Amy found it almost impossible to fall asleep that night. She felt like a pendulum swinging from side to side. On the one side she was so excited it was all she could do not to squeeeal like a kid, and on the other side she was so close to being terrified that she wanted to climb under the bed and never come out. She was on a roller coaster of feelings and didn’t know how to slow it down, and wasn’t sure she WANTED to slow it down. She liked the good feelings, she loved that someone could still find her attractive and like her, even after what had happened to her. But, she was afraid of what might happen in the future, because of what had happened to her. She found that laying down and closing her eyes wasn’t the most intelligent thing she could do this night. There were a whole truck load of unwanted memories trying to force themselves to the forefront of her mind and she didn’t want them to come out. She wanted to lay her and just revel in the fact that A BOY LIKED HER! Ok, technically he was a ‘man’, not a ‘boy’, but she was feeling awfully young right now and boy was a safer word. Part of the trouble was that she didn’t know what was ‘normal’. Before the attack she had been pretty much just coasting thru life on the U.S.S. It’s All About Me. There were never any close connections with males, Bret was the first boy with whom she may have entered into a relationship with and that was blown out of the water pretty thoroughly and the ship sank so fast that it was almost explosive. Now she was at a loss, and she didn’t have anyone to talk to either. What would Jennie do if this were her? Would she be excited? Or scared? Or would she just tell him that it was all one sided and she just wanted to be friends. She didn’t feel really comfortable talking to Jennie about Brad because they were friends too, and she didn’t know if Jennie could be objective. She thought she could, but. It was too late in the evening to call her anyway, so even if she did decide to discuss it with Jennie it would have to wait til tomorrow. And tomorrow wasn’t when she couldn’t fall asleep, tonight was.
“Ok” she thought “lets try and look at this logically. You like Brad. You know he is a decent person. You know that he is trying to help make women safer. You know that he is someone that you should be able to trust. And you DO trust him, you would trust him with your life, wouldn’t you?” and that is when she realized that it wasn’t her life she was afraid of losing here, it was her heart.
All the way home Brad berated himself for moving too fast. He KNEW what she had been thru, maybe not the details, but he knew what kind of trauma she had suffered, so WHY did he have to be so stupid?!? He should have waited, he should have found a way to make sure that she really was healing and not just pushing the feelings down so that she wouldn’t have to deal with them. He was smart enough and intuitive enough to have seen the signs. And yet he had told her how he felt anyway. Amy needed professional help to make it thru this. She had told him early on that she had spoken with a psychiatrist while she was still in the hospital and his attitude was very offputting, and the things that he had said were not helping. When Brad thought of this man, the first man that should have been able to help Amy, and how he had just made it worse, he wanted to go punch him in the nose! Irrational thought, but there they were. He guessed that those feelings were caused by the fact that he liked her so much.
He wanted with all of his heart to help her heal and to hold her while she was doing so. He wanted to be the one that she turned to when she was scared, or lonely. He wanted to be the one to protect her from any harm that came her way. For crying out loud he wanted to be there to stop her from getting hurt in the first place. He wanted to rescue her. And he knew that he could not be that person. At least not yet.
So what he needed to do at this point was make sure that she understood that he was not going to put her on the spot again. He needed to tell her that they were friends and nothing was ever going to change that. He needed to explain to her that he was safe, and that she could relax with him, he would never knowingly hurt her. But first he had to find a way to get her to listen to him, and not run away.
It turned out to be a long night for both of them.
The next day Amy called Jennie and asked if they could get together before their training at the dojo. “I need to talk to you about something. I am totally out of my depth her and I need your help.” Amy told her. “Of course, want to meet for lunch up at the diner?” Jennie replied. “Ok, I’ll see there at 11?” “Sounds good.”
Amy was extremely nervous about talking to Jennie, none of the fears that she had had the night before had vanished and a few more had crept in when she wasn’t looking, but she knew she needed to talk about this with someone and Jennie was her best friend. After all, if you couldn’t trust your best friend then who COULD you trust.
Amy got there early and picked a booth at the back of the diner. She sat there sipping her diet coke and fidgeting while she waited. She wasn’t at all sure that this was the best idea she had ever had, but she was committed at this point, so no running away kiddo. Jennie was right on time, striding thru the front door of the diner on the dot of 11. She glanced around until she saw Amy, and smiled as she walked over to the booth. “Hey Girl! How ya doin?” She asked cheerily. Amy smiled back as she replied, “I’m fine this morning, and you? How goes it?” Jennie chuckled. “It goes, it goes. But I am about to die of curiosity! What the heck happened last night? What’s going on? You need to start talking girl!” Amy had to laugh at her friend. She had just taken a stress riddled encounter and turned it into a ‘girls night out’ situation. At that point she knew that it was going to be ok, that talking to Jennie was exactly what she needed to do right now. And so she did. They sat there talking for well over two hours. Amy told her friend about what Brad had said to her, and hesitantly related how she had reacted, waiting for Jennie to laugh at her or tell her she was being silly. But Jennie didn’t do that. She reached across the table and held Amy’s hand and said “Oh you poor thing!! I’m so sorry that happened that way, I was SO hoping that he was going to say something like that and it would be a Fabulous experience!” she chuckled a little ruefully, “I guess I dream big, huh?” Amy giggled at that. And then Jennie asked her “What are you going to do?” and Amy didn’t have an answer. “I guess I am going to walk in to the dojo and play it by ear.” Jennie waited for her to continue. “I think that I am going to have to be the one to take the first step here, I need to grab my courage with both hands and ask Brad to forgive me for my actions last night, or rather my RE-actions. I really treated him badly and I need to set that straight. I don’t think that I can have a ‘boyfriend’ yet. I don’t think I am ready for that, but if Brad can be my ‘friend’ I think that will be a great start.” Jennie nodded approvingly. “I think that you have a pretty good handle on this now” she said “And I’ll be there to help you if you need it.” Amy jumped up out of the booth and quickly went to the other side of the table and hugged her best friend. “Thank you Jennie, thank you for being my friend.”
Brad found that he was a tad bit nervous as he waited for the girls to come in for their training session. He was afraid that only Jennie would come, or if they both showed up that Amy would be super wary around him again, like she had been for that first week so long ago. He didn’t know how to make it easier for her, he didn’t think he could actually do anything to ease her discomfort at this point. So he just crossed his fingers and hoped for the best.
He heaved a huge sigh of relief when Jennie and Amy walked thru the door of the dojo a little while later. At least she had come back, that was a giant step in the right direction. And then he looked at her face and his heart dropped. It was tight and her expression was most definitely closed.
Amy was scared, she knew she had to do this, but was afraid that she had broken their friendship beyond repair. That she had hurt him to badly for him to forgive her. But, she took a deep breath and looked him in the eye “Brad, I think we need to talk, could we go in your office for a few minutes?” she said. He nodded, afraid of what was about to happen, and gestured her ahead of him. She entered first and waited while he shut the door. Then they just stood there looking at each other. Amy sighed and asked him to sit down. He walked around the desk and eased himself into the chair. She didn’t sit, she slowly paced back and forth in front of the desk. She stopped finally and turning to look at him she said “Brad, last night was” Brad interrupted her saying “Amy last night was such a screw up on my part, I am so sorry!” “Hush Brad, let me finish!” she said. “Last night was wonderful, and it was horrible!” Brad was a little puzzled by that, but took her literally and kept his big mouth shut. “I freaked when you told me that you were starting to care about me. I didn’t know that was going to happen. I hadn’t actually thought about having a man in my life since the attack, so I was totally unprepared for your statement. That was rather short sighted of me. I owe you a big apology.” “No ,you do” “BRAD hush!!” she startled him with her vehemence. “It is MY turn to talk, you can talk when I am done” “ok” he said meekly, all the while thinking, she would NEVER have done that even a Month ago! “I messed up, and I am sorry. I am not beating myself up about it anymore, tho. I think that there are going to be other times in my future where I am going to have a reaction to something and it will blind side me, just like this did. But I think that with your help, I’ll be able to handle them a little better. Brad, I don’t know if I can ever have a boyfriend but I would really love it if you could be my friend. Is that something we can do? Maybe someday it could be more, but I cannot promise anything” He just sat there, stunned by her revelation. She wasn’t mad at him, she didn’t want him to go away and leave her alone. She wanted to be his friend!! A slow smile spread across his face and he said “Amy, I will be your friend forever. Thank you for explaining, I know that was not easy, how scared you must have been when you came in here.” He suddenly laughed “I was so afraid that you were going to say you were leaving and I didn’t want that to happen. I want you to stick around for a long time.” Very slowly Amy walked around the desk and asked Brad to stand up. When he did she shyly reached out and gave him a little hug. He was careful not to do anything to spoil the moment, and as they left the office to begin the days training, he had his arm draped casually across her shoulders and smile a mile wide on his face.