Once they were back home, Joy went into the kitchen and poured a healthy glass of wine. When Daniel walked in, she offered to pour him a a glass, but he declined. He followed her into the den and sat down next to her.
“Joy, you’re awfully quiet. I know IDing that man had to dredge up painful reminders for you.”
“You have no idea.” Joy took measured sips of her wine, not wanting to have this discussion.
“You’re right; I don’t have any idea because you’re shutting me out. Did you get any therapists names from Deanna when you met?”
“No, I was going to get them tomorrow night when I go to the meeting. I know I need to see someone, Daniel. I want to; I don’t want to continue to have these feeling all the time. They’re unbearable.”
“I am really sorry you’re having to go through this Joy. I do have one old contact in the city who has worked with victims of crime for over twenty years. if you like, I can give him a call.”
“That is so considerate of you” joy cupped his cheek. “How about you give me the name and number and I will call. I really want to remain anonymous as much as possible.”
Daniel placed his arms around her and held her gently. Joy leaned into his body, cradling her wineglass with both hands. She felt tears slide down her cheeks, but could do nothing to stop them. When Daniel noticed, he sat up, took her glass and wiped her tears. This simple act of kindness proved to be her undoing; the flood gates were unleashed and she was openly weeping in Daniel’s arms. As she worked herself into fatigue, the tears slowly dried up and she grew still.
“I’ve been wondering when that was going to happen. A person cannot carry around the amount of pain you are and not buckle under eventually.” Daniel said.
“You’re right; I’m absolutely exhausted. I think I’ll go up for a soak.”
“That’s a great idea. I’m going to order in a pizza while you do that.”
Joy went up to their bathroom and started running a really hot bath using a liberal amount of lavender sea salts. She was taken aback by how red and swollen her face was. After putting up her hair, she ran the water cold and placed a cloth soaked in the cold water on her face. Sinking into the tub was heavenly. The scent of lavender in the air had a calming effect on Joy’s disposition.
She hadn’t realized she’d fallen fast asleep until she felt Daniel gently shake her to wake her up.
“Pizza’s here, sleepy head.”
“Wow, I must have gone out like a light.” As she stood, Daniel offered his arm for her to lean on as he grabbed one of her fluffy bath sheets. He dried her quickly. His action was surprisingly not off-putting.
“Hurry, don’t want cold pizza.” Daniel said as he left.
Joy chose a long deep wine gown with spaghetti straps and a matching robe. They looked a bit silly with her big fuzzy booties; but what the hay, she always had cold feet.
She found Daniel in the den with two TV trays set up; one for pizza and one for drinks. She smiled when she saw he had her favorite orange juice out for her.
“I take it with that smile you approve? You are the only woman that can make Sherpa footwear and lacey nightclothes go together.” Daniel wiggled his eyebrows ridiculously.
“What can I say, I’ve got style. This pizza smells heavenly. I think all I’ve had today has been liquid.” Joy took the plate Daniel handed her and sat down to eat. “Yes, this is definitely heaven. Can you pass me the juice, hon? How’s yours?”
“It hits the spot, but I am much more enjoying your reaction. I’m seeing a peek of the real Joy, and I can tell you, I have missed her.”
Joy sat back and looked at Daniel. “I’m sorry. I’ve been so wrapped up in what I’m going through that I forgot to think about you.” She gently touched is face. “You know how much I love you, right?”
“Of course I do. But thank you for thinking of me. Now finish your food, woman.”
They finished the rest of their meal with congenial small talk and cleaned up the dishes together.
After Daniel took his shower, he was surprised to find Joy already in bed.
“I called your parents and they report that Ben is perfectly content and we should leave him another day or two. I am leaning toward one more day; I miss the little monkey.”
“I know you think you’re ready for everything, but give yourself a little more time to just take care of you. You’ve got to call and make a therapist appointment, and then you’ve got that meeting tomorrow night. Let’s just play it by ear. You can always go by and see him again tomorrow. I’m going in for a half day to catch up my patients, but I’ll be here with you in the afternoon, okay?” Daniel asked with concern in his voice.
“Yeah, I know you have to go back to work. The sooner we all get back on our schedules, the easier things will be, I hope.”
Daniel had climbed into the bed as she was talking. He settled in and held his arms open for her. She burrowed down against his side, sighed, and closed her eyes. If only thing stayed the same, she felt she would finally get some peace.