We Do What We Can

Part 7

By: Girl Bard


Disclaimer: No one reads these, but I’ll humor myself. I don’t own LL or ROC, but if I did, I’m sure I’d be off doing more….er…entertaining things rather than writing about some fictional characters by the name of Jaden and Grace. So don’t get all legal on my ass because I’m a very poor college student with no money to my name. So anyone trying to sue me will get a lot of art supplies and an ornery Jack Russell Terrier.

Subtext: yes, Yes, YES!! This story starts out with a G rating, but will eventually proceed to NC-17. This means explicit sex between women. If this offends you, why are you reading alternative fan fiction? Huh?

Summary: This is the sequel to the sequel of I Know This Bar. It would really help if you read that story, followed by Houdini’s Box. This is the third (but not final) story in the series.

Author's Note: These two lovable characters blossomed into an actual story after driving on a rainy Massachusetts day listening to Ani Difranco's incredible song, "I Know This Bar." Henceforth, Houdini’s Box was inspired by Jill Sobule’s equally incredible song "Houdini’s Box." Because I’m a strict believer in following tradition, this story is named after the lovable Sheryl’s Crow haunting song "We Do What We Can."

Feedback: PLEASE! That’s all I need to say. girl_bard@yahoo.com

Dedication: My betas, you rule. My dog rules too. My girlfriend really rules. Life is good.

July 10, 2000

I can't believe I'm actually doing this. The waiting area around me is pretty vacant; I'm joined by only one guy and the receptionist. They both seem busy and I decide to follow suit instead of nervously looking around the room and back to my watch every few seconds.

The door behind the receptionist's desk swings open and a visibly pregnant woman emerges, followed by a slim girl. The guy waiting next to me stands up and clears his throat as the girl smiles slightly at him.

"Thank you both. I'll see you next week." The pregnant woman states, smiling warmly at the girl. They pause to speak with the receptionist and the woman turns her smile to me.

"You must be my ten o'clock." She says and I nod. For some reason I'm relieved she didn't say my name, even though I don't know any of these people.

"Come on in." The woman orders and I nod again and follow her through the door. She closes it firmly behind me, then turning and extending her hand. "I'm Miranda Richards, feel free to call me Miranda or Dr. Richards. You must be Ms. Phillips."

"Yes. Please, call me Jaden. Thank you for fitting me in so quickly." I state nervously, wondering at the same time why I'm so freaking nervous. Oh yeah, probably because I hate talking about myself and that's what I have to do for the next hour.

"No problem Jaden. I always make time for my patients." Miranda says genuinely, and I can't help but feel less nervous in her calming presence. "Have a seat, wherever you feel comfortable." She finishes, resting her hands on her belly.

I sit immediately on the guest chair next to her desk. She nods in affirmation and sits at her desk chair, leaning forward and putting her elbows down on the desk's surface.

"Is this okay?" She questions, holding up a tape recorder. "I always prefer to tape record sessions rather than try and take notes during. It's less of an interruption." She clarifies.

"Sure." I answer.

"Great." Miranda turns on the tape recorder and places it on the desk's surface. I glance at it warily before turning my gaze on her open face.

She's young, probably in her early 30's. She has dark auburn hair that falls gently in ringlets and clear hazel eyes. She's pretty, and sure doesn't look or dress like I pictured a shrink would. She has on a white button-down shirt and a pair of comfortable looking chinos. I pictured her to be at least in her 50's and have on a dull gray suit and those kind of glasses with the chain that prevents them from falling off or something.

I realize I'm staring when she softly clears her throat. "So, Jaden, can you tell me why you're here today?" She asks, her voice soothing and low in tone.

I sit back on my chair and fold my hands in my lap. I'm trying to stay calm, when really all I feel like doing is bolting from this room and never coming back.

"Um, I have a lot on my mind right now and needed someone to talk with." I state, averting her eyes.

"Okay, well I'm sure that you'll find that I'm easy to talk with. I know this can be a nervous experience, so take a deep breath and relax. Then say the first thing that comes to your mind." Miranda says, and I realize how someone this young can already have her own practice. She's damn good and could probably talk her way out of any situation. I wonder if they are any openings on the hostage force?

Turning from her thoughts I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I picture Grace and I riding on horseback over a green open pasture. "Well, I've had a lot of major life changes and I'm not sure what to do about them." I start. Miranda doesn't answer so I crack my eyes open to find her peering at me intently. I guess she's waiting for me to continue.

"I don't know where to start." I tell her and she smiles warmly.

"Wherever you feel comfortable."

I nod. "Okay. It all started when I met Grace."


I roll the dice. Heh. Eleven. I move my piece, the one that looks like the Toto dog from the 'Wizard of Oz' onto Park Place. "I think I'll buy it." I mention offhandedly and count the seconds it will take for my uncle to react.

"Huh? Shit!" He exclaims, looking at my token on the game board and muttering under his breath as he digs through the stack of property cards. Handing it to me he looks at his meager amount of cash and even more meager amount of property he's accumulated. "How much?" He says, motioning at my Park Place card.

I chuckle, feeling truly giddy from the power. "More than you can afford." I say, laughing gleefully as he rolls the dice in response. I've been kicking his butt at Monopoly all morning.

His roll lands him on Chance. He takes a card and silently says nothing as he moves his token directly to jail. I'm proud of him, he doesn't even try to pass go or collect $200.00.

He sorts through his stack of possessions, looking for his get-out-of-jail-free card. Trying hard not to gloat any more than I already have been, I hold up the card.

"You traded it to me for Baltic Ave, remember?" I say, unable to hold back my laughter as he nods calmly, his face turning bright red.

"How come you always win at everything?" He mutters from his place in Jail as I take my next turn.

I shrug. "I don't know. Lucky, I guess." I pass go and collect my money before setting my piece down on Community Chest. I pick up my card, almost chortling with laughter as I read. "I won a beauty pageant. Fork it over."

I hold out my hand as he pays me the last of his money. "That's it, I quit. Play with Jaden when she gets home." He mutters before stalking out into the kitchen.

"Spoil-sport." I call to him, teasing. I don't blame him, this is our third game and he just can't seem to beat me. I clean up the game board and put it in the box. Standing, I stretch my arms over my head, satisfied when I only feel a tinge of pain from my injury. It's amazing how fast it's been healing. I start my physical therapy tomorrow and Jaden's going to take me while my uncle looks for apartments.

I really think he wants to move here. Wouldn't that be strange? I would love to have him in the area, and that would really piss off my mother. She finally spoke with me the other day. She called, asked me how I was, and then proceeded to ask when I was coming home. When I told her I wasn't, she asked to speak with my uncle and they got in a huge fight. I haven't spoken to her since.

Jaden says she'll come around, but I don't think so. I just wish I knew what her problem was. It probably has something to do with me suddenly leaving Ohio and my fiancé-turned-rapist behind and then getting myself shot. I guess I can understand her side of things, I just wish she could understand mine.

Sighing, I banish all thoughts of my mother from my head as I take the game to the bedroom and put in on the bookshelf. Maybe I can convince Jaden to play later. Naked Monopoly. That would be fun.

Of course, I don't know what kind of mood Jaden will even be in when she gets home.

Maybe she'll want me to leave.

She's seeing a psychologist. I actually almost died of shock when she told me. She came home from work on Friday really serious and sat me down in the bedroom, stating that she had to talk to me about something. I thought for sure she had found out bad news about Aron's buddies coming after us. So, needless to say, I wasn't expecting her to tell me that she wants to go and see a psychologist to help her work through some of her issues.

I'm glad she told me. I feel that the old Jaden would have tried to protect me from knowing that she was having any issues to begin with and then would have hidden the fact that she was seeing someone from me.

I am really proud of her for being honest with me, and I told her that. It seemed to calm her down some, but I can tell she's still nervous about the entire thing.

And I really can't lie and say that I'm not nervous either. I don't know what issues she's having, though I'm sure there are many more than I'm even aware of. The unknown of what she's having issues with and what she wants to do about them are really scary.

What if this psychologist leads Jaden to believe that she's better off without me? That I'm not good for her?

I can't think of anything worse.

She should be home soon. Her appointment was at 10:00 and it's already after 11:00. Dusting off my hands from the Monopoly box I head back out into the living room to reassure my uncle that just because he got beat by a girl three times, it doesn't mean that he's lost his manhood.

Men are so insecure sometimes.


Miranda sits back in the chair and regards me with surprised eyes. "I guess all I can say is, wow."

I smile briefly. "Yeah."

"So this past year has been insane for you, huh?" She states, unnecessarily.

"You could say that." I respond, unsure as to where she's going.

"And it all started when you met Grace? She's changed your life drastically." Miranda remarks.

Smiling again, I can't help but agree. "Yeah."

"And you love her?"

"So much that it scares me." I state firmly. Miranda nods.

"And therein lies the problem, right? What part of loving Grace scares you?" She asks.

Shrugging, I'm not sure how to answer. "I don't know."

"You do. It just may not be clear to you yet. Jaden, I want to try something, okay?"

I raise my eyebrows in question. "Like what?"

"Have you ever heard of hypnotherapy?" She asks and I laugh in response.

"You're going to hypnotize me?"

"No, not at all. Hypnotherapy is the process of using trance sessions in order to understand and accept why certain things trigger us in our adult lives. I don't practice hypnotherapy, but I have found parts of it helpful to certain patients. I am not going to put you in a trance, I am going to give you a series of calming exercises and all you have to do is answer each question honestly."

"Okay." I answer doubtfully. Forget my former assessment of Miranda. This lady is a freak with a capital F. She seemed so cool in the beginning, but now she's almost scaring me.

"Come over here." Miranda orders, standing up from behind her desk and crossing over to the side of her office that features a low couch. "Lay down on your back and make yourself comfortable." She sits in an overstuffed armchair a few feet from the couch and rests her hands on her very pregnant belly.

I warily do as she requests and lay on the surprisingly comfortable couch.

"Close your eyes, if you wish." She murmurs and I immediately do, finding it easier to speak with her when I'm not feeling watched by her hazel, almost feline, eyes.

"Now Jaden, I want you to consciously relax your breathing and concentrate on taking deep breaths. Good. Now, listen to my voice, okay? If you're ever uncomfortable with this, you simply say stop and we will, okay?"

"Okay." I tell her, finding this entire thing very funny and bizarre.

"I'm going to count you down now. One, keep breathing deep and even. Try to remove and conscious thought from your mind and just listen to my voice. Two, you are sinking deeper and deeper into…"

Wow, this is strange. Miranda's voice is lulling me to this relaxed state and I have no idea why or how she's doing this. All that I know is that I can hear her but I feel like I'm floating somewhere, not really even here.

"Jaden, I want you to answer my questions honestly. Who inside you is afraid of loving Grace?"

My voice isn't my own as I respond. "Me."

"And how old are you, me?" Miranda asks gently.


"And why are you afraid?"

"Because she'll leave me."

"She'll leave you?" Miranda repeats. "What makes you think that?"

"My mama left me."

"Oh, I understand." Miranda murmurs. "And because your mama left you and you loved your mama, you think that if you love Grace she'll leave you too."


"Well, I know how scary that feels and I understand why you feel like that. How did you feel when your mama left you, me?" Miranda questions, her voice so soft.


"I'll bet. Mama's aren't supposed to leave their children, are they?"

I shake my head in response.

"And how would you feel if Grace left you?" Miranda inquires.

"I'd die."


Circling the ad in a red pen I look up from the paper. "This one looks good, a two-bedroom, one bath apartment in Dorchester for only $800 a month."

My uncle narrows his eyes. "Not bad. Where's Dorchester?"

I shrug. "I have no idea." I go back to the paper, feeling way too excited that the simple act of circling ads isn't hurting my shoulder at all.

"Everything's so expensive here." My uncle muses from his spot on the couch. He's got a different paper and we've been calling out ads back and forth for the past few minutes. It's now after one and Jaden still isn't home.

I'm trying everything I can to not think of Jaden and her therapy session. What if she's decided to end our relationship and the reason she's not home is because she doesn't know how to tell me?

"Yeah, I know." I respond, almost forgetting that my uncle was speaking to me.

The door swings open and I look towards the kitchen, relieved to find a smiling Jaden greeting the two dogs hello.

"Hi." I tell her as I get up from the couch, half in excitement and half in anticipation. "How are you?"

She looks at me, her beautiful eyes glittering with happiness. "I'm great. How are you?"

Before I can answer she swoops down and hugs me tightly. My shoulder tinges with discomfort but I pay it no attention as I return her hug. "I love you so much." She whispers in my ear.

"Love you too." I respond.

"And I love both of you." My uncle calls from the couch. We erupt into giggles as we break our embrace.

"Sorry I'm late. I had to go to the barn after my appointment. I haven't been in a long time."

"I can't wait until I can go again." I mention and Jaden smiles at me again.

"Me too. Lucy and Studley are getting spoiled not being ridden."

"How are they?" I ask.

"Great. They're enjoying the weather and they all look fat and happy. Just like horses should." Jaden states.

"I didn't know you rode." My uncle says as he gets up from the couch and heads for the bathroom. "You should have seen that pretty colored mare Grace had. Just beautiful." He closes the door behind him.

"Yeah, she was." I mutter, feeling the familiar twinge of sadness that is associated with Annie resurface. Pushing it away I concentrate on changing the subject.

"How was your appointment?" I ask Jaden, who is looking at me with a strange expression on her face.

"Fine." She says softly. "I'm working on a lot of childhood issues and stuff. I never knew how much stuff like that affects me now."

I shake my head in agreement.

"But anyway, at first I was skeptical that Miranda could actually help, but she was really easy to talk with and helped me shed light on a lot of things."

"I'm glad." I tell her, suddenly even more insecure on what exactly Jaden 'shed light' on. "I was nervous that you would realize you don't love me." I blurt out.

"What? Gracie, if anything, talking with Miranda made me realize just how much I love you and how much work I need to do on myself so I don't screw this up."

"Oh." I say, embarrassed and feeling really immature.

"Come here." She requests and I fall into her embrace.

If Jaden is working hard to make sure she doesn't screw this up, I guess I have to do the same, right? I have to trust her and allow her to figure herself out without becoming judgmental and jumping to conclusions.

Easier said than done.

Part 8: Coming soon! Stay tuned and please email me with feedback!!!

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