The Therapist Pt. 05



After her last session, Karen seemed a little distant and finally confessed she was going to end her marriage to Jonah. She also said she wanted more but didn’t specify exactly what she wanted, the inference however was there, if Valerie was prepared to take it up. Nevertheless, Valerie doesn’t cheat and so she didn’t respond in kind. All that comes to an end when she discovers her husband has been having an affair. Slowly but surely these two women are drawing closer together as their marriages end but can they find enough common ground to start again?

Dr. Valerie Warren had a good understanding of infidelity, gained from years of experience sitting listening to people in troubled marriages. She knew the signs to look out for, the consequences of seemingly innocent encounters that could lead to an affair, and the inevitable fallout from an affair. She also had a hard-line approach to adultery, one she’d laid out to Robbie when he proposed to her some two years ago.

“If you fall for someone else I don’t care, I may not even fight for your love but if you fall into bed with someone else and don’t tell me first, I will divorce you. I may forgive you, eventually but I will never forget your betrayal.”

It was a memory uppermost in her mind as Valerie regarded the fresh-faced young woman whose car had been damaged in an accident with Robbie’s car last weekend. Despite promising to pay Giselle’s repair bill, she had been unable to get in contact with him and so she’d called on her mother for help in tracking down his address. It was a relatively easy task considering her mother worked for the Roads and Maritime Service and was able to perform a simple database query and come up with Robbie’s address.

Armed with this information, Giselle had knocked on the door expecting to find Robbie’s wife, but the woman who answered the door looked nothing like the woman who rear-ended her in the early hours of Sunday morning. Aludra was about the same age as Robbie’s ‘wife’ but her darker skin and jet black hair was the direct contrast to the blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman behind the wheel that night. When she asked to see Robert Warren’s wife, Aludra showed her in and went to fetch Valerie, who was with a client. When Giselle rose to greet her she looked confused.

“What’s going on here?”

“Excuse me?” Valerie smoothed out her skirt, “I’m Valerie, Robbie’s wife.”

“No, Robbie’s wife is much younger,” she shook her head.

Now it was Valerie’s turn to be confused.

“I am Robbie’s wife, but who are you?”

“Giselle Francis, your husband’s car rear-ended my car on Sunday morning,” she sat down.

“I knew he’d been in an accident,” Valerie smoothed out her skirt, “he had to borrow my car on Tuesday and Wednesday but why did you think Robbie’s wife was much younger?”

For a moment she didn’t reply, her eyes were fixed on the wedding photographs as the truth dawned on her and then she closed her eyes and exhaled slowly.

“It wasn’t your husband driving the car that night,” she replied, “there was a woman behind the wheel because he’d been drinking, but she was sober. He said she was his wife.”

“A wife who looks nothing like me,” Valerie replied.

“No, shit, I’m sorry. I should never have come here,” she tried to rise but Valerie waved her back down again with a reassuring smile.

“We’ll get to the bottom of this but please, sit down. What did this woman look like? And what happened on Sunday morning?”

Giselle hesitated before sitting down again. It came out slowly with some prompting from Valerie as she asked questions, the same technique she used to get clients to divulge their most private secrets. She had just come home from a shift at a night club and was turning into her driveway when a red BMW clipped her taillight. The driver was a foreign woman in her early twenties who was behind the wheel because her husband was too drunk. The husband offered to pay for the damage and gave her a number to call when she had a quote. He was quite insistent that she not take this through her insurance and initially Giselle had been quietly relieved. She was still on her Probationary licence and a claim on her insurance might bump up her premium. She now regretted not taking this through her insurance because the number she called once she’d gotten a quote kept going through to the standard voicemail. It was about then that her mother had stepped in and although she’d technically broken the law, Valerie wasn’t about to take issue with that act.

“So, this female driver was supposed to be me?” Valerie looked past her.

“That’s what he said, twice. He introduced her as Victoria, she sounded Eastern European. She had blonde hair and is a couple of years older than me.”

“What number did you call?”

Giselle found the number on her phone and held it out for her.

“That isn’t my number and it’s not Robbie’s number either,” Valerie frowned.

Valerie stared at the door for a few seconds as she sorted through her options.

“Let’s see your car,” Valerie rose, “how about you wait here for a Betturkey few minutes? I have a client back there waiting for me to return, but I promise to come back here and one way or another we’ll fix this and get your car fixed,” she rose.

“Your car is here, I hope?”

“It’s outside, do you want to see the damage?”

“That would put my mind at ease,” she moved away, “just don’t go away.”

It could still be a scam she reasoned but the body language was unmistakeable, she’d been certain that the woman behind the wheel had been Robbie’s wife, until she saw the wedding photographs and realised the truth. Valerie was also determined to discover the truth but first she had to deal with a client trying to cope with feelings of low self esteem after discovering her partner was cheating on her. The irony was not lost on her as she apologised for the interruption and made arrangements to have her appointment moved to a different time.

Things moved rather quickly after that. Valerie inspected the damaged rear of the car, the smashed taillight and dented rear corner. The number plate was noted down and she instructed Aludra to contact the three clients she’d lined up for that day to reschedule their sessions while she called Robbie to confirm the licence plate number. He sounded wary when she read it out over the phone some fifteen minutes later.

“Yeah, but how has she found out where I live?”

“She’s a very resourceful woman,” Valerie leaned against the windowsill, “but moving on from that I think we need to get to the bottom of this, I mean I’m a little mystified. I thought you were with the boys, the boat is moored near Cronulla but this accident happened in Woodford.”

There was a noticeable delay before he replied.

“I can explain, darling, it was…”

“You will explain, tonight,” she ended the call and looked at Giselle, “all right, I’m going to pay for the damage to your car,” she brought up her contacts list just as the phone rang again, “fuck off,” she rejected the call, “I’m going to send you to my guy, he’ll fix the damage and send the bill to me,” she smiled.

“Don’t worry,” she found the number and tapped the dial icon, “it’s coming off his part of the settlement,” she put the phone to her ear.

The man at the other end had been one of her clients some years ago and whilst she’d been unable to save his marriage, he’d done all the repairs to her car at ‘mate’s rates.’ Brian seemed a little out of breath as he greeted her.

“Sorry, had to drop everything in a hurry. What’s up?”

“I’m sending a friend around to get some work done on her car,” she frowned, “no need for the usual rates though. Just call me once you’ve finished and I’ll pop around with the money.”

“No worries.”

“Her name is Giselle, she drives a red Toyota with some damage to the taillight and back corner, my husband stupidly ran into the back of her and hasn’t paid for the damage.”

“Okay,” he sounded confused.

“It’s complicated,” she leaned back in her seat, “but I’m going to pay for this and he’s going to pay in ways he never thought possible.”

She ended the call not long afterwards and put the phone down as she regarded Giselle.

“Do you think you could identify this woman if I showed you some pictures?”

“Probably,” she shifted in her seat warily.

Valerie tapped the Facebook icon on her phone and found her husband’s page. She then tapped the link for Robbie’s friends and turned the phone around for her to look at the pictures.

“Scroll through them and see if she’s there.”

Giselle hesitated and then started scrolling through the list until finally she stopped at a blonde woman called Svetlana.

“That’s her but he introduced her as Victoria.”

“You sure?”

Giselle tapped the picture and was taken to the page for Svetlana.

“Positive,” she nodded a moment later, “that’s Victoria.”

Valerie turned the phone around to look at the other woman’s profile. She was twenty two and a law student studying at Sydney university. She had taken pictures of her and Robbie together and lived in Woodford, Valerie frowned as she stared at a picture of her and Robbie together.

You stupid bastard.

The betrayal cut like a knife but the fact he’d allowed himself to be photographed with another woman, who then posted it online was humiliating. It demanded an appropriate response and as she worked through her client list for tomorrow, calling them to rearrange their sessions Valerie found herself flirting with the idea of an open marriage.

“You’d be a fool to think about it,” Karen cautioned her over the phone a couple of hours later, “it sounds good in theory but in practice it’s far more complicated, and let’s be honest a relationship is complicated enough, why make it harder?”

It was sound advice and there was plenty more of that from the older woman. Granted some of it was to be expected but there were some practical solutions to more immediate problems such as help around the home. Aludra was available for babysitting duties and she did help out with Betturkey Giriş some office work but Valerie wasn’t about to increase her workload.

“She’s got more assignments this year and while she’d happily volunteer I don’t want to ask more of her, it’s not fair.”

“I’ve got Mandy, my youngest daughter here who’s looking to ditch her part time job as a check out chick, and I can do weekends or afternoons, I know it’s not much but it’s something to add to your existing pool.”

“At the moment my existing pool is limited to a couple of friends and my sister, I don’t like asking mum for much at all, it always comes at a price and Damien is never the same after a night at her place. It takes me two or three nights to get him into bed at the right time. Mum just sits up all night in front of the bloody telly.”

“Well I’m just down the road, but it’s your call.”

“I’d feel guilty, you’ve got enough on your plate,” she slipped a hand beneath the collar of her blouse, “what with Jonah.”

“Ah that is something I haven’t told you yet.”


“Jonah and I have broken up, we talked about it the other night and I actually came out and said what he’d been thinking all along that this marriage should be dissolved. Here was me expecting an argument and the bastard knocked the wind out of my sails by telling me he was relieved. I had to sit down and tell the girls but even that was easier than I thought.”

“Oh, right,” Valerie replied, “so, is he still there?”

“Yeah, but because it’s one of those mutual things I haven’t given him a deadline, but he wants to be out of here by the end of the month. He’s got to focus on his court case and that doesn’t come up for another six weeks now, they had to move everything forward after some pretrial meeting.”

“Interesting, so, you’re footloose and fancy free?”

“More or less,” she chuckled, “much like yourself.”

There was a momentary pause before Karen went on.

“Anyway, I have to do some photocopying for this next lecture but call me tonight or whenever, I’m here for you.”

The implication was out there and while Valerie didn’t respond verbally, internally she was already trying to sort out her complicated feelings for Karen. The woman was a client and she had rules about getting involved with clients, which basically amounted to a blanket ban but by the sounds of things Karen might become an ex client and that would move her into a different category.

Am I that way inclined? Could I sleep with a woman?

Nonetheless, she had bigger fish to fry that day and sex was off the menu, for now. Her next call was to her sister, Anne and brother, Tony to let them know what had been going on. Anne offered to take Damien off her hands.

“He can sleep over and I’ll drop him off in the morning when I take the others to school.”

Tony offered to beat Robbie’s brains in but she took a rain check on that one, instead asking him to just be there.

“Just having you here is enough but no rough stuff.”

She doubted there would be any rough stuff. Tony was half a head taller and broad in the shoulders, he was a subcontract carpenter working. Tony promised to be there early and that gave her time to brief Aludra and promise that their arrangement wouldn’t change. It was only in the time between Aludra’s departure and Anne’s arrival that she allowed the enormity to sink in. How long had this been going on? She was tempted to call around his mates on the off chance that one of their partners might confirm the sneaking suspicion that she’d been played.

Anne arrived at half past one and greeted her with a hug, it was only then she let go of some of the emotional pain.

“You’ll get through this,” Anne rubbed her back, “have you told mum yet?”

“Not yet,” she swallowed, “just not yet. Let me deal with him first.”


Brave words but they seemed hollow hours later after she’d confronted Robbie about his affair and told him to get out of the house. She sat on the couch with an empty bottle of bourbon, the tv was on but the sound was down, there had been another terrorist attack in Paris on the Champs Élysées and it held her attention. Not for the loss of life but the memory of her honeymoon, they’d gone to Europe for their honeymoon. She recalled the view of the Champs Élysées from the magnificent Arc de Triomphe and the subsequent stroll along the avenue. It had been a mere two years ago, how had it come to this? It seemed almost a lifetime now, granted time was distorted because she was drunk. Damien was at Anne’s place and Tony had gone home a few hours ago.

When Robbie walked into the house that night, he must have thought he was in a parallel universe. His wife had been quite abrupt over the phone that morning and his casual text, ‘thinking about you,’ went unanswered. Valerie was sitting on the couch dressed in a black satin dress that clung to her figure, nursing a glass of wine and listening to Enya. The lights were dimmed and he lowered his briefcase to the floor and loosened his tie.

“G’day,” he undid the top button, Betturkey Güncel Giriş “you look nice.”

“Thank you,” she smiled sweetly, “but do I look as good as Svetlana?”

Robbie froze and then looked at the other door as Tony stepped into the room. He too had come straight from work and had a beer in his hand. Robbie stared at the stubby and Tony managed a boyish grin.

“G’day, mate, saw your light on and thought I’d drop in,” he raised the stubby to his lips and took a swig, “I’d offer you a beer but I’m afraid I’m drinking the last one.”

“I can explain,” Robbie held his hands up to show his palms, “it was a one off.”

“A one off,” Valerie replied, “one of what? A quick root? Don’t tell me, you fell on top of her and your dick just slipped inside. I’ve heard that happens a lot.”

“I can fix this,” he took a step forward.

“You sure can,” she put her half empty glass of wine on the coffee table.

“You can go up there and pack your clothes and stay in a fucking hotel. I’ll let you back in the house at the weekend to grab the rest of your shit but this marriage is over, I quit. There is no coming back from this one you lying, cheating bastard. Tony has very gracefully volunteered to help you pack your shit tonight so I suggest you move your fucking arse up those stairs and get cracking.”

She took off her rings and placed them on the table.

“You disgust me.”

“So, no chance of marriage counselling. Some counsellor you are.”

“Get out,” she pointed at the door, “get the fuck out.”

“You heard her,” Tony stepped forward.

Robbie blanched at that and hurriedly picked up his briefcase.

“No need for that. I can tell when I’m not wanted,” he backed away, “and what about our son?”

“We’ll come to some arrangement,” she replied, “through our lawyers.”

“Have you told him yet?”

“Not yet but in time I will tell him about his lying, cheating father.”

Judging by the look on his face she knew she’d hit home with that last remark or maybe it had just sunk in that this was definitely the end.

“I’m sorry,” he turned on his heel and stalked out.

Tony glanced at Valerie but she held out her hand until Robbie had reached the stairs.

“Just give him five minutes,” she murmured.

It took about forty five minutes to pack his clothes and she made him surrender his house keys before he left. The man actually looked as if he’d been crying although maybe it was just him putting on an act but Valerie was in no mood for sympathy.

“I’ll be here all Saturday afternoon, I suggest you call first to make sure I’m home.”

“When do I get to see Damien?”

“When I’m ready,” she slammed the door in his face.

Tony leaned against the wall with his thumbs tucked into his jeans and she swallowed as she turned to look at him.

“You want me to stay for a while?”

“I’ll be fine,” she smiled weakly, “leave me to my own devices. I need time on my own tonight without Damien.”

The twenty four hour news channel had now moved onto other news, the British elections and Theresa May had just announced a snap election. They had been to London on their honeymoon and she remembered standing outside the entrance to Downing Street looking through the fence at the famous black door, so much a part of world history. Churchill had exited through that door, so had Thatcher and many others. She’d always imagined it to be somehow different, set apart from the rest of the world but in truth it was just a house in a suburban street, the only difference being the steel fence and police out the front and behind it.

Her phone beeped and she stared at it as she forced herself to read the notification. Karen had just accepted her Facebook friend request. Would she like to write on Karen’s wall? More out of a need to communicate with another human being than wallow in memories she swiped the screen just as another notification came through. Karen had added her to Messenger and she swallowed the hurt as she read the message.

Karen: Just a quickie! Hope you’re doing okay, off to bed. Sleep tight.

Valerie: Won’t be far behind you, finished off his Jack Daniels.

Karen: Oh, you are going to regret that one in the morning.

Valerie: The hell with him, fuck him. I ended my marriage tonight.

Karen: How are you coping?

Valerie: Feel like shit. It should feel better but it doesn’t.

Karen: JD won’t drown the feelings, it just irrigates them.

She felt the sadness welling over as she tapped out her reply.

Valerie: Where do you come up with these sayings? I’m supposed to be the fucking therapist.

Karen: You’re also a human being, give yourself the time be human.

When was the last time she’d allowed herself to be human? In her mind, being human meant making mistakes, allowing yourself the freedom to own your own mistakes. Nevertheless, for many years she’d forced herself into a rigid routine that dictated her every move. She’d left a busy centre to set up her own practice at home, frustrated with the constraints of the system. Having an office at home however was a double edged sword. It meant the dividing line between work and leisure was paper thin. It was too easy to just sit around in casual clothes and see clients in the living room or kitchen and so she’d been forced to make radical changes.

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