At exactly one minute to twelve Kate was at Tom’s office door. He sat with his back to the door staring out the window trying to figure out his next move. Sue was pregnant and had been desperately unhappy these past few weeks. What mistake had he made requiring all this torment? All he’d ever wanted was for Sue to be happy, and he’d assumed she was in tune with the direction he was taking with his work.
They’d discussed that possible direction before marriage and he’d labored under the illusion she understood why he was doing what he did. Had she changed that much, or had he changed in some negative sense and was unable to see his need for improvement?. He’d been willing to lay his soul bare at the Harbor Light restaurant recently. They both had, and it was mutually agreed to make conscious effort to get magic back in their marriage. Last night he’d detected anger and, was that contempt in her eyes? Was this the beginning of that slippery slope to a divorce? He knew that would destroy him.
“I’ll give you a penny for your thoughts! said Kate. Look, the whole office staff is upset over the board action this morning and word is circulating there’s going to be job cuts to achieve Bert’s glorious vision. The guy’s an upstart and he’ll wreck this company so I’m glad to be moving on rather than be one of the casualties of reengineering. Let’s get out of here.”
“Good idea,” said Tom. Where shall we go?
Well let me surprise you, we’ll take my car. You obviously have plenty of time now so we don’t need to hurry, and technically I was supposed to quit today myself so I’ve all the time in the world.”
While Kate negotiated traffic they chatted about staff, childhood memories and family. The happenings at the office and Tom’s home situation were carefully avoided. Kate was very pleasant company, and Tom was glad to have someone professional to talk with and take his mind off his troubles. After a ten minute drive Tom suddenly awoke to the fact they were out in the suburbs. “Hey where’s this restaurant?”
Kate turned into a block of apartments and spun around smiling. “Surprise!”
“Where are we?” Said Tom warily.
“My place; and I’m going to cook for you while you relax. You’ve had a rotten morning and need to be out of that office for a while. Obviously it wouldn’t be wise psychologically for you to be going home to Sue right now, so after lunch we’ll talk it through counselor to patient, and I’ll get you back to the office in a better frame of mind than you have now. This way you can deal with your home situation in a more detached manner this evening. My success rate is guaranteed, and the good news is you get the first consultation free. My experience tells me your situation needs follow up treatment. I can recommend people to you, or if you find this afternoon helpful we could continue the counseling sessions.
“I’m not sure this will look good if people find out I’ve been visiting your house, Tom said uncertainly.’
“We’re professionals, what are you implying?” Kate put on her surprised look. “Sounds like you don’t have confidence in my professional standing, do you want me to take you back to the office?” Kate put on her hurt look.
“OK, OK! I didn’t mean to insult you, let’s go. There’s enough bad feeling floating around today without me making bad friends with you.”
Kate’s apartment was spacious and well put together. Her taste in furniture and art were superb and Tom sank into the lounge. “This is expensive stuff Kate!”
“Perhaps you didn’t know it but my family owns the Familywise chain of supermarkets. They’re very generous with their only daughter. I’m glad you like my taste in furnishings, and now you’ll see I have other skills as well as Human Resources, counseling, furnishing and art. Prepare your taste buds for the best meal you’ve ever had!” With a flourish Kate donned her apron and in record time had prepared a gourmet meal with all the trappings of a professional table to set it off.
Tom was relaxed and sleepy by the time he’d finished his meal. Kate noted this and took her time clearing table and washing up after the meal. The sleepless night before, present relaxing atmosphere and a heavy meal took its toll and Tom while waiting for Kate to finish dozed off.
When he awoke an hour later his head was on Kate’s lap and she was reading a book. Tom sat bolt upright. “What are you doing!” he demanded.
“What do you mean,” said Kate innocently. “I saw you were asleep and decided to sit here and wait for you to wake up. You were leaning precariously and eventually tumbled over on my lap. I didn’t have the heart to wake you seeing you’ve had such a bad time lately. Have you rested enough to talk about your problem?
Tom looked at his watch and registered shock. “We need to be getting back to the office.”
“What will you do there Tom? Your project’s with Bert and you’ve got nothing to do. Now relax and let’s get on with the counseling session. We need to get you in shape to deal with your family issue tonight. This is important and I want you to take your situation seriously. She reached over and patted Tom on the head. “Now be a good boy and pay attention.” Patience, she thought. I need to reel this fish in gently.
Tom relaxed as Kate drew him out slowly. Now and then she would ask leading questions calculated to introduce doubt into his mind about Sue’s intentions, then deftly present Sue’s possible point of view to balance things out and allay any suspicions Tom may have. At one point Kate’s probing brought tears to Tom’s eyes and he looked away embarrassed. Kate put her arm around him and whispered reassuring words letting him drink in the effects of her perfume. Tom hungry for sympathy let it happen and felt happiness for the first time that day. Kate gently pushed him away and continued her probing. Then she brought the session to a conclusion, summarizing their discussions in a professional way. All fear of her was now gone, and Tom yearned for that sympathetic touch he’d experienced in the session. He was on a high and didn’t want it to stop.
“Time for me to get you back to the office,” said Kate firmly. “Do you feel this session has prepared you to deal with your issues tonight?”
Tom nodded happily. “Yes Kate you’ve been very helpful and I feel I can deal with the office and home problems with a clear mind now. I’m really grateful to you and you’ve been very professional.
“Good, then we’ll have another session tomorrow to discuss what you’ve accomplished in your discussions with Sue. We’ll take it from there. I think you’ll be able to deal with your issues without any assistance after a week with me.” Kate wanted to suggest a terminal point so Tom wouldn’t feel trapped. She should be able to reel him in over time with careful planning. I’m going to make him mine, all mine, she thought to herself. The excitement of finally getting Tom for herself thrilled her. Carefully Kate, carefully!
“In that you don’t have office responsibilities we’ll resume counseling here lunch time tomorrow,” said Kate matter-of-factly, testing to see what his reaction would be.
Tom thought about it for a moment before answering. “OK Kate, tomorrow.”
Kate almost jumped with excitement. She was certain she had him now.
“© Ian Grice Copyright 2011 All rights reserved”