Amy Van Dyke
Chris stood before the magazine rack in the waiting area. It was entirely too early for her to be out of bed let alone waiting to talk to someone about her girlfriend's temper. She had been quiet all morning that didn't help Terri and her bad mood at all. Terri sat on the low couch opposite the door staring holes into Chris's back. They had been waiting about 15 minutes and every attempt to make peace with Chris had failed. The silence was making her even more nervous.
Several weeks before Terri had hit someone she had thought was looking at Chris's butt. Chris insisted she was nuts but Terri hit him anyway. He was a big guy who wasn't at all hurt but the cop who saw it all didn't appreciate it at all. So Terri had talked to a judge and they decided she needed some counseling. Terri knew she'd been short tempered lately but she was sure Chris was thinking about leaving her.
A woman rushed in from the parking lot looking quite frazzled. She nodded in Terri's direction but didn't even see Chris as she hurried past. They heard an office door being kicked shut loudly. Terri began to once again grumble about having to wait. Chris glanced at her over her shoulder and just shook her head.
The door in the hallway opened and the harried woman walked back into the waiting area. She was short and had strawberry blond hair that Chris thought was very cute. Terri seemed to notice her warm look at the woman and just growled.
'Good morning, my name is Gabrielle and I'm going to be your counselor.' She looked vaguely around the room as if she didn't know who to talk to. 'Why don't we go into my office?' Her smile was strained but friendly. 'I'm sorry I'm running late this morning but it has been one thing after another.' Terri tuned out the friendly banter almost immediately. She was so used to Chris's use of conversation as torture. The counselor walked back to her office. Terri motioned for Chris to precede her, which she did after giving Terri another glacial look.
They each sat in the chairs in front of Gabrielle's desk. Gabrielle opened a file and began to scan its contents. Terri wiped her sweating palms on her pant legs. Chris reached over and took Terri's hand. The ice melted a little at seeing her love so unsettled.
Gabrielle read through the file quickly while noting her client's discomfort. 'Okay, it looks like we have some things to discuss. Would you like to tell me what happened?' She was still scanning the lengthy report sent over by the court.
Terri took a deep breath and held tightly to Chris's hand. She knew she had to be an adult or she'd be in more trouble than just counseling sessions.
She began with her recollection of the fight. 'Well, Chris here and I were in a convenience store by our house. We had just had an argument in which I was a complete ass.' Chris kissed the back of her hand accepting the out of the way apology. 'It's been on my mind a lot lately that I'm losing Chris.'
Chris turned in her chair towards Terri. 'I'm not going anywhere sweetheart.' Her heart went out to her lover. She hadn't realized Terri felt that way. She'd just been angry the last few weeks so Chris backed away to give her space. Not to scare her more.
'I just haven't been able to get it out of my head that I'm losing you.' The two lovers had turned the conversation to each other. Gabrielle sat politely but her eyes were wide open as she watched the exchange.
'Terri you're my life. Why would you think I would go anywhere? I am marrying you as soon as you'll let me. Do you understand?'
Terri fought against the urge to cry as those beautiful blue eyes eased her fears.
Gabrielle cleared her throat. 'So now I understand a little more about you being upset. Can you tell me why you attempted to strike that man?'
Terri smiled,' Attempted, heck I clocked him good but he was about twice my size and I didn't do much damage.'
'Luckily.' Chris's icy tone wiped the smile off of her face.
Terri turned back to Gabrielle, 'I don't want you to think that I don't know that what I did was wrong. I was upset, very upset. I caught him checking her out; I said something I shouldn't have to both of them. He starting talking trash about Chris and I can't have that. I tried to get him to shut up but he just kept laughing me off. I should've walked away but I didn't. I'm sorry. I'll do whatever you need me to do.'
Gabrielle had a wide-eyed look on her face. Her eyes would go from Chris to Terri then back again. 'Okay, ahem.' She kept clearing her throat and finally took a sip of her coffee. Looking at Terri over the rim of the cup. 'Just let me get my notes straightened out.'
Terri was more than content to stare into Chris's eyes and Chris into hers. Gabrielle meanwhile scribbled notes into the file, her eyes occasionally darting from her client to her words. The sound of someone entering the outer office and walking down the hall brought her pen to a halt. 'Would you mind excusing me for a few minutes? I just need to check something with my associate.'
'Sure.' Chris couldn't pull her eyes away from Terri's cool malachite. Gabrielle did a double take at the cool alto of Chris's voice as she rose to leave the room. The second she did leave the lovers embraced. After a reaffirming kiss they returned to their chairs.
'What do you think is her problem?' Terri nodded towards the door.
'Maybe she isn't used to lesbians. Or she might just be tired. You get that same kind of look on your face sometimes. It's kind of cute.'
'You think she's cute?' Terri's voice rose slightly.
'Yes dear but just cute. You are beautiful, gorgeous and everything I could ever want in a woman.' Chris smiled.
'Humph, laying it on pretty thick but I'll let you.'
They sat quietly holding hands waiting on the therapist to return.
Gabrielle went into her partner's office. Xena was putting her briefcase down as Gabrielle sat in her armchair.
'Hey girl. What's got you smiling so this morning?'
'Xena you are not going to believe who I've got in my office.'
'I thought you had that court client today.'
'Yes but she is so much more than that. I just had to step out to get my bearings. I also left too early to start my day out right.' She stood and gave her lover a long kiss. After a moment Gabrielle pulled back and beamed into her wife's blue eyes. 'I've got to get back. They'll get nervous and I can't have her walking out.' She turned on her heal and left.
Xena stood smiling as she watched Gabrielle return to her office. They'd only been working together a short while. At first she'd been worried it would affect their new marriage but it just seemed to bring them closer.
Gabrielle stood outside her office a moment listening to the couple talking casually.
The creaking of the door hushed Terri's somewhat lude entreaty to Chris and she fought a blush as Gabrielle took her seat again.
'I'm sorry for the interruption.'
'S'okay. We needed a chance to talk.'
'Thank you.' Gabrielle gave her best smile. 'Why don't you tell me a little about yourself?'
Terri hadn't really expected that. 'I, uh, well.' Chris squeezed her hand again. 'Well I guess I didn't really start living any kind of life until I met Chris here.'
Gabrielle smiled at the sentiment and quietly took notes as Terri continued.
'I saw Chris standing against the wall at the bar one night. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Still is. I couldn't think of a thing to say so I spent the night staring at her. Pretty suave, huh? I mean why would this tall drink of water have anything to do with me. I didn't want to make a fool of myself so I just sat there drinking. I didn't realize how much until I tried to stand up. I stumbled and someone took my arm. I look into these blue eyes and I fell even deeper in love.'
'And I fell myself, into those green ones.' Chris's eyes took her love in easily.
'Yeah. Well. I guess I still don't know what she sees in me sometimes. I don't mean to get angry but I mostly just get scared.'
'I think that is an excellent place to start.' Gabrielle laid on all of her charm.
'You mean these sessions could bring us closer?' Terri clarified.
'Something like that. It will definitely only improve the situation.'
Both Terri and Chris nod happily at the thought.
'Well, our time is up for today. Can I expect to see you both next week?' Gabrielle asked.
'I don't want Chris to feel obligated to come every time.' Terri put out nervously.
'Terri don't even start that shit again. I'll be here Gabrielle. Anything for my girl.' Her arm settled across Terri's shoulders.
That lost look had returned to Gabrielle's eyes and Chris again worried that she might be too hetero to help Terri.
Gabrielle returned to Xena's office. Xena chuckled at how cute Gabrielle was when she was happy. 'Tell me at last, what was so interesting about that girl.'
'Oh that wasn't just a girl. That was a cute blond and her tall gorgeous brunette girlfriend. Sound familiar. Chris and Terri have been together about 6 months and Terri's jealousy led her to accost a man in front of a cop. The guy blew them off but they made quite the impression on the officer.' Gabrielle was so alive with information she was fidgeting again.
'I was too at first but as they made up from their argument all the pieces feel into place.'
'They? You keep saying that but you only had one client I thought.'
'No you're right'
'I am still not getting it sweetie.' Xena sat and waited for Gabrielle to start at the beginning.
A deep breath and she sobered, 'that girl in there is messed up on so many levels we can only thank the gods she found her way here. She has such an unhappy love life that she's created one. Split off two personalities that have a relationship with each other. The part that will be the most difficult to investigate let alone cure is that Ms. Ephiny Roberts has lost all track of herself in this. I can only hope she is still in there watching. Maybe we an get her back out to play with the rest of us.'
Gabrielle continued to outline what she hoped to do to help her newest client. Relying on the counsel of her lover, best friend and partner.
Outside the building a young couple in love as well tries to decide where to get a late breakfast. The passing strangers giving them looks they chose to interpret as envy.
Because everyone wants to be in love don't they. Some more than others.