empty chair in jayne's therapist's office

[story] empty chair work (part two)

This is the second half of a longer story. If you missed the beginning, go back and read it here.

“Thank you for saying that,” I tell him without needing any more direction from Louise. “It really means a lot to hear you say that.”

His outline sharpens. His short yet overgrown dark hair and piercing black eyes glow out from beneath the edge of his fringe. He is wearing that same sharp, black button-down shirt that slims his already slender figure, dark blue jeans, and smart chestnut dress shoes with a squared toe. He leans back in the chair and crosses his ankles. He rests his elbows on the armrests, steeples his fingers and presses his lips to the tips of his forefingers. He watches me, silently boring a hole straight through me with his birdlike gaze.

Even—perhaps, especially—at his worst, his brand of poison was intoxicating, alluring to me.

But I clear my throat and pull it together in spite of his disarming charisma.

“I understand that you are who you are,” I say to him, avoiding his face by tugging my sleeves over my hands again. “And I placed unrealistic expectations on you. But having to navigate… everything with you. With us. The highs and lows. My depression. Your substance abuse. Our infidelities. Your narcissism. All the conversations I was too scared to have because, what… I was afraid to lose you?”

I look at him, half hoping he’ll interject. He says nothing, so I carry on.

“I never had you. I know that now… Not to mention all of the denial I allowed because of our undeniable chemistry. I was still foolish enough then to believe our sexual electricity was the same as the more wholesome love I needed…”

He bites at the end of his thumbnail, eyes pinned on me, still silent.

“It was a chaotic time for me. And it seems that your involvement in that part of my life has made you a serious trigger for me.” I look despondently the floor. “I’m just trying to get a handle on my darkness.”

He lets his hand fall away from his face and smirks at me. Finally, he speaks. “It’s because of that darkness that you love me.”

I roll my eyes at him. “Sometimes, I hate you.”

“Because you love me,” he purrs.

“I was just so… obsessed with the notion of you loving me back. The challenge of achieving the impossible, maybe.”

He crosses his arms over his chest. So smug. “I’ve always admired your loveblind ambition.”

“I was blind, all right,” I say matching his stance. “Completely oblivious to how much I was letting you drag me down.”

“You were so determined when it came to me,” he says, leaning in towards me. His voice is husky, not unlike when he smokes too much. “I lusted after your fearlessness.”

“And look at me now. Meek, and broken, and talking to imaginary monsters.”

He furrows his dark brows and cocks his head. “Come now, dear. You were never broken.”

I scoff down towards the floor. I don’t know what else to say now.

“Do you remember,” he bites down on his bottom lip for a moment as he decides just how he’s going to finish the line, “that time I showed up at your house in the middle of the night?”

His smug smirk pulls wide enough to flash his teeth and he tips his head to other side. Playful and dramatic, as always.

In spite of myself, I feel a grin tug at the corners of my mouth. I purse my lips to suppress it, but it’s no use. “That time you showed up in the middle of a blizzard and knocked on my window to wake me up, you mean?”

His silent smirk is positively demonic and it still makes me melt from the inside out.

“It was so cold…” I say, poking at the memory log. “I almost didn’t peel myself from the warmth of my bed.”

“But you couldn’t help yourself,” he says. Still smirking.

“Well, I hadn’t seen you in so long and I wanted so desperately to touch you. I still believed then that it was something I needed.”

His black eyes flash with some degree of admiration. “You walked out your front door like you owned the night.”

I look through him, collecting the images of that night. “You were driving your dad’s old truck. At first, I didn’t even know it was you.”

“I was not sober…”

Arms still crossed, I lean back into the forest green cushions behind me. “Naturally.”

“You were stunning that night though”

“Oh, come off it,” I say waving him off like a pesky fly. “I was in sweatpants and a puffy winter jacket, furry hood and all.”

“But the truck was so warm that you had to start peeling back the layers pretty quick. That reveal was…”—cue his characteristic dramatic pause and flamboyant flick of the hand—“everything.”

“You’ve always been so full of it…”

“You’ve always been so reluctant to believe me.”

“You hardly use your words at the best of times.”

“I don’t remember that always being a problem for you.”

My cheeks flash hot at the insinuation. “You didn’t even say hello. You just went straight for my mouth.”

Again with the smug, silent smirk.

“I don’t think you ever kissed me so earnestly as you did that night…” I add wistfully.

“I was holding back too. I’m not sure what had come over me, but I feared I might devour you completely.”

“Impressive. Because adhering to your inhibitions was never really a strong suit of yours.”

He tasted like whiskey and cola and rushed cigarettes that night.

He pulled off his jacket and lay me down across the bench seat, creating a pillow with my down-filled coat. We tore each other apart by the mouth. Hands everywhere. In his hair. Under my shirt. His nails raked scars into my back to match the ones on my heart that never healed.

He ripped my shirt off from overhead. Kissed down between my breasts, pulling them up and over the cups of my bra. Sucked a nipple into his mouth and bit down gently. I choked on my inhale as my back arched. His mouth travelled over an inch and chomped down into the meat of my breast; I pulled his hair at the roots. That would leave a mark.

Kissing hard, my legs wrapped around him. Wetness on his black shirt, on his jeans. His zipper rubbed me raw in a way that I didn’t hate. He pulled my hair, harder, craning my neck back, exposing my throat. Nibbling all along the rope of my neck, leaving a trail of purple skittles to mark the path.

The space was filled with the sound of breath and suction. The windows were fogging over.

I look away from the chair, pretending to stretch. I twist a crack from my spine; the window behind me is fogging up.

“You pulled away,” I bemoaned, “like you were offended by how blatantly I tried to steal your breath away from you.”He scoffed. “I do appreciate a foolhardy thief.”

Pulling, one button at a time came open. That plain black button-up, pulled away to reveal a swatch of animalistic hair across his chest.

“Remember what I said then?” I ask.

Impersonating me, he says, “I always figured you were a vampire, but maybe you’re actually a werewolf.”

Impersonating him, I finished: “It would explain the fur and the lunacy.”

He pulled my sweatpants down my hips. I planted my hand into the seat edge and raised my hips to help him out. Dragging them down my legs, onto the floor with the rest of it.

He took me, rough and needy. Without much warning. I loved this about us then, when he was so hasty with me. He knew this because I told him so, encouraged it. He couldn’t control his need to be near me in those moments. With me. Inside me.

What were his fingers doing? Thumb on my clit. Gentle pinching with synching up with every bite. He grabbed my chin between the thumb and forefinger of his other hand. I looked at him from the corner of my eye. Squished grin and glinting eyes. The fire between us was palpable, dangerous.

I pretended to struggle, to coax greater force out of him. He held me still. I growled. He sneered back; kissed me gently. Offered me his fingers. I coated them in saliva and he dragged them down between my legs. Pried me open with lubricated fingers to release the surge of wetness building up between my lips.

Sliding. Ominously gentle.

Slow, but deep penetration; teeth on my neck. Clenched, his whole body into mine when he hooked up inside me while I bucked away and sprang right back.

I stretched my leg out long. He held my foot in his hand like it was made of glass. He kissed and bit along the inner seam of my leg. Past my knee. Into the fleshy belly of my thigh. I wriggled and writhed at that one spot halfway up my thigh — got me every time. By hook or by crook of my groin.

There was a delicacy in this tongue, and aggression everywhere else. His teeth scathed dangerous close, nibbling at the edge of pain. Feet in the air, as he built me up with mouth and fingers. Pushing my feet into his shoulders, he pushed right back. The humidity spread my musk throughout the whole space.

He pushed on, pleasuring me with his mouth and hands and ferocity and force until I came. Though the blizzard erased all sound, I covered my mouth out of habit. I felt him growl into me as I shook back down to earth.

My bangs were stuck to my forehead. Despite the frostbite warning outside, the air inside the truck was heavy, damp with breath and sweat and sex.

I swallowed the last of my shock down. He leered over me, looking down at me all crumbled in a pile amongst the rough blankets and soft coats. He was grinning. My stupor made me even hungrier for him. I pushed myself up to reach for his belt. He pushed my hand away and curled up next to me.

He nuzzled into me from behind and stroked me gently, from the top of my head to the tip of my knee and back again. Stewing in the warmth of our little bubble, despite how unforgiving the world outside our stolen moment was—and would still be—when we parted ways.

“That is a nice memory,” he said dreamily.

“Too bad it didn’t happen quite that way,” I say, replicating his earlier smugness. “I tweaked it for my benefit.”

“Doesn’t make it any less nice.”

We sit in silence for a long while. The red second hand rolls around more than once before I break it by sniffling back a few rogue tears.

“I knew you weren’t good for me,” I say shaking my head at myself. “Right from the beginning.”

“And that’s why you needed to take the chance.”

“It could have been so nice between us.”

“It would have been impossible.”

“If you just could have loved me back…”

“But you’re learning to love yourself, dear. Isn’t that more important?” I’m almost oblivious to the tears streaming down my cheeks now while he speaks. “Once you’ve figured that out, you won’t have any need for any version of me anymore, real or imagined.”

Louise passes the kleenex box to me. I wipe my eyes and blow my nose, sniffling several times after the fast. It feels like pints of tears have drained down my face since he appeared and I’m choking on the beautiful, harsh reality of his words.

Of my words.

Louise steeples her fingers and presses her chin to her forefingers, quietly watching me while I process my realizations.

Finally, I say, “Thank you for making time for me today, Louise.”

“Thank yourself,” she says with a smile, leaning back into her chair. “You’re the one who showed up.”

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