Eventually, Arabella would have to make a decision. She was slumped in her chair, swinging back and forth, her fingers tightly gripping the armrests.
It had been nearly two weeks since her last appointment with Martha. She’d spent her meditation moments each day pondering her relationship with Austin. She tried to see cracks. She tried to see what Martha saw.
She got up from the chair, shook her fingers to release the tension and went to find Austin. He was in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He poured her a wine as she walked inside.
‘Austin,’ Arabella said. ‘We’re good, right?’
‘Yeah, babe. Tight.’
‘Are there any areas you think we need to work on?’
‘Aw, shit,’ Austin grumbled. ‘This is about your mentor, isn’t it? She’s messing with you babe.’
‘I’m seeing her tomorrow.’
‘I knew it,’ said Austin. He scratched his neatly trimmed beard and watched her. ‘She wants you to end it with me, doesn’t she?’
Arabella didn’t respond.
‘Knew it,’ Austin repeated. ‘Babe, she’s the one who’s causing trouble. She’s done her job. Look at where you are with work now. Everything you wanted she helped you achieve. You don’t need her anymore, and you…’ He paused, cleared his throat and continued. ‘Well…WE don’t require her input to our private life.’
‘Hmm.’ Arabella picked up her wine glass and sipped.
‘The way I see it, babe,’ Austin murmured. ‘You need to stop seeing her. Tell her during tomorrow’s appointment. It’ll be the last one.’
‘Honey, I can’t just stop seeing her. She guides me. I need her for direction.’
‘Oh for fuck’s sake, babe!’ Austin shook his head. ‘You really don’t. Like I said, she’s done her job for you. You’re becoming co-dependent. She wants you this way.’
‘Why would she? How can that benefit her?’
‘Babe! Really? She’s not providing her services for free. There’s one reason. And I think she’s interested in you in…’ His voice tapered off. ‘How shall I put this?’
Arabella raised her eyebrows. ‘Just say it.’
‘Sexually. I think she wants to begin a relationship with you. That’s why she wants me out of the way.’
‘Honey,’ Arabella screeched. ‘I’m not into women!’
‘Martha thinks so highly of herself, I’m willing to bet she believes she can convince you to come to her side.’
‘You don’t even know if she’s a lesbian.’
‘Oh, trust me. She is.’
Arabella searched his face for a shred of cynicism. ‘You really believe that.’
‘Yep. I do.’
The room was spinning. Arabella placed her hands on the bench to steady herself. She hung her head low, in a foolhardy attempt to try to still the thoughts crowding her mind.
‘Babe. You right?’
Arabella raised her head. Austin caught her just as she lost her balance.
When she came to, she was on the couch, covered with a blanket. ‘Honey? Where are you?’
‘I know what I’m going to do.’