As I walked into the room at sat down in the chair across from her, I knew this would be a session where she would want me to share more than I wanted to. I had called in and canceled for two sessions since my last when I left so abruptly.

"How are you today, Jack?" she asked, grabbing her notebook and sitting down across from me.

"I'm alright. You?" I said politely.

"Quite alright." She replied. "How are things at home? I'm assuming things have been a little rough since you were last here?"

"Things really aren't that bad." I replied, trying to ignore what she was wanted me to share.

"Really? How are things between you and Mona? Are you giving yourself a chance to share how you feel?"

I really did not like where she was trying to steer our session. Mona was a topic that quite frankly I didn't want to discuss, even with Mona. Sensing my resistance, I assumed she tried another technique.

"Is she feeling any bett – "

"She sees him." I said abruptly. "She sees James."

"She goes to the hospital to see him?"

"No. She sees him everywhere. Like…. Like a ghost, I guess." I was embarrassed by this, I'll admit. I mean I'm not embarrassed by my wife, but it did seem crazy. "I came home last week to her crouching in a corner. She said he was sitting in the chair drinking a beer and watching TV. She was crying, hysterical."

"What do you think about all of it? Do you think she's coping with what happened?"

"I – I …" I was trying to be nice, but I finally let it out. "I want her to stop caring about what fucking happens to James. He's in a damn coma, running away from what he's done, the coward. He's not here for her and certainly not here for his wife, Ava. "

"That – was pretty strong." She said. "Why don't you want her to care about James?"

"He shot her! He stood there and shot her, in front of me," anger was rising in my voice as I gripped the arms of my chair.

"The only reason?"

"I'm her damn husband!" I yelled. I was on the edge of my chair. I saw the look on my counselor's face. She didn't seem threatened by my reactions, but surprised that I had reacted so strongly.

"You're jealous?" Bad choice of words.

"I – am not – jealous." I gritted through my teeth. I sighed heavily and sat back in my chair.

"I'm not saying you are jealous, Jack. I'm just using a word to help you figure out what emotion you are feeling. If not jealousy, then what would you say?"

"Mona and James were like siblings… and I realize that he being gone is hard on her. But…"

"But what Jack?" she was pushing me through my silences.

"I would just like to feel like my wife depends on me and not another man. That she cares about us, not her and him." I stared blankly behind her at her bookshelf. I didn't want to make eye contact. "I mean she's crying to me constantly. She's depressed. All she talks about is him waking up and how she wants things to be like they were when we were all happy. I want to see her showing some concern for the baby and… I'm scared with her panic spells and hallucinations that she may miscarry."

"You don't think she cares about the baby?"

"I don't honestly know…"


The night of hell was ending, bringing about the morning. The sky was growing lighter, that in between of the night and the sunrise. I was walking back towards the waiting room. I hadn't seen Mona since we all arrived at the hospital. I had gone to see Ava after they took James in to operate, being that we had all been at the hospital together before James had gotten the news and ran off to find a way to make things better for him. She had been alone in her hospital room while I had gone after James and Mona to make sure he was alright, yet that was when I had found him with the gun and Mona. Ava was a wreck, and I couldn't leave her in the state she was in. The doctors were talking about holding her, making sure she didn't try something drastic as well. I won't say it didn't cross my mind that she would consider the same path as James. The hospital put her on a suicide watch for at least twenty four hours or until they learned of what would become of James.

Mona was standing in the waiting room looking around for me. I had texted her a few minutes earlier telling her I was on my way to her. She had been out of the ER for about half an hour now. James' shot had hit her in the right shoulder near her collar bone. The shot was barely worse than a graze, but it didn't take away from the shock. As she stood there with her arm in a sling, I saw how helpless and vulnerable she looked as she turned every which way she could looking for me. I stopped at the doorway after walking in when her eyes caught mine. We were both frozen for a moment staring at each other, realizing the other was going to be fine. She started to cry, and I started running to her. In one swift but careful moment, I put my arm around her waist to avoid grabbing her shoulder, pulled her to me, and kissed her hard. I really thought he had killed her earlier, and since then I had longed for her body in my arms.

"How's the baby?" I broke our kiss for air and asked. Another question I eagerly needed to know.

"Where's James?" She ignored my question.

"Mona… I'm asking you about our baby." I was somewhat shocked that she was more concerned about James.

"The doctor said that everything was normal and that I should be fine. They're bringing me in twice next week to keep a check on him." She said it all so rushed that all I caught was the end, that we were having a son. "Where's James?"

"He – He's in ICU." I did not want to have to deal with James at the moment.

"He's alive?" Her crying only intensified.

"Yes…" I did not like where this conversation was going. It seemed like she didn't care that he had just fired a bullet at her and our son. I chose not to fight it at the time, but it became a serious point later on.


"You feel like she shows more affection for the man who shot her than for the man who cares the most about her, you."

"I mean… I guess you could put it like that." I was over it. I felt like I was setting myself up. As if I was in a competition with James for my wife's affections.

"Jack, you have the right to feel…. Its natural."

"Then why do I feel so bad about every emotion I have in this situation?" It was a serious question.

"Maybe because no one else sees it like you do, or like you do yet."


AN: Thanks for reading! R&R!