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Disclaimer : See chapter 1
Rating : PG-13
Credits : The song mentioned toward the end is Bleecker Street by Simon and Garfunkel.
Credit II : The name Nicky Parsons belongs to whoever owns the Jason Bourne franchise. In my back-story for Rachel, she and Nicky are friends from childhood. This is not a crossover. There are no further plans for her appearance.
Note : Too all those worried about Anna’s presence in this chapter it is a nonissue. Therapy Sessions is a Jacob/Rachel romance. In the picture below, it is Amy Brennerman as Maggie Hood's ghost. I've always picture her as Maggie.
Note II: This chapter has a lot of Hood’s history in it. All the information about brain tumors in general and glioblastoma mutiformes in particular is taken from The American Cancer Society website.
History: Ruby Ridge took place in 1992; the Waco Siege in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995.
Previous Chapters : Ch 1 - Denial ; Ch 2 - Anger ; Ch 3 - Bargaining - Jacob ; Ch 4 - Bargaining - Rachel ; Ch 5 - Depression - Interludes

Therapy Sessions

By Lattelady

Ch 6 - Depression - Jacob

Five times the light beneath the moon had been rekindled, and, as many time, was spent, since that hard passage faced our first attempt, when there before us rose a mountain, dark because of distance, and it seemed to me the highest mountain I had ever seen. - From The Divine Comedy Of Dante Alighieri – Inferno – Canto XXVI

April 25, 2009 (Sat.) – Deale, Maryland – 6:28 AM (CDT)
Alex followed the scent of freshly made coffee into the kitchen. It was the only thing other than her son that could have stopped her from heading straight to her workshop. She had dreamt of clear shimmering glass crying deep blue tears and her hands itched to bring it to life.

After filling her mug with French roast, she detoured down the short hall that led to the downstairs bedroom. She had to make sure Owen was taken care of before she lost herself in the heat and magic that was calling to her.

“Rachel, are you awake?”

“Yes, in here.” She answered from the small bathroom off her room. “I was taking care of some things.” The blonde flushed as she carefully placed a wet burgundy bra on a hanger with it’s matching panties and then hung the set on the shower curtain rod to join three others, all in different colors and styles.

“Very nice,” Alex muttered. The thought that Rachel’s very feminism lingerie didn’t fit with the image of an FBI agent only skimmed her mind. She was too focused on keeping her love for her son separated from her longings as an artist. “I wanted to be sure you were all right getting Owen off to his sleepover. His duffle and sleeping bag are in the hall. The Martins will be picking him up at about ten. Their number is on the fridge along with all the others…”

“I’ve got it covered, don’t worry about us.” Rachel recognized the expression on the older woman’s face.

“I need to...ah...” She pointed vaguely toward the yard.

“We’ll be fine,” a surge of happiness caused laughter to bubble up in the blonde’s throat, making her feel good and alive for the first time in a long while. “It seems as if you have your own personal Planet Hood, too.” She chuckled. “Go before you burst.” The confused, contemplative, faraway expression on Alex’s face was identical to Jacob’s when he was deep in thought.

“Yeah...yeah, okay.” The artist froze, caught by the sparkle in Rachel’s eyes. It was the exact color she’d been trying to capture, except this time it was filled with pleasure instead of regret. “I...ah...can’t promise when...” Her mind spun as it was lost in ideas for a second piece, a mate to the first. The night before, as she worked in her study, she’d dubbed the original piece Sorrow. It was only now she realized why. She’d gotten the idea as she’d seen deep blue eyes fill with doubt and then tears that were blinked away as the agent had turned off her phone to ignore a text message. Now, at the mention of Planet Hood, those same eyes were filled with joy. To name the pieces after the emotions they represented was too commonplace. She’d have to see what came to her as she worked.

“Just go, your mind is already there,” Rachel sighed as Alex hurried toward the backdoor, leaving the younger woman alone with her thoughts. The exchange had felt familiar and comfortable, like dealing with...Jak-- “Like dealing with Hood,” she whispered, looking at her reflection in the mirror. “Hood,” she repeated. “Not Jacob and definitely not Jake.”

With quiet determination she finished her hand laundry before she dressed to get breakfast ready for Owen. She refused to feel anything. Hood was her assignment and sort of her...ah...friend, but that was all. I’ve been sick and not myself lately; otherwise I wouldn’t be having these odd feelings. Damn him anyway for playing hero and making me think I feel all squishy and girly inside. ‘Cause I don’t, I really don’t.

April 25, 2009 (Sat.) - Stanford University, Palo Alto, California – 9 AM (PDT)
“It’s good to see you, Jacob?” Dr. Anna Yang smiled, shaking hands with him as she would any other patient at the beginning of a session.

“You too, Anna.” He looked around her office, as if he weren’t sure what he was doing there. The walls were light blue, soothing and cool to the eye. Tastefully hung art consisted of large black and white photographs. All of them used shadows and light to form complex, yet relaxing patterns. He particularly liked the one of raindrops running down a window. It didn’t take him long to realize that each and every thing in the room had a carefully chosen purpose, but instead of feeling manipulated, he felt relieved.

“Will your man in the waiting room be all right?” She asked, as she watched Hood study her office. “We may be a while. That coffee shop by the hospital is still there. They serve real food, even on Saturdays and their Internet access is high speed nowadays.” She couldn’t picture the somber man dressed in a black suit and carrying a trench coat exploring any of the shops Palo Alto had to offer, as the blonde female agent had done after dropping Jacob off at the dog park when he’d visited in late fall.

“I’ve already tried, in fact I suggested he stay at the hotel, but he insisted on coming. You’re lucky he didn’t search you for a weapon, before he left us alone in here.” Hood was tired of dealing with Carson Dilworth. “Where do you want me to sit?”

“Anywhere you like.” Anna’s hand swept the friendly room. Comfortable stuffed chairs in muted blues and greens were carefully situated so that they could be easily grouped in twos, threes, or more, depending on need. Everything was placed so it was functional but still maintained a quiet, relaxed, intimate atmosphere in an otherwise professional office.

“It’s not test, Jacob.” She smiled, watching his eyes move from chair to chair. “You really can sit anywhere you like.” To make things easier, she pointedly took a seat behind her desk. It was a calculated move to enhance the boundaries between doctor and patient, something she didn’t usually do. But Hood wasn’t her usual patient. It wasn’t simply that he had been her best friend’s husband. It wasn’t even their attempted date. It was the awkward kiss at her door, which had been all her fault. She’d known he was leaning in to give her a friendly peck on the cheek. He’d done it before and it had meant nothing. But that time she’d deliberately turned her face so he caught her full on the lips. She had been attracted to him and had taken one last foolish chance. It had been a mistake that might still cost her a friendship she valued.

“Ah…I told you Cal Rigdon died?” Jacob asked, anxious to keep control of the conversation as he settled in a club chair across from her.

“Yes, you did, when we were walking Tanner, last fall.” She waited wondering why he brought up Cal’s death again.

“Hmmm, that’s right I did.” Right up until the moment he’d spoken with Anna, on that warm November day, he’d resented that the CDC or FBI, or whoever had been in charge of the disaster in Pittsburgh had classified it top secret. “You two were a couple for so long. I wanted to be sure you knew.”

“I guess we weren’t as much of a couple as I thought we were. In all the time we lived together, he never told me he had heart disease. It caught me by surprised, but in a way I was relieved.” Anna watched Jacob carefully for signs that he wasn’t simply talking about an old friend’s unexpected heart attack. Another death so soon after Maggie’s was bound to be a blow. “I know Calvert was always careful, but he was consumed with his work. I worried that one day he’d lose control of one of the viruses in his lab, or worse yet, in the field and it would kill him.”

Hood realized she had understood Rigdon far better than anyone else. The virologist hadn’t died of a coronary following years of fictitious heart disease, but smallpox that he’d genetically altered and carelessly stored. The accident was far worse than Yang had feared, because it had cost twenty-four lives…Rachel could have been number twenty-five if things had gone differently… Jacob shoved that thought back into the deep recesses of his mind, into the place where he’d been sending all unexpected thoughts of her during the last few weeks. But he couldn’t suppress the shiver that hit him when he remembered her exhausted and frightened, separated from him by thick plastic isolation drapes.

“Is it too cold for you in here?” Anna didn’t miss a thing. “I can turn down the air conditioner a bit.”

“No…ah…no…I’m fine.”

Silence stretched between them until she decided to start with something simple. They could always return to the subject of Cal Rigdon if it seemed relevant to Jacob’s situation. “How did your meeting go with the Chair of the Science Department?”

“About as expected.” Hood smiled at Tom Burton’s predictability. “He tried to get me to sign off on my share of the last patent I worked on, the one DuPont is marketing in the fall. I refused. New separation papers are being drawn up. I told him to send them directly to my attorney. It may take a bit of horse-trading, but I think I’ll be off Stanford’s roster fairly soon.”

“What kind of horse trading?” She knew all employees at the large teaching institution signed over the majority of rights to anything invented or discovered while working there. It was part of the conditions of their employment. It didn’t matter if you were a PhD, MD or simply swept the floors, the University owned the rights to your intellectual property.

“Nothing too much.” He shrugged. “Burton said he wanted me as a guest lecturer for some of the graduate seminars, but I think he was more interested in keeping my name attached to the Biophysics Department for fundraising purposes.”

“How do you feel about the change you’re making in your life?”

“You make it sound as if this is something I’m doing on the spur of the moment.” Hood dodged the question. “I haven’t been inside a class room or a dedicated research lab since Maggie…ah…well since she got sick.” He cleared his throat and gripped the padded arms of his chair. “I still own my house here. Hell, I waited until I’d been working out of DC for six months to even rent it out. I was careful, and took my time. It was bad enough losing my wife, I didn’t want to make any sudden decisions, until I was sure my head was screwed on straight.”

“You appear to have thought it out carefully.” When he’d first moved to Washington Anna had believed he used distance as a defense mechanism against facing the truth. From thousands of miles away it would be like Maggie was alive and working on the west coast, while he was simply out of town offering his special brand of scientific expertise to the FBI. He and Maggie had traveled separately often enough that it was an easy trap to fall into. “But you didn’t really answer my question. How do you feel about these changes?”

“I feel that it is time I made a decision.” He glared at her. Ideas were easy to talk about, but emotions weren’t anyone’s business. “I’m still thinking and doing, that hasn’t stopped just because I’m not teaching anymore. I get more satisfaction out of my job with the FBI than I ever did in a classroom or mentoring a graduation student through his or her thesis or dissertation.” He shrugged knowing he still hadn’t told her what she wanted to hear. “My apartment in DC is only a place were I sleep occasionally, but the old house our grandmother left to Alex and me is what I think of as home. And if I change my mind again, I’m sure there is some University somewhere that would be willing to hire me. That—is—what—I--feel.” He spit out the last four words to give them emphasis.

“You could probably write your own ticket at any teaching institution in the country. The work you’ve been doing makes you an even greater asset.” She watched him closely. Didn’t he realize how different he was? It wasn’t simply about relocation or taking a new job. He was as intelligent as ever, but it was as if the boundaries of his world had been flung wide open. Where before he’d been simply a genius among geniuses in the closed off community of academics, now he was a compelling man as well. It was what she had suddenly found attractive about him when he’d visited after Thanksgiving. “What does all this change mean to you the man?”

“I’ve already told you.” Jacob rested his elbows on the arms of his chair and steepled his fingers in front of his face, carefully watching the woman across from him. “Frank Fuller has been trying from the beginning to get me to take a permanent staff position with the Bureau. I’ve accepted, but it can’t be official until I am no longer employed by Stanford.” He couldn’t let go of the idea that if he’d been a Support Professional, instead of an Independent Contractor, it would have been harder for Ray Wynne to sway opinion against him. The necessity to work alone had cost time and could have cost Rachel her life. He wasn’t ever going to take that chance again. He wouldn’t be an agent, but he would be one of them. “Also, the young couple who have been renting my house in Atherton want to buy it. It’s theirs if they meet my asking price.”

Yang knew he was being deliberately obtuse and wasn’t about to let him get away with it. “You’ve told me what’s going on externally – intellectually, but what does it mean to you emotionally?”

“Dammit, Anna, I didn’t come here to be analyzed!” Hood leaned toward her and glared.

“Then why did you come?” she urged. “What has changed since you basically told me to take my psychiatric degree and leave you alone to deal with your grief?”

“I don’t know.” His answer caught him by surprise. “I just don’t know.”

“Then tell me what you do know. What prompted you to make the call yesterday morning? You said you needed to talk.” She shrugged, pulling back on her line of questioning, giving him some space and a feel of control. “I’m here to listen.”

“I…ah…haven’t been sleeping well.” He stood and walked slowly to look out the large window overlooking the wooded campus. “I fall asleep just fine, but keep waking up…and I feel…I feel…strange.”

“Strange, how?” she prodded.

“Like I’ve woken in the middle of a nightmare, but can’t remember what it is or even if I’ve dreamed.” He shook his head unable to believe he was telling her this.

“How long has this been going on?” She needed a bit of history before she went further.

“I’m not sure when it began.” He knew he had experienced it the night Cal Rigdon died, but didn’t think that was the first time.

“How often do you dream, Jacob?”

“I understand the mechanics of sleep, so I’d have to say, a number of times a night, but I doubt I remember them any more often than the next person.” He turned toward her desk, with his hands in his pockets, unsure what she was getting at. “The nightmares, if that’s what they are, have increased dramatically over the last two or three weeks. I’d blame them on Dilworth out there.” He nodded toward the waiting room door. “But I was having them before he came on board.”

“Does this night time anxiety go back as far as Maggie’s death?”

“No! Damnit all, how many times do I have to tell you this isn’t about my wife?” Jacob tried with all he had to hold onto his temper, but it slipped the leash and everything came pouring out, leaving him angry and exhausted. “You think that because I didn’t broadcast it, I didn’t grieve. Well I grieved plenty.” He raised his hand to tick off the stages of grief. “Denial, well I lived there even before she was diagnosed. When she started to have nausea and headaches in the mornings that would disappear by midday...I thought...I...hoped...we thought she might be pregnant. But the tests all came back negative.”

“Jacob, I didn’t know, I’m sorry.” She kept her voice as even as possible. He needed to talk more than he needed compassion, but this was her best friend they were speaking about and it was hard.

He held up his hand as if it would protect him from words too painful to hear. “Mags thought she needed new reading glasses.” He laughed bitterly. “She had her first seizure the morning she was to see the ophthalmologist. Then the denial really began. I sent her slides and scans to every center that was doing research on any kind of primary brain tumor, not just glioblastoma mutiformes. I couldn’t believe that my wife was going to die. The gods of science that I’d worshiped for so long were going to save her, all I had to do was get their attention---”

“Jacob---” she tried to rein him in, keep him focused.

“No, Anna, you wanted to hear about this, so you can damn well listen.” He glared. “Then came the anger, right on schedule. It burned straight through me each time I was told the same thing. Her tumor was an unusually aggressive stage IV. It had infiltrated deep into both frontal lobes before we knew anything was wrong. I thought finding her at the bottom of the steps in convulsions was bad.” He shook his head wishing it had been as simple as that. “Hell, they even found cancer cells in her spinal fluid. The damn thing was deep enough to line the walls of the ventricles of her brain. All they could do was debulk the tumor. Her surgery was palliative at best - no other options, period.

“One man, Dr. Matthew Kaplan, was willing to admit Maggie into a study of a new form of chemotherapy that was supposed to eat away at the blood supply of the tumor, but hers was so deeply embedded, it did as much damage as good.”

“Was that what she was taking toward the end?” Yang remembered her friend exhausted, incoherent, a shadow of her former self.

“Yeah, there are times I’ve wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier on her...kinder...less selfish to have let her give up. She lived six months instead of the three they had predicted when she was diagnosed.” He was seeing it all again, the encroaching specter of death as it stood over Maggie’s bed. It was no wonder he’d recognized It so easily when It had brushed through the old diner and hid in the corner watching Rachel bleed.

“Here, drink this.” Yang handed him a bottle of water from a refrigerator under a small sink in the corner of the room, before moving back to her desk, but instead of sitting behind it, she leaned against it, with her arms crossed.

“Bargaining comes next, doesn’t it?” He shot Anna a shrewd look, knowing very well it did. She slowly nodded and watched him take a deep drink of water. She could almost see his mind working as it peeled down through layers of old memories. “I made every mental deal I could think of: save her and take me instead; take away her pain and give it to me; until finally,” he sighed, rolling the cold bottle between his palms. “Finally, I just wanted her damn intractable pain to leave her in peace.” He gasped and threw back his head, as once again, he was hit with the realization that he’d been willing to trade his wife’s life so she wouldn’t hurt anymore. “It wasn’t long after that…well…that she died and I…I…didn’t speak for three months…I’d call that depression, wouldn’t you? Cause it sure felt like it from where I was living.”

“Jacob, look at me!” Anna demanded as she moved quickly to his side and gripped him by the shoulders. “You didn’t cause Maggie’s death and you couldn’t have prevented it. There isn’t a bargain you could have made or a thing you could have done that would have kept her alive. Now listen and understand what I’m saying. Your wife was handed a death sentence the second the DNA in one brain cell changed and began to wildly replicate in its new form.”

“I know that,” he sighed and slumped against the wall.

“Do you really, Jacob?” Anna’s hands shook with the need to hold him, to give them both tactile comfort. To do so would be selfish. It would satisfy her needs, instead of letting him find his own way.

“Yeah, I do.” He nodded, lost in thought. “Why do you ask?”

“You were hit with a lot over a very short period of time. Usually when a person learns a loved one is terminal, they go through anticipatory grief. In your case you weren’t given time to process much before she was terribly ill and then dead.”

“You’re not telling me something I don’t already know.” He looked at her wondering where she was going with her line of thought. Had his wife confided in her best friend about her marriage? He certainly hadn’t told anyone, not even his sister. It had taken a brain tumor to make Jacob and Maggie realizes what they were about to lose and change their casual empty lifestyle into a strong caring relationship. Those days after Mags had been diagnosed and they fought the tumor together had brought them closer together than they had been in years.

He’d mourned her loss before she died, as the malignant cells ate deeper; seizures and pain were joined by personality changes and memory losses. The brilliant mathematician, known to the world as Margaret M. Cain, disappeared and became simply his wife. Jacob’s heart hurt when he thought about all the time they’d wasted.

In reality, he’d lost her three times; the first when they’d slowly drifted apart. She to the unsolved mathematical puzzles Paul Erdos left the world when he’d died; Hood in pursuit of dark matter. The second was when her disease progressed to the point that her short-term memory disappeared and her personality changed; and then finally when she died.

“You’ve covered all the steps of grief except one: the last, acceptance.” Anna could tell he was exhausted but if she let up on him now, he might never finish what was started with a phone call yesterday.

“Acceptance,” his laugh was hard and rough, a parody of humor. “I’ve accepted that she’s dead. I know I’ll never hear her laugh again, or watch her play with Tanner, or find strange scribbles of equations on cereal boxes or on the morning newspaper; but I’ll never accept that it had to happen, especially the way it did. She was so bright and had so much potential...to have her brain simply eaten away like that...” He moved back to his chair, leaned his elbows on his knees and rested his head in his hands, his eyes closed. “It was her strength and it was stolen from her long before her body died.” He’d gladly go back to his safe marriage, as quiet and unexciting as it had been, if it could undo all the damage that had been done.

He shuddered as he fought guilt and panic. “And I can’t accept that I might have to lose like that again,” the words were forced out from somewhere deep inside of him…the place where he hid all his fears, pain and terrible worries that it was already far too late. That he was on a collision course with loss either by separation or death.

Anna was suddenly alert and very quiet as she studied Jacob Hood fighting a memory. She looked at him carefully, wondering if he realized he’d spoken out loud.

“...She’s usually so strong, but she could hardly sit up and I had to keep talking to her, reminding her to stay awake. There was blood everywhere. She looked at me and told me not to worry. She said it wasn’t my fault if it...” though he was almost whispering, his voice broke and he had to swallow to go on. “She said that it wasn’t my fault if it didn’t work out, because I can’t fix everything.” He shuddered and shook his head, trying to get free of whatever was haunting him, finally turning toward Anna, lost and unsure. “But what she was really saying was that it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t find her sooner,” his words were rough and angry and filled with pain.

“I had to be a damn bystander while Maggie’s mind, her strength, was eaten away and then...then again when Rachel grew weaker by the second and almost bled out.” His voice cracked. “I can’t do it...I can’t be helpless like that ever again!”

“Jacob,” Yang spoke softly and gently touched his shoulder. “Who are you talking about?”

“Rachel Young,” he whispered her name.

“I remember her.” And she did remember, especially the first time. Rachel had interrupted the walk Anna and Jacob had been taking with Tanner at the dog park. It was business, but it had been the blonde agent who had called Hood away from her side. What Yang recalled with greatest clarity was Jacob looking toward the black car, nodding and telling her that was how he dealt with his grief. At the time Anna had thought he’d meant his job, but now she wasn’t sure.

“Where is Agent Young now?”

“Ah...ah...in Maryland with my sister, Alex, recuperating from being shot. It took me almost twenty-four hours to get her back. I was terrified I’d find her too late.”

“How long ago did that happen?” Anna fought to maintain a professional bearing. She was determined to help Jacob. She’d already taken advantage of him enough in the guise of trying to help.

“Almost three weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime since I’ve been stuck with that jerk Dilworth.” Hood snorted and dismissed the man from his mind.

“Ahh, this happened about the time your sleep issues intensified?” It was clear what was going on, though Yang wondered if he realized it.

“Yes, but that can’t be the cause. I got her back and she survived.” Hazel eyes sparked with emotion. “She had a hard time of it and will need physical therapy but she’s safe now.”

“You care for her deeply, don’t you?” The question was asked badly and Anna knew it, but it simply slipped out.

“Yes...but not like you’re implying,” he denied, uncomfortable with the question. “Our relationship is strictly professional.”

“I’m sure it is.” She was on steadier ground. For one moment she’d been thinking like a woman instead of a doctor. “But what are your feelings toward her?”

“She’s my bodyguard and handler just like Carson Dilworth, out there.”

“She’s hardly like Agent Dilworth.” Yang was aware he’d dodged her question but let it go for the moment.

“Well there are obvious differences,” Jacob admitted with a small grin.

“I’m not talking about the obvious.” She was suddenly extremely serious. “Moments ago you were speaking about your acceptance of Maggie’s death. The way you feel about it is normal. It’s not the loss one accepts, but the fact that a loved one is gone. You appear to have done that, but you followed it up with the statement that you couldn’t accept having to go through it a second time.” She stopped speaking for a moment and simply watched him. “That indicates very strong feelings.”

“It’s complicated.” He hoped she wouldn’t pry further. He’d been avoiding that thought for weeks, even months, if he were honest with himself.

“I’m sure it is, you’re a complicated man, Jacob, but you need to put a name to those feelings,” she stressed.

“This is ridiculous. Maggie was...is my wife,” he sputtered. “She was comfortable and soothing to be around. She never came home from work with a black eye from a fistfight, or bruises and contusions from a bomb going off as she entered a building. She was never in gun battles or made me wait in the car, or stay behind her while she took care of anything dangerous. Mags let me drive; in fact, she thought I was a damn good driver. I knew exactly what to expect, no wild games of chicken in speeding cars; no arguments, or target practice…or…or…” His head was filled with a kaleidoscope of danger that Rachel had faced and he could hear her whispering sleepily, ‘Night, Jake.’

“It sounds like this isn’t the first time Agent Young has been hurt on the job.”

“Let’s just say she knows how to make good use of an icepack.” He recalled her doing paperwork with one pressed against her eye in Chicago; there was dinner in Texas as she iced her cheek; and he’d helped her keep one against the back of her shoulder in California. He didn’t even want to think about how she’d looked after surgery in Maryland. Not all the ice in the world would have helped her then.

Anna remembered something Jacob had said when he’d first told her he was having trouble sleeping. “You mentioned that your nightmares had been happening for months. Was Agent Young injured just prior to any of your other bad nights?”

“Anna, no...” Jacob gasped; feeling as if she’d just ripped the scab off a nasty wound. He could see himself standing in Rachel’s doorway, watching her sleep to calm his fears. Was it possible that he’d gone to bed still worrying about her? The only other time he could say for sure that he’d had problems, was the night Cal Rigdon had died. It had been the first time he’d tried to sleep after he’d defied Rachel and the odds to prove she didn’t have small pox. “Well...ah...maybe...but that doesn’t mean a thing...Damnit, I love Maggie.”

“A part of you always will but that doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed get on with your life. You’re doing it professionally, why not personally?”

“I’m not ready.” He didn’t want to listen anymore, but couldn’t stop picking at it. Anna’s questions had awakened his curiosity. “Besides, it isn’t the same. The women aren’t the same, nor are the feelings.”

“Jacob what you had with Mags was unique because you were married to her and her love of mathematics just like she married you and your love of science.” There was so much she wanted to tell him but couldn’t because she was acting as his therapist. He needed to find his own way. All she could do was guide him.

“You make it sound as if we had…had…lovers…” he stuttered, not liking the analogy.

“In some ways you both did.”

“No…she never would have and I didn’t… still haven’t.” His stomach tightened as he remembered massaging Rachel’s calf until she moaned. He’d wanted…no he refused to think about it.

“Not in the sense that is commonly thought of when one says lovers, but your passions were split.” Anna smiled gently. “It worked for both of you and that’s what’s important. But you have to keep in mind that you’ve changed and from what I’ve learned today, you’ve moved on. I don’t know what your feelings are for Rachel Young, but I do know that she isn’t simply your bodyguard and handler.”

“If she’d died three weeks ago, I would have found it very hard to deal with.” He looked off into the distance, knowing he’d said the same thing to her. “The words seem inadequate, but I...just...can’t...”

“It’s all right, Jacob, give yourself time.” Anna walked slowly back to her seat behind her desk. She needed to put space between them.

“It’s not all right. I said the same thing to her, and then suggested that she transfer off my detail.” He sighed and went on, “I’m still not sure that wouldn’t be for the best.”

“The best for whom?” Yang challenged.

“It would keep her alive.” Hood’s eyes were stormy with pain.

“Would it? I thought you told me she was a bodyguard for the FBI. Is being assigned to you really so much more dangerous than it would be if she was assigned to someone else?”

“Thanks for adding a whole new variable to the equation.” He glared at her.

“You’re welcome, it’s all part of the service to ask questions and make you look at things from all angles.” She leaned back in her chair and smiled. “Now tell me about Rachel.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Jacob,” the psychiatrist rolled her eyes at him. “This isn’t about what I want, but what you want and need. Now start talking, anything that comes to mind.”

He concentrated for a moment and then the words spilled out. “She’s…ah…about twelve years younger than I am…unusually smart, not Maggie smart, but then who is?” He dug through another layer. “I’ve know from the moment I saw her she was pretty…got a hell of a tempter too.” He smiled as he remembered more than one argument. “She can be tough as nails or...” he closed his eyes remembering her clinging to him in the hospital. “Or she can be soft and sweet.” He cleared his throat refusing to take that any further. “And…and…and…when I’m with her I don’t…ah…feel alone…anymore…” his voice broke. He could almost hear himself telling her that, but knew he hadn’t.

Anna leaned on her desk, suddenly extremely tired. “In my professional opinion,” her voice hitched and she gripped her emotions, refusing to give the woman inside of her any freedom. “You need to give yourself time and Rachel, too. She almost died. The agent I met six months ago didn’t know the meaning of death. She has to be dealing with some tough emotions right now.”

“She is.” He’d seen them at work, but wasn’t about to share them with anyone. “I’ve ah...discovered that just recently I find her...ah...attractive in ways that I shouldn’t. What if it’s just proximity, timing and availability?” He’d spent more time with Rachel in the last eighteen months than he’d spent with any one woman in his adult life. There’d never been a two-year period when either he or Maggie hadn’t been gone for long chunks of time.

“There is that possibility, but you’ve never been one to be easily distracted, even by a woman.” She went back over his words from moments ago and had one other question. “Why did you say, ‘you shouldn’t be attracted to her’?”

“My wife is dead. I thought I’d never feel...or...or...desire another woman,” he whispered. It seemed like the ultimate betrayal. Even when he and Maggie had been more like friends with benefits, than husband and wife, he’d never looked at anyone else.

“That’s guilt talking and you have no reason to feel guilty.” Anna was a keen observer and knew much more than Hood realized. It was wise to keep it that way, but there was one thing she could tell him. “The only doubt Maggie ever had, was that one day you might want more from her than she was able to give.”

“I had no idea.” There in lay the reason for his guilt, because at times he had wanted more. Now he’d been given a do-over, but the price was more than he was willing to accept. “I loved her.”

“I know, Jacob, and now you have the chance to love again, don’t waste it.” It hurt Anna to say the words. She would have liked to be the woman in his new life. “Take it slow and easy. Don’t let the past weigh you down. I don’t know if Agent Young is your future, but I know you have one.”

April 25, 2009 – The Palo Alto Marriott – Palo Alto, California – 10:55 PM

Jacob stared at the ceiling. He was exhausted but unable to sleep. His session with Anna had gone on for hours. It had sapped him of energy and done nothing to improve his mood, increase his appetite or make him feel any better. It didn’t help that there had been no messages or voice mails waiting for him when he’d been able to check his cell.

“Damn that stubborn woman,” he muttered as he picked up his phone and balanced the cool plastic casing in his palms. "I need some sorta sign that I’m not in this confusion alone.” Frowning when the instrument didn’t respond, he composed a short message.

If you’re awake call me.

He sent it off before he could second-guess himself. A moment later his cell beeped, signaling an incoming text.

Only if you promise not to lecture me about my sleeping habits.

He laughed and his thumbs flew as he muttered, “More like her non-sleeping habits, but who am I to comment.”

Done, but no lecture from you either.

Seconds after he depressed the send button, his phone rang.

“Why would I lecture you? It’s not even the eleventh hour there.” Rachel snuggled deeper into her pillows.

“Point taken,” he sighed. “But it certainly feels later than that.”

“Are you all right?” She could hear the strain in his voice. “Didn’t your dat--day go well?”

“It’s been difficult and I guess I’m tired.” He was weary to the bone, but wanted to hear her voice.

“Having a bit of trouble with Hood Mean Time?”

“No, more like Dilworth pain-in-the-ass all the time.” Jacob grunted and was rewarded when she chuckled gently in his ear.

“When I told you, weeks ago, that Dilly was from a different era of FBI, I failed to mention that he is pre-Waco and Ruby Ridge. He lost friends and collogues in the Oklahoma City Bombing.” She faltered unsure if she needed to explain further or not. “Those guys were trained under a different set of rules.”

“Your dad must have been one of that group, as well.”

“Oh yeah, he and Dilly worked together in Phoenix, but dad quit, took early retirement.” Her laughter was forced as she gripped her cell to her ear.

“Tell me a story, Rachel, a happy one.” He knew he should dig deeper. He could hear the hurt in her voice when she talked about her father, but he didn’t have it in him. Too many old memories were crowded into the room with him. “I just want to listen tonight.”

“Okay.” It wasn’t what she expected, but she didn’t want to hang up either, so she’d think of something. “I spent most of my vacations with my mom’s parents. They lived in New York, in a great old brownstone duplex.” She closed her eyes remembering all the joyful times she’d spent there. “It’s on Bleecker Street in the Village.”

“Like the song?”

“Yup, Simon and Garfunkel. Their first album, I think. That song reminds me of home. When I’m down I...well I used to...never mind, it’s not important.”

“Is that what you dance to when you’re upset?” He could see her dancing in the moonlight as clearly as if she was in the room with him.

“We may have to rethink leaving the door open between our rooms when I’m back on the job.” She could feel her heart pounding in her chest. There’d only been once that she’d been unable to sleep and gotten up with her iPod. “Sorry I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You didn’t, I couldn’t sleep either. Maybe I should have texted you, talking might have helped both of us.”

“Yeah, maybe it would have.” She’d been exhausted and shaky that night, thanking God and Hood’s abilities that she wasn’t still shivering in a plastic room while men in the cubicles around her died of small pox.

“Do you want to keep interrupting or do you want to hear my story?” She pushed past the strange feelings that rose when she realized he must have been watching as she’d danced away her stress.

“Definitely the story.” He smiled sleepily.

“Okay. The summer I turned twelve, grandma got new neighbors. Nicky Parsons and her mom bought the other side of the building. Ms Parsons played the cello for the New York Philharmonic. Nicky was my age. She was a girly-girl to my tomboy but we hit it off right away. It wasn’t long before we were dubbed Trouble and Trouble.”

“I can imagine.” Hood laughed trying to picture Rachel as a child. “What did she look like?”

“Blonde, about my size, but her eyes were dark brown. I taught her to catch a baseball and she taught me all sorts of useless girly things.” She chuckled.

“Want to be more specific?” Jacob sounded drowsy but he was having too much fun to go to sleep.

“No, this is my story. I get to tell it my way.” Rachel laughed. It was Nicky who had dragged her to her first manicure and pedicure. While their friends had raved over Victoria Secret, they had discovered the joys of tiny lingerie boutiques that were scattered throughout the city. The girls had worn the same size clothes all their lives and by the time Rachel would go home in the fall, their wardrobes were always intermixed. Definitely not things Hood was ever going to hear about.

“We’d go all over. Gram would have had a heart attack if she’d known some of the places we went. We were young and invincible and loved that city. I remember the first time we visited the Statue of Liberty together. We walked up all those stairs on a bright shining day and it seemed as if everything that was important to us could be seen from the windows in the crown. But I think we loved the Village the best. It was alive with music--”

Rachel’s story was interrupted by a quiet sigh on the other end.


“Hhhmmm,” It was followed by deep even breathing

“At Christmas we’d go to Radio City Music Hall and see the Rockettes.” She spoke quietly to the rhythm of his breaths. “There were roasted chestnut venders on every corner.” Her words slowed and slurred as she was comforted by his sleeping presence. “Ice skating at Rockefeller Center...” She shivered at the happy memory and closed her eyes.

Soon they were both fast asleep, each with a cell phone tucked against one ear.

To Ch 7 - Depression - Rachel



Latest Month

September 2012


The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears

The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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