to it drip.
"Iím so sorry, Meggie." Rachel shook her head. "I guess this is it then..... Thanks for taking care of me." Rachel stood up to leave, her heart breaking. "See you at the gym some time."
"Wait....., Rachel, donít go." Meg turned to look at her lover. "Did you mean what you said? Youíre willing to do whatever therapy Dr. Morgan recommends?"
Rachel felt a ray of hope warm her heart. "Yes, anything. I just donít want to lose you Meggie. And, I donít want to go on always feeling like Iím on the outside looking in. I want to be a stable loving partner, your partner, your lover. If youíll have me. I know I donít have any right to ask you to go through this with me. I donít even know if Iíll be able to overcome my past, but I swear Iíll try." Rachel studied her loverís sweet face, looking for any sign of rejection.
"I love you, Rachel. And, I promise to be there by your side every step of the way. But, you have to promise you wonít shut me out ever again." Meg said with tears in her eyes.
"I promise. My next appointment with Dr. Morgan is Tuesday in the park. She expects you to be there too. Will you go with me?" Rachel asked hopefully.
Meg approached her friend, wrapping her arms around her waist, and rested her blonde head upon her ample breast. "Of course I will." Rachel smiled, and held her lover close to her heart. Meg looked up into the warm brown eyes that she loved. "I think we should refrain from having sex until Dr. Morgan and we think itís appropriate. OK?"
Rachelís heart sank, but she knew Meg was right. "OK." The tall, raven haired beauty leaned down and gently kissed Megís forehead and held her tightly. "Howís about that coffee?"
To Be Continued in Part 4 of The Awakening by Lena
August 12, 2000
original fiction <> homepage