“Obsessive Compulsion” Scene 7
Mirabelle sat straight up in the high back wing chair. She stared past Bennington at evidences for his listening skills posted on the wall. He knew what was there, holding her attention. His oversized diploma refused to hang straight. He’d left it that way after the designer insisted on the layout. An arrangement similar to his agreements with Gloria, now returning to haunt him.
“Jerry spends more time in the garage caressing that nineteen seventy-five Gran Turismo Omologato,” Mirabelle said with precision, “than he ever spent getting me ready for our marriage.”
“He ignores you.” Bennington said. “Do you think of the GTO as his mistress?”
Her eyes snapped into alignment with his. “Exactly, Benny! Exactly, precisely what we are talking about, isn’t it?”
He nodded as Mirabelle recalled phrases her husband used during sex.
Love your headlights, baby. You’ve got the sweetest rear bumper I’ve ever laid hands on. Full bore and wide open. Smoother ride than a Cadillac.
His mind followed her, using Erin’s form as a guide. What was the adorable phlebotomist doing right now? Was she sticking a needle into someone other man’s arm, shining those piercing green eyes at his soul? He forced his attention back to Mirabelle’s complaint.
“She’s cold and metallic. Inarticulate. Takes and takes, never giving back a thing.”
“Yes,” Bennington agreed. “What could he get from that hunk of metal that he cannot get from you?”
Mirabelle huffed. He watched her prepare words that collapsed on her tongue. She left unsatisfied at his suggestion that she crawl under the car with her husband and see what he was up to down there.
Raul couldn’t stop raving about a fresh opportunity with the Boys and Girls Club that allowed him to use his childhood abuse for the good of others. “I’m only thirty-five-years-old. I’ve got half a lifetime of value to share. My shame is their gain.”
Bennington heard “thirty-five-years-old” and Erin wrapped her naked legs around his imagination. The distraction caused him to stumble over his encouragement and accolades for Raul cognitive reconstruction.
Mary Beth lasted a full fifteen minutes before sprawling herself across the couch. “An old lover called,” she said.
Bennington bounced along the sexual retelling, drawing hope from Mary Beth’s willingness to offer her spurned lover a second chance.
The return of Brute Morrell supplanted the expected break in Bennington’s schedule. When the grizzled forty-something ex-con announced his arrival with the receptionist, Bennington was preparing his couch for a quick nap.
“You defy the odds,” Bennington said with a congratulatory handshake.
“I’m more than a statistic, Doc.” Mischief lurked behind his lively eyes. “Government restraints can motivate utilitarian defiance.” He sat with shoulders high. The slump gone from his voice. “Learned that reading Malcolm X.”
“Freedom suits you,” Bennington said. “You should try to maintain it.”
“You know, Doc. I thought getting loose of that purty little ankle bracelet would send me into outer space.” Brute bent to rub his shin. “Opposite effect. Made my feet stick to the earth, travel it one step after the nother. Might turn me around this time.”
The surge of benevolence heated Bennington’s chest. His heart rate climbed toward its peak. He saw himself running those beaches with feral abandon, chasing Erin’s energetic shape over the sand. His head was still reeling when Brute promised to return for his next appointment.
Bennington tapped his pen on Brute’s session notes. His synapses traced the rest of the day’s calendar.
No one in crisis. A week without him would be healthy.
The off center diploma leered over his shoulder, passing judgment with its compatriots.
Bennington tucked the pen in his pocket, rose to his desk and slid the notepad into the middle drawer.
“Joyce,” he told the receptionist over the interoffice intercom. “Something of an emergency has come up at home. Clear my day.”
Her concern nudged the diploma closer.
“I’m sure it will be fine. Just a thing I need to handle in person.” An acceptable lie. Not outside the boundaries of social welfare.
The side entrance avoided more questions. His mind raced with his feet, in search of convincing words to declare his passion for Erin.
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