“Good afternoon.” He beams. “Brant Sharp, I presume?”
“Yes. This is my fiancée, Layana Fairmont.”
“Pleasure to meet you. Thank you for coming out on such short notice.”
He nods quickly, rubbing his hands together. “I’m anxious to speak to you both.”
“My car’s out front,” Brant said. “Let’s head to the house. We can dive into everything on the way.”
“My primary concern is fixing this,” Brant says the moment the car doors close and privacy is established. He yanks the car into drive, the Aston jumping to attention, the doctor quickly reaching for his seat belt.
“Fixing… by fixing you mean removing excess personalities?”
I stifle a grin, biting the inside of my cheek as Brant comes to a rough stop at the exit of the airport, waiting impatiently as the gate slowly opens. Patience is Brant’s weak point, in all areas of study. He will be frustrated with the need to catch this man up on the clusterfuck of our situation. He will be frustrated with gates and traffic and the inconveniences of taking care of things Jillian previously handled. Money will help. It always does. More employees can be hired; the situation will iron itself out. But money can’t walk Dr. Terra through Brant’s past. Money can’t massage the fact that, right now, my man feels broken.
“Dissociative Identity Disorder is not an easily fixed affliction. While other psychiatric disorders can be controlled by medication, DID is not a ‘curable’ disease. The original medication you were given as a child, I have to assume, was depressants, given to a level that would have dulled any personalities to a point where they were undistinguishable. Obviously, that is not a solution worth exploring.”
Brant’s hand tightens around the pen in his fist, the flex of his forearm distracting. I place a hand on his arm, squeeze the muscle there. “So what solution is worth exploring?” he asks quietly.
“Therapy. It’s not sexy, and it takes time, but it has the highest probability of success. I’ll set you up with a local doctor and you’ll have to come in a few times a week. Go through a lot of hypnosis. The doctor will speak to you and Lee. Counsel you both through the process. Eventually, Lee will either fade away, or parts of his personality will merge with yours.”
I see signs no one would ever recognize. The slight pull of the skin around his eyes. The whiten of the back of his hand as his fist tightens. “It just doesn’t feel like someone else is inside of me. Could she be wrong?” He doesn’t look at me. We sit next to each other, our legs touching on the couch of this temporary office, yet are a hundred miles apart. Could she be wrong? A question that really means ‘Is she lying?’
The man smiles a smile that dips itself in sadness and comes out with understanding. “You may not know Lee yet, but you will before this process is over. Assuming you participate in my suggested therapy program.”
“I’ll participate. I want to do whatever I can to get it out.” The bite in his voice puts me on edge. As does the word ‘it’ in regards to Lee.
“It’ll take both of you. I’ll need Layana’s help to speak to Lee. Convince him to leave.”
I look up. “Convince him to leave?” I have never convinced Lee, in two years, to do anything. Every interaction was a struggle, my only success the manipulation of him in regards to the Molly breakup.
“Yes. We can’t force him out of Brant’s life. It will only be successful if Lee is willing.”
I nod though it contradicts my inner thoughts. “I’ll do whatever I can to help.” The words are expected, so I say them. Inside, I try to figure out how I feel about Lee leaving me forever.
Brant speaks, “And I don’t want you to refer me to a specialist. I want you, here. For the next few months at least.”
I smile politely, the false paint of a face I thought I had abandoned. Smile and search through the dark recesses of my soul in an attempt to unravel the thoughts that are clouding my brain. Try to understand how I feel about this.
Stop. I force the action, force the turn of my mental gears to skid to a halt. It doesn’t matter what I want. Who I love. My happiness is sacrificial in order to save Brant. I watch the doctor’s mouth. Try to decipher its movement and catch up to the current place in the conversation.
2 MONTHS LATER
“You’re breaking up with me?” Lee stares at me, his hands tight on the chair before him, his face hollowing as he bites the inside of his cheek, a nervous gesture I suddenly miss. I will miss that tic. Miss the way he sometimes drops his eyes when he asks a question, as if he is afraid of the answer. Miss the way his smile pours through his eyes, like the sex that comes off his body. Miss the way that he is the sexiest, most confident man I have ever met, yet insecure in a way that hurts. He has been terrified of rejection since the day I met him. And now, in a room he doesn’t recognize, the psychiatrist’s new office cold and impersonal, his fears are becoming a reality.
“Lee, try and relax,” Dr. Terra says, speaking from behind us.
I close my eyes at the sound of the doctor’s voice. He needs to shut up. He shouldn’t be here. I told him that. Told him that this is a private moment. That it will go over better if there isn’t a party to Lee’s rejection. Especially not a party who feels the need to interject. But they—the doctor and Brant—worried about my safety. Thought the doctor and his sedative should be present, in case it needs to be used. In case Lee gets violent. He won’t. I know he won’t, not to me. But they wouldn’t listen. So now it is Lee and I… and the doctor. A doctor Lee just turned his full attention to.
“I’m sorry, who the f**k are you?” In three steps Lee has his throat in his hand, the doctor on his feet and backed against the wall. His face close to the doctor’s, his entire body trembles as he glances over at me, unmindful of the delicate throat grasped by his hand. “Are you f**king serious, Lana? You’re breaking up with me? For that rich dick?”
I stare into Lee’s eyes the whole time. During the fumbling moment when the doc reaches into his pocket. The instance when his hand withdraws and the syringe stabs through the thin cotton of Lee’s shirt. I hold the stare when Lee’s eyes flinch. When betrayal seeps through them and he glares at me like he hates me and loves me and misses me, all at the same time. I stare at him and watch as his eyes close and he slumps to the floor.