Home > Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(9)

Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(9)
Author: Brynne Asher

Patients speak candidly when alone, but Marin is tense when they’re here as a couple. Eric has been on my schedule twice and has canceled both times because of work, yet he’s the one who instigated couples counseling as a last resort.

“Nothing’s changed,” Eric answers for her, which has become a trend in our sessions. “Same shit, day in and day out. If she’s not with the kids, she’s on her phone for work. If it’s not that, she’s exhausted and busting my ass because I don’t help around the house. I told her we could bring someone in to clean, but I’m paying for this.” He lifts his chin toward me and seals it with a deadly glare. “Waste of time and money.”

“This,” I motion to myself, “was your idea, Eric. I’d like to stay on topic as to why Marin is bearing the weight of your infidelity.”

Marin shakes her head and sniffs. “Exactly what he said.”

Seems there is some gaslighting going on at home. It’s not professional to think of your patient as an asshole.

But, asshole.

I nod. “Have you been doing the exercises I recommended? Pinpointing your stress triggers? Choosing one night to unplug everything after the kids go to bed to focus on each other?”

Marin shakes her head and looks away.

“See?” Eric motions to his wife. “I just want my life back.”

“You have a life, Eric. We just need to find a way for everyone to find happiness in this season.”

“We unplugged last week,” Marin admits. “Or we tried to. It ended in a fight like it always does.”

I make another note. “What did you fight about?”

Marin looks to her husband, but he doesn’t offer an answer. When she does speak, it’s hesitant. “Her.”

“Her,” I repeat and tap the end of my pen on my notebook. “What about her?”

“He was with her,” Marin states on a hiccupped sob. “Again.”

Eric doesn’t look contrite when I ask, “You were unfaithful again?”

He throws his arms out. “I just want my life back. A normal life.”

“You mean sex,” I state.

“Yes.” He raises his voice. “And adult conversation that isn’t about daycare or the electric bill!”

“So you want to be a teenager?” I challenge, because it’s time. If I don’t, there won’t be progress, whatever that progress may look like. The three of us have been treading water far too long.

Marin stands and walks to the window.

“Fuck you,” he growls, glaring at me.

There are days I think my father prepared me for this job more than my Harvard education, because I have no problem holding his angry stare. “I’m trying to get to the bottom of what you want out of life. Because you continue to be unfaithful, and your wife seems to think it’s her fault.”

Marin turns to me and is all-out crying now. “Please stop.”

I look at the clock on the wall next to the window. “No need to stop now. We still have twenty minutes.” I turn my focus back to Eric. “When was your latest encounter?”

He tips his head. “I don’t have to tell you shit.”

“Then why are you here?”

He shrugs and stays silent. I know what he’s doing. He’s going through the motions, doing all the right things. When he gets the divorce he wants, he can prove on paper this was his idea and how he tried.

“You agreed to stop seeing her while you and Marin were in therapy. I have the contract you both signed during our first session.”

“Your bullshit contract is about as official as the stop sign in a Target parking lot, and you know it.”

Marin continues to cry.

“Then why did you sign it?” I ask. “You don’t seem to be the type of person who agrees to bullshit, as you say.”

His glare darkens.

“Why did you go back to your mistress?” I press.

“You really want to know?” he grits, turning a deep shade of crimson.

Unlike his, my expression remains stoic. “I do.”

Without looking away, he stands and motions to Marin. “Because she deserves it. For checking out. For being a cold bitch. For ignoring me. I’m not sticking around for it.” He raises his voice and points at me, then Marin. “So fuck you, fuck your therapy, and fuck her too. I’m over this shit.”

He stalks out and slams the door in his wake.

Marin turns back to the window and whimpers into her tissue.

I give her a moment before asking, “Do you feel unsafe at home? Physically unsafe?”

She hesitates before shaking her head.

“Your children?” I add. “Marin, this is important. Has he threatened you or your children? First and foremost, I need to know you’re physically okay. If your home is not a safe place, I can help you and the children. I can do that right now.”

She turns and sighs—her makeup smeared and ruined—and shakes her head. “He’s never laid a hand on us.”

“Do you think he would?”

She shrugs but shakes her head. “I don’t think so.”

“He’s turning this on you. Making you feel responsible for his adultery. No one is pushed into having an affair. That is one-hundred percent his responsibility.”

She sits again and stares at her mangled tissue.

“Marin,” I call for her. She finally musters the courage to look at me. “It’s not your fault.”

She nods. It’s small, and I doubt she believes it.

“Do you need a ride home?” I ask.

She starts crying again, and I take that as a yes.

I go to my desk to retrieve my phone from the drawer and search for my Uber app. “I’ll get you a ride, but we need to meet again soon. Call or text anytime. I can step in at a moment’s notice. Before you leave, we need to establish a code if you need immediate help.”

They’re my last session but I can’t offer her a ride. Going to a patient’s home is a bad idea. Plus, there’s my looming date I never agreed to. Eight o’clock sharp has been nagging at the back of my mind all day. It will be here before I know it.

Briar was supposed to stop by and walk Muppet for me today. I bet my new dog is going to ditch me to go live with his new aunt. I really need to figure out a way to balance my life. Maybe I can start dropping him off with Briar before work a couple days a week when I have evening appointments. She can be my doggie daycare and take him to work with her.

First, I need to update my patient files while my day is fresh in my mind. Maybe I’ll hide out in my bedroom and pray Brand Vitale can’t manage what he said would be easy.

Find me.






Light His Night on Fire






Dr. Aria Lake Dillon.

Did her undergrad at Stanford on a swimming scholarship. She even went to the Olympic Trials and failed to make the team by the literal skin of her teeth—three hundredths of a second, to be exact.

Earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard.

One year in practice.

Drowning in student loans because, from the look of her grades, she was smart, but not the cream of the crop which is what it takes to land a Harvard scholarship.

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