tagErotic CouplingsThe Sessions

The Sessions


The First Session - Commencement

He looked up at the foreboding old building, a large Victorian era townhouse on the end of a terraced row. It did not look like a medical treatment centre and for Jack that was reassuring. He'd had quite enough of hospitals and doctors surgeries for now. Still, this was something a little different and he found that well of apprehension start to overflow. He still felt like a wreck even now, even after weeks of intensive counselling. Jack was not so close to the dark edge anymore but he was still close enough. He touched his arm. With the cast now gone, he could feel the rough texture of scar tissue again even through his long sleeves. He sighed, the fractures would be easy enough to explain, but the scars? Even with a thorough referral letter he was sure there would be questions. Jack steeled himself and headed to the door.

He spotted the intercom system just before knocking. He pushed the button and waited. It was quiet for a disarmingly long beat. He was about to press again when he heard a crackle of static and a long buzzing as the lock released. The reception area was a small space, it had a large oak counter. He approached but there was no one there. From his new vantage point he could see into the back office. A stern faced woman was sat staring at a monitor, clicking away at a keyboard. She did not look up. Jack waited patiently. It was clear he was being ignored.

"Excuse me," he called.

No response, the woman seemed oblivious. Jack felt a surge of frustration but choked it down and tried again.

"Excuse me," he said, "I'm here for an appointment with Miss Miller,"

That seemed to have an effect, albeit a minor one. The woman's face crinkled. She did not look up, or even seem to pay any real attention otherwise. When it became evident Jack was not going to move without a response she relented.

"She's not here yet, running late. Take a seat, she should be here soon."

Jack looked around, muttered a thank you and found the darkest corner to hide in. The waiting area was otherwise empty but he felt conspicuous. Jack was early, but the twenty minutes that passed by as he waited were already cutting in to his appointment time. It was then he heard a buzz at the main door. Jack braced himself, he had not spent much time around people for a while, he was anxious and he had a sinking feeling he was about to have company. He hoped they would be quiet.

As the door lock opened he caught a flash of someone bustling in only to disappear with the sound of receding footsteps clacking on a hard surface. Several more minutes passed and Jack relaxed by slow degrees.

He did not look up when the woman entered the room.

"Jack?" A soft voice asked. Out of habit she had called out to the room rather than its lone occupant.

When Jack looked up he found himself in a state of shock. It had been so long, half a lifetime since he had seen her but he knew her. It was Grace and she was more beautiful than ever. The eye contact was fleeting but those green eyes seemed to stare right through him, into the dark and broken core within. He did not want her to see that darkness, so he broke away and stared at his feet. Grace Miller did not seem fazed.

"Come on through Jack," she urged.

Jack followed behind her, his eyes trained downward. Her heels,clicked on the surface. He was drawn to the sound. It occurred that she was not dressed the way he would have expected. A knee length skirt,charcoal blouse and heels seemed an odd choice for a physical therapist. Grace led him to the first floor, up a flight stairs that gave him a view he could not ignore. She opened the nearest door and ushered him into a treatment room. It was a marked contrast to the exterior, modern fittings and neutral decor. Its main feature was a long, adjustable massage table. On the ceiling there was a curtain track that followed a sweeping arc around the table. A wide bay window looked out over the street below.

"Take a seat," she instructed.

Jack sat himself down in the visitors chair that Grace had pointed to. Closing the door behind herself she took a seat by her desk. She crossed her legs, her tight pencil skirt rose up and Jack found his eyes drawn downwards to her long, toned legs. Jack was soon gripped by anxiety. His chest felt heavy, this was someone he knew even if it was from many years ago. All the same it felt like anyone who had known him would be ashamed of what he had become. Even his own family, mother and sister, did not know the whole truth. He kept it from them, pushing himself away from the only thing that really tethered him to the world.

He felt like running away and as soon as that thought took root it was happening again. Those awful thoughts started to invade and all too soon his mind was a muddle of blind panic. It happened in seconds this time, but as he disappeared into his darkest imaginings something happened. Grace reached out and placed her hand on his, snapping him away from the nightmares brewing in his thoughts. In his mind he was screaming, clawing at the insides of his own brain, but this time, before things escalated she broke the spell. Her hand was warm and soothing. He blinked and she pulled back. She tried to make eye contact, but he avoided it.

"I think I lost you there," she said with a smile, "you okay?"

Jack shook away the cobwebs and said, "yeah, sorry I was miles away."

"How about we start again? I'm Grace,"

She offered her hand and he couldn't help but take it. He held the handshake a beat longer than he should have. He met her eyes for just a second and all but lost himself in the deep, green pools.

"Jack, I'm Jack," he stammered.

"Well, it's nice to meet you Jack,"

He released her hand feeling awkward. If she was bothered it did not show at all.

"Well, firstly," said Grace, "I'm sorry I'm so late, I was on a course this morning but I hadn't counted on the traffic coming back,"

"Oh, don't worry,"

"I'm not even really dressed for work, but as today is our first session it should be fine. So! When did the cast come off?"

"Just before the weekend,"

"How's it feeling?"

"There's no strength in the arm, it just feels a bit weird. I got used to the cast I guess."

"You'll have had some muscle wasting, that's entirely normal, the strength will come back with a bit of time and work. I see from the referral note there may be some fluid buildup around your knee joint too,"

"Yeah, it's kinda hard to bend and flex. They drained it at the hospital, it was quite swollen up."

"Okay then, we should take a look and get to work,"

When she smiled it made his heart throb. It was clear to Jack that she had not recognised him. That was hardly a surprise, he was not what he was and far from memorable at the best of times. Right now, he had a thick, unkempt beard and dark rings under his eyes, how could she remember the person he was back then. He always felt panicked by the world, only finding peace in small snatches. He refocused his mind and waited for her lead.

"I hope you remembered to bring some shorts along?"

Jack nodded.

"Great, you can change behind the curtain, don't worry I'll give you some privacy. I need to grab a few things anyway."

Grace left the room as Jack pulled the curtain around him. He was ashamed of his appearance at the best of times. Something about showing even a modest part of himself made him sink in fear. The arm worried him most, he knew she would see and feared she would judge.

He stayed behind the curtain, now wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He sat back down and turned himself away to shield his scars from her gaze. He heard the door open.

"You ready?" She asked.

"Yeah," he replied, bracing himself for her reaction.

Grace pulled the curtain open.

"No need to worry, Jack, I won't hurt you,"

He looked terrified. Grace was aware that Jack had been through recent trauma. She did not have the full details but she knew enough, she knew how far things had gone and how he injured himself. She tried hard not to focus on his left arm but that effort failed immediately. He turned away from her.

"Jack," she said softly, "I know it's not easy, but I need you to trust me, just a little, okay?"

He thought about it and then turned back toward her. This time he did seek out her eyes, he needed to know that she was being sincere.

Grace looked into his eyes, blue, grey swirls of colour that seemed to draw her into the tempest. She could see the pain, the sadness in his stare but there was something else, something deeper. She tried to look through the storm, to see what lay beyond. She knew he needed reassurance. But she saw something else in there, a spark of light in the storm. A spark that flared when she smiled. He blinked and it was gone, lost in the turmoil for now.

She moved toward him slowly, urged him to stand and directed him without a word. He stood, like a zombie. He was so lost, she could see it, he was drifting away again. She reached out and touched his left arm, fumbling down for his hand and raising it. There were obvious marks from surgical fixation, signs of recent sutures yet to fully resolve but they would only be a small part of the collection he had amassed. His arm was a patchwork of damaged flesh. Some of the cuts must have been ever so deep. It was hard to fathom what pushed him to this. His eyes closed, fear filling him. Grace knew the marks would never really heal and it made her sad.

Her touch was like the softest breeze. The physiotherapist at the hospital was a brute by comparison. Those sessions had left him in agony. This felt different, he was being guided, not moved and he responded to her every wordless command. He caught a hint of her perfume on the air. It was subtle, wild flowers and something that seemed sweet but that he could not otherwise place. The heat from her fingers permeated him. He had felt the hands of medical practitioners on his body far too often in recent history. This was not the same, it felt like the touch of a friend and then it hurt. It was an alien feeling to him. He had never known that sort of tactile closeness to another. Even his own Mother had not hugged him for as long as his memory ran back. It triggered a thought of the day his father died, while his heart broke she turned only to Claire, his sister. This simplest of gestures, something so innocent made Jack see what he had missed. He could feel the tear bead in his eye but he would not let it fall, he could not let another see such weakness.

"There is a definitely some loss of muscle tone Jack, they did some work with you while the cast was on right?"

He nodded, grateful for the distraction, "just some gentle exercise, nothing too demanding,"

"Good, that's fine, we can work on building up okay?"


Grace stepped back and appraised Jack's swollen right knee. He had jolted it in the accident, it was a minor problem given the fracture to his arm but as he had started to walk around his right knee puffed up and it became harder to move it. A needle aspiration relieved the worst but his knee was still thick and he lacked the movement he once had.

"Can you walk a few steps for me? I need to check your gait,"

Jack paced across the room and back. Grace actually beckoned to him as though he were a child taking its first tentative steps. It felt strange, welcoming even and he moved to her. She dropped into a crouch that was far from ladylike. She ran her hands up his right calf and felt the swollen tissue around the knee. Jack looked down and almost gasped. He could see an abundance of cleavage and had Grace moved just a little more her skirt would likely have ripped up the thigh.

"I am so not dressed for this," she muttered, "okay good, hop onto the table for me,"

Jack managed the slightly awkward movement, aware that her inadvertent display had started to arouse him for the first time in a long time. He managed to maintain his composure just enough that it might go unnoticed. Grace maintained her focus on the knee joint. Using her fingers she began to manipulate the knee cap, slowly but surely freeing up the movement. As the session progressed Grace took Jack through a serious of exercise techniques, teaching him some basic tasks he would need to follow in the time until their next appointment. She was thorough and diligent in her work, explaining the mechanics of his injuries and how his body had adapted to compensate. Throughout it all she was funny, charming. She talked about anything that came to mind and for once it felt easy to Jack. He had been away from work for a while thanks to the accident. He had missed even the basic interaction he he known in the office but this, again, felt very different. He remembered all the reasons why he had liked her when they were at school together. She was possessed of an effortless charm that drew others to her like a moth to a flame. It was the true secret to her popularity at school. Jack was never in her social circle, they had spoken on occasion but really no more than that. Even so she showed him kindness that others never had. Her qualities had only grown over the years.

The session began to draw to a close, Grace was strict about her instructions and checked he understood with a series of questions. She gave him time and privacy to change but this time stayed in the room and talked as he dressed.

"How are you feeling after that?" She asked.

"Better than I thought I would."

"Good. Do you have any plans for the rest of the day?"

"Nothing special, just heading home,"

"Are you back at work yet?"

"No, I have a few weeks at least,"

"You need to keep active Jack, build up your strength, I'll know if you don't."

"I will,"

"Is there anyone who can help you with things?"

"No, I live alone, I don't get out much."

"I suppose the accident made it harder,"

"It didn't make that much difference to be honest, I keep to myself. I don't like to be a bother."

"That sounds lonely,"

"You get used to it,"

"You don't have to answer this, but did something happen, before all this?"

He thought about how or if he should answer, the gap was growing agonisingly long but he decided he would say something, even if it hurt a little to do so.

"My doctor told you didn't he?"

"He did... it's okay Jack, I'm sorry I shouldn't ask,"

"It's fine, I tried to end it... I tried to end it because I've always been like this. Being alone, hoping against that, it eats away at you. After a while I guess there was nothing else to eat,"

"Is there anyone keeping an eye on you? Family?"

"No, they don't really know about this and I don't really want to tell them,"

"No one else?"

"No one else," Jack agreed.

He pulled the curtain back and saw the look on Grace's face. She looked pale, upset.

"I'm sorry," Jack said, "you didn't need to hear that."

"No, it's fine, I asked, I just feel bad for pushing."

"Don't worry, it's okay,"

Grace spun around in her chair and looked at him again. He seemed hollowed out and it felt like she had drained anything positive from him.

"I'm not in the place I was anymore," he said. "I'm used to it,"

"That doesn't make it better,"

"It's okay Miss Miller, things have been like this since I was a kid. I never did fit in exactly."

That sparked something in Grace, it remained out of reach but it felt familiar. Jack motioned to leave, grabbing his rucksack with his good arm and slinging it over his shoulder.

"Wait," said Grace.

She stood up and without thought she pulled him into a hug. It was not returned, not at first. In fact he strained against it for a moment, but she held him until he gave in. She felt his left hand at the small of her back for just a moment and felt as the weight of his troubles left him.

Jack had to let go and he willed himself to do it. It felt too good and he knew it was not for him. He felt the weight return as she relented and he pulled away ready to carry the burden once again. She looked at him, her eyes dancing with questions that she could not give voice to. She gazed back into the tempest, searching for the memory that that she was certain should be there. It would not trigger no matter how hard she tried. In those eyes lived a spark that seemed to flare just for her. It was there and she knew she had seen it before.

"I best go," he said.

Jack turned to leave and Grace once again felt that sense of the familiar. She had to challenge it, had to ask.

"Jack?" She called, "have we met before?"

"No," he lied.

Grace sagged back, sure there was something she had missed. As he reached the door she called out to him, "Same time next week Jack, I'll see you then,"

"Okay," he said and then left.

The Second Session - Realisation

Grace was better prepared as her next appointment with Jack loomed. She found herself thinking about him often over the week. She felt a certain amount of guilt at how she pushed him to talk about things he was clearly uncomfortable with. It was the sense of the familiar that kept churning in her thoughts though. She was certain there was something there from the past but it never felt close enough for her to remember. He was very clear that they had not met before, but his answer felt evasive to her.

It was time now, there was a job to do and responsibility to attend to. The clock had ticked over to the appointed hour. She ventured into the waiting area and found Jack staring out of the window. It took a moment to recognise him. He had shaved, his beard now a well kept stubble and his hair had been cut and styled. He was amazing handsome man, very handsome in fact. Grace caught herself staring and tries to stop.

"Ready Jack?" she asked, trying to draw his attention.

When he looked around his eyes locked with hers. She saw that spark in those strange eyes again and knew it was for her. Jack was very good at keeping things bottled up but those subtle shifts in his eyes could not be hidden so easily. Grace could not deny that there was something in that intense gaze that called out to her. She felt a surge in her tummy as he made eye contact.

Jack rose to his feet. He was a tall man, in reasonable shape especially considering what he had been through. He still sported a limp when he moved. It was nothing too obvious but there if you watched. His smile was half hearted, like he was trying to hide it which only made it more charming. His defences were thick, but she felt she had at least dented them a little and for some reason that was important to her.

He followed behind her, he had not yet said a word. She showed him into the treatment room and invited him to sit just as she had the first time.

"Good Morning," she said with a bright smile that made him blush.

"Morning," he replied.

"So, how have you been getting on, have you been doing the exercises."


"Has it helped?"

"It was difficult the first few days but it's been getting better, a little easier."

"Good," she said, "Time to get changed and get to work,"

Jack followed her instructions. Even in her Physiotherapist's attire, she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She made even a plain Polo Shirt and tracksuit bottoms look incredible. Her natural beauty seemed to shine through no matter what.

The curtain closed and he heard the door close as she left to give him privacy. Jack changed quickly and sat himself on the treatment table. His knee still seemed quite heavily swollen but in the raised position he was able to move it easily enough. His arm strength was coming along. He had started physiotherapy for it while still in hospital so it felt like he was further along with his rehabilitation. He felt a conscious need to try and impress Grace even though that would mean his sessions would come to an end sooner. He realised that the thought was counter intuitive but the need remained. Jack could not deny the strong attraction he felt to her but he knew that was all it was, an infatuation that would not be returned. He sighed and waited.

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