Some secrets should never be brought to light.
Exposed is available on ebook and paperback.
There were one hundred and four steps from my front door to the street. One hundred and four exactly. I knew because I counted them, mourned their loss as my world shrank every day.
“And how does that make you feel?” Dr. Brenninger’s deep voice surrounded me, pulling me back into the present. I leaned against the doorjamb and stared into my front yard, one I hadn’t crossed in almost three years.
I narrowed my eyes and whipped my head around, meeting the steady gaze of his crystal clear blue eyes as he waited—a pillar of patience—for my answer.
“How do you think that makes me feel, doctor?” I flung my words at him, stripping him of his name, returning him to a title.
My gaze fell to my toes, unable to hold his weighty stare any longer. I was behaving like a petulant child. Our required hour was almost up. I could ignore him.
The ticking of the clock mocked my resistance. My sudden anger fell away as swiftly as it had appeared. I bit my lip to hold back the apology I knew he deserved.
“Fiona,” Zak sighed softly, “you know I’m here to help. We’ve made a lot of progress. Don’t shut me out again. Please.”
It was the please that got me. It always did.
“You’re fighting dirty.” He knew my weakness. I refused to shift my gaze from the black polish on my toenails.
“And you’re acting like my five-year-old niece.” He was right, but that didn’t make the gentle barb hurt any less.
“Aren’t you supposed to be helping me? Instead, you’re calling me names. Mocking me.”
“I’ve obviously struck a nerve. Why is that?”
“I’m tired of talking about how I feel.” I stumbled to my couch and sank into the soft cushions. Stacking pillows around me I built a fort between us. “Can’t you just leave me alone?” A small space opened between the floral square pillow I had mercilessly frayed and a gray chevron print my mom had dropped off last week. I peeked through the opening. The new pillow smelled like chemicals and plastic and kept me from his seeking eyes.
“You know that isn’t an option.”
Once a week, we’d sat in this very spot for the last four years.
“I’ll be here until I either shut down my practice or…” he trailed off.
We both knew the unspoken alternative would never happen. I’d never be fixed, nothing would ever change—unless you counted things getting worse.
My world continued to shrink, year by year. That’s all it had ever done.