“I never said I wasn’t attracted to her,” Percy cut in with an attitude as my eyes slowly slid towards, “I never said that.”
“You’ve said it before,” I mentioned as Percy’s head nearly snapped towards me like I had the nerve to speak out, “you’ve told me plenty of times how I don’t compare to other women you meet.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m not attracted to you. I wouldn’t be with you if I didn’t find you at the very least, attractive Jasmine. Be realistic about what you’re saying here.”
“I am being realistic, Percy. You’ve called me an idiot. You’ve said I wasn’t attractive, as attractive as the girls you sleep with. I’m boring, and childish---”
“You’ve also said things about me that I don’t like Jasmine but you don’t see me crying about it,” he snapped. “I thought we were starting over because if we’re not, then I have questions about your time in South Carolina, and who you spent it with. Why you came back sickly, if you weren’t going through some sort of miscarriage or---”
“I said I wasn’t pregnant!”
“I call bullshit,” he muttered as Dr. Hampton raised her hand in the air to stop us, but he kept going without looking at me, “do you see what I’m talking about? She was just fine at home but the moment she gets in front of people… she becomes a victim. We have a function to attend tonight with my parents, and I---”
“Do you see how he talks to me?” I let out. “You’re telling me to listen, well this is what I constantly hear---”
“I don’t think Dr. Hampton can understand you through your constant tears, and whining Jasmine----”
“Shut up! Just shut up Percy!” I screamed angrily, “I should have never left South Carolina. I should---”
“So go back! Go back to whoever you were with out there! I don’t care! I---!”
“Both of you stop it!” Dr. Hampton screamed as she slammed her notepad to the floor, glaring at the two of us, “you act like children...Neither of you respect the other and it's obvious. What function tonight Percy?”
“My parents' anniversary,” he muttered. “I wasn’t planning on going but it's a chance to network and expand.”
“Jasmine,” Dr. Hampton looked at me like a mother ready to scold her child, “remember what I said about energy. Right now? Your energy, the space around you isn’t safe. It’s not inviting or comfortable for others to be let in…and you two fall right back into old habits. You cannot,” she stressed with her fingers pinching the air, “you cannot expect to receive what you want from anybody if that is what you’re giving off. You need to make it a safe space for Percy to feel comfortable enough to enter. Trust that he won’t violate, and hurt your space but you need to work on your energy. Work on what you’re putting off sweetheart… Nobody goes where they’re not invited. If you give the impression you don’t want to be bothered, you’ll be avoided like the plague, hence the reason he’s sitting two people apart from you and you’re his wife. How do you two expect to share a bed if you can’t even sit together on the couch?”
I looked down at the space between us before looking up at Percy who avoided my gaze.
“I’m glad you’re saying it because she won’t hear it from me,” he sarcastically muttered. “God forbid if I say the exact same thing. Either she’ll cry or---”
“Percy, verbally attacking her does nothing but push your chances back of being close with her. You help create the very same wall you’re trying to bust through.”
“I realize that.”
“So stop it. If she plays victim then you’re the one throwing stones and hiding your hands. Both of you need to stop it. Jasmine’s language is physical. Your language is verbal. There are some people who want to be held, want to be touched and feel like they’re loved even if they’re not, and there are some people who need reassurance. Some that need to be told they’re doing a good job, and need that boost of confidence to keep going. You’re doing good Percy. I like when you say this to me, or even a smile at him could go a long way… When is the last time you two hugged?”
Neither Percy or I looked at each other nor spoke as Dr. Hampton sighed.
“Of course. Get up Jasmine,” she said as I wiped my eyes before standing up in front of her, “I want you to turn to Percy…”
I slowly turned to face my husband, feeling my jaw tightened before I brushed my hair back from my face.
“Percy, when you feel comfortable, I want you to hug your wife,” she said as my eyes grew wide, whipping my head to look back at her. It was something so simple, yet I was panicking as I turned to look back at him. He shot up from the couch, confident as ever as he yanked his jeans up before standing before me with slump shoulders with a dull expression.
“All I’m doing is hugging her?” he asked dryly, “that’s it? What is that going to do?”
“It’s going to change everything,” Dr. Hampton whispered with a smile, “you two need each other more than ever now and it's obvious. Hug her, but only when it's right. When you feel like she wants you to hug her. I’ll be just outside of my office speaking with my assistant.”
As soon as she stepped out with the door closing behind her, I brought my hands up to my eyes to stop myself from crying all over again.
“She’s stupid. I wish we could get another therapist. She never made me do anything like this,” he complained.
“Yeah,” I sniffed as I stood in front of him, smearing my eyes and cheeks back, “I really hate that I’m so emotional. I’ll cry over spilt milk at this point, literally.”
“Yeah,” he agreed in a somber tone before stepping close with a quick push of his glasses up his nose, “if I said you weren’t attractive or as attractive, it was a lie… The girls weren’t ugly but none of them compared to you. I think you’re almost too beautiful if you ask me. Not fair to the rest of them,” he suddenly muttered as I let out a small chuckle as my eyes teared up again.
“Damn it, I can’t stop,” I cried with a short laugh before raising my head to the ceiling to blink, “wheew!”
“Maybe you have a lash in your eye,” he suggested. Normally that would be the biggest cornball response I would pick up on but seeing how close he was standing next to me took my mind elsewhere for a moment. He smelled so good. Just to see the outline of his body behind the loose fitting grey t-shirt made me look down shyly at our feet. My heels against his Chucks until one pump was placed between his feet. I looked back up at him with my hands nervously picking at one another but his eyes were zoned in on my lips. His lips parted ever so slowly, just enough to let air escape as his nostrils flared and his chest rose. I was paying attention to things I never noticed before and when I stared at his glasses, I studied the reflection like a small screen projecting on the lens. It wasn’t Dr. Hampton’s office I was seeing, it was my own face looking like a woman ready to be kissed as I closed my eyes, letting the last lingering tears glide down my cheeks. Percy naturally stepped in place with his lips laying on mine like the perfect fit. His arms swooned around my body, holding me close as I lost all sense of strength, and relied on him to hold me upright before I gripped his arms for support. I felt his fingers grip me tight like he didn’t want to let me go, like it pained him to let me go. Only for a second did he pull back as I opened my eyes to meet his.
“Is this real?” he whispered. “Am I really making out with you or am I dreaming? Please tell me this isn’t another dream...I would really hate to wake up again.”
“Percy please,” I choked, feeling the tears just turn up a notch. My hands cupped his head to bring his lips back down on mine as our lips tugged at one another. Percy pressed his forehead against mine, straining like he was hurting before blurting out,
“I’ve been wanting to kiss you like this for years Jasmine…”
He caught my mouth again as my fingers clung to his ears, eyes slowly closing as I got lost in his work. His tongue felt so gentle against mine in the way that he lapped and---
“Yes, schedule her for Friday,” Dr. Hampton’s voice shouted as she opened her door to her office and paused when she saw the two of us locked into one another. She smiled as my hands slid down his arms but Percy kept a grip on my waist. “You two need a little more time? Privacy?”
“No,” I sniffed, tapping his arm to let me go, “no we’re fine.”