Monday, February 22, 2016

I'm Not Going To Sugarcoat It

"Aleah, thank you so much for joining us," Aaron's therapist, Steve, warmly grasped my hand with both of his.

I smiled timidly, hoping he wouldn't notice how clammy my hand was.  I was really comfortable with my therapist, Dean, but this was a whole new ballgame, in my mind.  "Thanks for having me."

I settled onto the loveseat next to Aaron, and he reached over and gave my knee a squeeze.

"I know Aaron has told you a little bit about his sessions, and I'm really happy you decided to come today.  It means a lot to Aaron, as I know he loves you and wants your relationship to be healthy and functioning at its peak level."

I nodded my head.

He continued, "So, would you please tell me your understanding of why you've joined us?  Also, what lead you to decide to join us, too."

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  I really wished it was Dean we were meeting with.  I knew this was about Aaron, though, and our relationship, not me and my issues.  That was what my session with Dean were for.  "Well..." I trailed off and furrowed my eyebrows.  I glanced over at Aaron.  I was fully intending to be honest, but a part of me wanted to give a watered down version.  Aaron was looking at my neutrally, but expectantly.  I decided to be fully honest.  The whole, ugly truth.  "I'm here because of what happened with Aaron while he was undercover, so we can address all of that, I believe.  And I decided to come today to save our relationship.  I'm really struggling with what happened, but I love Aaron, deeply.  I want to be with him, and I want to fully trust him again, too.  And also, like you said, I want our relationship to be healthy.  I miss how we were."

Steve smiled gently.  "Excellent.  Now, since I don't know you from your own perspective, could you tell me a little bit about yourself, your family, and how you and Aaron met?"

And that is how the rest of the hour was spent, was me talking about me.  Apparently I'm good at that, since it took about 45 minutes.

Afterwards, we went out to eat. 

While at dinner, Aaron approached a subject I wasn't expecting.

"Next month is my mom's birthday, and I was thinking about flying out to Chicago for an extended weekend to see her.  I'd really like it if you'd come with me, but I understand if you don't want to."

I smiled broadly at him.  "Of course I'd love to.  I really like your mom."

"Well, there's a catch."  A smile played at his lips.

I fake glared at him.  "Yes?"

"You'd be meeting all of my sisters, too."

"If they're anything like you and your mom, I'm sure I'll love them, too."

"Honestly, they're not.  Well, a few of them are, but not all.  But I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say they are all pleasant."

"Oh, well, in that case..." I trailed off, and could see the quick flash of disappointment on his face.  "I'm teasing.  Of course I'll go.  Even if your sisters aren't all pleasant, in your words, I would still like to get to know your family even better."

He reached across the table and grabbed my hands.  "Thank you.  Really.  I'm so excited to go back and see them."

"Well, if you're excited, I'm excited, too," I laughed.  But on the inside, I was a little nervous by his slight warning.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Date Night

I slowly dipped my feet into the perfectly hot water and leaned my head back against the chair, closing my eyes.  I smiled to myself, then turned my head and opened my eyes to watch Aaron tentatively dipping one toe into the water.  I laughed out loud at his hesitation.  For as good care as he takes of himself, he had never had a pedicure.

We were trying to get back to being us.  So we were having a Friday night date night.  Just the two of us.  He had picked me up at my house after we each got off work.  On the agenda:  Pedicures, dinner, and possibly a movie, pending how long the other two events lasted.

I had picked out a mint green color for my toes.  I was big on mint green and gold right now.  Aaron, obviously, was not having a color put onto his toes, though I had tried to convince him to, because I thought it would be funny.

"Just stick your feet in the water.  You're being weird," I laughed at him.

He stuck his tongue out at me, playfully.  "This just happens to be the one thing you're a pro at, compared to me."

"The one thing?  There are plenty of things."

"Mmm... name three."

"Well, there's tennis."  He nodded his head.  "And I'm probably better at mixing drinks."  He cocked an eyebrow because he knew that was true, too.  "I can't say for sure, because I don't know your experience, but I would also say I'm better at going down..."

He cleared his throat loudly, cutting me off, and greeted the two nail techs that were heading towards us.  He still hadn't completely submerged his feet, and lady grabbed his feet, tilted her head at him and asked, "You scared of water?"

He blushed slightly.  "Oh, no!  No, no.  I just..."

I laughed again.  I had no idea why he was so scared of getting a pedicure, but it was literally cracking me up.  "Aaron.  Seriously, you're making this awkward!" I teased.

He dropped his feet into the water then, splashing some outside of the tub.

The rest of the pedicures went by smoothly, with us laughing and teasing each other, and the nail techs joining in.

For dinner we went to a new place in town that serves farm to table food, and is on the fancier side.  We got  stuffed bison bites as an appetizer and split a surf and turf entree (ribeye with lobster hollandaise, asparagus, and roasted fingerling potatoes).  It was probably the best plate of food I'd had in my entire life. 

Even though it was a little late by the time we got out, we decided to go see a movie.  We saw Deadpool.  And I surprisingly really liked it.  I let Aaron pick a movie he really wanted to see, and I didn't expect to like it.  And I did.

When we got back to my house, Aaron walked me to my front door.  When I unlocked it, I looked at him awkwardly.  We hadn't had sex since his disclosure to me, and I was still trying to build that bit of trust back that I felt a little betrayed.  It was something I was working on.  He didn't look at me any differently than he normally did. It seemed he could already tell how I felt.

He leaned down and kissed me lightly, though passionately, on my lips.  "I love you, Aleah."

"I love you, too."  I paused, then continued.  "Do you want to come in?"

He grabbed my shoulders and squeezed.  He leaned down and kissed my forehead.  "Not tonight."  He looked at me knowingly.  "May I see you tomorrow, though?"

I nodded my head, afraid to talk.  I was feeling super emotional all of a sudden.  A mixture of guilt that I couldn't sleep with him, yet, and also sadness that he knew I was struggling with that, plus gratitude that I had a man who loved me so much to respect how I felt.

He kissed me one more time and told me goodnight, and got in his car and left.

Monday, February 8, 2016


My hands were sweaty, I was actually nervous.  I still hadn't spoken with Aaron, up until earlier in the day, but I had a plan.

It was Friday night, it was a week and a half since we had talked, and I was thankful when I called him earlier in the day that he didn't have plans and was available.  I had asked him to be at my house at 9 p.m., and to dress warm.

It was 8:58 and I had been checking my phone's clock approximately ever 7 seconds.  Time just seemed to be moving so slowly.  I was pacing right inside my front door in the entrance way.  I heard a car door shut and I ran over to the living room and looked to see the faint view of Aaron in my front porch light walking up to the door.  I ran over to the door, smoothing down my sweatshirt in the front, and shoving my phone into the front pocket.

I waited until he knocked, counted to 5 so it wouldn't be creepy of me to fling the door open at the same time, then opened the door.

Apparently I had been holding my breath, and it came rushing out at the sight of him.  He gave me a tired, half-smile, and I smiled shyly back at him, moving out of the way so he could enter.  He hesitated before gently grabbing my upper arms with his hands and bending down to kiss my cheek.  I reached up and put my hand on his cheek.

"It's really good to see you," I whispered.

"The same," he replied, genuinely.

I shut and locked the door, then grabbed his hand to lead him through my house.  I took him out the back door into my privacy fenced backyard.

He paused when we got out there, causing me to stop since I still had his hand.  "What's all this?"

I turned and smiled at him.  "For you."

I had put out candles on my back porch, surrounding a few heavy blankets with two thermoses of hot chocolate, and a mini cake.

We sat down on the blankets.  He grabbed my hands.  "Aleah..."

I cut him off.  "No, please let me talk first."

He nodded his head.

I looked at our clasped hands, unable to make eye contact.  "Aaron, I'm so sorry I reacted the way I did.  I needed time to process everything you said to me.  I know that was probably difficult for you to share with me.  I also know you were probably nervous how I was going to react, and I definitely didn't help the situation.  I shouldn't have asked you to leave."

He nodded his head again, so I continued.  "Aaron, I love you so much.  I cannot imagine you not being in my life.  You're my best friend.  I have a lot of questions about everything you told me, but they can wait.  The one thing I wanted to make sure you knew, was that I'm not going anywhere, and I want to work through this, with you.  And I'm not opposed to going to your therapist with you to help process all of this."

He smiled and put both hands on either side of my face, pulling me close to him and kissing me gently on my lips.  "Aleah, I missed you.  I missed getting to kiss you."  He kissed me again.  "And, thank you."

He nodded his head over to the cake.  "Did you make that?"

I blushed.  "I did... sorry the writing is basically illegible on it.  It's supposed to say ' Sorry.'"  It looked like it said "Sunny."  Completely opposite of the mood coming in.

He laughed.  "It's okay.  I love it."  He paused.  "So... this setup seems awfully familiar..." He trailed off, grinning mischievously at me.

"I was hoping you would remember!  That night was a turning point for me in realizing I kinda liked you."  I was referencing my birthday from over a year before when he had surprised me at school with hot chocolate and cupcakes.

"Kinda?" He teased.

I blushed again.  "Yeah... kinda." I winked.

His expression turned serious, then.  "Aleah, thank you.  Seriously.  You're right, it was really hard for me to open up to you like that, and it was hurtful that you asked me to leave, but I also knew that what I said hurt you.  And I'm so sorry I hurt you.  I never want to hurt you, or leave you like that, again.  My actions disgusted me, and I was, and am, disappointed in myself, so I can't imagine how you feel.  But I'm willing to spend the rest of my life making it up to you."

I still had tumultuous inner feelings, but I also felt more peace knowing I was going to work this out with him.  We enjoyed the rest of the evening wrapped up in blankets outside in the chilly air, talking and catching up on what we'd missed the past couple weeks.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Silent Tears

William, my work mentor/friend, had turned into my confidant over the past several weeks as Aaron and I had fought more and more, before the talk.  We were heading an hour and a half away for a training, so I had spilled my life story to him.  Well, really I had just spilled the conversation that Aaron and I had had.

William was driving, and I was staring out the window watching the trees go by.  Silent tears were running down my face and I didn't want him to see me cry, so I kept my face turned out the window, wiping them away.

It had been almost a week since Aaron and I had spoken, and my thoughts and heart were tugging me in 50 different directions.  I was confused.

I had talked to Sarah right after the talk, but no one else knew.  I was kind of embarrassed to tell my parents or anyone else what kinds of things he had to do, but I also was ashamed that I was embarrassed.  I just didn't want anyone looking at him differently... you know, in case I decided to stay with him.

Part of me wished Aaron was trying to contact me.  But, a bigger part of me knew he was doing what I asked, leaving me alone and letting me have the time I needed to process.  Truthfully, I didn't even know how to process.  I was still seeing my therapist, Dean, but only every other week, now.  I wasn't going to see him until later in the week, and so I hadn't had a chance to talk to him about everything with Aaron, either.

Sarah really wasn't much help, either.  She tried to be supportive, but she had never dealt with anything like this, either, and she said she didn't know what she would do in my shoes.  She said whatever I decided she would support me, but before I made any rash decisions, to really think it through and make sure it was what I really wanted.  I could tell she was hurting along with me.  For me. 

William sighed.  I wiped a stray tear and risked glancing at him.  He was staring straight ahead.  "That's a tough situation, Aleah."

I nodded my head, though he wasn't looking at me.

He continued, "Now that you've had some time to process, what do you think?"

"I... I'm not sure," I stammered.  "I miss him so much.  My heart just hurts constantly.  My heart hurts for him, because I know that he's been hurting and I wasn't very supportive of him when he told me.  My heart hurts for me, because selfishly, I do feel hurt and betrayed a little.  My heart also hurts for what was, before he went undercover.  I think I may even resent him a little for leaving me like that to go do what he did."

"But do you think he went into the job knowing it was going to lead down the road it did?"

"I doubt it.  You know, I'm sure he didn't.  He never would have compromised our relationship."  I felt more confident in that statement than I had in any other thought I'd had about the situation.

"Do you miss him, or just having someone there?"

"Him," I replied, without missing a beat.  "That is something I'm sure of."

The tears had stopped and I was now looking at William.  We had arrived to the training building and he pulled into a parking spot.  He turned to face me.

"Do you love him?"

"I do.  So, so much."

"Is what his position made him do- in saving his job and doing what he needed to keep himself alive and safe- a deal breaker?  Is it worth throwing your relationship away for something that I'm sure you know he would never do again."

I didn't answer William.  I knew in my heart what I needed and wanted to do.  And I could tell by William's expression, that he knew the answer, too.

William put his hand on my leg and patted it 3 times.  He smiled.  "Let's get into training and get this thing over with."